Misdirection

So Sarah Palin does not know the story of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride. Her alter ego from Minnesota got her Concords mixed up a month or so ago and thought maybe the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in New Hampshire (hence, the first in the nation primary?). Well she did not suggest the association with the primary, but it is worth wondering what these would be or self-appointed “leaders” think the “tea party” was all about.

Perhaps there is some insight here into why This Crowd seem to dislike teachers so much. Not a lot came out of whatever was spent on educating these two or the massive numbers of fellow numbskulls, disdaining the “reality based community” where the rest of us are forced to live. At the same time, this whole thing has ceased to be as funny as it once might have been.

Millions of Americans are out of work and closed and shuttered businesses litter what’s left of many of our towns and villages. Those of us still employed see less traffic commuting to work, although trains in the New York metropolitan area still seem relatively full (largely because cutbacks have forced them to have fewer cars on each trip).

While it was widely believed, prior to the New Deal, that these “business cycles” were not something which should involve or concern the government, those with some sense of what Paul Revere was trying to do, or where Lexington and Concord are, understood, though wrongly, that those days of a stick its head in the ground government, were long gone.

Maybe President Roosevelt had a better grip on history when he described the

twelve years [before 1933 when] this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent.

Restore it, sadly, they have and they are stronger than ever. History shows us the road back from massive unemployment. President Roosevelt explained it on the day he took office:

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing great — greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our great natural resources.

But it is more than 70 years later. Those alive then and still around today were all very young at the time. Grateful, perhaps, for what government did, they were, for the most part, removed from the literal experience of the prior generations, struggling to find work and finding it only with the help of the government. In the meantime, those who have long considered “the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs” as FDR described them, have re-emerged in full force and we can see, as the President did in 1936

that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Just flip through a week of news articles, and see what the President meant. Do we have the kind of program outlined above to “prime the pump” by giving people jobs, by employing them in ways to improve our world, our country, our safety and our future? No. Not even close. A teeny weeny step in that direction, far less that what was needed, came forth after enormous struggle in 2009, but since then, nothing. Not a peep. It’s a “non-starter” we are told. There is no interest in government spending more money to get things going again, while fixing our roads, developing high speed rail, moving away from the carbon based sources of energy upon which we currently rely, and, ummm, teaching our children.

Instead, we are told, with no evidence to support it, and ample and recent precedent to show its falsity, that what needs to happen is less spending and fewer taxes, all in the strange pursuit of reducing a deficit. If that were truly a a concern, of course, it would be observed that said deficit was wiped out in the 1990s by a vibrant economy and not by reduced spending, only to be restored by tax cuts and wars when Republicans took over the legislative and executive branches of government.

But, of course, that’s reality. The unreality is that causing the United States to default on that debt is of no concern to one political party in pursuit of the goal to hurt as many people dependent on the government as possible, so as to permit those who do not need help to enjoy more tax cuts.

Unless the President and Senate are willing to take yet another giant step backward, they tell us, the government will not be permitted to pay those from whom we have borrowed money to fund Republican-inspired tax cuts, and prescription drug program designed to enrich pharmaceutical companies and two wars. And yet, the claim is,

“We didn’t create this mess,” one Republican told [Treasury Secretary] Geithner…[even though] Independent analyses have shown that more than half of the $14.3 trillion debt is from policies enacted during the past decade when Republicans controlled both the White House and Congress, and much of the rest from lost revenues and stimulus spending and tax cuts since Mr. Obama took office at the height of the financial crisis and recession.

And, continuing in the deadpan deadpan voice of the New York Times:

the grim reality of widespread unemployment is drawing little response from Washington. The Federal Reserve says it is all but tapped out. There is even less reason to expect Congressional action. Both Democrats and Republicans see clear steps to create jobs, but they are trying to walk in opposite directions and are making little progress.

Republicans have set the terms of debate by pressing for large cuts in federal spending, which they say will encourage private investment. Democrats have found themselves battling to minimize and postpone such cuts, which they fear will cause new job losses.

House Republicans told the president that they would not support new spending to spur growth during a meeting at the White House on Wednesday.

Keep reading, if you can. It may have been worse in days of yore, but what we have here is a failure to engage, much less communicate. And, sure, let’s spend a whole week seeing if a congressman can tell whether it is really his body part in a photograph being passed around as if it were that of a flag being hoisted over Iwo Jima.

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3 thoughts on “Misdirection

  1. I hit on some of the same issues here Barth!

    At least MSNBC yells IDIOT! HAHAHAHA

    I think a lot about FDR!

    Can you imagine him running NY and waiting! Just waiting to step into his third cousin’s shoes?

    Secretary of the Navy, Governor of NY; following in the footsteps of one of his heroes?

    BUT I MUST WAIT!

    Wait as the repubs devastate the nation.

    All things come to he who waits.

    I think Barack ponders this sometimes. The man is unshakeable except in his belief that the other side will prove his case. hahahah

  2. We need to get the hell out of the stupid wars we are in.

    I can’t think of any other spending which is more discretionary, that spends so much money and has so little chance of providing a benefit to anyone.

  3. Barth

    I can’t think of these things in terms of the US budget. Iraq was a grossly wrong thing to begin, not because of its financial cost, but for myriad reasons all well discussed previously. If any of the ostensible reasons we fought it were legitimate (he was about to acquire WMD, he assisted bib Laden, etc.) the cost—while painful—would be irrelevant.

    Afghanistan is a quite different kettle of fish. Whatever were the Bush Administration’s reasons for that war were (I do not think they were that interested in it in the first place) decent people had other reasons. Bin Laden was one, and Al Qaeda, too, and, yes, one is gone, the other much diminished. But we invaded the place and took it over. To leave and sentence those who live there to the Taliban just seems cruel and, perhaps, immoral.

    I concede that the images from the novel The Kite Runner (they were softer, in my opinion, in the movie) continue to haunt me, and perhaps shape my views of this more than fiction should. These were the thoughts on this posted a while back, though, and I still have no answers to the questions posed then:

    http://edsbarth.blogspot.com/2009/10/why-are-we-in-afghanistan.html

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