Monday, September 3, 2012

Week of 09/03/2012

Real Issues Or Fake Issues: Choose
– by David Matthews 2

Suppose you were in a desert with a bunch of people, and you come across a merchant’s tent. You volunteer to meet with the merchant to negotiate some water for your group.

The merchant gives you a choice between two one-gallon jugs to purchase. The first jug is clear and you see that it is full to the brim with water. The second jug is darkly-tinted, and you don’t know what it is in it other than a label on it that says, in quotations, “Water”. The first jug is heavy and feels like there is water inside it. The second one is not as heavy, although it does feel like it has something inside it.

The merchant tells you that you can only choose between one jug or the other, that you will not be able to choose the other jug once you have made your decision, and that all sales are final.

You choose the second jug, confident that you have made the right decision because the second jug says it has “Water” in it. You take the jug back to the group and they open it to discover it has nothing but sand.

The crowd is upset with you, but you assert that it wasn’t your fault. After all, the jug said it had “water” in it, and you had no idea that it had anything different because the jug wasn’t as clear as the first one. You try to go back to the merchant only to discover that the merchant had already moved on.

The group continues into the desert, clearly suffering from the lack of water, and you come across another merchant tent. You again volunteer to meet with the merchant in hopes of redeeming yourself.

A different merchant gives you the same deal. Two jugs, one clear, one tinted. One clearly has water; the other has a label that says “Water”. You try to ask about the first jug, but the merchant says he cannot tell you anything about the jugs. It’s up to you to decide which of the two jugs you want to purchase.

Again you choose the tinted jug that says “Water” on it, because you believe that the clear jug could be misleading. After all, water is not the only liquid that is clear. It could be alcohol. It could be kerosene. It could be poison. Besides, you couldn’t have two merchants pull the same deception on you, right?

You take the tinted jug saying “Water” on it back to the group, and once again you discover it has nothing in it but sand. And again, you try to go back to the merchant only to find that he has also already moved on.

The crowd is angry with you, but again, you all press on, with some of you collapsing from the heat and from dehydration.

After the first few deaths, the group finds a third merchant’s tent, and this time the group wants to send someone else besides you to bargain for some water. But before they can decide, you grab what little money the group has and charge on over to the merchant’s tent.

Different tent, a different merchant, but the same choice all over again. Two jugs; one clear, and one tinted. One that clearly appears to have water in it, and the other simply has a label that says “Water”.

What do you think the consequences will be if you chose the tinted jug that only said “Water” on it and you find out that it also had nothing but sand?

This is the problem that the GOP has that nobody wants to talk about.

The GOP has a credibility problem that they don’t want to address, and yet they expect people to continue to trust them and to mindlessly pledge their support to them. It’s a credibility problem they need to overcome if they want to win come Election Day, but they carry on as though they don’t have a problem to begin with.

Here’s the problem: much like the merchant’s choice in the desert, the GOP is offered a choice between a clear issue to resolve and a murky lie that is labeled as “Real” to give to the crowd. Time and time again, they chose to go after the murky lie instead of addressing the clear issue.

Take, for instance, healthcare reform. While there were some nuggets of reform that were needed, the overall discussion was sabotaged by those that were screaming about a supposed “Marxist takeover” of the healthcare industry and putting in “death panels”. The overall rhetoric of lies and misinformation coming from the GOP allowed President Obama to slip the program through Congress and sign it into law. And it’s only after it was sustained by the Supreme Court did the real tricks come out, such as the new taxes that would be added and the games played by the insurance companies to screw over the American people. These could have been addressed and maybe even stopped if not for the fact that the GOP and their myrmidons were ranting on and on about what the reform program did not have.

In other words, the clear issue of added taxes and required insurance for everyone was ignored in favor of murky stories of “death panels” and this delusion that Obama would somehow get between you and your doctor instead of the big insurance companies. And, for the record, the only “death panels” that exist are the ones belonging to the insurance companies when they decide what kind of life-saving treatment they will cover.

Of course in that instance there was a reason for the murkiness. The big insurance companies did not want their complicated role in this whole affair exposed, which is what would have happened if the GOP stuck with the clear facts.

But in other instances, it seems like the GOP is more fixated on imaginary fears than dealing with the clear issues that are before them.

While banks were caught robo-signing foreclosures, the GOP was busy complaining about whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States; a matter that even the highest court said was already met and was moot. But that didn’t stop the barrage of fraudulent documents that were manufactured to sustain the myth that Obama was somehow this “secret Marxist Muslim operative born in Indonesia”.

The party that pushed for the bailout of the airlines in 2002 and of Wall Street in 2008 all of a sudden becomes the party of the “fiscally responsible” when they’re not the ones in the White House. Every department is suddenly a waste. Every budget is suddenly way-too-much. Every penny suddenly needs to be micro-managed and micro-accounted. Every expense suddenly needs to be slashed like the GOP was Jack the Ripper at a “Pimp-n-Ho” convention.

