Small Government: When 307,999,999 People Can’t Agree

A funny thing is happening on the way to the ballot box. Voters of all stripes decry the excesses of big government. The reflexive complaint from both ends of the political spectrum, although voiced most loudly by conservatives and tea drinkers, is that big government is inherently bad, a foregone conclusion needing no evidence for proof. It’s a lot like religion that way. “I believe in God, so therefore there must be a God.” “I believe big government is evil, so therefore it must be true.”

It’s curious that the louder the screams about government size, the fewer practical suggestions the screamers give regarding how to make it smaller. There’s the all or nothing crowd – the government shouldn’t do anything but maintain an army. Or, the “limited” governmental types who want to lop off entire government departments, like the Department of Education, Federal Reserve, or Department of Homeland (In)Security. But, there’s precious little in the way of a platform to explain how we’ll reach this government nirvana.

Saying No is Fun
You might expect voters wouldn’t clamor for details. After all, it’s great fun to go watch Glenn Beck scream political science screeds or wave protest signs or accuse people of being anti-Christ socialists. It’s also great to campaign and hear the yelps of Grizzly Mommas in full-throated rapture about how wonderful you are. But the day in and day out grind of actually governing or even setting goals … not so much. In other words, the universal Republican “plan” for everything – “NO” – gives voters, candidates, and sitting politicians the chance to be righteous without the responsibilities of righteousness.

Come to think of it, that’s a little like some religious folks too.

There are roughly 308 million citizens in the US. That means there are at least 308 million opinions on how to reduce the government. Farmers kind of like crop subsidies, especially if their name is Farmer ConAgra. Some people are really behind “drill baby, drill”, without the inconvenient fact that without government regulation, a well might one day pop up in their backyard.

“Take that you NIMBY bastards!”

The “local levelites” don’t want an Islamic center in Manhattan, but are unwilling to accept the decisions of the local planning commission. And Reaganites complain, for example that transportation decisions be made on a state-by-state basis. However, they don’t seem to realize that building a road is building a road whether Uncle Sam funds it or your state increases taxes to offset the downsizing of Federal tax dollars. And, the private enterprisers would be the loudest to complain if RoadCo ran the highways and every country lane and freeway in their state started charging tolls.

Immutable Laws of Government
Americans need to understand a few immutable laws of government and human nature. First, nobody wants a bigger government. Second, everybody wants a smaller government so long as it gets smaller at someone else’s expense. Third, everyone wants the government to work. And fourth, those elected will become “inside” professional politicians as soon as they take their hand off the swearing-in Bible. They will be in your business for good and ill from then on as a result. This is especially true if you want the government to decide who gets married, who serves in the armed forces, who gets government assistance, and dozens of other meat and potatoes governmental decisions that must be made to support your idea of how smaller government should stay out of your life.

American individualism is a great strength. It’s the engine that drove the idea of American exceptionalism in the last century. But, when individualists forget there’s such a thing as shared goals and common needs that strength becomes a drag on the country.

Especially when you and the other 307,999,999 of us can’t agree on just what small government means.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

The Lazy Black Dog Jumped Over the Fat White Cracker

Given the plethora of political pinheads roaming the streets and licking babies this year, it’s a several times daily thing when one says or does something incredibly stupid. When you speechify for a living things like that will happen, but this is an amazingly talented bunch when it comes to crapping in their own rhetorical mess kits.

When something goes awry, the tried and true tactic is for the candidate – or some unlucky bastard of a surrogate – to come out and explain why what they said isn’t really what they said, even though they said it in front of several thousand people, while being broadcast on 144 channels around the globe, and Jon Stewart is playing it unedited and nonstop for nigh onto a month.

Sometimes the stupid statement is so egregious and unmistakable there is no way to explain it away. In those cases, the candidate usually runs away and refuses to give interviews.

Being ‘Cracker Lite’ is All the Rage
It’s one thing to be aggressively ignorant, but it’s another to run from who you are and what you say.

Perhaps the most common scenario lately involves racism. Racism is hard to prove, but it’s like porn – you know it when you see – at least if you’re honest about it.

Provable or not, there are a lot more cases of possible racism now that all the angry white guys are trying to get back in with the voters and there’s an African American in the White House. It’s fashionable to be “cracker lite” these days. I vaguely recall that when George the Indifferent was President few people said things about him being dumb white cracker from Texas or question whether he was a closet Muslim, Kenyan escapee, or a socialist far to the left of Uncle Fidel. But now, mysteriously, these things keep happening and keep being denied.

