Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hannity Zero

Now there are some who would like to rewrite history - revisionist historians is what I like to call them ~ George W. Bush (b. 7/6/1946) 43rd President of the United States (1/20/2001 to 1/20/2009) revising history, and warning others not to call him on HIS revisions.

The debate is over whether we want the government to serve the needs of the bulk of the population or just the purposes of the rich and powerful. Progressives must stop helping the Right hide its real agenda ~ Dean Baker (b. 7/13/1958) American macroeconomist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, referring to the Left's acceptance of the legitimacy of the Right's belief in the "free market".

Hannity Assists Citizens United In Financial Sector Crisis History Rewrite

The Conservative spin machine went into overdrive following the economic crisis and bailout. It was obvious to (almost) everyone that deregulation, as championed by Republicans and Conservative Democrats, was what allowed the thieves on Wall Street to rob us blind. But the Republicans were determined to place the blame elsewhere. One of the ways the "popular notion" that deregulation was the culprit was countered was with a faux documentary titled "Generation Zero". According to Sean Hannity, the fact that "massive deregulation caused the economic downturn and, as liberals say, capitalism failed" is completey refuted by this film.

On 2/23/2010 Hannity invited the film's producer, David Bossie of Citizens United Productions, onto the show. He called it "A Hannity Special", and touted it as an "exclusive first look".

David Bossie, who currently serves as President AND Chairman of the conservative non-profit organization, has a long history of attacking Democrats by manipulating the facts to fit his narrative. During the Whitewater Investigation Bossie attempted to use "selectively edited transcripts" to smear President Clinton. Bossie was fired from his investigative position by Newt Gingrich, who described the episode as embarrassing. (The transcripts were culled from "tapes that were routinely recorded last year while Hubbell, Clinton's first associate attorney general, was serving a federal prison term for defrauding his Little Rock law firm").

A 4/25/2008 CBS News story reported that Mr. Bossie's GOP Dirty Tricks Dupe Media. The dirty trick was to produce political attack ads containing dubious information, then, instead of paying to air these ads, they would post them on Republican websites or YouTube. Eventually, after receiving enough exposure, the videos would be picked up by the news media and covered as if they were actual stories. The CBS News article points out that the news media "[running] the ad over and over is tantamount to giving free air time to smear machines...".

During the 2008 Democratic primaries Bossie attempted to circumvent campaign finance laws by airing an "advertisement" for "Hillary: The Movie", even though the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (also known as "McCain-Feingold") specifically prohibits the airing of "broadcast ads that name a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or caucus or 60 days of a general election". Citizens United argued that their obvious hit piece, which included clips of all the most incendiary attacks against Mrs. Clinton, was not a political ad. It was a advertisement for their "documentary", and so was not subject to McCain-Feingold. Instead of ruling against Citizens United due to their blatant violation of the law, the ultra-right leaning activist Supreme Court struck down (a portion of) McCain-Feingold as "Unconstitutional", overturning 100 years of settled case law.

With "Generation Zero" Bossie continues the Conservative propaganda campaign. Utilizing all his old dirty tricks, he, along with writer/director Stephen K. Bannon, attempt to shift the blame from the Conservative economic philosophies which unquestioningly caused the financial sector crisis to "a frightening alliance between the Democratic Party and big business". When Hannity claims that banks and insurance companies failing is a "myth", Bossie responds, saying "Certainly. It's hubris and greed at the same time that it's the cultural and social breakdown from the '60s that is really taken that 30, 40 years that led up to September 18th crisis".

According to the filmmakers it is the baby boomers who we should be blaming. Specifically, the Democratic Baby Boomers, although, in my reading of the Hannity Special transcript, I see no facts presented on which that conclusion could possibly be based. It was Liberal greed and hubris that lead to the economic collapse, and not Republican greed or hubris? Nevermind that Libertarianism holds that it is personally responsible to act in your own self-interest, and according to (Libertarian and Con hero) Ayn Rand it's a virtue. Does Bossie think that Conservative greed is good and Liberal greed is bad?

