Laura Clawson's piece on House Republicans essentially holding the transportation bill for ransom is just one more demonstration that the G.O.P. has become a thugocracy. They live by extortion and produce nothing of value. Proof of this is the right wing's ongoing effort to brand the Obama administration with that label. Glenn Beck's own words re the GOP-forced government shutdown, from the heart of wingnut world where up is down, demonstrate the twisted mirror logic at work.

“This is beyond not wise. You don’t do that unless you’re building a thugocracy,” Beck said. “You come in with your stormtroopers and you say ‘shut it down,’ and you have to. They don’t care if they bully vets, shut down parks that don’t need to be shut down — they are showing you they’re in control.
emphasis added

          Republicans have become obsessed with control, to the detriment of the nation. Obstruction for the sake of obstruction, mean-spiritedness, lies and threats… if they can't run the country, they won't let anyone else. All their rhetoric, all their talk of principles and values is just a smokescreen for greed and power hunger.

         It can be hard to remember it doesn't have to be this way. Here's a couple of examples via NARP that show what can happen when people of good will use government to make this a better country.

         From Denver:

The layout of Denver revolves around the [Union] station. With 17th Street running to the station, the road became Denver's main street. That is still seen today by the warehouse buildings, office towers and hotels that line the road.

[University of Colorado Denver history professor Tom] Noel says the reopening of Union Station shows the building is still a driver of development.

"It's a wonderful return to the core city," Noel says. "Where as many core cities are decaying and rotting like Philadelphia, St. Louis, and even Chicago losing population, here you have an incredibly vibrant return to the city where that's once again the great transit hub that it was."

     From Illinois:
"Two years ago when their plant opened with a single shop, Nippon Sharyo had fewer than 100 new hires. The second shop added more workers. And, not much more than a year ago, I was in Rochelle for the groundbreaking of Shop #3: a facility that has been built impressively fast, that led to 90 additional hires, and has all the latest technologies for laser metal cutting, fabrication, and welding. Now, with today’s ribbon-cutting, the Rochelle plant has created more than 400 new jobs right here in the U.S.

"The plant has also helped create even more jobs throughout its American supply chain because our Buy America program requires that railcars being built here are 100 percent American-made. This shop allows Nippon Sharyo to fully meet these requirements and ramp up production through 2018.  

"For example, the Nippon Sharyo rail car order led to Columbus Casting’s largest order in its 130-year history, and 50 new jobs. And that’s just one of more than 50 American suppliers Nippon Sharyo will work with to build its railcars."

Imagine the kind of supply chain would develop if the U.S. committed itself to building a modern Amtrak equipment fleet. The economic multipliers that would take effect if we ever took on the challenge of building a truly 21st Century train network with fast and frequent service.

       More on this here and here. More NARP News here.  

        These are the kinds of stories you won't see on the national nightly news or the Sunday talking head shows. They may make a local splash but without social media you're not likely to hear about them. They don't fit the narrative of negativity from the nattering nabobs of nihilism on the right. They don't fit the government scandal/government failure groupthink of the mainstream media. Things can get done; things ARE getting done - but the news tends to get lost in the noise.

        Public investment in the public interest is a proven creator of jobs and a creator of conditions where the private sector can thrive; it can happen - but not under a thugocracy. Let's build the country we deserve - and throw the thugs out.

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