Not all racially-tinged speech or behavior is clearly racist. Sometimes people just don’t think before they talk. Not all Tea Partiers are racists, although statistically there does seem to be a dearth of color at their rallies. Face it, if you were black, would you go to a rally with a bunch of people with whom you vehemently disagree?

But sometimes, racism is unquestionable. I don’t believe that Sharron Angle, ignorant sow that she is, would say something like the clearly Latino people in her anti-immigration ads (BTW, since yanked from the web over copyright claims) possibly being Asians who cross the border from Canada, and then imply she is all Asiany herself…to a room full of Latinos. You don’t say things like that unless you are clearly and stupidly trying to draw attention away from your own asshatted agenda – at the expense of an ethnic group – or you really believe that claptrap.

Though granted it could be one or the other or both in Sharron’s case.

Then, there’s the case of David Bartholomew, Virginia Beach Republican party chair. He emailed a “joke” about a man trying to get welfare benefits for his dog.

The Lazy Black Dog Jumped Over the Fat White Cracker
“My Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English, and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is,” goes the punchline. When called on it by some GOP bigs, Dipshit Dave resigned and hid in an undisclosed location to keep the email from becoming a “distraction”. To their credit, several Republicans spoke against the hate message.

But one, Gary Byler, a congressional district chair, left no doubt where he stood. Byler said he was “horrified” by the email, but that didn’t stop him from sticking his own racist boot in his mouth by saying Diamond Dave forwarded the email when, “he was first getting familiar with the Internet.” Losing a document is something a newbie does, sending racist emails “accidentally”? Not so much.

There were other apologists too. Independent candidate and former GOP swell, Kenny Golden, said Bartholomew was being thrown under the bus too quickly. “David would never do something like that on purpose.” Several GOPstoppers thought the Democrats were at fault for “blowing the email out of proportion.” And one suggested, “Oh, absolutely they are!” she said it was possible Bartholomew sent the email “for awareness,” what she characterized as “sending it to somebody and saying ‘look how pathetic people think this is.’”

Oh, heavens to Betsy!

Here’s the thing. If you say racist things and can’t come up with a better excuse than the dog ate my concept of equality, don’t say them. Better yet, if you say racist things, own up to them and don’t offer excuses.

Hell, there’s not even any reason to resign. Be a modern day David Duke. Stand up and be a proud racist. Tell people that darkies just aren’t for you. It’s the best PR move you could make.

If you’re pandering to racists, they’ll be happy to have you join the club. If not, voters will see you for who you are, not withstanding your hiding out with The Big Dick™ at the Undisclosed Quail Hunting Ranch and Whiskey Emporium. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you must fart, fart proudly.”

“If you must be a bigot, be a proud bigot.” We’ll all be happier.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

The Lazy Black Dog Jumped Over the Fat White Cracker

Given the plethora of political pinheads roaming the streets and licking babies this year, it’s a several times daily thing when one says or does something incredibly stupid. When you speechify for a living things like that will happen, but this is an amazingly talented bunch when it comes to crapping in their own rhetorical mess kits.

When something goes awry, the tried and true tactic is for the candidate – or some unlucky bastard of a surrogate – to come out and explain why what they said isn’t really what they said, even though they said it in front of several thousand people, while being broadcast on 144 channels around the globe, and Jon Stewart is playing it unedited and nonstop for nigh onto a month.

Sometimes the stupid statement is so egregious and unmistakable there is no way to explain it away. In those cases, the candidate usually runs away and refuses to give interviews.

Being ‘Cracker Lite’ is All the Rage
It’s one thing to be aggressively ignorant, but it’s another to run from who you are and what you say.

Perhaps the most common scenario lately involves racism. Racism is hard to prove, but it’s like porn – you know it when you see – at least if you’re honest about it.

Provable or not, there are a lot more cases of possible racism now that all the angry white guys are trying to get back in with the voters and there’s an African American in the White House. It’s fashionable to be “cracker lite” these days. I vaguely recall that when George the Indifferent was President few people said things about him being dumb white cracker from Texas or question whether he was a closet Muslim, Kenyan escapee, or a socialist far to the left of Uncle Fidel. But now, mysteriously, these things keep happening and keep being denied.

Not all racially-tinged speech or behavior is clearly racist. Sometimes people just don’t think before they talk. Not all Tea Partiers are racists, although statistically there does seem to be a dearth of color at their rallies. Face it, if you were black, would you go to a rally with a bunch of people with whom you vehemently disagree?

