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Friday, August 12, 2011

Left Hates The Tea Party Regardless Of the Facts

Facts are not relevant when attacking your enemy seems to be the mantra for the Left. They say anything knowing the media will never question them.   Accusations fly regardless of the reality.  Polls don't matter, they are going to make their statements.

However, I believe that Americans are smarter than the Left thinks they are.  Polls indicate that most voters believe in the basic tenants of the Tea Party. We know that is true based on the success it had during the 2010 elections.  If things continue as they are, 2012 will  be another banner year for this loosely allied group.

It must drive the leaders of the Left crazy because they do not have a single leader of the Tea Party to investigate and demonize. The bottom up organization makes it impossible to focus on one or more people.  Sarah Palin supports Tea Party members, but she is not the leader. Nor is Michele Bachman or anyone else.

So what is the opposition to do?  They make up news, send in trouble makers to create problems, and lie.  Most have never been to a rally, never talked to anyone who believes in the goals of the Tea Party or understands what drives the believers.

In 2010, I attended a political meeting of a "conservative" Democrat as a favor to a friend.  He started his talk by demeaning the Tea Party. After the meeting, I asked him one question which was "have you ever been to a rally or talked to anyone who is a member of the Tea Party?"  His answer was NO.  He had believed the garbage put out by the Left and did not have the intellectual curiosity to investigate for himself.  I think he is an example of many, not all, on the Left.

As long as we have full throated anger for the "Tea Party Downgrade" by those who should know better, we cannot expect to have a discussion of the necessary financial changes that we need to make in this country.  I think that Americans know the answer and they will provide it to us via the ballot box. What is your opinion?

What follows is an article about a Wall Street analyst who does not know the facts of the Tea Party. Tell us what you think.

Towery: Wall Street Analyst Ends Up in Hot Tea Pot
By Matt Towery August 11, 2011 6:19 am

 Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney has ventured into an area she should have avoided -- political analysis. The results were not pretty.
Deprived of the hike in revenue they so desired from the recent debt-ceiling legislation, the nation's left-of-center political wing now is intent on getting their hands on more taxes from "the rich." Expect them to increasingly use class warfare rhetoric and degradation of the tea party as a means to reach their goal.

A long parade of Democrats hit the talk shows after the downgrade of the nation's debt by Standard and Poor's, calling the adjustment a "tea party downgrade" and calling for new revenue by taxing of wealthy Americans."
Then came comments from respected Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney. In an interview, she reportedly described the tea party as primarily "freaked out white men who are unemployed."
Wow, that's a new one. And with that comment, Whitney appeared about as in touch with reality as many of her fellow graduates of Brown University. In the rarified air in which Whitney operates, it would be easy to dismiss the opinions of others who won't be spending time at Martha's Vineyard with President Obama. You know, the malcontented unwashed masses, a "fringe" element, as she put it.
But wait a minute. This same Meredith Whitney has been attacked by Democrats for being too critical of their policies. She is the same person who is married to a contributor to Fox Business News. And she's the same person who, after botching her description of the tea party, made a very tea party-esque statement in the same interview. She said that "to push for the extension of unemployment benefits ... should unleash absolute backlash against the (Obama) administration."
Perhaps Meredith should examine the relevant polling data. It suggests that a fairly large percent of both independents and Republicans identify with the tea party and its policies.
As I keep noting, the tea party is more a state of mind than it is something one officially signs up with. Maybe this well-heeled Wall Street analyst should consider which group is larger: those who agree with the general concept of smaller government, or those who live in the safe bubble of high finance on Wall Street.
Along with attacks on the "fringe" tea party, there is an equally strong movement to drive a wedge between "middle class" America and "the rich." Obama relentlessly pushes for new taxes on "wealthy" Americans and counts himself among this privileged class that should spread the wealth. CNN recently touted a poll that did indeed show a majority of Americans wanting to see increased taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses.
But this rub remains for those who keep calling for a redistribution of wealth from those who have to those who have less: They can't seem to define precisely who is wealthy and who isn't, just as Whitney can't seem to tell us exactly who is aligned with the tea party. As a result, there is no true benchmark for wealth other than the artificially and often-quoted magic amount of $250,000 of yearly income.
Ironically, many of those who have truly great wealth are also those most willing to say "tax the rich." Of course, as I and many others have pointed out, most of these folks have their finances so well-protected that any incremental increase in taxes would have no real impact on their daily lives or their personal wealth.

