Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Rand Paul, the son of Congressman Ron Paul, has won the Republican Senate primary

in Kentucky. He and the Tea Party Movement want to return the government to the golden

years when the federal government was weak, states powerful, and corporations ruled with

unfettered authority. His rant plays on the uneasy feelings of Americans who believe our

country is in trouble, the future bleak, and our ascendancy over. Paul acts like his message

is new; but it's as old as the nation itself. Jefferson and Madison almost came to blows arguing

over a strong or limited federal government.

Paul should have lived during the early 1900's at a time called the "Gilded Age". It had

everything the Paul's and their tea baggers would love. The federal government was weak.

Business titans like Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller strode over the land. The robber

barons...Stanford, Huntington, Hopkins, and Crocker...ruled without opposition. There was

no income tax, no unions, no Social Security, and no healthcare nor Medicare. There were no

inconvenient regulations of Wall Street, the environment, or food and drugs. People could

have a confession beaten out of them, no one was guaranteed a lawyer, and most workers

(especially women and children) were brutally exploited in unsafe factories.

It was an age of imperialism where America started wars to expand its borders, where

Jim Crow was alive and well in the South, and whole political parties rose up to vent their

anger at unwanted minorities (Micks, Waps, Pollacks, and Krauts) who were taking jobs away

from hard-working Americans. The gap between the rich and poor was dramatic with virtually

no middle class. No one talked about safety nets. There was only the cliff...and charity.

Paul's message isn't new. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, coined a term "new

federalism" to explain his Contract on America. Gingrich wanted power returned to the

states, a weaker federal government, less regulation, and more freedom for corporations

to do the whodoo/voodoo they do so well. Paul and the tea sackers are the latest in a long

line of Mr. Peabodys who want to get into the "wayback machine" and return to an era when

the average American was worse off, children were exploited, and virulent racism dominated

the land. Ah, yes, what would Paul call the "Golden Years"?

A recent Vanity Fair poll showed more Americans (29%) trust Fox News than the New

York Times (8%); and I think I know why. Americans are scared. They are worried about

their jobs, the economy, education, healthcare, terrorism, and immigration. They watch Fox

and those fears are validated. They read the New York Times and their fears are put into

context and they are told it could get worse. Fox is the "wayback machine" while the Times

is a mirror reflecting a situation which is troubling. Ironically, the Times is still towing the

corporate line and sugar-coating the message. If you read the alternative media...Mother

Jones, the Nation, ThinkProgress.org, the Progressive, CommonDreams.org...you discover

things are even worse; and it's the Pauls and Gingrichs, McConnells and Cantors, Boehners

and Liebermans who are leading the charge into the valley of death.

When Rand Paul screams to take the country back, the question to be asked is back to

what? A castrated Securities and Exchange Commission, a weak Federal Deposit Insurance

Corporation, and a somnolent Federal Reserve looked the other way as Wall Street invented

and fired credit default swaps of mass destruction almost wrecking the economy. Or how

about an anemic Food and Drug Administration that allows medical device manufacturers

to test their own devices and drug makers to pay for their own quality assurance tests,

resulting in drugs which harm and devices which are found to be defective.

For years, the Transportation Department ignored complaints about Toyota; and now,

we are informed the Interior Department allowed BP to drill in the Gulf with no emergency

contingency plans. Safety devices were found to be faulty and permits to drill were based on

BP's solemn promise that accidents were not possible.

Currently, regulations are in place with the force of law. The same law that extracts a

pound of flesh from the everyday street criminal merely winks at the grand and destructive

schemes of highly placed politicians and corporations. Laws are in place to protect Americans,

but the political and corporate crooks aren't satisfied with their buddies doing the oversight

and enforcement; which in itself is shameful. In Rand Paul's world there would be no SEC,

FDIC, Federal Reserve, no FDA or Transportation Department, no Interior or Commerce or

Education Departments, and no Social Security or Medicare either. Is this really what

Americans want to go back to and embrace?

Americans want their Medicare and Social Security. They want to maintain a military

to police the world. They are outraged when a bridge collapses or an oil well leaks. They

want Wall Street to behave. They want their cars to be safe to drive and their food safe to eat.

Americans demand a lot but don't want to pay for it, in spite of paying the lowest Federal

Income Tax rate since 1951. The richest 1% have seen their taxes reduced over 50% since 1960.

Corporate taxes and capital gains taxes have been slashed. With less tax revenue and

Americans demanding more, the deficits which follow can't be a surprise.

My question is what do Paul and his tea cozies intend to take us back to? It's a nice

sounding slogan, but returning to the year 1900 is not an option. Our nation has progressed

dramatically over the last fifty years and government played a role in that progress. If you

look at the savings and loan debacle, Wall Street meltdown, Gulf oil spill, California energy

crisis, your cable TV bill, and the rise of Hanbaugh and the gang; it all came about due to

de-regulation and a weak federal government. Meanwhile, Mr. Paul and his fellow teatravelers

have nothing to say about a government which can tap your phone, read your email, and spy

on you online without a warrant. They are silent when it's announced our government can kill

American citizens without due process.

In a world where the Fourth Amendment is gutted and your privacy non-existent, the

Paul's are mute. The Paul's have nothing to suggest about reining in a government which tracks

your cell phone and now wants to be able to hold you in prison longer without letting you

appear in front of a judge to defend yourself. Your Miranda rights? Smoke and mirrors. Nada!

The next time you hear someone scream they want to "Take the Country Back"; why don't

you ask..."to what?". What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please

send them to lionoftheleft@gmail.com


  1. Touché Bernie... you are genius!!! That was outstanding!!!!! It reminded me of listening to your radio program. I miss your radio show. Thank You for posting you thoughts.
    Take Care and thanks again
    Best Wishes Chris

  2. I stand bemused at those who think America was a better place 50 or 100 years ago. Your synopsis of those "wonder years" was spot-on.

    Cheers for now,


  3. I'm glad you're doing this, Bernie. You're a breath of fresh air. I'm going to turn my friends onto your blaog. Keep it up.