Third Party & Independents Archives

The Audacity of Arrogance

Anyone who doubts the downside of hubris should think of the losing campaign of Hillary Clinton. Like cholesterol in arteries, extreme arrogance can block seeing political realities.

And Barack Obama is exhibiting horrendous hubris by, for example, flip-flopping on his pledge to use federal campaign financing for the general election, and for displaying an Obama seal in public events that closely resembles the official presidential seal.

Welcome to the audacity of arrogance.

But there is a lot more to this Age of Hubris.

At least 20 percent of Americans are on top of the economic ladder. Some 60 million people are not suffering because of high gasoline prices, are driving around in expensive $40,000+ cars, are living in sumptuous McMansions and vacation homes, have good health insurance, and are shopping in expensive stores and eating in luxurious restaurants that continue to do gangbuster business. They keep buying the most expensive products ever made available in human history. This elitist Upper Class benefits from the two-party plutocracy that through government policies takes care of them because the wealthy take of politicians. It is very likely that the vast majority of Obama’s small donors are part of this Upper Class.

About 3 million of these people comprise the super-rich that fly around the globe in private jets and are driven around in limousines, live in enormous well guarded homes costing tens of millions of dollars, and vacation on their yachts and private islands. They are members of the ruling plutocracy.

Meanwhile, the remaining 240 million Americans are suffering in a multitude of ways: millions lack health insurance and care, millions lack adequate food and shelter, millions more face economic insecurity and pain as they cope with extremely expensive gas and mounting food prices even as they increasingly recognize that enjoyable retirement is a disappearing dream and possible job loss puts them one step away from personal bankruptcy. With rising economic inequality, the vast majority of Americans are hurting, which explains why 84 percent say the country is on the wrong track.

So here is the logical question: Are all the rich and affluent Americans feeling nervous and increasingly afraid that their physical security may be increasingly at risk? Are they beginning to think about millions of suffering and furious Americans rising up in violent revolution against the status quo political and economic system? Are they thinking about the millions of angry Americans who own guns? Are they remembering that in human history economic slaves have risen up to openly and brutally overturn repressive regimes? Do they contemplate a populist revolt threatening their wealth? Do they ever think about another American Revolution?

Or are the rich and powerful thinking that all these millions of disenchanted Americans will continue to placate themselves by venting their anger on websites, participating in national and grassroots groups protesting societal ills, writing letters to newspapers and posting signs in their yards, and voting for politicians that promise CHANGE? Are they thinking that the masses of suffering Americans are just too distracted by all their hard work and pain, just too dumb, or just too pessimistic about fighting the SYSTEM to actually take up arms in pursuit of happiness? Are they confident that the police and military that THEIR government controls can and will protect them from violent revolutionaries? Or, are they confident that the two-party system will continue to prevent open rebellion with shallow promises of change? Do they believe that there are no limits to how the masses can be manipulated and brainwashed? Hubris can bite you.

In the past I wrote that despite revolting conditions, Americans seemed completely unready to revolt. But things have steadily gotten worse. Not that long ago few of us foresaw millions of Americans losing their homes because of the shenanigans of the financial sector, millions of people facing daily pain because of historically high gasoline prices, and millions more struggling with rising food prices. Lifestyles and quality of life are now tangibly impacted.

Support for change-politicians like Ron Paul, John Edwards and Barack Obama provide evidence of the populist pot boiling over. The current presidential race and upcoming general election are providing a peaceful venting of pent up anger and disillusionment with unshared national prosperity, at least for those that still believe voting matters. All elections offer is broken promises. This electoral bait and switch is what the two-party plutocracy uses to maintain status quo stability.

The post-election period will repeat history as the two-party plutocracy in service of the Upper Class uses its muscle to prevent true and meaningful systemic changes to alleviate the woes of most Americans. Even with Barack Obama as president.

What then? Will there be enough energy left among the bitter, anxious and angry to spark a revolution? Will people in this most violent and most gun-crazy nation on Earth finally realize that voting no longer works?

Will the horrendous hubris of the Upper Class and the lying politicians that serve them be proven correct, because Americans remain unready to revolt despite revolting conditions? Will the suffering masses remain compliant and subservient, complaining and moaning, depressed and disillusioned, but not openly revolting?

You will decide.

Will you do more than vote, talk, read and write in the usual ways? Will the Upper Class fear activists, populists and progressives? Will dissidents on the left and right join together to fight a common enemy? Or with horrendous hubris will elites continue to feed their greed through economic tyranny?

Let’s start the revolution by not voting for either the Democratic or Republican presidential candidate, but instead voting for an independent or third party candidate. I recommend Ralph Nader, whose integrity and populist policy positions truly support we the people.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at June 27, 2008 6:57 PM
Comments
Comment #256964

Vote for the guy that in his own hubris, cost Gore the 2000 election and instead allowed Bush to win and get us into Iraq?

I don’t think so. I’m not crazy about our two-party system, but one works with the tools one has at hand and NOT with the tools one does NOT have.

