Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Truth Will Set Us... Upon Ourselves

[Another weekend political rant. Stay away. It's all downhill from here.]

How many people would agree that the Republicans have been brilliant at getting the average person to vote against his or her own interests? (Hint: I would.) Knowing that their actual agenda of giveaways to the wealthy wouldn't fly on its own, they've managed to get people to think that this country will live or die over gay marriage and gun laws. So along comes a politician who points this out, and it becomes 24-hour news, drowning out the fact that the president admits, finally, that he authorized torture; wiping off the public consciousness the deficits, the war, the health care problems. Barack Obama said something that takes more than two seconds to explain, and the media and his opposing politicians go crazy.

I'm not sure about John McCain, but I do think Hillary Clinton is smart enough to understand what he said. The talking heads on radio and TV? Part stupidity and part cynicism. But Hillary knows, and plows ahead anyway. And what was it that Senator Obama actually said?

Government has failed to deliver to the average person, he said. It makes people frustrated and angry. By exploiting those feelings, politicians manage to get people to look away from their leaders' failings or their plutocratic agenda and to vote for them anyway, by sleight of hand. When people feel bad about their situation, they tend to look for issues to make them feel better. Immigrations, guns, gays. Is this untrue?

Okay, I admit he said it awkwardly. He's admitted it, too. But his words were "elitist" or "out of touch" only to those who willfully or stupidly misconstrued them. In the case of Hillary and her supporters, it's willful. Nor did he make stuff up out of whole cloth, like, say, bullets in Bosnia. He made a sophisticated point about how people think and how the political system exploits it. If anything shows how much change is needed, it's his words and the bullshit-filled reactions to them.

The spectacle of CNN and its ilk making 24 hour shrieking punditry out if it, finding it more important than all the problems facing us, is dispiriting beyond my ability to tell it. Between the cynicism of our politicians and the mendacity of our media, the American political system has become incapable of self-correction. We have, ultimately, no one to blame but ourselves. We elect the idiots, we watch the networks. Comes a person who actually thinks it's possible to change how we do our national business, and he's set upon by those for whom the status quo is their life-blood, while the people who have most to gain or lose are too complacent, or too burnt out, or too disappointed to make the effort to push back. They buy the crap because they've stopped believing there's anything else. More's the pity. The audacity of hope meets the beat-down of burnout.


X said...

So what's the opposite of elitism? Haven't we seen enough of the opposite already? Doesn't the opposite spread like Kudzu in the South? Like bindweed in the prairie? Like cottonwoods along the creek?

Well, as long as Obama wins the Dem. nomination, having Hillary as a sparring partner is probably going to be the best gift evah.

Anonymous said...

I don't follow the noise of the campaigns for just these reasons. So far, only Charlie Savage has actually asked and reported on anything of substance when he surveyed all of the candidates about their stances on and planned use of executive power a la Bush, their willingness to disavow the use of signing statements and their perceptions on the usurpation of executive power.

Meanwhile, I'm still stunned at Bush's nonchalant admission of ordering and directing torture, and the execution of the pedagogy and curriculum design by the "principles" meeting in the basement situation room under the Oval Office.

Do you read the Balkinization blog, Marcy Wheeler's emptywheel blog and Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory blog at

They are reporting what should be screaming headlines on every mainstream media venue, but which has instead been buried. Even ABC News, where Martha Raddatz has been breaking the Cheney "So?" story and conducting the Bush, Oh yeah, I approved of torture" interviews, has buried the stories.

The Constitutional law scholars at Balkinization have been discussing Yoou's continued employment at UC Berkeley and the response by the Dean at the Law School. Scott Horton wrote a very detailed and enlightening post.

I think that Obama was correct, by the way, but he didn't make his statement fit into the ten second sound bite, and instead, he was bitten. He seems to be able to glide through these without getting too much road rash. I hope he makes it through this latest insult.

Patrick Bageant said...

You do not get people to pull themselves from the muck by explaining why they are buried. You do it by showing them where the lifeline is.

That's where (I believe) Obama tripped up. But it's hardly a fatal error.

Jeff said...