Whitney was way off base in her description of the size and makeup of the tea party (whose actual founders were women). And Democratic leaders are equally off base in continually wanting to balance their budgets on the backs of people they call rich, but who really don't meet the true modern-day definition of the term.

But those who agree with the tea party's core beliefs shouldn't be too upset with the somewhat insulated Whitney. She may think tea party types are "older white men," but her opposition to another round of extended unemployment benefits makes her a perfect candidate for membership in the selfsame tea party.
Come on, Whitney, your doublewide trailer, your pickup truck, your chewing tobacco and your two free tickets to the next Sarah Palin event are all waiting for you.
Matt Towery is author of the book, "Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2008 Fight for the Presidency." He heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage. To find out more about Matt Towery and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

The Debt Limit Debate Is It Over?

As the accompanying article from the Hillsdale College website indicates, the debate has just started and will continue until we get some positive resolution of the crisis or the end of the United States as we know it. Current spending cannot continue so we will need to make a decision either to changes to what programs we fund and which ones need to be cut or to be prepared to become a third world country. Those are the choices, what is your decision?

I am for cutting spending back to 1950 levels. Massive elimination of programs which do not produce or are unnecessary. It will be painful and will cause much anger and angst.  However, if we make the changes it will be much better than letting an outside force (China) make them for us. (Of course, then the politicians could claim "It was forced on us, we had no choice.")

The debate will continue and hopefully we will make the right decisions.

"The Debt Limit Debate Has Just Begun" 
By Gary WolframWilliam Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Hillsdale College
Article originally posted on
The deal which raised the debt ceiling did not meet with the stock market rally that some had expected.  This was in large part because, despite the media hype, the markets knew that the U.S. was not going to default on its debt obligations.  The fact that 10 year Treasuries were yielding around two and a half percent indicates that the markets were aware that the U.S. always had enough revenue to make interest payments on our bonds and to refinance maturing debt.   
Without further borrowing ability the Treasury would not have been able to make all payments due, however.  A choice would have had to be made as to whether Social Security payments would be delayed, Medicare providers’ checks would be reduced, or government vendors would not get paid on time.  But given the 14th amendment’s provision that the validity of the debt of the United States shall not be questioned, it is almost certain that U.S. Treasury bondholders would have been paid. 
Who would not have been paid would have been a political choice.  AARP reported that its members “flooded the White House and the halls of Congress with 557,249 letters and 387,018 phone calls.”  This might give an indication that the politically correct thing for the President to do would have been to reduce and delay Social Security payments that are received by 60 million Americans, and blame it on the “Tea Party Republicans.”  While the President would appear on prime time national television to make his point, the Speaker of the House would have had a hard time beating out The Voice to give his response.
In 1995-96 I took a leave from Hillsdale College to be Congressman Nick Smith’s chief of staff.  A similar battle was taking place with the newly elected House Republican majority and President Bill Clinton.  The Republicans had control of the Senate as well and sent a balanced budget and debt ceiling increase to President Clinton, who vetoed it.  The federal government was temporarily shut down and President Clinton was able to win the issue politically.  Newt Gingrich ended up losing his position as Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was firmly trounced by Clinton in the 1996 election.
Given the political realities, including that the Republicans only control one House this time, the outcome of the debt limit legislation was as good a deal as was going to be made.  The gain, however, was not in the details of the deal itself, other than it avoided raising taxes, but in pushing to the front pages of America the fact that federal government spending is not sustainable.
Friedrich Hayek wrote in The Constitution of Liberty that a primary benefit of democracy is that debate over the issues will advance the state of knowledge.  The “intransigence of the Tea Party Republicans” accomplished what it needed to—push the debate on federal government spending into the national spotlight.
The debt ceiling legislation does little to address the unsustainable degree of federal government spending, particularly in entitlement programs.  The media has trumpeted the “cuts” by adding them up over ten years.  For example, we know that the basics of the deal are about $1 trillion in cuts from discretionary spending, and then the Super Committee will find another $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions.  To put this in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office projects federal spending over the next decade to exceed $50 trillion. Little wonder that the markets did not rally in the face of the deal.
What this all means, however, is that the debate over federal spending has at least begun.  Most Americans now realize that the national debt is in excess of $14.3 trillion, and that Medicare and Social Security, as well as Medicaid, are in an unsustainable position.  What is vital is that those who believe in a limited federal government and in the importance of freedom keep the debate alive by noting that nothing has been done yet to address the long run unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare. 
It is not sustainable for Americans over the age of 62 to expect their retirement and health care to be paid for by someone else for the final 20 to 30 years of their life.  Common sense tells us that this cannot possibly happen.  The debt limit debate has forced our Congressmen to admit to this.  The next step is to address the problem.

