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​When Republicans Are Very Liberal

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | October 30th, 2019

Trumpers Are Not Conservatives
According to most dictionaries a conservative is a conservationist who practices or advocates preservation of natural resources. A conservancy is an organization of conservatives whose main drive is to conserve land, fisheries, forests, water, minerals, wildlife, energy, other “natural resources” –--and lots of money. A conservative is a person who tends to favor the preservation of the existing order—and to regard proposals to change with distrust. A conservative desires to maintain the present culture and to resist any changes or innovations. A conservative’s attitude is often described as moderate, prudent, cautious, and enthusiastic about traditions of family, government, and country. A conservative’s goal is to protect himself from loss or depletion.

The Blair House, where many White House guests stay, is across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, a distance of approximately 700 feet. When former Republican President George W. Bush and his wife Laura came to Washington for the funeral of Republican President George H.W. Bush, they stayed at Blair House. Republican President Donald Trump and his wife Melania welcomed the Bushes. Instead of walking across the street which is in a totally protected area, The conservative Republican Donald ordered his presidential limo accompanied by seven other protective vehicles to take the two across the street. All presidents in the same situation have walked across the street—except for liberal Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt who couldn’t walk.

What that eight-car motorcade cost us taxpayers is unknown at present, but a reporter waggled that Trump’s bone spurs which kept him out of the Vietnam War might have been the reason for the short motorcade trip. Let’s see. Eight drivers, dozens of security, the expenses of eight limos, and dozens of associated costs had to run into the many thousands. Bone spurs don’t seem to interfere with his golf game. I guess current Republicans are very liberal with other people’s money and don’t seem to think about conservation at all.

Another Case Of Liberal Limo Use By A “Conservative” Republican
When Republican Vice-President Mike Pence visited Ireland for political reasons he decided to stay at Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg, Ireland. But practically all of his governmental meetings were scheduled in Dublin, a four-hour drive back and forth. The bill for the limo service alone was $599,454.36. Pence calls himself an Indiana conservative. The liberal Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are currently investigating the costs associated with not having Spence’s delegation staying in Dublin for the meetings.

Another example of “conservative” Republican profligacy is the endless battle over maintaining our “detention center” at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for imprisoning 9/11 prisoners and other terrorists. Moderate Democratic President Barack Obama tried to close “Gitmo” during the eight years he was president. Republicans fought him at every step, refusing to transfer prisoners held at Gitmo to maximum security prisons in the United States. We have spent $6 billion operating Gitmo for 18 years.

We will spend $380 million this year housing 40 prisoners. This amount does not include the $60 million to operate the naval base or the salaries of military personnel. It’s beyond insanity that we employ 1,800 guards to keep 40 prisoners behind bars! We are spending over $10 million to house each prisoner at the present time. To house a prisoner in a maximum security U.S. prison would run about $60,000. The total legal costs at Gitmo per year run about $60 million annually—and in 18 years there has been only one finalized conviction! The Pentagon is funding defense attorneys for some detainees, some of them billing as much as $500,000 a year. Taxpayer-funded charter jets often fly personnel between Gitmo and the U.S. A top attorney has now filed a federal whistleblower complaint that alleges “gross financial waste” and “gross mismanagement.” All of this is going on because “conservative” Republicans refused to give Barack Obama a political victory during his two actually quite conservative terms.

Economic Researcher Thomas Piketty Was Right
Piketty proclaimed almost ten years ago that tremendous economic inequality was growing in the entire world by the shift of income away from labor and toward capital. The United States leads the major countries in the world in economic inequality. The U.S. middle class has been almost obliterated by globalization and the destruction by Republicans of large trade unions. Democracies cannot exist without a strong middle class to control the plutocrats who always want to control the government that made them rich. We have reached the point that almost half of the families in the U.S. cannot come up with $400 to cover the costs of a sudden emergency such as a car repair or emergency room visit.

Political scientists since the Greek philosopher Aristotle have determined that a strong middle class is essential for a stable government. If you have a few very rich and very many real poor, class warfare is inevitable. The wealthy will use the power of the state and its money to attempt to defend what they have while the very poor will fight for a larger share.

