Published on January 9th, 2012 | by Daulton Dickey1
John Boehner, A Matter of Convenience
John Boehner, current Speaker of the House, has an image problem. It is not a small problem; it is colossal. If his problem were an event from history, it’d be the fall of the Western Roman Empire; it’d be the Dark Ages; it’d be the First World War. That’s how colossal his problem is.
John Boehner’s problem is, of all things, John Andrew Boehner (R – OH), former House Minority Leader, former House Majority Leader, former Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee.
The 61st Speaker of the House has many selves–all of whom cater to whomever is willing to wine and dine, to 69 him, to dump money into his Super PAC. Currently, Boehner is facing a unique problem, one created by his twisted political tactics: how to recoup from a failed attempt to derail a pending tax cut without alienating the public while simultaneously appearing to pin down a President with whom he–Boehner–has fundamental ‘philosophic disagreements.’
Traveling back a few weeks, we see Boehner standing outside the Capitol building, glowering with that ubiquitous, smug look creasing his face, a look suggesting paternal condescension.
Boehner and his GOP henchmen are leaving the capital on the cusp of the holidays, minutes after derailing a tax cut for 160 million working Americans. The GOP loaded the tax cut—which Boehner likened to fowl excrement—with GOP-approved nonsense, like an ultimatum on the Keystone XL pipeline. As he put it, by loading the bill with unnecessary crap, garbage undoubtedly inspired by lobbyists, the GOP was turning “chicken shit into chicken salad.” Implying, I suppose, that either extending a tax cut for American workers is shit or, more likely, he was giving away his mammy’s secret recipe for a down-home Ohio delicacy—add one part chicken shit and two parts mayonnaise. Granted, objective journalists shouldn’t embark on roads leading to speculation, but what the fuck? Who said I was a journalist—or objective? And Boehner strikes me as the type of man who’d gobble a bowl of shit.
In 1995, the same year Congress worked to eliminate a federal subsidy for the tobacco industry, John Boehner stood on the floor in the House passing out checks from a big-tobacco-backed PAC to his Republican colleagues. When approached by more than one appalled freshmen Republican, Boehner stopped handing out checks.
“I thought, ‘Yeah,” Boehner told the Lodi News-Sentinel, “‘I can imagine why somebody would be upset. It sure doesn’t look good.’
“It’s not an excuse,” he said, probably in that cocky ‘I’m pretty sure you’re mentally disabled’ tone he affects, “but the floor is the only place you get to see your colleagues. It was a matter of convenience,” he said. “You make a mistake, admit it and go on. I just feel bad about it.”
He didn’t feel bad about handing out checks from tobacco firms, mind you. He simply felt bad about being reproached for schilling for big tobacco on the House floor.
After he feigned remorse, after he cackled at the egg on his face, he resumed passing out the checks elsewhere, or he mailed them to the campaign headquarters of greedy bastards, his ‘colleagues’ who probably would have performed fellatio on corporate pricks who promised to ensure their reelections.
Power, money, feelings of self-importance—these three ideas seem to sway Boehner, who would probably try to sell bloodletting as a critical daily activity if a sadistic history freak pumped enough money into The Freedom Project, Boehner’s Political Action Committee (PAC) and a general GOP piggy bank.
According to its website, “The Freedom Project is committed to a better America based on freedom and security, empowered citizens and personal responsibility. Our mission is to maintain and expand our new Republican Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
By filling the House with Republicans, the PAC implies, we can turn America into Super-Awesome-Fun-Time-Land. Through the Freedom Project, Boehner and his people distribute funds to Republicans seeking election or reelection, but the PAC also dumps money into selling Republican ideals like “small government” and “personal responsibility.” These ideas are usually marketed to people who don’t realize that these phrases are euphemisms for “fleece the poor, endow or enable the rich, fuck everyone who refuses to further Republican causes or help gentlemen and women of the GOP get elected.”
Quiet ladies and germs. We are now witnessing strange creatures in their natural habitat. Having taken a corporate jet to Fuck-The-Poor-Ville, Speaker Boehner and Albert L. Lord travel to a golf course in a nearby suburb, Collude-To-Destroy-The-American-Republic-Town.
Albert L. Lord is the type of parasite you’re likely to find gnawing on the ear of another parasite, a modern politician. Lord, CEO, Director, possibly even interior decorator of SLM Corp., known popularly as Sallie Mae, is good buddies with Boehner. In fact, they’re more than buddies—they’re good old pals. It’s not hard to imagine that, at one point, Lord faxed Boehner a letter that might have read something like:
“Dear JB, Would you like to— (check a box): Be BFFs?; Hold hands?; Go steady?; Deregulate the student lending market and cripple the poor struggling to survive with unimaginable debt while giving lending companies incomprehensible power and profits?