Gary Wolfram is William Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College and President of Hillsdale Policy Group, a consulting firm specializing in taxation and policy analysis. His public policy experience includes serving as Congressman Nick Smith's Chief of Staff, Michigan’s Deputy State Treasurer for Taxation and Economic Policy under Governor John Engler, and Senior Economist to the Republican Senate in Michigan.

Is the Tea Party Wrong?

The Tea Party must be the strongest group of people who have ever set foot in Washington D.C. for all the anger being expressed by those opposing financial responsibility. It seems that everyone on the Progessive/Democratic side of the aisle blames this group for the problems that Congress had reaching an agreement on the debt ceiling. Never in history  have  60 or so like minded people controlled the other 475!  It must be some sort of out of this world mind control!

I know it is unpopular to reduce benefits or eliminate programs, however, for our nation to return to financial sanity, it must be done. To go down the road where we are currently headed is a recipe for disaster.   Greece and Italy should not be used as examples of how to run our governments rather we should be following examples of Great Britain where austerity measures are causing pain and yes, some rioting.

When your family income goes down, do you continue down the same path or do you make the necessary changes. Of course, we make changes. I know that governments and families are not really comparable but financial rules are the same. Income must not exceed expenses unless in a time of emergency.  Are we in an extra-ordinary time now? I don't think so. We do have the wars (three at latest count) going on and yes, we do have a fragile economy due to many things that have gone wrong in the past years (in the current and previous administrations.) However, if this is not the time for financial sanity and starting to right our ship of state, when will there be a proper time?

The Tea Party recognizes the issue and they have been blamed for keeping it paramount in the minds of all Americans. If that is wrong, then I admit being wrong. However, my strong belief is that unless we do not voluntarily make the appropriate corrections, others will force them upon us. How would you like China dictating how we live and spend our money? I wouldn't. However, since they hold a significant part of our debt they by extension have the power to dictate our actions.  I am not comfortable allowing any foreign nation telling us how to govern ourselves. 

Are YOU?

I do not think the Tea Party is wrong and predict that, if financially, we are no different next November than we are now,  there will be a large group of incumbents voted out by dissatisfied Americans of all political stripes. The new members of Congress will be financially conservative and willing to take election risks to put the United States back on a financially sound track. What do you think?

More on the Tea Party bashing by Frank Salvato:

Salvato: The Stunning Demonization of Fiscal Responsibility

By Frank Salvato 
Just when you thought the Progressive Movement could be more deeply invested in denial, now comes the absurd notion that somehow, the TEA Party Movement, whose pinnacle tenet is fiscal responsibility; which has devoutly insisted that the federal government cease the practice of spending beyond the tax revenue it gleans from taxpayers, that somehow it is the TEA Party Movement and their affiliated members of Congress who are responsible for the downgrade in the US credit rating by S&P and not the glad-handing spendthrifts of the big government, nanny state Progressive Movement.
“Bottom up, top down...inside out.”
Shameless partisan, Chicago Progressive operative and former senior advisor to Pres. Barack Obama, David “Say Anything, Lie, Cheat and Steal to Win” Axelrod is quoted as saying, “The fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade.”
US Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who, it was revealed during the 2004 General Election, was fast and loose with the truth about his service in Vietnam, parroted Axelrod’s talking point, saying, Standard & Poor's decision was “without question the Tea Party downgrade” because Tea Partiers held bipartisan lawmakers back from a bigger deal. This, even though the facts bear out that it was in fact Democrats who refused the deal, demanding almost a half trillion dollars in additional tax revenue be added to the mix.
And Howard Dean, Progressive ideologue extraordinaire, who has devolved into irrelevance since losing both his ill-fated presidential bid and the leadership post of the DNC, said, “I think they're totally unreasonable and doctrinaire and not founded in reality. I think they've been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it.”
One has to be impressed with the coordination it must take to ensure that all the political operatives in the Progressive Movement are using the exact same talking points during each and every interview almost at exactly at the same time. If one were of a curious mind the question of who is at the helm of the USSPropaganda would come to the forefront. Of course, we shouldn’t expect to find inquisitive minds of this nature within what used to be referred to as the mainstream media...they get their Cliff Notes from the same source.
Only from the minds of the Progressive Movement can we find a converse-reality in thinking so striking, so absurd, that it would condemn as being the cause of repercussions for fiscal irresponsibility those who are demanding that deficit spending come to a halt; that those who are demanding fiscal responsibility are responsible for fiscal irresponsibility.
Night is day and day is a tree.
Yet, even as the cancer of disingenuous, partisan, Progressive ideological madness comes “fast and furious” to the American people via the usual suspects in the alphabet media, it would appear that, increasingly, the American people are beginning to see through the political propaganda of the Far-Left.
“Americans' political ideology at the midyear point of 2011 looks similar to 2009 and 2010, with 41 percent self-identifying as conservative, 36 percent as moderate, and 21 percent as liberal. 
“If this pattern continues, 2011 will be the third straight year that conservatives significantly outnumber moderates -- the next largest ideological bloc. Liberalism has been holding steady for the past six years, averaging either 21 percent or 22 percent...” 
“Among Republicans, conservatives currently outnumber moderates by nearly 3 to 1, 72 percent vs. 24 percent, while very few are liberal (4 percent)... 
“Conservatism among independents increased fairly sharply in 2009, from 30 percent to 35 percent, largely explaining the expansion of conservatism nationally at that time, and it has held at that level since then.”
Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen Reports poll indicates that:
“...just 17 percent of likely US voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. 69 percent believe the government does not have that consent. 14 percent are undecided. 
“The number of voters who feel the government has the consent of the governed -- a foundational principle, contained in the Declaration of Independence -- is down from 23 percent in early May and has fallen to its lowest level measured yet. 
“Perhaps it's no surprise voters feel this way since only 8 percent believe the average member of Congress listens to his or her constituents more than to their party leaders. That, too, is the lowest level measured to date. 84 percent think the average congressman listens to party leaders more than the voters they represent.”
So, with the Progressives and Democrats holding the Executive Branch, half of the Legislative Branch and just under half of the Judicial Branch (which, in and of itself has become increasingly useless in the eyes of the electorate), and with the overwhelming majority of American voters believing that the federal government does not have the consent of the governed, and with a mass movement of independents toward the Conservative political line of thinking – not to mention a move within the Democrat Party away from their fringe Progressive Left – is it a wise political move to continue jamming the disingenuous stick of non-factual propaganda into the political hornets’ nest that is the TEA Party Movement?
The American people have been awakened to the need to divine fact from fiction where the management of our country is concerned. This truth is self-evident in the results of the 2010 Mid Term Elections. That said, the only ones who seem to be in denial about the realities facing our country appear to be elected Progressive elitist politicians who would rather bankrupt the country while degrading its chances for recovery, all in the name of social engineering and social justice.
In times past, better men would have identified this behavior as treason. Perhaps it is time for those who identify with the principles of the TEA Party to “take the gloves off”; perhaps it is time for the American people to “downgrade” the Progressive Movement to its proper place...the rotting garbage heap of failed political ideology.
What do you think about that, Mr. Kerry? You had better go check with your puppet master for a response. Run along now.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Budget So You and I Can Understand It.

