Chris Hayes, Bill Keller and Understanding What The Romney/Ryan Ticket Really Means


It’s been both scary and incredibly frustrating watching so many Americans vote against their own well-being and the well-being of their neighbors. But it’s far from surprising: 8 years of George W. Bush, the rise of Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, even Ronald Reagan being considered one of our “great” presidents… There is a portion of America that simply does not follow what is going on. They just… follow. Their buttons are pushed and they react.

America has become a country overrun with greed. It is a testament to just how dangerous Capitalism can be when the failsafes are broken, when they are deemed “unnecessary.”

“What is good for me is right.”

Ayn Rand’s quoted statement that traced back to child murderer William Hickman (see HERE) seems to have become the American mantra. At least for a portion of the country. Now I know there are many, many well-meaning, truly good people who will be voting for Romney come November (assuming he gets the nomination–I’m still watching for a last minute Jeb Bush game-changer), but there can only be one reason for this:

Ignorance.

While I recognize that to be a rather harsh statement, I’m afraid there are many people out there who, if they knew the truth behind what it was they were voting for and what the repercussions would actually be, would vote quite differently given the proper information in its proper context. Take fear and misinformation out of the picture and what is revealed would scare even Ronald Reagan out of his own cement boots.

The other option for voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket would be straightforward selfishness and/or greed. Of course, that would probably release those folks from the category of “well-meaning.” I’m sorry to paint such a black and white picture here, but to vote Republican in this day and age, with what Conservative America is proposing and the path it has taken, there really aren’t any other believable reasons for voting that way. Okay, mental illness counts, too.

But in all seriousness, this is no longer about political ideologies. This is about a system that has broken down to allow the ruling class (yes, we have a ruling class) to change the rules in their favor. At the expense of every other citizen. This is not just a possibility, this is not hyperbole, this is what has happened and it will take educating more people, opening a few more eyes, and getting some seriously brave people out in the field to turn this around. And by “the field,” I mean the voting booths, peaceful protests, writing blogs, op eds, talking seriously to friends and family armed with facts and knowledge, doing whatever one can do to make sure as many people as possible understand exactly what it is they are voting for and who it benefits.

My conversations with conservatives of late has revealed a deep well of misinformation. For a group of people fighting against the horrors and corruption of big government, it’s amazing to see those very same people absorbing what they’re told by Fox News or those on the payrolls of the world’s wealthiest corporations as the word of God. With absolutely no desire to scrape the surface and actually find out if any of what they’re being sold told is based on any measure of truth! And the level of intransigence that goes along with their conviction that what they claim to know as truth is a reality worth fighting for is downright surreal. But alongside that surreality is a very frightening reality that these people could very well damage the lives of millions of people, including their own and those of their loved ones. In the age of Christian conservatism it comes across as downright ironic since their very own Messiah preached values that seem to be the polar opposite of what these people are voting for. Without realizing it, these folks have become the crowd encircling the crosses at Golgotha calling for blood and reveling in the death of three men whom the powers-that-be insisted were dangerous and unworthy to live.

For anyone who might have an interest in knowing just a tad more about what the Romney-Ryan package has to offer, I recommend Bill Keller’s write-up in the New York Times on that very subject.

And finally, I think Chris Hayes nailed it while on the Rachel Maddow show. His succinct and precise interpretation pretty much says it all:

You can watch the entire interview HERE.

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Chris Hayes, Bill Keller and Understanding What The Romney/Ryan Ticket Really Means

Every Country Has Its Own Rev. Terry Jones


Protests throughout the Middle-East condemning Reverend Terry Jones’ claim that he will burn copies of the Quran (which the Reverend then said he would not do and is now reconsidering again), have resulted in injuries and the stupidest of all responses, the burning of the American flag. Like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck’s followers, there are people everywhere who simply do not put two and two together.

Burning the American flag is not the best way to convince anyone that they should respect the Quran and not burn copies. However, while it’s easy to assume that most Afghans or Pakistanis protesting are this misguided, be reminded that it’s just as easy for them to think that most Americans are like the Reverend Jones. Both sides react based on extreme actions by a select faction of people and violence, hate, and oftentimes murder ensue.

Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, Dick Cheney, the Reverend Terry Jones, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin… these are all people who offer those seeking an avenue to syphon their fear and anger a place to rage. To gather together with others who have not come to terms with the emotions they are feeling and allow them to act inappropriately and dangerously. This is not new to society. Any society. It is not new to the human race. Joseph McCarthy, Adolph Hitler… granted, those are extremes, but the idea is the same. People the world-over are disillusioned and fearful. We all struggle with these emotions. We always have.

Hopefully through the events of the past ten years, we will all start to learn just how susceptible we are to those who prey on those fears and insecurities, whether they do so knowingly or through ignorance. It’s one thing to try and learn from the past, from something one hasn’t experienced oneself. It’s another to live through it, as we are doing now.

I wonder if it’s possible to learn how dangerous this type of behavior is and to actually pass that on to further generations. Or do we all have to learn it for ourselves and be doomed to repeat it for all eternity? Or at least until we take it so far that there’s no turning back.

Let’s hope something good comes from it all. At least in the present. And let’s hope it doesn’t get too much worse before it gets better.

Every Country Has Its Own Rev. Terry Jones

The Ugly Americans: Reverend Jones & Friends


I’ll start out by saying that I’m thrilled to see so many people standing up to oppose Reverend Terry Jones’ intention to hold a “Burn A Quran Day” event on September 11th. In the face of the overwhelming ignorance, hatred and blatant religious and ethnic bigotry opposing the proposed building of an Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero, Rev. Jones’ disgusting intent just adds fuel to an already out of control fire raging through America. Add the lunatic-gathering at Glenn Beck’s “Take Back America” rally and Sarah Palin’s daily tweets of extreme ignorance and vile attacks, and we have a picture of a dangerous country succumbing to its own panicked state of fearfulness.

What would the American picture of Islam be if some nut-job over in Afghanistan gathered people together to start burning copies of the Christian Bible? Or the Jewish Bible? Would we easily be able to separate an extremist like this–that one in a million religious kook–from the rest of the population? Hell, we already know we can’t separate a group of terrorists from an entire nation and/or religious belief.

And even when Gen. David Petraeus claims that Jones’ actions, if carried out, will almost certainly endanger American soldiers overseas as well as place Americans everywhere (including right here at home) in even more peril, and the Reverend still insists that “Burn A Quran Day” is enacting God’s will… Well, one has to question whether Jones’ God cares all that much about this little country of ours or whether he’s just a vengeful entity who likes to “stir the pot” and see what happens.

Sadly, it’s people like Reverend Jones who are, in my opinion, no better than the terrorists who attacked this country. He is putting his personal beliefs over the lives of lord knows how many people and claims to be on a mission from God. “We actually feel this is a message that we have been called to bring forth,” claims Jones. “And because of that, we do not feel like we can back down.”

Irony of ironies.

“Maybe it’s time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior,” added Jones.

Hmmm… What if we changed the words radical Islam and replaced it with America and placed that same sentence into the mouths of the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.

“Maybe it’s to time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to America that we will not tolerate their behavior.”

As a result of his actions and some of the negative attention it has drawn, Rev. Jones has started wearing a .40-caliber pistol strapped to his hip. Now there’s a good picture. A man of God insisting on endangering human lives (American lives, for those that separate) and carrying a pistol in case someone tries to stop him from going through with his “religious obligation…”

And so the lines blur even more…

“Islam is of the Devil,” read the signs Rev. Jones has posted in front of his church.

Wasn’t America the incarnation of the devil in the eyes and words of the Al Qaeda?

The Quran, according to the all-knowing Rev. Jones is “evil because it espouses something other than biblical truth and incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims.”

Is that what it does? Cause I’m guessing the same could be said about the Torah. It certainly espouses some different biblical truths than Rev. Jones’ preferred version of the holy book. And if you’re Palestinian, you might well believe that it also incites radical, violent behavior in Jews.

Why, it seems to me that Rev. Jones’ bible is inciting radical behavior in him and his followers. Behavior that may well lead to violence and killing as a direct result. Violence and killing Rev. Jones is well aware of. If he wasn’t, do you think he’d still be armed with that .40-caliber pistol strapped lovingly to his hip?

There’s that fine line again. I just can’t keep it all straight…

Who exactly are the good guys?

