So this has seemed to fade into the news cycle somewhere but a huge and potentially country changing decision is looming in near future. What will be the Super Committee’s decision and/or suggestions going to be to our current financial crisis? Will the Super Committee be able to craft a solution that satisfies both the Democrats, Republicans and the American People?
The hope is that they will have some ingenious solution to make our pains go away. The hope is that they will bridge their differences and come up with an all-encompassing compromise that will make us all do our fair share.
The reality is that they are very unlikely to come up with anything of substance at all unless we speak up.
With the very idea of compromise seeming to be a bad word in Washington recently. Compromise and working together is openly shunned. It is unlikely that anything real will happen. The current political strategies of obstructionism are wreaking havoc on our country, our government and most notably the people of the United States of America. We are all suffering because of the quagmire of politics right now.
We have seen in recent days that the voice of the people can make a difference should we shout out loud enough.
Stand Up For Healthcare has created a handy little tool to help you get a list of your representatives and their twitter accounts. There is currently a campaign now to inundate our representatives with what the people really want through Twitter in hopes that they will actually represent us and provide what we ask for.
I hope all of you use the tool provided below to make your voice heard. We the people are being systematically silenced but we can use the tools of today to keep out voice. Use yours.
I was raised in a staunchly Democratic household with Democratic generational roots in Northern Indiana. I grew up supporting Democratic policies and candidates and looking down on Republicans as backwards and not out for the middle class. I even said many times while living in Northern Ireland that “I will not move back to the States if that country-bumpkin Bush gets elected.” I did, however, eventually move back to the US on September first 2001. I watched the horror that seized the nation ten days later and then watched helplessly as the Bush’s two terms pass. During that tenure, I watched as civil rights and liberties were diminished, an ill-fated war be waged based on faulty intelligence (against a country that had nothing to do with September 11th), torture and abduction become acceptable, national debt skyrocket while more and more money is poured into our military industrial complex, and finally a the crash of the entire financial system. The tide of fear that gripped the nation left no room for any form of decent against what was happening for fear of being labeled unpatriotic or worse yet, a terrorist. In my mind and in my conversations, I had one nice and neat place to lay the blame…BUSH and his Republican cronies.
Does the U.S. Two-Party System Still Work?
I was filled with the “hope” and “change” that swept the Democrat Barack Obama into office and looked forward to congress being held by the Democrats as well. Things will change, they have to get better, I thought. As the dust settled and the Obama presidency got underway, I watched again helplessly as more and more Bush policies were adopted, as a healthcare bill was written by the insurance companies, as more troops die in both wars, and every effort seems to be made to compromise towards a “Republican platform” on social programs. Then one day as I was thinking about the state of our nation, I thought to myself, “What would I think if this were a Republican president?” I came to the realization that neither party has my interests at heart, neither party is willing to make the hard decisions on difficult challenges facing our country with both parties willingly perpetuating problems for political gain. No longer can I support the Democratic Party. I now believe that there is only one “hope” for our country and that is to break the two party strangle-hold that has established its permanent place of power and make our government much more transparent and working for us. We need to return to a point to where the government is the servant of its citizens and no longer its citizens being indentured servants of the government. I do not believe that can or will happen under this two party system.
I wonder how the Republicans in Congress can look at themselves in the mirror today, after the mockery they’ve made of themselves, our country, and our allies in the world. In the last few years we know the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate have become uncompromising zealots, crippling the government and our democracy as a whole, blocking any sort of American progress for the sake of their own agenda, instead of representing the will of the people.
Preaching change and fresh ideas, newer Republicans achieved great gains and even took over control of the House of Representatives during the midterm election. They did not make enough gains to actually push their own agenda, but to bring our legislative process to a halt.
Why would elected representatives of the American people want to throw a wrench in the works? John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, openly states he will do whatever he can to undermine, undercut and ruin Barack Obama’s presidency. Besides being a traitorous and horribly un-American thing to say, it shows his unwillingness to do his actual job: working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle in order to keep the government running, adapt it to changing issues, and work to improve America.
