Same as The Old Boss

You thought you were getting something different?

“Hollywood” hasn’t been giving you anything different for years, and you bought it.  While the critics have analyzed it all and told you how great and new it all is.  Yet, it has all been done before, to the point where many of the movies have literally been recycled (Here’s a bonus 20 more).  Fashion hasn’t been giving you anything new for decades, and you bought it, while the fashionistas raved about how the beautiful people were decked out in daring new styles never seen before.  Music on the radio (terrestrial and satellite) have become more and more homogeneous with every passing year as they have become more and more consolidated, while you bought it.

And, your political parties have become more and more impossible to distinguish from one another, while the pundits have screamed louder and louder about how different they are, while you bought it.  When the reality is that if you removed the party labels, and the names; if you simply listed their “accomplishments”, you would be hard pressed to distinguish any of the last 5 presidents from each other.  In fact, with two exceptions, you would be very hard pressed to distinguish any of the last 9 from each other simply by their accomplishments or policies.  Those two exceptions are Carter and Nixon.  One being simply too nice to have accomplished anything in such a tarnished and cut throat office, and the other being so criminal that he made the others look almost decent.

For an excellent, though brief, analysis of those policies and achievements pop over here.  I’ll wait.

I disagree with the conclusions that the author has reached, because I see that history has taught us one very important truth.  The power is always with the people.  The people always have the ability to change the government at their will.  The only questions are whether it will be done peacefully and what form will come after.  Other than that, it is matters of details – how, when, and at what cost.

It is not too late for “we the people” to change the course of America.  It is not too late to reclaim it from the “corporations are people” group.  It doesn’t have to even be done in a violent manner.  We can do it through grassroots efforts and through the ballot box, but to do so, we have to actually wake up and pay attention.  We have to get our noses out of the boob tube, and care more about this:

NSA Rejecting Every FOIA Request Made by U.S. Citizens

than we do about this:

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

I talk to people and they tell me we need to change the way we vote.  Some one suggested the other day that we should change to the Instant Runoff Voting system.  There are several problems with this, but the largest is that it doesn’t actually address the problem.  People are still funding and voting for Democrats and Republicans because they believe they have no real alternatives.  This plurality voting system isn’t really going to change that.  People are still going to place the R or D at the top because they’re still going to believe that those are the only two viable alternatives.  It is that belief that has to be broken through.  Until that is done, people will continue to hold their noses and vote for one or the other, and then continue to bitch and moan about it for the next two or four years, whining the whole time about how “we have no control” and “they only give us these choices.”



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About Just Torch

Author of the SCIAMAGE column a space devoted to American political and social commentary and analysis. It is unabashedly liberal, but makes every effort to present clear, verifiable facts and sound reasoning. It also makes a commitment to clearly distinguish between facts and opinions. View all posts by Just Torch

4 responses to “Same as The Old Boss

  • Dave Troland

    I know this goes against your worldview, JT, but I think there’s a problem here of false equivalency. For example, Obama’s drone war is not like the war on Iraq any more than cat is like a tiger. Bush’s misguided ideology cost us trillions in dollars and unquantifiable heartbreak here and in Iraq. Obama’s drone program is targeted against known enemies and it seems to be having success disabling Al Qaeda. Where are the Clinton or Obama equivalents to the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that when tied to Medicare Part D and the unbudgeted wars result in changing the economic security of America now and for decades? Did either Obama or Clinton oversee a “Great Recession”? And although the Clinton era repeal of Glass-Steagall was a component of the recession, Republicans controlled the House and Senate (as they did for 6 of Clinton’s 8 years) and Democrats opposed the bill until some legislation against redlining and privacy was added.
    If you take away the choices of R and D you are left with nothing in the system we have now. All any 3rd party candidate is likely to do force a loss for the ideology someone supports. Candidate Obama could not be president Obama for 2 reasons, the recession of 2008 and the loss of compromise in the House. I admit it’s a little hopeless the way things look right now with money as the driving force in politics. Amending the Constitution to “firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.” will almost have to be the first steps. Now and always, people protesting in the streets will help shape political thought.

    • Just Torch

      We have been dealing with the false equivalency of the right and center right for years. I am curious how you can argue that Obama’s drone war is any different when it is targeted against the exact same people. The only difference is that he has stepped it up dramatically. Obama has been a civil libertarian’s worst nightmare. He has convinced many people that he is a liberal, just as Clinton did, while continuing to curtail liberties, with the lie that he would veto the indefinite detention of Americans, and then instead signing it into law with a statement that his administration would never use it. With his claims during the campaign that he would end the domestic spying on Americans, and then not doing so.

      Where is Obama’s equivalent to the Bush tax cuts? Did you miss that he renewed them? He either lacked the spine or the intention to fight for ending those, as he said he was going to, repeatedly. Clinton not only removed Glass-Steagall, but increased the spending for the “war on drugs” more than any other president. Had he wanted to, he could have vetoed anything congress sent through. They had control, but unless I am misremembering, even during the Contract on America days they did not have a veto proof majority. He was in favor of the removal. He is just as responsible and to defend him is to be partisan, while ignoring the facts.

