You ask why I stopped communicating with you. I should – but I can’t – resist the temptation to riff on the old saw “a word to the wise is sufficient”. Apparently, tens of thousands of my words weren’t sufficient to make you see the light. Then again, that may be because my words lack wisdom.
Be that as it may, since you have taken the trouble to ask, I feel a duty to be completely honest with you about why I stopped trying to communicate with you. I hope you will take it in the spirit in which it was intended – not in anger, but in resignation. That is to say, I have resigned myself to the fact that the truth does not set some people free.
You and I have profound political differences, differences that had their roots in a tragically misguided belief promulgated on the Right that the solution to all our problems was to get rid of government and leave everything in the control of corporations. It was clear to me thirty years ago where this would inevitably lead, and I hope it is clear to you now, too.
It is said success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. Never was that more the case than with Supply-Side Reaganomics. Despite his pathetic denials, one father of this bastard child was Alan Greenspan, the Ayn Rand acolyte who just this weekend weaseled yet again with the claim that no one could have foreseen this economic breakdown.
That's an outrageous lie – again, an ignoramus like me saw it coming thirty years ago, and I’ve been saying that to you for as long as we have communicated. The Savings and Loan crisis of the 80's (which we are still paying for) should have served as fair warning to Supply-Side dreamers, but Greenspan and many others locked in their laissez faire religion remained willfully blind to reality. But that religion didn't stop a number of hedge fund managers who foresaw the collapse coming and became billionaires by selling us all short.
When the inevitable and predictable collapse occurred, it was amazing how quickly and easily Supply-Siders gave up their religion – at least long enough to bail-out their bankster buddies. But True-Believers like Larry Kudlow are already back at it, extolling deregulation and Supply-Side even while we are suffering the results of the latest disaster caused by this folly.To some extent, I can forgive Reagan his part in this disaster because critical thinking was beyond his intellectual abilities. I give Bush the Elder credit because he called Reaganomics what it was – Voodoo Economics, and because he had the political courage to face reality and raise taxes (though not nearly enough to offset Reagan's profligate spending) in spite of his political promises. Clinton, too, gets credit for being honest about taxes – if not his lovelife. His economic acumen was reflected in the budget surplus when he left office.
As Clinton succinctly put it, it's the economy, stupid. Problem is some don't understand the economy starts at the bottom when somebody actually produces something. What we needed in 2000 was someone who understood Trickle-Up Economics – what we got was Bush the Lesser.
Bush was probably brighter than Reagan, but despite his Harvard MBA, he was even more ignorant of economics. You've heard me say many times he will go down as the worst president in US history, and the fact he was returned to office in 2004 despite his glaringly obvious deficiencies is to the everlasting shame of a majority of American voters.
I remind you that despite his narrow victory in 2004, Bush claimed to have been given a "mandate" and that his first priority in his second term was to privatize Social Security. That he made that his first priority while we were still in the middle of two wars speaks volumes about his leadership.
It also leads me to suspect someone in his administration was already aware the financial house of cards was going to fall before his second term ended – unless trillions of dollars in Social Security funds were injected into the Wall Street Ponzi scheme. Had Bush gotten his way, it is very likely the collapse would have been forestalled until he was out of office.
But can you imagine where retirees would be now if Bush had succeeded? It’s bad enough millions saw their 401K’s and private pension plans gutted or destroyed, but if those trillions in Social Security funds had been gambled away on financial casino bets – well, that’s too awful to contemplate. Thank god he was thwarted in that effort!
It pains me to remind you – reluctantly but necessarily – that after having twice voted for the worst President in US history, you sent me an email the day after Obama was elected – before he was inaugurated – before he had done anything – with a picture of Obama as Hitler with the caption "Don't blame me – I voted for the American!"
That was the last straw for me … I thought about the hours upon hours I had spent trying to reason with you, directing you to sites that would easily debunk the nonsense you sent me – and I guess I simply gave up. That was what elicited my reaction – a quick email reply: You can’t fix stupid.