In describing the "sociopathy that is at the heart of the far-right worldview", author Tim Wise, in his Daily Kos diary explains that the Conservative "worldview holds, quite simply, that doing for others is contemptible; that doing for self is the purpose of human life; that altruism and service are somehow pathologies pushed by collectivists and should be subordinated to selfishness and greed".

And everyone knows that it is the Republican Party which is in the pockets of big business. Hannity himself points this out, in an obvious setup for Bossie, who counters by claiming that, while that WAS true, "the Democratic Party has truly taken over that position of power on Wall Street". What's going on here is that Bossie is twisting the facts, as he is prone to do. Wall Street did make significant contributions to Barack Obama's campaign, but that was because they saw how badly bush had screwed the economy. Wall Street shifting more of their contributions to the party they believe is going to win the election does not an "alliance" make. If they had thought the Republicans were going to win - their contributions would have gone to the GOP.

Republicans have been in the pocket of big business for decades. It is why they've been defending BP and referring to President Obama negotiating with Tony Hayward for a $20 billion victim's compensation escrow account as a "shakedown". It is why they objected to, and forced the removal from the financial reform bill of a provision designed to set up a $50 billion fund allowing the industry to pay for the dissolution of insolvent banks (instead of the taxpayer). Despite the fact that this fund would ensure the exact opposite, Republicans lied and said the reason for their objection is that the fund would "institutionalize bailouts".

As for the Wall Street's alliance with Democrats? It appears as though they feel the Democrats have not "put out" to their satisfaction. A 2/7/2010 New York Times story says, "in a message to Democrats, Wall Street sends cash to GOP" as part of their "campaign to thwart Mr. Obama's proposals for tighter financial regulations". According to the article, "Republicans are rushing to capitalize on what they call Wall Street's buyer's remorse with the Democrats".

Who Needs Regulation When We Have Personal Responsibility?

Regarding Hannity's claim that Republican deregulation did NOT lead directly to the economic downturn - this ridiculous claim proves that the people behind (and promoting) this propaganda film are complete idiots. Because, even if selfish risk taking Liberals ARE who we should hold responsible, wouldn't regulation have been the best method by which to stop them? Bossie suggests that those responsible lack personal responsibility. Presumably, the solution, in his mind, would be more "personal responsibility".

Wikipedia states that "moral hazard occurs when a party insulated from risk may behave differently than it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk". The Republican solution is to get rid of the moral hazard problem by refusing to engage in bailouts. Which leads to increased personal responsibility, less overly risky behavior, and a self-regulating free market. Because people realize that they, instead of the taxpayer, are on the hook if anything goes wrong.

The primary flaw in this theory is that it does not take into account greed coupled with human stupidity. The character Gordon Gekko from Oliver Stone's Wall Street acted in a way that he thought was in his own self interest, and ended up in prison. Greed, aside from being a negative character trait for many other reasons, is most definitely not good (regardless of what Ayn Rand thought, or Conservative ideology holds) because it often causes people to only consider the short-term benefit and ignore any possible future risk.

Certainly BP did not act in a personally responsible way. Their risky corner cutting netted them an increase in short term profits but ended up causing the greatest ecological disaster in US history. Since the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon BP's stock has lost half it's value - and market analysts continue to speculate as to whether the company will survive.

Personally I am sick of hearing this idiotic meme that "personal responsibility" is a legitimate alternative to sensible regulation. We're supposed to cross our fingers and hope that everyone behaves themselves, because it is in their own best interest to do so? It is total insanity. Bernie Madoff's actions were hugely personally irresponsible. And Bernie Madoff was not an aberration. According to a 10/2/2009 USA Today article, "ponzi schemes are the most prevalent type of investor fraud". This, despite the fact that ponzi schemes are always eventually uncovered. The perpetrators go to prison, and the victims are left to litigate for the possible return of a portion of what they lost. Certainly ponzi schemers don't expect to be bailed out if (or when) their scams are uncovered. So, shouldn't "personal responsibility" have stopped them? That IS the Con theory, is it not?

