There was an error in this gadget

Friday, December 26, 2008

A NEW LATIN AMERICAN TSUNAMI

"People don't give one shit [about Latin America]."
- Richard M. Nixon -

"Well, I learned a lot. You'd be surprised. They're all individual countries."
- Ronald Reagan -

"[Latin America] is a dagger pointed at the heart of America."
- Henry Kissinger -

Gone are the days we could smugly consider Central and South America "ours." The arrogance and ignorance which led then-Vice President Nixon to dismiss Cuba's Fidel Castro as "a communist" after meeting with him for only one hour in 1959 (and for President Eisenhower to blow off that meeting altogether to play golf), and for President Ronald Reagan to assume that Latin America was monolithic, was as fatally flawed then as that condescending attitude is today. Nixon and Reagan would shit hemorrhages if they could see the state of Latin America at present. For what was once an entire region wholly dominated by the United States is now one acting completely independent of, and often contrary to, the wishes of Washington. Nixon, Reagan, corporate America, and even Bush never realized it, but their short-sighted and self-centered policies have pushed nearly all of our southern neighbors into the varying degrees of anti-Washington frenzy they are now in. Unless we soon alter our course and apractice, we will feel negative consequences from this for many years to come.

One might assume that our current dicey scenario in Latin America is all the fault of Republican rule. That is not the case. Democratic Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson also contributed, albeit with GOP pressure and influence never far removed. The Cuban embargo, begun under Eisenhower (but tightened under Kennedy) remains in force to this very day. The ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion (another Eisenhower/CIA gem) was foolishly followed through upon by Kennedy. Both actions pushed Cuba further away from us and firmly into the outstretched arms of the Soviet Union. Johnson sent American troops into the Dominican Republic in 1965 to "restore order," but the end result was the same it has always been: The overthrow of a democratically-elected leftist government and its replacement by a military junta or repressive right-wing dictatorship beholden and subservient to the United States. There is a shamefully long list of countries in this region we have directly or indirectly interfered with just in my lifetime: Guatemala, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Grenada, Panama, and Haiti. Our business interests and CIA have also worked diligently and clandestinely in Honduras and Mexico to influence their economies and politics. These actions have not spoken well for our supposed desire to spread freedom and democracy all across the globe, our moral and ethical standards, or our credibility. For, in much of Latin America (as in Iraq) we have often attempted to forcibly install democracy at the point of a gun. In extreme cases, we haven't even attempted to install a democracy, but have instead overthrown governments we felt would threaten our business or strategic interests, and then accepted whatever new, U.S.-friendly group came in to fill the power vacuum. In 1973, for example, our CIA (with Nixon White House backing) even directed the coup in Chile which resulted in the death of the first democratically-elected Marxist President, Salvador Allende. No matter that he won fair and square, or that he was committed to democracy and a free press: He threatened our business interests and was too friendly with Cuba. His replacement? The brutally repressive and murderous military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Shameful indeed. But, at last, there are clear signs today that Latin America as a whole is finally throwing off the burdensome yoke of Yankee domination in favor of radical reform designed to greatly reduce our influence and relieve longstanding, widespread poverty.

Since 1959, Fidel Castro's Cuba had been a lonely voice repeatedly calling out for an end to U.S. domination of Central and South America. In 1999 it was finally joined by Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. Both countries nationalized American and foreign-owned companies and subsidiaries and began a long series of radical reforms designed to aid their poor and end the poor's exploitation by big business interests. Regrettably, Cuba's revolution evolved into a dictatorship, with murder and imprisonment of opponents and political prisoners, as well as suppression of press freedom. But Cuba now has universal education and a literacy rate of 96%, compared with an ILLITERACY rate of 95% when its 1959 revolution began. It also has universal health care in many ways superior to that received by the "free" citizens of many other Latin American countries! Thankfully, subsequent change in Venezuela and other Latin American nations has not been as brutal or undemocratic. In the past few years, Cuba and Venezuela have been joined by a tsunami of popularly-elected leftist governments dedicated to similar reforms. Their degree of radicalism varies from Cuba's, Venezuela's, and Bolivia's to more moderate forms found in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. The extent of this wave of change is phenomenally widespread, from Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua, to Evo Morales' Bolivia, to Rafael Correa's Ecuador, to Fernando Lugo's Paraguay, to Argentina's Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner, to Michelle Bachelet's Chile, and beyond. These are indeed monumental and exciting times south of our border! ALL of these governments are leftist, which would give both Nixon and Reagan severe indigestion. In fact, a recent conference of Latin American countries held in Costa Do Sauipe, Brazil, was attended by 33 like-minded nations and included our neighbor, Mexico. They called for a regional union of these countries (to EXCLUDE the United States), and for the U.S. to end its unnecessary 49 year embargo against Cuba. A number of these governments are now even courting direct Chinese investment. Such occurrences would have been unthinkable even 15-20 years ago!