This piece I has been around the Internet for a couple days and yesterday Rush Limbaugh read it on his show.   If this does not make it clear for every  Tom and Jane in the country, nothing will.  The budget deal was a farce and will not solve our problems. S&P was right in making it an issue and I hope that our legislators will wake up and smell the emergency!

Here is the piece:

Let's put the 2011 federal budget into perspective and I don't know if these are the exact figures.
·       US income: $2.17 trillion.
·       Federal budget: $2.82 trillion.
·       New debt, $1.65 trillion.
·       National debt, $14.271 trillion but it's now closer to $17 trillion with the debt deal.
·       Recent budget cut: $38 billion, which is about 1% of the budget.
·       The budget cut was 1% of the budget: $38.5 billion in the debt deal.  That's what everybody was celebrating and high-fiving over. What this piece does is to help think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to.

Therefore let's remove eight zeros from these numbers and let's pretend that this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family.
·       Total annual income for the Jones family is $21,700.
·       The amount of money the Jones family spent was $38,200.
·       The amount of new debt added to their high interest credit card, $16,500.
·       The outstanding balance on their credit card with an annual income of $21,000 is $142,000.

That's how much they owe and because the Jones’s realize they're in real trouble, they decided to become responsible and cut their spending.  After a lot of posturing and wrangling, they agreed to cut $385 from their budget.

A family with a $21,700 income spends $38,000, adds $16,000 of debt on their credit card to a balance already at $142,000 and decided to "get serious" so they cut spending $385.

That's what we just did except we did it with trillions of dollars instead of hundreds and thousands.

Newsweek HackJob Even Enrages NOW

As I wrote earlier this week, the news media has lost its collective mind. It has become so bad that even the liberal women's group NOW (National Organization for Women) has come to the support of Michelle Bachman!  It is about time that thinking people start holding the media to the standard they should be following.

Here is the article:

'Journalism' so outrageous, even NOW supports Bachmann

By Bobby Eberle August 11, 2011 7:13 am  I can't believe it! After so many incidents involving Sarah Palin and other conservative women regarding hit-pieces by so-called "journalists," the National Organization for Women (NOW) has stepped forward and said, "Enough is enough." What pushed them to the edge? It turns out that Newsweek magazine did a cover story on presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann. The title of the story is "The Queen of Rage." Yep... and the story gets worse from there.

As reported by The Daily Caller, perhaps Newsweek thought that their blatant effort to tear down another conservative woman would go unnoticed (except by the nonthinking audience they are trying to influence), but anyone with half a brain can see that the Newsweek article is not journalism, but rather biased activism in support of the liberal agenda.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) spoke out against Newsweek's most recent cover, which features an extreme close-up of Michele Bachmann and the title "The Queen of Rage."

"It's sexist," NOW president Terry O'Neill told TheDC. "Casting her in that expression and then adding 'The Queen of Rage' I think [it is]. Gloria Steinem has a very simple test: If this were done to a man or would it ever be done to a man - has it ever been done to a man? Surely this has never been done to a man."

"Who has ever called a man 'The King of Rage?' Basically what Newsweek magazine - and this is important, what Newsweek magazine, not a blog, Newsweek magazine - what they are saying of a woman who is a serious contender for President of the United States of America...They are basically casting her as a nut job," O'Neill said. "The 'Queen of Rage' is something you apply to wrestlers or somebody who is crazy. They didn't even do this to Howard Dean when he had his famous scream."

As everyone knows, NOW represents the antithesis of conservative thought. Everything a conservative stands for, NOW takes the other side. Even though they are supposed to represent all women, media attacks on conservative women have often been met with silence by the organization. This time, they took a stand.

"Of course my job is to defeat Michele Bachmann and I intend to do so. But good women will not run for office if Newsweek magazine can do this to such a prominent politician and get away with it," O'Neill said.

