American Facts - The Eleventh Commandment

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by midcan5, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    "A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." Dwight D. Eisenhower

    [Please check later posts for revisions.]

    In 'Immortality' Milan Kundera speculates on the eleventh commandment, the big one Moses didn't bring down with him. Gawd must have known her creation was incapable of so hard a command, ten were enough, 'Thou shalt not lie' impossible.

    But suppose for a moment the eleventh commandment....nah, impossible for what would the politicians ever say, honest politics would pose so hard a problem that talking heads would spin out of control, honest reporting would be the death of contemporary dialogue. And so it goes, a managed narrative has become the norm, the forms it takes are outlined below. Lies and facts interweave.

    Bull S...: Imagine that the most prevalent detail of American politics today is BS. Harry Frankfurt defines it thus, "It is .... this lack of connection to a concern with truth - this indifference to how things really are - that I regard as of the essence of bullshit." Listen carefully to the political ads and then fact check. Ironically, the considered swing states are doing well financially as money pours in with lies galore, created with no connection to things on the ground.

    Respect: When did America lose a trait essential for a democracy? Today even the office of the President has lost the respect of the right wing politicians and their followers in America. Imagine questioning a president's credentials rather than considering the state of the American economy or the American family? The loss in 2008 brought forth an even larger adversarial contingent than Clinton's win. Money manages the American mind today, and whenever it feels threatened it pays heavily to create a narrative of a lost America.

    Do Nothing: It used to be America was the 'can do' nation, today it is the can't because that would cost money. FDR built the nation, Eisenhower built the nation, JFK built the nation, our history is full of national endeavors to create, build, and do better. What happened that the only spending now is done for the war machine? America crumbles as republicans and many democrats worry about a deficit that only became a deficit after 2008.

    Debt: The magic of debt talk is the party which created most of the debt accuses the other party of creating what its own policies did. Lowered taxes are helping to destroy America's education, research, industrial and infrastructure bases, but who cares. I got mine. Now even babies look out from the TV and goo-goo ga-ga over a solvable problem. But please note those same babies are not given the promise given seniors of no changes to so called 'entitlement' programs. Odd huh.

    Politicization / Polarization: The economy has improved greatly since 2008 but polarization is so strong that saying that is not allowed either by governors or media. Improvement does not fit the narrative of a lost America, the narrative is essential as it forms a bond among ideologues who are often at odds with each other over economic or social issues.

    Media / PACs: Our SCOTUS let loose the loonies. A soap box for every crazy, an electorate bombarded with nonsense, and a platform for hatred and disagreement. Seriously do people really believe the nonsense on Fox or anything from Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, or Savage? Seriously. They used to be called sophists, today money pays them well for sophistry works.

    Media Equivalence: Rarely will a talking head take note of a political untruth on MSM, only the comics present the reality of the lies, distortions presented as commentary, the rest of the MSM sit and reason that in order to appear reasonable, they must acknowledge unreason as reason. Equivalency has replaced truth as a journalism trait.

    Neo-Straw-Manning: Today there is no requirement you analyze an opponent's political values, accomplishments, or policies, all that is necessary is that you go into your own mind, pick among your fears and biases and then attribute them to the other. If you doubt that, consider Dinesh D'Souza's Obama, a person who doesn't exist but has a book and movie. Fiction as truth.

    TV and Social Media: It is difficult to know what the youth of America read today as a kind of inane narcissism seems to inflict so many. Texting has replaced speech, and personal web pages on everyday activities occupy all time. Every opinion has equal worth no matter how silly, ask a teacher if you doubt that fact. Mindless cacophony, with the addition of mindless TV and sports as the goals of life. Life lived through a smart phone.

    Racism Returns: Hidden in birtherism, welfare comments, food stamp notice, and voter registration changes since 2008 is something Americans pretend does not exist. It is the elephant in the room that must be denied at any cost. Check only the shenanigans at the RNC this year or the signs at tea party events. They mean well, they're just misunderstood. Sure they do.

    A Changing Past: America is always on the brink of losing something or another. One wonders what history is being taught when the past, thankfully in so many area, is past. H. L. Mencken wrote, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Chicken Little was here.

    Single Issue Voter: What's with these people. Do they select spouses based on their cute nose? Given divorce rates, maybe. Recently there are ads for energy voters? It is often asked why voters vote against their own interests? The answer is a narrative of anti something. The 'something' coincides with the single issue voter and thus ends thought.

    Joe McCarthy Returns: Can anyone really consider seriously a congressman who thinks there are communists in our representative body? Do any of them know any history? Geography? When stupid people are elected to congress the results are obvious.