Every budget expense, that is, except for the Drug War. And the Department of Defense. And Homeland Security. And the Department for Faith-Based Initiatives. And the Justice Department’s supposed “Obscenity Prosecution”. And the Federal Communication Commission’s enforcement of “indecency” rules. And a few other programs that select members of Congress deem to be “essential”, but, otherwise, slash away.

The party of unlimited universal war wants to micromanage the budget and screams bloody murder about deficits and yet still expects a blank check for war. Does that seem clear to you?

Try to follow the logic behind this string of events: then-Senator Obama pledges to shut down the prison in Guantanamo Bay. What do to with the detainees who are suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism? Well, now-President Obama says he needs to give them their day in court. “No can do” say the GOP. “That would encourage terrorism” they claim. So what do we do with them? Give them back to their home country? “No can do” say the GOP. “That would encourage terrorism” they claim. Give them a military tribunal? “No can do”, say the GOP. “That would encourage terrorism” they claim. So Obama is stuck with the detainees in Guantanamo Bay and then the GOP turns around and says “A-ha! Broken promise!”

Then there’s the ever-rotating “Duck Season/Rabbit Season” game they have played. When Obama talks about creating jobs, the GOP screams “deficit”. When Obama talks deficit, the GOP screams “tax breaks”. When Obama talks tax breaks, the GOP screams “deficit” again. When Obama goes back to talking about the deficit, the GOP then says “Where are the jobs, Mister President?”

That kind of shtick is only funny when it’s done on a Vaudeville stage, and even then only once.

Then there’s Obama’s supposed “World Apology Tour” that the GOP, even to this very day, claim to have happened in 2009. You know, I was alive and awake in 2009. I remember quite well that Obama did not go on a supposed “world tour” to sing Brenda Lee’s classic song “I’m Sorry”. But everyone on the GOP side from flaky dog-barking FoxNews media personalities to 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney all claim that is precisely what Obama did in his first year in office.

It’s a lie. They know that it is a lie. And yet they expect people to believe their lie; to take a drink from their tinted jug of sand and actually believe that it is water.

Then we have the pattern of character assassinations that conservatives have engaged in, both in slander engaged by conservative talk show hosts, and schemes orchestrated against people such as Shirley Sherrod. And in Sherrod’s case, the character assassination committed against her, which ended up in her losing her job, will go unpunished, because the man behind that crime is dead. But all of these actions had the same effect: political manipulation of government agencies for their own benefit.

In the world of ordinary people, if one were to perpetuate a misrepresentation for material gain, that is called fraud, and it is a felony offense. But in the world of the GOP, that very same action is apparently called “politics-as-usual”.

It also makes one seriously question the credibility of not only the GOP, but of their appointed champion. Since Romney claims that Obama spent his first six months with an “apology tour” that never happened, does that mean, then, that Romney’s pledge of a “jobs tour” for his first six months in office would also never happen?

I haven’t even gotten to some of the things told by Romney’s running-mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, such as the marathon he never ran, and the closed GM plant that tried to blame Obama for.

Let’s get brutally honest here… how the hell can anyone believe a single thing that the GOP as a political party claims to represent when they adhere to lies and misrepresentations? How are they expected to be given any kind of trust when they cling to lies instead of addressing the clear issues that are in front of them?

When President Bill Clinton admitted he lied under oath about his activities with an intern, his confidence and his credibility were immediately put in doubt. His word could not be trusted. When President George H.W. Bush went against his convention promise of “Read my lips: no new taxes”, even members of the GOP had to seriously question his credibility after that. That question of his credibility was almost as responsible for him losing his re-election bid as was the economy.

So how can a political party be given any kind of trust when they would rather play on lies and misdirection than to address the clear issues put before the American people? How can their candidates be trusted in governing a nation when they would rather spend time on manufactured phony issues such as birth certificates, fictional “apology tours”, and “government death panels”? How can they be trusted to actually help create jobs when they only use the issue as a bad political shtick to divert attention from another issue they don’t want to address, and then abandon that issue the moment the subject is changed?

The answer is painfully simple: you don’t. You find someone else who can be trusted. It doesn’t have to be Obama and the Democrats either; but that is a subject for another column.

The man in the desert who constantly makes the wrong choice for the group is either held back or else he’s left behind. Either way, he cannot be allowed to make bad choices that endanger the group.

The same holds true to the GOP. They claim to be the better party. They claim to be the party of “values” and “responsibility”. The burden is on them to demonstrate that, and that cannot happen so long as they prefer to cling to murky and fabricated issues instead of dealing with the clear ones put before us all.

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