The Ugly Americans: Reverend Jones & Friends

Kyl & Bunning: Truth Hurts


I’ve been writing a lot lately about a certain mentality sweeping the country (or, more appropriately, coming into light), where facts and logic no longer count. For example, the internet is a great place to find a group of people who believe what you want to believe. So no matter how many facts are thrown your way contradicting that belief you so dearly want to hold onto, there are enough people out there fighting desperately to maintain that same belief that you can actually find a comfortable little home for yourself all nice and cuddled up with your new friends while completely disregarding facts and/or reality. I see the Tea Partiers and Sarah Palin followers doing this daily.

And in the past few days, we’ve watched Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona fight vigorously for his belief system, even in the face of facts showing that his statements are, plainly and simply, wrong. And the result? Well, it’s always the same. Innocent people get hurt.

Kyl insists:

“[unemployment insurance] doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work… because people are being paid even though they’re not working.

I’m sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can’t argue that it’s a job enhancer. If anything, as I said, it’s a disincentive. And the same thing with the COBRA extension and the other extensions here.”

In response, Sen. Max Baucus responded:

“The Senator from Arizona argues that unemployment insurance is a disincentive to jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know anybody who’s out of work and is receiving some unemployment insurance believes that that payment is sufficient not to find a job. The payments are so much lower than any salary or wage would be, it’s just ridiculous. I might add, there are five unemployed Americans today for every job opening in the economy. People are looking for work. They’re not unemployed because of choice.”

According to the Huffington Post:

[Baucus] added that Kyl’s economic argument was flawed, as well. Unemployment benefits do create jobs because the recipients cycle the money through the economy. He cited a Congressional Budget Office analysis that said the Gross Domestic Product grew $1.90 for every dollar the federal government paid out.

Baucus, ever the bipartisan, gave Kyl a chance to take his accusation back.

“I don’t know if the senator really meant this, but he certainly strongly implied, in fact, I took him to mean that unemployment insurance is a disincentive for people to look for work,” said Baucus.

Kyl’s response:

“My colleague quoted me correctly — almost correctly. I said, it’s not a job creator. If anything, it could be argued that it is a disincentive for work, because people are being paid even though they’re not working. I certainly did not say, and would never imply, that the reason people don’t have jobs is because they’re not looking for them. Now, it is true that a lot of Americans have gotten so tired of looking for jobs or — or believe that they’re not gong to find them, that they have stopped looking. What I said is true and if my colleague could find a source that says it’s not true, then please show me. But providing unemployment benefits does not create jobs.”

And there it is: “if my colleague could find a source that says it’s not true, then please show me. But providing unemployment benefits does not create jobs.”

This statement right on the heels of Baucus having just pointed him toward the CBO analysis.

Even when confronted with economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s comments:

“It puts money into people’s pockets and they spend almost all of it. That creates jobs.”

Kyl still remained firm on his stance regardless of the facts that spoke to the contrary. Yes, I agree with Kyl that there are some out there who may not be looking for jobs because they are receiving unemployment. That will ALWAYS happen in ANY system that offers help. There will always be a number of people who take advantage of the system. For whatever reason, good or not. But that is not the bulk of the people. It would be a miniscule percentage. And in the midst of this recession, with all the suffering and desperation going on in this country as a result, this man keeps this much needed money out of the hands of individuals and families who desperately need it. All because he insists on holding on to a belief that has been factually disproved.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning continues his filibuster blocking the Senate from passing a 30-day extension of unemployment benefits and health insurance subsidies for the jobless. Even Bunning’s homestate paper slammed him:

As long as Republicans were in charge, Sen. Jim Bunning was OK with trading a surplus for a deficit. He voted to put two wars, tax cuts and a Medicare drug benefit on the nation’s credit card.

Now that Republicans are no longer in charge, Bunning is drawing the line on deficit spending. He’s doing it in a way that shows callous contempt for the more than one in 10 working Kentuckians whose jobs disappeared in the economic meltdown.

We’ve become accustomed to bizarre, egocentric behavior from Bunning. So it wasn’t all that surprising when he single-handedly blocked an unemployment benefits extension for a million people, including 119,230 in Kentucky, whose benefits run out this year. About 14,000 Kentuckians will exhaust their benefits in two weeks without the extension.