    Loss Of Religious Values: My mom, who had nothing, would help anyone, she grew up in the great depression and knew hardship. Americans today have lost that value. Consider in the mid fifties, "generosity was voted the most conspicuous American characteristic, followed by friendliness, understanding, piety, love of freedom, and progressivism. The American faults listed were petty: shallowness, egotism, extravagance, preoccupation with money, and selfishness."* Today those values have been reversed. The power of money.

    Fundamentals: Republicans are metaphysicians, while democrats are a mixed lot, a few pragmatists remain but most only hold in their heads the idea that their position grants them special province. None seem to realize they too suck at the teat of government while acting like government is a bad mother. The latest slogan is trickle down government. Do mirrors exist in Washington. See our first president's quote below.

    Americans Today: Show me the Money. In money we trust. For the love of money is a root of all kinds.... Americans now look at America as a place to rob, pillage, and buy cheap. And that isn't just for those who can, it is for many who can't. Paradox you say. Not hardly. Consider that a presidential candidate has money in foreign countries and tax havens. Nah, you say. In a recent review of Barlett and Steele's new book on the betrayal of the American dream,** a reviewer notes that Americans want cheap, Americans don't care that Corporations ship jobs overseas, or Walmart pays food stamp wages, they only care for cheap. Look only at the invasion of foreign cars, Chinese made, and the support call that ends up going to India. And finally I ask, how many Americans support a fair wage or buy made in America. As Pogo - another comic truth - once said and it can be repeated today, we have met the enemy and he may be us.


    "The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts." Quote DB :: Speeches :: George Washington :: George Washington's Farewell Address Speech


    *William Manchester in "The Glory and the Dream" quoting George Gallup's Institute of public opinion.
    ** Barlett & Steele » Blog Archive » Our new book: The Betrayal of the American Dream

    The start of the machine that rules the American mind today. The Invention of Political Consulting : The New Yorker


    "There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve, then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us." Pogo
     
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  2. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Planning ahead for the things you get wrong. I guess that adage about old dogs isn't true after all.

    This is where I get confused, if the (undelivered) 11th commandment is do not lie what was the 9th commandment changed to?

    Don't worry, I will be glad to point out the parts where you.......and correct your "facts."

    Is this........ one of the facts you need me to correct? Politics today is actually a lot more respectful, and a lot less inflammatory, than it was. Unless, that is, you can find examples of Romney calling Obama a hermaphrodite, or a blind, toothless, and bald old man that imports mistresses.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_zTN4BXvYI"]Attack Ads, Circa 1800 - YouTube[/ame]

    When I read history books the "can do" came from the people, not the government. It is true that Lincoln supported the efforts of the robber barons/railroad tycoons to build a transcontinental railroad, but I can assure you that they did not do so out of a sense of building America, they were out to line their pockets, and they created a government that is dedicated to making rich people richer.

    The very same government you continually defend.

    Which party created the debt? The Democrats did vote for most of the bills that made the debt grow as fast as it had, but they were almost always signed by a Republican. Which party am I supposed to blame? Wouldn't it be easier for me to be honest and admit that both parties are responsible, or is this one of those times I am supposed to ignore the fact that the 9th commandment actually exists?

    The media can't tell us the economy has improved? All those stories I keep seeing about the mixed, but generally improved, economy are all figments of my imagination?

    Sophist used to be people who would only teach if they got paid. Can we think of a group of people that currently fits that definition?

    People love to trot this one out, yet they almost always apply it to the wrong thing. Examples of false equivalence in media would be a reporter talking about science and presenting the kooks opinion alongside that of a scientist with the idea that both are equally valid. It can only be applied where the choice is between a lot of evidence that supports one side of the debate and the other side just making things up in order to confuse people.

    It does not, however, apply to discussions about politics where neither side has the facts on their side.

    What on Earth makes you think this is something new?

    Technology is bad.

    And you call yourself a progressive.

    Didn't you just make up a term for this? Was it Neo-Straw-Manning?

    The thing about dog whistles is that only dogs can hear the whistle. If you hear racism everywhere, you just might be a racist.

    IS it safe to point out that you are one of the worst offenders about rewriting history in the CDZ? If you need an example, I can point to your claim earlier in this post where you rewrote history to ignore the fact that some of the people who actually signed the Declaration of Independence and helped draft the Constitution were a lot less respectful of the President of the United States than we are.

    I wonder why Obama thinks women's rights is the dominant issue in America today, is he a single issue president?