I think that those in the financial sector making money hand over fist during the lead up to the meltdown and bailout cared as much about the possibility that everything may eventually come crashing down about as much as those arrested for running ponzi schemes. Yes, for some it may have been something they thought about, but I seriously doubt that an expectation of no bailouts would have prevented this crash. The only thing that could have prevented it was regulations enforced by competent government employees.

Free Market Fundamentalism Or Fakery?

And don't forget that it was Con hero Ronald Reagan who set up the moral hazard dilemma by deregulating the S&Ls, causing his successor to have to bail them out when they came crashing down (thanks, in part, to his sons Jeb and Neil). Economist Paul Krugman, in a 5/31/2009 article titled "Reagan Did It" points out that "Reagan-era legislative changes essentially ended New Deal restrictions on mortgage lending - restrictions that... limited the ability of families to buy homes without putting a significant amount of money down".

Further deregulation shepherded through Congress by former Republican Congressman and McCain Campaign financial advisor Phil Gramm blew away the remaining FDR era protections.

There is a reason the Cons keep pushing the laissez faire fairy tale of deregulation and personal responsibility leading to a self-regulating free market, and it isn't because they actually believe in this nonsense. The real reason they continue to insist that economic liberalization is the pathway to nirvana is that they want to turn our economy over to the wealthy elites. They believe that our economic system should not exist for the benefit of everyone, but only serve to make the rich richer. It is about time people wise up and realize that, whatever position the Republican part takes, it is always because that position will best serve the interests of the wealthy and corporations.

Unfortunately a lot of people have been fooled by the Con's insincere rhetoric concerning their "opposition" to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Even though a Republican president signed the bill into law, they were actually against it. Baloney. They knew that the Democrats, being the responsible party, would make sure the bailout went though. Because a collapse of the financial sector would have been extremely bad for the country.

The bailout, claims economist Paul Krugman, saved us from a second great depression by "averting the worst". And, it should be noted, that the Republican solution of eliminating the moral hazard problem (the one that Reagan set up) by allowing the financial sector to fail and thus virtually guaranteeing a depression - would only work (if it did) the next time. This time we would have suffered the dire consequences. In essence the Republicans were "demanding that the government stop standing in the way of a possible depression".

But it isn't as if they would have actually let this happen. Economist Dean Baker points to irrefutable proof that the Republicans are faking their allegiance to the free market with an essay titled "Free Market Fundamentalism Is an Invention of Progressives". It seems that the House Republicans recently put forward legislation to "discourage" strategic defaults.

Even though it many states non-recourse loans - which allow you to discontinue payment after turning your property over to the bank - are completely legal. Obviously the goal of the Republicans was to protect the banks from the terms of their own contracts. So much for letting the free market do it's thing.

Bottom line when it comes to "Generation Zero" or any instance of a Republican politician, pundit, or other insider lecture regarding the "free market" - is to not take anything they say at face value. Any argument put forward is most likely a deception or twist of the truth designed to help out their wealthy constituency while pulling the wool over the eyes of the average voter - and convince them that they should vote Republican even though it isn't in their best interest to do so.

The goal of "Generation Zero" is just that. Defend the wealthy elites and argue that they should be left to run our economy as they see fit (with no oversight), shift blame to the Democrats, and make money telling deluded voters what they want to hear.