Bunning’s filibuster also denies newly laid-off workers help paying for health insurance. It halts road and bridge projects around the country by furloughing 2,000 federal transportation employees, stops reimbursements to state highway programs and cuts Medicare payments to doctors.

To those who know him, it’s not surprising that Bunning answered a Democratic colleague’s complaint with a crude profanity. Or that he joked about missing a basketball game while pushing some unemployed Kentuckians into homelessness or bankruptcy.

What is surprising is that Trey Grayson and Rand Paul, the leading Republicans to succeed Bunning, jumped on his one-man band wagon.

Bunning’s articulate and now-infamous response to the facts and pleas presented to him?

“Tough shit.”

Meanwhile, according to the Huff Post:

The National Flood Insurance Program expired Sunday night after Congress failed to pass a temporary extension of the program that is vital to protecting homes in the New Orleans area.

The lapse puts home sales at risk and could leave homeowners whose policies were scheduled to renew March 1 in jeopardy in the unlikely event that Monday’s rains turned out to be heavy enough to cause flooding.

So it seems facts and truth no longer have any meaning in today’s world for men like Bunning and Kyl. No matter the consequences. They believe what they want to believe. And they are representative of a growing mindset shared by a segment of Americans.

True or false?

Kyl & Bunning: Truth Hurts

America: A Culture Of Bullies & Violence?


America loves a bully. Despite the word’s definition: A person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. We, as Americans, celebrate the bully at every turn, while accusing those who use brains over brawn as being weak. Take our current president, for example. Here is a man who is consistently painted as being weak by his critics, both Republicans and Democrats alike. America’s love of the bully is what, for so long, made Russia such a formidable opponent. They were bullies and they were threatening our global bully position. Yes, we often claim to be the saviors of other “weaker” nations, but when given an opportunity to move a couple of notches up the evolutionary ladder, we almost always resort to our most basic, animalistic tendencies. That being said, we often do manage to grow eventually, but not before enacting irreversible brutality on both ourselves and those around us.

Barack Obama is fully capable of devouring his enemies and critics. But he does so with a knife and fork and a bib tucked neatly into his shirt. His recent live Q&A at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore proved that to be the case. Despite the ongoing insistence by the radical right that Obama is nothing without his teleprompter (that he’s all smoke and mirrors and his “illusion” of intelligence and knowledge has more to do with his well-rehearsed oratory skills), Obama cleaned the floor with these fools on live national television while suggesting “a tone of civility instead of slash and burn will be helpful.” And no teleprompter! His victory here was so complete that, according to MSNBC’s Luke Russert, one Republican official and other GOP aides confided that allowing the “cameras to roll like that” was a “mistake.” Even Fox News cut away from the live proceeding 20 minutes before it ended! And Ezra Klein of the Washington Post called it “the most compelling political television I’ve seen…maybe ever.” But in perfect pathological fashion, folks like Florida Republican Marco Rubio continue to insist that Obama is helpless without his teleprompter. It should be noted that Rubio made that claim again the other day while standing before a set of teleprompters and flipping through pages of notes on the podium before him.

So what exactly is this pathological rewriting of reality? I had a handful of very disturbing interactions with a Libertarian acquaintance of mine recently and felt I got a series of first-hand examples of this kind of mindset. The same mindset that allowed Fox News to cut away from Obama in Baltimore and replace him with talking heads who immediately started rewriting history even as it was happening! And what was most terrifying about my exchange with this Libertarian fellow who sees himself as “an extremely socially, ultra-liberal independent voter” was the complete and utter lack of self-awareness that accompanied it. This fellow would make accusations against Obama and other politicians, basically regurgitating “facts” which he’d heard or read elsewhere and, when confronted with proof to the contrary, would either A) delete his previous comments (when interacting online) or claim never to have said any such thing; or B) refuse to respond to any rebuttal by changing the subject entirely or simply calling his debate opponent crazy. All the while NEVER backing up any of his statements or admitting when he’d been proven wrong. Even when confronted with deleted comments he claimed never to have made (they were, unbeknownst to him, saved on our email accounts), he would then backpedal by saying “Well, that’s not what I meant to say.” But when asked what it was he had meant to say, he would again resort to name-calling, but never actually answer the question at hand. It seemed, time and again, truth and reality were of no interest to him. There was a complete and total pathology at work that would allow him to create new realities in any given moment to suit his desires. With this tact, logic and reason had no effect and were therefore of no importance. And while, in certain situations, an interaction like this might serve as a source of mild amusement or come across as innocently baffling, here, in the political arena, it was downright terrifying. And I took it to be a signifier of a mindset all too common by some of today’s most vocal political protesters.

