Friday, August 17, 2012

The Endless USA Elections and Why I'm Going to Go On Writing About Them

Your Humble Correspondent tried to do something I had been threatening myself to do for some time--to stop blogging about the current elections.  Anyone who knows me from my Multiply blog knows this a radical step for me. I' wasn't t even sure I could stop it--is there such a thing as Election Junkies anonymous?  

As it turns out I can't keep that promise.  Not even for a day.  Politics is my nicotine.  Here I go again.

One thing that is clear is that we have two and one half months to go before the General Election and, honestly, if anyone hasn't decided whom they are going to vote for (Obama, Romney, Jill Stein of the Greens, The Libertarian Guy Who I Can Never Remember) than they really haven't been paying attention.

Part of the reason for this has been my sheer frustration in seeing candidates like Romney get away with not disclosing the most basic information one should have about their candidacy in the modern Presidency; at least 5-7 years of their tax returns.  Why did isn't a law that all candidates to high office need to disclose their taxes when they are running for national office baffles me!  The other is the notion that Romney and Obama are essentially the same.  In some ways, perhaps they are I'll admit in foreign policy matters; but Romney candidacy will have a very  different impact on professional, and  middle and lower  income families and the elderly.             

In plain terms the Romney Ryan ticket will devastate the social safety net  for the jobless, those who are seriously ill , the elderly and for all people who actually have to work for a living.  And then give yet another round of tax breaks to millionaires!  So while the policies of the USA in the Middle East may not change so much if one or the other of these political birds wins, it makes a huge difference to a middle-aged and   middle class guy like me.


As it should to anyone who has paid into the Medicare system since I started working and now, because I am just under 55 at this point, I and million of others will face paying thousands of extra dollars for health care for the "crime" of living to age 65 or 67, and/or be handed a "voucher" for health care and put to the tender mercies of the private health care system when I am in my 70s if I have the good or bad luck of living that long. And, even if I don't, no one of my age bow should have to face that!  

So, yes, there is a difference in this election, at least to me and some of my co-horts, even among the two candidates.

The USA has a lot of problems right now, at home and abroad.  We have had high unemployment since 2008 and a stagnant economy in part  because greedy people played fast and loose with the personal housing market, and investment bankers on Wall Street shovelled money into a system that created a huge bubble that burst on us and took an estimated 14 trillion dollar out of the pockets of people who were the bedrock of our economy.

This economic tsunami will not be cleared up by anyone in four years or even eight.  The country is in a state of slow and painful recovery.    I see the only way out is to for the average income Americans coming together and saying "NO" to anyone who wants to take us back to the Wild West days on Wall Street.  No one likes being regulated but we all have to drive on the right hand side of the road and stop at a red light over here to drive. Just as a driver of a car or a truck needs regulations, so do mortgage holders and bankers.  Romney and Ryan want to pretend that 30 years of deregulation and increased income inequality under Reagan, and the Bushes didn't happen. Sorry it did.  We need to restore a serious regulatory system such has the Glass-Stegall Act again and we need to start making the wealthy pay their fair share again---not 13 percent or 17 percent but more like 30-35 percent to build up our infrastructure.  And cut the loopholes back as even Ronald Reagan and the Democrats in Congress did in 1986.

And lest you cry our "class  warfare" my visiting Republican friends bare  in mind that    the last and longest post-World War II  growth we had  was under  Bill Clinton and he raised taxes through Congress to a top rate of 39 percent. 

As Warren Buffett the enlightened billionaire investor ruefully put it, "Yes, there is class warfare in this country.  And my side is winning."

It's time we change that course, once and for the rest of the decades to come.


  1. I harbor a whole litany of political pet peeves that is topped by a recurring comment by know-nothings that there's no real difference between the "Republi-crats."
    Not only is that patently untrue, imagine how different the world would be right now if, instead of George Bush, Al Gore had been president in 2001.

    Fast forward a few years and imagine what the past three-and-a-half years would have been like if John McCain had been president and Sarah as VP.
    The only people who think the policies, principles and loyalties of the two parties are essentially the same are those who lack enough imagination to ponder how differently things would be had various elections gone another way.

  2. America was never a patient country but our impatience has grown exponentially since the advent of cable "news" networks, it seems to me.

    Frankly, a slow, steady recovery may be arduous and painful but it's actually the ideal that we should celebrate. Those unemployed are suffering, true, which is why we need to redouble efforts to provide basic social safety-net protections to those who became unemployed through no fault of their own... but an overheated economy is really not what we need anytime soon.

  3. I voted for Obama last time and while I do not agree with everything he has done, there is no one who I would agree with every thing on because I cross party lines on some issues. Overall I am satisfied with the job Obama has done although in some areas, more would be good. I will vote for four more years with our current President. I am still an "Obama Mama".

  4. I frequently do. No huge tax-cuts for the rich. No Iraq War because Cheney and Rumsfeld wouldn't be in power to cook the evidence. No nimrods in the White House trying to erase the New Deal and the Great Society for a domestic policy. Yes, Chuck, I too think about that.

