Words That Frighten

I wrote this years ago and reblog it here because no one seems to have read it and the ideas I tried to clarify appear to be as relevant today as they were years ago — if not more so!

In every generation there are numerous words that take on pejorative overtones — many of which were never part of the term’s meaning in the first place. Not long ago, for instance, “discipline” was a positive concept, but it has become a bad thing thanks to progressive educators who ignore the fact that discipline is essential to clear thinking and the creation of art instead of junk. Another such term is “discrimination” which used to simply suggest the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, good paintings and good music, for example, from random paint scattered on canvas or mere noise. Indeed, it was a sign of an educated person who was regarded as discriminating.

In recent days, thanks to the Tea Party, the latest scare term is “socialism.” The political scare term used to be “communism,” but that term became out of fashion when the Soviet Union broke up and conciliation became the word of the day. But even when it was in use, most people would have been shocked to know that in its pure form communism was in close harmony with the teachings of Christ. Further,  the Soviet Union was never a communist nation by any stretch of the term. If anything, it was a socialistic dictatorship.

But let’s take a closer look at socialism. The term means, strictly speaking, that the state owns the means of production. That has not come to pass in this country, even with the recent federal bailouts of the banks and auto companies — initiated by a Republican President, by the way. But there certainly has been growing influence on the part of the government into economic circles, ever since F.D.R and his “New Deal.” Frequently these incursions were made to fill a void created by uncaring corporations, many to protect our environment which seems to be of no concern to large-scale polluters. Further such things as anti-trust laws do interfere with the unbridled competition that many think is essential to capitalism — an economic system, by the way, that has resulted in a society in which the 400 richest Americans now have a combined net worth greater than the lowest 150 million Americans. But even if President Obama has been accurately accused of promoting “socialism,” we might want to know if this would be such a terrible thing. Take the case of Finland, a decidedly socialistic nation.

Finns pay high taxes

“but they don’t spend all their money building $22 billion aircraft carriers, $8 billion submarines, $412 million fighter planes, or spend a million dollars a year keeping each soldier in foreign adventures such as Iraq and Afghanistan,”

as noted in a recent article by Ed Raymond in Duluth’s Weekly Reader. On the contrary, Finnish children are guaranteed essentials in the way of food and clothing, medical care, counseling and even taxi fare, if needed.

“All student health care is free for the family. The state provides three years of maternity leave for the mother and subsidized day care for parents. All five-year-olds attend a preschool program that emphasizes play and socializing. Ninety-seven percent of six-year-olds attend public pre-schools where they begin to study academics. ‘Real’ school begins at seven and is compulsory,”

In Finland teachers are held in high esteem, paid well, and are drawn from the top quartile of university students.  Last year in Finland there were 6.600 applicants for 660 empty teaching slots. The student-to-teacher ratio is seven to one. Contrast this with our over-crowded classrooms and an educational system that underpays and overworks teachers and holds them in low regard. Clearly, there is something here worth pondering, and it lends the lie to the notion that socialism is an inherently bad thing and something to be avoided at all costs.

Am I advocating socialism? No. But I am in total support of the Wall Street protesters who want a  system that taxes the wealthy as well as the poor; I support this President’s attempts to provide health care for those who cannot afford it; I vote for political candidates who seem to care more about people than about profits; but above all else, I oppose those who throw about terms they don’t understand in at an attempt to frighten rather than to advance understanding.

Ironic Isn’t It?

I copy and paste here an article pasted to an email I recently received from one who may not wish to be named. I thought it well worth passing on…..

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 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 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? (John Boehner. 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. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time.]

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 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 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!

Bad News, Good News

There’s actually more good news than bad in this month’s Sierra Magazine. So I thought I would pass it along, starting with the bad news.

BAD NEWS

• Polar bears are moving further North in search of longer-lasting ice.

•A Montana man was fined $30,000 for killing three grizzly bears (which is a bit of both, good and bad).

• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow the killing of up to 15 grizzly bears in Wyoming in connection with an elk hunt and livestock grazing.

•The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is determining whether the monarch butterfly belongs on the endangered species list.

• Sea lion pups off the California coast are starving in record numbers, apparently because warmer waters are driving their prey to deeper areas farther offshore.

Now for the GOOD NEWS

•Bald Eagles are nesting in New York City.

•President Obama proposes to designate 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.

•Coal prices have fallen by half since 2011 due to oversupply and reduced demand, especially in China.

• India’s tiger population has increased by a third in the past four years.

