by Stephen Lendman
Inside the Beltway, it's evident daily. The political news website Capitol Hill Blue says "Nobody's life, liberty or property is safe while Congress is in session or the White House is occupied."
Electoral politics also highlights its clear and present danger. It involves rogue politicians competing to be part of Washington's corrupted duopoly run system - especially the top job as president.
Both sides support corporate interests, imperial wars, and the divine right of capital to exploit workers, plunder resources, control markets, and rule unchallenged. Beneficial social change, independent voices, and electoral democracy lose out under a rigged system against them.
Democracy in America's shear fantasy. Money power controls everything. Candidates are pre-selected. Privatized elections assure corporate favorites win. Democrats are interchangeable with Republicans. Differences between them are minor, and none whatever on what matters most.
Consider the unpalatable 2012 presidential options. Voters get to choose between a lawless, crime boss, militarist, pro-war, anti-populist president, and a rogue's gallery of Republican aspirants, looking more like a police lineup than legitimate candidates for any office, let alone the nation's highest.
By comparison, Ron Paul looks good, but his platform shows otherwise. He wants social America abolished. He believes government's only role is to respect, protect, and defend personal liberties.
In other words, government's responsibility for universal healthcare, education, and other essential services is incompatible with personal freedom. Everyone should be on their own to provide them, even though millions, through no fault of their own, can't.
Yet he's the best of the lot. Obama proved what loyal supporters thought impossible. On domestic and foreign issues, he's governed to the right of George Bush. He does it lawlessly for the monied interests that own him.
He's waging multiple imperial wars, plans others, looted the nation's wealth, wrecked the economy, consigned growing millions to impoverishment without jobs, enough income, or futures, illegally spies on Americans more aggressively than Bush, and institutionalized tyranny to target dissenters challenging political corruption, corporate crooks, or abuse of power lawlessness.
He also promotes regime change in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Lebanon, and other independent states. In addition, he targets Russia's military strength and China's growing economic might. At the same time, he supports ruthless, corrupt tyrants, and Israel's worst crimes.
After its devastating earthquake, he militarized and occupied Haiti. He belligerently ousted Honduran President Manual Zelaya and Libya's Gaddafi. He presides over a bogus democracy under a homeland police state apparatus.
He's waging class war against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public and private pensions, as well as other New Deal and Great Society gains. He wants more aggressive media control than Nixon, according to former White House correspondent Helen Thomas.
He imposed austerity when vital stimulus is needed and real unemployment approaches 23%. He promotes "shared sacrifice" to force ordinary people to sacrifice so America's super-rich can share.
He authorized indefinitely detaining anyone called a national security threat without charge (including US citizens). He continues Bush's rendition and torture policies. He authorized state-sponsored assassinations, including US citizens considered a national security threats, whether or not true.
He deployed Special Forces death squads covertly to 120 or more countries. They're in Syria, Iran, and other independent states working for regime change.
He destroyed hard won labor rights, and wants education commodified as another business profit center. He wages war on whistleblowers, dissenters, Muslims, Latino immigrants, and environmental and animal rights activists called terrorists.
No matter. He'll likely get another four years to do more damage and complete unfinished business, at the expense of growing millions enduring poverty, homelessness, hunger, and despair in the world's richest country. He's thrown them overboard to serve wealth and power interests alone.
Republicans On the Issues
The web site page on Mitt Romney's skeleton closet says other politicians call him "a phony, two-faced, flip-flopping weasel."
Mitt Romney calls himself "the ideal" Tea Party candidate because his views replicate theirs. Its platform calls for tax cuts for the rich, eliminating the national debt at the expense of wrecking the economy, ending deficit spending, free, not fair, market capitalism, and supporting states rights
It also wants all federal, state and local social spending ended. It wants people freed to do what they please lawfully, no matter the consequences for others. It supports staying independent from federal oversight or constraints.
Overall, it stresses fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, free (not fair) markets, and everyone on their own sink or swim.
Romney wants less taxes, government spending, regulation, and federal programs. He wants more trade, energy production, local power, human capital and labor flexibility (code language for destroying worker rights). He calls it "a plan to get America back to work."