Hubris is nothing new in politics. In fact, when used for the RIGHT reasons, hubris is a GOOD thing. For instance, will Obama’s flip-flop make it more likely that he will be able to keep us from a third Bush term? If so, then I support his decision 100%.

Look at it this way - if you swore not to cross a bridge, but you later saw that if you did not cross that bridge people would be in greater danger than if you DID cross that bridge, would you still keep your word?

Pragmatism, friend.

Is Obama willing to do what must be done in order to make things better? Apparently so, and good on him!

Come to think of it, I’m glad the Cons aren’t so pragmatic…otherwise we might have that permanent Republican majority that Rove dreamed of….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 27, 2008 7:33 PM
Comment #256966

Vero possumus? The truth is possible? Or possibly true? I think you may have just hit a hornet’s nest with a baseball bat there Joel. The enemy of the right is the Government of The United States of America, when it does anything that they don’t like, perhaps raising taxes to pay off the debt. To the 80 per cent, the 20 percent are their employers, they’re not going to rock the boat. They already know that the 20 per cent can go offshore when the government tries to tax them.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 27, 2008 7:57 PM
Comment #256969

Boy, there’s a dream ticket.

Gore, and Nader. Each with the personality of a bowl of yeast.

Posted by: Rocky at June 27, 2008 9:01 PM
Comment #256980

Funny Rocky! Nader is not a bad egg. and Btw Much Smarter than Gore. ALSO Where’s Bill Again ?

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 28, 2008 12:53 AM
Comment #256983

Joel, marketing and advertising is a matter of going with what works. That seal you mention, was used once, and discarded. It didn’t work. I call that adaptive. It is not hubris to set the stage for cameras and the audience to have the most positive effect. That is PR and marketing and advertising. Hubris and arrogance would be continuing to use that rather amateurish looking seal after it created negative feedback.

As for the pledge on the funding, a superordinate pledge superceded it. The Superordinate pledge that superceded the public financing pledge was to WIN the VOTE and change the country’s direction for the better.

Hubris and arrogance would have been to choose losing and rejecting the grass roots individual public funding coming in by the voters. Last I checked, elections are supposed to cater to a large degree to the voters. If the greater number of voters wish to contribute directly to the Obama campaign, instead of holding him to his pledge, I see no hubris or arrogance in that. I see smart political ability in that.

It’s not like Obama violated the McCain Feingold Law like McCain did, which now has his case coming before the FEC. Violating a law created in your namesake, now, that is hubris and arrogance, with a penalty to be paid. Changing one’s mind legally, in response to the will of the voters, can hardly be in the same class as McCain’s hubris and arrogance.

I pledged to my wife we would go out to eat on Father’s Day. Was it hubris and arrogance for me to change my mind and do the cooking for the family on that day? No. Fact is, my family, to whom I made the pledge, ended up enjoying even more, our BBQ and activities at home on Father’s Day.

Nice try, though, Joel. In case you hadn’t noticed, a candidate’s decision for funding SHOULD be made on the basis of what is legal and best for their chances of winning the election.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 28, 2008 3:45 AM
Comment #256984

Joel, wrote: “It is very likely that the vast majority of Obama’s small donors are part of this Upper Class.”

All facts are to the contrary. Try researching a bit before exposing your biases in such a blatant manner.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 28, 2008 3:47 AM
Comment #256991

Absolutely not Joel. Not enough pain yet I assume. I agree with d.a.n. in that we have the government we deserve. As long as people have a pig in a pot and a stick to stir it with, or something like that, people will go along to get along. Violence is not required anyway. Our forefathers and Constitution gave us a way to reform peacefully, as has been done three or four times in our history. I am just stood on my end by the fact that people will allow the oligarchy to run in 10-20M cheap laborers and vote for a candidate crying out for amnesty for these folks. Far as I know every potentially viable candidate for Pres. from any party is for amnesty. That’s as close to voting yourself into the poor house as I can imagine. Can someone tell me why we need these millions added to our labor force? If we need these millions, do we need more millions on top of that? Is Wal-Mart gonna open up some more stores? I feel anyone who votes for these candidates is just stupid. Now, I’m going to vote for Nader. Doesn’t mean I really like him. It’s either that or throw my vote away by voting for nobody. Nader can perhaps impede the oligarchy for a few years while a third party gears up to save us from ourselves. I am somewhat giddy, almost gleeful about the prospects for the future. It will take about 3 years for the Bominites to realize they’ve been had. I believe that right about 3 years in is when the revolution will begin, peacefully of course. I just hope we have a third party platform in place, such as my dream party at demreps.com, to get the revolution started. Read the book Joel. Best book I’ve read on reform, what is needed and how to carry it out. Good on ye!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 28, 2008 9:58 AM
Comment #256996

Your disdain for Obama is quite evident in your writings Joel. That is fine. But I would suggest using more fact based as opposed to propaganda induced evidence to present your arguments. They do little for lending credence to what you write.