• Obama proposed to sharply restrict oil drilling in Arctic waters but takes steps to allow it on the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Georgia. [A political trade-off??]

•President Obama vetoes legislation that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline.

•Scotland bans fracking.

• Baby tortoises are sighted on the Galapagos’ Pinzon island for the first time in 100 years.

•The Senate voted 98-1 that “climate change is not a hoax.” [But, I dare say there is still a large number who insist the problem is not exacerbated by humans.]

• California broke ground for the nation’s first bullet train.

Wouldn’t it be nice to think that the good news each month from the Sierra Club were to increasingly outweigh the bad news? Now THAT would be good news.

Guns And Violence

It appears that in the fight against insane violence in this country V.P. Joe Biden will not even attempt to suggest the restriction of the sale of so-called assault weapons even though, according to HuffPost, “The president has been clear that Congress should reinstate the assault weapons ban and that avoiding this issue just because it’s been politically difficult in the past is not an option.” The results of Biden’s discussions with various groups interested in promoting or defeating tighter gun legislation will lack that one rather important item as the following news item attests:

Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will recommend new gun control measures to President Barack Obama, which include more comprehensive background checks on gun buyers and limits on the sizes of ammunition magazines. The proposal could lead to the most significant move on guns in 20 years, but one regulation highly coveted by gun control advocates was notably missing: a ban on assault weapons.

Apparently Biden and his group have decided that such an attempt would be an exercise in futility. The sale of such weapons has grown exponentially since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and the Vice President seems to be retreating from one rather important feature of any viable gun control legislation because it would simply mean spitting into the wind. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, the NRA announced recently that their membership has grown by 100,000 members since the Newtown shootings. As a result the NRA has been flexing its considerable muscle — and has apparently done so effectively.

So unless the president effectively intervenes, the final results of these recommendations by Joe Biden’s group, assuming that there will be some sort of legislation forthcoming, will not really move this country in the direction of sanity; we will remain an armed camp waiting for the slightest excuse to pull the trigger and take out someone we regard as particularly nasty. This does not bode well. We might do well to reflect on the nature of violence.

I can think of no one better to think with on this topic than Hannah Arendt who wrote a book on the subject in the late 60s because she saw that this country was headed in the direction of increasing violence and she sought to understand why and whether or not something could be done to prevent it. She concluded that, contrary to widespread opinion at the time, violence is the result of a sense of powerlessness. When a person or a group begins to feel it is losing power it resorts to violence. The solution, as she saw it, is for groups to take action, to become more involved. This is an interesting notion and one worth pondering.

It is decidedly the case that an increasing number of people in this country feel this sense of powerlessness and disinterest. As the country grows more populous, problems loom larger and solutions farther away, debt becomes an increasing fact of life, and the government depressingly inept, the citizens of this country do indeed have grounds for feeling powerless: what is a person to do? How do we get out of the bind we are in? These questions start to press in on every side. Couple this with the fact that we see violence all around us and the message we get from TV and the movies is that the way to solve problems is to pull out a gun and shoot someone and it would seem probable that violence is a likely alternative for a growing numbers of people.

Thus, it would seem, this nation is increasingly becoming an armed camp that finds violence an acceptable alternative. The government might choose to increase citizen involvement in governance and deal directly with the problems that face the majority of people on Main Street in order to reduce the sense of powerlessness. This would accord with Arendt’s suggestion. But that seems unlikely. We can expect, then, that violence will increase rather than decrease — especially in light of the fact that whatever laws might result from this government’s feeble attempts to halt the sales of violent weapons will fall far short of where any sane person would want them to fall.

At a time when we should be thinking of the sternest possible steps to curb violence it seems we are to be handed a band-aid. Unless the president can persuade a reluctant Congress to do the right thing we are in for more rough times. Hold on to your hats!.

More Madness

When I was seven years old we moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Dodgingtown, Connecticut — midway between Bethel and Newtown. My sister and I went to Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was a member of Troop 70 Boy Scouts in Newtown, caddied at the Newtown golf course, walked with a friend of mine every Saturday afternoon to the movie house in Newtown to watch the latest cowboy thriller, and my mother ran a shop in Newtown called “Presents Unlimited.” Newtown, Connecticut is a place I once knew very well.

So when I read about the latest shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, I was touched on a very deep level. I have so many childhood memories of that region. Now those memories are mixed with mayhem. It leaves the stomach unsettled and the mind in a whirl.

