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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Myth of Small Government

We want government out of our lives!

We want small federal government!

Welcome to the party, folks – the Tea Party that is.  This crazy batch of retards (yes, I said it, and I said it with malice aforethought) is made up of every disgruntled goober in the nation.  Take a random sample of teabaggers from anywhere across the country and you’ll find every fringe goofball rightwing idea from Birthers to Truthers to ultra neocon survivalists to creationists to white supremacists to  Palinistas to Paulists to loons, goons, and idiot maroons.  The truth of the matter is that the Tea Party isn’t a party at all – as the Teabaggers themselves vehemently point out with froth and vitriol – they are an angry mob, pure and simple. They’ve got themselves an ethnic target, all they’re lacking are torches and hounds and a rope.  These people are rabble, too stupid, ignorant, and insanely angry to fit into even the fringes of any mainstream American political party. Hell, they don’t even fit into the non-mainstream parties.  The teabaggers are scaring the crap out of a lot of people, but no more so than the GOP (Yes, they scare me too, but for different reasons – I’m pretty sure they’ll come for people like me in the first purge).  Unfortunately, the conservatives need these people, this batshit crazy fringe. These are the far right wingnuts Reagan appealed to in order to get elected by a landslide.  Now, truthfully, Reagan appealed to a lot of folks, left and right, but once elected Reagan stopped listening to moderates and centrists and cupped his withered claw to only his right ear.  And as a result, the GOP had to placate these nuts in order to elect George the First and especially George the Lesser – and George the Lesser was one of them – because neither had the charisma of a sea monkey.  The GOP had to pretend that this batch of silly bastards were normal in order to maintain their grip on power, but eventually it blew up in the party’s face – because it smothered the reasonable and moderate conservative voices and allowed the hardcore rightwing to take over as the voice of the party.  These goofs are the ones who stood up during McCain’s campaign and called Barack Obama an Arab and a pal of terrorists and a nigger, and the mainstream republicans are the ones who stood by and let them get away with it without objection, even encouraging it – unless they got caught doing it on national TV like John McCain did.  They’re the ones who disrupted town hall meetings and then complained bitterly that their voices weren’t heard and they’re the ones who condemned the rest of us as commies and socialists and un-American.  These are the idiots who were shouting last week, “Run, Sarah, Run!” and if that’s not the very definition of insanity, I don’t know what is – unless it’s shouting “Run, Dick, Run!”

The GOP created the teabaggers.  Like Herr Doktor Frankenstein, they created a monster, and now it’s gotten away from them, shambling along in a patchwork of mismatched limbs and organs, its angry malformed consciousness consumed by rage and hatred, out terrorizing the countryside and ripping the arms and legs off the villagers.  The teabaggers claim to be beholden to neither party, but you’d have to be blind not to see that they are almost entirely made up white, evangelical, ultra rightwing nationalists, and that damned near all of them were registered Republicans before they decided Libertarian sounded more American.  Suddenly they’re quoting Ayn Rand and denouncing the very gridlock in DC that they themselves helped to create by electing Neocon obstructionists who refuse to compromise. Witness their utter devotion to Sarah Palin’s message: God, Guns, America for Real Americans.  Death to Liberals, Queers, Abortionists, and Iran! No quarter given and prepare for the mother of all battles!

The GOP leadership is scared shitless of these people and for good reason. These people didn’t abandon the democrats, they abandoned the republicans.  The GOP has been moving further and further to the far right ever since the 60’s. Somewhere along the line round about Bush the First they passed the point of no-return. They’ve staked their claim and they are not willing to compromise with liberals, moderates, progressives, or anybody that isn’t far enough right – including members of their own party whom they’ve derisively branded RINOs and speak contemptuously of at every turn.  They’ve committed to the Bush Doctrine, you’re either with us, or you’re against us and there ain’t nothing else baby – if you’re not a Conservative, you’re not an American, and that makes you the enemy

Problem is they’re not right enough for the teabaggers.  And now they need the Tea Party – they’ve driven away the more moderate and progressive members of their party, witness the election in NY, where the RNC shot its own “RINO” candidate in the back and as a result moderate republicans joined with democrats to help elect a democrat rather than the gibbering nutjob the RNC promoted. Rather than take that as a lesson, the GOP seized on the Tea Party.  The teabaggers are angry, willfully ignorant, they hate Obama (they merely dislike the GOP), and are easily led.