Notes, Clarifications, & Additional Points
[1] Thanks to Sue, who brought this "documentary" to my attention with a post on her blog. A Conservative calling himself "Silverfiddle" said, "It's all true, and verifiably so. Of course, you can argue with his conclusions, but he uses facts to make his case". Seeing as the "documentary" is a huge lie I felt obligated to respond.
[2] Regarding Wall Street's "alliance" with Democrats - I stand by what I wrote above, even though the financial sector IS receiving favors in return for their contributions to Democrats (The Goldman Sachs-Obama Administration association is particularly troublesome). The financial regulation that is about to pass Congress has been watered down in an effort to gain a few Republican votes - but it wasn't strong enough to begin with. I still would not characterize this as an "alliance", but a very unfortunate reality of the political system as it is. The real alliance was and still is between Wall Street and the Republican Party.
[3] In the GWB quote at the top of this post ex-president doofus was referring to his illegal invasion of Iraq and the fact that Saddam Hussein posed zero threat to the US, although I think it can very easily be applied (ironically) to his entire presidency.
[4] In regards to the financial sector bailout, you may have surmised that I am a fan. You would be wrong. While acknowledging that the government did need to take action, and that the action they took did work (to a certain degree), I disagree with exactly how they went about it. (See "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008: Alternate Proposals for more information).

Further Reading
[1] Bernie Madoff, Free at Last: In prison he doesn't have to hide his lack of conscience. In fact, he's a hero for it. By Steve Fishman, New York Magazine 6/6/2010.
[2] Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks by Thom Hartmann, The Huffington Post 7/27/2009.

SWTD #47

13 comments:

  1. you are quite the writer w, I'm amazed! Great job. This shines a light on who the rethuglicans are and it's not a pretty picture. They are so power hungry and driven it will be a disaster in November if they take the House. The more a person digs into our corrupt government the scarier it gets. Those who defend the thugs know not what they are defending. They are evil and we will see just how evil if they get subpoena power! Thanks for the link!

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  2. W-Dervish: You and I don’t agree on much but I will give you credit where credit is due. Your post is well written.

    I have a few thoughts I’d like to make and I’m sure you don’t mind as I know you are more than willing to hear my side as you’ve proven in the past.

    First and foremost I’d like to say that I will not defend the Republicans as I DO believe they have made their share of mistakes. With that being said however, I also believe the Democrats have to be held responsible as well. There is, and I’ve said this before, enough blame to go around.

    I’m not sure why you are such a defender of the Democrat party (nor why some on the Right are such defenders of Republicans). BOTH parties are interchangeable anymore and neither deserve our devotion. They have abandoned the core beliefs —Democrats with Liberalism and Republicans with Conservatism-- leaving us wondering WHO the heck they are! I’m so disenfranchised with our government at this point and as a result I wonder if our officials will ever get back to the CORE ideologies which have made them great.

    Now onto some points of your post.

    …quite simply, that doing for others is contemptible; that doing for self is the purpose of human life;…

    The newer generation is so self-indulgent, worrying only about today and their FEELINGS that the above statement holds true for THEM. You, I, and others from our generation don’t feel that way. We believe that to do for others is what gives life purpose and meaning. But anymore if it doesn’t FEEL good, people won’t do it. And why should they? They’ve been brainwashed into thinking that they don’t have to, someone else will. It’s painful to watch people walk past the homeless in the city of Pittsburgh, near where I live, and not drop change into a can. It breaks my heart. I also hear people make comments, when they see someone with a can that says “tips”, “I’ll give you a tip, get a job”. I always reach into my purse and pull out money and drop it into the can. I have no idea WHY that man or woman is on the street with a can and I hope and pray that I never have to do that. I’ve had some tough times in my life but I hope I NEVER have to beg for food or money. People today seem so heartless and selfish never willing to look beyond themselves and their own SELF. It turns my blood cold.

    And everyone knows that it is the Republican Party which is in the pockets of big business…

    Everyone should know that BOTH parties are in the pockets of big business. It’s what keeps them in office! Neither party is innocent of this and to only blame the Republicans of this indiscretion isn’t being totally honest, in my humble opinion.