Naturally, little of this amazing transformation has been covered in much detail by our corporatist, sensationalist media. They have been far too busy dazzling us with stories about the excesses of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, Sarah Palin's clothes and calendars, Barack Obama's beach physique and basketball prowess, and Joe the phony Plumber's attempts to secure a country music recording contract. They have severely underreported the breadth and scope of Latin American change. The overwhelming majority of Americans are as painfully ignorant about events in our own back yard as Sarah Palin is about foreign affairs generally. Unforgivable. Our media provides us with more info on the planet MARS than it does on our southern neighbors! This is disgraceful and cannot serve us well long term. For the days are gone where we can immorally prop up corrupt and friendly Latin American regimes doing our bidding and representing only the 1-2% wealthiest elite while the rest of the population struggles and suffers. Our government, media and people MUST begin developing a better knowledge and understanding of our southern neighbors. Continued ignorance and benign neglect of these countries is inexcusable and cannot continue.

We are NOT the center of the universe! Readers of this blog, and ALL Americans, can take the lead by Google-ing each Latin American country and each leader and learning more about them. Hopefully, with a new and more enlightened administration set to take office soon, our CIA will finally be directed to keep its nose out of Latin America's private affairs and will begin to aim its focus where it should, as in defeating the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The incoming Obama administration can work wonders in Latin diplomacy right off the bat by ending the ridulous Cuban embargo. ALL of our friends and allies alike, including Canada, Mexico, and the European community, trade with Cuba. So does China. And so, at long last, should we. Our new administration can also encourage new and greatly expanded cultural, educational, and trade relations with Latin America. Properly doing so will restore good will and may also limit China's penetration and influence in our own neighborhood. We can even learn from these countries and gain from their experience, but not if they hate us or we have blinders on. Brazil, for example, took only about a decade to become fully energy independent, and achieved this long ago. Rather than fight the forces of change, as we have so often done in Latin America in the past, we now have a golden opportunity to embrace and ride the crest of this exciting new wave of Central and South American independence. Doing so will benefit all nations in this hemisphere immeasurably!

NEXT WEEK: AN END TO DIVISIVE WEDGE ISSUES!

Friday, December 19, 2008

YEAR-END MUSING

As we approach year's end, and the dawning of a new administration (thank God!) in 2009, I am left musing over some nagging American contradictions and paradoxes. For example, why is it:

We seem to jump to conclusions and employ polar opposites as we do? I mean, why do some say those of us who want to close Gitmo and end our military misadventures in Iraq are aiding terrorists, or surrendering to them? Isn't adding fuel to their fire aiding their cause and recruitment rather than defusing their argument against us? And why are those who call themselves pro-choice labeled as being pro-abortion? Many who are pro-choice HATE abortion, and it's clear they are not necessarily one and the same...

We are supposed to be the land of the free, but the religious right and social conservatives want our government to deny gays specific rights, and women the right to their own reproductive choices...

Ideally, we are supposed to invest in our "free enterprise" system (our businesses and the stock market) and, as the system prospers, we are supposed to prosper too, through the payment of dividends. Yet, in the case of Enron, and also Madoff, and many others, only a small handful (crooks) profited immensely from investing, and everyone else lost their ass. Does this mean our system of investment is no longer relevant, and that Wall Street and the stock market are parasites (with the rest of us mere unwitting pawns in their dirty little game) and that investing should now be avoided altogether?...