But sometimes, racism is unquestionable. I don’t believe that Sharron Angle, ignorant sow that she is, would say something like the clearly Latino people in her anti-immigration ads (BTW, since yanked from the web over copyright claims) possibly being Asians who cross the border from Canada, and then imply she is all Asiany herself…to a room full of Latinos. You don’t say things like that unless you are clearly and stupidly trying to draw attention away from your own asshatted agenda – at the expense of an ethnic group – or you really believe that claptrap.

Though granted it could be one or the other or both in Sharron’s case.

Then, there’s the case of David Bartholomew, Virginia Beach Republican party chair. He emailed a “joke” about a man trying to get welfare benefits for his dog.

The Lazy Black Dog Jumped Over the Fat White Cracker
“My Dog is black, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English, and has no frigging clue who his Daddy is,” goes the punchline. When called on it by some GOP bigs, Dipshit Dave resigned and hid in an undisclosed location to keep the email from becoming a “distraction”. To their credit, several Republicans spoke against the hate message.

But one, Gary Byler, a congressional district chair, left no doubt where he stood. Byler said he was “horrified” by the email, but that didn’t stop him from sticking his own racist boot in his mouth by saying Diamond Dave forwarded the email when, “he was first getting familiar with the Internet.” Losing a document is something a newbie does, sending racist emails “accidentally”? Not so much.

There were other apologists too. Independent candidate and former GOP swell, Kenny Golden, said Bartholomew was being thrown under the bus too quickly. “David would never do something like that on purpose.” Several GOPstoppers thought the Democrats were at fault for “blowing the email out of proportion.” And one suggested, “Oh, absolutely they are!” she said it was possible Bartholomew sent the email “for awareness,” what she characterized as “sending it to somebody and saying ‘look how pathetic people think this is.’”

Oh, heavens to Betsy!

Here’s the thing. If you say racist things and can’t come up with a better excuse than the dog ate my concept of equality, don’t say them. Better yet, if you say racist things, own up to them and don’t offer excuses.

Hell, there’s not even any reason to resign. Be a modern day David Duke. Stand up and be a proud racist. Tell people that darkies just aren’t for you. It’s the best PR move you could make.

If you’re pandering to racists, they’ll be happy to have you join the club. If not, voters will see you for who you are, not withstanding your hiding out with The Big Dick™ at the Undisclosed Quail Hunting Ranch and Whiskey Emporium. As Ben Franklin once said, “If you must fart, fart proudly.”

“If you must be a bigot, be a proud bigot.” We’ll all be happier.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

The Winter of Our Discontent: Republicans are Singing 'Let it No, Let it No, Let it No'!

WANDERINGS, with Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch

 The party of NO, sometimes known as Republicans, has been consistent in its contempt for America.

President Obama wanted to continue the Bush tax cuts, but limit them only to those individuals earning less than $200,000 a year and families earning less than $250,000 a year. That would eliminate tax cuts for all but the richest 2 percent of Americans. The NO Party, which hypocritically emphasizes how much it wants to reduce government, demanded that all tax credits be approved. To extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent would add about $854 billion to the national debt and do little to add jobs or stimulate the economy, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the richest people in the world, oppose extending tax cuts to the rich. A majority of Americans and Congress oppose extending tax cuts to the rich. But the minority in the Senate held Americans hostage.

They threatened to filibuster the bill and to block all legislation, no matter how critical, if the wealthy weren't included in the tax break. Pending legislation would extend unemployment benefits to almost two million Americans. That legislation also had a majority approval in both house of Congress. The NO people have consistently used the threat of filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate to stop it. 

At one time, Republican and Democratic leaders met, discussed, argued, and reached civil compromise that advanced the interest of the American people. This has not been the case the past decade. The Republican NO, when it controlled Congress and the executive branch during the Bush–Cheney era, had demanded that legislation be passed on an "up or down" simple majority vote. Now in the minority, they have become the obstructionists to progress and the will of the majority of Americans. In doing so, they have now fused two persona—the school yard bully and the boy who strikes out, blames the umpire, and grabs the team ball and runs away.

Falsely claiming it would protect Americans from runaway spending—while still asking for more than $1 billion in pork barrel funding—the NO Party then threatened a filibuster on the estate tax. The Democrats wanted the first $1 million to be tax exempt. The NO Party demanded a $5 million exemption for individuals and $10 million for couples, with the maximum tax above that 35 percent rather than the previous maximum, of 55 percent. If approved at the level the conservatives wanted, the new legislation would affect only 3,600 estates and add about $20 billion to the nation's debt.

While protecting the wealthy, the NO Party also blocked a one-time payment of $250 for senior citizens receiving Social Security. There was no annual cost-of-living increase this year because federal guidelines showed that inflation was not at a level that would trigger the increase, even though medical costs continued to rise. The House voted 254–153 to make the payment, but 290 votes were needed under the House's "special rules." In the Senate, the vote was 53–45 for the special payment, and failed because of the Republican filibuster threat.

