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June 23, 2011

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Jon, I am looking forward to a new book or two. As much as I enjoy this blog, an article once a week for a while is ok with me. Also maybe once a week you could suggest a one line topic and ask your followers to write on the topic. You know kinda like a professor!

I truly appreciate your efforts.

One explanation for Obama's odd passivity in the face of our national decline is a bit of political jujitsu: he's actually "leading from behind". That is, he recognizes that the nation is now so fundamentally fragmented that instead of deploying his bully pulpit, he lets other partisans exhaust themselves in debate whereupon President Cool swoops in and brokers a deal. I'd like to believe he really is the Roadrunner and the Republicans are Wile E Coyote, but the lurid cartoon before us pretty much shows Obama capitulating at every cliff and railroad crossing.

The next capitulation will likely be the debt-ceiling hostage crisis. Republicans won't agree to any tax hikes even though the Democrats have preemptively given up trillions in spending cuts (but not in Defense, or GOP-favored sectors like agribusiness, Big Oil, Big Pharma, or highway pork. No just "entitlements" and other social spending). As poker players, our team might as well be Belgium.

The crisis we're facing is one specifically engineered by Republican practitioners of the political black arts. It's about legitimacy. Do Democrats have any right to govern? After all, if their president is not even a native-born American and barely a Christian (if even that), why should citizens suffer his oppressive rule? Republicans, by contrast, are "real Americans", putting "country first", yet getting taxed to death so welfare queens and young strapping bucks can live high on the hog.

Ultimately, the problem is the president himself. Perhaps he thought that anyone named Barack Hussein Obama, Jr would not have to prove every day and in every way his flag-pinned Americanness. So instead of rallying the nation to a fundamental showdown with Republican nihilists, he co-opted his own base and "led from behind". And Republicans understood exactly who they were dealing with at that point. Not only could he be rolled, he was cooperating with them in that very process.

Nothing excites fury and blood lust more than the idea that one's own leader is weak. And so Republicans played their hand in two diametrically opposite ways. One is that Obama is a tyrant and the other is that Obama is a weakling. Or as Stephen Colbert put it, " He's Jimmy Carter with Hitler's mustache".

The aura of Weimar floats above our national circus as hideous clowns whip the masses into greater frenzies of loathing. Republicans compel our interest and fear with a phantasmagoria of scapegoats and sawdust villains. The 2012 election will be a day of reckoning and purgation. America shall be America once again! God help us all.


Once a week is fine, Jon . . and glad your paying gigs are demanding more time. As to the whole socio/eco/political morass, I'm intrigued by John Huntsman's candidacy because there are signs he just MIGHT be an adult among the strident children. Perhaps he has hidden cojones?

Hidden cajones y esposa's tambien?

I'll miss the volume, just don't do a column on Mondays. Any other day is fine, its just that Kunstler, Hedges, and Krugman all come out with columns on Monday. I don't want to be a Johnny-come-lately.

I really thought that maybe the noise would have calmed down by now, but it's rising with the next presidential election circus. No amount of pain or blathering has brought the Righteous to Enlightenment.

Follow your muse.

Once a week is great.

Love to hear more about Boeing as they are in PHX, SEA and LAX.

Your links are great as posted here and the ones you Tweet.

I'm very happy at your success and have learned much from your PHX history writing. Your blog has really got me considering the future which I spent little time wondering about before.

Cheers!

This blog needs a few contentious, acerbic trolls. There's far too much reasoned thought and mutual respect here.

Twice a week is better but once a week is just fine.

We should all feel fortunate to read Pulitzer-worthy columns like this just once a week. Do what you must, Jon. Based on the comments thus far, it seems most Rogue readers appreciate what you've given us thus far, and will happily take what you can offer us in the future.

One of the most fascinating things about Rogue is the unwillingness of those with differing viewpoints to post comments. This is especially a contrast to my old blog at AzCentral, or even my current blog at the Seattle Times. The best we get is an argument between Soleri and PhxSUNSfan, both progressive urbanists (and these are good, don't get me wrong).

