Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post No. 180: They Really Must Think We’re Idiots; Maybe We Are


© the Institute for Applied Common Sense

Although lots of Baby Boomers participate in our forum, our primary target is college students. We write about personal responsibility. We Baby Boomers have screwed things up not only here in America, but globally, and hopefully today’s students will learn from our mistakes.

We try to expand the discussion about societal issues in a forum where there is civil discourse and an absence of personal attacks. Our hope is that the numbed youth of today will be able to develop more innovative, consensus-based solutions to societal problems, outside the OK Corral. After all, “There are more than 2 or 3 ways to view any issue; there are at least 27.™

Thirty minutes ago, we received 2 calls from campaigns. Today’s mail contained 6 pieces of campaign literature. Last week, we received 20 computer generated campaign calls (16 from the RNC and 4 from the Obama folks), and 2 live calls from Obama volunteers. We hung up on all of them, although we were hesitant to do so with the computer callers.

Back in January 2009, the Logistician and Inspector Clouseau argued that the projected $150 million price tag for Obama’s inauguration was excessive during an economic downturn. The Laughingman, however, felt that it was money well spent, and thus wrote, $150 Million Worth – On This Presidential Inauguration Day.

Last week, we were amazed to hear the campaigns of both presidential candidates were on pace to surpass $1 billion each. Days later, they announced they hit the jackpot – a combined figure of $2 billion (with a “b,” or perhaps a “B”).

We’re sorry. This has just gotten stupid, and ALL of us here agree on that.

We’ve done it to ourselves, and we do not seem able to control it. As one heavyweight contributor put it, “I do not like the role of money in our political system. However, as long as it is legal, I am going to contribute as much as I can to pursue my goals.”

Totally apart from the fact that we have two gunslingers showering each other with lead, as one WWII vet recalled in describing dead soldiers around him, “The bodies… [are] almost unrecognizable." We don’t really know who these men are, if ever we did. There are so many half-truths and lies, and distortions, and spins, and enough horse pucky to sink the land mass of North America to the center of the Earth.

And that’s not to mention we no longer know which media outlets report “the truth,” however defined, or profitably provide us with “reality-based infotainment employing the most lenient view of artistic license.”

What’s most troubling is that we buy the crap. All of us.

During the last election, CSpan aired a program where the author discussed the results of his or her research, revealing that 5-10% of Democrats, and 5-10% of Republicans, essentially debate and define the ideological constructs of each party. The vast majority of citizens in the U.S. have their lives dictated by the most active and vocal members of society, who also happen to be more privileged.

Then back in 2009, Rick Shenkman exposed us with, Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth about the American Voter.

We have long argued that we, individual citizens, got fat and lazy (Pigs Get Fat; Hogs Get Slaughtered), and less involved, and let the Fat Cats do whatever they wanted to do. We abdicated our responsibilities as President Carter tried to tell us in July 1979, and now we’re bitching and asking, "Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?” (It’s probably appropriate that we’re looking to a sports legend.)

They’ve gone to the Bank, silly boys and girls, while skipping and laughing all the way. While we minions debate the future of America and whether we’re still a World Power, a bunch of folks don’t really care (except from a philosophical perspective), because they and their families have sufficient food and supplies in their bomb shelters, after years of trading with our most prominent Communist adversary. (Thank God, we continue to whip the pus out of those Cubans.)

$2 Billion. Not only is there the expense; there is the lack of effectiveness of the things on which the money is being spent. We’re not the only folks hanging up on the robo-calls.

And so it’s up to you, the youth of today - the leaders of tomorrow.

Be sure not to follow our lead. We’re just self-absorbed Baby Boomers. Make sure you check in with the Greatest Generation, who grew up in the Depression. Their advice would probably be pretty sound right now. The Logistician’s 91 yr old Father claims, “If someone beat me over the head for 35 years, I probably would have had an operation by now, no matter how many Band-Aids and Krispy-Kremes they offered me in the for-profit, urgent care facility.”

How do you spell, “Constitutional Convention?”

17 comments:

  1. I am a Baby Boomer. I recall the turbulent 60's when "we" couldn't wait to push our parents' generation aside and take the reins of power. "We" knew how to do it right, how to do it better.

    And, so, now "we" have "our" hands on the reins of power and look at how much better we've done.