    Personally I am sick of hearing this idiotic meme that "personal responsibility" is a legitimate alternative to sensible regulation. and
    The primary flaw in this theory is that it does not take into account greed coupled with human stupidity…

    I agree that we can’t EXPECT everyone to be honest and responsible. We will ALWAYS have dishonest and greedy people in the world coupled with human stupidity, as you mentioned. Which leads me to this:
    The only thing that could have prevented it was regulations enforced by competent government employees.

    We do need regulation, you’re right, BUT to think that government is the answer to every problem, every ill, every dishonest practice is naïve, because government is made up of HUMANS who can be DISHONEST and downright STUPID. It’s unrealistic to believe that with government we won’t have cheating, stealing, lying or corruption. Look at the BP oil rig. It was supposed to have been checked by GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES and what happened? They were BRIBED and the rig wasn’t checked and it exploded. There goes the theory of COMPETENT government.

    All in all, W-Dervish, I’m for regulation in moderation. I would never say that people should have free reign, nor should business. But too much regulation isn’t good either. Everything in moderation—including government.

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  3. @ w-dervish - You said, "Republicans have been in the pocket of big business for decades."

    An equally accurate statement,if not more so is... "Business has been in the pockets of government for decades."

    Think about it.

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  4. Well said RN.


    Pamela: let me clarify about our defense of the Democratic Party. I only speak for myself but I defend and believe in Democratic ideals. That the people have a say in their government and government's role is to help make the lives of the people better.


    I don't defend corporatist democrats. They don't represent the ideals of my party. They used it's apparatus to get elected and serve themselves and their corporate masters. In a way I think they're even worse than republican corporatists. At least the republicans didn't lie about whom they were serving. It's always been about big business with them.

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  5. PDH said... I'm not sure why you are such a defender of the Democrat party.

    I'll assume that you are unaware that there is no such party. I vote Democratic and defend the Democratic Party. Saying "Democrat Party" is an insult (check out the link for more information).

    That said, I am not entirely happy with the Democratic Party, but it is the system we are stuck with (two parties that must pander to big business for money to run their campaigns). Liberal Democrats like me have to do our best to work within the system and push our party in a more progressive direction.

    I disagree that the parties are interchangeable. Excepting Conservative Democrats, my Party represents the people, while the other party represents big business (that is an over simplification, but, IMO more true than false).

    PDH said... You, I, and others from our generation don't feel that way.

    It's the Libertarian credo, which has been largely adopted by the Republican Party. Unemployment benefits encourage unemployment, don't you know? It has nothing to do with a lack of jobs.

    PDH said... Everyone should know that BOTH parties are in the pockets of big business. ...and to only blame the Republicans of this indiscretion isn't being totally honest.

    I don't only blame the Republicans. I just mostly blame them. "There is enough blame to go around" is exactly how the Republicans want average Americans to see this. Bossie and Hannity could not place 100 percent of the blame on the Democrats, as much as they obviously wanted to. So they said, yes, blame us, but NOW it's the Democrats, and not us at all anymore. Even though the financial sector meltdown occurred on bush's watch, and it was Conservative legislation and ideology in general that brought it about.

    Democrats feel that they must pander to big business to a certain extent in order to win elections. MONEY is needed to do this, unfortunately. Democrats accept corporate cash out of necessity, Republicans do it because they believe that the wealthy elite and corporations should be given free reign to run our economy to their benefit. There is a HUGE difference. That does not mean I agree or condone sell-out Democrats -- I'm just pointing out the ugly truth.

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  6. PDH said... We do need regulation, you're right, BUT to think that government is the answer to every problem, every ill, every dishonest practice is naïve...

    What happened with BP was largely the bush administration's fault. The (now renamed) MMS, like many other regulatory agencies under the bush administration, was a victim of regulatory capture. Yes, the Obama administration did not act to fix the problem until it was too late, and Ken Salazar was a rotten choice as Interior Secretary, but the problem began and got out of control under bush. Because they simply did not believe in regulation.