Each post gets thousands of unique visitors from Arizona. My policy is only to take down the trolls that engage in personal attacks. Otherwise, this is an open forum. I wish the other side would weigh in. The best I can suggest is that you post a link to Rogue on a relevant AzCentral or New Times story — the earlier the better — and maybe we can draw a few in.

The morning weather forecast:From atop South Mountain at 6:00 AM
Hot; well that's to be expected.
Pollution: Horrible, unfit for human breathing.
Visibility: Near zero(Pollution)
What has man done to this once pristine and beautiful desert? Polluted it. And
Made it unfit to inhabit!

cal, when I returned to Phoenix in 2007 after a few years hiatus, I went to climb Camelback again for the first time in a decade. What I saw astonished me. The brown cloud extended to every horizon. I immediately scurried down the slope, headed for the distant reaches of the Valley, and thereafter refused to reenter the soup. It is indeed unfit to inhabit. Those poor children.

Heh. If you're writing hellfire posts like this one, well, then once a week can certainly be nourishment enough!

Great breakdown, and I'm going to check out Bullock's book myself.

Matt Taibbi's Michele Bachmann piece in the current Rolling Stone is necessary reading. See The Front Page for link.

I'll confess I hate to see Talton's output shrink. Maybe it's the hypnosis of shared values but it makes life in this sadly alien environment tolerable if only for a few hours a week.

Many bloggers post haphazardly. Those that have a set schedule to their posts tend to focus my wandering eye. I also read Kunstler, The Oil Drum, Climate Progress, Calculated Risk, Steve Benen, Kevin Drum, Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Paul Krugman and Andrew Sullivan when he isn't slinging his mystical/libertarian bullshit. Some of them do short posts through the day, essentially quickie analyses on the fly. Nonetheless, their comment sections are often lively and contentious.

So, why read bloggers you already agree with? I get into this discussion with a friend who insists that reading for ideological confirmation is the worst thing an open mind can do. My counterargument is that there simply isn't enough time to sift, analyze, sort and decide. Rather, you take writers whose work you know in order to approach the stadium-sized information dump with trained guides. Good polemicists are not hacks. They're concerned with the truth and will admit mistakes or even crucial rethinking of their worldviews. There's also a community here dedicated to critiquing one another's ideas. Andrew Sullivan even dedicates an "award" named for Matt Yglesias that honors pundits for challenging their tribe's dogma.

There are a few sites that are popular that I occasionally go to in order remind myself why this openness is crucial. When I see liberals shutting down debate and engaging in groupthink, I'm witnessing minds closing for the sake of solidarity. Firedoglake and Americablog are like this, and all-too often, The Daily Kos and Balloon Juice. We have to be free to think "out loud" because that's the only dialectic that will midwife something close to truth.

I used to argue like a drunk in a barroom at AZCentral.com. Those days are over. I'd rather walk away now than blindly lash out at "idiots". That Michele Bachmann piece describes just counterproductive this can be.

Now thats a mouth full and well said Soleri. Keep it coming

Soleri:

The crisis we're facing is one specifically engineered by Republican practitioners of the political black arts. It's about legitimacy. Do Democrats have any right to govern?

--------

Jon Talton:

And indeed, the War Between the States never ended. For now, the South has won, with some concessions given up when liberals briefly ran the country.

--------

My thinking lately has been towards an attempt to condense our recent history. To sum up the pulse of our times, and figure out where the heartbeat of America is marching us...

It should be apparent to everyone now that Republicans refuse to tolerate or work with a Democratic president. They did not tolerate Clinton, they have not tolerated or worked with Obama.

This trend line has taken them to the point where the sovereign debt of the nation is less important than reflexive party discipline. When Limbaugh said the he hopes "Obama fails," what he really meant was "let's make it so no matter the cost".

All this republican recalcitrance might be fine if we could trust the Democratic party to play with equal ferocity and spite. But we all know this is not the case. Democrats will work with the next republican president. They always have...

To realize all this is to know that the Republicans will win in the short and long run. It cannot be any other way. Medicare will be damped. Medicaid will be gutted. Social Security will become less generous. And global warming will continue on apace.

