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crossposted from Mrs. Lupin's Possumworld blog.

As I sit here, safe and insuredin the Possum Kingdom, I can’t help but ask myself that question.

In November we finally elected a Democrat to the White House and wound up with unbeatable majorities in both houses of Congress. Like many people I thought, "Fantastic! Maybe now something can get done."

Well, to be honest, I wasn’t holding my breath, because I believe that the Democratic Party today is the Republican Party of the 60s and 70s, and the Republican Party today is just a bunch of insane, stupid people (not all of them, but a lot of them!). Still, I hoped.

./. more under fold ./.

Now I see all of the craziness of the Birthers and, even less understandably, the anti-health care reform loonies. Okay, it’s clear that the Birthersare really just racists trying to figure out any way they can to get a black man out of the highest office in the country. There can be no other explanation for it that that; because anything else means that they’re crazier than the followers of Jim Jones.

But the health care reform issue blows me totally away. Rousing people to demonstrate, even to riot against getting health care for themselves and their family defies any kind of rational understanding. To be fair, I suppose it shows the pure, evil genius of the denizens of Faux News and the health insurance industry. They have actually managed to get people to stand up and say, "No, I WANT to die in the street! Anything is better than being like France!"  Again, I have to say it’s genius.

If only that ability to manipulate the masses could be put to some good use that would make this world a better place, think of what could be accomplished.

Certainly it would be hard to find a people more likely to rise up and demonstrate against issues than the the French. It’s practically a national sport. But, and this is the important bit, the French demonstrate to make things BETTER for themselves and their families! It is impossible to imagine them marching in the streets to get rid of access to health care.

So, again, I have to ask: What is wrong with America?

Originally posted to Lupin on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:50 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Media Capture (9+ / 0-)

    people are fed a carefully blended mix of fear and lies, and are awash in personal despair. Meanwhile, they are being told the 'recession' is over.  Cognitive dissonance does not cover it, it is a complete break with reality, a delusional episode of mass hysteria.   I fear the violence has barely begun.

  •  Quel scandal! (7+ / 0-)

    possibly the worst epithet in Paris.  We got some real childish shit going on here.  I think it's the puritanical hypocrisy that pisses me off the most.

    Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. Addams Family credo

    by mydailydrunk on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 07:58:32 AM PDT

  •  Idiocracy (7+ / 0-)

    the 'people' are propagandized, unable to think for themselves and will support ideas that are in direct opposition to their own self-interest.

    by Soma on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:01:27 AM PDT

  •  What's always 'wrong' with America: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, MnplsLiberal

    We have a wide spectrum of opinion, and the freedom to express it.

    "He's like any other president -- he's a politician and he's got to do what politicians do." Rev. Jeremiah Wright

    by PhillyGal on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:01:58 AM PDT

    •  Yes, but when the French burn cars... (8+ / 0-) the streets, it's because they want something for themselves. (I'm simplifying.)

      What we have right now in the US are people shouting "I want more scurvy!" (Again simplifying.)

      Not only I can't recall seeing this anywhere else, but I can't recall it being like that in the 60s either. (Lupins born 1953 and 1954.)

      Something has changed.

      OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

      by Lupin on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:08:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If u see destroying other's private property (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devtob, pamelabrown

        as political expression?, we'll just agree to disagree.

        But I am glad you're enjoying living in France -- I kinda remember when you were moving there, I think? it's been a good long while, hasn't it?

        "He's like any other president -- he's a politician and he's got to do what politicians do." Rev. Jeremiah Wright

        by PhillyGal on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:20:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree with it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne, PhillyGal

          but I understand where it's coming from.

          Actually, the sad thing about the car burning is that the cars they are burning are the ones belonging to the people in their own neighborhoods, so it doesn't accomplish much other than destruction.

          Mrs. Lupin

        •  My point wasn't to defend... (4+ / 0-)

          ...burning cars. If you don't like that specific example of public protest, forget I used it.

          My point was to say that when people protest/demonstrate/riot/foment a revolution it's because they want something.

          Can we agree on this basic tenet of human nature?

          What we're seeing in the US are poor/middle class people protesting/etc/etc on behalf of giant billion dollar corporations against their own interest.

          "Save Cigna!" "We want more scurvy!" is the blunt analogy of what these folks are saying.

