Imperfect allies versus actual enemies

(This is a redacted post from a Facebook Group I’m in. It was the OP’s comments and a few that followed that inspired this response from me.)

Thanks for your post, Lenard. It got me thinking. (This is pretty long. Sorry.)

Hillary - he is nuts meme

 
I don’t know if you mean this literally, Lenard, but you seem to be stating that the DNC picks a president’s running mate. I suspect they have some influence with the candidate. Such decisions are rarely – and shouldn’t be – made in a vacuum solely by the candidate. Ultimately, though, it is the candidate’s decision to make, so chastising the DNC for not putting Bernie on the ticket, with apologies, makes very little sense.
 
That said, having him on the ticket got me thinking.
 
How and why would having Sanders as Clinton’s VP have changed the outcome?
 
Did leaving him off exasperate voter apathy and disillusionment?
 
Perhaps, but turnout in 2016 according to FairVote (https://www.fairvote.org/voter_turnout#voter_turnout_101) was actually pretty good comparatively speaking.
 
That’s not to say that this country doesn’t have a problem with apathy as evidenced by the United States of Apathy (https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/11/voter-turnout-midterm-election-statistics-map/574939/), but we should remember that Trump lost the general by 3 million. That’s a wide margin even if only 60% of eligible voters voted.
 
We also mustn’t forget that he only won the EC thanks to 77,000 voters in PA, MI, and WI.
 
Which leads me to this question; would those 77,000 have voted for Clinton with Bernie as VP?
 
Seems unlikely to me thanks in no small part to the hate on both the Right and on the Left for Hillary, the latter thanks in no small measure to die-hard Sanders supporters who then refused to vote the way Sanders asked them to, and that was for Hillary.
 
So, if we do conclude and concede that turnout would have been even greater for Hillary across the board but especially in the battleground states with Bernie on the ticket, does this mean that “Sanders voters” in those places who refused to join me as a Sanders supporter in voting for Clinton are now taking responsibility for Trump?
 
Seriously, if you call yourself a liberal or progressive or Sanders supporter, and you didn’t vote for Clinton as Bernie asked – begged – us to do, for whom did you vote, why, and will you do it again?
 
The reality was there were two choices in 2016. Two.
 
One was Trump and the other wasn’t.
 
We all knew and understood that. It’s simply intellectually dishonest to argue otherwise.
 
I get that if you live in a “safely” blue state like CA, you feel safe voting for Jill or Rocky or whomever, but that safety is afforded you only because the vast majority of your neighbors are doing what they believe and they know they must do. This isn’t an insult, it’s just how I see it nowadays. Voting your conscious is all well and good, until it isn’t for anyone but you.
 
Now the big question. Are some Sanders supporters becoming cultists? It seems so to me.
 
Look, I’m a Sanders supporter. What worries me is what I’m seeing in other FB groups that are total hardcore pro-Sanders Groups.
 
Their demand of the DNC distills down to this: “Give us Sanders, or you’ll get more scorched earth.”
 
This raises three questions for me.
 
1. Do they think the DNC controls who runs for office?
 
2. Whom do they think they’re hurting by refusing to vote for the Democrat on the ballot?
 
3. Why would anyone take conscious actions to perpetuate what we have now with Trump in office?
 
The answers I come to are framed by what starts to look to me as the same basic thinking as Trump’s cult, and that starts with making demands for change without understanding how things work. The second is to willfully decide to vote against oneself and everyone else without regard for the adverse affects just so they can pat themselves on the back for “winning” while putting someone they love into power as self-affirmation that they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
 
This is how Trump’s cult behaves. It’s as if they thought he would take office, wave a magic wand, and everything he – and they – wanted would become real. Well, I can’t help looking at many of my fellow Sanders supporters and concluding they believe the same would be true with Sanders in the White House. We all know that’s not how politics or our form of government works.
 
As for the DNC’s role in all of this, I have to say it’s childish to keep demanding that the DNC give us what we want or we’ll punish them at the polls.
 
Who is it that gets punished?
 
Is it the rich and powerful at the top? That would be silly and naive to believe.
 
Is it the Democratic politician who loses the election? Do you mean the people who are our best, albeit imperfect, allies but who aren’t actual enemies like Republican candidates? They’ll go back to doing whatever it is they were doing, or they’ll get a job on K Street, or whatever, but they’ll be fine. You aren’t “hurting” them, either.
 