  5. Quite true, Chuck. This is not a typical 1970s-80s recession, and those were bad enough, but not as deep.

  6. That's good to know, Mary Ellen. A "well said" from me too!

  7. I am a political junkie also Doug...I cannot go one day without watching a station that shows truth and see what is going on with both parties. Its usually CNN or MSNBC and now I have discovered Current, I watch all 3. They at least get to the truth on both sides.

    Anybody here ever watch Current TV? It has the past governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm and also Eliot Spitzer. Its has pretty good shows and always truth.

    It worries me that the R party wants to demolish Medicare and make SS into something that Bush wanted, let the big banks take it over and lose all our money.....again. And what about all the poor in this country, without a safety net as Romney puts it, what will happen to them. I am one of those poor, its just lucky I have SS to keep me in my house and food on the table. Not nearly enough, but if I didnt have that then for sure I would be out in the streets like a bag lady.

    I am also voting for 4 more years for President Obama. Today I gave 2 voter registration cards to my twin grandgirls and made sure they understood they need to vote and vote for Dems....I have been trying to get it in their heads what it would mean if the R's took over...they are 18 and on birth control pills and I told them if they vote for Romney, there goes their women's rights. I will keep pounding on their heads and make they understand the difference of each party so they know who to vote for.

  8. Thank you so much for your insightful, & truthful remarks. YES. "... instead of George Bush, Al Gore had been president in 2001"

    This is a little frightening. Our voting system has gone far deeper into hell since the Supreme Court elected 'our' president. This can happen again, in many different ways.

    "The only people who think the policies, principles and loyalties of the two parties are essentially the same are those who lack enough imagination to ponder how differently things would be had various elections gone another way.

    Again, thank you. .

  9. As an outsider I can only say that if US domestic politics were just that -domestic- the outcome of the forthcoming election would be of only passing interest, like let us say an election in Mongolia or Mozambique would be. But the American empire under the direction of PNAC touches everyone everywhere and so it is impossible to take a dispassionate view of US politics because whatever does, or does not happen at home affects all of us.

    Obama has been a disaster for world peace, much worse than Bush was. He has promoted perpetual war and spread the contagion to Africa, Eurasia and especially the Middle East.
    On the domestic front it seems the Obama administration has made a lot of promises, but have failed to keep any of them. The Guantanamo Bay concentration camp is still destroying what was left of America's reputation worldwide, drone murders by remote control psychopaths spread the global hatred with every attack and still no health service in America worth its health terms America is the third world, but this model is being foisted on Europe and elsewhere by US financial warmongers the IMF and World Bank promoting the Obama-ite doctrine of 'Full Spectrum Dominance' . So from where I'm sitting and as I predicted in 2008, under Obama's notional leadership the US has become an even more flagrant perpetrator of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes according to the Nuremberg criteria than it even was under Bush.

    America is the self-appointed superpower in a unipolar world surrounded by puppet regimes and client states which means that domestic politics cannot be bracketed off, you can't be a mass murderer abroad and a caring sharing democrat at home, that's the true meaning of globalism, the stains of corruption are indelible, the interference abroad and at home means that the American police state has finally been franchised to gangsters and flunkies.

    The US federal government only exists to feed the ambitions of the oligarchs, to deploy lethal power on behalf of international organised crime banking syndicates and to lie incessantly to the folks at home in a wall to wall 24/7 litany of propaganda and disinformation.

    Obama will never be able to deliver the promises of jam tomorrow, he never will and he knows it, he is never intended to but he will win, Romney is just a stalking horse, Obama's fate is already decided and would be the same even if every vote turned out to be a hanging chad. It is the system that is irreparably broken, archaic and illusory just like it is here in the dis-United Kingdom. The politics of presidential elections in the US is nothing more than a soap opera, the choreographed multi-billion dollar optical illusion of a democracy that doesn't exist and a nation privatized out of all but symbolic existence. America is a trade mark, a conglomerate whose corporate role model is Murder Incorporated and whose national symbols are the constructs of Edward Bernays.

    From here it seems that America is in a psychological war with itself where the needling discomfort impinges upon the passionate hope for something like they always said it was supposed to be. They lied then, they lie now. The American Dream can be rekindled at the merest tweak of the meta-legend responder in the collective self consciousness of the land of the free built on slavery and imprisonment.

    I congratulate Democrats on their forthcoming victory, but it won't change a damned thing I'm afraid. That's my take on it anyway for what its worth Doug, I can't stay away from politics either lol.

    Afghanistan feeds everybody's habit it seems :-)

  10. I find it sad that you feel such utter dispondency but can understand it yes the Americans are in a very deep psychological psychosis
    No question Obama will win better so the alternative in my view would not be pretty

  11. I would agree with the first half of that statement and vehemently disagree with the latter.

    Obama's awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize was not only premature, it was based on nothing. His Bush-like "surge" in Afghanistan has only served to mire us deeper and more intractably in the mess Bush created there; his heavy dependence on drones is shameless, and his non-closure of Git'mo as disingenuous as it gets... but all-that-and-more barely holds a candle to Bush's folly (or, more appropriately, 'follies').