The Bush administration and Republicans take credit for our not having had another terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11? Why then have they consistently been lax about our border and port security? Why did they invade Iraq without real provocation, turning it into a magnet and rallying cry for Al Qarda? Could it be their REAL aims were to allow us to be flooded with cheap, illegal labor to further weaken our labor unions and keep workers' wages low? Could it also be they merely wanted close proximity to and/or outright control over Iraqi oil, or to establish a permanent military base in the region?...

We'll gladly help out a friend, relative, or neighbor who has lost his or her job, but the person across town on unemployment we DON'T know is a son of a bitch and a welfare cheat...

Many liberals proclaim stromg support for individual rights, but abortion advocates place a woman's right to abortion, even if for reasons of convenience, economy, or as the result of careless sexual practice, far ahead of the innocent, unborn child's right to be born and live...

Business wants bright, young, highly educated people for its labor force, but once an individual hits 40 or so, he or she is regarded as being overqualified or costing too much to employ...

We claim to be pro-democracy, but we have a habit of overthrowing democratically-elected governments we don't like and replacing them with military juntas or right-wing dictatorships. This happened in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, the Dominican Republic in 1965, Chile in 1973, and Grenada in 1983. In 2003, we overthrew a corrupt and murderous dictator in Iraq only to invade and occupy the country and forcibly install a democratic government at gunpoint...

Many conservatives call themselves "pro life" and oppose abortion under any circumstance, but many of these same people strongly support pre-emptive war and the death penalty...

It's scandalous and a crime when someone we don't know is nailed for tax evasion, but when we take deductions we're not really entitled to or cheat on our taxes, that's just "good business"...

Neocon Republicans and free trade Democrats told us for years that reducing taxes on big business and the wealthy, as well as engaging in unrestricted free trade would result in the creation of millions of high-paying jobs and a rising standard of living here, but what those things actually brought was millions of jobs exported out of this country, huge and expanding CEO salaries and perks, but stagnant or lower wages and reduced benefits for everyone else, as well as a reduced standard of living overall...

Many liberals profess to be for full freedom of speech, but when it comes to prayer of any kind in public schools, even voluntary, this should be forbidden...

We think those in higher income brackets should pay a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than they do, but once we reach their income level, we scream for tax cuts...

Liberals judge a public servant by his or her public policy, and overlook their private behavior. Conservatives judge a public servant by his or her public AND private behavior, and often overlook their public policy (unless it relates to taxes)...

We tend to respect and admire the wealthy, regardless of how that wealth was obtained...

Many conservatives value education as a means to produce wealth. But they scorn those who use their education to create, think, or challenge the status quo, and call them "eggheads" or "intellectuals." They apparently want their children and students to be smart, but not TOO smart...

Many liberals value education as a means for achievement. They prize the attainment of titles, and some look down on those without higher education or titles.

Some of the strongest racists I know are blacks, and some of the most intolerant are liberals. Also, some of the most intolerant people I know are whites, and some of the biggest racists I know are conservatives...

Many conservatives want all people to succeed. They just don't want the government helping them TO succeed. They think success will invariably follow hard work, even though that's not always the case...

Many liberals want all people to succeed. They just don't want to pay for that success out of their own pocket, and some don't wish to associate with those who are trying to succeed...

Friday, December 12, 2008

SANTA'S BOZOS FOR 2008

Season's greetings, everyone! HO! HO! HO! That's the sound of Santa belly laughing at the record number of Bozos we have this year (stupid clowns doing outrageously stupid things which would in many cases be funny, except for the fact that they were sooooo utrageously stupid). It's hard to know where to even begin with 2008's outrageous crop, but I may as well start right at the top.

GEORGE W. BUSH-this clown lives in denial. He won't admit he was wrong to attack Iraq, and he didn't admit the country was in recession until a full YEAR after it had slipped into one! He gave us the dumbest Attorney General of all time, Alberto ("I don't seem to recall") Gonzales, and he still can't pronounce the word nuclear correctly. DEFINITELY a Bozo, and a big one!