Spot on. The level of public debate in these elections is horrid, and the fact that the elite journalists let them get away with it shows they are not much better.

scalpel said...

That wasn't what he "actually said." That's you paraphrasing (spinning) what he actually said. There's a difference.

The veneer is coming off of your shiny new candidate. What's underneath is ugly.

Sid Schwab said...

scalpel: of course it's a paraphrase. People seem unable or unwilling to hear what he said, and what he said (or meant) is exactly how I put it. He didn't say it very well, but his meaning was clear to anyone able to rise above the sewage of politics. Which, evidently, not every commenter here is able to do. What Obama says is "ugly" only to those too far gone down the road to have a listen. Disagree? Fine. Ugly? That takes a mind whose pre-sets are impenetrable.

Anonymous said...

No, Sid, that's how you interpret it. There is an equally valid interpretation. If you go back to his famous race speech, he talks about how "white resentments" like being "anti-affirmative action" and "anti-immigrant" are actually just "distractions from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze". This is not a new theme.

He genuinely seems to believe that the only reason people would be in favor of the 2nd amendment or against affirmative action are because they're channeling their frustration at being poor. In Obamaworld, once the government ensures Every Man Is A King, conservative ideas will have no support. Because people don't actually believe in them, they just think they do. This is so incredibly condescending it almost defies belief.

Anonymous said...

There you go again (© Ronald Reagan, all rights reserved).
Your messiah spoke the truth of what he believes, and it’s awful, and wrong.
Small town folks didn’t go to church and use firearms for sport and hunting when manufacturing jobs were plentiful???
Their bitterness is what sends them to church???
They are just a bunch of ignoramuses who need to be told what to believe by their betters- at least that’s what he says in the toney precincts of Marin County. He then goes on TV to try to spin out of it.

Government has failed to deliver what government is incapable of delivering. There’s a surprise. The only way government can give you something is to take it away from somebody else. It sometimes works tactically, but not a good strategy in the long run.

Rookie mistake for a liberal, speaking the truth of what he really believes.

scalpel said...

I think the condescension towards religious folks will hurt him more. Believe it or not, the majority of Americans (about 60%) feel that religion is extremely important or very important in their daily lives, and over 3/4ths of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual or inspired words of God.

This large majority of our fellow Americans don't "cling to religion" because they are frustrated about the economy or anything else. Obama may have selected his church out of political expediency and distanced himself from it for the same reason, but most Americans actually consider religion an important part of their daily lives, not something to be clung to only when times are tough.

Good zinger here, if you haven't read it. Funny stuff.

Sid Schwab said...

well, that's how YOU interpret what he says. I think it's just the opposite. His main message is that government from the top down has been failing in many areas, and if it could be changed (which I doubt is possible, entrenched as it is) it would require the sending of a bottom-up message. But the "conservatives" (they really aren't) who occupy the White House have managed to turn it exactly upside down: people are voting against their real interests because they mistakenly thing guns and gays are more important than healthcare and balanced budgets and paying for the wars we make and handing China and Saudi Arabia ownership of all our debt. Of late I've begun to think Obama is wrong that anything can change. But I think your interpretation of what he says is willfully wrong. You may disagree with him, and many do; but I wish the disagreement were with what he says rather than what you want to think he says.

On the other hand, I no long think it matters. We're well and truly fucked, and we've done it to ourselves. If you know a way to get out of the war, to get out of debt, to stop trading education for religious indoctrination while letting the rest of the world pass us by, let me know. I'm ready to give up. Shit, I think I already have.

scalpel said...

Even if you're right about what he meant (and honestly, you probably are), you seem to conveniently overlook the more important (to many of us, anyway) aspect of what he told us about himself by saying it the way he did.

He's willing to throw the rural Americans in the "flyover states" under the bus like grandma to get the socialistic paradise he envisions. Their values mean nothing to him. They will have to give up some of their pie (and some of their Constitutional rights, to boot) for the common good as he envisions it.

He's not a uniter, he's just another slick talking liberal. Well, not so much, anymore.