    The difference between Obama and Bush is that Bush was an insecure little mouse who could never trust his instincts, let alone his intellect, to make the right decision, so he allowed others to call the shots for him. Obama is a comparative intellectual giant and knows full well what he's doing but fears any slip-up would cost him -- and the Democratic party -- dearly if he lets anything like 9/11 happen under his watch, so he's willing to sacrifice principle for the practical.

  12. In my view the main difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush was the victim of a coup d'et whereas Obama is the beneficiary of one.

    I have posted on this topic quite a lot over the years but this post originally from Oct 2007 is a baseline for the point of view I have expressed above.

  13. Doug, I agree with what you're saying here.

    I just do *not* agree that Obama's going to do much about it.

    I'm still voting Green.

  14. I find CNN is a good choice as far as the commercial-driven cable stations go, Marty, as is MSNBC when they are not showing endless prison documentaries. I think CNN tries to present a more balanced approach to political issues and international events--perhas because they have a major international service, unlike MSNBC and Fox who seem to have a niche domestic market.

    I don't have Current TV on my cable system. I found generally that Eliot Spitzer was quite informative when he was on CNN.

    Good for you on holding your ground and educating your grand-kids. Too many people in this country think elections are a personality contest.

  15. Did Ryan's upper lip got bitten off by an animal?

  16. That for me is a most profound observation Tinh.

    Some might laugh but I say, "What's with this guy's face?"

    I didn't want to bring it up, but now that you mention it....Ryan is a keen hunter. Perhaps an angry badger up in the woods of Wisconsin got the better of him for a minute in the great "Struggle Of Life" with nature, "red in tooth and claw", that social Darwinists like Ryan love so much.

  17. You make a very strong case for diplomatically isolating the United States and its public-private military leviathan from the rest of the democratic/pluralist nations, AA. And also for Americans to wake the hell up and say, "No, Sir!", to any more adventures abroad. This will take time, as many people make a living in part from the 650 billion dollar Pentagon Empire.

    To stop the Pentagon-MIlitary Industrial Complex too fast, as Chuck (aka Deckhand) pointed out, would be a mighty task. The last time it was really tried was in the Vietnam War era, and you were a part of that so I won't bother with those details. Suffice to say no one is calling for a draft in the USA these days. It is a different time and I think this time, with no real military threats to America from abroad of any size, and a huge budget problem with domestic entities like education and medical care threatened, the Pentagon will have to come to reality... unless the old Bush-Cheney co-hort gets a second life under Mitt Romney and revived GOP momentum in Congress.
    I don't see a Vietnam-era opposition brewing over here, but I do think we are reaching a critical mass of home grown weariness toward the Pentago leviathan-- the suicides of military personnel on the home front is rising, green-on-blue murders in Afghanistan show the futility of anything but a total pull-out there after 10 years, the "revolving door" deployments of the volunteer armed forces is stretched to the maximum, and the price of creating a nation state in Southwest Asia where none existed before failed both the British and Russian empires,and now the "American exception" is proved flawed again.

    The thinking part of the electorate wants out country is broken and the wars in places like Afghanistan are unpopular. There is a growing awareness that "The American Century" is over, and the nation has to evolve.

    More and more people in free nations are distancing themselves from the tactics of torture and drone attacks. We are losing the goodwill of the common people and that is as fatal to our empire as it was to those empires run by Whitehall and Moscow.

    I think nothing short of a flagrant military coup--one as obvious as tanks around the White House and Washington--will stop the slow but steady public backlash against wars of hegemony.

    The United States has been on a war footing, for reasons positive and positively imperial, since 1940. This was the same year, coincidentally, that media titan Henry Luce of the Time-Life magazine empire declared that the rest of world was going to be living in "The American Century". The USA now spends, according to the perhaps ironically named Stockholm Peace Institute, at least 40 percent of all the economic pie of the world's military output. This will end in a more inward America if and I mean if we the public is still allowed the ballot. I am confident we just might, but life is full of little surprises.

    For me, politics in America has a strong domestic component. I think that is the principal area where our outlook on these matters differ. We may not agree on the means to a better end but our goals I think are similar here--an America which is a regional power, working with other nations in a common defense against aggressive players in the world like al-Queda, and at peace with other nations...unless we or our closest allies are blatantly attacked and the case for another war need hardy be made.

  18. Thanks Will.

    "The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory but progress."--Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)

  19. We'll always have that strong political inclination in common, AA :-) (See my other comments on your post below.)

  20. I'm sorry but I'm just having a wee chuckle at your aboutface on political blogging hehe. And in support.

  21. Thanks Iri Ani. Anyday I can make a friend chuckle is a good day...most of the time. ;-)

  22. Sorry, Doug, I didn't read this. I applaud your going back to being YOU, but I just cannot read any more about the elections, even as intelligent and well-reasoned as your posts are. You and I can just talk about other things. That's why there are lots of other topics in the world, and we DO share other interests.

  23. Thanks Christy. I enjoy people who want to post and discuss a variety of topics, I really do. :-)

  24. I know you do ... and it is something I have always liked about you!!