    Is it any harder than being serious about a congresscritter who is worried about Guam tipping over?

    this is one of your attempts to rewrite history by changing the way America sees itself today, isn't it? Point out to me how everyone just sat on their ass when New Orleans was flooded because they are all greedy and unwilling to share. I dare you.

    Here we go again all Republicans are closed minded bigots, and all Democrats are super smart and love science.

    I am not even going to take the time to point out how silly it is for anyone to believe this given the fact that I am currently in a one sided argument about science on this forum with a whole group of people who defend the claim that DDT instantly causes cancer.

    Didn't I just point out that you are wrong about this?

    The obligatory quotes that fail to prove anything.
     
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  3. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    America has always been a divided country, from the getgo. Differences in all sorts of ways and opinions, and not all that respectful or considerate of opposing viewpoints. We even went through a civil war once, killing each other in large numbers. Hopefully that isn't going to happen again, but tempers were hot then and getting hot now. I don't see a coming together unless and until we suffer through another great depression that changes the thought process over the functions of the various levels of gov't and our own personal and civic responsibilities. We're good at coming together in response to crises such as war and 9/11. But not so good at heading them off, particularly on domestic issues like debt and deficits, taxation and spending, the social safety net and national security.

    The truth is (IMHO) that we've got major problems that like a toothache will not go away, but instead will get worse over time. Worst of all, future generations will have to bear the burden we are creating, and we have not even really begun to develop solutions and the processes required to get out of the hole we've dug for ourselves. Hell, we haven't even put down the shovels yet.

    So when I read stuff like the OP, I realize we're still digging. Still pointing fingers at the other side, with no effort or intention of moving away from our entrenched position. So it is in Washington and in the states around the country, nobody seems to want to put down the shovel. Instead, we call the opposition liars, deceptive evil people who care nothing for the good of the country. Charges and counter charges fly back and forth, it's like fiddling while Rome is burning. Looks to me like the USA is figuratively burning, and all we're doing is arguing about whose at fault.
     
  4. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    If anyone doubts the premise of the OP look only at the reaction yesterday to positive employment numbers. Since it didn't fit the managed narrative it was made up. Jack Welsh, a leading corporate outsourcer, among other things, claims some Chicago folks fudged the number, when Nixon didn't agree it was the Jews in the BLS who controlled the numbers. The difference today is even good news is met with derision from the right.

    Why is it required that quotes be placed around points that contradict or don't align perfectly with a reader's worldview. Stanley Fish gives an interesting explanation here: How the Right Hijacked the Magic Words Read it.

    Quantum Windbag,

    I thought of the ninth as you did but false witness and neighbors are limited things, read Kundera - 'do not lie' requires we answer, Gawd never said we had to answer. 'Bear witness' is out loud, lies are, as the nuns said, often omissions.

    I have to say your replies were very weak. I am not claiming there are not hard working good Americans today, there are lots of them. There are even religious Americans who still care for the poor, for children, for a fair and more just society. There are even tolerant Americans still. odd huh? But there is also this world I outline in the OP and it dominates much of the conversation today. It is a force as yesterday's news proved.

    An exception proves nothing, surely you know that. You also created situations I didn't even mention. Government and industry: Lincoln, FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, War on Cancer, research, etc etc, I'd suggest you check their histories. You seemed totally lost near the end of your reply? I expected better.

    ========

    Wiseacre,

    One of the first steps to a solution of a problem is recognizing it, naming it. You claim lots exist but name none, then write as if the OP is the fault and not a description of what I see as a major aspect of the problem. We'll never all sing kumbaya together, but for 50 years after FDR, we had a time in which we (mostly) worked together. You are right that another GD may have changed things, but why is that necessary? Why don't positive values stick and what causes them to come undone?
     
  5. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Not that I am going to defend the idiot here, but a .3% increase in employment with less than 120,000 new jobs is unprecedented. Even Obama says the numbers aren't good enough, even as he trumpets them to prove how much he accomplished in 4 years.

    By the way, his name is Welch.

    Quotes are required when you quote someone, even if it doesn't contradict your worldview.

    Why do you insist on playing the stupid hick when you spell the word god? Are you afraid that your lying about the contents of the bible might attract his attention if you spell it right?

    While it is true that bearing false witness against someone is different than simply lying, it is still lying that is being addressed, and politicians routinely lie about each other all the time. If you don't believe me watch the video of the presidential debate where Obama repeatedly misstated Romney's position on tax cuts.