    Now that the agency has been split into two parts, those collecting the royalties and those conducting the inspections, it should be a lot harder (or next to impossible) to corrupt. We should also get rid of the revolving door. Government inspectors shouldn't be allowed to leave government to work for industry. Corruption CAN be eliminated or greatly reduced if the right steps are taken. I do not believe it is unrealistic in the least. If this makes me naïve, then I'm proud to be naïve.

    The Republican Party WANTS us to believe that government cannot be competent. They want us to believe this so that we will agree that the private sector should be given free reign to do as they please. Because government is "incompetent" and we can't make it work right. Of course it can't be done if the party in power is working to achieve the exact opposite!

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  7. Thank you, RN, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I DID think about what you said, and decided that my assessment of the situation is infinitely more accurate. Although, it is not just me who believes this, but everyone else who thinks that campaign finance reform would go a long way towards solving a lot of our problems. Or, at least without the corrupting influence of corporate cash, we could begin an honest discussion that would eventually lead to some real solutions.

    I think a lot of people on RN's side of the aisle would also disagree with him. Neither Hannity nor Bossie said they thought this was the problem. They were in agreement that Wall Street money has corrupted our politicians (although they attempted to paint the Democrats as being the more corrupt of the two parties).

    This, of course means I also have to disagree with Truth for praising RN's comment. But I do agree (mostly) with the rest of what Truth wrote. It may be obvious to us who the Republican Party serves, but they're lying to their constituents. The ones who vote Republican even though it is in their own best interests not to. They tell them that their acting on behalf of big business will benefit everyone, which isn't true.

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  8. Hi w-dervish,
    I would add the Community Reinvestment Act to the list of items being rewritten. It addressed redlining of qualified applicants for home loans in poor and rural areas by depository institutions yet has been wrongfully demonized by the Right as being responsible for subprime loans and the economic crisis.

    This is an amazing post. I am more skeptical than you of the Democrats but with that caveat I endorse and agree with what you've written.

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  9. Yes, I know it’s Democratic party, that was a typo! Sorry.

    Truth: I know you defend the Democratic IDEALS just as I defend Conservative ones. I believe that our officials aren’t honoring those ideals, on either side of the aisle. That’s what I mean when I ask why does someone defend the “party” and what I also mean by the politicians being interchangeable. They are in office for personal gain, their seat or the next election—not for the betterment of our country, for us or to defend those ideals. Well, that’s what I’ve seen, anyway, because it seems to me that they are in the pockets of big business and lobbyists and could care less about us…the “little people”.

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  10. Pamela, I agree with what you said... although I believe the Republicans are much worse offenders. As I pointed out in my article, I don't know how you can claim to believe in the "free market" and then propose legislation to protect the banks from the terms of their own contracts...

    So, what is the answer?

    Campaign Finance Reform aka Public Financing of Elections aka Voter Owned Elections aka Clean Elections (I like those last two).

    Al Franken on Public Financing of Elections (6/4/2007) ...the sad truth is, if you can't raise the money, you can't make your case. ...But forcing candidates to spend their time and energy dialing for dollars instead of engaging with citizens cheats candidates and voters alike.

    It cheats elected officials, too. With public financing, members of Congress could spend their time meeting with constituents, discussing policy problems with experts, and, you know, READING the legislation they're voting on. And we wouldn't have any more earmarks snuck in in the middle of the night, $231 million "Bridges to Nowhere", or stupid giveaways to big corporate interests. (Source: The Huffington Post).

    Of course ALL (if not, then virtually all... although I'd bet money that it would be all) Republicans would oppose any such legislation, along with the Conserva-Dems and probably most of the "moderate" Democrats.

    Although, in a post-Citizens United world, I'm unsure how or if public financing would work. Obviously, seeing as money IS free speech according to the FAR Right SCOTUS, public financing of elections can not be REQUIRED...