As a result, the GOP spent the entire week courting the crazy gits at CPAC.

They invited Glenn Beck (who did his usual fact free bombastic rabble rousing) and Bachman (who wept real tears for poor, poor America) and Romney (who waxed nostalgic for George W. Bush - He kept us safe!).  They hated on Obama and they trashed Arlen Spector. They avoided the reviled teleprompter and spent a lot of time staring intently at their palms (and you may take that last however you like, after all there were a lot of religious conservatives in the room. One suspects there was more than one handjob going on in the closets and coatrooms and wide-stance stalls). They spoke passionately of God, Country, Liberty, Truth, Justice and the American Way. They spit hatred at liberals, gays, abortion, Muslims, and funny speaking brown skinned people. They swore secret oaths and solemnly pledged their loyalty to the Party. They drank and they smoked and they likely screwed around on their wives and then they called for war on Iran.  And they very, very carefully avoided saying anything negative about Sarah Palin (in public) and did their damnedest to appeal to the teabaggers by electing Ron Paul president of Jesusland (Hell, I’ve already seen one Paul/Palin 2012! bumper sticker this morning, it’s spreading like flying pig flu, too bad the CDC can’t whip up a vaccine).

But more than anything, CPAC sounded the Tea Party clarion: the US government is broken.

This is the single concept that unites all the tea party crazies whatever their own particular brand of psychosis – the government is broken.

Notice they offer no actual proof of this assertion.  The Tea Party movement simply takes this as a given, the government is broken.  I’ve read endless screeds from these people, and watched them moaning tearfully on TV how the government has lost touch with The People – and by People they mean themselves and the other crazy fuckers they hang out with -  at the expense of everybody else who doesn’t believe exactly as they do.  One wonders then why they aren’t complaining that God is broken, since He answers the prayers of the faithful and provides services at a rate far below than that of the federal government – in fact,  when it comes to taking care of The People, His record is pretty damned abysmal compared to the federal government, and He doesn’t come cheap either.  Lose your job, appeal to God, apply for federal unemployment benefits, see which one puts food on your table first.  Ask God to defend your country, or ask the Marines, see which one answers the call.  Ask God to fix your roads, keep suicide bombers off your airplanes, provide for you in your old age, provide for public education, predict the weather, ensure the drugs you take and the food you eat are safe, maintain the national parks, certify that the nuclear power plant they’re building down the road won’t leak plutonium byproducts into the water supply, negotiate with other governments, take care of veterans, keep states and cities from declaring war on each other, print money, loan your small business funds at low rates, and any of the other million services the federal government provides.  Ask God for a job. You’ve got a hell of a lot better chance of getting the federal government to listen to you than you do God, but hey, far be it from me to point out the hypocrisy when these people pray to the Almighty for deliverance at their little tea party rallies.

The solution to this so-called broken government, according to teabag logic, is to make the federal government smaller - which is a perfect opening for Conservatives, because it fits right into the same flimflam sleight of hand medicine show they’ve been using to hoodwink voters since 1797.  Honestly, point to one Conservative administration that has ever reduced the size of the government. 

Go on.  

Just one.

You can’t, can you?  Not without some serious dishonesty – well GWB would have but, there was that whole 911 thing.  Reagan would have, but the economy sucked donkey balls and there was that Evil Empire thing and we needed a 600 ship navy and those B2 bombers.  Blah, blah, it’s bullshit and you can find the same excuses all the way back to John Adams. Conservatives have never reduced the size of government, ever – what they do is cut government services and declare war somewhere.  Conservatives have never reduced government spending, ever.  Sure they have reduced taxes upon occasion – but that was exactly like floating a check, if you don’t reduce spending you’re going to have to pay for it sooner or later, plus interest.  GWB’s tax rebates are a perfect example. Tax rebate checks during a recession and wartime? During WWII the Federal Government (run by a liberal) sold war bonds to fund America’s efforts.  GWB just kept writing checks and then sent us a rebate to buy public favor. Those tax rebates you got were a scam, if they actually did stimulate the economy, the government would have gotten the money back out of your pocket plus interest from the taxes and tariffs on consumer goods alone – which is why the Bush administration complained so petulantly that people used the rebates to pay bills instead of buying TVs and cars – and if it didn’t, the bill would arrive in the mailbox after the new guy moved into the White House, which is exactly what happened. For a guy like Bush at the end of his second term, it was a win/win situation – he bought off the public to the tune of $600 dollars a piece, that’s a bargain these days.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, Democrats haven’t reduced the size of government either – the difference is that they never claimed to.