    By the way, under the law handed down in Leviticus it specifically says not to lie to each other. Since Leviticus is an expansion of the law and outlines the obligations of believers under it, the 9th clearly means more than simply not to bear false witness.[/quote]



    Of course you have to claim that,m because otherwise you would have to reexamine your worldview and conclude that you are wrong about everything. That is unacceptable to you because that would mean that everyone you admire has been lying to you. The world you outlined in the OP does not exist, it never did, and never will.

    Do you understand the old saying that exceptions prove the rule? Prove, in this context, means test, and every rule that has an exception fails the test. My exceptions test your claims. That places the burden on you to explain why my exceptions exist if your claims are true.

    This is supposed to be a debate, you don't win debates by pretending you are more informed, you prove it. Why don't you point out what I got wrong instead of simply pretending I am confused? Is it because you have learned that, when you challenge me on facts you always end up losing the argument?
     
  6. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    My problem with the OP is in it's bias, as it is in everything Midcan5 and others write. I have no problem with pointing out the perceived mistakes that a president or Congress or either party makes, but I do have a problem with the claims or insinuations that such mistakes are exclusively to one side. Surely every politician/party supports policies that may not be as productive or effective as a different choice might be, nor should we be overlooking the methods employed to push through policies with no regard to the minority party's position. For many on this board, their side is always right and other always wrong and evil to boot. Such an outlook is counter productive, and only adds to the probability that we as a nation will not be able to resolve our differences in a reasonable fashion. We are left with only one other way, namely a very bad time that will cause a lot of misery and last too long. That is the legacy we are leaving to future generations, and all of the divisive polarization we have now merely hastens that day.
     
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  7. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    My problem is his assumption, without proof or evidence, that having differences of opinions is bad.
     
  8. FA_Q2
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    FA_Q2 Gold Member

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    Regardless of the point of this thread, I have to reiterate what QW pointed out here. I can’t take you seriously when you insist on referring to god in this manner. It is childish, offensive and inane. I am an atheist and I still can’t take you seriously. It is no different than referring to Obama as Hussein or the past poster that insisted on saying Obama Salami. They are childish. If you want to be taken seriously, then simply spell the damn word correctly.

    /end rant
     
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  9. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    The Replies accuse me of bias while missing their own bias and not countering a single item noted in the OP. Not one.

    Obama's point on Romney's tax cuts is the consensus of every economist. Look it up rather than just saying it ain't so.

    The world of the OP is evident and obvious, watch Fox or listen to right wing media any day. I cannot counter your points because you made none. But I have lots of examples from republicans that prove my points.

    Mitch McConnell: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Jeez, and here they said it was jobs!

    Mitch McConnell: "Well first let me say the first single thing we can do for the American system is get rid of Obamacare. The single biggest direction we can take in terms of improving health care is to get rid of this monstrosity." Let them go to emergency room, sound fair and just? Or food for the hungry? Not sure where they go? Do you.


    Wiseacre, Show me the bias. I think each item describes a piece of America today, that is why I call them facts. The above quotes are from one side and they were the same when Clinton won. You live in a bubble you fail even to see or acknowledge. You are right when you say we will never be able to solve a single issue if we all had to agree. Consider any step forward, and there will be always be some who disagree. That is why we vote, and that is why legislation and courts are required. There is such a thing as bad ideas and not supporting healthcare for those in need is one of them. Lots more if you look around.

    Differences of opinion matter, and getting rid of the safety nets for seniors and children matter. Not a good argument, prove your point is better.

    And stuff on Jack to prove my point: The Case Against GE

    "Don’t own a cafeteria: Let a food company do it. Don’t run a print shop: Let a printing company do that. It’s understanding where your real value added is and putting your best people and resources behind that. Back rooms by definition will never be able to attract your best. We converted ours into someone else’s front room and insisted on their best. This is what outsourcing is all about." Jack Welch


    I use the spelling out of respect for some religious who do not write the word because of their religious tenets. So I misspell deliberately, not for any hidden reason.
     
  10. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    You want examples of your bias? Well, let's take a look at parts of your OP:


    Respect: When did America lose a trait essential for a democracy? Today even the office of the President has lost the respect of the right wing politicians and their followers in America. Imagine questioning a president's credentials rather than considering the state of the American economy or the American family? The loss in 2008 brought forth an even larger adversarial contingent than Clinton's win. Money manages the American mind today, and whenever it feels threatened it pays heavily to create a narrative of a lost America.


    I suspect it isn't just the RWers who have lost respect for the office of the President. Monica Lewinsky? I do not claim that Bush was an angel, I was not happy with many of his policies or actions. Why do you cast aspersions on one side but not the other?