Meanwhile, political henchmen and possible presidential candidates like Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin stir the pot by publicly proclaiming Obama weak for apologizing internationally for America’s past transgressions (mostly committed while Cheney was Vice President). As if admitting you were wrong or apologizing for mistakes was ineffectual and spineless as opposed to honorable, ethical and, that dirtiest of all words, conscientious. They also condemned the president for politely bowing before asian world-leaders (despite it being tradition and a sign of respect–much like a handshake). But to the bully, showing respect or admitting that there may be common ground is tantamount to surrendering. So while Obama continues to act like an intelligent, thoughtful, educated and civil world leader, many Americans simply can’t stomach the fact that he’s not more outwardly aggressive.

Recently, the National Review’s Daniel Pipes outlined his thoughts on how Obama (“a president whose election I opposed, whose goals I fear, and whose policies I work against”) can regain the respect of the nation and lift his sagging poll numbers in an article he called “How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran,”:

“[Obama] needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a light-weight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations… Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy Iran’s nuclear-weapon capacity.”

Because, let’s face it, two wars is not enough. And they weren’t Obama’s. Obama needs his own trophy war if he wants to gain the respect of all those Americans who believe him to be a socialist wimp. And of course the simple-solutions everywoman, Sarah Palin, agreed wholeheartedly with Pipes:

“If [Obama] decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies, I think people would, perhaps, shift their thinking a little bit and decide, ‘Well, maybe he’s tougher than we think he’s—than he is today,’ and there wouldn’t be as much passion to make sure that he doesn’t serve another four years.”

And what’s saddest about all of this is that they may be correct. This would, quite likely, make a significant percentage of Americans more comfortable with Obama. Sure, it would plunge our already disastrous economy deeper into the toilet and hundreds of thousands of lives would most likely be lost in a war that would extend far beyond any comprehensible expectations (not to mention result in the further alienation of our Nato partners and other countries and citizens around the globe), but at least Obama would take his rightful place as another American bully and save face among his fellow citizens who think him a sissy boy. Or would it? We already know that, despite appalled denial, many Americans still struggle with racism and are not comfortable with a black (or even half-black) president. So what would happen if this president suddenly got tough, angry even, and became the bully we’re all so used to seeing in that highest of political offices? Well, he’d have a whole new set of problems to face that, well, a white guy might not, as Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times discussed back in April of 2008:

“For new school black politicians, it is an essential question: How do you recognize the righteous anger of those frustrated by racial inequality without looking like just another Angry Black Man?

Those of us who write often about black folks and politics knew there would come a moment when the first black man with a realistic shot at becoming president would have to face this challenge — reconciling black anger and frustration with white fear and resentment.”

Would Obama go from intellectually-threatening wuss to scary, angry black guy in the eyes of the fearful? I mean, in this country, as sad a commentary as it is, a white president and a black president are still not treated equally in the eyes of some of our citizens. Take that Wingnut email being forwarded that takes outrage at Obama putting his feet up on the desk in the Oval Office:

Does this photo of President Obama in the Oval Office convey anything to you about his attitude?

Would you speak with the Chief of Staff, your Chief Economics Adviser, and your Senior Adviser with your feet up on the Resolute Desk – a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880?

We should inundate the White House with emails demanding he keep his feet off of our furniture.

This arrogant, immature & self-centered man has no sense of honor, or of simple decency.

While this posture is disrespectful in any culture, it is absolutely never done in any executive setting.

Further, in over half of the cultures of the world, it is recognized not only as disrespectful, but as an extreme insult.

He thinks of himself as a king — and not as a servant of the people, humbly occupying our White House for his term in office.

Electing him was an enormous mistake — and will cost us in many ways, for generations.

Where were all the letters of appall and outrage when our last (white) president did the very same thing?

So one wonders if it is possible for a man like Barack Obama to be the bully America loves without being stamped “another Angry Black Man.” Would he gain some level of twisted respect from the very men and women who fear him (after all, in America, fear equals power and strength, right?), or do we only like our bullies to be white?