      Your belief that third party candidates are not viable is precisely my point. It is that belief which keeps the parties in power and keeps the power in the hands of the political and economic elite. For as long as you and others continue to believe and act on that belief by supporting those parties, then they will remain so. The day that enough people stop, then things will change. For my part, I hope it will occur peacefully through economical and political votes, and the republic will remain intact, rather than through the same violent revolution which birthed our nation, and almost all other nations.

      You do seem to have misunderstood one point though. I do not see things as being hopeless. I simply recognize that the ONLY hope lies with the people, and I am somewhat disparing of when enough people will care sufficiently to make the change. I see other so called liberals saying, “who cares if the government is watching. I feel safe”. I am reminded of the famous “When they came for me there was no one left to speak” quote. When even the Liberals are willing to ignore this kind of betrayal, and would rather feel “safe” then I fear we are well on our way to losing the hope of positive change at the ballot box.

  • Dave Troland

    That would be Obama drone war vs. Iraq War. Not the same people (no Al Qaeda in Iraq then) and not the same loss of life, cost, waste, or magnitude in any way. Not equivalent.
    Historically 3rd party candidates get a few percent of the vote. Since the electorate is split very nearly 50/50 then all a liberal could accomplish by voting for the MOST liberal candidate would be to take a few percent from the second most liberal candidate likely giving the election to a conservative. The only exception so far has been Ross Perot who garnered 19% of the popular vote (0 electoral) and may have helped Clinton win, although he had support from both sides of the spectrum. This is really just a practical thing for me–just math.
    I’m not sure what the answer is to get more diversity in elections but with rules as they are, I continue to believe a 3rd party left-leaning candidate would only result in a right-leaning presidency.
    Something like the extension of the Bush tax cuts is dependent on context. It wasn’t a giveaway to the rich for the Dems, they were only 2 years into a sputtering recovery and traded the extension for unemployment benefits and a cut in payroll taxes.
    I would not hold Obama on a pedestal for his decisions relative to security. I think his inexperience hurts him because he has selected the safest choices instead of more principled ones for the reason that so much was at stake and mistakes would be devastating. He’s been comparatively good on Green and on working to protect the Safety Net. The ACA may need tweaks but it has already begin to curb costs in healthcare and soon allows millions more Americans to get treated when they need it under Medicaid. The stimulus bill likely reversed a descent into a true Depression.

  • Just Torch

    You are splitting hairs to try to prove a point which really can’t be proven. Obama simply continued and expanded a war that already existed. The Iraq. Afghanistan and “drone” wars are one and the same. That’s how they were sold to the American public. Yes, they are technically two different wars, but in a very practical and real sense, they are not.

    “Not the same loss of life”? No, I suppose not. They’re different lives. Different people. What a humanitarian. What a perfect example of a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Come on, are really serious or are you simply trolling here? I will assume for the moment that you are serious, and that your final paragraph contains what is the real difference between our perspectives. You are willing to accept “comparatively good” as though it is actually good, whereas I am advocating for real and actual change. When I am “defending” Obama it is only in the sense that I am defending accuracy, and I do wind up in the uncomfortable position of defending him a lot more frequently that I would like to, because so many people attack him for reason that have nothing to do with anything approaching reality. There are many legitimate reasons to have issues with this center right POTUS who is leaning further and further right all the time, and all I ask is that people confine their attacks to those legitimate issues rather than bogus manufactured scandals.

    The ACA is an improvement. Yes. It doesn’t go nearly far enough, but certainly, if it ever gets fully implemented then it will be a good step in the right direction. I have previously written on that topic.

    You further illustrate my point though that it is simply your belief and support of the two parties that keep out the third parties. Well, that media coverage and state support. In fact, as I have also previously written, one other significant factor is the unconstitutional support that the states give to those parties via the funding of the primaries. (c.f., )

    Remember that the Republican party didn’t exist until the 1850s and the Democratic party until the 1840s. When they came about, they were not established dominant parties. They had to build up too. But, it starts with people stopping this ridiculous inertia.

    The Democrats are a center right party, and they are dealing with terrorists at the far right in the Republicans. Every time they make a concession, the political center is dragged further and further to the right. That’s what happens with a terrorist. You concede, and they demand more. The Democrats then shift further and further right. And, then the majority of the public complains about how much they hate both parties, while simultaneously identifying with one or the other.

    I well remember Ross Perot. He was a frightening figure to those of us on the actual left. He did NOT have support from anyone that I knew that self-identified as a liberal. He had support only from the right, and the right wing of the Democrats. The so-called “moderate Democrats”. I am unlikely to ever forget hearing Ross say that if elected he would use the military to conduct house to house searches for drugs and weapons in the inner cities. What was most scary about him was the amount of support he got.

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