Thursday, November 18, 2010

The party of "No" and the politics of nuclear destruction

By now you are no doubt well aware that the Republicans have decided that their most important goal is to destroy the Obama presidency. They have a scorched earth policy that doesn't care about any collateral damage.

They oppose tax cuts for the middle class unless these include tax cuts for the wealthy.

They oppose the extension of benefits to jobless people, which would stimulate economic activity, in favor of tax cuts to the wealthy, which does not.

They lie, with success, about their own economic history of driving the country into debt to serve their corporate masters.

When it comes to foreign policy, they actively undermine the president (of course when a Democrat did it, they called it treason)

And in a final nihilist gesture, they have decided that they will sabotage the nuclear treaty with Russia, called New Start. Despite the fact that the military , diplomatic, and intelligence services are all UNIFORMLY in favor of this treaty, the Republicans in the Senate, particularly Sen Jon Kyl (R, AZ) will kill it.
if it fails, the consequences will be severe. U.S.-Russian relations will deteriorate dramatically; inspection of Russian long-range nuclear bases will be suspended indefinitely; and American credibility on the global stage will take a painful hit -- all because one right-wing Arizonan hates the president a little too much.

We are, by the way, talking about a treaty endorsed by six former secretaries of state and five former secretaries of defense from both parties; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; seven former Strategic Command chiefs; national security advisers from both parties, and nearly all former commanders of U.S. nuclear forces.
I find it unfathomable how the Republicans can do this. They have no pretense about governing, no care for the country. They aren't Americans. They are Republicans first and foremost.

As Steve Benen writes,
There should be risks, but they don't really exist. Let me put this plainly: They. Don't. Care. They disregard the pleas of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and listen to the confused misjudgments of a buffoon from Arizona. They assume the public isn't paying attention, so there won't be political consequences. They expect this to hurt the foreign policy power of the United States, but they're fine with that since there's a Democratic president.

….countries around the globe will see this as a reminder that negotiating with the United States is pointless, since the country is burdened with a Republican Party that puts partisan hatred above the country's interests. It hurts American credibility in ways that are hard to even gauge.
That's the Republican party that now rules in Washington. I would like to hope that this is the nadir but I fear it is just the beginning of a disastrous and potentially irreversible collapse of our political system.


dr.primrose said...

And let's not forget the Republican philosophy of government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. A good reminder is in today's New York Times column A Hedge Fund Republic?

The column begins:


Earlier this month, I offended a number of readers with a column suggesting that if you want to see rapacious income inequality, you no longer need to visit a banana republic. You can just look around.

My point was that the wealthiest plutocrats now actually control a greater share of the pie in the United States than in historically unstable countries like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana. But readers protested that this was glib and unfair, and after reviewing the evidence I regretfully confess that they have a point.

That’s right: I may have wronged the banana republics.

You see, some Latin Americans were indignant at what they saw as an invidious and hurtful comparison. The truth is that Latin America has matured and become more equal in recent decades, even as the distribution in the United States has become steadily more unequal.


It concludes:


I’m appalled by our growing wealth gaps because in my travels I see what happens in dysfunctional countries where the rich just don’t care about those below the decks. The result is nations without a social fabric or sense of national unity. Huge concentrations of wealth corrode the soul of any nation.

And then I see members of Congress in my own country who argue that it would be financially reckless to extend unemployment benefits during a terrible recession, yet they insist on granting $370,000 tax breaks to the richest Americans. I don’t know if that makes us a banana republic or a hedge fund republic, but it’s not healthy in any republic.

dr.primrose said...

The California Court of Appeal just issued an opinion holding that the trial court erred in making a ruling about whether Schofield or Lamb was the proper bishop of San Joaquin, which you may read here. The court ruled that this question was purely ecclesiastical and the civil courts have no jurisdiction under the First Amendment to determine that question.