I understand your problems with the two party system and agree that it is far from a perfect governmental environment. You state you will be voting for Nader, I assume not out of the thought that he will actually win, but rather to make a statement. That is your right, but to my notion it is a vote wasted. I fail to see how a third party can really make a difference unless they can present viable and recognizable politicians willing to accept accountability in their jobs. So long as we can not guarantee an ethical, accountable government which does not succumb to influential corruption we will not have a truly productive functional government entity. This is more the result of voter apathy than it is the result of capable legislators. By not holding our politicians accountable at the voting booth we are as their employers guaranteeing that the currently pathetic state of government be allowed to exist. I am suggesting that it is not entirely the name of the party that determines how our government functions, but more the nature of those placing the votes. I think it more important that we look at the people we are voting for than the party they represent. The only way to change the nature of the party is to not take for granted the effectiveness of those who represent them.

Posted by: RickIL at June 28, 2008 12:04 PM
Comment #257007

RickIL wrote: “I fail to see how a third party can really make a difference unless they can present viable and recognizable politicians willing to accept accountability in their jobs. So long as we can not guarantee an ethical, accountable government which does not succumb to influential corruption we will not have a truly productive functional government entity. This is more the result of voter apathy than it is the result of capable legislators. By not holding our politicians accountable at the voting booth we are as their employers guaranteeing that the currently pathetic state of government be allowed to exist.”

You took the words right off our website. You nailed the source of our political problems daid on. May I have your permission to post those lines on our site demreps.com? There we are beginning a third party with built-in ACCOUNTABILITY for political leaders and appointees. Viable and recognizable, I dunno. The oligarchy can shove pretty boys like Clinton and Bush at us forever, as long as we are forced to vote for just them. I’d like to see someone like David Walker, the ex-GAO Chief step up or a baby boomer headed into retirement but with a few years to give. Give us a person AWAY FROM the oligarchy. Right now Nader is our best choice for a president who will do no harm.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 28, 2008 2:32 PM
Comment #257008


Joel: If you read the posts of the Obamaites, then you should know that the answer to your theme is no! Absolutely Not!

Never mind the fact that Obama’s move to the right makes Hillary look like the queen of the liberals and Obama the champion of the blue dogs.

Nothing is more important for the majority of the voters than the preservation of the statis quo. Nothing!

When you talk revolution here, your speaking, mostly to tories.

Posted by: jlw at June 28, 2008 2:51 PM
Comment #257014

Joel, what a bunch of utter nonsense. Your analysis of those making up America is silly, but dangerous. Where are all these starving and wretched people you describe as numbering in the millions. Is there a giant cover up here as if this were true the media would be all over it.

There is more opportunity, private and government largess, freedom, food, privately owned homes and businesses here in the US than anywhere else in the world.

Get off your pity-pot and start living in the present. With few exceptions, we all have the life we want and are willing to work for and those who wallow in defeatism, pessimism, gloom and doom do so willingly.

It may be your head is so full of the liberal belief system that you can’t think for yourself. Being constantly told that you can’t do for yourself and only government can heal your life is the prescription for failure.

Ask the millions of blacks who have entered into the middle-class in the last few decades or the millions of immigrants, legal and illegal who have prospered in this great country how they did it. You will find the answer in a good work ethic and self-reliance.

Those who’s only ambition is to increase their welfare check are among the liberal faithful.

Posted by: Jim M at June 28, 2008 3:24 PM
Comment #257018
Roy Ellis wrote: As long as people have a pig in a pot and a stick to stir it with, or something like that, people will go along to get along. Violence is not required anyway. Our forefathers and Constitution gave us a way to reform peacefully, as has been done three or four times in our history.
Funny! : )

Sort of. : (

You’re right. “Violence is not required”.
However, it could happen.
During the Great Depression, crime rates were very high, unemployment was 25% (or higher), and the wealthy were nervous.

Is the problem merely that the wealthy are wealthy, or because many people are increasingly aware that some (not all) of the wealthy walked all over someone else to get wealthy?

Perhaps we only need to look at these 10+ abuses and these 17+ deteriorating economic conditions to find the answer?

Roy Ellis wrote: I am just stood on my end by the fact that people will allow the oligarchy to run in 10-20Million cheap laborers and vote for a candidate crying out for amnesty for these folks.
It’s despicable isn’t it? Our own politicians are despicably pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits, votes, and misplaced compassion.

It’s not only despicable, it is affects so many of our ailing systems (e.g. health care, education, law enforcement, jobs, health, crime, elections, etc.) that the politicians are promising to remedy.
And did you hear about Nielsen Media Research. That company used their American workers to first train H-1B visa workers, and then fired the American workers.
And the U.S. Airforce is trying to outsource air tankers to foreign corporations.
It seems that somewhere starting about 30 years ago, Americans decided to start selling-out and ripping-off each other.
And what do the majority of unwitting voters do? They reward their politicians with perpetual re-election … making their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies more secure … while Congress gives themselves another raise (9 times between 1997 and 2007) and more cu$hy benefits … while our troops risk life and limb, go without armor, adequate medical care, promised benefits, and are forced to endure 2, 3, 4 or more tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Joel S. Hirschhorn wrote: You will decide.
That’s right.