          May I quote from the famous Monty Python sketch:

          Interviewer: I've been told Dinsdale Piranha nailed your head to the floor.

          Stig: No. Never. He was a smashing bloke. He used to buy his mother flowers and that. He was like a brother to me.

          Interviewer: But the police have film of Dinsdale actually nailing your head to the floor.

          Stig: (pause) Oh yeah, he did that.

          Interviewer: Why?

          Stig: Well he had to, didn't he? I mean there was nothing else he could do, be fair. I had transgressed the unwritten law.

          Interviewer: What had you done?

          Stig: Er... well he didn't tell me that, but he gave me his word that it was the case, and that's good enough for me with old Dinsy. I mean, he didn't want to nail my head to the floor. I had to insist. He wanted to let me off. He'd do anything for you, Dinsdale would.

          Interviewer: And you don't bear him a grudge?

          Stig: A grudge! Old Dinsy. He was a real darling.

          Interviewer: I understand he also nailed your wife's head to a coffee table. Isn't that true Mrs O' Tracy?

          Mrs O' Tracy: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

          Stig: Well he did do that, yeah. He was a hard man. Vicious but fair

          (Cut back to vince)

          Interviewer: Vince, after he nailed your head to the floor, did you ever see him again

          Vince: Yeah.....after that I used to go round his flat every Sunday lunchtime to apologise and we'd shake hands and then he'd nail my head to the floor

          Interviewer: Every Sunday?

          Vince: Yeah but he was very reasonable. Once, one Sunday I told him my parents were coming round to tea and would he mind very much not nailing my head that week and he agreed and just screwed my pelvis to a cake stand.

          Have you ever seen anything like this???

          OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

          by Lupin on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:33:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  americans don't know WHERE to protest (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            limbaugh and hannity are the piranha bros (that was a favorite skit)

            1000 radio stations with coordinated uncontested repetition made the difference the last 20 years, unleashed when reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine, IMO.

            these  local stations do the groundwork for everything the GOP and the lobbyists want to push into the mainstream. they dominate politic in the red states. the birthers and baggers are DITTOHEADS foremost. those radio stations are the backbone of the obstruction of all that is progressive and democratic. those state megastations have huge power and they are the place to wave a sign or picket if your group wants to be heard, IMO.

            not because those inside might comment, but because their local sponsors will notice and the local media will notice. and the politicians who have been hounded and attacked and whose causes have been demonized and distorted from there while their loudmouths were protected by call screeners from real debate, they will notice too, that their constituency is finally getting their back.

            there's one near everyone. while millions of americans protested the iraq invasion and many other things before that, the senators and reps that they were trying to communicate to were also being bombarded by messages inspired by chickenhawk blowhards who had the biggest soapbox in the country to frame the media response to those protests. most of the country was getting the message they were unpatriotic  hippies willing to turn the country over to sadam. IMO the iraq invasion, even bush in the white house, the last 20 years of complete disaster,  would never have happened if americans had exercised their free speech right relative to  their local right wing talk radio stations instead of the state capitols.

            one local loudmouth reading chamber of commerce talking points can undo the work of thousands of citizens volunteering here and there, or protesting here and there.

            ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

            by certainot on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:35:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  if universal healthcare becomes reality (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, devtob

    then republicans fear that they will become even more diminished, in political terms.

    it's about power, fear, xenophobia, and money. all that good stuff...

    we need to hear more from juvenile behavior specialists on how to deal more effectively with these folks. we cant just punch all of them in the face. evil only begets evil. we need to neutralize them. that takes abnormal human psychology professionals.

    also, experienced kindergarten teachers might have some insight on how to deal with this sort of behavior abnormality.

  •  What's wrong ... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, devtob, Duccio, certainot, pamelabrown

    Is that there is a growing right-wing fringe that is being whipped into a frenzy to take back something they never had -- thoughtful connection and engagement with the American political process.

    The Republican brand: "Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich"

    by D in Northern Virginia on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:10:09 AM PDT

  •  Can't add anything (3+ / 0-)

    to this except to tip and rec. I've got to admit to shaking my head in wonder at how obtuse Congress is. Single payer or a variation thereon would free up a lot of money now spent by businesses on insurance. Taxes would rise, but not as much as insurance payments would go down. Money out of pocket is money out of pocket, no matter where it goes.

