Sunday, February 28, 2010

And So, On TRH's First Anniversary, I Think It's Time For A New Political Party

Why do I believe that? Well, this, combined with this. A Congress controlled by the sclerotic politics of the past, turning off the Americans of the future.

Do we deserve better? Not unless progressives do something serious about it. As far as I'm concerned, the Democrats have eight months to get their act together and prove they have what it takes to deliver the goods to the people who put them there. Frankly, I'm not betting on them, but I'll give them that much time.

And after that, I'm using this blog and everything else at my disposal to start a political party that is capable of making a real difference.

If you've been reading this blog at any time in the past year, thanks. If you agree with me, hang in there. If you don't, it's never too late to make a change for the better ... but thanks anyway.


So, in the Olympic men's hockey final, the country with single-payer health insurance defeated the county with the world's biggest health insurance mess.

I'm not saying this is a harbinger of things to come. But, if it had been the other way around, you can bet that the conservative chattering classes would have been comparing it to 1980's "Miracle on Ice," in a year that ended with the dawn of all things Reagan, and prophesying a similar result in the 2010 elections.

So maybe this is a sign of a different future for us. If so, go U.S.A.! And either way, in the meantime, congratulations to our neighbors from the North.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sorry, Tea Partiers, But You're Idiots

And guess what? Someone's spared me the trouble of explaining why.

Even The New York Post Gets It Right, Sometimes

Actually, Nicole Gelinas is one of their better writers. Here, she makes the case for doing away with the concept of "too big to fail"--a concept that simply proves how much capitalism in this county has become almost identical to the state-sponsored enterprises in the former Soviet bloc. If capitalism is to have any moral basis at all, that basis must rest in the possibility that a bad enterprise gets the fate it richly deserves, with government aid going only to the innocent losers (e.g., workers, customers, and sometimes investors), but not to the manipulative bastards checking the ripcords on their golden parachutes.

Why Liberals Should Embrace Their Right To Bear Arms

Because the other side is arming.

Socialism Works!

Just ask North Dakota, one of the country's most Republican states.

One Time When You REALLY Should Not Focus On The Messenger

Yes, I know it's Eliot Spitzer, formerly Governor of New York until he quite literally got caught with his pants down. And he earned his political fate royally. But he got as far as he did in the first place because, outside of sex and marriage, he's a smart man. And his current writing for shows it.

Here, he says everything I've been saying about taxes for some time, and shows that the desirability of raising taxes is no longer up for debate. The real question is, messenger aside, will we listen?

As my mother is fond of saying, history teaches us, but we never learn. Sadly, Mom, there's lots of evidence in contemporary America to support you.

Sincerity Is Written On Both Of Their Faces

Hopefully, the late, great Larry Gelbart won't be bothered by the fact that I borrowed that from "Sly Fox," a play in which I once performed. And, since I'm talking about the GOP, perhaps I should be saying that sincerity is written on both of their trunks. Anyway, if you think the party of Lincoln is sincere about anything, including its criticism of using reconciliation to pass health care reform, take a look at this. And that overlooks the way they held open the House vote on Medicare Part D until they could arm-twist and bribe enough of their own hoodlums to vote for it.

Two major parties--one feckless, one facsist. What a great country.

Palin's Most Powerful Critic

She speaks with more authority about Sarah's manipulative use of her family than anyone else has.

A Sad Reminder Of What Was Stolen From Us In 2000

Read this to appreciate what a tragedy it was that this man, and this country, had the presidency stolen from him and from us. If democracy truly produces the government we deserve, that theft combined with the present stalemate is proof that this nation is damned.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The REAL Winner In The Past Three Weeks

It has been three weeks since the United States Senate seat from Massachusetts held for decades by Teddy Kennedy and for several months by placeholder Paul Kirk has fallen into the hands of ex-Cosmopolitan centerfold Scott Brown. Supposedly, this event has, by reducing the Democratic majority in the Senate from 60 to 59, delivered control of America to the political party that overwhelmingly lost the last two national elections (and has, with proper accounting of such matters, lost four out of the last five presidential elections). Having done so, the numerically and deservedly minority party must now be obeyed, appeased and otherwise pleased in every single respect, lest what is left of representative government in this country fall completely apart, never to be re-assembled again.