The voters will decide. The voters’ incentive for stopping the bad habit of repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-eleciton is already on the way.
Millions of Americans are feeling some pain now.

Many things have never been worse ever and/or since the 1930s and 1940s:

  • (01) Total federal government debt ($22.2 Trillion) has never been larger, both in size and as a percentage (over 160%) of the $13.86 Trillion GDP (year 2007), when including the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 million baby boomer bubble approaching.

  • (02) Total personal household debt nation-wide ($13.88 Trillion) has never been larger, both in size and as a percentage (over 100%) of the $13.86 Trillion GDP.

  • (03) Total nation-wide debt ($53 Trillion) has never been larger, both in size and as a percentage of the $13.86 Trillion GDP

  • (04)Real median household incomes have fallen since year 1999, and have actually never been lower since year 1978 when also including the fact that there are now more workers per household,

  • (05) Illegal immigration has never been worse and more costly, costing American citizens an estimated $70 Billion to $338 Billion annually in net losses. The problem has quadrupled since the amnesty of year 1986 (which John McCain voted for).

  • and by pandering for votes;

  • (06) The wealth disparity gap has never been larger since the 1930s. It changed direction and the gap has been growing larger since year 1976.

  • (07) Taxation has been regressive since year 2000 (or before). We have never had so many different kinds of taxes; many of which are regressive sales taxes.

  • (08) Home equities have never been lower (below 50%) since year 1945.

  • (09) Home ownership has fallen since year 2006 for low-income and middle-income groups. A study shows that only 59.6% of working class families owned their homes in 2003, lower than the 62.5% in year 1978. That is, home ownership is rising among the wealthy, while falling for most Americans that are losing wealth, losing equity, losing income, and losing their homes at record levels. Currently, home ownership is in a record plunge, and the 4th quarter of 2007 had the biggest one-year drop (1.1%) since year 1965, when tracking began.

  • (10)Foreclosures are at record levels (JAN-2008: 220,000)

  • (11) Average personal savings rates are negative (since year 2005), and have never been worse since year 1933.

  • (12) Energy vulnerability: oil and energy prices have never been higher (both in nominal price and adjusted for inflation; worse than the spike in year 1981: one-simple-idea.com/USD_Falling.htm#Oil

  • (13) Federal government bloat has never been worse, and continues to grow to nightmare proportions. There are now more jobs in government than all manufacturing nation-wide.

  • (14) Global competition has never been stronger. Trade deficits have never been larger (see China). Transnational corporations want cheap labor (WageStagnation + CheapLabor = BigProfits). Jobs are leaving the nation in droves; a trend that started in the early 1970s, and also helps to explain why real median household incomes have actually been falling since year 1978.

  • (15) Medicare has hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities per year, which are being funded by more borrowing and debt. It is not sustainable; especially with the approaching 77 million baby-boomer bubble. In year 2007, Medicare (16%) and Medicaid (7%) combined were 23% of the $2.7 Trillion federal budget.

  • (16) Inflation was higher in the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s, but we have had positive inflation since year 1956. 3% to 5% inflation doesn’t sound bad, but when it is every year, it becomes exponential (i.e. 3% this year is really more than 3% of last year, which is more than 3% the year before, etc., etc., etc.). Thus, a 1950 U.S. Dollar is now worth less than 10 cents.

  • (17) Other exacerbating problems are 2 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (cost as of Mar-2008 estimated between $517 Billion to $2+ Trillion), skyrocketing health care costs, declining quality and rising costs of education, election system problems, lawlessness, violent crime rates are on the rise again after falling for many years, environmental issues, over-population (falling acres of arable land per person), declining transparency in government (i.e. the U.S.A. Corruption Perception Index has fallen for 10 years), etc., etc., etc.
And it could get worse, if these many pressing problems continue to go ignored, while growing in number and severity. It’s no one thing, but several. And all of it exacerbated by the dysfunction and corruption within Congress and the executive branch.

When will we see a reduction in the corruption?
ANSWER: When it becomes too painful; when enough voters finally feel enough pain and misery to trump their apathy, compacency, partisan loyalties, ignorance, greed, selfishness, irrational fears and hatred, and laziness.

Pain and misery can be a very effective educator and motivator (provided the lesson arrives in time; the longer it escapes us, the more painful it will be later).

Jim M wrote: Joel, what a bunch of utter nonsense.
It’s not all nonsense. There may be one factual error with regard to the wealth of most Obama supporters. Obama has millions of donors that made donations of $200 or less, and a much smaller percentage of donors than McCain and Hillary that made donations of $2300 or more. That does not prove that most of Obama’s supporters are wealthy. And Obama did go back on his word with regard to public funding. But McCain did worse. McCain isn’t only a hypocrite, but a criminal. He broke the law, by exceeding the FEC spending cap which is part of the BILL he co-authored and championed: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89642176
With few exceptions, we all have the life we want and are willing to work for and those who wallow in defeatism, pessimism, gloom and doom do so willingly.
Jim M, there’s some truth in that, since the voters have a peaceful, responsible, and common-sense mechanism right under their very own noses to make their government better.