Of course that is the Tea Partiers’ chief complaint – neither party is worth a crap. They’re all liars and cheats and con men. Government is broken, don’t you see? Congress, especially the Senate, is gridlocked!

Yes, that’s exactly what happens when you keep electing extremists.

That’s what happens when you sneer contemptuously at those who would seek compromise and declare them RINOs and un-American. That’s what happens when you condemn moderates as traitors and throw them out of your party.  That’s exactly what happens when you declare, “You’re either with us or you’re against us!” 

A year ago, the President could have pushed his agenda through Congress.  He had the votes and the majority.  He could have rammed it down Conservatives’ throats – instead he made good on his promise to seek bi-partisan solutions, and it cost him. It cost him not only his agenda, but the support of his own party, and indeed it cost him the majority.  He has, from day one, sought to represent all Americans and has been repeatedly stymied by the Right – the same Right who now bemoan government gridlock. Either they get their way, or nobody gets anything.  You’re either with us, or against us. Period. No compromise.

The teabaggers seem to think that reducing the size of government will somehow change this.

How?

Where do they propose to cut?  Many of them are up in arms over the Federal Reserve, and the government bailout of Wall Street.  They want the Federal Reserve abolished and the Gold Standard reinstated. They point to the current recession and they proclaim in outraged tones how it is the worst financial disaster since The Great Depression.  They’re pissed that the government took their money and used it to bail out those big Wall Street banks.  Here’s the funny thing, in 1929, when the big banks collapsed and nobody bailed them out – they took all the little banks with them, after all who do you think underwrites small banks?  People lost everything, their money wasn’t worth a little less – it was just plain gone.  Businesses went bust by the hundreds of thousands, 25% of Americans were unemployed, millions were homeless.   The Federal Reserve and the bailout saved us from that this time, along with FDIC insured banks – look around, see any soup lines? How many lard sandwiches have your kids eaten this week? How many folks are living in shanty towns here in the US? A few are out on the street, but in 1930 it was more like 20 million.  And far from preventing economic chaos, the Gold Standard was one of the major contributing factors that led directly to the Great Depression.  Gold is relatively stable now, because nobody gives a shit about it – it’s just another precious metal commodity good for jewelry and the electronics industry. Following 1929, Government regulation stove off another financial disaster for nearly eighty years, and when those regulations were lifted, disaster followed within a decade for exactly the same reasons as in 1929.  But according to the teabaggers we should get rid of the Fed and remove onerous regulation and allow for simple market based solutions. Tell that to your grandparents.

What about the military?  The single largest reductions in the size and spending of government have come at the hands of Democrats – when they cut military expenditures.  This year the DoD takes up 23% of the Federal Budget, assuming that there won’t be any emergency or supplemental funding between now and October 1st.  How much of that are teabaggers and conservatives willing to cut?   Especially since they’ve suddenly decided that they want to go to war with Iran per Sarah Palin’s brilliant foreign affairs expertise? I admit to curiosity here, how exactly do we reduce the largest portion of our budget, and the portion that is directly responsible for our record deficit, and still fight an extended war on three fronts? You do know that’ll you’ll have to reinstitute the draft – or resort to a nuclear strike – right? Tell me how that will reduce the size of government (well, short of being vaporized in a retaliatory strike that is).

How about Social Security? Because that takes up the next 20%.  Why don’t we just cut that out completely, why should the government pay a bunch of old geezers to do nothing all day but listen to Glenn Beck and hang out at Tea Party rallies whining about the government? Social Security and Unemployment Insurance are basically funding the Tea Party, talk about biting the hand that feeds you.  Frankly as a guy who pays into Social Security, these ungrateful bastards are pissing me off.