Personally, I’m thrilled not to have another bully president even though I find myself at times wanting Obama to be a little more forceful in his political dealings. While I admire and celebrate what I hope will turn out to be a more evolved approach to politics (it’s one of the reasons I voted for him), I believe he would actually be more effective if he were a bit more ruthless. Sadly, the current climate in Washington is set up to keep Obama from achieving any successes, regardless of whether or not they are in the best interest of most Americans. So he is essentially bullied by a divided House and Senate who will try and keep his hands tied for as long as he’s willing to allow them. At the same time, I believe Obama has a bigger picture in mind and is actually putting his money (and career) where his mouth is:

“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president… There’s a tendency in Washington to think that our job description of elected officials is to get re-elected. That’s not our job description. Our job description is to solve problems and to help people. And, you know, that’s not just the view of elected officials themselves. That’s also the filter through which the media reads things.”

So while I am frustrated and angered by the eternal roadblocks put in place by lesser men and women, I am also thrilled to see America with an intelligent, self-aware leader who recognizes the changes that need to be made if we are to grow out of our infancy. Sadly, our love affair with violence (both verbal and physical) and our passion for vengeance and our need to be “stronger” than any potential opponent regardless of ideology or purpose, gets in the way of our actually making strides in the betterment of our people, our nation, or our world. And perhaps the above-mentioned live Q&A in Baltimore is a significant step in Obama bridging the gap between substance and politics. NBC’s Chuck Todd commented on the live event:

“The president should hold Congressional ‘town halls’ more often. Public needs to see this if they’ll ever trust Washington again.”

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein added:

“Obama assumed the role of responsible adult to the GOP children, or, at the very least, of a college professor teaching and lecturing a room full of students.”

Dee Dee Myers, Clinton’s former press secretary, backed up that statement with:

“On one level it looked brave but on another he was the substitute teacher there, lecturing the audience. A lot of us have been waiting for that moment, a little more fight, a little more politics.”

And then there’s that poor fella so outraged by the IRS he decided that violence was the only answer to his problems and so he created his own 9/11 by crashing a plane into an Austin IRS complex. It seems in our celebration of bullies, we simultaneously send out a non-stop message that violence is a justifiable means to an end. I tried to address this concept metaphorically in my film THE PLAGUE, but the studio behind it decided that the film should actually be the polar opposite of its intent and set about systematically removing the film’s message and attempt at cultural self-reflection. Instead, they tried to turn it into a film about killer-kids; essentially, they were far more attracted to the notion of a film that celebrated its violence rather than one that made an informed commentary on it. And this is, as many of us already know, not a new development in the industry. God-forbid anything should elicit individual thought or stir conversation or promote questions. The studios would rather keep people right where they are (our base impulses sell more tickets than our intellect or common sense). Like Sarah Palin, who actually sells herself as a presidential candidate by publicizing the fact that she’s not qualified to run this country:

“I’m never going to pretend like I know more than the next person. I’m not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I’m going to fight the elitist, because for too often and for too long now, I think the elitists have tried to make people like me and people in the heartland of America feel like we just don’t get it, and big government’s just going to have to take care of us… I want to speak up for the American people and say: No, we really do have some good common-sense solutions. I can be a messenger for that.”

Good common-sense solutions. Like bombing Iran. And I don’t know about anyone else, but the thought of a president who doesn’t know more than I do about running this country scares the shit out of me. But somehow this comforts many. They can relate to Palin. And she can be a bully. Unreasonable, unrealistic, ignorant, under-educated and completely incapable of admitting –or even understanding– when she’s wrong… Sounds like someone else I know. Or a vocal group of people I read about daily.

Here’s a quote I thought hit the nail on the head:

“If you were to imagine a bunch of middle-class white people who conceive of themselves as the oppressed productive backbone of the country, and who embody a strange collection of unbridled ignorance and bizarre ahistorical conspiracy theory, you’d have a pretty good handle on the teabaggers.”

Yep. That pretty much sums up Palin and her many followers and fans. That gun-toting, angry mob you see on the news pretty much every day. And like so many people in this group, they struggle, fight and vote against their own best interests. Blogger Ben Grossblatt put it quite eloquently, I thought:

“The Tea Party is a quasi-Libertarian collection of people who think Obama is a socialist, and who delude themselves into believing they’re more than just ventriloquist dummies for the Republicans. They fancy themselves populists, but they support the same economic and legislative policies that have put regular people under the heel of big business.”

