Never cry wolf

President Barack Obama addresses the House Dem...

President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Right blames President Obama for everything, hoping that some of their lies and misrepresentations will stick, changing a few votes. I have news for the Righties, after a while the voters will turn off everything you say, thinking that the source is unreliable. If you want to gain acceptance and some credibility for your arguments, you will stick much closer to the truth. There even might me some truth in some of your arguments, but who is going to spend time shifting through all the trash looking for a nugget of truth scattered here and there? Not I.

George W. Bush, Forty-third President (2001–2009)

Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

 

Some right-wing sites persist in calling Barack Obama the worst president in US history when we all recognize that that honor belongs to George W. Bush closely followed by James Buchanan. In fact, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences plans to award him their lifetime achievement award on February 26, 2012, for worst performance as a president.

Bread and circuses

Modern bronze statue of Julius Caesar, Rimini,...

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More than 2000 years ago, the rulers of Rome kept ordinary citizens from rebellion with bread and circuses. Little has changed in 2000 years and our leaders continue the practice of pacifying us with relatively cheap food and spectacle, mostly of the sports variety.

Rome used slaves on large plantations to produce food cheaply which they then sold at a discount so that Romans did not go hungry. Today we produce cheap food at the expense of undocumented workers in the fields and factories that grow and process our food. We are able to eat cheaply because we do not pay our food workers a living wage.

Ball games had not been invented in Roman times. Roman circuses consisted of chariot races and sporting events in which the sport was a duel between two or more warriors or between a warrior and a large beast. We still continue the practice of one warrior fighting another, but not with deadly weapons.

As early as Julius Caesar’s time in the first century BCE, the Roman Senate was for sale to the highest bidder. The Roman legislature was unicameral, a single house, unlike our bicameral, two house legislature. Roman democracy died shortly thereafter, although Rome kept the outward forms of democracy until it fell centuries later.

Roman citizens stopped expressing patriotism by joining the Roman army when their democracy died. Rome filled its armies by recruiting mercenaries from throughout the empire. Those mercenaries rebelled frequently with looting and murder the result. Children of the ruling class devoted themselves to pleasure and gambling, rather than defending the Roman state. Service in the Roman armies became so unpopular among the wealthy that some mutilated their right hand by amputating the thumb so that they could not hold a sword, the Roman weapon of choice.

If our democracy dies, who will defend this country? It certainly will not be those who benefit the most, the very wealthy. Our military is already manned disproportionately by those who have few other choices to escape poverty. What will the situation be in the future if good jobs do not return? Barack’s jobs plan is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.

Please see Great Depression 2

Jefferson to miss the cut

Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. with exc...

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Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, is in danger of being omitted from history text books in Texas because he is suspected of not being a Christian. I can see a future headline in a Texas newspaper, “Jefferson stripped of Founding Father status.” This is important because publishers of history text books prefer to print as few versions of their texts as possible to save money. What happens in Texas does not stay in Texas.

 

 

 

Please see Education | Presidential trivia | A modest proposal | Horatio Alger, Jr.

Know Nothings

"The Third-Term Panic", by Thomas Na...

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Those who don’t know their history are likely to repeat it, again and again.

Between 1845 and 1860, there was a political movement in the United States called the Know Nothings that has reappeared recently under another name. The original Know Nothings had the following platform and ran with moderate success until the Civil War. They opposed the immigration of Catholics from Germany and Ireland. Immigrants must wait 21 years for citizenship. They preferred that immigrants originate from the British Isles, excluding Catholic Ireland. Teachers in public schools and all elected officials were to be white Protestant Anglo-Saxons. English was to be the official language.

At first, the Know Nothings called themselves the American Republican Party, then the Native American Party, and finally the American Party. After the Dred Scott decision in 1857, the Know Nothings split in factions and the anti-slavery faction joined the Republican Party.

If all this sounds a bit familiar, it should. Much of the Know Nothing platform and goals are repeated nightly on the evening news.