No, the people who are hurt when Democrats lose and Republicans win are everyone outside the One Percent, and especially those who aren’t cisgender, white, evangelical, men.
 
We on the Left need to stop being our own worst enemies. We need to stop talking about the DNC as if it were a cabal of evil scientists building candidates out of corporatist Democratic body parts in a lab. Real people decide whether or not to run for office. Those real people must decide to run as Democrats or Republicans, Greens or Libertarians, or as Independents.
 
(Yes, here it comes.)
 
Sanders – for all the love and respect I have for him – is NOT a Democrat. If he were perfectly true to his stated beliefs, he would’ve run as an Independent. No one is perfect.
 
That’s why I suggest that we and he should stop pretending he’s a Democrat. I’d respect the hardcore Sanders-supporting Democratic Party haters more if they started calling Bernie out for being a Democrat of Convenience. After all, many of them refused to follow his advice to vote for Hillary, so shouldn’t they be attacking him for that and his convenient relationship with the DNC? Shouldn’t they be demanding that he run as an Independent? I’ll guess we’ll know soon enough.
 
I think we on the Left should be more supportive of the Democratic Party. I think we should vote for Democrats because they are clearly our strongest, albeit imperfect, allies against the actual enemies of Trump and the GOP. No, the Dems aren’t perfect. No one is, but they are exponentially stronger than any other Party other than the GOP.
 
Something else to remember about 2016 is that Bernie lost the primary in a race that wasn’t close.
 
The lesson to be learned is NOT that the DNC wasn’t supportive enough of him. I sometimes get the sense that many of my fellow Sanders supporters actually believe the DNC capable of stealing 3 million primary votes. Yes, yes, she had the superdelagates locked up early, and Nevada, and yada yada yada, but all I’ll say to all of that is that Sanders wasn’t a Democrat until it was convenient for him to register as one. What the hell did he and we expect, a loving embrace from the rank-and-file members and the leaders of a Party he has spent almost as much of his career pillorying as he has Republicans?
 
Again, if Bernie’s going to be a voice of independence from corrupt Parties, than he should run independent of them.
 
In my view, this is the absolute most important thing to remember about the primary: More people chose Hillary over Bernie. That’s how the system works.
 
So, if the Democratic candidates on your ballot aren’t liberal or progressive enough for you, then run for office yourself, but let’s stop this arsonist’s strategy of wanting to burn down the Democratic Party because the people who choose to operate within it and who choose to run as representatives of it aren’t pure enough for us. If that’s how you feel, then join the Party, run for office, and change it from the inside; otherwise, what makes you think you should have a voice in how the Party operates and who runs under its banner? Talk about privilege.
 
And, if you’re left with another choice in 2020 that doesn’t include Sanders and you vote for anyone but the Democrat at least have the courage to publicly own it. I see precious few Sanders supporters who claim to despise the Democratic Party with the courage to reveal for whom they did cast their vote. I’m proud to say that I registered for the first time in my life as a Democrat so that I could vote for Bernie in the closed PA primary. I’m just as proud to say that I voted for Hillary.
 
No one is perfect. My view is that the Left needs to find a way to coalesce and to stop being our own worst enemies by constantly fighting intra-movement purity battles. Yes, the Democratic Party should be more Liberal with a capital “L”, but how does attacking it or refusing to work with and within it lead to the change you want? It doesn’t.
 
I think that we must remember that the Left has a lot of imperfect friends and allies in the Democratic Party.
 

We have none in the Republican Party.

When did Busters become Breitbart believers?

Dick MorrisA friend recently asked if I’ve watched or read Clinton Cash, Crisis of Character, or Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary

The answer is simple. I don’t pay attention to right-wing propaganda. What mystifies me is why such an intelligent, well-informed, and well-reasoned individual would.

Here’s the more detailed response. Feel free to copy and paste it as your response to your Buster friends who are asking you these same questions.

“In the meantime, did you see or read Clinton Cash yet?”

No, and I’m not planning to watch it. It’s right-wing propaganda just like Citizens United’s “Hillary: The Movie” was.

Why would I give a shit what another hit piece has to say, especially knowing it comes from the likes of Peter Franz Schweizer, a “right wing political consultant,” “president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) and a former William J. Casey Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is also Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large.”

“How about Crisis of Character?”

