Dividing America

It has become a common thought. Nothing can get done in America because the country is so divided politically. President Obama has pointed to the Tea Party and said their lack of compromise is the reason. He has often implied the Tea Party is holding the rest of the Republican Party hostage.

This idea might not be original to Obama though. Books have been written on the subject such as Our Divided Political Heart. And commentators have also elaborated on our political division today being unique such as Michael Barone.

Obama references this as the reason he must go around congress instead of allowing them to do their job normally. The implication is because of the presence of a few extremists he is forced to go to extreme measures to get anything done.

In other words, anyone who does not agree with his actions must be an extremist. But he presents himself as not an extremist, but as a man forced to go to extremes in order to enact sane policies.

The problem with this is there are millions of Americans, including me, who do not agree the policies of the president are sane, obvious or appropriate for this country. The majority of us are are not members of the tea party, even if our political leanings would be closer to them than to the president.

The rhetoric about a divided America, from the press and from the president, has been an excuse for holding an uncompromising position. It has been utilized to marginalize opponents. It has been the justification for doing an end run around the normal checks and balances of the United States Constitution.

To hear all this noise you would almost think political division in this country is a new development. It isn’t.  The two party system has been around a long time.

Why don’t we remember that past administrations had to deal with opposition rather than demonizing it? Many reasons, but a major one is we no longer have a neutral press which holds both sides accountable.


Is Anyone Listening?

Looking back over stats for the State of the Union, I notice the number of viewers was at its lowest in 14 years. I wonder if the president wishes it was more? I wonder if he would prefer it to be less? I probably should comment on the content of the speech, but I didn’t watch it either.

I understand President Obama was just interviewed by Bill O’Reilly. Reading a few reports about the interview I understand the president said the different scandals in his administrations existed only because they were promoted by Fox News. I would give you a direct quote, but I didn’t watch this event either.

The president and the liberal media have been surprisingly successful at marginalizing conservative media like Fox News. The liberal media never realizes it does matter what happened at the IRS, Benghazi, healthcare.gov et. al. The end result is he has become unaccountable to the press. Their normal job of accountability through the public spotlight is lost because he can dismiss any media which points to his faults as lies.

The end result of constantly hearing one is being lied to, is to quit listening. The American public has quit listening. They no longer listen to either the conservative press, nor the president, nor the liberal press. But the strength of the American system is the involvement of the people. America’s greatest weakness is the public having been beaten into complacency by the constant barrage of divisive rhetoric.

Again I wonder sometimes, does the president want us paying attention, lauding him for his position and achievements?  Or does he prefer us to be not paying attention to the details of what he is doing?

The Free Press

We live in a changed economy.

Not necessarily a good economy, but most certainly a different economy.

In our new economy companies have to behave differently in order to make a profit. For fast food places this might mean making everyone, including management, part time. For manufacturing facilities it might mean moving jobs to a country with less regulation and cheaper workforce. For media outlets it might mean eliminated investigative reporting, greater reliance on the wire for news, and a reluctance to risk telling unpopular stories.

We will miss the jobs. We will the made in America label. But what I expect will be even more disastrous is the lack of information and accountability the free press use to provide.

Instead we get whatever story is contrived at the top levels of the media carried down to all other media outlets. It doesn’t pay for the local outlets to determine if it’s true or false. They just need to be able to print something and stay in business. In the process they become enslaved to the popular story, without any time or money to check the facts.

It’s a function of the failing economy keeping the fifth estate from acting as a free press.

But the absence of a free press gives unrestrained control to policy makers who are destroying our economy, freedoms, and ultimately our country.

Not Socialism

I am one of many people, who have thought our current government was moving toward socialism.

In order to consider this opinion I studied the definition of socialism from several sources today.

Here is one definition, very much like the others: Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy. (Emphasis is mine.)

Based on this definition I need to abandon the idea that our country is moving toward socialism, because a central part of the definition is the production and distribution of goods. Since it seems to be the government’s goal to regulate businesses out of existence, or at least outside of our borders, their actions do not fit the definition of socialism.

This revelation leaves me with few choices left when trying to determine the goals of current policy and policy makers. They could be intentionally working toward the destruction of our economy and therefore the destabilization of America. Or they could be compassionate toward the hurting and too shortsighted to see the outcome of their actions. This leaves me, the average American, with a horrible choice. Were they too stupid to see the outcome of their actions or were they intentionally hurting America?

For the past couple of years far sighted people have been warning us about the ramifications of ObamaCare. These voices have been relegated to the sideline as naysayers, members of the Tea Party, or those under the influence of Fox News. Now ObamaCare is shaping up to be exactly what these people have said it was, and policy makers are apologizing and claiming ignorance.

It seems obvious to me, and I hope to you, that people who cannot see the outcomes of the legislation they pass (or who intentionally hide it) must be held responsible. At the very least, this should include the press reporting the economic damage, what created it, and who caused it. Only reporting on the misery caused by this economy prompts further actions, aimed at being compassionate, but which continues to undermine our economy. Thereby creating a vicious circle.

Whose Fault Is It?

Yesterday a friend brought me a copy of a local paper. The nation and world section was centered on a column from Associated Press titled, Dear voters, This is your fault.

The article then went on to blame the voters for electing a government that reflected the people, especially having a congress that was divided. They actually spoke as if this is a new situation. Can anyone tell me when there hasn’t been a division between Democrats and Republicans in office?

I found a quote from our president to be equally ludicrous. “If we disagree on something, we can move on and focus on the things we agree on, and get some stuff done.” Shouldn’t government work on policy in the areas they disagree on too? Haven’t other administrations successfully brought about just such compromise?

Apparently compromise is no longer a virtue in Washington. The president again managed to get a deal worked out which gave him everything he wanted. He gave no ground in return other than to say he might compromise on some future date, and in some way yet to be determined.

But take note I believe the votes are less to blame than the coverage in the press. The amount of relevant information they don’t bother researching and reporting, is appalling. No one has covered how it was decided what would be closed in the shutdown. They didn’t give us any real details of the compromise reached. Nor were details given as to what a default would look like. Nor did they report about different groups heading to Washington to protest these actions. America roared its disapproval, and media had better things to talk about.

Instead they put out a fluff piece telling us it’s all our fault.