This is what naturally happens when a unyielding force meets a moveable object. Or to return to Jon's overarching historical idea, we have our own version of the Munich agreement. But instead of ceding land, the appeasement to the angry right looks like this:

Obama will agree to talk like Hoover. He will also agree to a short Republican leash in which he is only allowed to start new wars (and that barely). The Republicans will agree to cut Medicare and tax cuts for billionaires rather than allow the country's sovereign debt to fall unpaid. In return Obama will agree to play golf with Wall Street banksters and the Republican party brass and listen carefully to their punch lists. The Republicans, quite generously I think, will agree not make him caddy their clubs...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

Thanks for a great column, Jon. Even though it pretty much killed my appetite, it sharpened my focus on our delusions. You are indeed one of a kind!

Koreyel, I just posted this on Steve Benen's site but I'll share it here since it takes your point and tweaks it a bit:


....we desperately need two national parties. What we have today is one national party (the Democrats) and one regional party from the South and its ideological outposts (the Republicans). The trouble is that the regional party only need supply culture-war twaddle to its zealous believers whereas Democrats have to persuade, deal, and compromise. This is why we have the current crisis. The regional party has no felt affinity or loyalty to the nation as a whole. It has its dogma and catechism but no functional commitment to anything beyond itself. Democrats can't simply emulate the regional party without also collapsing the national project. I wish there were more real patriots on the right but I don't confuse neo-Confederates with this wishful thinking.

Soleri:

Democrats can't simply emulate the regional party without also collapsing the national project.

--------

I disagree with that. And I submit FDR's "I welcome their hate" as evidence. It is not that this Obama "dog don't hunt," rather, it is that this dog don't even bark at crooks and liars.

He has allowed himself to be taken hostage by the Republicans. He continued to kick confrontation down the road until this moment now. And it smells to me like he still lacks backbone to say: "Enough, you do not play politics with the national debt. And I put the danger of this reef to America squarely on you Republicans."

I think this guy's comment over at Kleiman's place is spot on accurate, and so far, the best thing I have read today:

"Traditionally a president’s strongest year is his first. In many ways Obama wasted it. He endlessly preached bipartisanship” while failing to support his own party. He failed to provide much leadership at all during most of the health care debate. Public opinion polls indicated a majority of Americans preferred single payer if it was clearly described. They preferred expanding Medicaid. They prefer nearly all the features in the bill that was finally passed other than its corporatist dimension. Here we have leadership fail on a massive scale. He had a large Democratic majority and with the help of the incompetent Harry Reid, blew it. He exemplifies the bankruptcy of the corporatist Clinton crowd. He does not deserve to win again, but given the depravity of his opposition, his winning is likely preferable to those who will run against him."


http://www.samefacts.com/2011/06/affordable-care-act/was-it-a-political-mistake-to-pursue-health-care-reform/#comment-71292

Well the elephants in the room today are Soleri and Koreyel. Excellent stuff guys. It takes me a while to digest but I think I got it, Roosevelt was not a chicken shit?

Hope you dont mind Koreyel I borrowed your god quiz. If I owe you let me know?

Koreyel, I fully agree with your bitter disappointment with Obama. But 2011 is vastly different than 1934. FDR had a country with a strong left that was the primary political vector for a large working class. Today, we have a weak left that tends to express itself with kvetching not over the status of workers but divergent issues such as gay rights, urban and mass transit concerns, reproductive freedom, environmental issues, and racial/ethnic status. We can't make Obama do anything and Obama knows it. We're simply too weak and disjointed as a political force. Compare and contrast to the 30% of this nation that would vote for Sarah Palin, repeal modernism, make their Nordic Jesus the official God of America, and carpet bomb the Middle East because Muslims deserve it. What's our side? Maybe 5% of the nation. Are we willing to fight a Holy War on behalf of our liberal ideals? No, because we tend to make childish demands for instant progress rather than work hard year in and year out for our vision of America.