P.S. I think you and America are just the bees-knees.”
Before a grand jury bitch-slapped Tom Delay with an indictment on the grounds that he violated federal money laundering laws, John Boehner served as chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, which “oversees education and workforce programs that affect all Americans, from early learning through secondary education, from job training through retirement.”
During his tenure as chairman, Boehner was instrumental in the passage of then-President Bush’s much touted, and controversial, No Child Left Behind Act, a misguided bill meant to improve the American education system. In fact, it did little more than increase the Education Department’s annual budget while nominally increasing, and in some cases decreasing, the test results of the students, all of whom the government left behind by promising not to leave them behind.
Between golfing with fellow parasites and using corporate jets as private transportation—he took 45 trips on corporate jets between 2000 and 2007—John Boehner squeezed time in his schedule to fill goblets with the blood, sweat, and tears of American citizens. He and his congressional cohorts—from both sides of the aisle—consumed the contents of the goblets in intellectually deprived orgies inside the chambers of the House.
Picture hundreds of bodies writhing in euphoric glee as the will of the people, as the American Dream is liquefied and consumed, is shat and recycled into ink. Picture the ink poured into inkwells. Picture pens slipping into this ink. Picture signatures scratched on paper bearing obscure and esoteric language. Picture bills passing through Boehner’s grubby hands as the fetus on his face twitched and ejaculated onto the paper.
Picture bills twisting the dreams of American citizens; they transform the dreams into whorls of indebted servitude and permanent psychological imprisonment. This is a legacy John Boehner—and corporate cocksuckers like him—have and will leave behind, tarnishing the American landscape.
Until the catastrophe known as the Bush Administration, people viewed for-profit colleges (FPC), including online FPCs, with suspicion, reluctance, dread. For years sensible people treated these institutions as sort of higher education smegma: it was fun to talk about, but who the fuck wanted to be associated with it?
These so called institutions of higher learning were known as diploma factories. To a degree, they still are, but over the past decade Congress took steps to surround many of these institutions with a form of legitimacy—albeit superficial legitimacy.
The deregulation of for-profit colleges and student lending practices plunged a generation of men and women into unfathomable debt, and it will plunge the next generation of students further into debt.
By deregulating these systems, by forcing ‘legitimacy’ on some crooked institutions, John Boehner and politicians like him blurred the line—in the eyes of the people—between legitimate colleges and corporations employing education as a means of generating billions of dollars in revenue. It is for this reason alone that John Boehner was not, is not, and will not be good for education.
On student debt, on this forced servitude, this reality of credit destroying enslavement, many signatures are scrawled, and one of those signatures reads: “John ‘The Exterminator’ Boehner.” (Author’s note: ‘The Exterminator’ is not Boehner’s nickname, but it isn’t hard to imagine him referring to himself as something like it, perhaps even ‘Long Dong’ or ‘King Shit.’)
Boehner was a member of Congress in 2006, when the House passed legislation officially pulling the pin on the trapdoor plunging unwitting Americans into the abysmal waters of for-profit and online FPCs. The Long Dong, King Shit Exterminator’s name is all over the legislation unleashing FPCs and student lenders, deregulating both institutions. After the floodgates opened, for-profit colleges went public, becoming part of—or simply becoming—multibillion dollar corporations, preying on the credulity of people who don’t know better, of people who’ve been told to travel the road leading to college; the only road, we’re told, that leads anywhere.
A key restriction, known as the 50 percent rule, was put in place in the 90s to protect college goers from fraud and to protect taxpayers from paying the bill when unqualified ‘students’ defaulted on their loans. The desire to lift the 50 Percent Rule was championed by Boehner, who, as Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, struck the podium with force, with legitimacy, with authority.
Essentially, lifting the restriction added a new domino to the chain. College ‘A’ enrolls 30,000 students, who each pay $23,000 for the distinction of being pummeled in the ass by the cock of a “college” that spends less than one-third of its income on “teaching” the students. In return, the students receive credits that, in some cases, aren’t transferable. The students receive degrees that excite an employer as much as the thought of being jolted in the throat by a cattle prod.