You replied in kind, as I expected, and at that point, I saw no point in continuing to try to reason with someone who attacked a President who had been dealt the worst hand since FDR without even giving him a chance. You were not alone, of course, the putative "loyal opposition" behaved like spoiled children, voting en masse – like a school of fish – even against their own proposals, and brazenly hoping aloud for Obama's failure.
To be fair, I have been critical of Obama on many fronts – including failure to prosecute torturers and failure to use single-payer at least as a bargaining chip in the healthcare reform debate.
I have roundly, loudly and frequently criticized HCR as too little too late. I could go into a lengthy discussion about HCR, but I fear it would be to no avail because you likely view trying to resolve an intractable problem that has been with us since the country's founding and that was first seriously addressed more than a century ago by Republican Teddy Roosevelt – as just another socialist plot.
I spent a great deal of time over roughly fifteen years trying to reason with you about these things, and as I said, pointing to neutral sites that could correct the horrible lies being disseminated by Faux News and on the Internet by hateful divide and conquer political operatives like Karl Rove, political operatives not the least interested in making an argument for their policies, but in merely spreading lies to a public too lazy and too indoctrinated to even try to find the truth.
At almost any hour of the day, you can find someone on Faux News lying – not exaggerating, not misinformed, not misguided – simply lying – no, not simply lying – outrageously lying. Why? Because Murdoch, Ailes, Hannity, O’Reilly and Beck are making a fortune from lying. This is nothing new for Murdoch – he's been doing it for decades with his smutty newspapers. But deregulation of the airwaves – the people's airwaves so we're told – under Reagan greased the skids for Murdoch and his freak show filled with Dittoheads, plunging necklines and crotchshot news "readers".
Now thirty years of preaching hatred for the government are beginning to come home to roost, and the lunatics are beginning to take over the asylum – armed militias plot to overthrow the government, a lunatic shoots down a doctor in his own church in a heinous act putatively committed to show his "respect for life", another lunatic steals an airplane and flies it into an IRS office to protest taxes, and on April 19th, armed gun nuts plan to march on DC to commemorate Waco and the OK City bombing. And millions cheer these atrocious acts.
I hope you aren’t one of them, and I hope you don't condone such acts – any more than I condoned the violence on the Left back in the Sixties. But the fact that so few on the Right are speaking out against violence does tacitly, at least, condone such acts – and worse, it encourages more of it. Politicians and pundits egg-on this nonsense or remain silent, hoping to make political hay and profit from fear. But if these fools think they can control the mob once it’s loosed, they know nothing about history.
I hope America can survive its present straits … an economic disaster brought on by Voodoo Economics … a decaying infrastructure made worse by thirty years of neglect in favor of wastrel military spending and massive tax cuts for the wealthiest among us … the utter destruction of what was once the world’s greatest workforce – a workforce that did as much to win WWII as our military … the divide and conquer politics perpetrated on America's least informed citizens by political operatives who care not a whit for them, but only for greasing the skids for their friends the Have-Mores.
I'm sorry if you don't see things this way, but I suspect that if you don't it may be because you don’t want to admit to yourself – let alone me – that you've been duped. But you have been duped, and you are far from alone. I've given you the danger signs before – people who spout slogans rather than offer programs, and people who deliberately mislabel policies to mean the opposite of their real intent.
At the moment, one of the most glaring examples of mislabeling is filling the TV screen with horror, as another two dozen miners and their extended families fall victim to the Clear Skies Initiative – a program intended not to clear the skies but to clear the way for coal companies to ruin the environment and ignore safety regulations.
Over the last century, more than a hundred-thousand miners lost their lives in mining accidents. Even more died a miserable premature death from black-lung, and it is estimated at least 20% of miners have liver and kidney disease. Schools in coal country are permeated with coal dust, and in many places well-water isn't fit to drink.
I’m sure coal industry executives do not factor in the cost of these things when touting the low per btu cost of coal. But somebody sure as hell pays the price.
In any case, I hope this finds you well, and I hope all my efforts to shed a little light over the past 15 years or so weren't completely for naught.