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The Oys Have It

by SAUL LANDAU

“Oy,” sobs the old woman. “Oy! Oy!”

“What’s the matter, grandma?” asks a man passing by.

“Oy, I’m so thirsty!”

He returns with a glass of water. She drinks it and says: “Oy!”

“What’s the matter now?”

“Oy, was I thirsty!”

Watching the Republican presidential debates has turned me into an “Oy-ster.” Did a  perverse talent agent find actors in an insane asylum by asking the inmates: “Anyone want to play a Republican presidential aspirant on TV?”

I’m inundated by power-hungry individuals supporting troops, loving country, God, and anything else that will get them the votes of the foolish and the ignorant. Billionaires understood: the average tax cuts received by the richest 1 percent under the Republican plans would amount to 270 times the cut received by the middle class. (Citizens for Tax Justice)

Most of the TV Republicans deny climate change, some as a liberal plot, although most scientists predict momentous and enduring global alterations. Debates continue over how much change is due to man-made (greenhouse gas emission) behavior, but an overwhelming consensus has emerged “that climate is changing and that these changes are in large part caused by human activities,” (America’s Climate Choices: Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change; National Research Council 2010).

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called climate change “the single most important challenge the world faces.” In a November 14, 2011 speech in Bangladesh, a country that could literally go under if the ocean level continues rising, he called on world leaders to confront this life-or-death challenge. “The severity of cyclones, floods and other consequences of climate change are increasing,” he warned.

Most Republican candidates scoffed at such liberal ideas. Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami that devastated Japan and led to a nuclear meltdown, floods and droughts, unusually hot and cold temperatures, rises of the ocean level and the disappearance of certain species due to climactic conditions provoked them to chant: “Drill Baby Drill!” Oil and gas companies, coincidentally, have no problems with the major Republican candidates. Indeed, Rick Perry claimed divine will caused BP’s catastrophic oil spill. “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”

The focus of much debate about “who qualifies most for President” amounted to: who most hates same -sex marriage and abortion rights. Not one suggested: “If a man doesn’t want to marry another man or a woman wed another female, they  don’t do it.” And “if a woman doesn’t want an abortion, she shouldn’t have one!”

Was this comedy? Emphasizing those issues when the economy has collapsed, over 20 million are jobless, war vibrations rattle the Middle East and nuclear proliferation remains a frightening concern?

Newt Gingrich offered child labor as one solution to unemployment and poverty, and then explained his serial adultery and two divorces from seriously ill wives as acts of love for his country. “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” Passion for country led him to cheat on his first two wives? What country did he live in? Watch out Calista!

Newt also claimed Palestinians were an invented people (did Edison discover them?) and got rewarded from a highly moral and Israeli-lobby linked Jewish casino owner with a $5 million contribution to his campaign. Long live gambling – and the Israeli lobby! If God had not intended people to lose their money in casinos he wouldn’t have allowed casino owners to stack the odds against the players, or permitted states to license them.

Before returning to her asylum (House of Representatives), Michelle Bachman explained she qualified for the presidency because she raised 23 children, and thus needed to save the nation from “Obama’s plan for socialized medicine [that] will threaten the very heart of the U.S. economy and endanger the national security of our nation as it drains valuable resources away from a strong national defense.” Huh? The law is paid for and reduces the national deficit. But not to worry! Successful buyer of campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney, who as Governor of Massachusetts designed the state’s health care model for “Obamacare,” promised to eliminate the very system he successfully initiated. The flip-flop as symbol of virtue?

Mitt also liked “being able to fire people who provide services to me,” referring to his health insurer. One person enjoys cutting off another’s livelihood? Is this Mitt’s idea of exercising judicious power?

Ron Paul demands major defense cuts, the closing of US overseas bases, and cutting all foreign aid. He opposes the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. He doesn’t fit the mold. He would return to a different (ethical) asylum for opposing Social Security and Medicare and calling for strict adherence to an 18th Century Constitution.

Most of these TV actors playing candidates have a similar sub text in South Carolina: “Vote for me or face four more years of that n….. in the White House.” Most would name more Scalias to the federal courts – if they won. So, like tens of millions, I’ll vote Democrat. To assuage my angst I’ll suck on a new candy with Obama’s picture on it: The Disappoint-Mint. “Oy!”

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP is on dvd (cinemalibrestore.com) He’s an Institute for Policy Studies fellow. His BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch.

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SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

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