No. Similar reason as above, and to wit:

“The book was denounced by the non-partisan Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service for making “security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.”[2] Members of that Association also said that Byrne’s job and role at that time would not have given him the level of access that many of the book’s tales would be dependent upon.[2] Media Matters wrote that in places Byrnes’ account in the book stood in contradiction to his sworn testimony before the Independent Counsel during the Lewinsky scandal in 1998.[4]”

” Or former advisory to Clinton Dick Morris’ book, Armageddon.”

You mean the Dick Morris described below? No. Same reason. It’s right-wing bullshit that I can’t believe you’re buying into.
“Morris said that he would leave the United States if Hillary Clinton were elected president in 2008.[11]
“Morris was the strategist for Republican Christy Mihos’s campaign in the 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial race[12] and supported Mitt Romney in 2012, predicting that he would achieve a landslide victory. Blogger Andrew Sullivan has named an annual award after Morris, given for “stunningly wrong political, social and cultural predictions.”[13] He has appeared in the past on the Fox News for political commentary, especially appearing on The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity.[14][15] After the 2012 election, Morris did not appear on Fox News for three months, and the network ultimately opted not to renew his contract.[16]”

UPDATE:

It’s worse than I thought…..

“Now he is the chief political commentator and correspondent for The National Enquirer.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/style/hillary-clinton-dick-morris-national-enquirer-donald-trump.html?_r=0

“How much smoke do you have to be surrounded by before you conclude there’s a fire?”

(To be clear, that’s my friend’s question to me. He knows that I was once a very vocal and active Sanders supporter who, like Bernie, now supports Hillary.)

I think you’re seeing fog, not smoke from a fire. What you call smoke, I call the intentional fog of propaganda and brainwashing. Repeat something enough times and people begin to believe it’s true. It’s how it works.
So, the answer to your question might be, “When it’s really smoke from a fire that some right-winger didn’t light.”

Here’s my only question to you (and to all the Busters who refuse to support Hillary):

When did you start becoming a fan and amplifier of this sort of propaganda?

And, please, don’t come back at me with some personal attack, ok?

I answered your questions as you asked. Now I’m asking you. Why do you trust these sources? Is it because they support the narrative you have about Clinton?

40 years in public life and nothing has stuck. After 40 years of trying, if there was even one ounce of ‘there’ there, wouldn’t something – anything – have stuck to her by now?

No, I am not saying she’s an innocent. Not by a long shot. Sadly, one doesn’t get to where she and Bill are and have been in American politics by being pure. What I am saying is that the entire weight of conservatism has been piled against her, and still no jumpsuit.

What bothers me most is watching some of my friends echoing right-wing propaganda.

 

Charley Reese’s 545 People

I have no argument with the general sentiments of the email copied in below. It is, however, the victim of present-day and all too typical sets of changes without citations which then appear to belong to the original article.

I admit that I haven’t spent a ton of time researching this, but this is what I was able to discover.

The original article was written by Charley, not Charlie, Reese in 1985. You’d think people would at least get the guy’s name right.

Ronny-boy was resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in 85. He was, with the same level of intellect and with the same kind of help a kindergartner gets when finger painting, the one proposing federal budgets in 85.

In 85, Dems controlled the House. (The GOP held the Senate.) Dems were clearly responsible for having the balls to tell President Chimp to go f*** himself budgetary-wise. (Any-reason-wise would have been good with me.) True to form, the spineless cowards didn’t.

Notwithstanding all the editorial changes and additions too numerous to mention here, the original Reese article ends with the phrase “…have the gumption to manage their own employees.” It’s our fault for whom we vote into office. Granted, the pickings have never been very good. IMHO, they have degenerated into something almost completely unrecognizable and bordering on inhuman in the GOP. I submit Sharron Angle as Exhibit A.

Reese’s article has reportedly been updated by the author from time to time. A 1995 revision, when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress and Slick Willy was proposing budgets, includes the following passage:

“Everything on the Republican contract is a problem created by Congress. Too much bureaucracy? Blame Congress. Too many rules? Blame Congress. Unjust tax laws? Congress wrote them. Out-of-control bureaucracy? Congress authorizes everything bureaucracies do. Americans dying in Third World rat holes on stupid U.N. missions? Congress allows it. The annual deficits? Congress votes for them. The $4 trillion plus debt? Congress created it.”

GOP-controlled Congresses, as the article points out, are as guilty as Dems for not acting with fiduciary responsibility.

I found the end of the email to be downright comical. Times were better 100 years ago? Really?