But it gets better. Thanks in part to Boehner, students enrolled in online colleges receive ass-rammings so hard and so thorough that their sphincters become permanently goatsee’d. Boehner also voted for a bill increasing the federal loan limit available to students from $23,000 to $31,000 and $46,000 to $57,500. Combining this increase with deregulated FPCs is sinister for two reasons: (1) it gives a ‘college’ an incentive to raise tuition rates—a larger guarantee from the government translates to greater risk, i.e., revenue, for an institution, and (2) most loans are guaranteed by the Federal Government, which means if a student defaults on his or her loan, the taxpayers foot the bill. So if online colleges enroll one million students and a quarter of those students default on their loans, the colleges receive billions of dollars from the federal government (i.e. American taxpayers). That the 50 Percent Rule was eliminated by Boehner and his cronies increases the likelihood of defaults since it enables people to enroll in schools, to qualify for loans they aren’t able or likely to repay.
So the huckster who called federal debt a “moral hazard,” the cretin who called it “immoral to bind our children to as leeching and destructive a force as debt,” the blubbering idiot who said “it is immoral to rob our children’s future and make them beholden to China,” the bloated, orange chimpanzee who said “no society is worthy that treats its children so shabbily,” was an architect of a system designed to cripple unqualified people with debt. Then, to pay off that debt, the proponent of smaller government, the cheerleader of fiscal responsibility, voted to increase the amount of money the federal government would guarantee—and, in as many as 40% percent of the cases, repay.
Throughout his political career, John Boehner has courted student lending companies, most famously Sallie Mae, teasing the lenders with virginal students while they ejaculated cash into the Speaker’s PAC—money that Boehner invested on raising more money and donated to the campaigns of Republicans intent on transforming the American Republic into a vast corporate toilet.
By kowtowing to organizations like Sallie Mae, Boehner is an architect of the kind of crippling debt students are rallying against in the current Occupy Movement. What Boehner and his money hungry ilk are doing is nothing less than a scam, a sort of pyramid scheme designed to increase corporate profits and to enslave American citizens in a modern iteration of debt bondage.
It works like this: student lending companies compete with the federal government to grant loans to students. The federal government offers low interest loans at fixed rates. Private companies, however, offer loans with interest typically higher than those offered by the government, but the biggest difference between private and federal loans is the former offers variable rates, which means they can spike and cripple a person’s financial livelihood, potentially dealing a death blow to an already precarious economic situation.
Subsidized loans are loans in which the federal government pays the interest while you’re in school—a noble gesture until you discover that Boehner and like-minded dickheads enabled lenders for years to charge exorbitant interest and fees; money the American taxpayers dumped into the coffers of institutions spending millions lobbying Congress.
Viewed widely, deregulation serves one purpose: to funnel money from the government to corporations. In this equation, people serve as sieves through which money flows. We are pawns whose credit they paralyze, whose bank accounts they cripple, whose dreams and livelihood on which they trample.
The government guarantees student debt. Estimates vary, but the figures seem to be somewhere between $550 billion to $1 trillion. To put it simply, you want to go to college, you get a loan for, say, $40,000 guaranteed by the government. You go to school, graduate, but you can’t or won’t repay your loans. The loan defaults and the federal government flips the bill. This scenario is similar to the events leading to the economic collapse currently crushing society. Like the credit default swap and mortgage backed securities crisis, if everyone now holding government guaranteed student debt defaulted, then taxpayers would be on the hook for anywhere from half a trillion to one trillion dollars.
Adding icing to this shit cake, Congress has stripped almost every conceivable protection from the consumer who signs on the dotted line of a contract drawn up by a lending company. According to studentloanjustice.org, “Congress removed bankruptcy protections, refinancing rights, statutes of limitations, truth in lending requirements, fair debt collection practice requirements (for state agencies) and even removed state usury laws from applicability to federally guaranteed student loans. Congress also gave unprecedented powers of collection to the industry, including wage, tax return, Social Security, and Disability income garnishment, suspension of state issued professional licenses, termination from public employment, and other unprecedented collection tools that are used against borrowers for the purpose of collecting defaulted student loan debt.” That’s right. You can’t even file for bankruptcy protection on student debt.
So is it little surprise that Sallie Mae is one of John Boehner’s largest corporate patrons, donating $122,000 to the Freedom Project? And while he was the chairman of the Education and Workforce committee, and later while he was House Majority Leader, Boehner took rides on Sallie Mae’s corporate jets, flying to private golf outings with Albert L. Lord, CEO of Sallie Mae who has earned an estimated $225 million as the head of this supposedly honorable institution.
When Boehner and House Republicans killed the payroll tax cut extension affecting 160 million Americans, the Speaker and his cohorts congratulated themselves, but Boehner was not satisfied. He wanted more. He wanted to stop the press. He wanted to stop the world. He wanted to give to the United States a new, shadow constitution, one founded on Ayn Rand’s principles of selfishness, of bigotry, of oligarchic order and control.