JOHN McCAIN-Mr. "Straight Talk Express" took a severe detour and drove off a cliff when he and his crew began waging the most negative, vicious, and dishonest presidential campaign of all time. Were he Pinocchio, his schnozz would now stretch out way beyond the moon. But what REALLY made him a Bozo was his pick of the thoroughly unqualified Sarah Palin as his VP choice, and his embracing of the fraudulent Joe the Plumber as an example of a typical American to be admired by all.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON-this Democratic Representative from Louisiana was caught with $90,000 in bribe money neatly wrapped in his freezer. This love of cool cash earned him exactly what he deserved: Ouster, and replacement by a Republican in the fall election.

RUSH LIMBAUGH-he becomes a Bozo every time he opens his mouth, which is constantly. Why? Because he is a bigger liar than George W. Bush and Karl Rove combined, and that takes some doing! I have never heard this Bozo make a claim that wasn't grossly distorted, wildly exaggerated, or an outright lie.

THE FOX "NEWS" CREW (aka THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE PROPAGANDA BUREAU)-always quick with a right-slanted story, or to withhold or undereport stories which contradict them (or acknowledge liberals doing something correct), these people are all Bozos, from owner Rupert Murdoch to Sean Hannity to Chris Wallace to Bill O'Reilly to Dick Morris to the token liberals they have on from time to time. Their presentations are sometimes so fabricated they could rightfully be called "the National Enquirer of Television." Thankfully, at long last, their ratings seem to be slipping. I guess they could fool some of the people some of the time but couldn't fool all of the people all of the time...

ELIOT SPITZER-this Democratic Bozo just couldn't keep his pants zipped up. While Attorney General, and later even as Governor of New York, he engaged the services of high-priced prostitutes and may have even paid for them with campaign cash! We're all used to politicians screwing US once they've gotten our money, but this is the first time in recent memory supporters paid for a POLITICIAN to be screwed! Hats off to the media for exposing this Bozo. He got what he deserved: Resignation and replacement.

LARRY CRAIG-first this clown gets arrested in a Minneapolis airport restroom for soliciting gay sex from an undercover cop in the next stall, by stepping all over the cop's shoes and waving his hand repeatedly beneath the stall. Next, he pleads guilty. Then, he attempts to withdraw and overturn his guilty plea, saying he has a "wide stance" when seated on the pot and that he wasn't soliciting sex at all. YUH, RIGHT...ladies and gentlemen, this guy is a REAL Bozo!

MITCH McCONNELL (KY), DAVID VITTER (LA), BOB CORKER (TN), RICHARD SHELBY (AL), TOM COBURN (OK), JIM DeMINT (SC), AND JEFF SESSIONS (AL)-these clowns, each of whom is a Republican Senator who hates organized labor and/or has foreign auto manufacturing plants (but no American-owned ones) operating in his state, led the charge to deny the financial rescue of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. They blamed our auto industry's woes on the unionized auto workers being paid too much, but said nothing about the vastly overpaid auto executives, or the way these executives have failed to keep pace with foreign competitors' more fuel efficient and better quality products. These misguided Senators are deliberately trying to destroy the United Auto Workers union. For wanting to roll back American workers' wages, and for trying to bankrupt our Big 3 (effectively benefitting foreign manufacturers), these Senators are GIGANTIC, COLOSSAL Bozos!

JEREMIAH WRIGHT-Obama's old reverend really knows how to deliver a fire and brimstone speech...and burn himself in the process! Regrettably, after a long and admirable career of charity work and service to the poor, the public now regards him as an extremist flake. He could easily have gotten his points across about America's racial injustice and aggression in Iraq without publicly saying God should damn America. America encompasses a broad cross section. Should nurses, charity workers, and his congregation be damned too? For this rash statement, and for repeatedly making other controversial statements to the media early in Barack Obama's campaign, this old minister definitely deserves the title of Bozo.

MICHELE BACHMANN-this 6th district Republican Congresswoman from Minnesota is a Bozo because she has a pattern of shooting her mouth off and saying something stupid first, thinking later, and then denying what she stupidly said in the first place (or claiming she was misquoted). Her latest Bozo statement was saying the media should run an expose on those members of Congress who may hold anti-American views. Subjective witch hunt, anyone? Because she has a pattern of making these dumb statements and will undoubtedly do so again, she is a PERENNIAL Bozo!