In a column on National Review Online, writer and part-time photographer Andrew Cline gives his take on the Newsweek cover:

First, the lighting is harsh and uneven, more like a driver's license photo than a professional portrait. Her hair casts a shadow over her forehead, indicating poor positioning of the flash on the photographer's right. Her expression is unnatural, something good portrait photographers try to avoid not only because it looks bad, but also because it doesn't give the viewer any insight into the subject. Really good portrait photography reveals the subject's personality, which is why the best portrait photographers spend a lot of time making their subjects feel relaxed and comfortable. You can't capture someone's personality if she's nervous, unready, uncomfortable, or distracted. Bachmann appears all of those in that photo. On top of that, she's awkwardly posed, as if she happened to be walking by and suddenly looked up. It looks like a test shot, not a final portrait. Forget a national news magazine; that photo wouldn't make the cut in some smaller, regional publications based on its technical flaws alone. So how did it make the cover of Newsweek?

Cline does not blame photographer Christopher Buck, saying Buck is "highly talented and has produced some outstanding portraits." In reviewing the other photos contained in the Newsweek article, Cline notes, "Going over his other Bachmann photos released by Newsweek, I see he got a very nice shot that would have made an excellent cover photo. In it, Bachmann has her hands clasped together as if in prayer, which surely would have drawn its own criticism, but she doesn't look "crazy" or menacing or bug-eyed. She looks normal and serious, and the portrait is well-posed and well-lit."

Thus, the editors at Newsweek picked exactly the photo they wanted for the cover with the express motivation of painting Bachmann in a bad light, as if calling her the "Queen of Rage" wasn't bad enough!

Newsweek stands by its choice of cover photo. In a statement, Newsweek editor in chief Tina Brown said, "Michele Bachmann's intensity is galvanizing voters in Iowa right now and Newsweek's cover captures that." Wow! Seriously? That picture was supposed to convey intensity?

Is it any wonder that liberal media is taking a hit in the wallet? Does anyone actually read Newsweek any more? What is frustrating is that there are still too many Americans that don't catch on. Whether you tend to be a conservative or tend to be a liberal, the news should be the news. It has totally changed, and the Newsweek story proves that it has changed for the worse.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Washington Should Mind Its Own Business

When Washington can get around to running its own business, then they can tell other countries how to do theirs!  The latest slap at Israel is the approval of additional housing in East Jerusalem. Not only is this area that was captured during the 1967 War after they defeated the Arabs but it has been controlled and built up since then.

Israel is the only country in human history that has been demanded to return lands they captured during a war!  Why, because the world does not want the Jews to have their own land!  Now, I know that some will not like that statement, however, it is true.

For thousands of years, Jews have been run out of country after country. Some of the stories are: they went to Egypt, prospered and then enslaved by the Pharaohs; they went to Israel, created a great country and then were defeated; they went to Spain, prospered and then expelled by the King and Queen; you know the story in Germany; they went back to Israel, conquered the land, created a state and were immediately attacked by its neighbors. Why should they give back the land they paid for by the sweat of their brow and the blood of their children? The only reason is that the world wants Jews to be powerless in the hope they will be destroyed.

Now, the United States is rapidly distancing itself from Israel as a way to placate the Palestinians. What a mistake! If you look back at history, every country that has initially welcomed the Jews and then kicked them out or prosecuted them has ended up being destroyed. Look at Egypt, Spain, and other Arab countries as examples.  So why does the Administration not learn from history?  Because they do not understand history nor are they students of the past.  This will come back to haunt us here in the US. If we abandon Israel, we will pay mightily.

What can we do?  We can be vocal by writing our Congressmen/women and President, walking in support rallies for Israel and most importantly votingout anyone who does not support this tiny dot in the Middle East.

From AP, here is the information on the latest blast against Israel by the current Administration:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States says it is "deeply concerned" by Israeli approval of new housing construction in disputed east Jerusalem.
The State Department says such "unilateral actions work against efforts to resume direct negotiations" and the spirit of the peace process. In a statement, the department says it has raised its objections with the Israeli government.
Last week, an Israeli planning commission approved 930 new housing units in the Har Homa neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Actual building is at least two years off.
Alongside its rare rebuke of a close ally, the State Department said Israelis and Palestinians should settle their differences on Jerusalem through negotiation.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and claims it as part of its capital. Palestinians hope to establish their future capital there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is Discussion A Lost Art?