The President of the United States fought back tears as he pledged to rise above politics and make sure something is done to stop this carnage. He has said this before, but this time he seems to mean it. Easier said than done: the NRA will be geared up for battle and they are one of the most powerful and effective lobbying groups in Washington. We can expect little in the way of serious gun control to come out of this Congress. But gun control is not the whole answer. To be sure, it is a step in the right direction, but it is not sufficient to stop the craziness that seems to be growing in our population. We need to probe for deeper causes.

Let’s take a close look at the youth in this culture who spend hours each day playing violent games on their Xboxes and watch even more hours of violence on TV and in the movies (which make my cowboy thrillers look like Sunday School stories). Humans are animals and young animals learn from imitation. There can be no question the constant immersion in violence plants seeds in the young. Add to this a weakening reality principle, a thin thread separating these kids from the fantasy world of their games where they rule and the real world where (as things now stand) they also rule: they are told they can do no wrong and they are entitled to accolades and applause for every breath they take. Their sense of self grows as their sense of the world they live in shrinks. They crave fame and glory, like the heroes they play in their games. They learn to expect applause for their every effort no matter how impotent. Their ability to connect with other humans weakens as they become more and more isolated.

These speculations are not far-fetched; they are based on solid data, studies that show our culture is becoming increasingly narcissistic and self-absorbed. Combine these factors with the ready availability of guns and one can easily imagine a young Adam Lanza strapping on a bullet-proof vest, grabbing his automatic weapons, and storming into a school pulling the triggers on both weapons as he shoots his “enemies” and emerges a “hero” to the applause of thousands.

Granted, this scenario is a bit of a stretch, but what I say is based on solid evidence and there is a disturbing sense of truth to what I have supposed here. How else do we explain this madness? How else do we explain how a young man can shoot innocent children and their teachers? Only in a world where people get cut off from reality, where the thin thread connecting them to the real world suddenly snaps and their fantasy world takes over. What happened in Newtown, Connecticut cannot be real: it must be a video game — except it isn’t.

Just Plain Wrong!

A recent NBC News story is a grim reminder of a chapter in this nation’s history that we prefer not to read. It tells about a recent death at the Guantanamo detention center where more than 200 prisoners remain 10 years after their capture as suspected (but not proven) terrorists. The story begins:

A Guantanamo detainee who died Saturday was a former hunger striker who had recently been placed in a disciplinary cell after splashing a guard with a “cocktail”– typically containing urine, a U.S. military official tells NBC News.

In itself the news is grim, especially since it was reported only because guards at the facility were concerned that word would leak out and their eyes would be even blacker. But not only their eyes but this nation’s eyes are blackened by the very existence of this facility where men are kept in stark conditions and denied the fundamental right of every human being to trail by jury.

We recall that President Obama promised that he would close the facility. It was a promise made, I dare say, without knowledge of the implications of such a step. Once elected he quickly came to realize that the closing of the facility and moving the prisoners to a secure facility in the United States and trying them in a civil court would prove difficult at best — especially with a Congress that was only interested in resisting every step the new President attempted to take.

But the fact remains that the prison remains open and men are still held in captivity (excuse me, “detained”) even though they have not been tried and found guilty. A brief look at Obama’s attempts to close the facility is instructive (as quoted from Wikipedia):

On January 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the detention facility would be shut down within the year. On January 29, 2009, a military judge at Guantanamo rejected the White House request in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, creating an unexpected challenge for the administration as it reviews how America puts Guantanamo detainees on trial On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90-6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum dated December 15, 2009, ordering the preparation of the Thomson Correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois so as to enable the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners there. The Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force dated January 22, 2010 published the results for the 240 detainees subject to the Review: 36 were the subject of active cases or investigations; 30 detainees from Yemen were designated for ‘conditional detention’ due to the security environment in Yemen; 126 detainees were approved for transfer; 48 detainees were determined ‘too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution’.

[Footnotes in the original article]

Needless to say, the detainees were never transferred to a facility in this country as the Congress simply will not allow it. The United Nations has sought to have the facility closed to no avail. And other nations have been harsh in their judgment of our treatment of these men, calling it a form of “torture” and a violation of human rights — pointing out that we are in violation of the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war. Whether we agree with these criticisms or not, we must agree that this entire venture is something we cannot be proud of and would rather it had never happened — though “In a February 2012 poll 70% of Americans (53% liberal Democrats and 67% moderate or conservative Democrats) replied they approve the continued operation of Guantanamo.” If the poll is to be believed, it is even more embarrassing than the fact that the facility remains open.