Sid Schwab said...

scalpel: the single most ill-advised word he used was "cling." It's clear what he meant by it: they VOTE on those issues. He was NOT condescending to religion. How one poorly chosen word can distract from the point is almost beyond me; except that it's not. People don't want to hear certain things. In a country where 60% of people believe in the literal meaning of the bible (despite its countless internal contradictions) and where a similar number therefore disbelieve evolution, it's not at all surprising that they can't separate their need for religious certainty from politics. Republicans have conflated them which has allowed them to bamboozle people into voting against their interests. It's not in our interest to be wallowing in debt, but it doesn't matter to people of Bush's wealth.

But once again, we are talking through masks that muffle our words to the other. In this case (as in all others) I'm less disturbed that we disagree than that we can't even agree what we're arguing about.

To see what Obama said as elitist or anti religious is simply to misconstrue entirely what he said. And to ignore his clarification. A word. A single word. And you think you've seen through it all.

Sid Schwab said...

Their values mean nothing to him.

Oh God. It's hopeless.

scalpel said...

Telling rich people in San Francisco that poor rural Americans shouldn't base their votes on issues like religion or guns or gays or immigration is indeed condescending to those rural voters. They obviously aren't smart enough to know what's good for them or what issues they SHOULD think are important, right?

Hardly a uniter.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up, Sid. Yours is a clear voice of reason, logic and generosity of spirit. I rely on your posts in very real ways.

It's heartening to read the comments to Frank Rich's column today. People around the world get it.

That the traditional media is failing to uphold its social contract is all the more reason to use new media to inform, to persuade, and to find communities of support.

Don't know if you read these, but they provide much excellent reading and brain refreshment:

Balkinization (authored by Constitutional law scholars not named Yoo)

Emptywheel by Marcy Wheeler, arguably the finest investigative reporter/blogger out there

And of course, Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory at Salon, which even has a resident poet as one of the regular commenters (look for Good Celery and Bebop-O).

Digby rounds out my list of must-reads, and she and her fellow Hullabaloo authors provide reasoned and compelling arguments based on facts and a belief in our shared state of (in)humanity.

Anonymous said...

Lee Camp has wonderful analogies to use for willfully ignorant and stupid people to understand the nonsense and maliciousness that is Bushco. He graciously gave me permission to crosspost some of his brilliance in both print and video formats. Enjoy - you need a good laugh, Dr. Schwab, and others may lurk and learn, in spite of wearing their helmets and cups in reverse.

Patrick Bageant said...

Scalpel: I come from a poor white family in a fly-over state. I AM that person, and you are so just totally wrong I don't even know where to begin. So I will not.

Annie: Those are all good blogs, including Balkinization. But they are taking the Yoo think a tad far over there. One of the impressive things about constitutional scholars is that their ability to build rhetorical walls out of what is in fact intellectual soup. John Yoo is currently my con law professor, and I have been following this issue with an interest that borders on zeal. I would be happy to share an "insider" perspective via email. You can find my address under my blogger profile.

Sid: If people like you give up, then people like me are really going to be fucked. It's just a thought.

Lynn Price said...

Sid, you know I love you and that we disagree politically. But I see Obama's comments is this: Obama feels that small-town folks are bitter because the government isn’t listening to them. If one takes his words one step further, it appears he’s suggesting that if Washington (Obama) were in charge of us little people, then we would no longer cling to our desire for guns, religion, and anti-immigration. Thought control? Arrogance? Didn’t Russia already try this?

I know, I know, I await the snowballs...

Sid Schwab said...

Sigh. No, Lynn, that's not it at all. He said that they VOTE those issues (okay, he did say cling, but it's not what he meant, as is both clear from the context and from his later statements) because they've become embittered over the failure of government to address anything else. Nor, of course, is he the first to say it. And Karl Rove's entire strategy was predicated on recognizing it. The difference between Rove/Bush/Cheney and Obama is that the trio of terrible cynically exploit it and Obama wants to change it. For the benefit of those whom you claim he's denigrating.

mikeinportc said...