The Republicans have spent the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency working their hardest to block, stop and oppose any legislation that was proposed. In fact, they’ve spoken out against legislation that was originally introduced by Senator John McCain, Barack Obama’s political opponent in the 2008 election, because President Obama endorsed it! A large piece of the healthcare overhaul was legislation that McCain actually originally introduced during President Clinton’s administration. President Obama has spent so much time trying to work with the Republicans and has compromised so much on key issues that the majority of Americans wanted that his own party is frustrated with him. And instead of being grateful for a President that bends over backward to work with Congress, the Republicans act like a spoiled child who has just learned to say “no”. They say NO at any and every opportunity they have because they can, not because they should.
It is amazing the Republican hate for President Obama runs so deep that it surpasses their love of America and its people’s well being.
Now we are embroiled in a political quagmire. Republicans have irrationally held onto the idea that it is unfathomable to put an end to unreasonable tax breaks and loop holes, even when the current economic climate calls for such action. They have been asked not to raise taxes, but simply to put an end to the breaks the wealthy and corporations enjoyed when the economy was thriving. Instead they would prefer to gut the social programs that help to keep the foundation of America from crumbling. Programs that Americans realized they needed after the Great Depression. They refuse to even consider renegotiating the prescription drug plan that has caused Medicare costs to skyrocket. Instead, the pharmaceutical companies can still charge us more than anyone else for the same drugs. However, they insist we need to cut trillions out of other areas of Medicare. Instead of fixing the part of the system that was broken from the start (non-negotiable drug costs), and is the biggest expense in Medicare (more than 3 times what other countries pay even though they are created in America); they want to continue to allow private companies to rake in our tax dollars, but strip down benefits for our veterans, parents, and grandparents and any disabled Americans.
The healthcare “debate” is just one of the many ludicrous examples of the insanity that has spread like a cancer throughout our political system. They do not even try to hide their intentions of destroying people, parties and lives anymore.
They don’t care about citizens. If there was any doubt, there should be none now.
Standards and Poor’s has lowered the United States of America’s credit rating from AAA to AA+ with both short term and long term outlooks being set to negative.
This is ghastly. This is horrible. This is one more ultimate embarrassment forced upon the American people in the name of the Republican agenda.
It is impossible to know for certain what kind of repercussions this will have for the people of America because this has never before happened in the history of America. Never. Ever.
Economists are scrambling to give some kind of forecast: economic slowdown, increased unemployment, a rise in interest rates. What will happen when the credit worthiness and trust in an entire nation drops? What happens when all of the citizens of a nation experience their debt burden increase, during a fragile economic recovery? This move could bring about changes lasting decades.
Economic Outlook and Fiscal Policy Choices
This is what the Republicans have chosen to do. Raising the debt ceiling is one of the more trivial things our government must do. It has been raised 74 times in the last 50 years. That means it has been raised more than once a year, on average. Presidents Bush and Reagan raised the debt ceiling many times, because not doing it would have been disastrous. Now, with the cost of and the interest of the wars they started during the Bush years mounting, with the tax breaks given at the same time cutting down revenue, this one thing has suddenly become a key issue?
This was an unprecedented opportunity for a group of politicians to take advantage of the situation and deal a terrible blow to America, in order to blame the fallout on the current President. They hope to pin this ridiculous insanity on President Obama and the democrats and hope that the American people will somehow forget who dealt us this horrible injury.
They believe they are patriots fighting for what is right, if it is the Republican view. If it isn’t, damn those that disagree and damn those that get in the crossfire.
I believe an American patriot is one that is selfless, and who will do what is best for our country.
I believe an America patriot is one that has the personal fortitude to put aside differences and treat America with dignity.
I believe an American patriot is one who understands that compromise, and doing the right thing, leads to a better America.
My fellow Americans, the horrible circus we just saw from the Republicans regarding the debt ceiling was watched by the world and they did not like what they see.
I do not like what I see.
Thank your Republicans for making a mockery out of your life, your home and you country, for bringing America to a new low. Thank them come next election, by not forgetting what has happened. Thank them by booting them out of office.
“I’m not talking ’bout rich, I’m talking ’bout wealth.”
