McConnell and Boehner Firmly Against Working Families


In an interview with Scott Pelley of 60 minutes, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell responded to some key proposals in President Obama’s recent State of the Union address in predictable Republican fashion  – opposition to new taxes and increased government spending. Boehner said that “we’re all for helping working families” but that raising the federal minimum wage was a bad idea. “Low income jobs help people get skills and…climb the economic ladder.” He boasted that he had “every kind of rotten job…growing up” and that he “would not have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage.” There must not be any working families earning minimum wage in Boehner’s district. It is very likely that he represents a congressional district in which folks of privilege went to college and started higher up on the economic ladder thanks to connections.  That’s not to say that some didn’t work minimum wage jobs for spending money, but nobody can work their way through school at $7.25 an hour, with tuition and fees as high as they are, which is why I find it puzzling that McConnell would be against free community college because as he said in the interview, “the lat thing we need to do to these young people is add more debt and giving away free tuition strikes me as something we can’t afford.” What? How can something free add debt…oh, I guess he’s talking about the budget and not young people.  So much for helping working families.

These two jokers “believe” that low wage non-union jobs at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are the path into the middle class, not higher education. In 10 years, a person in one of those “rotten” jobs without a college degree that s/he “can’t afford” might make it to assistant manager, but would likely need a college credential to ever make it to manager.  But the point really is that they don’t give a flipping burger about the working class. Boehner and McConnell care more about their wealthy constituents and donors who represent the corporate class that run the country.  Serving the 1% is how the two have managed to keep their jobs for so long.  Our limited democracy has been sold to the highest bidder thanks to Citizens United.  In a real democracy, a Congress with a 15% approval rating would not get a second chance at governing.


What A Mess

I’d like to write about anything but politics.  I try reading and contemplating all the weird and zany stories out there that are both interesting, and newsworthy, but I’m drawn to politics.  I guess everything is political.  There’s no such thing as neutral – there is no such thing as fact really – to borrow an academic term from critical theory, all facts are interested – all news is processed through an ideological filter.  I know, I’m rambling.  But here’s the thing:

On Libya.  Let’s (the U.S.) just back off and pass the thing over to Sarkozy, and his French intellectual collaborator, Bernard Henri Levy.  Let the French re-colonize the place, not that that’s in Libya’s best interest necessarily, except that it’d rid them of Ghadaffi, and perhaps put them on the path to democracy, if that’s what they want.  It should be noted that democracy has yet to take root in Iraq, and may never in Afghanistan.  Beyond the initial humanitarian mission of establishing a no fly zone, the U.S. should let France and Britain take over.  Let this be Europe’s concern, because it is.  The U.S. has enough of a mess to deal with in the Middle East and should get the heck out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as “practicable”  to borrow Shelby Foote’s favorite word to quote.

The U.S. needs to put considerable attention to brokering a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Bill Clinton tried and damn near succeeded, but the Bush clan did next to nothing and didn’t seem to give a holy crap either.  To the Bush administrations, all politics was personal.  Here’s an idea, why not send Bill Clinton back in as a special peace envoy, to show Hillary how it’s done?  It may sound like a boneheaded idea, but I think we have to think outside the box a little bit.  Anyway, isn’t Bill Clinton the President of the World?

One last thing while I’m on a roll.  Oil.  Who needs it?  If we weren’t so blasted dependent on the stuff and our politicians not so beholden to the Big Oil overlords, and our foreign policy not so dictated by the finite resource, we’d be a lot better off.  Even the Republican leadership agrees with me, except their solution is to plunder our natural resources.  Ole Mitch McConnell was saying we got all the natural gas we need right cheer in our backyard.  I’d have to say that there’s enough gasholes in Congress to destroy all of our precious resources before the 2012 elections if we gave them the license to drill.

I’ve said it so many times before, but it’s worth noting again.  We, the car loving people of the United States, ought to get off our collective butts and peddle, walk, or carpool more, myself included. And for city dwellers and suburban commuters, why not give the mass transit system a try, at least when practicable, and I grant that it some cases, it is not.

Goodness, where there’s demand for stupid material things, there’s no shortage of goodwill to exploit our natural resources, including those rare earth metals.  But one day, it’ll all be gone and our children will be left scratching their heads saying “what the hell have they done to the planet, the bastages.”