Medicare? Should we cut that out too? That takes up about 19% of the Federal Budget.  Seriously, get a job you fucking hippies and quit sucking on the government tit for your healthcare. We don’t need healthcare reform, we’ve got the best healthcare system in the world, right? So why do we need government run Medicare?

What else should we get rid of?  The FAA? The weather service? The national parks?  Those assholes at the Post Office? NSA?  The FBI?  Oh, I know, the IRS (Teabaggers hate the IRS and a number of the more vocal are demanding abolition of federal income taxes completely).  The Federal Interstate Highway System (we could convert the highways to market based toll roads).  Speaking of the Department of Transportation, how about we get rid of bridge inspectors and the guys who certify child safety seats.  Screw it, just do away with speed limits too while we’re at it – think of it as evolution in action, er, sorry, Intelligent Design in action.  Gun control, no need for that, since we won’t have public schools or transportation anyway or police, anybody who wants a machine gun should have one, including criminals and crazy people. And speaking of criminals, let’s get rid of the Federal courts and the penal system too, it’s just cheaper to string people up in the town square.

What else? NASA? Oh, wait, never mind, that’s a matter of national pride – as long as it’s a democrat who’s reducing the manned spaceflight budget.  Sorry. Forget I suggested it.

How about faith based government programs?  There’s a couple hundred million wasted dollars – besides, shouldn’t the churches be paying for that abstinence-only nonsense? Seriously though, I’ve never understood how not having sex could cost money. 

How about the internet?  Who paid for that? It’s going to be damned hard to organize your unemployed friends into a tea party, but damnit no sacrifice is too big for liberty! Right?

Hell, we cut enough, and we can get the government down to one person – probably named Rush or Sarah – they used to call that a King or Queen. Monarchies are generally smaller and cheaper than democracies, but of course you have to put up with incest spawned weak chinned idiots and the occasional war of succession.

Seriously, I’m all ears, where do we start cutting first?

What?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Small government is fine when you’re living in the 18th century and you rarely travel more than ten miles from your home where you grow most of what you need to survive. Your education is the same as your grandfather’s, your technology is too. Communications consists of letters delivered by mule and word of mouth when you get into town once a month. The land, sea, and lakes are vast enough, and unpopulated enough, that you can take what you like without regard for conservation. Same with your waste, you can shit in a hole and pile your rubbish ten feet deep in the dump behind your log cabin – and when you’re ass deep in sewage and trash, you just dig another hole and light the trash on fire – and if you burn your cabin down in the process well too damned bad because there ain’t nobody to help you.  Six out of ten children die before their second birthday and that’s just how it is, just like the small pox and measles and mumps and typhoid and polio epidemics that ravage your community once every decade.  You don’t need a federal reserve, you make about ten dollars a month if you’re lucky, which you keep in a Mason jar hidden in a hollow tree beside the barn.  And if you don’t like it, you can pack up your wagon and move West, killing the natives along the way without consequence and nobody can tell you different.  When you get out west, well you’d better go heeled, because if you cross a man you’re liable to end up in swinging on the end of a rope or left on the plains for the buzzards while the outlaws rape your wife and children.  If you’re lucky, you can hew a cabin from the sod of the plains and break your back planting corn and hand threshed wheat and hoping that rain or the snow or prairie fires don’t wipe you out – or some cattle rancher with a dozen hired guns dams up the creek and leaves you high and dry. Or hostile natives come to count coup on you and yours.  Or somebody decides you’re not Christian enough to suit them and burns you out. And God help you if somebody discovers gold or silver or oil and the opportunists come flooding in, driving up prices beyond your reach and squatting on your land – because unless the Federal Marshal happens by, you’re basically fucked, and maybe even then depending how crooked he is.

But, hey, at least you don’t have to worry about big government. Right?

The truth of the matter is that we are a nation of well over 300 million.  We live shoulder to should in a highly industrialized high tech environment.  We are surrounded by people who covet what we have. Hell, we covet what we have. Our resources are finite and if they aren’t managed they’ll either be used up by ruthless greedy bastards or one son of bitch will end up owning it all – and that probably won’t be you, Rockefeller, trust me here.  Most of our consumer products come from outside of our borders, so does the fuel to run our economy, and so does a significant fraction of our food. Look around, if there was no government enforcement and regulation you’d be living ten feet deep in trash and industrial waste and if it wasn’t for the Fed you’d be standing in the charity line for your cup of thin watery barley soup – and you’d be wondering if this portion of gruel would be the one that finally kills you with dysentery or salmonella or heavy metals.  Forget all that manly American man stuff of living off the land, the fish would be long fished out, and the deer long dead or penned up on private hunting lands – on the other hand I suspect the rats and roaches would be plentiful.

