It is always better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong.
~Thomas Jefferson


So here we are, about a week away from a huge decision.  Of course we’ve already delayed this “monumental decision” twice, so I guess it’s not exactly urgent. But this isn’t completely about that. Some of it is about me and my political evolution in the last few years. Now, I’m not about to run out and register as a Democrat but I am ready to put down the pitchfork and disperse the hate mob. Which is kind a sad cause I love that mob. Makes me feel safe.

You know, I had to go back a long ways to find an example of a political party   “holding  a country hostage” over  a trivial issue that should have never gone this far. All the way back to the French Revolution and the Jacobins who basically tore the country apart for their own selfish goals. I’ve watched the Democrats do some pretty selfish things but it never went this far. You lose  a few jobs, put some people in a bad way, but it’s politics. You move on and try your damnedest to do better the next time. You may leave some people behind but you don’t forget about them. This is so far past that.

I don’t believe for a second that we’re going to default but that’s not the point. I believe Democrats know that too and are trying to score as many political points as possible because the parties may be different, but they’re not that different. This is also besides the point and irrelevant. Democrats are doing what politicians do. Republicans seem to have gone way, WAY over that line. But somebody somewhere had to have predicted this the very day the debt ceiling was signed into law. At some point someone would use it as leverage and it would most likely be Republicans.

“Fixing” our economy is going to be  a hard thing to do and the debt ceiling argument is just the beginning, not the end. I think the first problem is the thought that our economy needs to be “fixed”. It definitely needs a tune up but I don’t see us trading it in for  a new one. Neither Party in the last 20 years has proposed the proper amount of “revenue increases” to balance the amount of spending we’ve done. People do pay taxes though. More than we think.  Right now it is reported that only about half of American households pay federal taxes. Well, this is and isn’t true. It is true that the Bush and Obama stimulus plans raised the number of households that have federal debts covered by payroll and tax incentives but people still pay many taxes, most of which find their way to the federal government. So, even though we really do need more tax increases, we’re not exactly hurting. The biggest deficit is still large companies who refuse to pay any taxes. And this has been going on for years.

The genesis of our current debt crisis is dubious as well. When this all started both Parties swore that it was contained in the mortgage fund market. A few months later we found it had spread deeper into the housing market. Again, we were assured it would go no further by representatives of both Parties. Well, several bailouts and a few stimulus packages later and we’re pretty sure neither side had any idea just what was going on. But, we passed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and everyone cheered.  A year later we find out it has less authority over Wall Street than a bill requiring vegetables to be pre-soaked. Democrats were happy about the bill, Republicans were so-so.  So what happened? well, it turns out the Democrats had to make some concessions to please more “moderate” members of their constituency. Combine this with giveaways to the, at that time opposing  minority Party,  and you have a   bill with  a ton of bark and not  a whole lot of bite.

But even this is besides the point. Again, I try not to blame politicians.  If more people had been tougher with their representatives, especially those delightfully named  “Blue Dogs”, maybe, MAYBE we’d have something that could hold bankers accountable. Instead we installed an automatic wrist slapping machine  as Congress appears to be tired of doing even that now.

But forget all this, I came to a realization. An epiphany, if it could be called that. Why do I care whose fault this is? What is that going to solve? Am I suddenly going to convince a great number of Republicans that their Party is a plague? No. Am I ever going to convince a great number of Democrats that their Party is a weak old man living on past glories? No. And why should I even try? This is America. This is how it works. You can pick a side and hope for the best or do nothing and become an impotent spectator to your own country’s demise. I’ve realized that there is a give and take here. That everything is exaggerated to lend it  a certain importance it otherwise would not have.

Like the assault on the Bush tax cuts and ending the wars. Go ahead. take away the tax cuts and end the wars. You’re still NOWHERE NEAR solving our debt crisis but everyone gets to celebrate  a political win. Admittedly a necessary political win. But who says we even have a debt crisis? The politicians? They’ve been lying to you about it since it began. Either that or they’re completely incompetent. Taxing the wealthiest people in the country at maximum rates is long overdue but we need more than that to “get right again”. The tax rates under Clinton were far higher but still not where we’ like them.  Clinton balanced the budget but make no mistake, he got help from what turned into a freight train economy. The tech boom of the 90’s helped Clinton do what he needed to do without much of the fight he would have had with Republicans. We brought in TONS of new revenue. New streams added seemingly every week.

