Why Is Grover Norquist The Most Powerful Republican In America

Who is Grover Norquist and why is he the most powerful Republican in America?  Mr. Norquist is a Washington, D.C. lobbyist who, while working as an economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during 1985, was selected by President Reagan to be chairman of the newly created Americans For Tax Reform, a taxpayer advocacy organization.  Americans For Tax Reform is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, which receives nearly all of its funding from wealthy individuals, corporations and corporate foundations.  Actual financial contributors to these organizations are a closely guarded secret.  The American Legislative Exchange Council provides support to right-wing candidates and causes.  In 1994, Norquist was also one of the co-authors of Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America.

It was in 1986 that Norquist, as chairman of Americans For Tax Reform, created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which calls for politicians to vow not to increase any taxes no matter the underlying justification.  Since the establishment of his pledge, Norquist has recruited 238 of the 242 current Republican House of Representatives and 41 of the 47 Senate Republicans, including all six Republican members of the bipartisan super committee who, as a result of pledging not to raise any taxes no matter the severity of the problem, failed last week to agree to terms in which to reduce the national debt.  On the state level, more than 1,200 Republican governors, senators and representatives have signed the pledge.  Additionally, every Republican currently running for president with the exception of Jon Huntsman has signed on as well.

Federal taxes paid as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) are at their lowest levels since the 1950s.  U.S. corporate income taxes paid as a percentage of GDP are currently lower than every other industrialized country, yet Republicans complain that the corporate tax rate is the sole cause of the collapse of the American economy and the loss of manufacturing jobs.  The real reason why manufacturing began leaving the country in mass about forty years ago was when the titans of industry realized they could pay third world workers pennies compared to union wages.  Nobody likes paying taxes, but to live in a civilized society, taxes must be paid to sustain the level of living we expect.  Why any politician would sign a pledge vowing to never vote to increase taxes without any knowledge of why it is needed is asinine.  How one man can dictate an entire political party having never been elected to office is beyond me.

On a positive note concerning the failure of the super committee to reach an agreement on how to reduce the national debt, Congress will be forced to enact automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion, including $500 billion in defense during the next ten years.  The defense budget has nearly doubled since September 11, 2001.  We spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, and this does not include the budgets of this nation’s top-secret intelligence agencies created after the horrendous attack of September 11th.  In his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned the country to beware of the mighty military-industrial complex.  President Eisenhower stated that “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.  The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”  Coming from a five-star general, many who credit for winning World War II, America should have listened.

Republicans like to opine that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are bankrupting our country, however, I believe differently.  It is our imperialistic attitude of dictating our immoral values and assumed capitalistic economic superiority over the rest of the world via military dominance that is leading this country into financial catastrophe.

Steven H. Spring

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Scrawl And ESPN

As a life long Buckeye, I grew up in Columbus and attended my first football game in the Horseshoe during the magical 1968 national championship season.  Utilizing the GI Bill, I graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a major in accounting after sailing the world as a weatherman aboard the USS Ranger (CV-61) while serving in the Navy.  However, after watching three basketball games Wednesday evening, Memphis-Georgetown and Duke-Kansas on ESPN with the Buckeyes-Virginia Military Institute on the Big Ten Network (they now refer to themselves as BTN) sandwiched in between, I became disgusted or more likely insulted by ESPN’s nearly constant scrawl along the bottom of the television screen, first telling me that according to an Orlando TV station and the Columbus Dispatch that Ohio State had reached an agreement with Urban Meyer to a seven year, forty million dollar deal to become its next head football coach.

Six months ago, if you told me that Ohio State would hire Meyer to replace Jim Tressel as head coach, I would have thought you crazy.  Ten years ago, when Ohio State hired Tressel, he was coaching at Youngstown State.  When it seemed that the stars were properly aligning for such a scenario involving the former Florida coach to unfold, ESPN began telling me constantly with their irritating scrawl that Urban Meyer will become the next head football coach at Ohio State.  Then immediately, ESPN stated that Meyer is denying all reports of him agreeing to such a deal nor has a deal been offered.

At half-time of the Duke-Kansas game, ESPN ran a studio report again informing me that Urban Meyer has agreed to terms of a seven year, forty million dollar deal, however Meyer has denied accepting nor being offered such a deal.  It is bad enough that ESPN is reporting that Urban Meyer has agreed to a seven year, forty million dollar deal to become head coach, and that Meyer is denying such an agreement but to tell me every five minutes as The Lead on its nauseating scrawl that Urban Meyer has agreed to a seven year, forty million dollar deal to become coach, but Meyer is denying such an agreement is not only monotonous but asinine.  After the basketball game ended, the big story on Sportscenter was that Urban Meyer has agreed to a seven year, forty million dollar deal to become the next head football coach at Ohio State, however, Meyer is denying such a deal.