RUDY GIULIANI-this guy is a very sick joke. A mediocre mayor, all he did during 9/11 was say the right things and make himself abundantly present before TV cameras. The fact that he was aware of the incompatability between police and fire radios years prior to the disaster and did nothing about it led to confusion and unnecessary deaths ON 9/11. Yet this self-serving buffoon tried to tell us HE would be the best (only?) man capable of saving us from another attack, so that qualified him to bePresident. His third (current) wife was given free city car shuttling service to rendezvous points while he was still married to and living with his second wife. Now this goof thinks he'll run for Senator in 2010. Completely full of himself, this guy is pure, 100% Bozo!

JOHN EDWARDS-how this guy could trash a wonderful career of service to the poor and as a former Senator and potential future President to have an affair behind his lovely wife's back shortly after she went into remission from cancer is waaaaay beyond me. This guy is a DISGUSTING Bozo!

SARAH PALIN-this airhead with the severely aggravating voice just won't shut up, and keeps on lying and babbling! She is VERY irritating, VERY shallow, VERY divisive, VERY uninformed, and VERY unqualified for national office. She is painfully ignorant of history, law, geography, and world and current events. Yet this delusional little prima donna thinks she's qualified to be President come 2013. Folks, Sarah Palin is a CERTIFIED Bozo (or BoZETTE, if you choose. Personally, I'd like to turn her into a CREPES SUzette so I'd never have to hear that shrill, irritating voice ever again)!

JOE THE PLUMBER-this clown is too dumb to know that his undeserved 15 minutes of fame ended much longer than 15 minutes ago, and that he should now just finally shut up and go away! In the first place, the guy is a fraud. He told Obama in front of cameras that he was a plumber (NOT LICENSED at the time) who wanted to buy his boss's business worth $250,000 (NOT TRUE). Then, it turned out he had a $1,200 TAX LIEN against him at the time. Yet Maverick McCain and his sidekick Palin quickly tried to portay him as an average, everyday American folk hero being victimized by unfair, mythical Democratic tax plans. Now this buffoon thinks he's qualified to run for Congress in 2010. That goes way beyond clown, and should be considered court jester material. For being so dishonest and delusional, this guy, too, is a certified Bozo.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH-this crooked Democratic Governor of Illinois showed a lot of arrogance and greed when he brazenly tried to sell off President Obama's vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder for his own personal gain. This dreamer even had fantasies of ending up on Obama's cabinet or running a Warren Buffett-sponsored foundation at a high salary. It's clear this fool never understood what being a public servant entails. All he could master was being a cheap, crooked politician. In doing so, he easily became this year's biggest Bozo of all!

Friday, December 5, 2008

GRIEVOUS GOP MISTAKES: A CHRONOLOGY

"Four fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still."
- Calvin Coolidge -

"The United States of America does not have friends; it has interests."
- Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Foster Dulles -

"The press is the enemy."
- Richard M. Nixon -

With the exception of its very earliest days, just before and during Abraham Lincoln's administration, and for a brief time at the turn of the 20th Century during Teddy Roosevelt's terms in office, the Republican Party has acted mainly in the interests of big business and social conservatives. It has advocated a minimal role for government, preferring to let business and industry (particularly their owners) determine much of the course of the nation's affairs. As such, the party has not generally supported the needs of the majority of the country who were workers and small farmers. This minimalist approach to government and the support for a small minority of the wealthier, upper elites has led to an undeniable pattern of the Republican Party being consistently on the wrong sides of many, many issues and/or mismanaging the country's affairs. Below, in chronological order, is a listing of numerous grievous mistakes the Grand Old Party has made since the end of the Civil War in 1865.

1867 - Radical Republicans take over the party. They immediately turn their backs on assassinated President Lincoln's desire to mercifully reassimilate the Old South back into the Union. They enact harsh policies against ex-Confederates (many of whom had been southern Democrats before the war). These penalties included stripping them of voting rights and the ability to hold public office. They instead set up unqualified newly-freed blacks and corrupt northern businessmen to govern the South under the banner of the Republican Party. While they did free poor blacks from slavery, they provided no education or training for them to enable a seamless merge into white cultural society. Now free, buth with their former masters bankrupt and powerless, most blacks migrated to urban centers and settled into slums, barely being able to eke out a substandard living doing unskilled and often backbreaking labor at very low wages.