When a school budget gets defeated , it's often because of the same phenomena that Obama was trying to describe . It's often the only tangible, direct way displeasure can be expressed, that will have any immediate effect. The main thing Obama can be criticized for , is being too generous .Some people vote a certain way just because they're bigoted, ignorant a-holes. The gun thing? He's from a big city , so might not understand completely . I don't think he meant there's no reason for people to care about guns,gods, and gays, just that there's an over-emphasis on it .
"He's willing to throw the rural Americans in the "flyover states" under the bus like grandma to.."

He didn't throw Grandma under the bus, or anywhere else. She's fine about it . It's the talking heads that are "elitists" , that disdain anybody that's not in NYC,DC, or LA. See Obama's arugula/Iowa "mistake". Probably why he lost there. :-))))

Sid Schwab said...

mike: right. But the news spreaders would rather dissemble talk about this, or orange juice and arugula. Evidently it's what the people would rather listen to, as well.

Anonymous said...

No ones asking me but the presses collective "Ah Hah!" over what Obama said badly put or not, just makes my inner angry while male want to brain those guys with a 2 lb sledge hammer.

As in

Ah Hah! Ha this MOFO *ka'thunk*

Anonymous said...

Be sure to read “What’s the Matter With Kansas” by Thomas Frank. It has much the same theme as your post and will make you very comfortable. It’s clear your mind is made up; Obama has your vote. But, that doesn’t change what he said and is now spinning. It’s clear that Obama is an elitist supporter of black liberation theology and a left social agenda. The fact that his voting record is to the left of Ted Kennedy helps him only with folks like you.

Sid Schwab said...

bob: yes, for now my mind is made up. Yours isn't?

scalpel: I certainly will! If we get a third term of bush, we'll all be able to say "I told you so" as the ship of state sinks deeper than can be rescued. The last thing we see above the waves will be your middle finger, raised in triumph.

Jeffrey Parks MD FACS said...

Obama is an intellectual. That means he's going to say things that make people uncomfortable. That's his weakness. Or perhaps it reflects more on a country that isn't ready to be challenged by its politicians. Our current system rewards ass kissing and pandering to the lowest common denominator. You hire focus groups and tailor your message based on them to whatever will appeal to your intendeed audience. It's sad. Unfortunately, this country doesn't lack for bigots, racists, and dogmatists who can't fathom the idea of a leader telling them that the way they think is faulty.

Sid Schwab said...

buckeye: exactly right. The whole "elitist" thing would be laughable if it weren't so telling. A guy born into poverty, raised by a single mom on food stamps, who works his way up and succeeds by dint only of innate talent, makes it to the Ivy League, returns to the ghetto to become an organizer for the disposessed, and now, because of his success, he's an elitist? Doesn't that sort of negate the idea of hard work and self-reliance? But good ol' brush clearin' George; born into wealth and privilege, got into schools by connection as opposed to qualification, wasted 40 years of his life in drugs and booze, given two business which he destroyed, and a country to which he's done worse: he's the kinda feller folks'd liketa have a beer with (assuming they could keep him from taking it all for himself.) Uppity is what Obama is. He's one uppity darkie, and he oughta know his place.

Sid Schwab said...

The finger, the finger. I see it... glub glub.

scalpel said...

Because if one doesn't vote for Obama, one must by definition be either ignorant or bigoted.

Of course.

'Scuse me, I've got to go hunt me some furriners.

Ros said...

Well, as an atheist, I can't imagine anyone seeing Obama as anti-religion. The dude is about a crazy a Xtian as all the rest of the politicians, and he trumpets it just as loudly as they do too. Wasn't last week's issue that he was a little too religious, in the strong, black church meaning of that phrase?

You quite literally can't have it both ways, well, unless you have the attention span of a fruit fly.

It comes down to this: If you don't like candidate X you work hard to misinterpret his words. The media pitches a frenzy either way, they wouldn't make money if they didn't. This is why candidates, whom I regard as bought and sold little leeches anyway, are afraid to say anything of even the vaguest consequence.

X said...


scalpel could easily be an Eliza program; troll-talk is fairly easy to predict. Like Gramma always told us: don't be feeding the trolls. But here I go anyway.

I'm a programmer. Ruby, Actionscript and, inevitably, Python, if Google has its way with me.