Military Mystique

I recall seeing a photograph recently of President Obama sitting in a crowded room surrounded by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in all their regalia. There they were fully uniformed, chests ablaze with ribbons representing courage, valor and years of experience defending the country in all parts of the world. And there was the skinny little President in his white shirt and tie looking very much out-of-place — and intimidated. They were considering how to wage war.

The photo made me reflect on an incident from my distant past when I taught at a private school in Katonah, New York and one Saturday we took a group of the boys to West Point for a basketball game. We were all dressed in our best bib and tucker and feeling very good about ourselves — until we started walking around the grounds of the academy. There were the cadets, ramrod straight and neatly pressed (not a wrinkle anywhere to be seen), eyes straight ahead, faces stern and heroic. I started to think myself shabbily dressed, even a bit of a slob — anything but “heroic.” I felt that way walking around Annapolis during my four years of college in that city standing next to a Midshipman as he ordered items from a sales person or walking next to him down the street.

What to make of this? I wonder if part of the reason why the President and the Congress are unwilling to take on the military is reflected in the subtle psychological messages blended into these impressions I recall here? We have a reverence for the military in this country that borders on worship: these are all our “heroes.” These feelings are reinforced every time a sports team hits the field, and our TVs remind us constantly how much we owe these heroes.  If one were to utter a criticism of any one of them it would be regarded as sacrilege. In fact, we have become a nation of military pageants and military presence. Ever since Viet Nam, it seems, the military is held up to us as a model of human achievement. I suspect it is by design. There are parades, fly overs, flags unfurled, uniforms galore, and the air filled with the strains of the National Anthem. It fills us with pride and a sense of awe and privilege. But it is also dangerous, it seems to me.

We need to beware of what I would call the “lure of the military mystique,” the sense that what these people say and do is always right, that they are the paradigm of all human excellence. I dare say that the politicians in this country are intimidated and awed by the presence in the room of a large man in uniform with ribbons agleam on his chest who has a “request” that simply cannot be ignored. It seems a bit of a stretch, but perhaps this is a small part of what Eisenhower was warning us about: some of the power of the military is assuredly wrapped up in the mystique and awe we all experience in the presence of men and women who represent courage, valor, and integrity. Who can say “no” to people like this?

As I say, it is a stretch, but one wonders why an ultra-conservative like Paul Ryan who is intent on slashing every social program in sight and leaving us all without a safety net in our old age would, at the same time (as Chair of the House Budget Committee), recommend increasing the military budget? Indeed, it is one of the oddities of this age that the Republicans generally who want to cut and slash the Federal budget refuse to consider any serious examination of the “defense” budget — much less cuts. And this in face of the fact that we spend 6 to 7 times as much on the military as China and more than the next 20 largest military spenders combined. In fact, this country spends over 40% of the total amount spent on the military in the entire world! Does it ultimately come down to a psychological trick that none of us is aware of: an inability to say “no” to those who are used to giving orders? I wonder.

In the meantime, while we mull this over, the military continues to amass power and spread its influence throughout the world as we continue to spend more on “defense” than any nation in the world and people go to sleep hungry and homeless in a country of vast wealth.

Case In Point

I have done a couple of blogs on the topic of informal fallacies to watch for in the coming months as political rhetoric reaches a fever pitch. But a recent tirade by Governor Paul LePage of Maine provides an excellent example of a couple I have not mentioned. I quote at some length some remarks he recently made on the radio:

This tax will add to the $500 billion in tax increases that are already in Obamacare. Now that Congress can use the taxation power of the federal government to compel behavior or lack thereof, what’s next? More taxes if we don’t drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup?

This decision has made America less free. ‘We The People’ have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo – the I.R.S.

This is the man, supported by the Tea Party, who famously told the NAACP to “kiss his ass” and also told President Obama to “go to hell.” So we have an idea what we can expect from him. But I want to focus attention on a couple of doozies in this brief passage.

To begin with, note the appeal to fear in the use of the term “Gestapo” in connection with the IRS. It conjures up images of booted men coming in the night to drag someone away to be tortured. This appeal is designed, obviously, to provoke fear in the listener and lead them to the conclusion that the idea of hiring more IRS people to collect back taxes is a terrible thing. The idea itself, the collecting of back taxes, is ignored. In fact, it might be a good thing in light of the country’s huge debt to other nations and the number of people who can afford to pay but simply do not do so.