Big business, in the form of corporate entities, is the friend to the “tea-bagger”, despite any claims they may make to the contrary. And why is that? Because big business are bullies. And, no matter how much we may fear them, they give us some measure of comfort in the fear they elicit. We have a certain twisted “respect” for their power over us. And to make matters worse, we secretly hope to one day become a member of those wealthier-than-god, untouchable bullies. I think Reagan’s trickle-down economics proved that to be true. A failed economic plan that put the biggest tax breaks in the hands of the wealthiest Americans and opened the door for what turned out to be the complete corporate takeover of our nation (the world?) and still has the support of some of America’s least-wealthy and most-hard-hit-by-the-recession individuals. And despite the gross reality of this backward economic plan, there’s always a chance that one of us may find ourselves a member of that elite group (you sure you don’t like elitists, Ms. Palin?) and then we can finally reap the benefits of a misguided nation which fights to eliminate its middle-class (despite true Capitalism’s dependency on it) and broaden the division between rich and poor. Because the rich have historically always bullied the poor. And, as I said before, America loves and respects a bully. Even when we’re under their heel.

America: A Culture Of Bullies & Violence?

Today’s GOP Message: Stupid Is Good


Just a quick glance at some of today’s GOP news. It seems that a poll done by Esquire magazine shows that 78 percent of “Republican leaders” believe that President Obama is a socialist. Those surveyed are, according to the magazine and suggested by the answers given, not from the fringes of the party. Yet nonetheless, they seem to have no idea what actual socialism is. A similar poll earlier this month by Daily Kos/Research 2000 found that 63 percent of Republicans believed Obama to be a socialist, while 16 percent were not sure and 21 percent believe he is not.

Add to this Washington Post columnist David Broder’s serious comments about Sarah Palin being “at the top of her game — a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.” Broder continued to rave about Palin:

“Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.”

But my favorite is Broder’s excitement about Palin’s comments to Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Here’s what Sarah initially said:

“I do want to be a voice for some common-sense solutions. I’m never going to pretend like I know more than the next person. I’m not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I’m going to fight the elitist, because for too often and for too long now, I think the elitists have tried to make people like me and people in the heartland of America feel like we just don’t get it, and big government’s just going to have to take care of us… I want to speak up for the American people and say: No, we really do have some good common-sense solutions. I can be a messenger for that. Don’t have to have a title to do it.”

And now Broder’s admiring comments:

“What stood out in the eyes of TV-watching pols of both parties was the skill with which she drew a self-portrait that fit not just the wishes of the immediate audience but the mood of a significant slice of the broader electorate… she has locked herself firmly in the populist embrace that every skillful outsider candidate from George Wallace to Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton has utilized when running against “the political establishment.

“…This is a pitch-perfect recital of the populist message that has worked in campaigns past. There are times when the American people are looking for something more: for an Eisenhower, who liberated Europe; an FDR or a Kennedy or a Bush, all unashamed aristocrats; or an Obama, with eloquence and brains.

“But in the present mood of the country, Palin is by all odds a threat to the more uptight Republican aspirants such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty — and potentially, to Obama as well…

“Those who want to stop her will need more ammunition than deriding her habit of writing on her hand. The lady is good.”

It is both amusing and frightening to see men like Broder actually admire Sarah Palin for being the answer to this country’s supposed dislike of “elitists.” Basically, what he’s saying is that you have a bunch of under-educated people who get defensive when they can’t answer the questions they are asked or engage in a political conversation from a place of knowledge or understanding. So they’d rather have a dummy in charge (Palin, Bush, those who think Obama’s a socialist) than someone who is actually educated, articulate and can see a bigger picture.

Broder and Palin actually want us to celebrate our country’s ignorance.

“I’m never going to pretend like I know more than the next person.”

Really? Is that what we want from our elected officials? That they don’t know any more than we do about their own jobs?

And then, just for shits and giggles, I’ll mention Glenn Beck’s recent euphoric conclusion that the major snowstorms hitting the east coast are actual proof that global warming is a hoax. Forget about the fact that volatile weather patterns and cycles are one of the major effects of climate change. Hot or cold!