    If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

    by northsylvania on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:25:06 AM PDT

  •  Mad cow disease (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, PossumGirl

    Our brains are rotten.  OTOH, we're safe from zombies.

  •  two words: radicalized Christianity. (5+ / 0-)

    And that's it, really.  Everything traces back to it.  

    Christianity, on its own, can be a nice thing.  I don't believe in gods, but there's some good philosophy in there, and I know a lot of good people who are inspired by it and practice it.

    Unfortunately, they're in a minority, and most of the religion has become radicalized, and its believers have become so politicized that they no longer follow any of the red words in their Bibles.  They leave off at the actual teachings of Jesus and instead use belief in him as a rallying point to "justify" whatever horrible actions they may take.

    Radicalized Islam destroyed one of the world's great civilizations in the Middle East, and the same version of Christianity is doing the same thing to our civilization.

    Nobody wants to admit that, because we all have Christian friends and we want to respect their religion, and they may be practicing the good kind... but, the fact is, for the most part this religion has become a detriment and a threat to our survival as a free nation.  There are a lot of bad things going on, but an honest examination will show the radicalized version of Christianity at the root of all of them.  It's like a computer virus that's gotten into the national hard drive and corrupted it, maybe beyond repair.

    And I'm not sure how to stop it.  I'm not in favor of intolerance of anyone's right to believe and practice a religion, even though I seriously wish humanity would outgrow it.  So, I don't know how to solve this problem.  Education won't be enough, because they dismiss it.  Just about anything you do against a cult makes the cult grow more insular; they thrive on being opposed.  So, I don't know what to do about it, really, other than point it out.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 08:32:45 AM PDT

    •  Radicalized Christianity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lupin, Front Toward Enemy

      Rational people don't like faith because faith is blind. Unfortunately faith is powerful. And strong faith is more powerful than weak faith. Strong faith is also more blinding than weak faith. It is clear humanity is not going to outgrow religion. So the proponents of tolerant religion are going to have to find enough faith to stand up to the proponents of intolerant religion. The bad news here is it is faith that makes people intolerant in the first place.

    •  This might interest you... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lupin, Front Toward Enemy

      Fifty years ago, a higher proportion of people attended church in Canada than in the United States. Today, organized Christianity in Canada is moribund. Here's an essay discussing some of the reasons why.

      On s'engage, et puis, on voit. (Napoleon)

      by sagesource on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:27:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks, very interesting article! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Good to know.  That gives me a little hope that maybe people will grow out of this.  Especially if the church is following women... because the church doesn't offer much to women, and this new breed of thuggery that's going on isn't likely to appeal to them much.

        I think the church got a little uptick here by the 9-11 attacks.  A lot of people (including Blackwater's mercenaries) saw it as a "Christianity vs. Islam" fight-to-the-finish, and they became more insular.  But as it wears on, people start seeing that religion's the cause of these conflicts, not the cure.

        "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

        by Front Toward Enemy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:04:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  but this is nothing new... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    our culture, time after time, has shown how it just can't handle reality.

    every political debate in our country has been distorted away from pragmatic solution based semantics to irrational fear based demagoguery.

    healthcare, immigration, education, ...and on and on...
    this is not new, this is consistent.

    it starts in school, our kids are not given the tools they need to be an effective citizen (no civics, or history, or sociology classes...).
    then our media, with very few exceptions, doesn't add any rational elements to the conversation.
    our politics, with very few exceptions, makes everything words.
    and finally, corporate lobbying is the final drop of blood that makes all the sharks go nutz.

    so how do you fix a system that is almost entirely corrupt, distorted, and willingly ignorant ??

    i dont know...

  •  We've Reached Inbred Critical Mass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Americans want to be known by what they own, NOT what they are, because they are stupid fucking assholes not worth their weight in dogshit.  They require enough income to go to the malls and spend themselves stupid so they can have garage and yard sales the next year to get rid of all of that worthless junk they needlessly purchased with credit cards.  You see, their rented storage space  is filled to capacity with other useless junk they bought several years ago which they're saving until it becomes collectible.

