Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lessons Learned?

One thing is for sure, unwillingly, the tea party has forced mainstream America to become engaged in the ugly sausage making process of governing.  Some people have found the entire process confusing and stressful, but that is a good thing, because making assumptions with ill-gotten information is becoming a thing of the past.

What have we learned from the media-driven stress and the man-created drama?
  • That the president does not have absolute power.
  • That Governing begins in our cities, counties and states first, Washington later.
  • That Mid-term elections matter more than anyone thought possible.
  • That our government is rife with elected officials blatantly catering to corporations and not the people in their districts.
  • That social media helps greatly to relieve stress and cause it as well.
  • That the "news" media favors controversy and when there is none, they'll create it.
  • That factions within a party will destroy the party. 
Let's keep the last one in mind when we attack each other for not being progressive enough, liberal enough or demanding more.

What happened? 

For the duration of the Bush administration we saw the wrongs, the lies, the theft of our resources, and all we did was grumble.  We were hell-bent determined to elect a Democratic President but never went beyond that frame of thought because most believed that this particular effort would solve all the problems created by the previous administration instantly. All we wanted was to go back to our lives and put the nightmare behind us.

This is not beating up on Bush, these are facts that the powers-that-be to the right want to sweep under the carpet with revisionist history.  No one tried harder than former vice-president Cheney and his daughter Liz.  Let's keep in mind our past to ensure our future looks nothing like it.

We were wrong and nothing proves it more that the complete ignorance in which we lived during those fateful years.  No one knew the depth of the economic gutting done to our country and the world by those who own our government officials: Wall Street.  To this day, we still don't know, because much of what could have happened was averted by an obscene amount of money given to Wall Street.  President Bush did not want to be held responsible for giving Wall Street all that money, so as they are fond of saying; he "kicked the can down the road" and only bailed out Wall Street by 50 percent, leaving the other 50 percent to be distributed by his successor; President Obama.

Wall Street and big corporations do not like this man one bit. He speaks a strange language of serving the American people's needs and demanding fairness and equality in taxable contributions.  He has clearly stated that the top 2% have not contributed their fare share to the country that provided them with their immense wealth.  "Takers" don't like to be singled out or shown for what they are, hence, they started their massive campaign to undermine our president and strangle our country.

Enter the Tea party movement and its various incantations.  Heavily funded by corporations such as the Heritage Foundation, Koch Brothers, or the many Carl Rove, Bush's brain, organizations.

This faction is effectively demolishing the Republican party and has paralyzed our economy, what we fail to see is that the distraction of a debt ceiling is hiding a lot of other sins we are not paying attention to right now.  Riders in bills are being passed to allow the destruction of our national parks because no one is reporting on this and we are too busy arguing pundit's talking points instead of being vigilant on what is happening behind the curtain.

Excerpt from

“This bill is spreading death and disease across America as House Republicans massacre environmental safeguards meant to protect us all.”
For a comprehensive list go to Earth Justice and read House Continues Assault on Key Health & Environmental Protections and Congress V. The Environment: The 2012 Appropriations Rider Tracker 

While we focus on Washington's debt-ceiling drama we are ignoring activism that needs to take place in our communities.  While wrecking the environment is an enormous financial windfall to the coal and mining industry, let's not make the mistake of thinking that the corporatist machinery ends at the water's edge.  Total control of our governmental system is the final goal and the only way to achieve this is to make sure we have no rights and no options.

Across the nation, governors are dismantling the social structure we have come to expect would be there for generations to come: 

In Wisconsin, the tool of the Koch brothers could careless if he is re-elected or not, his job was to infiltrate government and cause as much damage as possible during his tenure.  Does anyone think for a second that Scott Walker will be unemployed once he is out of office? Think again and keep an eye out for what type of executive position within the Koch industries he is rewarded.

In Michigan, the governor is even more blatant, he has stripped local officials of any power to govern in their communities.

The list goes on and on, but it all serves the same purpose: Disenfranchise voters in 2012 elections and beyond.  Districts are being demolished, accessibility to voting is made difficult for some and impossible for others.  This is the only way they can win any election with the lack of a substantive platform that appeals to the vast majority.
  • Get involved in your community with the democratic party and help with voter registration.  Fight for the elderly and disabled because their voices are drowned in a barrage of nonsense from loud and dysfunctional individuals.
  • Stay informed of what your governor, your legislators and mayor's are doing on a daily basis and fight for your rights and those of the people in your community.
  • Follow Wisconsin's example and realize that it took time, grit, fortitude and determination to right the wrong of being absent during the mid-term election.
  • Support the president we have even if he is not left enough for us, because the alternative will render economic conditions far worse than what we have so far experienced.
I have not found anything to agree with when someone from the tea party opens their mouth, but found the following statement making me nod my head in complete agreement: "Government belongs to those who show up." - The mid-term elections proved him right.