I’d love to see proof that “…our nation was the most prosperous in the world” in 1910. Someone must have forgotten or ignored their history. Everything I’ve ever read or learned in school attributes our role in WWII as the factor most responsible for our rise to global prominence. Before that, we were wannabes.

“We had absolutely no national debt”
There was national debt in 1910, too. The fact is that there has never – NEVER – been a time when the federal government didn’t carry some debt, including during the budget surplus years of Clinton.

“…had the largest middle class in the world”
Really? Someone please provide proof that there was anything even remotely resembling what we would call a middle class in America in 1910 even if it wasn’t the largest in the world.

I only wish that my grandparents were still alive to ask. If you have any friends or relatives left who lived through even the Depression and WWII, ask them if they considered themselves to be “middle class” back then. Then ask them to compare it to their standard of living today.

My father (1915 – 1989) and mother (1925 – 2010) grew up in the warm embrace of unregulated, capitalist-driven, middle class status.

They really had it all, those lucky children of immigrants-turned-middle-class-Americans. After all, what’s not to like? They enjoyed the comforts and security that could have come only from being serfs to…I mean, the lucky employees of….. kind, benevolent, unregulated, and non-unionized coal companies.

Their lives were replete with all the middle class luxuries we would recognize, and maybe even envy, today.

Middle class luxuries such as….
….outdoor plumbing
….endless, discount-priced shopping opportunities at the company store
….threats, beatings, and sometimes even killings….wait, I mean safe and secure working and living conditions…. courtesy of company-paid private security
….and the one thing that seems to completely resemble today’s middle class American – totally oppressive debt, but in their case to the company store instead of big banks and credit card companies.

Sources:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/reese.asp
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1995-03-07/news/9503060362_1_blame-congress-passed-by-congress-bureaucracy/2
http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/markets/national-debt.shtml
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/117xx/doc11766/2010_08_05_FederalDebt.pdf
http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt.htm

—-
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little”
FDR inaugural address, 1/20/37. http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5105/

The article below is completely neutral, …not anti Republican or Democrat.

Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day.

545 vs. 300,000,000

EVERY CITIZEN NEEDS TO READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS JOURNALIST HAS SCRIPTED IN THIS MESSAGE. READ IT AND THEN REALLY THINK ABOUT OUR CURRENT POLITICAL DEBACLE.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

545 PEOPLE–By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them..

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits….. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it’s because they want them in IRAQ

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it……… Is up to you.
This might be funny if it weren’t so darned true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts
Anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his butt.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
Taxes drove me
to my doom…’

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax..
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

Style Over Substance

http://wimp.com/fareedzakaria/

If I may offer my own opinion (and even if I may not), I would begin by saying that our society is rooted in a culture that values style over substance. (There’s a bold statement, eh?!?!) We only have ourselves to blame.

Some like me would say that style-over-substance is the only explanation for how Ronny Ray-Gun, Slick Willy, Dumb-ya and even Obama got elected. Yes, even Obama. He was the right guy with the right message and right delivery at the right time. It’s refreshing to have a president who speaks in complete sentences and doesn’t come off like some dumb ass cowboy who fell out of his saddle one too many times….or in W’s case, who has all the right power-base genes but the intellect of a toaster oven.

Frankly, 2 turds could have beaten any GOP ticket considering how bad W screwed things up. That and the fact that the best the party of Lincoln could come up with was a near-senile ex-maverick and a brainless windbag ex-beauty queen who doesn’t read a single newspaper and seems pretty proud of her ignorance. The GOP deserved to lose. Some, including me, would cast them – McCain, mostly – in the role of sacrificial lamb. Hell, let’s face it. After W’s 8-year debacle a GOP ticket of Jesus Christ and Ayn Rand still would have lost.

One thing I think we might all agree on is that “style” has taken over substance. “Style” when it comes to leaders and especially presidents is overrated. I’ll bet “style” isn’t exactly the first adjective that comes to mind when we think about Nixon, Carter, or George Herbert. Not that any of them were particularly great leaders. Damn, now that I started on this path I have to admit that they all sucked, too. They sucked *AND* had no style. What a trio of losers, eh? Carter, of course, is my favorite among the three but that’s only because of what I’ve learned about GHWB and Jimmy since they left office.

I wonder if any of us will live long enough to see the voting public mature as a society to a point where we focus on facts, the issues, and policies and forget the rhetoric and hyperbole. Sadly, I suspect not. My hope still rests with my children’s generation. Ironically, it seems simultaneously easier and harder to fool the digital generation. Clearly, we have done nothing but screw things up royally.