Some of what I do is fairly simple. A lot of what passes for programming is just good proofreading and an eye for symmetry and detail. Stuff that I call surface thought.

Surface thought is readily available, cheap and it allows me to perform menial programming activities -- with restrictions. Deep or comprehensive thought is different. I might characterize it as holding a lot of things in attention at once. As the Decider says, 'it's hard work.' And necessary for successful attempts at:

• migrating an entire computer filesystem to a new machine
• working on anything with many inter-connected parts that need to be considered in real time.
• developing the architecture of a program, or, far worse, discerning the architecture of a program written by others. (This is usually a horrible, thankless task.)
• writing a half-decent essay that would take the place of this one
• driving a car in traffic without breaking any rules, laws or conventions (Sound easy? Try it sometime. Let me be the judge.)
• hosting a meeting/party/conference and remembering all the new faces, names and relationships well enough to produce sensible notes afterwards.

The difficulty is in the simultaneous awareness of so many details without losing sight of the big picture. Musicians and other creative people used to talk about being 'in the groove' -- I'm sure there's a contemporary term but 'in the zone' is what I'm familiar with. There are times when I simply cannot get into the zone and it's not productive to even try.

scalpel, if s/he's even human, is not in the zone. scalpel produces surface commentary, always reactive and never, ever original. Nuance is a nancy-boi, elitist concept best suited for liberals and Frenchmen. scalpel speaks 'from the heart' or, in another age, lives where 'the rubber meets the road'. Et cetera.

if scalpel were human and if scalpel were at least average and if scalpel were capable of introspection, observation and synthesis -- well if some or most of these were true, I could be criticizing scalpel's ideas or presentation or clarity or philosophy.

However, scalpel, if indeed a human, is not a thinker. Is in no danger of creeping elitism. Thus my criticism, by definition, becomes ad hominem. And generally a waste of time/breath/energy.

I am in no position to generalize from personal experience to populations (I tend to avoid people) but I've certainly met my share of scalpels. They seem to be everywhere. My next-door neighbors on either side. One due to fetal alcohol syndrome and, no doubt, considerable abuse as a child. (Child? He's 40-something and while less frequent, I'm sure the abuse continues, as it does for all of society's official outcasts (that's code, scalpel; figure it out using the online databases provided to feed your vicarious fear).) The other simply chooses to think like a troll much of the time. It seems to be (or once was) a conscious choice, reinforced by habit and environment. Well, that and the paint fumes.

Gramma was right, of course. Feeding the trolls is dangerous in the sense that being a mental health worker at an Institution (take your pick) is dangerous: to connect with inmates you need to 'meet them at their own level'. Good luck finding your way home after wandering that far off.

A (committed or) enthusiastic troll is not interested in change. Notice that troll-talk is always against changing the status quo (and where the heck did 'ante' suddenly come from, Condi?). The successful conversation must, therefore, assume the nature of adults having a discussion while in a sometimes-crowded elementary school playground.

Problem is, somewhere along the way, the second-graders acquired NASCAR, ESPN, MTV, nucul'r weapons and the vote. I seriously doubt this is what Madison and Jefferson had in mind.

One afternoon when I was maybe 13 years old (a city boy living on the Kansas farm), I suddenly realized that I was in the midst of 30, maybe 50 pigs and most of them were larger and heavier than my own fat little body. The fence -- and safety outside the corral -- was a long, long ways away. Several of the larger ones were known to be bad-tempered and then there were the boars to consider.... We, all of us, are there now. Move towards the fence. Take your time. Don't fall down. The second-graders, in their bright, shining ignorance, depend on us.

Sid Schwab said...

