Four Legs Good,|Two Legs Bad

     The United States is not suffering from an economic crisis – any more than a 70-year-old 400-lb. alcoholic suffers a “crisis” when he finally gets that heart attack.
     What’s happening today is the result of 30 years of national cowardice, greed, and the outright purchase of government by rich people and corporations.
     One generation ago, Ronald Reagan told us that government revenue would increase if we cut taxes, and though that was transparent bullshit that immediately was proven wrong, we elected him, twice.
     We’ve been believing in that Tooth Fairy ever since, and Congress has been pandering to our delusions, while its members stuffed their own pockets.
     I grew up during the Cold War. No matter what the problem was back then – economic, political, even the way kids behaved – Congress, the newspapers and TV said the Soviet Union was behind it all.
     I was still a child when I realized that a lot of the stuff – maybe most of the stuff – that our congressmen and senators and even the president spouted was bullshit. Self-serving bullshit.
     I wasn’t shocked by this. I figured that’s just how it was. I mean, blaming the civil rights struggle on the Soviet Union. Come on.
     Now that I am old and wise, I still have one great question about the Soviet Union. It has nothing to do with the hundreds of millions of people who lived there – how they struggled, suffered and died – it’s about the leaders of the old Soviet Union.
     Did they believe their own bullshit?
     Since I was a child I have taken it for granted that the leaders of my own country did not believe their own bullshit. I never thought that the racist senators from Alabama and Mississippi – and from the North – really believed that Communists were agitating the Negroes, and that everything would be cool in Alabama if it weren’t for the damn communists.
     I thought U.S. politicians said that stuff to win votes. I never thought they believed it.
     Now, with the awesome wisdom of my 60 years, I still believe that. I think our leaders were hypocritical, self-seeking swine, but I do not think they believed their own bullshit.
     Then.
     I still wonder if the leaders of the old Soviet Union believed their own bullshit.
     Mikhail Gorbachev is a great man – no matter what the Russians think about him – because he was the first Number One leader of the Soviet Union who said: This bullshit has got to stop.
     We all know what happened next, and we know the thanks that Gorbachev got for it.
     Today I wonder: Do the leaders of the Republican Party believe their own bullshit?
     We live in a country that should be, and once was, the world leader in just about everything: the arts, freedom, economic growth, economic power and innovation, education at all levels, scientific research, cool guns, a functioning government with a real sense of justice. Cute girls.
     But as we all know, the United States is becoming an economic basket case. We are driving a broken car into a very big hole, an infinitely deep stinking fetid pool in an exhausted gravel quarry, with both hands on the wheel, and both feet on the accelerator.
     We have been doing this for 30 years, with our eyes open, and Congress has cheered us and pandered to us along all the way.
     And we still are doing nothing to stop it.
     After the recent vile dress-up charade over the national debt ceiling, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that we all know the real problem in the United States is high taxes and “over-regulation.” The Republican Party repeated that in its response to President Obama’s weekly radio address last week.
     The Republican Party says this after the housing collapse, after the multitrillion-dollar mortgage-backed securities fiasco, after Enron, after repeated mining disasters, after Bernard Madoff, after the BP oil spill, after Angelo Mozilo and other amoebic slime crawled away with tens of billions of dollars, product of pure theft, unregulated by a government that Republicans insist we must starve even more, or beat to death, so the unregulated free market can liberate us all.
     And that lower taxes will reduce the government’s debt.
     What I want to know is: Do the Republicans believe their own bullshit? Or are they just slinging it, like the commissars did in the old Soviet Union?
     I think the Republicans are just slinging it. Like the Communist Party did in the old Soviet Union.

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