They say things are getting better. That, economic healing has now set in and the prosperity march is now moving forward.
If you own stocks, maybe they are right. Maybe unemployment has crested. Lingering doubt on that one. But, what remains the same or worse ?
A barrel of oil is around $ 90. Some forecast it could get to $ 150. a barrel; maybe as early as this summer. Property values are flat or dropping in a lot of places. One million bankruptcies in 2010. A hard winter, so far, is producing very high heating costs. Strange weather, worldwide, will affect food prices. People are watching this closely now.
These items alone will insure that times are getting better only for a few. The middle class squeeze continues, unabated.
Senate leader Reid says the Tea Party is a product of the recession and will soon fade away. This would limit the Tea Party’s interest to personal economics.
I see more in the Tea Party than economics. Much more, in fact. They are concerned about the sustainability of a country without effective leadership. Leadership, that has been polluted and corrupted by vanity, selfishness, and bribery.
The Tea Party has a broad range of interests. Yes, they are interested in economics at the personal level. But, their thrust has been generational. The Tea Party in concerned about their children. They are concerned about fairness and the “American Dream”. They are concerned about the decline of America by so many measures that determine the health of a nation. In philosophy they are traditional and temperament they are aggressive and determined. They possess cultural values that are familiar and long-standing.
It is obvious enough the Tea Party has a lot of rough edges. Any emerging political force will be used and abused. But, that can all be sorted out. The American public may soon learn maturity and refinement is less of an obstacle to overcome than dealing with an entrenched establishment of advantage and wealth.
If it were not the Tea Party it would be some other organization, albeit loose organization, that would reflect the ire of the public. Far from going away, as Sen. Reid says, I see the Tea Parties on the ascendancy. They have become the legitimate voice of the people, and that has happened quickly.
Combined, the Democrats and Republicans make up less than half the people. These numbers have been consistently going down. The more natural formation would be the merger of the Democrats and Republicans. This would bolster their survivability. Both Democrats and Republicans feed from the same trough and have for many a year now. There are distinctions, but little true differences. In the campaigns you can hear rhetorical differences, but usually accompanied with a wink. You see, being at odds rhetorically benefits all, and usually keeps about 90% of all officeholders in place. Observation has taught us party establishment could sell-out a position or cause in a New York minute for the guarantee of a vote or a dollar. Their proffers seem comfortable with that ethic.
That is why nothing changes fast enough in the country. It is the one-party system and the inertia that sustains one-party domniance. The Democrats and Republicans need to come out of the closet and a have a marriage and make their long love affair legal. Then, the insider vs. outsider would be less confused for many. The political equation could be purified.
Dream on Sen. Reid. The times they are a changing.
As the evidence comes in it appears there is no direct link between the Tucson shooter and any political entity, be it in Arizona or the air waves. But, who could possibly know what subtle message could have provided fuel for his deranged mind.
That being said, we cannot handicap the First Amendment. However, there should be a responsibility that goes with the exercise of free speech. Yet, free speech cannot be inhibited, or it is not free speech. More often, it is the music of the speech or the tone. “Catch” phrases can move people in the wrong way. What in the military they refer to as “motivational language”.
The 75 year old sheriff was exercising his free speech when he was describing the toxic environment of Arizona. The radio entertainers that spew out the hostility on a daily, if not hourly basis are no doubt poisoning a lot of minds. You would like to think the people he is referring to are widely acknowledged as entertainers. But, I’m not sure.
I know who the sheriff is talking about, but I make an effort to avoid listening to them. However, I purposely listened to several after the shooting. I wanted to see if I could find an contriteness or any acknowledgement of the validity of the sheriff’s assessment of the environment in Arizona, as well as the rest of the country. For the most part I saw and heard the “bowing of the back” and desperately scratching at every sentence. Is this what their audience would expect form them ?
The first reason I don’t listen to the political voices of the air waves is because I don’t have any confidence in them; either “left” persuasion or “right”. They portray both philosophies poorly, as I have understood them. But, they are entertainers and entertainers attract an audience any way they can to keep the paychecks on time. That is, the unscrupulous ! So, the entertainers can tune their rhetoric to fit and satisfy their audience. Above all, the try to convince their listeners there is a mortal enemy, and only they and their microphone can save them from this enemy.