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  2. 'Tis a sorry state of affairs and as you point out, one of our own making. No action is an action and 98 percent( my own estimate) of people will not take the time and energy from their regular lives to engage in the political/governmental arena. The billions spent on the campaigns make me sick to my stomach. For me however, the decision of who to vote for is hinging on a few issues, not the least of which is who do I trust to appoint the next two Supreme Court justices who will likely be retiring in the next four years.

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  3. A very good point Douglas, which we failed to mention, but which the youth of today should absorb.

    Welcome back. We missed you. We promise to generate regular content after our lengthy absence. We have always valued your point of views and contributions to our discussions.

    Thanks.

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  4. Thanks much June for checking in again. It's been awhile.

    You brought up an issue regarding the Supreme Court which we did not have time or space to address, but which is a significant one. Some contend that it was the Court's ruling in Citizens United which led to this situation. Here's more information on that ruling for our readers' consideration.

    We look forward to your insightful commentary in the future. Thank you.

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  5. Well I am not one of the younger set, but I certainly think it is time for Constitutional clarification, but not until Obama is reelected. God help us if the R's were to take charge of such an undertaking. Time one person one vote and elimination of the electoral college . . . ect!

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  6. Thanks Dan. Just the other day, we were speaking with a Baby Boomer on the street who indicated that when he was younger, his fellow Boomers were always talking about "the system this" and "the system that," and he dismissed their arguments, feeling that everything is about individuals. He said that with the passage of time, he came to appreciate how the plight of individuals can be affected by how a system is constructed / organized, and operated.

    Some of our problems stem from the structure of our governance model. When a business model is outdated, or no longer adequately effective, we expect management to change it or ultimately go out of business. Governmental entities can theoretically continue to operate, even when poorly managed. We need to come up with a new governance model which is more nimble and allows more flexibility in responded to problems. Additionally, we need to address the influence of money, since incumbents have the ability to collect more money and perpetuate their priorities on the citizenry.

    We're on a ship now that takes far too long to turn in the ocean. In the same way in which the Founding Father came up with a new model, we need to come up with an updated governance model that meets today's needs in today's geopolitical and economic environment.

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  7. Speaking of the sheer volume of information thrust upon us, and not knowing what to believe, check out the Top 5 Fake Hurricane Sandy Photos.

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  8. Personally, I believe the worst possible action would be a Constitutional Convention. Regardless of who's in the White House. A president would have no authority, no control, over the decisions made by such a convention. And, if one did, it is quite possible it would destroy this country as we now know it and throw it into chaos and violent factionalism.

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  9. Douglas, you will recall that back in August of 2009, we provided a link to an article in the Economist about an effort to split California into two separate states. We raised the question as to whether a voluntary split is something which we as a nation should consider.

    In raising the issue of a Constitutional Convention, at least certain troublesome aspects about our governance structure will be addressed. There is much talk out there now suggesting that we are at the edge of a cliff. Fortunately, there has been virtually no violence connected with the public's dissatisfaction with government. However, there are some very angry voices.

    What should we do at this point since it appears that neither faction is going to yield? Should we maintain the status quo? Should we try to restructure our governance model, and change the Constitution? Should we separate the country into perhaps 4 or 5 different regions, permit people to move or exchange property, and arrange for an orderly transition? Is this the logical end of the ultimate in diversity, immigration, and melting cultures together in the pot? Has our complexity overtaken us?

    What do we do? We can't go on like this, no matter who wins the upcoming election.

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  10. I believe I remember that post. I might have said something like "California has had that idea for many, many years. It has also had the idea that it, unlike most other states, could break off and become an independent country."

    I don't have time to really respond to your questions about what we should do (dinner date). Perhaps later. Or, you could just think about what a Constitutional Convention could possibly do. It could undo all of the civil rights gains of the last 180 years, it could turn the country into a dictatorship, it could do something as seemingly benign as make our government a parliamentary system... or even establish a monarchy.

    I suggest you think about it deeply.

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  11. ‘Spector,

    Permit me to say “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” for this post; it quite succinctly sums up my own frustrations and perspectives. Your essay should be circulated around this nation like a wildfire, for the benefit of those few remaining individuals with sufficient brain capacity to digest it.

    Like Douglas, I have never personally thought that a Con-Con was the way to go. Rather, an entirely new grass-roots political party needs to be added to the mix, one which operates on ideology instead of money and represents the vast majority of Americans instead of the five-to-ten-percenters referenced in your post.

