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Wading Through The Mud

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Another Appalling Political Year Looms

By James Donahue

As if the presidential race hasn’t already been slapping us in the face on our daily news feeds almost since the midterm elections concluded last November. Now the candidates for the 2016 presidential race are making their declarations. First came Ted, then Hillary and Marco. By the time this story hit publication the list will have grown even larger.

With Barack Obama finishing his second and final term in office, the field is wide open. And candidates are coming out of the cracks like cockroaches. Most of them are Republicans since the G.O.P. believes the odds are in favor for one of theirs to win the seat this time around. Voters are fickle like that. They get tired of one party holding the reins after eight consecutive years and put their bets on the other side. It has been a historical trend.

The game is skillfully rigged now. Thanks to the Supreme Court rulings the big money is pouring in now from the power players, the voting districts have been carefully altered to favor the sold-out players, and there is great danger that the wealthy elite will continue to drive the nation into the oligarchy it has been turning into.

As Janet Allon noted in her recent AlterNet review of Columnist Paul Krugman’s column, the gap between the extreme right wing Republican candidates and the more liberal Democrats is going to impact Americans to levels even worse than they are already experiencing.

No matter what personality trait or moral background, the leading party contenders will be clearly divided over basic issues, and the public needs to overlook all of the political mud-slinging that will be going on this year and remember what is bound to happen if the Democrats don’t remain in power and take back the seats they lost in the House and Senate.

At stake is the maintenance of the present Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs and the preservation and possible extension of the Affordable Care Act. There is a crying need to raise taxes on the wealthy and refer this money into state and county coffers for care of the poor and elderly and maintenance and repair of the nation’s infrastructure. And the Democrats have a concern for dealing with the growing environmental crisis. These are key issues that need to be addressed in this election.

By contrast, if the Republicans maintain even the present power they have in the House and Senate and continue the deadlock that has existed for the past year with the Executive Branch, none of the above issues can be guaranteed. And if a Republican gets in the White House with that kind of unlimited legislative power behind him or her, heaven help us all.

The ax will surely fall of the Affordable Care Act, there will be deep cuts in Medicaid, there may be an attempt to convert Medicare into a voucher system, there will be more tax cuts for the wealthy, and any legislation designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions will be toast. Expect to see our tax debt grow as the money pours into the military and local police and prison systems. The working poor will continue to be slaves to an Orwellian system will not be kind to anyone but the rich.

If you think we are wrong about these concerns consider this: An amendment to the 2016 fiscal year budget, sponsored by Arkansas Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, was slipped into the spending legislation by the thin margin (nearly total Republican) which will open national parks, wildlife refuges and public lands for sale to private industry.

That means treasured places like our national forests will be sold for oil and gas drilling, mining, logging and private development. The Navajo Nation is currently at odds over the proposed sale of 420 acres on the edge of the Grand Canyon for a multi-million dollar hotel and park development by Developers Confluence Partners. The project would include a theater, retail shops, hotels, an EV park and a gondola tram that would take visitors on a scenic ride down the side of the canyon to the edge of the Colorado River and back.