However, you would be wrong to trivialize the growing number and severity of numerous economic conditions above. Those are real and measurable, and affect millions of Americans. And some of them are innocent. Unfortunately, many children will suffer too. Declining quality and rising cost of education will take its toll. Many children can not get adequate health care. Also, while the economy may not yet appear to be much cause for alarm right this moment, there are many reasons (above) to suspect it could get much worse. The consequences of many long term abses are only now starting to become obvious.

But if the majority of voters choose to repeatedly reward irresponsible and corrupt incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election, they really have only themselves to thank for it, don’t they?

At any rate, in a voting nation, and as long as voters can vote and get an accurate vote-count, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and deserve).

Posted by: d.a.n at June 28, 2008 5:20 PM
Comment #257019

I don’t think we’re at revolutions door.

IF the credit crunch spins out of control, trade wars and xenophobia lead to a spiraling depression, THEN we might see a revolution. Both Dems and Reps, I think are well aware of that danger. That is the genius of the founder’s. When Shay’s Rebellion occurred, Washington raised a militia to squelch it. Jefferson, in France, made his famous missive about the tree of liberty needing to be replenished with blood on occasion.

The interesting thing that happened, to me, after Shay’s failed rebellion, was the corrupt and unresponsive officials in Massachusetts being turned out of office.

A few years later, the Civil War didn’t get squashed so easily, and while the issue of real slavery was resolved, the economic slavery of blacks continued to modern times, resulting in the 60’s civil riots and that continue to occur in situations like the Rodney King fiasco in Compton. The only polliticians turned out were confederate sympathizers, eventually.

For a real revolution to succeed, there needs to be a well of dissent, geographically connected, like in the South, and outside financial and military support, like America used France to oust the British.

A depression will cause sporadic rioting, a populist government with autocratic leanings, and a lot of suffering among the masses.

The rich will only be deposed in a bloody French style revolution led by a would be Napoleon. I think Jefferson and the founder’s were chilled by the blood letting there.

I wouldn’t mind scaring the rich a little, but a real revolution is not something anyone should really want. I think Jefferson, et al., thanked their lucky stars that things didn’t decay to that in America.

Posted by: googlumpugus at June 28, 2008 5:26 PM
Comment #257021

googlumpugus, We’ll probably see a Depression before we ever see a revolution. I don’t see a revolution in the near future, but a long, painful recession (as occurred in Japan), or a Great Depression is not far fetched, with so much corruption, selling-out, and lawlessness. Once corruption gets a foot-hold, it can be very difficult to eliminate, except to let it run its painful course.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 28, 2008 5:44 PM
Comment #257031

Jim M, I’m sure you read d.a.n.’s last reply.. . AND, AND, I was thinking about it during supper. To think that in 2008 we have middle class and below families whose children have to start out in life $100k in debt for an education. As much wealth as this country has generated since WWII and the people are still paying for health care and education. On it’s face, that’s sufficient for a REVOLUTION. The government has squandered super trillions of dollars, piped it up to the rich, and are doing their level best to force 200M Am. workers to third world wage levels or the lowest common denominator. And, they won’t round it off at $2/hr. I suspect $1.37 will be their goal. It seems so unbelievable but its real, its happening. I have exactly no (zero) respect for the majority of politicians. Come on REVOLUTION.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 28, 2008 7:58 PM
Comment #257036

Roy

Please feel free to use my words. I believe in them so I have no worries as to where they end up. I will be sure to check out demreps.com when I find time.

Posted by: RickIL at June 28, 2008 11:31 PM
Comment #257040

Gerg er Goog, Don’t forget the Whiskey Rebellion president Washington put his general suit back on and with Secretary Hamilton led a force of over 12,000 troops to western Pennsylvania to put down the revolt, imagine our greatest president ever leading the troops in full military attire, This marked the first time under the new United States Constitution that the federal government used military force to exert authority over the nation’s citizens. It was also one of only two times that a sitting President personally commanded the military in the field. (The other was after President James Madison who declared war on England over TRADE and fled the British occupation of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812.)

The military suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion set a precedent that U.S. citizens who wished to change the law had to do so peacefully through constitutional means; otherwise, the government would meet any threats to disturb the status quo with force.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 29, 2008 12:58 AM
Comment #257044

Jim M asked: “Where are all these starving and wretched people you describe as numbering in the millions. Is there a giant cover up here as if this were true the media would be all over it.”

No cover up. Its in the news from time to time about the millions of homeless in America, many belonging in psychiatric and detox hospitals, and many American veterans. You obviously choose your news carefully to avoid reading such facts and information which might distort the view through your rose colored glasses.

Chew on this if you dare, from the Nat’l Alliance to End Homelessness:

In 2006, approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on a given night—an increase of 0.8 percent from 194,254 in 2005. More veterans experience homeless over the course of the year. We estimate that 336,627 were homeless in 2006. This report analyzes data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau to examine homelessness and severe housing cost burden among veterans.