But by refusing to extend the payroll tax cuts, the Republicans made a tactical blunder so monumental they made Saddam Hussein look like General Patton. The GOP is the party of no taxes. Whether it makes economic sense of not, their strict adherence to the type of dogma Ayn Rand embraced, the type of middle-class killing nonsense monsters like Grover Norquist embrace is well known. They sell the idea ad nauseum. “No taxes. Cut spending. Small government. Cutting taxes creates jobs.” But by opposing the tax cut, Boehner and the Republicans gave President Obama two political victories. The President can now write a narrative in which he is responsible for cutting taxes as well as looking out for the little people, protecting the so-called 99% from the evil clutches of the so-called 1%.
For a while, it appeared as though the Republicans had killed the payroll extension. The press turned on them. The Democrats seized the moment to denounce Republicans, casting them as the party of no, as the party of bad habits and poor insight. Even Republicans denounced the House Republicans.
“What is playing out in Washington, D.C. this week is about political leverage, not about what’s good for the American people,” Dean Heller, Republican Senator from Nevada, said in a statement. “There is no reason to hold up the short-term extension while a more comprehensive deal is being worked out.”
Even Mitch McConnell, the man who articulated the GOP’s ambitions to make Obama a one-term president, publicly urged Boehner and the House Republicans to pass the short-term extension.
So when House Republicans acknowledged the necessity of a tactical retreat, when they reached an agreement on extending the payroll tax-cut for two months, Boehner expressed his dissatisfaction when he and Harry Reid announced they had reached a temporary two-month extension.
“I don’t think it’s any time for celebration. Our economy is struggling. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us in the coming year,” he said, according to ABC News. “Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing, and sometimes it’s politically difficult to do the right thing. But you know, when everybody called for a one-year extension of the payroll tax deduction, when everybody wanted a full year of extended unemployment benefits, we were here fighting for the right things. It may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world, but let me tell you what: I think our members waged a good fight.”
But did they wage a good fight? The short answer is no. They waged the same fight they’ve waged for years: oppose legislation in principle while publicly opposing the content of the legislation—sometimes citing philosophical differences in their opposition; at other times, they cite minor differences, nit-picking, really, and expanding those little differences and describing them as philosophical differences.
But there’s a problem in appealing to so-called philosophical differences: it’s a weak argument. In politics, you’re elected to lead. And when you’re elected to the position of Speaker of the House you’re expected to lead. Shutting down the other party and citing ‘philosophical differences’ is not leadership…it’s cowardice.
In government, you are elected to work on behalf of the people who elected you by passing legislation compatible with the constitution. You are not elected to cater to the whims of opinion polls or to corporations or to political ideology. When you put ideology before the central tenets of the office you hold, you are not serving your country or your constituency. You are partaking in an extended session of intellectual masturbation. And when you kowtow to corporations or to ideologues like Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform—a man and an organization partly responsible for the appalling state of American politics—you are partaking in an extended session of intellectual onanism.
In ‘fighting the good fight,’ by waging an ideological ‘war’ with a stated ‘enemy,’ Boehner and company are bringing this country to its knees. By bringing this country to its knees, John Boehner and crooked politicians like him are exploiting the chaos—insanity they’ve cultivated—by remaking the country in a bizarre image, partly a mirror image and partly by distorting reality. The reality they’re portraying is analogous to the reality of Washington crossing the Delaware and the representation of that event as portrayed by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze: the image is mired in patriotism, in romanticism, in propagandistic ideology.
Reality as portrayed by modern politicians is far more damaging and damning than a patriotic painting of a man viewed as noble and brave. The painting of reality as conceived by modern politicians would, if we could pluck it out of their minds, reflect an image worthy of the work adorning the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately for us on the bottom rung of the ladder, the image actually resembles a cross between La Guernica by Picasso and The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch—a maelstrom of violence, of depravity, of deformity.
It is politicians like John Boehner—corporate whores willing to throw hundreds of millions of people to the dogs in exchange for campaign contributions and feelings of importance and power—who are crippling the Modern Western World, re-imagining it as an oppressive corporate dictatorship intent on pushing history to a period before the forging of the Magna Carta.
Lifelong debt and servitude, censorship and irrelevance await everyone who sits back and allows politicians to continue to play these games. With corporations pushing for legislation restricting Internet freedom, with the current Speaker of the House killing C-Span’s cameras on the House floor, effectively censoring the rebukes of Boehner’s political opponents, with legislation creating mountains of debt for individuals and the federal government, we are pushed ever closer to the edge of sanity. Soon, thanks to politicians like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush and John Boehner, we’ll all be goose stepping to an American flag adorned with either a cross or a dollar sign.