Average American people don’t understand the difference between being rich and being wealthy.
Rich is the guy who won the lotto. It happens. It could happen to you. It is not bloody likely, but it could. Wealth… doesn’t just happen to people. It almost impossible to create wealth. It is highly unlikely you will ever create a business that is so successful that you create wealth. The odds are worse than the lotto. Billions of times worse.
Bill Gates did it. He founded a company that revolutionized the business world. Sam Walton did it. He revolutionized the way we shop. Rockefeller did it. He revolutionized steel. Now, look at you. You aren’t going to revolutionize anything. You, Average Joe, are average. The wealthy are attending seminars on how to expand their wealth to take care of their 5th generation. Think about that. If the average person has two kids, then those kids have two kids, we are talking about people who are planning to have enough wealth to have their family of 64 live in lap of luxury for their entire lives. And guess what, these are not the first generation wealthy either. By the time you get that far down the line none of them have earned anything. The more you think about it the more the entire concept of a meritocracy loses water. And do not be fooled, that is exactly what people are being sold; the concept of meritocracy.
You are being sold the idea of “to each according to their merit”, and that is a false statement. That is like saying “everything in the world is fair”. It is just not true. You determine your own self worth, and that has little to no bearing on your financial status. In the grand scheme of things you are average. Most of us are. Billions of us are.
The thing is there is nothing wrong with being average. There is nothing wrong with striving to be better than average either, it is a noble goal. Most of the unwashed masses never even try. But it is a fascinating personality trait that would simultaneously make someone so arrogant that they believe they can break free of the pack, be that one in a billion, yet possess such low self esteem to believe that they deserve their lot in life no matter how bad that lot may be. And they will accept that lot in life no matter how easy it would be to improve. It is as simple as voting for the other guys. It is as easy as reevaluating what is important. But they will cling to the idea that they are exceptional no matter how statistically impossible that achievement may be.
The sooner Americans understand that rich happens by luck (like having some athletic, musical, or acting talent, or by winning the lotto) and that wealth is engineered through generation after generation of careful planning or by revolutionizing the world, the sooner Americans will do more to help each other. But I don’t see it happening because the lie is so entrenched.
“What is that lie” you ask? The lie is American Exceptionalism. For generations we have been told that we are special just for being born in America. President Obama has even been widely criticized for not promoting the concept as broadly as previous presidents. But the concept is faulty. There was a time when America truly was exceptional. When anyone, no matter who you were, where you came from, or your family’s financial status, could and often would achieve the American Dream. But that time was long ago when the American Dream was as simple as owning a home, being your own person, and living a life better than the previous generation. The American Dream itself has been distorted to fit this view of American Exceptionalism. The new American Dream is to be a rock star or movie god. To live the life depicted on MTV Cribs, or Keeping up with the Kardashian’s. But that life is statistically unobtainable. If you return to what the American Dream once was and simply try to live a better life than you had growing up you will see how flawed the whole system really is.
What made American exceptional in the past was how we reacted in the worst of times. It is what we did for our fellow Americans, what we did for each other, that led us to win two World Wars. It was working together that got us through the Great Depression. It was the will to achieve together that put a man on the moon. It was never what we did in the best of times that defined us, but what we did in the worst of times. Now is one of those times, and everyone needs to reevaluate where they stand; with the rest of America, or alone trying to achieve the lie.
I would find it amusing were it not so appalling that people support the idea that the struggles between Democrats and Republicans are simply matters of belief. These problems are a matter of facts. Republicans ran on a platform of jobs and the economy. Since taking office in January the Republican led House of Representatives has rallied behind social issue after social issue while doing everything in their power to make sure taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans were kept at record lows.
It is a fact that corporations are sitting on some of the largest stockpiles of cash in American history. It is a fact that the wealthiest 4% of Americans have an effective tax rate lower than the 1950s and lower than the vast majority of their fellow citizens today. It is a fact that those who the Republicans have deemed “job creators” are doing very, very well despite the perceived economic climate when, in fact, very few jobs have been created. It is also a fact that if we do not raise the debt ceiling we will only worsen our economic climate. In fact, the Republicans (who I will remind you controlled the White House and both houses in Congress for six years) raised the debt ceiling ten times. Ten times they raised it, and now they are playing politics with the one time when it looks imperative that we raise it again.
