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The GOP's biggest problem with the undocumented aliens -- illegal immigration -- problem, whatever you want to call it, is that someday it might be solved. After all, the current legislation was put in place by a GOP President, Reagan. The last GOP President couldn't get immigration "reform" passed when his own party was in control of the Congress because bunches of them voted against his proposals. No, the "immigration problem" is one of the GOP's favorite "dog whistles" to use Truthout's William Rivers Pitt's wonderful term -- the ways they have dreamed up to camouflage their fundamental racism. They simply don't want it go away and they will do everything they can to make sure that it doesn't. For them it is the gift, created first and foremost by one of the GOP mainstays, corporate agribusiness indeed back in the 1980s, that keeps on giving.

Published in Steven Jonas

For most of its existence since the end of Reconstruction following the election of 1876, the Republican Party has been the party of reaction in the United States.  In fact, the only reason that Rutherford B. Hayes, the GOP candidate in that disputed election, won was that he agreed to end Reconstruction, essentially turning over the Southern states to the former slaveholders and the Ku Klux Klan.  There was one bright exception to this rule, Theodore Roosevelt.  There were two other exceptions, although not on the scale of the great reformer (and imperialist too).  One was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who, at the end of World War II did not know to which party he belonged.  In fact, Harry S. Truman tried to recruit him to be the Democratic nominee in 1952.  "Ike" chose the Republicans and defeated Robert Taft for the nomination. 

Published in Steven Jonas

I just saw “Inception” -- a great, highly imaginative movie about the alternate reality of dreams.  And so I got to thinking.  Suppose the barons of the Fed and Wall Street had been able to do just a bit more of their behind-the-scenes legerdemain (which, we continue to find out, goes on all the time) and postpone the September 15, 2008 Lehman Brothers meltdown until, let’s say, November 7, 2008.  That would have been a couple of days after the 2008 election and, funnily enough, on the Gregorian calendar the 91st anniversary of the Russian Revolution.  As it happened, McCain had overtaken Obama in the polls by mid-September 2008, when the bankruptcy did occur, with the subsequent collapse of the real estate bubble, the subsequent collapse of the economy, the Paulson/Bush first bank bailout, and so forth and so on.

Published in Steven Jonas

For those who might not be familiar with the term, "fuhgeddaboudit" is one of those three-into-one Noo Yawk words that puts the final stamp on the subject with which it is concerned.  Yes, folks, good folks like Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa can present very logical arguments for getting rid of the most anti-democratic rule crippling the functioning of any legislature in any of the "Western Democracies” (see his "Fixing the Filibuster" of June 30, 2010).  However, as long as the Democratic Losership Council (love that name, applied by a commentator on an earlier commentary of mine) controls the Democratic Party, it ain't going to happen.

Published in Steven Jonas

Oh, those Russian, or is it "Russian," spies.  I am channeling my inner John Le Carre.  And so may have certain operatives in certain sections of the FBI and the CIA.  However, none of us are the master spy thriller writer, so the possible plot becomes something not out of Le Carre, but out of, the FBI?  The CIA?  The we-ain't-dead-yet neocons of "the Cold War ain't over" and "boy do we need Permanent War" genre?

Published in Steven Jonas

With his usual magnificent rhetoric, Frank Rich, Op-Ed columnist extraordinaire of The New York Times, recently laid out a grand agenda for President Obama and his administration, in order to deal with the mass disaster left behind for our nation by eight years of Bush-Cheney.  Frank said, in part:

Published in Steven Jonas

As some of my readers know, I am a public health physician.  I recently had the opportunity to offer some remarks at a conference at the Yale School of Public Health on gun violence and public health.  This Commentary is drawn from those remarks.  I began by noting that when talking about this subject, the National Rifle Association is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.  I noted at that conference that none of the other speakers, all of whom had government grant-funded research and intervention programs underway, mentioned the words "National Rifle Association."  All publicly funded, how could they?  If one whiff, not of the gunshots that are so frequent in our society, but of criticism of the NRA coming from a publicly funded program got back to the NRA, giving its totally corrupting influence on the political process in our country, there goes that funding.

Published in Steven Jonas

STEVE JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH

              In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited one of the first post-Abolitionism, post Civil War, post-Reconstruction African-Americans, Booker T. Washington, to visit him in the White House. To southern whites this was going too far. One editor wrote: "With our long-matured views on the subject of social intercourse between blacks and whites, the least we can say now is that we deplore the President's taste, and we distrust his wisdom."  By the bye, Mr. Washington, born a slave, had a white father. 

Published in Steven Jonas

STEVE JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH

The world-famous cosmologist Prof. Stephen Hawking recently declared:

that he believes we would be well-advised to keep the volume down on our intergalactic chatter and do all we can to prevent any "nomadic" aliens moseying our way to take a look-see. Should they find us here tucked away in the inner reaches of the solar system, chances are they'd zap us all and pillage any resources they could get their hands on. Our own history, says Hawking, proves that first encounters very rarely begin: "Do take a seat. I'll pop the kettle on. Milk? Sugar?"  Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach, says the theoretical physicist in 'Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking'.

Prof. Hawking has done some extremely important work in astrophysics and related fields, all of which are well beyond me.  However, here he is venturing into attempting to understand and predict how societies and political economies will develop.  Sorry, Professor.  A great astrophysicist you are, I'm sure.  A political scientist/economist, not so great.  To understand how any aliens from outer space might act if they ever managed to reach our tiny planet, one needs those two disciplines, rather than channeling Avatar.

Published in Steven Jonas

STEVE JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH

As I have noted in a recent Commentary, the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States states: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."  Fascinating stuff.  The "World's Greatest Democracy," no?  Exceptional, no?  Well, no, for the first.  There may be a great democracy somewhere, but ours is more of a partial one.  For many of our citizens, we surely ain't it.  But exceptional?  Well, yes indeed.  Why, both the Constitution and its implementation have been filled with exceptions since the document was first written. 

Published in Steven Jonas
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