Once again, let’s celebrate ignorance and stupidity and pass it off as fact on national television. Or honor it in print.

Go, Go, GOP!

And God Bless America.

Today’s GOP Message: Stupid Is Good

The Retardation Of America: Truth Or Consequences


What does the future face of America look like? There is still a large faction of extreme right-wing, anti-intellectual, bigots spouting threats of a “take-over” in 2012. Now it just remains to be seen whether or not enough Americans bite into that worm-filled apple and propel this country into its death-throws, or whether or not there is enough common sense and practicality left to allow this moment in history to be a genuine growth spurt.

With Sarah Palin’s recent comments suggesting a possible presidential run in 2012 (perhaps the Mayans were right!), one has to wonder if we’re all just crazy enough to place a 4 year old behind the wheel of a Mack truck and expect that it won’t smash headlong into an electricity pole. After taking out hundreds of pedestrians first.

“I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I could potentially do to help our country… I won’t close a door that perhaps could be open for me in the future.”

How easy it will be for someone like this (it doesn’t have to be Sarah, mind you, there are many potential nominees with a similar mindset ready to fill that slot) to twist this country into a knot so tight it may never be able to be unwound. After all, anyone who suggests that Rahm Emanuel (a man I have no great fondness for) should be dismissed from his position for calling liberal groups “fucking retards,” while supporting Rush Limbaugh using the exact same term in commenting on those same liberal groups with:

“They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was using satire … . I didn’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with ‘f-ing retards,’ and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that. There is a big difference there.”

This is the kind of “logic’ that will allow any person in charge to do whatever they want because there will always be a statement that can be made to support their actions, no matter how heinous, regardless of common sense or reality. Not to mention someone who needs to jot down her core principles (“Energy”, “Tax” and “Lift American Spirits”) on her palm like a cheat sheet for fear of forgetting them during a post-tea party Q&A (“Budget Cuts” was also written there, but with the word “Budget” crossed out as an apparent afterthought) .

Not much better are men like John McCain, who said in 2006 in regard to the much-debated “Dont Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:

“I understand the opposition to it, and I‘ve had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.”

But now that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has openly proclaimed to McCain and the other Senators that:

“It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is the right thing to do… No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

McCain has responded with a resounding and harsh dismissal of Admiral Mullen’s recommendation with a statement that the law should remain unchanged while any war is going on. Thankfully, smarter, more honest men like Gen. Colin Powell rebuffed McCain’s statements with:

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”

So what is the biggest reason given by those opposed to repealing this law? It is to “protect troop morale and cohesion.” Really? Is that what this is about? Because, I gotta tell ya, like those same fears of gay marriage ruining families, this retarded logic feels all too much like that very same fear that was spread when Harry Truman, in 1948, ordered racial integration of troops in the American military. The largely southern opponents to this action claimed that it would create “situations destructive to morale.” This turned out to be anything but true. And to think today of not having an interracial military would be offensive. As this current argument is.

Admiral Mullen continues:

“It does, again, go to a fundamental principle with me, which is, everybody counts. And part of the struggle back to the institutional integrity aspect of this… and putting individuals in a position that every single day, they wonder whether today is going to be the day, and devaluing them in that regard just is inconsistent with us as an institution. I have served with homosexuals since 1968… Everybody in the military has. And we understand that.”

A dear friend of mine, a Desert Storm Veteran, had this to say on the issue:

“I served 3.5 years on a submarine. I have spent 1.5 years under water on 5 patrols. We would go under water with 150 men, of which, some were gay. What a shock. It was common knowledge and everyone knew for the most part…it’s hard to keep a secret after being under water for 3 months. It wasn’t an issue. We trusted each other with our lives.”

We have a choice as Americans. Do we hold onto our old, tired fears? Our illogical excuses for not moving forward? Do we chastise those we don’t like while rewarding those we do, even when they say the very same thing? Come 2012, we will see what America is. If someone like a Sarah Palin finds their way into office, we will have told the world of our intent. And we will have many more enemies than we have today. And they will be of our own making. Anyone who would put their vote behind one of these people is, and I say this with no illusion to respect, an idiot of the highest degree. Mislead, fearful, uninformed and dumb as a knuckle.

The choice is yours.

The Retardation Of America: Truth Or Consequences