  •  1000 radio stations, no Fairness Doctrine, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, Mnemosyne

    hands down, made the difference the last 20 years, since reagan killed the FD. it wasn't a failure of democracy that gave us bush and cheney and iraq and fox- it was the complete takeover of the public radio airwaves for political purposes, effectively making real democracy impossible,  and the failure of the left to recognize it because it gave them headaches to listen to it.

    overall media consolidation is significant but the other forms of media cannot create like the talk radio machine can with its coordinated UNCONTESTED repetition.

    i think there has been a noticeable drop in the reverence that used to be  automatic for the GOP's media operatives (except on fox, of course). that wasn't so much because obama won, i believe it was because obama finally did what gore and kerry should have done - he named limbaugh- he lifted limbaugh's invisibility skirt and the GOP's media machine has been exposed as completely dependent on talk radio to catapult their propaganda.

    well, should have been. even after that, progressive media analysts seem to continue to ignore this fact. the last 20 political years have been dominated by crap only the talk radio monopoly could force on us, and only because it has been ignored to those it attacks the most. pundits of all stripes continue to analyze as if talk radio doesn't exist.

    today the issue of health care is a good example. talk radio stopped clinton- harry and louise were just piggybacking on a well coordinated repetition  of talking points blanketing the country. those myths and lies still enable the blue dog (limbaugh) red state dems like baucus who can use  the dittohead crowd who bombard his offices to enable his insurance industry ties. or maybe he really believes they are part of a legitimate dem constituency, but it is the talk radio machine that dominates politics in many red states.

    the birthers and baggers are dittoheads. it's not astroturf- those groups just took a more active role mobilizing what limbaugh and hannity have been using for 20 years.  that is the GOP base- it is why palin was chosen VP and it worked to energize the base in time for the convention- she was the bride of limbaugh and he used that pick as his excuse to finally get behind mccain.

    those same mobs screamed their support at blue dogs staffers on the phone every time another unqualified supreme was nominated, or their threats at GOP staffers every time a 'moderate' republican threatened to vote for something progressive. they are the ones who helped rove weed out the moderate and rational primary opponents so the flat earthers could unintentionally bring down a major US party.

    fox is just visual icing on the talk radio lie turd pie.

    talk radio enables and intimidates much further than core 20% because it can start the news day with a bang and because it is so well coordinated with the rest of the GOP media machine.

    with that coordinated UNCONTESTED repetition to a crowd the size of the one that voted for obama it creates a smorgasbord of prechewed talking points and one liners and myths and distortions and denial for the lazy tradmedia to pick through to test democraccy's limits and make their corporate owners happy.

    TV and print, as corporatized as they are, still have to at least pretend, within acceptable framing, to put on two sides and it is often talk radio that decides what is and what isn't acceptable.

    while talk radio repetition popularized the political correctness  epithet there is no bigger cultural  PC cop and censor-by-threat than talk radio. the limbaughs and hannitys can threaten for weeks without contest and put enormous coordinated pressure on management to enable and give cover to republican owners (to  fire dan rather, for instance).

    while print and TV are most anti-democratic in what they omit, only the talk radio monopoly can create and establish its own reality of myths, distortions, lies, and exaggerations that the rest of the lazy celebrity talking heads as well as GOP and blue dog (limbaugh) democratic politicians can count on by the end of the day or week.

    by ignoring the talk radio monopoly democrats have been playing politics without a front line. rove and co have been beating them with an invisible political 2x4. they've been feeling it but have been turning the dial and analyzing their beatings as if the GOP has mass public appeal and the country turned right for 20 years instead of merely having the biggest bullhorn and uncontested soapbox in the country, mostly in large expanses of those red states with a disproportionate number of senators and a lot of people who's only choice for politics may be an AM radio while they're working or driving.

    ignoring the talk radio monopoly continues to be the biggest political blunder in decades

    by certainot on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:07:48 AM PDT

  •  When you left, Lupin, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, raboof, Mnemosyne

    in 2004, after the election,I thought you were making a good decision to go somewhere sane. I know you took alot of crap for going, but I thought it was a good idea.
    We would have been right behind you if we had had the same options.

  •  Why we are what we are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Two points

    1.Some Americans simply do not like government. They associate government with being told what to do by others. They will oppose anything sponsored by the government. Unfortunately you can't save enough on health care to make health care for all affordable without government sponsorship and even control.

    2.The attempt to reconcile faith with science has gone very badly for faith. This leads to the situation described by Front Toward Enemy. Because reason seams to support atheism the faithful reject reason. They live in intellectual ghettos where their faith can survive unchallenged. But now wingnuts have found these ghettos and found their residents have no defense against wingnuttery.

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