The same miscreants then blocked legislation to provide financial compensation for the nation's first responders who were exposed to toxic ash at the 9/11 attacks and had to seek medical treatment. The Senate voted 57–42 to provide health care. But the No Compassion Party, which had already spewed millions of words about how they are more patriotic than anyone else, won by threatening a filibuster that ended any help to firefighters, police officers, and the thousands of volunteers who risked their lives to save others.

It isn't only financial interests that cause the NO Party to block progress. Still proclaiming its objective is to block any Obama legislation and prevent him from being a two-term president, the NO Party also tried to block a bill to give women equal pay. Only four senators voted for that bill.

The Republicans continue to block a vote for the continuation of START Treaty, begun under Richard Nixon and pushed by Ronald Reagan, which involves reduction of nuclear arms.

Apparently, the NO Party, now dominated by the extreme right wing, by its recent actions believes it's acceptable to harm the nation while protecting the rich and special interests.

 [Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist, and the author of 17 books. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com]

 

The Winter of Our Discontent: Republicans are Singing 'Let it No, Let it No, Let it No'!

WANDERINGS, with Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch

 The party of NO, sometimes known as Republicans, has been consistent in its contempt for America.

President Obama wanted to continue the Bush tax cuts, but limit them only to those individuals earning less than $200,000 a year and families earning less than $250,000 a year. That would eliminate tax cuts for all but the richest 2 percent of Americans. The NO Party, which hypocritically emphasizes how much it wants to reduce government, demanded that all tax credits be approved. To extend the tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent would add about $854 billion to the national debt and do little to add jobs or stimulate the economy, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the richest people in the world, oppose extending tax cuts to the rich. A majority of Americans and Congress oppose extending tax cuts to the rich. But the minority in the Senate held Americans hostage.

They threatened to filibuster the bill and to block all legislation, no matter how critical, if the wealthy weren't included in the tax break. Pending legislation would extend unemployment benefits to almost two million Americans. That legislation also had a majority approval in both house of Congress. The NO people have consistently used the threat of filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate to stop it. 

At one time, Republican and Democratic leaders met, discussed, argued, and reached civil compromise that advanced the interest of the American people. This has not been the case the past decade. The Republican NO, when it controlled Congress and the executive branch during the Bush–Cheney era, had demanded that legislation be passed on an "up or down" simple majority vote. Now in the minority, they have become the obstructionists to progress and the will of the majority of Americans. In doing so, they have now fused two persona—the school yard bully and the boy who strikes out, blames the umpire, and grabs the team ball and runs away.

Falsely claiming it would protect Americans from runaway spending—while still asking for more than $1 billion in pork barrel funding—the NO Party then threatened a filibuster on the estate tax. The Democrats wanted the first $1 million to be tax exempt. The NO Party demanded a $5 million exemption for individuals and $10 million for couples, with the maximum tax above that 35 percent rather than the previous maximum, of 55 percent. If approved at the level the conservatives wanted, the new legislation would affect only 3,600 estates and add about $20 billion to the nation's debt.

While protecting the wealthy, the NO Party also blocked a one-time payment of $250 for senior citizens receiving Social Security. There was no annual cost-of-living increase this year because federal guidelines showed that inflation was not at a level that would trigger the increase, even though medical costs continued to rise. The House voted 254–153 to make the payment, but 290 votes were needed under the House's "special rules." In the Senate, the vote was 53–45 for the special payment, and failed because of the Republican filibuster threat.

The same miscreants then blocked legislation to provide financial compensation for the nation's first responders who were exposed to toxic ash at the 9/11 attacks and had to seek medical treatment. The Senate voted 57–42 to provide health care. But the No Compassion Party, which had already spewed millions of words about how they are more patriotic than anyone else, won by threatening a filibuster that ended any help to firefighters, police officers, and the thousands of volunteers who risked their lives to save others.

It isn't only financial interests that cause the NO Party to block progress. Still proclaiming its objective is to block any Obama legislation and prevent him from being a two-term president, the NO Party also tried to block a bill to give women equal pay. Only four senators voted for that bill.

The Republicans continue to block a vote for the continuation of START Treaty, begun under Richard Nixon and pushed by Ronald Reagan, which involves reduction of nuclear arms.

Apparently, the NO Party, now dominated by the extreme right wing, by its recent actions believes it's acceptable to harm the nation while protecting the rich and special interests.

 [Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist, and the author of 17 books. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com]

 

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