Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ignorance Isn't Bliss

Hieronymus Bosch, Ship of Fools

1.  I feel like following up on the last assertion I made in my previous post--namely, that keeping the public in the dark is a mistaken strategy for the Democrats, because such an unenlightened public is part of the fundamental character of the Republican base--the Tea Partiers as it were.  The unenlightened public is prey to fear.  Fearful people are drawn to fearful analyses--the sine qua non of the Glenn Beck cult, which takes up four hours of air time each and every day. (With the Beck cult I also suspect a perverse pleasure may be at work--people can certainly learn to love the feeling you get when you lean over the abyss, and Beck in that aspect becomes a mental roller coaster ride for the enraptured attendees of his daily seminars in paranoia.)  Toss in Limbaugh and the loathsome Hannity, who plays the jerk down at the end of the sticky-floored neighborhood bar every afternoon, and a Tea Party is born.  When the Obama Administration colludes in the situation by continuing to feed the forces of suppression and fear, the Obama Administration is just building up the Tea Party that much more. 

2.  I happened to watch C-Span's coverage of the Senate doings yesterday morning, for a while.  I was shocked at the disconnect between real life America and these people who are supposed to be "deliberating" on what to do next.  Some one, or more than one, has noted that one of the problems with our elected government is, these people imagine that they are the middle class.  I think so, yes.  But George Voinavitch doesn't have a clue.  Tom Coburn doesn't have a clue.  Mitch McConnell doesn't have a clue.  And the same is true for many of the Democrats.  What can they be thinking?   And how stupid do they think we are, to assert that since there is a deficit problem, the thing to do is to keep taxes low on people making millions and billions of dollars.

3.  After a dose of this, I went to work.  At work, a young man came in who wanted to buy a scrapped wood stove, which had been sitting out near the fence for several weeks in the hope that someone might want to buy it (rather than simply smashing it flat and sending it on to the shredder).  The young feller is a regular customer of ours.  He scrounges up scrap metal and brings us a pick-up load probably at least once a week--been coming for at least two years.  The boss said to him, "we're just going to give you that stove."  I think the boss's thought was, he was a good customer, it was near Christmas, he deserved a little reward.  The boss is a good guy.  So the kid says, "Thanks very very much.  My mom just left my dad, dad's out of work, I'm out of work except for scrounging, my wife's the only person in our family working right now, and our stove broke."  This wasn't a sob story.  He already had the stove.  This was just real life.  He's a young man, probably between 20 and 25, probably graduated from high school, probably knows car engines and how to cut a straight line on a board.  He's obviously a hard worker--scrappin' is hard work.

4.  I'm hoping he doesn't find the Beck/Limbaugh line of hate and blame attractive, as he rides around looking for some rusting metal or discarded aluminum cans in this early pre-winter winter we're experiencing here in central NC.  This morning there's snow on the ground and freezing drizzle in the air--probably I won't get to work today because of the roads.  But I do have a job anyways.  Obama's argument for passing the Obama/McConnell "compromise" tax bill is that a rise in taxes would hurt the middle class; McConnell asserts with a straight face that millionaires need to keep making every dollar they're making right now because that way they'll create jobs--the ones they're not creating right now.

5.  The kid with the stove most likely has no Federal Income Tax to pay.  He pays the regressive sales tax, of course, like the rest of us.  He pays his county tax on his 1985 Ford Pickup with the primer gray coat and the bad muffler.  That would be probably about $3.27.  (I have a truck pretty much like that, featured in my song "SOB in the Carvel Truck" at an earlier stage in its career, so I know about the county taxes.)  As Tom Coburn expresses for the umteenth time his great concern about the deficit, which according to Senator Doctor Tom requires the Federal Government to cut back on social expenditures before China causes our dollar to be worth less (or even worthless), the wood stove in question is being fixed up a bit (broken door), and installed.  Maybe while the kid's beating on that stove door he's listening to Hannity, who's telling him that there's a Kenyan Marxist in the Presidency. And yes, his wife might have to pay a little bit more in Federal Income Tax when she files in 2012, assuming things go along as they are now. 

6.  Down at the Texaco, the faux conservative intellectual with the DeKalb hat, the one I used to argue with before I gave it up as a waste of breath, has decided that empathy itself is a phony liberal construct aimed at fooling the American people into outright Marxism.  This was one of the reasons I gave up on him.  Mr. Gingrich argues in his many guest appearances on the various right-wing pundit shows, that the Democratic Party is the "party of losers."  It's a perfect circle.  You can probably find it in Dante, actually.   I think Bosch was an avid Dante reader.  Waited with baited breath for each new installment to come out in the Dutch translation, or possibly even read the Italian.

For further reading:

Seems like Mr. Mannion was thinking somewhat along the same lines this morning.  A tip of the Hatlo Hat to ya sir.

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