The Suffering American People
The fact is most Americans are suffering. Why aren’t our Republican friends worried about tax breaks for the 90%? Our roads and bridges are crumbling. Why aren’t our Republican friends talking about improving America’s infrastructure? We are paying 20-40% to export our goods to countries like India and China, while only charging them 2-4% to import them to America. Why aren’t our Republican friends concerned about trade inequity?
Rep. Jared Polis actually proposed legalizing and taxing online gambling and marijuana as a solution. Why aren’t all solutions being considered? Why do we have to have things one way or the other? Why can’t we have spending cuts AND tax increases? Surely if one of these solutions will get us out of our current financial situation, utilizing all of them will get us out faster.
While it is not a fact, I think that both parties have failed us. Unfortunately we do not have a strong 3rd party. Until we do we must vote for the “lesser of two evils” so to speak. If you take out your own long held political beliefs, look at the facts, remember that social issues are not really in the realm of a limited government, and vote for who actually has a plan and agenda to help you, then you will very clearly know who falls into the “greater of the two evils” category.
Using the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United, Steven Colbert, of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, has legally and legitimately started his own Super PAC.
Over the last several months, he’s been working to form his own Super PAC in order to show that he can use the Supreme Court ruling in order to push his own political agenda. Steven Colbert is a comedian and his show is brilliant. What’s frightening about this stunt is that it goes beyond satire—he is showing the public exactly how anybody can do this. Because his program is a comedy show, he is not being taken seriously, except by those who truly understand the horror of what he is able to accomplish.
What is the Supreme Court’s Decision on Citizens United?
Effectively the Supreme Court ruled that corporations and businesses have the same rights as an individual United States citizen, and that no caps or limitations can be applied to the amount of money they can contribute politically because it limits a company’s freedom of speech.
This ruling has effectively given them the ability to amplify their influence on candidates. Companies with millions of dollars to spend to further their own agendas will absolutely take the opportunity to do so, in many respects drowning out or outright buying votes for their corporation and PACs.
What is a PAC (Super PAC)?
PAC Power: Inside the World of Political Action Committees
PAC stands for Political Action Committee. A Super PAC is just the bigger corporate type of PAC. A PAC is a committee that can be formed by anyone having some kind of political goal or agenda. Anyone can donate to a PAC, and this donation is undisclosed. This can be a donation of 1 cent to 1 billion dollars. Since this kind of political spending does not have to be disclosed it is a perfect and legal way to hide contributions to any PAC that supports your cause or that you yourself have created.
Why is the Citizens United decision and the formation of PACs so detrimental to our democracy?
For years, in fact for 100 years, a Supreme Court ruling has limited the amount of money corporations, lobbyists, and other interest groups can dump into the political system, whether for advertising, campaigning, or directly supporting candidates. The reasoning was that the country and the justices felt that it is important to limit these contributions so that companies and special interests didn’t drown out the will of the people. The people, even those that lobby for corporations, all have a vote and already have significant power when determining elections, without the overbearing influence of multi-million or even multi-billion dollar campaign ads, smear ads, propaganda and all of the other ways that voters and elections are influenced.
Now, with the ability to form PACs and Super PACs, the floodgates have been opened for these special interests to pour in as much money as needed to keep the legislation and politicians they want in power. There is a correlation between the amount of money put into an election and the results of the election. The influence was once limited, now it is not.
This decision by the Supreme Court is a new one and we are yet to see the full extent of what unlimited lobbying will do. I cringe to think about the damage we, our country and even our world might endure when faced with such forces as the petroleum industry, which literally has tens of billions of dollars PER MONTH it could potentially sink into campaigns. $10,000,000,000 a month to buy an election, and those that contribute can remain completely anonymous. How can the normal citizen even have a chance to combat such overwhelming funds, coming from questionable sources? And that is exactly the idea of PACs.