Ros: I think you're right. I tell myself it's possible that Obama genuinely wants to change the dynamic, while realizing that even if he does, he's unlikely to be able to, for the reasons you mention, among others. I think we're past the point of possibility: the problems are so huge, and the inertia so great; the people have been fed for so long, and, like scalpel, have bought into the idea, that like prayer, all we have to do is believe in magic: no pain, no taxes, no difficulty. Just hate the other party and believe everything will be all right.
(However, having done my honors biology thesis in fruit fly genetics, and having witnessed the single-mindedness with which they set about fornication within hours of birth, I think your analogy needs refining.)

kewball: very good comment. I've often wondered if there is a calculable number of intelligent, creative, thoughtful people on which our society depends, below which it will fail, and above which it will survive despite the barnyard of reality in which we find ourselves. Given the general dumbing down of education and the futility of politics, can we survive as long as there are X people around still willing to do the hard work of inventing things, discovering things, broadening our horizons? I hope so. Immigration is one area of hope: the people who win the scholarships and get the prizes more often than not are immigrants or one generation away. And there is always a few natives thrown in who, despite the environment we've allowed to develop in this country, manage to find ways to excel.

Anonymous said...

I'm not unwilling to hear what he said, I heard what he did say. If he wants to be the pres, he'd better learn that what he says is what he says, no matter how many of his followers want to hear if differently.

As for context--he used the useds "bitter" and "cling" in the same sentence. I thinks that makes his actual thought process pretty clear.


Sid Schwab said...

BC: wow, in the same actual individual sentence? I guess that settles it. Cause. Other. Wise. It'd. Be. What?

Yes, you hear what you want to hear. Context is everything, and you create your own. You could read my subsequent post on the subject, if you care to. On the other hand, it'd be a waste of your time.

X said...

Bitter, clinging

As for context--he used the useds "bitter" and "cling" in the same sentence. I thinks that makes his actual thought process pretty clear.

Which way would you have it, BC?

1) There are no bitter, clingy, whatever-he-called-them people in Pennsylvania or,

2) There may indeed be such folks but they should not be spoken of.

You get to decide.

There are plenty of disaffected former Union, former Democrat, former steelworkers in Pennsylvania. Not to mention the displaced Republican business owners that Wal^Mart has shoved aside throughout the Keystone state. That is just two sub-groups who are predisposed to the bitterness of seeing their formerly-middle-class life shredded. There are many more. And by your own cohort's figures there's something north of 60% of the population clinging to Bronze Age mythology and belief in sky faieries, even as they drive their gasoline-burning, electronically-controlled, GPS-enabled SUV's to the air-conditioned megachurch on the outskirts of town. Oh yes, the one with armed security guards.

Shouldn't be too hard even for a Hoosier to locate one or two bitter, clinging, whatever-he-called-them. Truth is, they are all over everywhere. Small town America is crumbling under the bitter story of the faded Dream. In the 1960s they bought the family car. In 2008 they make payments. And move to bigger towns.

You know this to be true but you deny it. Choose 1) or 2) and it's still denial. Denial of reality is a human conceit that apparently has some survival value since so many people exhibit it so unashamedly.

Not that anything I say makes any difference to you, of course. Indeed, given your focus on bitter and clinging and denial, I'd guess you might just be the someone Obama was referring to.

// meta: Sorry for spamming your blog today, Sid -- can I call you Sid? My name's Matt -- but I took the day off to calculate taxes and apparently I'm done already.

I learned early on in life to keep my pie-hole shut if I 'knew what was good for me' (city boy moves to the country at age 10) and now that I'm past half-way through this experience -- probably long past half -- I'm not that interested in being polite to idiots. What's that phrase about suffering fools gladly? Not so much anymore. The last textbook sociopath I worked with was probably the last textbook sociopath I'll ever work with.

Ros said...

Okay, retroactive edit:

...unless you have the attention span of a fruit fly (for matters other than sex). ;-)

Oddly enough a few years ago I helped edit (Not for content) a thesis on drosophila melanogaster. I remember very little of what it was about except that it was the usual dry, detailed to the nth degree, CYA college paper taken to an extreme.

I think your gradual conversion towards my way of thought is the inevitable conclusion of an intelligent person becoming active and interested in politics. It doesn't take long to see that it's almost entirely BS and that all our 'choices' amount to which philosophy steals our earnings, not whether or not they get stolen. Republicans would prefer their private industry owners take the pie, while Democrats want the government to become the industry.