Although this is great news for the Buckeye nation, who have suffered greatly this past year with numerous NCAA rule violations that led to the forced retirement of beloved head coach Jim Tressel, but it seems that ESPN has become nothing more than a combination Natural Inquirer-24 hour news network, constantly reporting a perceived news story based not on facts but assumptions.  Pitiful.

Steven H. Spring
OSU, Class of ‘87

Is Pizza Really A Vegetable?

Once again, Congress has demonstrated exactly what their true intentions are, voting in favor of Big Agra at the expense of its nation’s children.  This past week, the House of Representatives passed a bill that upheld its determination that two tablespoons of tomato paste qualifies pizza as a vegetable and refused to limit how often French fries can be served in federally funded school lunches, much to the satisfaction of both the frozen food and potato industries.  Pizza and French fries are two of the most often served items in school lunches.  This ruling comes attached to legislation that was intended to strengthen the Department of Agriculture’s guidelines regarding school lunches, yet did exactly the opposite.

If politicians believe we face an immediate dire fiscal emergency with both Medicare and Medicaid programs, wait until this generation of children reach middle age.  With three out of every ten children in this country obese, this country will face an overbearing burden on our health care programs when these kids age as they face type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, stroke, sleep apnea and certain types of cancer among other health issues due to weight problems.  As the old saying goes, you are what you eat, and as a nation we eat entirely too much of all things bad for you and far too little of all things healthy.  It doesn’t take a scientist or doctor to quote statistics to inform us that obesity is becoming an epidemic not only among adults but the young as well; one need only look at our schoolyards or shopping malls to see the results of America becoming a fast food nation.

Congress continues to sell whatever is left of its soul to Big Money and all its illegitimate offspring, consistently voting with its wallet and not what is in America’s best interest.  In the long run, we will all pay dearly for their immoral transgressions.

Steven H. Spring

What’s Wrong With The Buckeyes

After yet another offensive display of offensive football by the Ohio State Buckeyes while losing in overtime to an underdog Purdue team Saturday, the best compliment given it was by Dispatch reporter Rob Oller who opined that the offense was as “exciting as Lawrence Welk.”  Spending the day out-of-town at a daylong family get-together, the game was on but I did not really get to watch it, so I decided to go on-line later that night to check the game stats when I got back home.  Knowing that the Bucks had trouble all game running the ball, I wasn’t surprised to see that Boom Heron had only 62 yards on 18 carries.  Why Carlos Hyde had only four carries for 12 yards not only surprised but also amazed me.

I then scanned the receiving stats and was very surprised to see Jake Stoneburner’s name not on the list.  All season, fans are being told the reason for the Buckeyes lack of any credible passing attack is that the receivers are all young.  Granted, they are all inexperienced but they are also very talented and the team finally gets senior DeVier Posey back next Saturday against Penn State, but the Buckeyes have one of the best tight ends in the nation and refuse to utilize both his size and pass catching talent.  I am not entirely positive, but I believe that it is not against the rules of collegiate football to hit your tight end over the middle for a sizable gain, especially when you have maybe the best tight end in the country.  Whatever happened to that tight end screen pass that Stoneburner caught for a 32-yard touchdown against Nebraska earlier this season?  I’m not sure, but it certainly seems like that catch was his last catch of the season.  That tight end screen pass must be one of those clandestine plays that a coach runs just once a year when an opponent least expects it.

However, the problems with the OSU offense are much deeper than just this year’s team.  In 2009, the Dispatch reported the national rankings for total offense and scoring offense from 2001 through 2009.  Statistics might be for losers, but they speak truth.  And the truth about the Buckeye offense is offensive.  They had one good year in 2006 and a decent year the season before, however, for the most part OSU ranks in the bottom twenty-five percent of the 120 teams in Division 1A.  Their total offense average of sixty-six and scoring offense of fifty-one are nothing in which to be proud.  The other weak link on the team season after season has been the offensive line, and this is where the problems begin to surface on who might be to blame.  One man, Coach Jim Bollman, has been both the offense line coach and offensive coordinator all these years in which any sense of a powerful offensive team has sorely been lacking.  The Buckeyes recruit four and five-star offensive line recruits every year and every year the offense line continues to be the weakest part of the team.  And everything on offense starts with the line.

