There should be an accounting beyond numbers for these years, something that goes beyond the failures of state budgets, something that goes beyond the the insanity of our policy. Something that captures the grandmothers beaten on traffic islands, the daughters shoved face first into the ground, the son shot while playing, the man choked to death over cigarettes, or for producing his license, or for being mentally ill, or for playing cops and robbers, or for sport. This is more than mistaken policy. This is cruelty—the long war to save the blacks from themselves. Browder was not “the blacks.” He was his mother and father’s child—an individual. And yet for reasons as old as America, he was not treated like one.
Here’s an interesting article on how America is losing The War on Terror and why.
I’ve noted many times that 9/11 was meant to provoke just the response it did, with just the results it did. Among those results was the rise of ISIS. To me the War on Terror epitomizes one of the major shortcomings of Western strategy. They have no strategy other than ‘winning’.
They’ve forgotten Sun Tzu.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
We never knew our foes. As Ferguson demonstrated we don’t really know ourselves. Is it any surprise we’re so helpless, despite our power, to obtain victory in this war?
Here’s a very interesting article on why America should pick its fights carefully rather than try to always be the leader.
People who know me know I am usually pretty calm and not prone to go on Howard Beale-esque rants about how crooked and nasty politics can be.
But after what happened this Nov. 4 I can no longer sit idly by. This years midterm elections were an appalling travesty on multiple levels. It’s not just the results themselves that upset me, but the fact those results were evocative of a hopelessly broken elitist political machine that has done little good and plenty of harm to the so-called “Greatest Country in The World” for far too long now.
It might be easy for you to sit back and dismiss my views because I am an immigrant and not a true, full blooded American but the fact is, I’ve been here for 7 years and I’ll be here for the foreseeable future. This is as much my country as it is yours and I have every right to be concerned about the direction in which it’s headed.
That said, let me break down point by point why I really hate American politics today.
The Two Party System
Because of how the American political machine is constructed, there are really only two viable parties. The Democratic and The Republican. It’s probably more difficult in the United States than any other developed country in the world to get elected as a 3rd Party candidate. Oh sure, every so often an Independent will make a few waves and win a seat or two but we have never had any viable 3rd parties in this country compared to Canada and most European nations.
Politicians and voters are expected to come down on one side or the other, with virtually no room for a middle ground. That’s not a recipe for prosperity.
Hyper partisanship/Go Team Go!
Politics should never be framed as a battle of Good vs. Evil, rather it should be more like Good vs. Good. Republicans and Democrats alike should be concerned with the well being of all Americans. Compromise should be the norm, not the exception to the rule.
When one party demonizes the other and forces people to choose sides like it’s some kind of war, nothing constructive comes of it whatsoever. And when I say nothing constructive I mean nothing legislatively. How can you be expected to compromise with the guy across the table when you utterly despise him?
Hyper partisanship means that, based on our beliefs, we are all labeled as either “Liberal” or “Conservative” and instantly profiled. That is to say that, if my views mark me as a Liberal, I instantly become not only a Liberal, but a tree hugging communist who never expects anyone to work hard for their money, smokes pot and listens to weird New Age music. If my views identify me as Conservative I am now a racist, homophobic, religious, Neo confederate redneck who loves me some guns.
Of course Americans are a diverse people and it’s absolutely ridiculous to, in the face of such diversity, adopt such a black and white approach to how people think and feel about the world.
I’ve never understood why these are necessary. They do nothing but undermine the Presidency and create legislative gridlock. Consider Obama’s Presidency:
2008-2010: Democrats control the House and Senate
2010-2014: Republicans control the House, Democrats control the Senate
2014-2016: Republicans control the House and Senate
That means that, out of an eight year, two term Presidency Obama only gets about two years to constructively get anything done. A GOP house isn’t going to do much for him and a GOP Senate on top of that now means he’s practically reduced to President-in-name-only because he might as well be powerless.
In Canada, we have an election and whoever we choose to elect gets a full four years at the helm. Now of course depending on how things go that means it can either be four hurtful years or four helpful years but regardless, it gives the ruling party time to actually enact legislation rather than be tied up in endless gridlock.
Changing things up every two years to me seems a far more costly and far less effective form of governance. How can we expect a President to effectively achieve his legislative goals if the legislature is constantly changing? It’s like if a caddie kept swapping clubs out of his golfers bag every few holes and still expected him to shoot a 67.
Not only do we have midterms every two years, but the Presidential elections are every four. I know this scheduling is written right in to the Constitution and will probably never be changed, but I still dislike it.
Having more elections and firmly scheduled elections means that politicians are constantly campaigning and never governing. An article I read a couple of days ago said that given the current political climate the 2016 Presidential campaign begins on Nov. 5, 2014.
I find that campaign timeframes in America are ridiculously long. I’ve previously stated that, in Canada, the law allows for a MAXIMUM of I think 60 days between when an election is called and when the vote is held. That means Canadian politicians spend a lot more time working and a lot less time (and money) campaigning.
This is, of course, not exclusive to America. Attack ads have been part of the political game for close to 30 years now. I find though, that since the election of Barack Obama, the amount of negative campaigning and attack ads and just plain dirty politics has increased exponentially.
I’m sure we all remember the person who snuck into a nursing home and took pictures of Thad Cochran’s ill wife during the Mississippi GOP primary. It’s bothered me for years now how much politics has become more about trashing the other guy than championing your own positions.
Sadly, I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.