1869 - Republicans begin to become increasingly allied with and dominated by big business and banks. Bribes and extortion run rampant, culminating in the Credit Mobilier scandal of 1872.

1870s-present - Republicans and conservatives begin to side with big business against the formation of labor unions, and, once unions are established in 1935, actively try to suppress them.

1880s - Huge corrupt trusts are set up by big banks, big business and industry, and are supported and aided by Republicans.

1919 - GOP Senators play a heavy hand in preventing the US from joining the League of Nations, leaving that body weak and ineffective. Its eventual failure helps lead to World War II. Social conservatives in the party push through Prohibition, one of the worst and most impractical laws ever passed in the history of the human race.

1920s - Republican pro business, laissez-faire, anti regulatory policies (especially concerning the stock market) lead to terrible rural poverty and lay the seeds for 1929's Great Depression.

1935-1937 - Republicans oppose the adoption of government programs like Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Welfare, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the National Recovery Act (NRA), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) - basically, any government-sponsored program designed to provide federal aid or employment to needy individual citizens. The GOP took the standpoint that government had no jurisdiction in those areas and that only private enterprise did. The problem was, of course, that businesses were too broke to provide those opportunities and SOMETHING had to be done for millions of hungry citizens. Thank God the GOP's numbers in Congress were too weak to prevent passage of all this beneficial legislation!

1947 - The GOP passed the Taft-Hartley Act, which weakened and restricted labor unions.

1950 - Republicans strongly support Sen. Joe McCarthy's infamous anti-communist witvh hunts, painting many Americans (especially Democrats) as soft on combatting communism. They use these accusations as a political tool to unseat Democrats and get themselves elected. These witch hunts wrongly accused many innocent people, ruining their lives and destroying their careers.

1953 - Ultra-conservative Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directs the CIA to help overthrow the democratically-elected pro-Islamic Mossadegh government in Iran, replacing it with the brutally repressive, pro-western Shah of Iran. This turns many Iranians against the US, the negative effects of which will become repeatedly evident years later.

1954 - John Foster Dulles again engineers the overthrow of a democratically-elected government, this time a leftist government in Guatemala, replacing it with a right-wing government more to his liking. Coincidentally (?), his brother, Allen Dulles, just happens to be on the board of directors of American Fruit Company, which had large holings in Guatemala and felt threatened by the leftist government. Dulles also prevents Vietnam from holding a national election, fearing that leftist nationalist Ho Chi Minh would win. So Dulles maneuvers to get Vietnam split into two countries, with Ho Chi Minh ruling the north and US-installed pro-western playboy Bao Di controlling the south. This lays the seeds for America's future bloody 15 year involvement in Vietnam.

1954-1965 - Many Republicans ally themselves with conservative southern Democrats to oppose and filibuster against major civil rights legislation.

1965 - Republicans oppose LBJ's Medicare and Medicaid programs and the entire War on Poverty program in general. These programs have benifitted millions of needy citizens since their inception.

1970- present - Republican Presidents, beginning with Richard Nixon and his Supreme Cort appointments Warren Burger and then William Rehnquist, begin their long attempt to pack the Supreme Court with conservative, pro-Republican justices. The Republicans call these types of justices "strict constructionists", who interpret the law strictly on precedent and Constitutional principle. But what justices like these have really done is strengthened the Executive Branch of Congress, effectively weakening the power of both the Legislative Branch (Congress) and the Judicial Branch. This has resulted in an erosion of civil liberties. It has also enabled corporations and special interest groups to exert more control over government and the population as well. The Nixon-Kissinger CIA overthrows the neutral Cambodian government of Norodom Sihanouk in favor of a pro-US military junta headed by Gen. Lon Nol. The US also begins illegal bombing and military incursions in Cambodia in an effort to choke off North Vietnam's military supply lines to the south.