    Additionally: while I am a baby boomer, I feel no guilt except that I unwittingly believed for years in a machine so monolithic, so greedy and so corrupt as the Republican Party – and yes, I would feel precisely the same had I been a Democrat. Honestly, “guilt” doesn’t really get at the nut of what I feel; “royally suckered” comes a lot closer.

    The Independent Cuss

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  12. You're welcome "Cuss. There HAS to be a substantial segment of our population which feels similarly. We raised the possibility of a Constitutional Convention as 1 of more than 27 conceivable options. Although we are not as concerned about the negative ramifications associated with the PROCESS, we agree with you that a strong 3rd party would be a start.

    Of course, the other 2 established parties would try to outspend it to death. However, there has to be some 4, 5, or 6 basic principles upon which a majority of our citizens can agree.

    As for guilt, you didn't hurt anyone, not even yourself. Life should be an evolutionary process, with each one of us constantly examining and questioning what we are doing at every point in time.

    As one of our friends suggested, "Hell, I wouldn't want to be around someone who hadn't changes their values, in some significant manner, over the course of 60 years.

    BTW, feel free to disseminate this post to as many people as you have contact. As we indicated, we suspect that a substantial segment of the population feels similarly.

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  13. In our post, we spoke of the ineffectiveness of the activities being carried out using the wheelbarrows full of money. What is particularly offensive is the amount of already collected money (not to mention the additional money which will be solicited) which will be spent between now and election day. "For what purpose?" you ask.

    Purportedly on the "undecided." Just a couple of weeks ago, one of the media talking heads asked a very insightful question. "Who ARE these people and where can we find them?"

    We actually know, at least the answer to the first part of the question.

    Those folks are the "Super Idiots" for whom the "Super PAC" money is designated. We sure hope that showering the rest of us (amounting to 99 - 44/100%) with this vitriolic napalm is not reflective of the pin-point, surgical accuracy with which either party plans to address our complex societal issues once they take or remain in control.

    It has been said that when the Supreme Court was faced with defining "pornography" and what constituted "obscenity," a number of the Justices viewed some pornographic films in the Supreme Court theater. One of the justices allegedly said that he may not know how to define it, but he knew it when he saw it.

    In a similar vein, we may not know how to describe when we are being BS itted, but we know it when we see it.

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  14. In our post, we spoke of the ineffectiveness of the activities being carried out using the wheelbarrows full of money. What is particularly offensive is the amount of already collected money (not to mention the additional money which will be solicited) which will be spent between now and election day. "For what purpose?" you ask.

    Purportedly on the "undecided." Just a couple of weeks ago, one of the media talking heads asked a very insightful question. "Who ARE these people and where can we find them?"

    We actually know, at least the answer to the first part of the question.

    Those folks are the "Super Idiots" for whom the "Super PAC" money is designated. We sure hope that showering the rest of us (amounting to 99 - 44/100%) with this vitriolic napalm is not reflective of the pin-point, surgical accuracy with which either party plans to address our complex societal issues once they take or remain in control.

    It has been said that when the Supreme Court was faced with defining "pornography" and what constituted "obscenity," a number of the Justices viewed some pornographic films in the Supreme Court theater. One of the justices allegedly said that he may not know how to define it, but he knew it when he saw it.

    In a similar vein, we may not know how to describe when we are being BS itted, but we know it when we see it.

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  15. Bravo and Amen!

    The Independent Cuss

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  16. Although we are major fans of the TV show NCIS, we do not subscribe to Leroy Jethro Gibbs' philosophy that one should never apologize, or say that they are sorry. According to Gibbs, it is a sign of weakness. From our perspective, admitting that one is wrong should be viewed as a sign of strength.

    In that regard, we owe our readers an apology. After severely criticizing the role of money in the presidential campaign, we heard a report this morning suggesting that the candidates will only spend 93 million dollars on ads between now and election day. We acknowledge that is just a drop in the bucket, a mere pittance, and that very little else could be effectively done with such a small amount of money.

    Oh by the way, we applaud Dwayne Wade of the NBA's Miami Heat for donating his game salary ($210,000 before taxes) to the relief effort in NYC when the Heat visited Madison Square Garden to play the N Y Knicks.

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  17. Check out this article about the backlash to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. It appears that some folks are taking action to reduce the influence of money in politics by fighting the notion that corporations are "persons" who have the right of free speech.

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