Folks I’ve been to countries that have small, or even non-existent, government, where the citizens pay little in the way of taxes and the government mostly leaves them alone.  Where poor people live in hovels and shit in the streets and die at the hands of the quick and the strong and the ruthless.  I’ve been to Central and South America and Central Africa and the Middle East and Asia and more third world shitholes than I care to name – and I’ve seen what happens when 300 million people are jammed together under a  government that doesn’t give a shit.

But, then again, maybe that’s the plan.

Maybe that’s exactly the plan.

A couple decades of squalor and poverty and homeless slums and those countries will be outsourcing their jobs to us.

Yeah!

Call it the Tea Party Job Stimulus Program.

25 comments:

  1. Note: I'm not saying the government couldn't use some overhaul - especially in the area of Senate procedural rules. And I'm not saying that there isn't wasteful spending - and that includes the some part of the federal stimulus package.

    But, small government isn't in the cards. It make a great slogan, but it's a chimera.

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  2. I find the concept of small government rather laughable in the close up view. Sure, get rid of Federal government jobs. Then promptly go out and hire contractors to get that work done. At three times the price.

    I say get rid of the FDA -- who cares about safe food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, supplements? Oh wait, they already passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), so you have no idea what's in those supplements anyway. Just kill a moose and eat it.

    Good rant. I wish I could really add something to it, besides my silliness above.

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  3. I like your silliness, it's sort of what I was aiming for.

    ;)

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  4. One thing you got (sorta) wrong...at least about teh gayz; this guy got booed off the stage for protesting a gay group being invited to CPAC.

    In fact, if you go to YouTube and enter the search "booed at CPAC", you'll have trouble figuring out who they didn't boo.

    It seems like the Democrats have been too fractured for years to get anything done. I say, "Let's cheer on the nutbags doing it to the Republicans." It's their turn to shoot themselves in the foot.

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  5. hehheh - excellent!

    The one question I asked the last guy who went off in my direction about smaller gummint, "So what's your suggestion?" Totally blank look.

    It's frustrating for a lot of people - but the finger pointing and yelling and blame and bickering has to stop so there can be real discourse into the concerns. I try to be calm...


    parth - The other Vader.

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  6. But they've got these heavy books of fiction that tell them how great it'll be when everything is market driven and unicorns fart rainbows. So everything will be fine.

    you know, except for that whole surf and turf concept of government (Might makes Right).

    Yep, unrepentant school bullies who haven't realized the rest of us have become better shots.

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  7. goddam fine rant there, Jim.

    Here are some things we can get rid of to cut DOD's budget:

    1. DOD quality assurance inspectors. After all, if the contractors tell us the product is in spec, it must be.

    2. DOD auditors. Contractors are big companies and know how to account for costs & bill them accurately.

    3. Naval aviators. And their planes. Just use UAVs piloted by airmen out of Nellis.

    4. Air force pilots. And their planes. Just use UAVs piloted by highschool gamers from their living rooms.

    5. Marine Expeditionary Forces. With global precision strike, hypersonic missiles, and MAHEM warheads, we can take care of business from 2,000 miles away with just a push of the button. That collateral damage was going to happen anyway.

    But I kid. Actually, I just ran across a DOD IG report that actually advocated a simple two-step process that, if implemented, would save DOD $100 - $300 million each year. I just wrote about it for an upcoming blog entry.

    1. Tell contractors to stop buying titanium at market prices.

    2. Have the DOD enter into long-term strategic sourcing agreements with the three US titanium manufacturers. As DOD accounts for more than 75% of the demand, there is some leverage there. Give the titanium to the contractors.

    Okay, that's a pittance of a savings. But it would be REAL savings and could be easily done.

    Did I say nice rant? First rate.

    fiestim = party time! See you in Cabo!

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  8. Spot on as usual, Jim.