Speaking of screw ups, what a freak show 2012 promises to be if you real Republicans finally and completely surrender your party to the lunatic fringe nut-jobs and Palin is your candidate. If that happens, I can only hope Inhofe or maybe her fellow Faux News celeb, Huckabee, is her running mate. Wwooooooooo-doggies!!!! We’re gonna’ have us one big ol’ Meet the Kardashian-type media circus campaign, you betcha!!! Break out the grizzly jerky and the Good Book, and let’s have us some drilling in the ANWR, deportation of anyone who even resembles a Latino, and teaching Creationism in public schools! Hell, let’s just have us one big ol’ full blown Christian Taliban White House!! If you ain’t a white, heterosexual, god-fearing, conservative, lifetime member of the NRA, and deeeee-vout Christian, well then, you’re a commie pinko tree-huggin’ fagot socialist and we’re gonna’ show you the door!

You know us middle-class whites – any chance we get to piss on someone below us on the socio-economic ladder and we’ll whip it out just to prove that our lord god and savior, Ronny-boy, was right about trickle down!

Enough of that. It’s hyperbole, and I’m sure it pisses some of you off. Sorry, but it serves to make the point. We have ourselves to blame.

The media is about eyeballs and advertisers. You’ve heard it from me before. The media focuses on the president’s emotions or lack thereof because that’s what we care about and will watch. We don’t care about real leadership. Hell, most Americans wouldn’t know what that was if it slapped us squarely in the face. When we think of leadership we think of Ben Rothlisberger or Kobe Bryant or John Wayne. We don’t think about intelligence and intellect. We don’t think about careful contemplation, consequences, inclusion, or long-term consideration for the common good and the general welfare. We certainly don’t seem to think about the truth or facts about anything unless, of course, they appear to fit our preconceived notions, beliefs, and desires for what we want and wish the world to be.

What other explanation is there for the ridicule from some quarters of sources like PolitiFact, FactCheck, Snopes, and other unbiased resources?

What other reason can there for Obama’s handlers and his political opponents alike to make so much about his “kicking some ass” comments? One side claims it demonstrates his toughness while the other sees it as an indictment of him and his leadership while ogres like Cheney telling legislators to go f*** themselves and that chimp W’s stupid flip of the middle finger to a camera like some delinquent ninth grader gets a pass. Oh, then there’s that whole inconvenient torture thing, but, hey, we’re Americans! We can do whatever the hell we want, whenever the hell we want, and to whomever the hell we want because…………well, that’s the bully’s prerogative.

So, coming from a self-proclaimed flaming liberal, the real crime is that we citizens don’t stop and take the time to ask real questions or do our own homework. There simply is, IMHO, no other rational explanation for why things are as they are. We are complicit in the dumbing-down of America, the media, and American politics. Only we can change that. Nothing could have convinced me more of that than seeing a tea party rally with my own eyes.

I don’t care that they hate Obama, I really don’t. Like most hate, it’s out of ignorance. What I care about is that the media pays any attention at all to this lunatic fringe and their lunatic demigod, Queen Sarah. Sharron Angle? Are you effing kidding? How does someone like that rise to any more prominence than with a bunch of local snake handlers without the media and our moth-like reaction to follow the light?

Every second of attention paid by the media to the tea party movement confers a mistaken and misguided sense of credibility they do not deserve and can only win with an uneducated, uniformed portion of the populace who thinks their values are being echoed when all they really are is more fodder for the movement. Moths to the flame; eyeballs to the advertisers.

I get the frustration, I really do. We all have some. But what I saw on July 3rd in my proverbial backyard was the basest elements of what I thought was a democratic society. These people don’t care about democracy. They pay it lip service. They don’t care about facts or the truth. Listen to their speakers. What they want is a segregationist’s America, complete with discrimination against anyone who isn’t a god-fearing white face like themselves. What they want is a white man back in the White House; preferably a good Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Methodist, and in a pinch, a Baptist. No matter what, anyone with a name like Barak Hussein Obama is obviously a Muslim, probably isn’t a citizen, and is for sure just a little too tanned for the liking of good ol’ fashioned baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet Americans, goddammit.

And we have ourselves and our feeding of the media-beast to blame for all of this. Why else would the president’s emotions – real or staged – seem to get more attention than what caused the disaster in the Gulf and what we’re going to do as a nation and as a people to make sure this never, ever, ever happens again anywhere, not just in the USA?