He wants Obamacare replaced with extremist "market-based reforms." He says America "faces a bewildering array of threats and opportunities." He calls "national security" the nation's "unifying thread."
"When America is strong, the world is safer." Only US power can "ensure security and prosperity," he claims. Again, no explanation's given or threats explained at a time the nation has none except ones it invents.
Earlier he said we "can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." He called for military action "in the nature of blockade or a bombardment or surgical strikes or one kind or another."
More recently he called Iranian leaders intolerant, repressive, state sponsors of terrorism. He also accused them of developing nuclear weapons, despite the latest March 2011 US intelligence assessment and IAEA inspectors concluding the opposite.
He called for diplomatic isolation and crippling sanctions, including denying Iran access to foreign capital and investment. He also supports divesting from companies supporting the Islamic Republic, and says "the military option is very real and very credible."
On Syria, he said "it's time for the Assad dictatorship to end. And we should use covert activity" and sanctions because he's "an ally of Iran."
His energy program calls for drill, drill, drill. He says everything government does business does better so let it. He wants China sanctioned for alleged unfair trade practices. He wants more defense spending to advance America's imperium.
He wants workers denied union representation. He's pro-family, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Israel, pro-war, pro-corporate, and entirely anti-populist. He and Obama support the same hard-right agenda. Virtually nothing distinguishes one from the other on issues mattering most.
Newt Gingrich's web site features his "21st Century Contract with America." It partly reinvents Speaker Gingrich's 1994 Contract on America. It set a hard-right agenda for the 104th Congress' first 100 days.
Now he's at it again. He favors pro-business policies, including tax cuts for the rich, eliminating the capital gains tax, a 15% flat tax, an energy agenda favoring Big Oil, a balanced budget, and abolishing social America to free up more resources for business and imperial wars.
He calls it "keep(ing) Americans safe." Unexplained was the nation's only enemies are ones invented to ravage the world one country at a time or in multiples.
Yet Gingrich claims we're "in a long war against radical Islamism, a belief system adhered to by a small minority of Muslims but nonetheless a powerful and organized ideology within Islamic thought that is totally incompatible with the modern world."
A notorious Islamophobe/racist, he supports "a unified grand strategy for defeating radical Islamism." He wants imperial wars and occupations continued to free the world for capital, no matter the body count to achieve it.
Like Romney, he supports low taxes, deregulation, privatizing basic services like healthcare and education, and whatever else favors wealth and power.
His "Day One Plan" includes:
• drill now, pay later;
• eliminating Obama's bureaucratic appointments not accountable to Congress;
• stopping abortion funding, and women's right to get one;
• supporting Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite its legal designation as an international city under UN trusteeship most countries respect;
• ending federal immigration lawsuits against racist state laws like Arizona's; and
• supporting the environmentally destructive Keystone XL Pipeline.
Gingrich is also scandal-plagued. He's a serial adulterer with younger women when two former wives were seriously ill. During his term as Speaker, he also faced 84 ethics charges. Pressure got most dropped. One stuck when an ethics panel found him "repeatedly violat(ing) one rule by using a political consultant to develop the Republican legislative agenda."
The House reprimanded him by a 395 - 28 vote, and ordered him to repay $300,000 in investigative charges. It was the first time a speaker was ever disciplined for ethics violations.
The House Ethics committee also said inaccurate information Gingrich supplied to investigators represented "intentional or....reckless" disregard for House rules.
The Ethics Committee's Special Counsel James M. Cole said he violated federal tax law. He also lied to the ethics panel to force the committee to dismiss charges against him.
The committee didn't agree that tax law was violated. It let the IRS decide. In 1999, it cleared organizations connected with the "Renewing American Civilization" courses under investigation for possible tax violations. As a result, Gingrich got off scot-free, despite committing what the ethics committee called 84 violations.
Later, he earned $1.6 million lobbying secretly for Freddie Mac while attacking it publicly. A web site covering scandals in the closets of presidential candidates said this about him:
"I've researched a lot of polticians' scandals over the years. Some are lying, adulterious lechers (Clinton). Some are money-grubbing and corrupt (Santorum). Some are vindictive and dangerously authoritarian (Giuliani)."