Today I received an email from a friend of mine who does not see things from a Conservative standpoint. That is fine with me as we have had lunches where we have discussed issues from our differing viewpoints and I find it intellectually challenging to defend my point of view. However, today's message was regarding Obama and he disagreed. The following is part of his response:

"There is nothing fair or American in knowingly spreading lies, rumors, hate, and innuendos about the President of the United States.  This is sick character lynching and treason, pure and simple!"

 When I countered in a follow up email that he had no problem with the lies (he had sent me several) about George W. Bush starting to drink again or his AWOL status (both of which were proven inaccurate and Dan Rather lost his job over the AWOL issue), his response was that was fine because those were all true. In other words, anything his side says is correct and accurate and everything the other side says is vile, hateful or in his words "character lynching and treason."  

Is it just me or is discussion a lost art? Has civility gone the way of the buggy whip?  Can't two people living in the Midwest have a discussion, not an argument, where the points from each side are put on the table and some agreement be made? If not, to expect Washington to have a civil discussion and to come to a compromise is expecting the impossible.

Throughout the entire Debt Limit discussion, we kept hearing that neither side would change their point of view and commentators said "why can't they negotiate." .Yesterday on the Sunday shows after S&P reduced The United States AAA rating, all we heard was the blame game. 

 It is pretty hard to negotiate when neither group will accept anything that comes from the other.
For example, the House passed Cap, Cut and Balance as a proposal to tackle the deficit problem. Senator Reed would not allow it to come up on the Senate Floor for discussion. It was dead on arrival. This was a proposal that one half of the Legislative branch would not even take a vote on. If a similar bill had passed the Senate, then a Conference Committee could have worked out the differences. That would have been negotiation. However to add insult to injury,  Reed then goes out and says that the Republicans have NO ideas and only say NO. Political theatre at its best.

On the Sunday Shows, David Alexrod and others blamed the Tea Party for the S&P downgrade. This is patently disingenuous and false. Sixty  or so legislators did not control the House, the Senate and the Presidency! And of course, there is McCain's bright comment calling the Tea Party people," hobbits".  So both sides of the political divide are to blame.

However, can we expect anything else from Washington when we cannot talk civilly to each other?  I don't think so.

Civility comes from respecting each other and their opinion. We might disagree but there must be some topic to which we can reach an agreement.  Even if it is to not agree.  We should be able to do it pleasantly and without rancor.  But that respect for others opinions seems to be missing in today's society.

The reason  I started this blog was to have a discussion. I did not want any name calling or derogatory statements but rather a place where divergent opinions could be expressed without the negativity I see expressed daily in my daily life. I continue to use those points of view as my rationale for publishing comments. Luckily, there are few that are distasteful and so my decisions to not publish have been limited. However, in the broader society this is not the case.

What do you think we should do to increase civility and to encourage discussion?  Or should we just continue down this destructive path.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hyperbole Washington Style

Washington has always known how to blow things up, but the latest conflict, the debt crisis, has brought the ridiculousness to a new level.  Derek Hunter writes in Townhall and quotes some of our leaders in Congress. Those comments are below.  Can you negotiate with someone that has these type of attitudes?

Vice President Joe Biden: Republicans have “acted like terrorists.”
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: “Unfortunately, all the chambers seem to be loaded on the House side. They want to shoot every bullet they have at the president.”
Congressman Mike Doyle: “We have negotiated with terrorists. The small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”
William Yeomans in Politico: “It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House ‘hostage takers.’ But they have now become full-blown terrorists.”