George Monbiot of the Guardian gives several good reasons for the collapse of capitalism: “Capitalism’s failures arise from two of its defining elements. The first is perpetual growth. Economic growth is the aggregate effect of the quest to accumulate capital and extract profit. Capitalism collapses without growth, yet perpetual growth on a finite planet leads inexorably to environmental calamity. As the scale of economic activity increases until capitalism affects everything, from the atmosphere to the deep ocean floor, the entire planet becomes a sacrifice zone.” Isn’t this a remarkable summation of what the world is going through today?

And the old devil greed is ever present---and dominating, as presented by the character Gordon Gekko in a speech in the movie Wall Street: “The point, ladies and gentlemen, is that greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed in all its forms—greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge—has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed—you mark my words—will not only save Teledor paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.”

Greed Is A Deadly Cancer That Infects Most Of The Rich
Over thousands of years we have had King Midas, King Solomon, King Louis XIV, and Catherine the Great, just to name a few greedy wealthy leaders. Later we had the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies inheriting the cancer greed gene from their fellow plutocrats. The latest victim of the greed cancer gene, among many others in this modern age of economic inequality, is former Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia. He is currently the target of a corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur. He is being accused of embezzling close to $4 billion. As an example of his deadly affliction, in one day in 2014 he spent $803,000 at a Swiss luxury jeweler using VISA and Mastercard platinum credit cards. Evidence indicates he also squirreled away $681 million in his own bank account. He also spent many millions around the world funding films, buying yachts and real estate, while spending lavishly on celebrity parties.

While billions of poor Asians struggle to buy rice for the table, Razak and his wife acquired over $273 million in luxury goods, including the following found in their home: 1,400 necklaces, 567 handbags, 2,200 rings, 1,600 brooches and 14 jeweled tiaras. Credit cards covered $108,000 spent at a Chanel Boutique in Hawaii and $54,000 at a luxury hotel in Bangkok. This is not an extreme example of the ravaging cancer gene savaging some of today’s plutocrats.

Doctor: “We Have One Healthcare System For The One Percent And Another For Everyone Else”
Three American families top the list of the 25 most wealthy families in the world who control $1.4 trillion in total wealth—which increased 24% for them in 2018. While the wealth continues to grow at the very top, over one quarter of Americans expect never to have enough money to retire. Other Americans affected by diabetes are buying insulin prepared for dogs at $24.99 a bottle at Walmart instead of a bottle prepared for humans at $407. So far some diabetes 1 patients are surviving on the mixture. We live in a country with a free market concept in medicine where medical costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy and one-third of all GoFundMe donations are for medical expenses. A 2015 poll found more Americans are more frightened by medical expenses than by foreign terrorists.

A May 8, 2017 report by a Los Angeles TV investigative team of California healthcare featuring reports from doctors, hospital workers unions, and patients came to this conclusion: “Wealthy people get preferential treatment and regularly jump the line for healthcare at hospitals in LA and across the country.” A doctor reported:”If rich people had to wait in line for an MRI (average cost in US $1,100 compared to Japan at $98!) like everyone else, the American healthcare system would be changed overnight. We have one healthcare system for the One Percent and another for everyone else. I call it wealthcare.”

The One Percent enjoys concierge services at many hospitals in the U.S. while they suffer through deluxe gourmet menus and $10,000 a-night hospital rooms with lavish décor’ and boutique-type medicine. What a way to go!

Five American Families Are Among The Top Ten Richest In The World
According to a Bloomberg report, the Walton family of Sam Walton’s Walmart empire leads the world with a grubstake of $191 billion. Their bank accounts have grown by $39 billion since last year. As you stroll the crowded lanes of their stores you may want to think about the fact the family now makes $70,000 a minute, $4 million per hour, or $100 million a day. The family that makes Mars candy bars comes in at a lowly second place at $127 billion, even if it earned $37 billion this year. The Koch brothers who own Koch Industries (pipelines, oil, paper, and all kinds of other stuff) are a close third at $125 billion.

Daniel Markovits in his book “The Meritocracy Trap” states that wealthy parents spend as much as $10 million on each of their children so the children can replace them among the elite later in life. For a middle-class parent it takes about $250,000 today to raise a child to age 18. The pressures and stresses on the children of the elite wealthy are great. At the best and most expensive law schools in the country, up to 70% of Yale students admit they experience mental challenges because of their elite position in society. He concludes that the U.S. will continue to split apart if it doesn’t radically expand its institutions of higher education so that all levels of society have the ability to climb the ladder of “success.”  

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