This country needs something like that. And Obama, GOD bless him, has tried. Infrastructure projects, green energy initiatives, even some talk of a renewed space program.  And many more.   But he is trapped in the spending argument. And not just on one side. Democrats proposed 2 distinct bills last year that would have provided several new revenue streams this year and more and more each year for the next 7-10 years. It never made the floor. Dems couldn’t get enough votes on their own side. It led to some private meetings between Obama and Harry Reid. And all this colors the current debt argument. both sides have proposed bills that call for major spending cuts. Democrats really have tried to meet the Republicans on the spending cuts but the lack of new revenue will lead to a ton of problems down the road. Just cutting spending doesn’t solve anything. You’re going to lose jobs and you’re going to lose some current revenue streams  provided by programs that will be no more.

And this is really where most of my grief came from. Both Parties have had chances to make fixes. Both have failed. Either from one side not having the will to or the other side not having enough. Now I just see it for what it is. A process. Democrats fail. They fail quite often. But they don’t stop. They get back up on the horse and they try again. I didn’t want to see that.  They’re not a monolithic Party. I admit it. But neither, apparently, are Republicans. It does make me chuckle that, for once, Republican are failing because they can’t keep their Party straight. Perhaps it’s because they have no concept of dissent and the Tea Party just confounds them. Again though, not rushing out to register Democratic. Political parties can do good but most often they just get in their own way.

But I have accepted reality. Put some real thought into this.  Anger can only carry you so far. And you usually wind up alone. It’s not that I’m supporting Democrats when I vote, I’m supporting democracy.  And, more importantly, opposing Republicans. I’m not confident either side has the answer but I have become pretty confident that Democrats are a Hell of a lot closer. And if these are the 2 Parties that must run our country,  I’d better shut up and choose a side. If not for myself then for my country.  See you at the voting booth Democrats.




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It is good to have a perspective and understand that most countries, most of the time, are badly governed. And, that should not be a surprise. If you read political history, you should see that politicians, who are, after all, mere mortals are making these judgments. They are as subject to folly as any other mortal.

The Roman Republic became an empire through a violent political crisis that lasted, at least, 30 years. The root cause was the failure of a city state government [ an oligarchy composed of a couple of dozen noble families] to govern an empire that was acquired by war.

The US Civil War arose from a crisis – called an “irrepressible conflict” by one political actor at the time – that lasted, at least 15 years.

There are few great lessons to learn from history. But one of them is that it is a march of folly made by mere mortals who are faced wth difficult choices in diffucult times. Those difficult times are caused by decisions made by men of a prior generation, who had no idea what they setting in motion.

There are times when there are no good judgements. Whatever you decide, it will turn out badly.

2011 is one of those times.


Were you standing/sitting still when you wrote this?


Hi Adonai!

My daughter sent me the following in an email yesterday. Thought you might like it.

It was written by Charley Reese, a journalist for the Orlando Sentinal for 49 years. This is his final column.


545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-By Charlie Reese

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

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against
deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes,
WHY do 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 equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally,
morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this

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 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 legislator’s responsibility to
determine how he votes.

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 a Speaker, who stood up and
criticized the President 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 and approving appropriations and taxes.
Who is the speaker of the House now? He is the leader of the majority party. He and
fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the
President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people
who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I
can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545
people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of
the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to

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 Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in
Iraq and Afghanistan …

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not
available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

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 this
power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists
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 the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.
This might be funny if it weren’t so true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous
in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and
Mom, if agreed, stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!



Good to read those last two comments, Adonai: “See you at the voting booth, Democrats. Vote Progressive!”

Choosing sides is tough. There’s a certain amount of safety is “rising above it all” to lofty heights and declaring a pox on both their houses. But every now and then, in the course of human events, side-choosing is absolutely inevitable.

Gonna go with the union or with the scabs? “Which side are you on, boys?” as the song went.

Gonna go with the Union or the Confederacy? Sometimes brothers in the same family differed on that one.

Gonna be a British loyalist, or throw in your lot with the American rebels?

For the Vietnam war or against it?

Okay for the Roger Ailes and the Koch brothers to take over governance of the country or not?

There has been no way to maintain neutrality in most of those situations.

Picking sides is risky. You can be totally up-ended. Humiliated. You get dirty. You might get a bloody nose. You can gamble and lose it all.

But — hey — if we only get one go-round in life, what’s the point of playing it safe? Where’s the fun in that? It’s about a certain element of thrill-seeking (along with a set of principles).

What’s the good of a long and comfortable life if a person hedges and wheedles his way through it? Better to flame out on principle (like Thomas More) than to safely navigate through by avoiding all the hard places and the potential confrontations with scary people.

And — hey — every now and then you see a guy like Nelson Mandela, who stood up to the bullies and got the incredibly long and satisfying life thrown into the bargain, too.

Welcome to the crazy world of side-picking voters, Adonai!