Yes, Obama's bipartisan enchantment made a bad situation much worse. My suspicion is that Obama felt his re-election depended not on making his base happy but on keeping independents from straying too far to the right. If so, this may well prove to be a stunning miscalculation. The economy is sputtering because of an inadequate stimulus. Since independents are mostly underinformed citizens, they'll blame Obama more than the Republicans who did everything possible to ensure the economy would remain weak.

All that said, Obama came to Washington with a corporatist Democratic Party that was more keen to make Wall Street happy than Main Street. Yes, Obama is very much in this camp himself. But no, Obama couldn't change the reality of a political landscape littered with the corpses of Southern Democrats and Western liberals. It's useful to remember how a Morris Udall, a stalwart liberal, could run and win in Arizona from the '60s through the early '90s. His district is represented today by Gabby Giffords, a necessarily conservative Democrat. She almost lost lost November as did Raul Grijalva, a real liberal. What's happened to Tucson? Better yet, ask what's happened to America.

@Soleri sez:

"But 2011 is vastly different than 1934."

Ain't it the truth. I'd like to throw something out there for you guys.

We know we're hitting a resource crunch, and I think it's safe to say that "they" (the corporate and financial movers) are aware of this, too - much as they're loathe to admit it, for reasons that are pretty easy to see.

This time around, "public works" projects would be more zero-sum in terms of wealth distribution than in 1934, when loads of oil were still in the pipelines, as it were.

What I mean is that back then manufacturers, contractors and their financiers, the ones that would make some coin off of the WPA, also probably grudgingly acknowledged that subsequent infrastructure would be useful in the long-term in growing their interests.

It seems that now that's less of an incentive, and perhaps these folks, as greedy now as they were then, realize that the only "growth" that they can now personally realize is the Ponzi game that they are alighting upon us with such a fervor today.

The FIRE sector is all they've got now.

Perhaps that's why their claws are as dug in as deeply as they are and we - our representative government - simply doesn't have an adequate crowbar against these tenacious folks (this is the third major siege against the public sector - the first two occurring during the "Gilded Age" and the "Roaring Twenties.")

This is not an apologia for Obama by any means, BTW. He's weak tea, but that's precisely why he got the nod to run in the first place, right?

Love to hear y'alls thoughts on this...

Let me add that social conservatives clearly take their cues from Nicolae Ceausescu. The first thing the GOP did upon taking over in 2011 was attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. They did this under the guise of stopping taxpayer funds to abortion but the real intent was to deprive low income women of birth control. They've always had elimination of both abortion and birth control as their goal - "pro-lifers" used to admit openly they wanted to overturn Griswold after they got rid of Roe. They failed at the federal level because the Senate and Presidency are in Democratic hands but they did succeed pushing the conversation on reproductive rights in a more reactionary direction. It is now mainstream to suggest that the government shouldn't be subsidizing birth control, even though the majority of Americans approve of both legal contraception and the government helping to pay for it by wide margins.

As conservatives work aggressively to ensure that no woman can refuse a pregnancy, they are also busy cutting social services to the babies that result. When asked about the savagery of those stances they will wave it off with "people shouldn't look to the government to take care of them." Go beg at your nearest church.

Petro, I've said in different words pretty much the same thing here for years. My version runs like this: the "haves" of this nation are locking in their advantages because they know on some unconscious level that the economy has reached a crisis point. Energy has gotten too expensive to finance an-ever expanding economy. By the same token, debt will become unserviceable by the very fact of this contraction. What we're facing is the logical outcome of wholesale denial. It's not quite Malthusian but it is close enough: there is, absent some technological miracle, no way to sustain growth indefinitely. Earth, unfortunately, is finite.

The irony is that our landing would be softer if we could address the problem openly if only the dominant economic sectors didn't choose to distort the debate on behalf of their own interests.

Greed is entirely natural but becomes pathological when fear has completely pushed reason aside. The great Randian reaction is just that: fear pushing reason aside. There isn't enough for everyone, therefore the less fortunate shall suffer first and foremost. Conservative ideals might lack a certain quality of noblesse oblige but they know for sure what "noblesse" is describing. People with assets.