    The loss in 2000 kinda upped the ante in the adversarial relationships in DC, wouldn't you say? Deserved or not, it's not like one party can claim the higher ground in their efforts to rise above the political gameplaying.



    Do Nothing: It used to be America was the 'can do' nation, today it is the can't because that would cost money. FDR built the nation, Eisenhower built the nation, JFK built the nation, our history is full of national endeavors to create, build, and do better. What happened that the only spending now is done for the war machine? America crumbles as republicans and many democrats worry about a deficit that only became a deficit after 2008.


    I think that deficits were well underway prior to 2008, wasn't the national debt approx 10 trillion when Obama took office? You want to say that the repubs didn't care too much about it until Obama came into office, fair enough. But I can tell you a whole lot of people out in the weeds did care, that's where the groundswell of support for the Tea Partys came from. Many conservatives were not happy with Bush43's prolifigate spending, nor with the length of both wars, nor with the fact that they were off budget. So too are we unhappy with the fact that the US Senate has not produced a budget in over 3 years, nor witht he fact that Obama's budgets were so ridiculous that they got voted down with 0, count 'em, zero supporting votes.


    Debt: The magic of debt talk is the party which created most of the debt accuses the other party of creating what its own policies did. Lowered taxes are helping to destroy America's education, research, industrial and infrastructure bases, but who cares. I got mine. Now even babies look out from the TV and goo-goo ga-ga over a solvable problem. But please note those same babies are not given the promise given seniors of no changes to so called 'entitlement' programs. Odd huh.


    This paragraph is one big load of crap. Democrats have every bit as much responsibility to control spending AND manage the tax code as the repubs, it is disingenuous to blame it all on one party, especially since the repubs never had anything approaching the majorities in the Congress that Obama did in his 1st 2 years. The debt is where it is now because neither side exercised any fiscal responsibility whatsoever, and it is BS to lay it all on one side.

    Lowered taxes? Are you talking about the 2003 tax cuts? Didn't the Dems support that? You got any evidence to support the claim that the things you mentioned are being destroyed? Or that the tax cuts had anything to do with it? Do you hink the answer is to throw more money at 'em? Hasn't worked real well so far, has it? Infrastructure, let's talk about that. How come we didn't get the shovel ready jobs and infrastructure projects that we were promised when Obama sold us on the Stimulus? The truth is that all those areas need to be reformed in how they are managed, these days it's all about picking winners and losers, mostly losers.



    Media / PACs: Our SCOTUS let loose the loonies. A soap box for every crazy, an electorate bombarded with nonsense, and a platform for hatred and disagreement. Seriously do people really believe the nonsense on Fox or anything from Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, or Savage? Seriously. They used to be called sophists, today money pays them well for sophistry works.


    Freedom of Speech means anybody can say what they want, within a few certain limits. You don't like it, tough shit. I don't see any references to MSNBC, Paul Krugman, or any of the LWers on TV or in print. Why is that, you don't think your bias is showing here?


    Neo-Straw-Manning: Today there is no requirement you analyze an opponent's political values, accomplishments, or policies, all that is necessary is that you go into your own mind, pick among your fears and biases and then attribute them to the other. If you doubt that, consider Dinesh D'Souza's Obama, a person who doesn't exist but has a book and movie. Fiction as truth.


    Michael Moore.


    Racism Returns: Hidden in birtherism, welfare comments, food stamp notice, and voter registration changes since 2008 is something Americans pretend does not exist. It is the elephant in the room that must be denied at any cost. Check only the shenanigans at the RNC this year or the signs at tea party events. They mean well, they're just misunderstood. Sure they do.


    Demagoguery at it's worst. Some idiot somewhere waves a sign and you want to paint everybody to the right of center as having the same values. Wonder what signs they were carrying at the OWS rallies. The RNC had it's idiot moments too, wonder if the DNC might've had a few too. I wouldn't throw any stones if I were you, the Dems are more than willing to play the race card at any opportunity, justified or not. How sad that you or anyone would think that racism in this country is confined to one party, and worse, try to capitalize on such nonsense for political gain. You should be embarassed.


    Joe McCarthy Returns: Can anyone really consider seriously a congressman who thinks there are communists in our representative body? Do any of them know any history? Geography? When stupid people are elected to congress the results are obvious.


    Bernie Sanders. He's a socialist, close enough. You are indirectly implying that the only stupid people elected to Congress are repubs. Don't think so.
     
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