Nonetheless, the court held that the trial court did have jurisdiction to rule on property-dispute issues. It includes this interesting paragraph:

"Three facts are established by the record and are, in any event, 'ecclesiastical facts' that the courts have no jurisdiction to adjudicate. First, before and through January 11, 2008, Schofield was the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin; on that day, his powers as Episcopal Bishop were suspended by the national church. Second, after March 29, 2008, Lamb was the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin, recognized by the national church. Third, at some point Schofield became the Anglican Bishop presiding over an Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of South America. In further proceedings in the trial court, these facts may be relevant to the court's consideration of the issues before the validity of such removals and appointments are not subject to further adjudication by the trial court. The continuity of the diocese as an entity within the Episcopal Church likewise a matter of ecclesiastical law, finally resolved, for civil law purposes, by Episcopal church's recognition of Lamb as the bishop of that continuing entity."

The Court continued: "Nevertheless, civil court jurisdiction is properly invoked to resolve issues concerning property transfers assertedly made by Schofield while he was the duly constituted Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Resolution of these issues involves consideration of both the powers invested in the bishop under the church law at the time he took those actions, and the powers of the bishop under state corporate, trust, and property law at the time he took these actions."

Mark said...

This is a good blog. I understand that your obedience to MP does not allow me to comment here.

JCF said...

I understand that your obedience to MP does not allow me to comment here.

Mark, I believe I speak for all of us here: WTF???


I would like to hope that this is the nadir but I fear it is just the beginning of a disastrous and potentially irreversible collapse of our political system.

If I may be so bold, allow me to pimp my comments here (at Grandmere Mimi's).

Government "by the consent of the governed" always depended upon "the governed" having SOME sense that, maybe, one needed to have someone somewhat (intellectually) BETTER than oneself (personally), to hold the reins of power.

I shudder to think that sense is disappearing... (aka "Literacy? Who needs it? That's only for those think-they're-better-than-we-are elites!")

Fred Schwartz said...

The truly tragic issue right now is that the vast majority of Republicans are middle class and will in no way shape or form benefit from that which they are inflicitng on those of us who recognize the folly of it all. It will come too late and at too high a price and the inevitable will happen -- we will all have not work and no income other than fro mall the fcoupons we will be clipping. O boy, I can hardly wait?

PS: I travelled to Cuba about 10 years ago and found a really nice seclude little town called Santiago -- I think I am moving.

Susan said...

He's probably the foremost expert in nuclear proliferation in the Senate. With his close mentoring of the President on this issue, I'd be highly surprised if he wasn't deeply involved in the crafting of the treaty.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

Mark, it is my experience that everyone is welcome to comment here. All opinions will be considered.

But if you act like the south end of a northbound buro, you will be treated like the south end of a northbound buro post haste.

IT said...

Dahveed and "Mark", i point out the sidebar that says the administrators reserve the right to remove posts as they see fit. This is not a open forum. While disagreement and unpopular opinions will be tolerated if delivered respectfully, we do not tolerate trolls, vulgarity, or troublemaking. In keeping with the standards established at the original Fr Jake's, if you say something that would cause one of us to show you the door in our house, we'll have no hesitation in showing you the door here.

Mark said...

O my, you 'guys' are so self righteous! What have you done to stop prejudice against "gays?" I spent a good deal of my career defending, in hearings and other venues,the right of a person to be judged on their work, not on their sexual preference.

Lorne said...

Every responsible politician should pay attention to the problems of ordinary people and this should take priority over any political battles. Especially now when such an important issue as unemployment benefits is at stake. But the refusal to extend the benefits really proves that some politicians are not interested in the effects of the crisis on the lives of the unemployed.

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

IT, I attempted to say what you just said, but in a humorous fashion. And so you attack me? My comment deserves no chastisement. I attacked no one.

IT said...

Dahveed, no attack my brother!!!!! Just clarifying policy for others -- and agreeing with you!!!! I cited your name merely for continuity with the sub-thread. We're good... sorry for misunderstanding!!!!

Hermano David | Brother Dah • veed said...

OK, my apology then, I misread your intent and thought I was being taken to task.

Me no speeky good Ingless!

IT said...

Not so much the speaking, just another reminder that this medium leaves much human contact to be desired. :-)