The amazing thing to me is that they can hold an audience. Some broadcasters do exude anger. That’s undeniable. Many listeners are Bible-believers. Yet, scripture says to avoid angry people (Proverbs 22). Also, most of them are rude,pompous, and almost universally ill-informed. I could tolerate a lot of eccentrics if I could just get accurate and worthwhile information.
Right-wing broadcasters, especially, borrow from conservatives and Republicans. Of course, it is hard to define Republicans nowadays, but calling them conservatives is a real stretch. We are not talking about a William Buckley, James Kilpatrick, or David Lawrence here. Those boys produced a rational, even-tempered dialogue; and thus the emergence of modern conservatism. No name-calling, screaming in the microphone and all the nonsense from them. To the Republicans discredit, they have not repudiated these broadcasters.
The radio and television clowns might not be responsible for Tucson. But, someone, somewhere, is being misguided by their propaganda and could be proselytized into an unrealistic view of his country. No, they’re not off the hook.
Congressmen are up there reading the Constitution today. Some are alleging that there are those who will benefit from first hand knowledge of the Constitution. Accordingly, if Congressmen hear spoken, the written words, they will not be obligated to listen to junk radio or junk television to learn about the Constitution.
That should make sense !
After today’s exercise, maybe the Congress will dig deeper into basic law and examine the judicial interpretations of their pet articles or amendments. What prevails if two articles bump into each other as properly applied day to day ? When is the statue process inadequate, and by what standard ?
The most recent health mandate decision should make the suspicious feel the Constitution is holding up.
All in all today’s display looked a little “showtime”. It reminded me of a church service in style. One Congressmen after another reading favorite sections of the document, ritualistically. Each Sunday churches read the Bible as part of worship. The reading provided other reminders of religious worship. People often reach for a particular protection given in the Constitution when offended by current law or practices. But, the Constitution is a unified document. Likewise, sometimes clergy will pluck a specific scripture out of the Bible, elevate it, and then run around Texas with it to the expense of other contributing scripture. But, the Constitution is not the Bible and the Capitol is not a sanctuary.
It was symbolism at best, and a clown show more likely !
Gov. Bredesen of Tennessee is leaving office with high marks according to the Tennessean. A Democrat, he has higher approval ratings among Republicans. But, 74% of Tennesseans recognize him as an accomplished governor for our times.
Personally, Bredesen makes me proud that for most of my life I have been a traditional Republican. Bredesen, likewise, has many traits of Republicans of old. Such as, fiscal responsibility, moving forward with a deliberate pace, and fixing many of the things that were broken in Tennessee. Traditional Republilcans are quite different than what passes as Republicans today. Republicans today follow the gale of corporate money, Wall Street, and the noise of the moment. That is, Republicans have lost their vision. Maybe Bredesen run under the wrong banner. He has little affinity with Democrats, old or new. But, when you think about it, there was not a banner for Bredesen. He is an independent. And, independence is the virtue of our day.
Health care reform was his forte, but Breseden was insightful in areas such as solar power. He was a reformer in education, and was not overcome by the education establishment. A fate that befalls many a good man.
There remains much to be done in Tennessee. We have a regressive tax system. Tennessee hovers near the top, of all the states, in tax regressivity. Not only is the tax system regressive, it is sprinkled with other inequities that press the revenue burden to those with the lower income.
Bredesen did more than most politiciansand will be long remembered for it. You might say, he gave Tennessee a fresh start to become fair, responsible, and a generationally-minded state.
Politico had a headline today announcing their top 10 questions of the year 2011. Of course, I understand Politico specializes in crude political gossip, as well as the day to day jostling at the capital. But, nothing on the list registered as really significant in the big picture.
I seriously doubt former Vice-President Cheney’s book will be a powerful revelation that will change anything. One of Politico’s questions. Does Mrs. Palin’s candidacy for President make much difference ? I could be wrong, but I doubt it. This was another question.
But, thereare important questions to be sure. As an example:
1. Will the Congress continue to flaunt the dignity of the people by not establishing meaningful campaign laws to remove blatant corruption ?
2. Basic items , such as food and gasoline are reaching prices that are becoming unreachable for many. Any solutions ?
3. Will Congress continue to raise the debt limit in the spring ?
4. Both wealth and income are polarizing. How will this be reversed to preserve the middle class ?
5. The economy for basic services has been contracting for a long time. We have an economy of oligopolies. How will that problem be fixed in 2011 ?
I could go on and on with political questions ? But, Politico’s questions don’t seem to make much difference or have relevance.