Monday, 8/1/11, Public Square



Filed under The Public Square

25 responses to “Monday, 8/1/11, Public Square

  1. The votes will be taken and the backroom deal will either be approved or not.

    The politicians will begin boasting about their victory. The media will analyze their empty words and regurgitate their own empty words.

    The American people lost.

  2. Journalist Charley Reese (now retired) was part of the Orlando Sentinel’s staff for three decades. During the 1980s Reese wrote the first version of an editorial opining that 545 people (i.e., the President of the United States, plus all members of Congress and the Supreme Court) “are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plaque this country.” He amended and republished the piece several times. The version below was printed in the Orlando Sentinel on March 7, 1995.

    Looking for Someone to Blame? Congress is a Good Place to Start.

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

    Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

    You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

    One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

    I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

    I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

    No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.


    Don’t you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

    What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

    The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

    O’neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.


    It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility.

    I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

    When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

    If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it’s because they want them in Lebanon.

    There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

    Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

    Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses – provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

  3. indypendent

    When I hear about this being a 10-year deal and it is a framework to get our budget problems under control -I just wonder, do Americans not know that what politicians vote for today can always be changed whenever either party wants to change it in the future?

    I am specifically thinking of the Republicans because there is coming the time for a Republican president (that is how politics works).

    Judging from past performance at governing, Republicans will soon make priority # 1 to get rid of the budget deal they just signed on to in favor of their newly founded reason (probably a war somewhere) to get out that Chinese credit card again.

    Like I said, judging from past performance, this will likely be the blueprint that is to come – sooner than later – if Republicans have their wish granted.

  4. Here is the speech that actor Matt Damon gave this past weekend to thousands of teachers, parents and others who attended the Save Our Schools march on the Ellipse near the White House to protest the Obama administration’s education policies that are centered on standardized tests.

    I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.

    I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.

    And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am … can be tested.

    I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous.’ That was in the ’70s when you could talk like that.

    I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.

    I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

    I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.

    This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

    So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. … Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.

  5. indypendent

    There will be a time in our country that we will look back on the day our public education was destroyed – on purpose – and all for the goal of corporate masters who value only one thing – cheap uneducated labor that only does at they are told.

    • CapnAmerica

      Yup, I’ve been thinking that ever since Reagan.

      What I didn’t expect was how the corporate media would be co-opted to serve the big-money special-interests.

      I don’t have a lot of hope that future = progress these days . . . we seem to have entered a new “dark age” in which rationality is willfully ignored in favor of a psuedo-theology of “free market capitalism.”

  6. indypendent

    Just saw this on WE website and thought I would share…

    • “…second setback for the state on the abortion issue this summer.”

      Lawmakers who didn’t know how to make laws that were legal. Makes our state legislators pretty useless since they didn’t even attempt much beyond what has been over turned by the courts. But we paid them to do this senseless worthless work.

    • Idiots don’t even understand that the funding has nothing to do with abortions…except maybe to avoid people from needing one.



    • No kidding. Three Planned Parenthood offices in the state, only one has ever performed abortions, but all three provide birth control to many. So defund the organization that provides birth control and then scream about the numbers of abortions women seek.

      It would seem those against abortions would want to encourage the best tool to reduce their need.

      In my opinion this is proof positive it has absolutely nothing to do with abortion and everything to do with keeping abortion as the issue to ensure votes.

  7. indypendent

    Oh,oh…there goes Obama again – trying to help women make their own choices in their sex lives.

    I wonder how many of those self-righteous Religious Righties are having their hissy fits to think women should have the right to birth control – let alone having their health insurance coverage pay for it. Why, that’s downright unAmerican…

  8. indypendent

    Just heard on MSNBC that Congress will be sent home for a 5-week vacation after this debt deal is passed.

    Is that akin to ‘getting out of Dodge?’ before you get shot?

  9. CapnAmerica

    This is a sad day for America.

    What the majority want has been sold out so that RepubliCONs don’t shut down the gov’t and ruin the economy.

    I’m having severe outrage fatigue these days . . .

    • indypendent

      To add salt to the wound – the Tea Party mad hatters are STILL not happy.

      I still look forward to watching these Tea Party mad hatters take no prisoners within the GOP. These folks are not done yet – they just got their first taste of blood.

      But that is exactly what will bring them down – IMHO.

      • CapnAmerica

        Will it bring them down?

        The liberals in Germany had the pitiful slogan, “After Hitler, us.”

        People follow leaders. Leaders don’t follow people.

        The people are a mass of conflicting interests, of half-baked misunderstandings, of traditional falsehoods, dearly held.

        They are easily manipulated by powerful special interests. Just look at how easily we were railroaded into Iraq because of the TONS AND TONS OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!

        And, still, Bush was re-elected.

      • indypendent

        When Bush was re-elected – my husband said that alot of people do not want to change presidents in the middle of a war.

        Maybe that was a factor?