Well, if you were Will Rogers, this is what you would know, because it would be all you have been able to read in the papers (what's left of them) and otherwise see in the media during the past few weeks. In its most hysterical (in both senses of the word) form, it reaches the heights achieved by Charles "I used to be a Democrat before I lost my mind" Krauthammer in his most recent column, in which he opines that Brown's election, in tandem with Democratic losses in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, proves that America, having knowingly elected a liberal President and a liberal Congress, is now wisely rejecting President Obama and Congressional Democrats for acting like (who'd a thunk it?) liberals.

Here's what has really happened. The Democratic Party, for reasons unknown and perhaps unknowable, nominated three spectacularly weak candidates in all of the races in question. Despite their spectacular weaknesses, they almost won two of them. Had they done so, we would be talking about the Democrats extending the winning streak they have enjoyed this past year in special elections for the House of Representatives. But of course, that narrative would have been not only depressing for Republicans, but boring for the media.

Ah, there's that word again. The media. The media that used to consider itself an independent Fourth Estate, a "branch of government" co-equal with the elected branches, that uses to report events "without fear or favor," that used to report what people needed to hear and not what they wanted to hear. And that has, since its Vietnam-Watergate era heights, has gradually slummed down to the point at which, as has been frequently said, all journalism is tabloid journalism. In that respect, they reflect the post-Reagan era perspective that, to paraphrase a Watergate-era quote and Finley Peter Dunne at the same time, Americans must follow neither the flag nor the election returns, but the money.

Perhaps the worst consequence of this lies in the fact that political reporting has been reduced to following election returns and their consequences as if they were some kind of bizarre baseball game. Obama and the Democrats lead after three! But McDonnell walks! And Christie squeezes out a bunt single! And then Coakley, proving that she really does know nothing about Curt Schilling, serves up a fat pitch to Brown! It's a three-run homer! Obama and the Dems still lead by 6, but it's a whole new ball game here on Fox, right, Tim? You got that right, Joe!

Can you honestly tell me that this hasn't been the form and substance of recent press coverage when it comes to our national politics? That's because, at the tabloid level, politics can only be understood in terms of soap-opera level versions of conflict. You're rich! You're poor! You're strong! You're weak! You win! You lose! Yay! Boo-hoo!

And that's why I think the only true winner in the past three weeks has been the media. With the aid and connivance of the Republicans, they have succeeded in manufacturing a new story-telling twist in their up and down version of public affairs. Of course, this will be followed by some other reversal, which they will then use to pump Obama back up. And then, something else will happen and Obama will again be portrayed as a loser. Who cares? People are buying, reading, watching and browsing. If you're a media baron, well, frankly, my dears, you don't give a damn about anything else.

Well, to hell with them. And to hell with what's left of the Republicans trying to manipulate them. If you're a liberal, progressive, or whatever you want to call yourself while you read this, remember one thing: progress doesn't come about by measuring who's up and who's down, but by remembering what's right and refusing to quit. It has dragged this nation forward, even against its will, and produces anomalies like Republicans, the original opponents of Medicare, now fighting to keep the government's hands off it (their words, not mine). If this is truly a center-right nation, it is only center-right in its political system. Our culture, which has truly taken over the world, is and always will be very left of center. Never forget that a conservative is simply a worshiper of dead radicals.

I believe all good things come to those who wait and work. Nearly twenty years ago, we could do no better for gays and lesbians in the military than "don't ask, don't tell." Today, we are on the verge of doing far better than that for them. If you refuse to give in, if you believe in principles and not in circumstances, all things are possible. Just ask the New Orleans Saints, and the people who support them in the town that Bush almost permitted to wash away.

As for my Republican friends (if I have any left at this point), congratulations. You've lost the right to say nothing but "no." Now do the right thing, and prove you love America by working with your fellow Americans.

Enough said. Let's get to work, everyone!