And that is just veterans. A small subset of the national population. The Mississippi Delta area holds many thousands of folks who for lack of accurate definition, are deemed to live in homes. But there homes would not meet the codes of a Pig or Horse barn elsewhere in the nation. We are talking homes leaning at 20 degree angles threatening to fall over, homes with nothing but open seamed sheet metal roofs, and many still with outhouses instead of indoor bathrooms that function.

The information and data is there, for those who aren’t afraid or biased to look for it. Denial is so much more convenient however. One doesn’t have to accommodate a problem one denies exists.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 29, 2008 1:45 AM
Comment #257061

Post after post, day by day, we truly are the frog in pot where the heat is turned up slowly till the frog croaks without ever trying to escape. Every person in this country knows by now:

Our Sovereignty is being assaulted:
Plans for NorthAmericanUnion with no public debate
Trying to sell critical infrastructure to foreign Governments (railroads, toll roads, sea ports)
WTO more and more calling the shots. WTO says Brazil can now sue us for $4B for cotton subsidies.

Also;
Middle class wages went up by $1.60 between 2000 and 2006. Not an hr, or yr. In 6 years a total of $1.60. less than a McDonalds.

Congress went I think 10 years before raising the minimum wage to something pitiful near $8./hr

Congress has facilitated sending 2-3M jobs overseas

Congress is running about 5 temporary worker type visa programs to infiltrate foreign workers

Congress has refused to enforce federal laws.

After 9/11 recommendations Congress has refused to protect its citizens by not closing the So. Border.

Congress has tried twice and will try again after the elctions to give citizenship to 10-20M foreign workers with the sole purpose of providing cheap labor to business and driving the wages of all American workers down.

The Congress uses the IRS and falsified CPI figures to wage war against the American workers.

Every person in this country knows these things.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why we continue to post and talk show and watch Lou Dobbs. Why are people not banding together and the common cause of “save our Democracy” before it’s to late? Why are we not concentraing on forming a third party to field and run candidates who can impede and eventually turn around these destructive forces. That is THE ONLY PEACEFUL WAY!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 29, 2008 11:34 AM
Comment #257076
Roy Ellis wrote: Post after post, day by day, we truly are the frog in the pot where the heat is turned up slowly till the frog croaks without ever trying to escape.
Good analogy.

It reminds me of another article by Joel Hirschhorn just over 1 year ago: “Are Americans Unready to Boil?”

Roy Ellis wrote: For the life of me, I can’t understand why we continue to post and talk show and watch Lou Dobbs. Why are people not banding together and the common cause of “save our Democracy” before it’s to late?
Good question.

You are not alone in your frustration and concern.
However, unfortunately, you may still be part of a minority.

There’s some good news and some bad news:

  • (a) The good news is that there is a potential built-in self-correction mechanism. When an increasing number of Americans (like yourself) can see, and can outline the numerous pressing problems growing dangerously in number and severity, there is reason for hope.
    The voters motivation is fueled by pain and misery.
    Millions of Americans are now starting to feel the painful consequences of decades of apathy, complacency, and allowing government to grow too corrupt.

  • (b) The bad news is that we have a ways to go before it gets painful enough to provide the much-needed motivation for enough voters to finally stop rewarding irresponsible and corrupt politicians with perpetual re-election.
    And, by the time enough voters do have enough motivation to vote wiser and smarter, a lot of unavoidable pain and misery will already be in the pipeline.
    That’s why education (and history) is so important.
    But either way, we’re going to get our education. The sooner the better.
    Unfortunately, I think too many voters still see the problem only as a partisan issue, when in fact, there are far too many irresponsible incumbent politicians in BOTH main parties of the two-party duopoly.
Roy Ellis wrote: Why are we not concentraing on forming a third party to field and run candidates who can impede and eventually turn around these destructive forces.
That’s possibly one way. And whether any 3rd party or independent candidate can be elected, it can have many positive influences on the process and nation. Of course, many party-loyalists are abhorent to that possibility, and while some main-party loyalist belittle and trivialize 3rd party and independent candidates and voters, many main-party loyalists truly harbor disdain (sometimes intense disdain) for 3rd party and independent candidates and voters; especially when the losing front-runner blames the 3rd party or independent candidate and voters for their loss. The two-party duopoly doesn’t like competition.

Roy Ellis wrote: Why are we not concentraing on forming a third party to field and run candidates who can impede and eventually turn around these destructive forces. That is THE ONLY PEACEFUL WAY!
Actually, there’s an easier way and it has already occurred before.

It’s not only simple and easy to do, and doesn’t require another party, but it is inexpensive, common-sense, and responsible:

  • Simply stop repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politiciains with perpetual re-election.
But, as simple as that sounds, it is very elusive … at least until that elusiveness finally becomes too painful.

