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      It’s really mind-blowing seeing the @nytimes—one of the chief purveyors of false/misleading “doomsday headlines” about crime in NY & around country—now reporting on the electoral impact of their own harmful journalism practices. And yet mentioning only other papers & “media.” pic.twitter.com/vWDJgP6e8H — Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) November 27, 2022 […]
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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – November 27, 2022
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – November 27, 2022 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy   8 billion and counting [ABC, via The Big Picture 11-22-2022] This week, the world’s population ticks over a historic milestone. But in the next century, society will be reshaped dramatically — and soon we’ll hit a decline we’ll never reverse   The incredible s […]
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What Are Republicans Trying to Do?

Do they even know? Are they now at a point where they are just motivated by spite, anger, the wish to destroy Democrats, no matter what the cost to the country and its citizens may be? A lust for power that is in some ways like Macbeth’s, where they feel that they have to keep eliminating anyone who could possibly threaten them? Or are they addicted to trying to inflict pain?

The refusal to raise the debt ceiling, something that was simply a matter of course every year, until the Tea Party, is now a feature of the Republican Party. Democrats always voted to raise the debt ceiling, which covered the bills accrued in the previous year. They did this in all administrations. Then the Tea Party came up in the 2010 elections, and every year after that, there were Republican threats not to raise it, something which would destroy the credit rating of the United States, and very likely cause a nationwide and perhaps global recession.

So Obama felt that he was forced to make deals with House Republicans every year simply to get something done which should always be done as a matter of minimal responsible governance. He called it “being held hostage,” which seems rather inappropriate for a President to view and deal with in that way, but that is what he said, and Speaker Boehner said that “he gave us 98% of what we wanted.” That emboldened them, of course. When Trump got elected, Republicans jumped in with their two trillion dollar tax cut which literally only benefited the top half of one percent of the population. They rammed it through, but even so, Democrats responsibly voted to raise the debt ceiling every year.

Now, the minute that a Democrat is elected President, Republicans not only threaten not to raise the debt ceiling, but simply refuse to vote for it. Every single Republican in the Senate–yes, including senators like Romney and Collins and Murkowski– refused to approve it. So now Democrats are scrambling around trying to find a way to keep the government running for more than just the next month or so. Because Republicans have lost any interest in maintaining the government, if they are not in power.

As I noted earlier, the media mostly describes this as a problem for Biden and Democrats, without focusing on the blatantly obvious fact that Republicans are solely responsible for causing it. For them, it is just another way to purvey the narrative that the Congress is broken and ineffective, that Democrats cannot run the country effectively, because, see, they can’t get the debt ceiling raised.

Some try to give credit to Mitch McConnell for being clever. They say that he and the Republicans want to be able to blame the Democrats for the budget costs, and attack them as being profligate in spending. This deliberately and pathetically ignores the fact that raising the debt ceiling almost completely relates to paying the debts accrued last year, when a Republican was President.

If the debt ceiling is not raised, it will be an economic catastrophe. Republicans don’t care. They really don’t. Oh, some of them might just figure that Democrats will find some unilateral way to take care of this, and then they can campaign against it, and win more power for themselves. But I think that most of them really don’t care.

This is because they are stupid, and they never learned anything about economics or anything much beyond how to lie to gain power. The Tea Party people were stunning in their absolute refusal to even try to understand how the government must be funded, and how defaulting on debts would potentially destroy the economic stability of the United States. Some of them are still in there, and the ones who came after, may almost be worse.

It is clear that the only thing motivating Republicans in office is finding a way to retake the Congress, and then win the Presidency in 2024. So in their very tiny brains, they think that if the economy is wrecked, it will be easier to run against Democrats. They also think that if the pandemic worsens, they can run against that. Anything bad that happens to the country while Democrats are in power, is a victory for them. The fact that lives are ruined, and people are in a constant state of fear and worry, is absolutely irrelevant to them.

This could be described as mass sociopathy. Or simply evil. One of the only two viable parties in this country, has no interest in anything but gaining and keeping power. And they want to set it up so that there is no way that they can ever lose it. So they are gerrymandering every day, they are passing election laws to make sure that Democrats cannot vote in sufficient numbers. They are trying to ruin the economy. They try to purvey a narrative that things are falling apart, because of Biden, when it is they who are causing the chaos. They are pretty certain that not enough people will figure it out. The media surely doesn’t, or maybe they do, but are happy about trying to help Republicans take over again.

Where will they stop? I don’t think there is any limit. They tried to cancel the last election, and keep Trump in power. A columnist today wrote that “The goal is fascism.” That is a logical conclusion. They want things to get so bad, that Americans are desperate, as were the people of much of Europe in the 1930’s, for a “strongman” to take charge; get the trains running on time, even if they have to take away human rights, and jail and execute anyone who does not do what they want.

Watching the devolution of the Republican Party does not make any of this surprising. The roots were there, from the McCarthy era, to Nixon trying to gain a third term, and use the FBI to destroy his political enemies. From Iran-Contra, where Republicans gleefully ignored an Act of Congress, to send money to a faction in a foreign country. From the lies to get us into a war in Iraq, and increasing the terror alerts before the 2004 election. From packing the Supreme Court with justices who would make sure that votes were not counted in Florida in 2000. Trump gave them their strongman, even a psychotic and totally crooked one, and they were fine with it. And they know very well what Trump and his people were doing on January 6, 2021, and they were rooting for it. And when it did not work, they dedicated themselves to making sure that no Democrat would ever hold the Presidency again.

Anything passed by Democrats is seen as bad for Republicans, so they try to block all of it. They have their tools in place: gerrymandering for the House, filibustering for the Senate. They have a Supreme Court full of partisan hacks, to use the term that one of them propagandized herself not to be. They are ready for battle, and it starts with trying to ruin the economy.

This should of course be the framing and the national narrative. Republicans are unfit to hold power of any kind. That seems dramatic, but how can one see it any other way? Give them majority power, and they will institute fascism. They already talk admiringly of Orban’s Hungary, and that is what they want here. Give them minority power, and they will use it to thwart the will of the majority, those in office, and the American people, and seek minority rule, until they can grab the majority again. Does anyone doubt that if the Republicans control the Congress, they will summarily get rid of the filibuster, and then blame it on the Democrats for having brought it up? That is right out of their playbook of projection and propaganda.

So we watch this play out, and hope that Democrats finally realize that Republican are not our friends, nor are they supporters of democracy, though they love to wave the flag and sing songs about it. They want a totalitarian state, and they are very willing and eager to destroy the democracy to obtain it. Know your enemy. Do not let a general feeling of good nature, or wish to get along, delude you as to their ultimate purpose. They count on that, and use it against you.

It is a virtue to be a nice person or group. But you cannot think that niceness and honor and responsibility just win the day, against an opposing group which is the antithesis of that, and is dedicated to trying to destroy you, and anything else which impedes them in their fanatical pursuit of absolute power.