Image: Carlos Porto /


Grammy Donna said...

Great post. I particularly like/agree with the first paragraph checklist. That sums it up.

Francie said...

Well said, American people are being bamboozled, bedazzled by fast talking corporate shills. Elected representatives are not working in the best interest of their constituents. They really don't care about the middle class, seniors, poor, children. They care and work for corporations & richest 1%.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for writing this. Cindy Pope

Anonymous said...

"Government belongs to those who show up." - The mid-term elections proved him right.

I don't believe the above statement to be true.

Dem's did show up in 2008 and gave the Obama the White House, as well as big majorities in both houses. We still found ourselves in much the same situation we are in right now.

"Wall Street and big corporations do not like this man one bit"

Again, I do not believe the above statement to be the case.

Words are just that - words. The *facts* are that Wall Streets and big corporations have contributed huge amounts to his campaign.

Obama also has himself surrounded by people from the same. What's more, he hasn't signed anything that has hurt them one bit.

While the words coming from corporate America sound like they hate him, there is every reason to believe this isn't really the case. I don't think they like his rhetoric, but they are just words. Words don't mean a thing unless they are backed up. He doesn't back his words up. He refuses to draw any lines & that's his choice.

I'm really sad to say that I have no confidence in this president anymore. I may still vote for him in 2012, but only to limit the damage.

Voting out of fear or the alternative is not a good reason to elect someone president. Frankly, I'm not happy to have been put into this situation by the very person I voted for once.

If someone strong primaries him, all bets are off. I refuse to vote GOP, but I would rather not vote for Obama again. His presidency is at significant risk and he has ONLY himself to blame for this.

I believe he needs to either stand up strong, or go home.

I don't agree with you, but this was one fantastic article & a great read. Thank you.

Olivia Emisar said...


I like your passion. Understand the points you made so well, but most of all, I appreciate that you are engaged.

I have to respectfully disagree on one point you made, progressives, liberals, democrats did not show up for us in the mid-terms. Hence the Congress we have now.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, all points of view are welcome and we all learn something from one another.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I wasn't very clear.

I meant that we showed up in 2008, but got much of the same thing we are getting now. That kept people home in 2010.

I really don't see a lot of difference between what was happening then as compared to now. We didn't get much of anything previous to the Tea Party hostage taking either.

Either way it seems we are going to get sold down the river.

I would have signed this but I refuse to get attacked anymore today for my viewpoint. That is another sad statement I hate making.

May peace bless you as well @freelance1m

Anonymous said...

Olivia, this was spot on. I think what I've really latched onto was the part that talks about always voting, even in the "small" elections. My son was able to vote for the first time in 2010. When I reminded him that we had to go vote, he was unenthusiastic because it wasn't like in '08, a presidential election and a history making one at that. So I explained to him how important this election was. That it was a privelege and right to be able to choose our representatives. So he joined us and went to vote.

Today I read so much about having our President go through a primary because he "caved". I don't think he caved, he had to play the hand he was dealt & while not liking it, did the best he could. Had the 2010 elections gone differently, today wouldn't have happened I suspect. I believe today as I did in 2010, that complacency killed us in 2010, that and our inability to wrestle the dialogue away from the GOP on the healthcare act. They dominated that conversation and gave the Tea Party an open door to walk in.

You're absolutely correct that if we don't pay attention to our past, we'll be doomed to repeat it in the future. So we must all work hard in the future to help form the dialogue and educate people. We have to ensure that eveyone's voice is heard in the elections by fighting disenfranchisement of voters. Most importantly, the alternative is extremely worse than what we've seen today.

Olivia Emisar said...

I respect your privacy but I assure you that posts insulting other posters will not be published. It is perfectly fine to leave one's opinions and thoughts on various subjects, but personal attacks don't belong here.

Many thanks to you. PEACE

Dave Fouchey said...

Well said, we have let the court jesters in the Press divert us from all the damage done to the country by the previous administration and current Tea Party Republicans. Add to that the number of Democratic and Independent voters who sat home in Nov 2010 which brought us Tea Party Control of the House and we find ourselves in the situation we are today. Keep on speaking the truth lass, and to the rest of you fight back!
Dave Fouchey

Anonymous said...

Great job, Olivia! I will be sharing this with others.

Amanda aka LibrlOkie77 said...

Very well written! I agree with you. There are many things in the Bush Era that we will not know about. We must keep voting and speaking to get our message sent. We must support Democrats, we do not have to always agree.

Phil said...

