Before recapping some of the most controversial political twists and spins of 2011, it would be remiss to ignore a growing sentiment that the United States can, somehow, bow out of its protectorate role and isolate itself from the rest of the world. Doing so ignores the fact that America is already at war with terrorists and the rogue nations supporting them; it denies that both foreign and domestic political espionage occurs, even in civil societies, replacing liberty with law; it ignores the fact that there ARE evil people in the world who, through wealth and/or fame, gain political power and use it for evil purposes; and it ignores the fact that there are lobbyist groups in America that are sympathetic to “ending American imperialism”.
Imperialistic or not, America spent billions of dollars and thousands of American lives to stabilize Iraq. The United States did not take land from the Iraqis nor demand recompense of any sort, rather, America helped Iraq through the transition of Saddam Hussein to its newly elected government. Libya and Egypt were not as lucky and their entire countries are in turmoil. As they attempt their own transitions, Russia spreads communistic ideals and Islāmic revolutionaries spread quasi-political-religious propaganda while the United States lies silent for fear of being called “imperialistic”?
Wake up America! The commies and Islāmis are more bold with the exit of American troops from Iraq than ever before. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are safe because you live half-way across the world. They are very politically active in the U.S. and their riots and deceptions have American enemies emboldened by, what they perceive as, a weak President and indecisive Congress. They have gotten their inch and taken miles.
Okay, down to brass tax… but, prior to going any further, I am require by law (probably somewhere) to inform you that if you have high blood pressure, have had a stroke, are prone to uncontrollable fits of rage, or brainwashed by political rhetoric, you might want to stop reading right now…
For the rest of you, I present my pick of the top 5 political twists and spins of 2011. Ready?
#5 – The Ole Bait And Switch
After a battle to the wire, House Republicans caved and signed a tax cut extension for working Americans. After a tear-jerking speech delivered by President Barack Obama, about how letting these tax cuts expire will affect “real folks” by removing pizza from kids bellies and heat from homes, Republicans finally gave into Democrat demands to extend the tax cuts for… for a whole two months! WOW!
What President Obama forgot to say, or maybe it wasn’t on the teleprompter, is that House Republicans already presented a bill to the Democrat controlled Senate to pass the tax extensions for a whole year and it was rejected. Instead of saving the working class $1,040, Republicans agreed with Democrats and President Obama, America only deserves $160 of that $1040, leaving $880 for Congress to argue about in January.
Behind the television scenes, the push to have tax cuts extended for a full year came from conservative TEA party members. Many of these members left Washington D.C. assured by Speaker John Boehner that the issue would not be discussed until after the holidays but as soon as they left, Mr. Boehner called a vote and passed the two month extension. Not only did he lie to members of his own party, but he completely discredited himself as a leader and called into question any future stances House Republicans might make under his leadership.
#4 – Imitation Is Not Always Flattering
After almost two full years of slamming the peaceful assemblies of the TEA party, top Democratic leaders and the mainstream media encouraged the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011. The Occupy movements have shut ports and places of business, clashed with police resulting in thousands of arrests, caused civil disruption and rioting, and taken over parks, sidewalks, and neighborhoods, camping without permits, leaving them trashed in their wake.
The people involved in TEA party protests-rallies organize and obey the law while assembling to ask Congress for a redress of their grievances. Congress chose to ignore, downplay, and demonize the people in the movement and paid for it, on both political sides of the aisle, in the 2010 mid-terms. In contrast, most of the Occupy movements have obtained no permits, displayed rampant drug use, encouraged rioting and looting, threatened to hack voting machines and disrupt the national conventions. The anti-capitalist, communist, socialist, and racist organizations associated with the movement are reminiscent of the 1960s Vietnam era war protests.
In a series of political twists and spins, President Obama, Democrat leaders, and the mainstream media still refer to the TEA party as a bunch of ignorant, out-of-touch, racist, extremist wing of the Republican party who cling to their God and their guns. Yet, paint the Occupy movement as “people whose actions are perfectly understandable.”
#3 – A Balancing Act
Lawmakers have spent the better part of 2011 clashing over the nation’s debt and its fiscal responsibilities. It led to the construct of a bipartisan super-debt commission instructed to find ways to balance the federal budget and reduce the national deficit. Upon its failure to produce an agreement, a series of automatic cuts ensued that did not balance the budget or address the national debt and it resulted in a national credit downgrade. Unbelievably, members of Congress (Democrat and Republican) blame the TEA party.
Interestingly, Congressional members representing the TEA party include less than 50 of the 535 members of Congress and seniority members of the Republican party, including Speaker of the House John Boehner, have absolutely no affiliation with the TEA party. So how do 50 members of Congress stop the other 485 members from agreeing on a way to balance the budget and tackling the nation’s deficit? How did 50 members of Congress stop the other 485 members from passing the buck to a bipartisan, hand-picked super-committee that failed to come to agreement? How did 50 members of Congress stop the other 485 members from saving the nation’s credit rating? The answer is, they didn’t.
Congress knew S&P was set to downgrade the United States but the seniority members of Congress chose to save themselves, politically, in lieu of saving the nation’s credit rating. Rather conveniently, Democrats blame Republicans who blame a minority caucus within their own party that brought them to victory in the 2010 mid-term elections. Talk about political twists and spins…
#2 – Constitutional or Unconstitutional
It’s no secret that the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 remains a highly contested piece of legislation that lawmakers have distanced themselves from. Even the Department of Health and Human Services has, at its own discretion, begun to waive participation to certain States and businesses. Currently, there are twenty-six States waiting for the Supreme Court to decide if the individual mandate, requiring people to buy health insurance, is Constitutional or not.
What most people do not understand is that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the individual mandate it will, quite literally, allow politicians to force Americans to buy into any future service(s) it wants to promote or fund. It gives the government unprecedented power to manipulate the marketplace, deciding which businesses will succeed and which will fail.
Realistically, Obama Care does not represent “the best Congress could offer”, it represents a blatant political take-over of the American health care system and sets a dangerous legal precedent for future legislation and the Congressional officials responsible know it.
#1 – Human Rights Hypocrites
Soon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Congress passed the Patriot Act that greatly expanded the power of law enforcement to monitor the financial, health, and communications records of Americans at their own discretion. As a result, America gave up its right to privacy for security’s sake. Although much of the Patriot Act expired in 2005, Congress has extended it several times, the most recent in 2011 to 2014. In 2008, Congress passed the Nation Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was originally passed to authorize funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs. However, for the fiscal year 2012, subtitle D. sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA give the President implicit authority to, indefinitely, hold terrorism suspects, including American citizens, without a trial, in a military prison.
The award in the “political twists and spins of the year” category belongs to President Barack Obama who argued in 2008 that terrorists, held in Guantanamo Bay, deserved the human right to a trial. Now, in 2011, President Obama is signing laws that allow HIM to hold American citizens, accused or suspected of terrorism, indefinitely, without the human right to a trial, in a military facility.