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The Wayward Party of Lincoln: The recent can-do Congress, trouble in St. Louis and Pat Robertson on pot 

The author is reporting from a snowstorm - It's New Years, ya know?

click to enlarge smearsheet_lincoln_memorial.jpg
The 111th Congress has ended "the most productive post-election period we've had in decades," according to Beelzebub, aka President Barack Obama. Not since Johnson's "Great Society" have we seen such change. Despite a civil war of rabid rhetoric and a 13 percent approval rating, massive reform was still delivered: Health insurance for 32 million Americans, re-regulating Wall Street while stabilizing an international economy in freefall, "Cash for Clunkers" and the resurrection of General Motors, repeal of untenable and inane policies ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell" from the Clinton-era and a Bush-era "barring the recommendation of new wilderness areas") as well as strict limitations on credit card cannibals. Oh, tens of thousands of our soldiers are no longer targets in Iraq, and light is in sight in the sewer that is Afghanistan. You're welcome, Republicans, more of your messes cleaned up by Democrats - Don't repeat the same mistakes.

But of course they will.

"I think it was a disaster," said a Republican senator of the 111th Congress, on the condition of anonymity of course. Sneering and stonewalling is what Republicans will be remembered for while blocking more than 50 federal judges and filibustering health care for sick 9/11 first-responders. Voters rewarded them for their fine lack of work with a majority in the House of Representatives. They're now controlling redistricting with new census numbers showing gains in the conservative South and West, while Blue areas like Rust Belt Michigan, New York and Ohio all lost population and soon representation.

One of the beneficiaries of the Republican's pet policy of continuing Bush-era tax cuts is in deep doo-doo. August Busch IV, who took control of his family's Anheuser-Busch beer empire in 2006, then immediately lost it for $52 billion to InBev (making himself tens of millions, and the family holding 4 percent of a sinking stock) is in yet another fix. Last week, 27-year-old Adrienne Nicole Martin was found dead in Busch's home in Missouri, much like another woman who died when Busch crashed his sports car in the 1980s and he fled the scene (no charges were pursued), akin to being acquitted after a 1985 car chase when Busch was accused of trying to run over two police officers. Anyways, back to Busch's latest "Oops!" that he'll surely get away with: "It's a tragic death of a ... very nice young lady," offered Art Margulis, Busch's lawyer. Um, OK, he must be innocent, again, like O.J.

On the subject of innocence, right-wing evangelical Pat Robertson dared to question the criminalization of marijuana and mandatory sentences this month, saying, "We're locking up people that take a couple of puffs of marijuana and the next thing they know they've got 10 years." Even more astonishing is Robertson pointing God's finger at Republicans in his 700 Club broadcast, "Lock 'em up, you know. That's the way these guys ran, and they got elected. But that wasn't the answer."

Don't look to the Founding Fathers or Lincoln for answers, either, especially when quoted by the right-wing media. For once, blame the non-liberal and oh-so blue-collar media (wife-beaters with notepads vs. hipsters and iPads) for spreading fabrications daily. We all know about Obama being a Muslim woman without a birth certificate, but take a gander at Washington Times columnist and unapologetic neoconservative Frank Gaffney, supposedly quoting Abraham Lincoln:

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged." Carried by hundreds of syndicates and websites, this quote was actually a fake, and created by J. Michael Waller in 2003 in his article "Democrats Usher in An Age of Treason."

Add to that "The Ten Cannots" attributed to Lincoln ("You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong... " etc.) yet really written by conservative minister William J.H. Boetcker in 1916. The quote was long ago debunked, yet is still cited by rabid Republicans ad nauseum, famously by Ronald Reagan, then Rush Limbaugh and Tea Party "leaders" today.

Mired in falsehoods, surrounded by freelance hacks with debunked tax theories, the Party of Lincoln is lost. Let's hope oil companies, brewing conglomerates, pharmaceutical and insurance monopolies are pleased with the upcoming 112th Congress. You get what you pay for, and our new Congress went cheap.

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