Then there’s the usual “slippery slope” that goes from “more taxes” to “Toyota Priuses” to “pea soup.” The thinking here is that one thing leads invariably to another, which is absurd. Most slippery slopes can be avoided by simply addressing the first step. In this case, we need to think about how the new taxes required to allow all to have health insurance differ from the usual taxation. It’s even debatable as to whether the mandate is a tax at all.

But toward the end of his tirade, LePage actually utters a half-truth. He notes that Even more disheartening is that reviving the American dream just became nearly impossible to do. We are now a nation in which supports dependency rather than independence. Instead of encouraging self-reliance we are encouraging people to rely on the government.

There is some truth in this. The mandate to require that all have health insurance does reduce our freedom not to have health insurance. It reduces our “self-reliance” our freedom to worry about whether we will have a job tomorrow, whether we will be able to feed our family, whether we will be able to pay for the hospital bills if our child gets appendicitis, whether we can pay the electric bill tomorrow. The kind of freedom and “self-reliance” that people like LePage tout is a freedom enjoyed almost entirely by the very rich. The rest of us enjoy the freedom to worry and be anxious about tomorrow. This is not the kind of freedom that leads to joy and happiness. But it is a freedom that we give up in order to make sure that when our child does get appendicitis she will be able to get the medical attention she requires, that we won’t have to go to the emergency room and then skip out on the bill — making someone else pay for the attention we received.

In a word, we need to think about what we hear and read — especially when the things put out there are so emotionally charged and the person speaking is known to be a demagogue and rabble-rouser. Most of what we hear in the coming months from public figures will be designed to get someone elected to public office — not to enlighten and inform. We need to be selective in our hearing, critical in our thinking, and reluctant to just embrace a half-truth because it is comforting and fits nicely into our belief system. There’s a lot of crap coming our way!

Back On Board

The conservative newspaper “Wall Street Journal” recently faulted Mitt Romney for fumbling the ball on “Obamacare,” calling him “dumb” and insisting that his waffling on whether the mandate is a tax or a penalty may end up costing him the White House. They also faulted him for taking an expensive vacation at a key moment in this important race. Poor Mitt can’t win for losing.

A recent article on Huffington Post summarized the Wall Street op-ed piece and also noted that Mitt’s overall strategy is to repeatedly point to the sitting president’ failure to solve America’s economic woes. Specifically, the article says Romney’s campaign strategy so far has been to pivot all points of discussion to Obama’s failed economic record, but according to the Journal, voters would benefit from actually learning why Romney’s policies would fare any better — something his campaign has yet to elaborate on.

I am not a political strategist, but it does seem to me that voters in this country find a willingness to change one’s mind in the face of new facts a serious character flaw. As a general rule, I would not fault Romney for changing his mind unless he did it for purely political reasons — which is assuredly the case here. But then apparently I am more tolerant than most. Voters faulted George McGovern for changing his mind about Thomas Eagleton in 1972, a decision that critics said virtually assured Richard Nixon’s victory. In any event, the pattern has been fairly clear since that time: be consistent even if you are consistently wrong. Voters admire a man or woman who “sticks by their guns” even if the path they have chosen is stupid and possibly treacherous — witness George W. Bush and the “weapons of mass destruction” (which some people still think are hidden somewhere in Iraq). But I suspect voters will soon forget that Mitt has done an about-face on the mandate, that he may have fumbled the ball, because he and his team will divert their attention elsewhere.

Romney’s strategy is to simply say nothing until his opponent opens his mouth, or keep pointing an angry finger at the economy while he repeatedly insists it’s all Obama’s fault. This may in fact be a politically wise course to take, given past elections. If we have learned anything, we have learned that if a thing is repeated often enough, people will believe it. It doesn’t matter if what is repeated is right or wrong, true or false, no one will take the time to check. If they hear is often enough, it is as though it were carved in stone.

So we had best prepare ourselves for the endless repetition of the mantra: Obama is to blame for the retched economy….and he wants to raise your taxes. It will be repeated ad nauseam. In the meantime, Mitt has joined his fellows on the Republican band wagon and now insists that the mandate is a tax (which Obama has foisted on the American people) and we will soon forget that he ever thought otherwise. All we will hear is how the sitting President is to blame for the poor economy and for the thousands of Americans being out of work — though, as the above quote suggests, we should not expect this candidate to provide us with a program of his own or convince us how he would have acted other than Obama has acted — given the mess he inherited.