Of course, I saved the Worst for last.
I firmly believe that nothing. NOTHING has been more damaging to American politics than the Citizens United decision. Because of this, the power of government has been definitively and permanently handed over not to the American people but to the Corporations and special interest groups who are now free to spend Billions of dollars annually on politics and politicians.
What tiny bit of power the little guy had left is gone forever. Politics isn’t for you and me anymore. It’s for Company Presidents and Directors of the Board. It’s for Bankers and Investors. It’s for Real Estate Moguls and Sports Agents. It’s for “Think Tanks” and Advocacy groups.
The entire power of the U.S. political system has been given, on a silver platter even, to a very elite and very moneyed group of people who will not hesitate to use that power to further their own ends at the expense of everything and everyone else.
Now it might be easy to read all this and assume that I hate America.
But I don’t.
I want nothing more than to see growth, prosperity and liberty for ALL Americans.
I love this country. I love what America has traditionally stood for.
What I hate is what has happened to this country and how what should be the finest example of democracy in the world has turned into a crooked, corrupted, distorted cash filled trash heap with little hopes of being cleaned up anytime soon.
At the beginning of this essay I referred to Howard Beale. I think it’s safe to say given the state of politics in this country today, there’s plenty of Americans out there who have every right to be and indeed ought to be Mad as Hell.
We’ve been covering the Ebola panic a lot here on LGF, but here’s something that really puts things in context, in a way that many people here might not have thought of. Stassa Edwards discusses the history of racists using fear of disease to attack and demonize minorities, and how that fear was used to justify everything from imperialism to nativist legislation. Warning, this gets pretty disturbing, in more ways than one.
On October 1st, the New York Times published a photograph of a four-year-old girl in Sierra Leone. In the photograph, the anonymous little girl lies on a floor covered with urine and vomit, one arm tucked underneath her head, the other wrapped around her small stomach. Her eyes are glassy, returning the photographer’s gaze. The photograph is tightly focused on her figure, but in the background the viewer can make out crude vials to catch bodily fluids and an out-of-focus corpse awaiting disposal.
The photograph, by Samuel Aranda, accompanied a story headlined “A Hospital From Hell, in a City Swamped by Ebola.” Within it, the Times reporter verbally re-paints this hellish landscape where four-year-olds lie “on the floor in urine, motionless, bleeding from her mouth, her eyes open.” Where she will probably die amidst “pools of patients’ bodily fluids,” “foul-smelling hospital wards,” “pools of infectious waste,” all overseen by an undertrained medical staff “wearing merely bluejeans” and “not wearing gloves.”
Aranda’s photograph is in stark contrast to the images of white Ebola patients that have emerged from the United States and Spain. In these images the patient, and their doctors, are almost completely hidden; wrapped in hazmat suits and shrouded from public view, their identities are protected. The suffering is invisible, as is the sense of stench produced by bodily fluids: these photographs are meant to reassure Westerners that sanitation will protect us, that contagion is contained.
Pernicious undertones lurk in these parallel representations of Ebola, metaphors that encode histories of nationalism and narratives of disease.
Zach Heltzel over at Liberal Bias has an excellent idea for all those white nationalist, white supremacist racist wingnuts out there in the Republican Party.
I wanted to write about something else before this, but this post by Doktor Zoom was about something too sick to ignore. I really felt the need to get it out there, just how disgusting this person is. I might have written something on this myself instead of pointing out to you what Doktor Zoom has wrote, but I’m kind of in a hurry and I don’t think I could have done a much better job than he did.
Former executive director of the South Carolina GOP, Trayvon Martin clairvoyant, ethics-free attorney, and avid penis self-photographer Todd Kincannon is proudly pro-life — with one exception, of course, in that he wishes Wendy Davis had been aborted. But he also recognizes that sometimes, in the face of a serious health crisis, you just need to man up and kill everyone who’s been infected or exposed. At Wonkette, we are sometimes given to exaggeration. But this is not an exaggeration: in a series of tweets on Saturday, Todd Kincannon, not satisfied with rightwing prescriptions like travel bans or embargoes on affected nations, literally advocated killing all Ebola patients, and napalming their villages for good measure, too. And we mean literally literally, not Joe Biden literally:
*Note : Sorry you guys might have to scroll up a bit after clicking on the link to read the rest of the article. I can’t figure out how to get it not to jump down to the comments.
This is really huge. So many were in big medical trouble.
Another day, another survey showing that Obamacare is beginning to cure America’s uninsured problem.
The latest numbers come from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which polled more than 27,000 people during the first three months of the year. Forty-one million U.S. residents, or 13.1 percent, were uninsured during the quarter when benefits started to kick in for people who signed up for coverage into private insurance or Medicaid via the Obamacare exchanges or elsewhere.
That’s the lowest number and percentage of uninsured people since the CDC started using this version of its survey in 1997. It’s also down 3.8 million people and 1.3 percentage points from the end of 2013.
Hooooow refeshing to see a foreigner give his view about the gun culture in America!!
Fair warning though, it’s a bit not safe for work cause there’s a lot a fucking swearing!!
The Atlantic has an interesting article on why teachers so often get blamed for the state of education in America. It’s been going on since the founding of The Republic and continues to today.
I agree with the article’s premise that it is related to America’s frequent ‘moral panics’. Those times when there is ‘an enemy’ that must be controlled and hopefully destroyed. Teachers are a favourite target in those times.
I’ve been wondering recently, is fear the default state of the American mind?