"Some are incredibly phony and change with the wind (Romney). Some are draft dodgers (actually, most of them are). But in 17 years, only one man has been able to combine every one of these moral failings into one, super-humanly despicable candidate: Newt Gingrich."
Imagine if he ends up president. Though unlikely, his rogue "credentials," in fact, qualify him for the job only miscreants or candidates likely to govern like one can hold.
Rick Santorum served lawlessly in the Senate like Gingrich did in the House. George Lakoff believes his agenda involves much more than being president. It's about advancing "a radical conservative future for America."
He wants to continue decades of right-wing politics and harden them. No matter who's president, he'll succeed "unless Democrats dramatically change their communication strategy" effectively.
Power isn't limited to becoming president. It's also about controlling Congress, state and local governments at all levels down to school boards.
Santorum wants the top job. Getting it will make him maestro of misery. His web site asks "Why Rick? saying:
He "became one of the most successful government reformers in our history, taking on Washington's powerful special interests from the moment he arrived in our nation's Capitol."
Saying it gives chutzpah new meaning, but he added more about "maintain(ing) fiscal sanity," supporting a balanced budget, so-called responsible reforms, leading the fight against America's threats, taking credit for being "one of the most conservative senators in Pennsylvania's history, and much more."
He ended saying he's "most proud of his role as a husband and father" of seven children. How that qualifies him for president wasn't explained.
On the issues, he says here's "where I stand," citing the following:
His "first 100 days economic freedom agenda" includes:
• approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, no responsible leader would allow;
• eliminating all anti-business regulations;
• cutting $5 trillion over five years, virtually entirely targeting vital domestic programs, while at the same time supporting annual defense spending increases, as well as pro-business tax cuts and other generous benefits;
• replacing Obamacare with entirely free-wheeling corporate-run healthcare to do what they please and charge what they wish;
• balancing the budget on the backs of America's most vulnerable by eliminating vital programs they need;
• cutting taxes for corporate America and super-rich elites;
• supporting one-sided unfair "free trade" agreements, benefitting US corporations at the expense of trading partners;
• reforming entitlements by ending them; and
• reviving housing by letting corporate crooks game the system freely for maximum profits.
He also promises "no more leading from behind for America," saying:
He'll support America's global interests, including its terror war on humanity, vilifying Islam for political advantage, supporting Israel's worst crimes, and replacing independent regimes with pro-Western ones.
"It is time that America stop leading from behind and stand for freedom once again. Pretending that this battle isn't raging will not protect our families and our interests, nor will it strengthen our allies; it will only diminish our nation, increase our risk and grow our security challenge."
"Stand for freedom," he added by ravaging the world one country at a time, and leaving a trail of mass deaths, destruction, and human misery behind.
Santorum combines racism, ignorance, militancy, and pro-corporate/pro-war extremism. His agenda threatens humanity. He'll make America more than ever unfair, unstable, insecure, and unsafe.
Like Romney, Gingrich, and Obama, imagine America in his hands. All of them advocate similar destructive agendas. Ordinary people will be harmed most.
The Santorum's Skeleton Closet site calls him "one of the most corrupt politicians in America." The clean government group CREW twice named him one of the nation's three most corrupt senators.
He bragged how he steered millions of earmark dollars to lobbyist American Continental Group clients. They paid him handsomely for services rendered. So did Consol Energy and Universal Health Service (UHS) for other corrupt practices.
In fact, UHS paid him $395,000 for "insights" after he left the Senate and appointed him to its board. In 1995, he began his Senate tenure as one of its least well-off members. When he left in 2007, he bought a $2 million Great Falls, VA home.
As part of Tom Delay's "K-Street project," he filled lobbying groups with Republican loyalists. In return, he earned $500,000, more than any other federal official. He got rich by lying, cheating, and betraying loyal constituents who elected him.
His public statements openly display racism, contempt for the poor and disadvantage, attacking high-achiever women as radical feminists, and numerous other outrageous comments most people wouldn't think, let alone say.
Imagine what's ahead if he's president. Imagine it under Romney, Gingrich or Obama.
Given the post-9/11 path followed, the worst is yet to come domestically and abroad unless grassroots rage stops it.
If wanting better futures and imperial wars stopped aren't worth fighting for, what is? If not now, when? If not us, who? If that's not important enough, what is?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.