Then there is the commentators and  news (??) people and their unbiased view of the discussions. So much for a press corps that reports the facts and does not put their opinion in the story about which they are writing. Here is what Paul Connor wrote:

‘Hostage’ metaphor is liberal commentators’ new talking point

by Paul Connor
Listen to liberal commentators opine about the recently enacted debt ceiling deal, and you might hear a common theme: Republicans took the government hostage.
In newspaper editorial pages and on cable TV programs, left leaning talkers — some of whom are the very same folks who criticized Sarah Palin’s rhetoric — have compared Tea Party lawmakers’ resistance to a quick debt ceiling increase to hostage-taking.
Thomas Roberts, host of MSNBC’s “The ED Show,” 8/3/11:
“Democrats are very worried their leaders will buckle to political hostage-taking of the Republicans just like they did with the debt ceiling earlier.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, host of “MSNBC Live,” 8/2/11:
“The possibility of a disastrous default was held hostage to the extreme conservative ideology of choking the federal government.”
Dylan Ratigan, host of MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show,” 8/2/11:
“We are, in many ways, forced to lead our show with the political, pro-wrestling shenanigans with the threat of a hostage crisis that could bring our country to the brink.”
Eugene Robinson, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC political analyst on MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” 8/1/11:
“One of the reasons the president was so set on getting something that at least takes us past the election is that they did see, Aha, gee, they are going to hold us hostage on the debt ceiling again in the next few months.”
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 8/2/11:
“What we saw — what I saw, at least, was one guy with a knife and the other trying to avoid being cut. It was a thug attacking a victim. It was a mugging.”
Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” 8/1/11:
“The president’s instincts were good on how to handle the Somali pirates when they took hostages, but here the president knew he was dealing with a hostage-taking, and he never came out and said, ‘Ok, here are the limits.’”
Laura Flanders, host Grit TV on MSNBC’s “The ED Show,” 8/1/11:
“The problem we are facing is not a handful of Tea Party hostage-takers. The problem in the country is the headlock that a few corporate interests and some very wealthy elites have put on our revenues.”
Hilary Rosen, Democratic strategist, on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” 8/3/11:
“They took John Boehner hostage. They forced to do a plan that was unrealistic politically, and then the grown-ups in the Senate — Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Harry Reid — had to kind of takeover and come up with a compromise and force it on the House.”
Michael Lind, policy director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation writing in Salon magazine, 8/2/11:
“The debt ceiling crisis is the latest case in which the radical right in the South has held America hostage until its demands are met.”
Editorial page, The New York Times, 7/31/11:
“The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists.”
Fareed Zakaria, CNN host, on “Anderson Cooper 360,” 7/29/11:
“So, instead of accepting some compromise that can get through the democratic process, what they’re saying is we’ll blow up the country if you don’t listen to us. We’ll hold hostage the credit of the United States, the good standing of the United States and we’ll blow it up.”
Dana Milbank, columnist for The Washington Post, 8/3/11:
“But the Federalist Papers make no mention of the sort of hostage situation that unfolded in recent weeks. The Founders were silent on the rights of a small group of lawmakers, claiming they received marching orders from God, to bring the nation to the edge of default. The Constitution doesn’t specifically mention negotiating walkouts, Satan sandwiches and deeming budgets into law without votes.”
Ruth Marcus, columnist for The Washington Post, 8/3/11:
“Welcome to the new Washington normal: endless rounds of legislative carjacking … One side wanted the car, had a gun and wasn’t afraid — certainly not afraid enough — to use it. The other had a child in the back seat.”
Democrats and their supporters cannot have a discussion with throwing bombs and they are the ones who call the other side, terrorists.  It is ironic to see how impotent they are since they control the Presidency and the Senate while the Republicans control only the House. Indeed the driving force behind reducing government spending is a minority of those in the Legislative Branch. It says that the power of the Tea Party is much stronger than anyone could ever imagine. Even, John McCain could not resist attacking the "Hobbits" in the House.

Maybe all this means is that the movement toward financial sanity  not only is scaring Democrats but also ingrained Republicans.  Change is a comin' and those who want the status quo  continue are feeling the pressure.  Hopefully this is a good sign.
The Democrats and status quo Republicans must accept that they lost the argument. That their way of governing is not the future. That the entitlement programs that define what it means to be a Democrat, must be eliminated. The United States does not have the money to keep these programs. It is time for a change and we have begun to see the change. Republicans and more importantly, Tea Party members, cannot get weak willed, must stay strong and move the way that not only the S&P wants but more importantly, how Americans want the country to go.

What do you think?