Excellent post Olivia!

I think your bullet point observations are all right on point and very accurate. What I’d say about all of them, is that corporations have clearly made a determination that government influence is a huge untapped market opportunity. This manifests itself in several ways:

- Push to privatize government services or sell government assets
- Privatization of education
- Elimination, and/or gutting the power of regulatory bodies

This has always been a goal of corporations? Why is it now working?

What is clear is that organizations like the Kochs, and the large conservative think tanks have learned how to adapt best of breed management and business techniques in marketing, sales, public and media relations, planning, finance, data analysis, and business analytics techniques to the business of government takeover. The level of organization and effort being applied in this manner is incredible. Different techniques are being tried in different states, and data about the results are funneled back to “corporate headquarters”, i.e., the Kochs, and the think tanks, where the data is analyzed. Best of breed tactics and talking points (marketing and sales pitches) are identified, and communicated out to the sales team (the grass roots movements in each state). Conservative grass roots politics is being treated as nothing less than a massive business, with each state, each county, and each race managed like a sales channel or marketing campaign by the conservative organizations providing funding. The use of sophisticated business techniques to subvert the political process should have been expected. Once government itself was identified as a major untapped market, it was only a matter of time before this happened.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is perhaps the best known and most glaring example of this. Ever wonder how the same voter suppression laws seem to pop up all at once in 15 states? Or abortion restrictions? Or privatization bills? This group has written 800 pieces of conservative model legislation, and provides them to elected officials for use in their jurisdictions…it’s the McDonalds model of lawmaking – write a law, test market it, disseminate it nationwide. Is there anything illegal about this? Probably not. But it’s a great example of how highly sophisticated business practices are being used effectively today to subvert the legislative, electoral, and political processes in this country.

Phil said...

Got one more comment on your post:

What really struck me about the success of the Tea Party and their corporate benefactors in this debt ceiling debate was that we have likely witnessed the death of the quaint politics of compromise, and the victory of the politics of absolutism. The willingness to let the country go to hell if a particular group doesn't get its way is likely going to lead to a huge breakdown in the political process, not only at the federal level, but also at the state and local level (where we've already seen it in action in places like Wisconsin and Ohio). The Democrats did not see this coming and didn't realize what was happening, or that this tactic would be effective, until it was too late. They will know next time, and will likely use it themselves. Our political structures are not set up for absolutist politics - they're set up for compromise. With absolutist politics the rule, the checks and balances we have in place will paralyze the government. We'll have a choice- either elect people who want to compromise again, or get rid of the checks and balances, and move closer to true authoritarianism. Would it really surprise you if, after say 5 years of this type of shenanigans, if that were to happen, in the name of making the government "more responsive to the reality of today"? Given that 80 House members just successfully conducted an unprecedented act of economic terrorism, and the fact that success begets copycats, I think what happened this week is a true historical breaking point for our democracy.

Anita Meyer said...

Here I go, again. I likes the points you made in the lst paragraph. The whole thing is well done, made me understand things that I didn't before.
I disagree with what someone said about Dems voting. Yes, everyone came out in 2008, not necessarily to beat McCain/Palin, altho that helped, but Bush damaged this country and we felt that Obama would repair that damage. It took Bush 8 yrs and on 1/21/09, one day after taking office, people expected Obama to cure everything.It will take yrs to undo
what Bush did. It can't be done over nite. But the people are hurting. A lot of that is why the vote was not good in 2010. We know the Dems did not come out & vote as they should have & we are suffering now. Fortunately, I live in a true blue state and we went all blue in 2010. Rep. contender for governor put in over 200 mil. of her own $, & lost to Jerry Brown. Barbara Boxer had a hard race & fortunately won. But the other states are suffering and the ones that voted are having buyer's remorse. We must get out & vote in 2012 & to primary Obama would be the worst thing the Dems could do. It would be a disaster.
Anyway, Olivia, you truly write beautifully and I really enjoyed this. Hopefully I will be able to post this like a normal person - well here goes!

Olivia Emisar said...

Glad you were able to post. I like seeing you here :-) Re: California. They too, had a lesson to learn and Jerry Brown was a very successful Governor, Mayor and D.A. Being Governor again (and willing to do so) is a good deal for all Californians. Arnold, not so much.

You are right about the obscene amounts of money people spend on these elections. It boggles the mind what it takes to run for office. The Ebay lady would have been a disaster (I am thinking correctly, right? and Fiorina is now working for GOP as fundraiser for candidates that will unseat dems in the Senate.

These people are multimillionaires but they are obsessed with owning the government. It certainly has nothing to do with public service.

You are right, we better show up in 2012 because this is David vs. Goliath and we are David.