Grossly simplified perhaps, but no less true for it. The quantity of funds leaving our pockets and slipping into theirs does not decline and won't until we break the system. I'm sure my family wasn't the only one who payed three times more in increased taxes than the size of that laughable 'economic stimulus package' this year.

...and that about sums up the year in politics. 'Take this money and blow it on something, quickly, before your new, improved taxes come due!'

Sid Schwab said...

matt: your comments are most welcome and by no definition I know are they spam.

Anonymous said...

Awe...guns and religion...the two bogeymen liberals are fixated with. People, or should I say conservatives, in the minds of liberals, can't cling to anything else...such as cars, 401Ks, real estate etc. Just guns and God and guns and religion and guns. Those seems to be the only two issues that circle around inside the skulls of progressives when they think of conservatives.

Geeeeeeeeeze..get out and actually meet some...........oh forget it!

Anonymous said...

Sarcasm really is beneath you, Sid. And don't get mad at me--he's your rock star who said those things. You're the one with stars in your eyes so you only hear what you want to hear.

I'm really not against BO--but I can hear what he said. I'm just a typical white guy.


Sid Schwab said...

Sarcasm? I was being sarcastic?

xxnemesis2010 said...

sorry this is really irrelevant, but what is a blog troll?

Sid Schwab said...

A troll is a person who hangs around only to drop unpleasant comments. So I understand the term.

Unknown said...

Honestly, one phrase this early will not make or break the election. Of course the union members who have lost their jobs are "bitter" that the job security and lifestyle that they once afforded is gone. The recent history of entitlement rich GM foreshadows America's near future. By this I mean more aged, sicker retirees with full benefits per active worker. Does anyone remember when John McCain said one of his utterly true remarks during the Michigan campaign trail? The comments were to the effect that auto manufacturing jobs are gone and ain't coming back. He was nailed to the cross in Michigan for such a comment. Both those comments and this "bitter" comment by Obama are true. I would not bet any of my money in American manufacturing. Who is?

Unfortunately, as I stated in my post a week or two ago these trivialities of truth presented by the aforementioned candidates do not address the real issues facing this country. I wish I could believe that Obama's "change" message were true and possible. But neither he nor any other candidate has satisfactorily shown me how they plan to address issues. Key among these: medicare spending and foreign trade imbalance/inflation of the US money supply. The trade deficit was $62Billion in February of this year. Those hundreds of billions that are leaving annually are the same dollars that used to provide our better than the rest of the world lifestyle. I don't know when it happened but at some point we as a nation decided that credit cards at all levels(individual through federal) were a good idea. No more pay as you go for anything. Ipod on visa, war on terror via Chinese purchased T-Bills to be paid by your grandkids. What more sign do you need that we are in decline? O wait, ask my friends who are cheering free Tibet where TIBET is located on a map; hint, they can't find it. I am glad we are spending our remaining wealth wisely on things like education to improve our future competitiveness in an increasingly tight global economy.

Chris, the agnostic, disenchanted, fiscally conservative 23 year old medical student.

PS--Why guns, gay marriage, abortion, bitterness, and similarly "bullshit" issues are addressed ad nauseum by the talking heads is beyond me. I hope I did not rant too long Dr. Schwab.

Sid Schwab said...

Chris: very well said. I couldn't agree more. While the talking heads, propelled by the cynicism of the politicians, have spoken of nothing else since "Bittergate," we learned (only if we really looked for it) that plans for torture were detailed in the White House. Nobody cares. No one really addresses the nearly impossible fiscal realities you mentioned. Our politics has become fixated on a couple of gotcha words, while the real issues go unnoticed and get more impossible by the minute. If I were 23, I'd feel even worse than I do; and that's already pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

Been awhile getting back, Sid. No, my minds not made up. On present evidence, it's going to be a tough choice.
Obama: high ambition, no record of accomplishment, all talk.
Hillary: high ambition, worrisome record, poor campaign management.
McCain: high ambition, real hero but stomps on the First Amendment and doesn't have a clear position on immigration, etc.
But, having to make a choice among poor choices is what politics is all about.



Moving this post to the head of the list, I present a recently expanded sampling of what this blog has been about. Occasional rant aside, i...