    But I think the Tea Partiers are right to an extent when they say government is broken. There's no such thing as middle ground anymore between the parties.

    Unlike this fantastic Star Wars: The Clone Wars quote: "Compromise is a virtue to be cultivated, not a weakness to be despised," our current political climate makes compromise a weakness.

    What was the bill recently that several Republicans co-sponsored, but when it came time for a vote, they voted against it?

    I'll be honest, those people frighten me. The extreme right has proved over and over that they are masterful in controlling their message and manipulating and playing on people's fears (because "real" Americans know that it is time to take their country back from the homosexuals, Jews, and coloreds).

    Glenn Beck has openly called for revolution (and Fox News fans the flames). In Mother Jones, there's a fascinating/scary story on the Oath Keepers -- members of the military, police forces, and veterans who are ready to take up arms against what they see as an "increasingly tyrannical government" (http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/03/oath-keepers).

    I have a relative who is a college professor, and he buys into all the crap Sarah et al. spew out (although I've had to remind him that as a college professor, he's one of the elite Sarah hates [at least he doesn't teach at an Ivy League school]).

    I was on the PolitiFact page on Facebook, and in the comments section, one of what presumably must have been a Tea Partier firmly declares: "I do not look to socialist foreign governments for insight into America. They need to learn from us." How can you debate, let alone even reason, with someone with a mind so firmly closed? Not even merely firmly closed...nailed shut.

    More and more I believe George Orwell was a prophet; he just called it 25 years too early. I think the Newspeak word blackwhite is particularly fitting these days:

    Blackwhite is defined as follows:
    ...this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.

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  9. This seems funnier after some homebrew, but every time I hear 'Tea Party' I think of a blanket spread out in some back yard and a little wicker basket - the tiny cups and saucers and the big beefy 'Mericun men and lots of hairy forearms and hands holding them up - pinkies raised... A little girl that talks like a Minnesotan 'splainin' to them how things are supposed to be. My inner child is giggling his ass off.


    nongun - anything that ain't a Smith and by god Wesson or a Damn Sam Colt ::snort-spit::

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  10. Most of my adult life I did electronic maintenance, or ran a department that did it.

    Our most common result on a trouble ticket was 'Instructed operator/user'.

    Government ain't broke, and if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    RTFM

    Oh there are horrible inefficiencies. I currently work for the Feds mostly entering payroll data. I could design my job out of existence in about 15 minutes, along with most of my department, at no cost or time lost to the government. My boss and I are both amazed at the methods used, but both of us need the work and nobody would listen anyway. 13 more weeks and I qualify for unemployment.

    But this bloat has been with us since at least Eisenhower, I wasn't paying much attention during the Truman years personally.

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  11. Truman certainly predates me as well, but if you're looking for an example of effective cost cutting, you don't need to look much further than the Truman Committee.

    And if Truman was around today, I think it would be a sheer joy listening to him berate the Tea Parties. He wasn't especially reticent when commenting about idiocy.

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  12. You know, I was going to mention Truman, but this post was way too long already and I really didn't want the trolls pointing out how Truman doesn't count because of the end of WWII and all.

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  13. Sure, plenty of things I would fix about the government (my employer). But shrinking it isn't one of them. (Although if I could shrink it by one person I'd be a much happier woman...)

    My current source of amusement: Nutjob Joe Stack, bane of IRS buildings? His daughter lives in Norway because it has better social services. Brilliant.

    (She definitely lives in Norway, though there are a couple different takes on the story in online news media.)

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  14. I'm finding it hysterical watching the various loons try to determine exactly what kind of terrorist Stack was, with one side saying he was a teabagger and the other side saying he was a liberal commie.

    Uh, fellas? He was a fucking nut with an airplane who hated the IRS. And he is not the first one. The truth of the matter is that he does sound a lot like some of the anti-tax tea baggers. No deep mystery.

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  15. Jim, I'm actually talking about Truman's work early in the war. Nobody really expected his committee to have much effect (or cause much trouble) since he was only given a $15,000 annual budget to work with. His committee is credited with saving enough to make a 33,000% return on his budget. Not too shabby.

    And there's a mass TeaBagger Cranial Explosion going on over on Sen. Scott Brown's FaceBook page. Happily, empty heads make less of a mess.