Unfortunately, that’s the harsh reality of human behavior.
Corruption, if allowed to get a foot-hold, can be very difficult to reduce, and the longer corruption is allowed to grow, the worse it will be later.
Corruption is always trying to grow and spread, the evidence of it would fill volumes.
Corruption can only be overcome when the consequences of too much corruption finally becomes too painful for too many people.

And that appears to be what happend on the MAR-1933 election, during the Great Depression, when the majority of unhappy voters ousted a whopping 206 members of Congress (44.1% of all members up for re-election): Source: One-Simple-Idea.com/CongressMakeUp_1855_2008.htm#GreatDepression
Also, as you may recall, in year 1992, voters ousted 142 members of Congress from BOTH parties in the 103rd Congress.

Also, re-election rates are falling now (again), but only slightly.
So, based on past trends and the length of time for things to unfold in a nation of 305 million people, we’ve got a while to go before enough voters feel enough pain to stop repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election. It certainly doesn’t make much sense does it, when most voters polled give Congress some of the worst approval ratings in history, does it?

So, while we are not going to avoid all of the painful consequences that are already on the way, we all need to try to do what we can to educate and energize our friends, associates, colleagues, and family to understand that things will only get worse by repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election; by rewarding incumbent politicians for growing more powerful, more corrupt, and more difficult to oust from their cu$hy, coveted seats of abused power.

At any rate, in a voting nation, and as long as voters can vote and get an accurate vote-count, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and deserve).
That irks some main-party loyalists, but it is quite simply the truth.
No organization, party, government, or society can successfully thrive with too much corruption.
Corruption is always looking for a place to grow, where there is insufficient conscience, education, transparency, and accountability. And when we lack these things, we can only hope that our Education comes in time to avoid more painful consequences of decades of corruption, abuses, and other manifestations of unchecked greed.

  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability

  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability

Posted by: d.a.n at June 29, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #257112


It is acceptable to complain. Rocking the boat invites retaliation from the power structure.
That scares people into inaction, even politicians. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”

The majority of Americans know that the system is rotting, that it is corrupt and unfair but they fear the economic retribution that would surely result if the people tried, in any significant way, to correct the situation.

This is especially true of the professional classes who have above average incomes and who are usually the instigators of revolution, be it violent or non violent.

When conditions are bad enough that the pions feel they have nothing to loose, the results are usually violent and can produce terrible results.

This is why the social welfare and worker related laws were instituted.

Posted by: jlw at June 29, 2008 6:09 PM
Comment #257114

A healthy suspicion of government, and corruption searching for a foot-hold is prudent.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 29, 2008 6:48 PM
Comment #257115

… and necessary.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 29, 2008 6:50 PM
Comment #257117

I’m really unnerved and frightened by the intensity of the assault on sovereignty, Constitution, Democracy. And to hear from d.a.n that we must sit around and wait a few years just doesn’t hack it for me. And to hear jlw say its acceptable to complain and rocking the boat makes people to nervous… We people have no idea of what fixes the oligarchy has already put in place. I don’t want to be a serf for some Indian Co. or have us turn into a 3rd world country or be one of Mugabe’s goto boys. From sifting the daily news I get the impression that people think the oligarchy is just some highly intelligent good ole boy American elites and agressive ‘downhome’ CEO’s driving the train, nothing to worry about, things will all work out. Ok, so what if Dubai owns our seaports, and a British (read middle-eastern) hedgefund owns our railroads, and China buys up our interstate highways, and we aren’t able to manufacture for our own defense? We have NO idea what damage has been done and being planned. Sitting around for a few years… seems a little risky. We have a tumerous cancer and the sooner we are relieved of it the better.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at June 29, 2008 6:56 PM
Comment #257145
Roy Ellis wrote: I’m really unnerved and frightened by the intensity of the assault on sovereignty, Constitution, Democracy. And to hear from d.a.n that we must sit around and wait a few years just doesn’t hack it for me. And to hear jlw say its acceptable to complain and rocking the boat makes people to nervous.
It doesn’t hack it for me neither.

That’s why I contribute time, money, skills, and energy to increasing Education via several organizations (VOIDnow.org, FOAVC.org, CAGW.org, NumbersUSA.com, ALIPAC.us, FamilySecurityMatters.org, VOIAC.org, One-Simple-Idea.com, TenureCorrupts.com, CommonCause.org, Vote-Smart.org, GoodByeToIncumbents (web.mac.com/johngwalsh/iWeb/Good_Bye_Incumbents/Welcome/Welcome.html), etc.).

When I said we may not yet have enough pain to motivate enough voters to stop repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-eleciton, I did not mean there’s nothing to do about it, or that …

Roy Ellis wrote: … that we must sit around and wait a few years …

Not at all.

Part of the solution is Education, and one of the first steps in the process.
Not merely Education about reading, writing, and arithmetic.
More Education is needed about economic issues; human psychology; history; voting guidelines; the importance of Educaiton, Transparency, and Accountability in reducing Corruption and the many manifestations of unchecked greed and selfishness.