So I appreciate what Steven Colbert is doing. He has legitimately created a Super PAC, with his admitted intended use of the money to be completely frivolous. He has clearly stated that he wants a Super PAC so he has more money to have fun. And he actually got his Super PAC, and there are many people giving money to the PAC as we speak!
I think what Steven Colbert is doing is great. He is making Super PACs very public and showing what kind of sham they really are. He is illustrating the kind of shenanigans that he and anyone else could do, with their own PAC. There’s no accountability, there is no transparency, if the source of the money is anonymous. Transparency is one of the biggest wishes the American people have for their government. A government for the people is the very foundations that our democracy has to have to function properly. It was never meant for the corporation or special interests with the biggest coffers to have the biggest influence on our elected officials and the bills that become laws.
I hope you are all shocked and appalled that this is even possible. If you haven’t gotten to that point yet, watch below and try to understand the insane and horrible consequences that the ruling on Citizens United can, and probably will, cause our democracy. Our government is not supposed to be able to be for sale. But right now, it is.
One can only hope! The past several years of his ranting and raving have gone from strange to totally ridiculous. Amazingly his illogical and paranoid rants entertained and even convinced many Americans of the crazy things that came out of his mouth. If you sit back and critically think through what Glenn Beck has said over the last couple of years you should be astonished that he hasn’t been laughed out of the spotlight yet.
On a more serious note, it has become obvious that his shows over the years have done America great harm. From paranoid conspiracy theories to ridiculous connections between political players, he has presented the country with a bizarre viewpoint that many misunderstood to be news, due to his association with a so-called news network. Using fear, apprehension and good old fashioned trickery he has tugged at the desperate heartstrings of Americans who were only looking for a way to improve the country. Unfortunately his disjointed way of thinking has permeated into many people’s political views. This in no way is a good thing. He has taken the logic and and self-control out of incredibly important political discussion and somehow made it OK to be insane. He has made blatant racism, sexism and bigotry OK as long as you believe that you are doing what an “American” should do.
Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America
Think about how he handles issues or people who have a different opinion than him. Now imagine you are sitting at Thanksgiving dinner with your extended family. Each of your relatives is from different areas of the country, with different upbringings and points of view. They are different people with different religious and political viewpoints. Now imagine you took a Glenn-Beck style stance about the way Americans ought to put gravy on their stuffing. In minutes there would be crying, fighting and food flying everywhere! The very thought of acting like this at the dinner table with your family should be preposterous. You wouldn’t dream of acting this way, of treating people with such disrespect. It is childish, immature and completely irresponsible. So why is it so many American people think we can put respect and courtesy aside when we are discussing politics?
This is the real damage that Glenn Beck has done. Many others on FOX take the same attitude towards politics and with working within our political system. They take a hard core, zealot stance, unwilling to budge on any issue. And they deride those that do appreciate the power of compromise and the dignity of working together as weak and lacking conviction. They call their fellows Nazis, unpatriotic, traitors to America and worse. This is not the way to a better country. This attitude is what is creating the terrible divides in this country, and the unwillingness to work toward real change. This style of politico battling is what is taking the power away from the people and giving it to a select few. By using this uncompromising stance on any and all issues, it forces people out of the political arena in disgust. How to reason with the unreasonable? You can’t.
Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance
We need to have, no we must have, a political environment that welcomes everyone and their opinions. We must have a political system the embraces different ideas and the philosophies of compromise to make America and its people a better, happier place. It has to start with each of us. It has to start with the People. We need to bring respect back into the debate. We need to bring honor back into politics. We need to strive, each and every one of us, to become a better steward of ourselves and America.
So I say good riddance to bad rubbish. It does my heart good to see arguably the most partisan and corporately motivated network even consider such a move. It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe the American people are a bit smarter than FOX gives them credit for. Maybe, just maybe FOX will strive for a more intelligent, honest and open political environment. And perhaps Americans will follow suit, and realize the way toward change is not through ridiculous talking heads telling people what to think.
Here’s to hoping.
Montage of Crazy Glenn
This one is great. They present some key arguments over the years for both sides of an issue, depending of course if there was a Republican or Democratic president.