    • I wish could agree with you, but these people are bots of Rupert Murdock armed with the dearth of info he intended. They have talking points and little else. Certainly they are easily manipulated. Murdock, Koch, et al, have been trying for about four decades to accomplish the takeover of America. They bought Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court a long time ago. It wasn’t until they took control of the tea partiers they met with this level of success. Think of how far they’ve come in only two years. We have stupid people with great amounts of funding behind them and I think they’ll go far in doing the dirty work their masters direct. They’ll do it convinced they pay too much in taxes at a point in history they’ve paid the least ever in their lifetimes, they’ll do it convinced government is the enemy without once stopping to realize how many government benefits they realize in their daily lives. These are irrational bots who have an entire political party afraid of them. In those two short years they’ve taken over the GOP. I’m not about to underestimate them.

      • indypendent

        I see your point of view but I do think the Tea Party are not happy with this debt deal because it did not go far enough to the right.

        While Koch and former long-term Congressman has unleashed the Tea Party onto the political scene, these are folks who are not devout ‘establishment’ Republicans – and that is what I mean by watching the GOP being in trouble.

        When the Tea Party even threatened Allen West with a primary because he voted for Boehner’s bill last week – that goes to show just how far right these folks are.

        And the corporate masters created the Tea Party monster to only make alot of noise – not to actually take over the GOP.,

        Because at the end of the day – the establishment Republicans are all about making money off the government (although they would protest loudly at this) and theser folks have won the current battle but these Tea Party mad hatters are still not happy because they did not get everything they wanted.

        As we saw, Grover Norquist even gave the Tea Party republicans permission to vote for Boehners’ bill last week – and the backlash from the 87 (?) Freshmen TP Republicans was still strong.

        Just take a look at the current GOP candidates – and it is the TP stance that this debt deal is bad simply because the debt ceiling is being raised.
        This is why I think the TP is still the main threat to the establishment GOP. TP is aobut idealogy – establishment GOP is about money and how to redistribute the taxpayer money into their pockets.

  10. indypendent

    I wonder what Steven would be saying about all this? There are still times I find myself expecting to see his comments on this blog as if he was still with us.

    fnord – do you ever hear from his family?

    • No. He and his wife divorced before his death and his children and I had met but didn’t know one another. I didn’t meet his parents until his funeral.

      I often have the same thoughts as you. Wonder what Steven would have to say…

  11. WSClark

    In my own, less than humble opinion, Liberals in America are in the same place as Tea Cons. The far right and the far left cannot win the Presidency in the US. For all of Bush II’s faults, he was not completely out on the edge of the Republican Party. Obama, likewise, is not out there in the Democratic Party.

    Being a life-long Liberal, I am frustrated by Obama and some of the concessions that he has made. I am also frustrated that the Tea Cons aren’t held to a standard of honesty by the press and media.

    As I noted yesterday, Obama has to do the right thing for the country, regardless of the political cost to him. The Debt ceiling must be raised and Obama has to work with both sides to get it done. Given the lunacy on the Right, that is damned near an impossible task. Quite frankly, Obama has no leverage in the game – Tea Conners are more than willing to let the country default and their followers do not understand the repercussions of not increasing the ceiling.

    If you read some of the far right rhetoric, Tea Con would welcome default. In their crazed thinking, that would mean an instant reduction in spending of 40%. They are even under the impression that they can dictate what is paid with the remaining revenue.

    Tea Cons are nuts. They are not rational. They don’t know what they are doing and they have no concept that their failure to increase the ceiling could/would push the country int a Depression.

    The old joke is the coach yells at his player, saying “Bachmann, you’re ignorant and apathetic!”

    And Bachmann replies, “Whatever, Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care!”

    Enough said.

    • indypendent

      Chris Matthews had the leader of Freedomworks on his show tonight – Matt Kibbe (sp?) (the guy with the mutton chops)

      This TP leader actually stated that on Aug 3rd we would still have $200 billion coming in and we could only pay the interest on our debt and be just fine.

      I thought Chris was going to blow his gasket. Chris Matthews tried to explain it to this guy several times and it was obvious that Kibbe had no clue as to what Chris was talking about.

      Chris soon cut this guy off in mid sentence and told him goodbye…..

  12. indypendent

    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made it to the House today to cast her vote. I just wish it could have been a better bill……

    It was good to see her picture and to know that she will not let the crazy gun-lovers out there win.

    • CapnAmerica

      A-hem . . .

      I’m actually a crazed gun lover, heh. I love my guns so much, I never even shoot them (wear and tear is not good for the value).

      Let me explain–I’ve been collecting military guns for their historical interest for several years now.

      But I am opposed to massive magazines (don’t confuse them with clips) like the one used with the pistol that shot Giffords . . .

      • indypendent

        I should have clarified – crazy gun lovers who think no further than their trigger finger.

        You’re right – there are gun lovers and collectors. There are gun lovers that are responsible citizens that enjoy shooting their guns.

        But I don’t see these people as crazy gun lovers that think it is okay to walk up to a group of people and start shooting.

        I think Lawrence ODonnell said it best when he stated that he blamed the shooter for the first 20 bullets and he blamed the law for the every bullet after that. (I know I am parahrasing here – hope I came close?)