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  16. I figured that's what you meant, but like I said I also figured people would look at the end of WWII and call it a freebie. But I'm with you. Again we're back to Republican Small Government being nothing but a myth.

    And Scott Brown's Facebook page - holy shit, dude, what a bunch of goons. RINO RINO RINO! These people need to get a new tune.

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  17. Here's a comment from Brown's FaceBook page that's both typical and a perfect example of folks proudly shouting their ignorance. FTW.

    "Well I do NOT know whats in the "jobs bill" But I do know the first stimulus did nothing to turn the job market around and the jobs bill is a fancy name for Stimulus II....."

    Sorta like saying he knows penicillin comes from mold and mold is Oooogey, so penicillin must be bad. Idiots!

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  18. Holy crap - excellent editorial!

    One of the interesting things I've noted is that many people confuse the concept with the execution. because of a few bad apples, the entire tree does not need to be cut down...because some people are able to scam medicare does not mean the program is a failure and needs to be eliminated - it means some work must be done to clean up the cracks.

    I find it amazing that people can require 100.000% success about whatever their favorite whipping boy is and anything less is a failure. When you are talking millions of anything, a handful of errors is not a failure, just something to be resolved.

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  19. Great post, Jim.

    You have to wonder if some of these people are dishonest, stupid or just crazy. Do they really understand what it means to go back to the end of the 18th Century? (After all, going back to the "original" Constitution means, if it means anything, going back to the pre-Marbury document, so you're rewinding the clock back to no later than 1803.)

    A lot of the "issues" the small-gov't crowd has were resolved by the American Civil War (Federal power trumps states' rights) and World War II (the United States won because of a strong centralized government--a small-government Federation wouldn't have been a major player in Europe; on the plus side, I guess war with Japan would have been avoided--though it seems having much of our trade dominated by the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere kind of would be a bigger entry on the minus side).

    Do they know what they're saying at all?

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  20. Is there a coherent writeup of those stats on gov't size and spending in conservative - vs - liberal administrations? I'd love to get those stats for my own similar ranting purposes. :-)

    Thanks!

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  21. Laurie, you can find both current and past budget figures at the Gov Printing Office website: www.gpoaccess.com/usbudget.


    No hyperlink sorry, I'm posting from my mobile


    Eric, I think these people are willfully ignorant. The level of stupidity is exemplified perfectly by Nathan's last post.

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  22. I've been emailing some of your recent rants to my parents' Presto HP Printing Mailbox -- they aren't on the Internet -- and my mother said she had to buy another ream of paper last weekend so as not to miss any pages. So sing it, Jim!

    Dr. Phil

    domic -- a dominant comic

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  23. What I find interesting is the contrast between Neo-Cons who try and rally the "Tea Party" to them, and Ron Paul and those like him who seem to be the current ideological center of the movement.

    The obvious place is defense. You have Sarah "BOMB IRAN!" Palin opposed to Ron "no military force outside our borders" Paul. On foriegn policy, one is inhumanely loonie, the other is a nuanced argument that we need to be openly dealing with as a country.

    I also find people like Beck parroting Paul without understanding him (re: the critiques of Wilson) to be more than a little hilarious.

    Paul's historical narrative is limited; the declining personal liberty for citizens part, for example, is completely accurate for what it is, while still ignoring that the percentage of the population with the vote has massively increased in the same time period. But it is still more nuanced and accurate than *most* American historical narratives of the 20th century. He is not hopped up on Jingoisms about American supremacy, at least.

    I keep hoping that some person who is not completely insane on social issues and the economy will come along and pluck out the decent parts of Paul's platform and fix the lunatic parts, and in so doing hijack the teapartiers in a rational direction. Very few things are scarier to me than the prospect of someone with Ann Coulter's "I agree with Ron Paul on everything but foriegn policy" viewpoint hijacking the netroots movement and succeeding with it.

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  24. Jim,

    Wow! What a wonderful rant. Man!

    Several here speculate as to WHY these people are so blindingly ignorant. The late George Carlin explained it all here - They Own You.

    Thanks for this. I'm saving it forever!

    SP

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  25. ...and sadly it isn't only america that is in this state of affairs. Welcome to Canada. Apparently the infection crosses borders. Oh well, misery loves company.

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