1971 - Nixon orders a break-in at the Brookings Institute and attempts to steal files of anti-war critic Daniel Ellsberg. Nixon also approves illegal secret wiretapping of political opponents.

1972 - The Watergate era begins when Nixon operatives are caught breaking into Democratic Party national headquarters during this election year. Nixon is implicated in a massive deliberate cover-up, but is strongly supported by a hardcore group of conservatives and Republicans all the way up to his resignation in 1974.

1981 - Republicans, led by Ronald Reagan, break the power of labor unions by firing all striking air traffic controllers and by engaging in numerous union-busting activities. They also begin passing tax cuts for the rich.

Early 1990s-present - Republicans launch support for various unrestricred "free trade" initiatives, resulting in millions of high-paying American jobs being shipped to Mexico and Asia. This lowers our wage levels, increases pollution levels in foreign countries, and produces massive and record trade deficits. In effect, we become slowly poorer and the other countries become richer.

1993-1994 - Republicans spread disinformation about the Clinton national health care plan, effectively killing it.

1995 - A new breed of radical Republicans, the ultra-conservative neo-conservative (Neocon) faction, gains control of the Republican Party and both houses of Congress.

Late 1990s-2005 - Republicans begin a push to privatize Social Security and force through rollbacks on regulation of banks, mortgage companies, energy speculators, and many other businesses.

2001-2009 - Republican President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney unconstitutionally expand the powers of their respective offices in a deliberate effort to make them barely accountable to Congress. Congressional Republicans act as their rubber stamp and do little to stop them. They appoint business leaders as the heads of agencies designed to regulate their businesses, ensuring that government regulation will be for the benefit of businesses rather than for the public as a whole. Bush awards unqualified Texas loyalists and old buddies important administrative jobs. Cheney meets secretly with energy industry representatives and fuel prices skyrocket. Bush politicizes the Justice Department by stocking it with right-wing ideologues. Both Bush and Cheney refuse to comply with legal Congressional attempts at oversight. Republican congresspersons do nothing.

2002-2005 - Bush and Congressional Republicans pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations (including oil companies), and very little for the rest of the country. Torture, and rendition (kidnapping and transferring to secret locations in other countries) of Afghan and other prisoners of war begins. US military outpost in Guantanamo, Cuba, is set up as a holding and torture center for captured enemy combatants, in clear violation of the 1954 Geneva Convention. Republicans pass the so-called Patriot Act, enabling the government to illegally wiretap and obtain personal information on private citizens. Habeas Corpus rights are suspended. Opponents are branded as unpatriotic or aiding terrorism.

2003-2005 - Bush, Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld push for pre-emptive war with Iraq, wildly supported by congressional Republicans as well as a number of coerced Democrats. They greatly increase the number of private contractors supplying military services, awarding non-bid contracts to friendly contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater, who have previously been large campaign donors. Bush, again with overwhelming congressional Republican support, begins intercepting cheaper Canadian pharmaceutical drugs at the border, a move which hurts the elderly on fixed incomes but benefits giant US pharmaceutical companies selling their goods at a price double that of foreign countries.

2004 - Republicans, courtesy of political strategist Karl Rove, utilize a wide variety of divisive wedge issues to isolate and defeat their opponents in the general election. They also employ the use of deliberate disinformation about their opponents, deliberate LIES, a process repeated with less success in 2006 and 2008.

2008 - In the final months of his presidency, Bush grants leases to permit drilling for oil in previously protected wildlife areas and weakens government regulations over a number of industries, resulting in relaxed pollution standards. He also implants a number of right-wing key employees in regulatory agencies, making it difficult for future Presidents to gain effective control over rechanneling of these agencies once he leaves office. At their convention, Republicans jubilantly chant "Drill, baby, drill!", in support of more oil consumption rather than endorsing conservation, higher gas mileage requirements, and development of alternate energy sources.

From nearly day one, the history of Republican rule has meant favoritism for concentrated capital and less-than-desirable results for many ordinary citizens. This chronic favoritism and pattern of devastating mistakes and mismanaged governance have not spoken well for the Republican Party. They have demonstrated a repeated pattern of inability to effectively govern. They should therefore never again gain power without first undergoing a massive transformation in their philosophy and method of governing!