Must be because what we value most is style over substance.

One Person’s Perspective on the Federal Debt as a % of GDP


What’s been the history of the Federal debt, what’s been happening over time, and who’s been in power when it happened?

Initial searches weren’t very efficient and it was hard to find a reasonable summary. Here’s one of them: http://zfacts.com/p/318.html. The web site owner claims to be an economist who does this in his spare time. Take it for what it’s worth.

Ever the skeptic, I decided to check further and to account for Congress and the role they play. I decided to create my own chart. It’s attached. The Sources at the bottom include a link to the actual Federal debt tables used to generate the underlying line graph.

Conclusions? Here are mine.
1. Federal debt as a % of GDP went through the roof due to WWII

2. Federal debt marked a steady decline after WWII regardless of who was in the White House and through 35 years of a mostly Democratically-controlled Congress until…….

3. Reagan, a terrific actor (which some mistake for intelligence and oratory skills) and famous co-star to trained monkeys, got elected…yes, I hate the stupid f***…
AND Republicans took control of the Senate

This next point is, IMHO, probably the single most important fact to remember about all of this.

4. The Republican-controlled 106th Congress takes Ronny’s “smaller government” religion to its fatal extreme by passing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in November of 1999 which is signed into law by another RWMF and career politician, Bill Clinton.

For those who need a little history review, GLB repealed many of the regulatory safeguards which had been put into place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which was the federal government’s response to the unfettered and unregulated bankers who caused the * FIRST * Great Depression.

Go back further (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/wallstreet/weill/demise.html) and understand how Glass-Steagall was coming under serious attack during Reagan’s administration in 1986-1987….at the same time a former J.P. Morgan director and life-long disciple of Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, was being made Fed Chairman.

“In the spring of 1987, the Federal Reserve Board votes 3-2 in favor of easing regulations under Glass-Steagall Act, overriding the opposition of Chairman Paul Volcker. The vote comes after the Fed Board hears proposals from Citicorp, J.P. Morgan and Bankers Trust advocating the loosening of Glass-Steagall restrictions to allow banks to handle several underwriting businesses, including commercial paper, municipal revenue bonds, and mortgage-backed securities.”

Do you see those words, “mortgage-backed securities”?

5. The upward trend continued on Bush 41’s watch and with a Democratically controlled Congress (Dems can be such pussies…or are they just RWMFs of a different stripe? Both, I’d say.)

6. Yes, Clinton was in some ways the benefactor of a booming economy and, yes, some credit for reducing the Federal debt has to go to a Republican Congress
(In case anyone would like a quick primer on how the Federal budgeting process actually works, the roles various branches and departments play, etc., see http://useconomy.about.com/od/fiscalpolicy/p/Who_budget.htm)

7. Finally, it was without a single shred of doubt in my mind or any possibility for any sort of fact-based denial that a Republican-controlled Congress and a half-witted Republican son of a Texas oilman is who put us on this disastrous financial path.

The list of fiscal failures since 2001 is long, but we can start with cut taxes that primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans while waging 2 wars off the books. Add to that, the bottom dropping out of an unregulated financial services sector based too heavily on an overly-speculated real estate market that had so much credit and investment capital tied to it and what did those geniuses think would happen? It leads to a reality in which Wall Street and RWMFs everywhere get all the reward with none of the risk and we taxpayers are left to bail out the whole friggin’ mess….

My point is the current pathetic state of our economy and the federal budget is something that began long before Obama came into office, before voters turned Congress back to Dems, and really began when Rs were in charge and is rooted in the desire of RWMFs everywhere to deregulate and get rich.

I have no problem with fiscal responsibility, but to think that a president and Congress can fix the mess of previous administrations overnight – or even in a single year – just isn’t realistic. And I don’t think we’d be in this mess if the justifiable and now obviously needed regulations and oversights of the financial services industry had not been repealed.

If anyone has a better plan than what is being done now, I’d like to hear it. Was allowing all the TARP recipients, GM, and any other recipients of federal money to fail the better plan? In a perfect Randian world, I guess the answer would be, “Yes.”

Additional Sources
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy10/hist.html
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122156561931242905.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60U09L20100131
http://www.factcheck.org/2010/02/the-big-bank-bailout-bill/
http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/subjects/g/glass_steagall_act_1933/index.html
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/ignore.cfm