Enough voters do not yet understand that repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-eleciton isn’t working.
But the numbers are growing, as re-election rates decrease, and the number of voters leaving the two-party-duopoly grows.
For all that want to help, they must help to educate and energize their friends, colleagues, associates, and family about the corruption and 10+ worst abuses causing some of these 17+ deteriorating economic conditions, which have never been worse ever, and/or since the 1930s and 1940s.

Since …

  • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability

  • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
We lack Conscience and virtue.

What can compensate for that difficiency is Education.
With enough Education, and the understanding that too much corruption hurts MOST of us, people will finally (hopefully) learn to stop the abuses and habits (fueld by selfishness and greed) that are shooting themselves in the foot. Thus, Education is part of the solution. With sufficient Education, enough voters will finally understand the importance of the fundamental components of the formula above. The sooner the better. Otherwise, we’ll get our Education the hard and painful way.

Enough voters fail to understand that they have a no-brainer, common-sense, inexpensive, safe, peaceful, logical, and responsible solution right under their very own noses.
It’s the one thing they were supposed to be doing all along.
There are no other short-cuts or quick-fixes.
While there is nothing wrong with another party (e.g. 3rd, 4th, party, etc.), the most simple solution does not actually require another party, nor the time to create another party.
Parties are not necessarily the solution.
Some voters are beginning to figure this out, as evidenced by the growing number of independent voters.
That’s because of the painful abuses of the two-party duopoly.
Congress’ dismal approval ratings are at record lows.
So, it doesn’t make much sense to repeatedly reward irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election, does it?
However, there will always be some hard-core party loyalists that will never stop pulling the party-lever; that will always choose to fuel and wallow in the petty partisan warfare; that will always lazily choose blind loyalty rather than admit THEIR party is more similar than different than the OTHER party; that will always lazily abdicate their responsibility to vote responsibly to THEIR party; that will refuse to admit that their bad habit is shooting themselves in the foot.

I was not saying we should resign to the futility of change, but was merely voicing what is most likely the reality of the situation too. One of the most powerful forms of motivation for the human species is pain and misery. It’s actually a good thing. It’s a potential self-correction mechanism. It’s a fact of human psychology.

Thus, it’s only logical to conclude that a reduction in Corruption will (hopefully) come about when too much Corruption becomes too painful.
But the goal is not to sit idly by and wait. On the contrary. Education can lead to solutions sooner than later. The sooner the better, because the dangers and painful consequences of Corruption grow worse the longer Corruption is allowed to grow. And it’s been growing for decades.

Roy Ellis wrote: We people have no idea of what fixes the oligarchy has already put in place.
Oh … some people are aware of the abuses. And those abuses did not did not all come about by mere coincidence.
Roy Ellis wrote: I don’t want to be a serf for some Indian Co. or have us turn into a 3rd world country or be one of Mugabe’s goto boys.
Most of us don’t either.

However, merely wanting isn’t always enough.
Unfortunately, as history shows us over and over, we must learn the hard and painful way.
While there is progress, it can be slow (2.00 steps forward, and 1.99 steps backward)

Roy Ellis wrote: From sifting the daily news I get the impression that people think the oligarchy is just some highly intelligent good ole boy American elites and agressive ‘downhome’ CEO’s driving the train, nothing to worry about, things will all work out.
Too many probably do think that. Obviously, since 40% to 50% of voters don’t bother to vote at all.

Yes, excessive complacency, apathy, blind partisan loyalties, delusion, irrational fears and hatreds, and laziness are a real problem.
And the painful consequences of that are already in the pipeline.
Millions of Americans are only now beginning to feel the pain, and they are probably only seeing the tip of the ice berg. Things are likely to get worse before they get better. Hopefully, voters will learn from it … the sooner the better.

Roy Ellis wrote: Ok, so what if Dubai owns our seaports, and a British (read middle-eastern) hedgefund owns our railroads, and China buys up our interstate highways, and we aren’t able to manufacture for our own defense? We have NO idea what damage has been done and being planned. Sitting around for a few years… seems a little risky. We have a tumerous cancer and the sooner we are relieved of it the better.
I agree completely.

What can you do?

  • (1) Learn and study the problems, issues, history, and human psychology.

  • (2) Learn the fundamentals …
    • Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability

    • Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability
  • (3) Learn about the 10 worst abuses and the consequences causing dozens of deteriorating economic consequences.

  • (4) Then help educate and energize others (your friends, associates, neighbors, colleagues, and family).

  • (5) Join organizations that support voter education and issues you feel are important.

  • (6) Pressure you elected officials.

  • (7) Study your elected officials’ voting records; see: OnTheIssues.org and One-Simple-Idea.com/WhatAllVotersShouldDo1.htm

  • (8) Vote responsibly (One-Simple-Idea.com/ProsCons.htm#VotingGuidelines). Seriously question the bad habit of repeatedly rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election. And in this presidential election year, don’t forget about do-nothing Congress; otherwise your choice for president may be unable to accomplish anything if still saddled with the same corrupt, irresponsible, and incompetent Congress. The sooner the better.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 30, 2008 8:02 AM
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