    This issue exemplifies why I hate Republicans (politicians), not only are they largely corrupt, but they've corrupted my party as well! It is the necessity of needing huge amounts of money to win that we can blame for the existence of Conservative and Bill Clinton-type "Third Way" Democrats. It is the alliance between the REPUBLICAN PARTY, the wealthy elite and corporations that CREATED the "need" for them.

    This is why (some) politicians are "interchangeable" and why they aren't "honoring those ideals". I blame Republicans. They've warmly embraced the money interests. Democrats realize that if they don't do the same (to an extent) they WON'T WIN. A politician can't fight for the middle class and poor (the other 98 percent of America) if they can't FIRST get elected.

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  11. W-Dervish: Considering we have at least one Democrat on trial for 13 ethic charges right now and possibly another (Waters), I think we should forego speaking of “honorable” Congresscritters for now. As I said countless times, most of those on the Hill haven’t any moral fiber and wouldn’t hold a candle to me as I live my life with integrity and I EXPECT my Representatives to do the same—ALL of them.

    As far as a “Clean Elections Bill”, California tried to pass one in 2006, called Prop 89, it was defeated 74-26. Then in 2008 they tried it again, Schwarzenegger signed the bill but it had to be approved by the voters, however in June of this year, the voters defeated it again 57-43. So I don’t think ONLY Republicans are against this type of change considering California is fairly Liberal. (Alaska tried a Clean Elections ballot, too, back in 2008, it failed 64-35.)

    Let’s remember that our Representatives don’t have to “campaign” or “solicit” donations every day and they get paid a hefty sum, so I don’t feel bad if they have to “hit the pavement”. It’s their job and if they have to put in some OT, oh well. They have very nice salaries, pensions, health care, car allowances and expense reimbursements. As far as I’m concerned they shouldn’t be writing 2,000+ bills if they don’t have the time to read and comprehend them. Let’s not forget they have staff, too, who assists in not only reading these bills but in just about every other aspect of their duties.

    As far as the SCOTUS “free speech” ruling goes, I must admit that I’m not a SCOTUS expert. I interpret it as this: Corporations are run by individuals and individuals already have the right to vote/donate money to campaigns. This ruling, as I see it, gives corporations the opportunity to donate more money in the name of the corporation, which I don’t think is fair. But maybe I’m not “understanding” it correctly?

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  12. I would like to exchange links with your site w-dervish.blogspot.com
    Is this possible?

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  13. Your analysis of the GOP is very well thought out, precise and well articulated. However, I wonder if you have ever taken such careful analysis of your own party's (Libs) workings?

    I finally decided to do such analysis , after years of simply "drinking the cool-aid" and have come to the belief that most (if not all) political philosophies, be they right, left, or whatever, that give easy (rigid) answers to social/economic problems are generally bankrupt. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a one-party-fits-all approach that works in issues as complex as most of these are. I believe if this country is going to survive and prosper, we have to dial back the rhetoric and admit that for any given social/economic problem there will be a range (albeit possibly narrow) of effective solutions, but none are likely to include suffocating governmental regulations or completely unfettered free-market control. The fundamental question is what is the proper mix of free-market operations and reasonable/effective governmental regulatory oversight? Unfortunately, civil discourse on such issues doesn’t really fire up the radical bases of the political parties; hence it’s not too popular a talking point with the politicians, much less MSNBC & Fox News. However, as much as the extreme-right conservatives, far-left progressive liberals and uber-orthodox libertarians want to believe, defining and attempting to resolve these matters purely on the basis of political ideologies will get us nowhere. Look where it has gotten us thus far..

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Unfortunately comment moderation is necessary in order to screen out insanity from an idiot calling himself "Luke" of the "Words And Music" blog (a liar who has made bogus accusations that many others are stealing his posts) as well as homophobic hate from TOM of the blog "Stay A While" (actually the same person).