Luke Fickell was placed in a dreadful situation and deserves more than what he has been given.  However, if getting rid of Coach Bollman means letting go of Coach Fickell, then they both must go.  I would like to see Luke and his fellow former teammate Mike Verbal retained as defense coaches, but that probably will not happen.  The Ohio State offense has become nothing more than a national joke on ESPN this year.  The ineptitude, however, has been brewing for the past ten years.  The suddenly poor decision to fire Jim Tressel has exposed this offense for what it is; too simple, too unimaginable, too predictable, too inconsistent in moving the ball up field, too inconsistent in scoring touchdowns once inside the red zone, too boring and too inept for too long.

The Buckeyes can win out, beating both Penn State and Michigan with good defensive play, and play in a decent bowl game.  However, the new year needs to find the university searching for not only a new head coach but a director of athletics as well.  Gene Smith under his watch has let the entire athletic department become a national embarrassment this past year.  If President Gee doesn’t have the cajones to fire his athletic director, he also needs to go.  Mr. Gee himself has been ridiculed by the national press twice this year by sticking his foot in his mouth with comments about the football team.  The time has come to start over by cleaning house.  OSU right now should be planning its strategy and lining up a list of possible ADs and head coaches who would be interested in these positions. Surely, there must be a few people who would love being at Ohio State.

Steven H. Spring
OSU, Class of ‘87

 

The Right To Vote

Tuesday, November 8th is a pivotal day in Ohio election history in that its citizens will get the chance to voice their opinion regarding the right of public employees to unionize.  State Issue 2 is the referendum on the state’s new anti-collective bargaining law, passed earlier this year by Governor John Kasich in his attempt to outlaw public unions.  For all the talk by the governor and his cronies about how this anti-collective bargaining law is needed so he can balance the state budget, the real reason why Republicans are so adamant in their attempt to ban unions is that they contribute great sums of money to political campaigns, mainly benefiting that of the Democratic Party.

Republicans know that if they can cut off major funding to Democrats from the various unions, they will have a huge, inequitable financial advantage in nearly all future elections.  To blame our teachers, police, firefighters and public employees for the financial catastrophe our politicians and Wall Street have created is asinine.  Does anyone actually believe that Governor Kasich and the Republican Party would be so tenacious in their attempt to outlaw public unions if it were they who received immense campaign contributions from unions?

The sad reality in America is that in a non-presidential election year, approximately thirty-five percent of registered voters will actually vote on Tuesday.  However, this pitiful turnout percentage is not quite the optimistic picture painted, I write sarcastically.  Since only seventy-five percent of all eligible voters are actually registered, this makes the actual voter turnout closer to twenty-five percent of the eligible population.  Statistics show that rich folk vote Republican and poor people vote Democrat and that the vast majority of Republicans voters do actually vote in every election while the poorer you are the less likely it is that you vote.

Great numbers of people have been protesting throughout the country and world against financial inequality.  If only every eligible American did indeed vote tomorrow, the ninety-nine percenters could take back this country from the wealthy elite and our current form of government entitled plutocracy and restore this country back to the democratic principles as set forth by our founding fathers.

Steven H. Spring

Hype

In television’s never ending quest to hype any and all things as the latest, greatest event of all-time, the two-week buildup on ESPN of this past Saturday’s collegiate match-up of number one ranked LSU Tigers against number two ranked Alabama Crimson Tide was never ending.  Not only was this game billed by the sports network as the game of the century, but also by game time, we were being told that it would be the greatest football game ever to be played.

When this greatest game of all-time was finally over, the CBS sideline reporter informed winning coach Les Miles that “It lived up to the hype.”  I know enough about football to know that one of its all-time truisms is that defense wins championships; however did this defensive struggle really deserve all the hype surrounding it?  Did a game that went into overtime because both teams were only able to score two field goals each deserve all the praise given it?  Did a game won in overtime by LSU having kicked a field goal after Alabama had missed one of their own after missing three others during the game live up to all this propaganda?  Sure, it was a good game, but definitely not one of the greatest games ever to be played, let alone the greatest.

A decade ago, John Stossel had a documentary on television entitled Hype in which he investigated the effect that hype has on people by television.  One segment he ran showed a group of kindergarten age children sitting in front of a wall of different colored blocks and inside each block was a letter of the alphabet, each of a different font.  Just by looking at a single letter of the alphabet, these young children all knew exactly what product they represented.  For example, when the letter “g” was pointed out, the kids all screamed Kellogg’s.  Needless to say, I was very disturbed by what I saw.

The number of commercials per hour by the television networks has doubled since the early 1960s.  When you consider how the networks throw in pop-up ads during a show, product placements or how they now reduce the size of closing credits in order to show more commercials, we are being inundated with advertising.  Children today spend more time sitting in front of TV or computer screens than they do in school.  I stopped watch NASCAR because it has become nothing more than a three hour commercial

Television can be a great thing, but it is brainwashing our children with its never-ending hype and mass commercialization of all things.

Steven H. Spring