City-states are on the horizon!
Mad Max is in his chariot.

I am loving the comments. So many excellent points made.

One thing to remember is that the reactionary wing of the GOP and big business were **never** reconciled to the New Deal. They were as blind and greedy then as now; one difference is that now they are more slick. They saw no advantage to any New Deal investments. And the reactionary wing took control, pushing 1936 candidate, Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, a moderate Republican, far to the right.

The increasing resistance of big business and Wall Street — FDR was a "traitor to his class — helped make the New Deal something that was never fully realized. Roosevelt's over-reaching on the Supreme Court, and his need to make peace with big business to prepare the nation for war, were of course huge factors, too. But the reactionaries and plutocrats always hated FDR and stopped more far-reaching social democracy from happening.

Today's conservatives have worked overtime to rewrite history, to claim that the New Deal was a failure. This is, as history professor Newt Gingrich would say, bad history. The New Deal was massively successful -- this is a topic for a future post. But it was ultimately half-completed.

FDR built an unusual coalition of liberals, big-city bosses from the Northeast, unions, Southern segregationists, Western populists and more blacks that voted for a Democrat up to that time (yes, blacks used to vote GOP; Daddy King was a Nixon man in 1960). The coalition was inherently unstable. Yet it created the foundation of almost all the goods we went on to enjoy and expand until the liberal crackup in 1968.

This did not occur amid a crisis of coming scarcity, but one that seriously threatened our experiment in self-government. Communism and fascism were seen as viable alternatives. Capitalism had failed. Anything was possible. Not for nothing did FDR say the two most dangerous men in America were Huey Long and Douglas MacArthur. Then in World War II, facing Hitler and Imperial Japan...

It was, as the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, a damned near-run thing.

I second the recommendation to read Taibbi's RS piece on Bachmann. May Kristen Wiig of SNL save us from her as Tina Fey saved us from Palin.

Thanks, soleri, Jon.

@donna:

I read the piece - remember it was a caution *against* laughing at that dangerous woman. It didn't seem all that tongue-in-cheek, either.

I felt like alerting TBogg, but I don't think the snarkmeister would've appreciated it. :)

On the frequency issue, we'll take our Rogue how ever often you can make time to do it. I can see how two fully-formed posts (columns, really) per week are an impossible demand on top of everything else. And we are likewise eager to see the next Mapstone, or Deadline Man II. How about turning one into a very short post or link, and letting the commenters take it from there?

As for the United States, there is a political consensus on only one approach that has any stimulus value: war. Look for more of that. We very may well lose the next big one, however, which will make things very interesting.

Hey! Two days without a new article?! What gives?!

I'm still a little surprised that the drumbeat hasn't begun for intervention in the Sudan. Obviously, war is beginning again there. The new southern state (Juba?) is under threat and the border states are already under siege. The dictatorship in Khartoum is on shaky ground too.

But this all points to a media problem. ALL the MAJOR outlets are focused on giving Bachmann cred. Just saw her on Face the Nation and the interview was predictably softball from what I saw (really I can't bear to watch her for more than a few minutes). Taibbi's piece won't reach enough folks to derail her God-given ego run. There is precious little about Libya (even given all the drama about "war powers" last week), Yemen, Iraq, or Afghanistan (or jobs and the economy).

Sudan has been a poster child for humanitarian intervention much like Rwanda for decades now, but gets the redheaded stepchild treatment and the tragedy will be all over the media for a minute until they are off to the next tea party.

PS -- liked that "go beg at your nearest church" line Donna, especially with all the rhetoric about the gub'ment "forcing" people to be charitable.

PPS -- RS, I agree about FDR. Now the neo-Cons attack Keynes but revert to his policies whenever they need more war or war-material. They then refuse what Keynes advocated after the crisis--increase taxes to pay off the debt and stablize the currency.

Sudan is where China gets oil, so we're not going to trample on that sphere of influence. Libya is where Europe gets oil, thus Britain and France pushed intervention -- also to head off a refugee flood. This on Uncle Sucker's tab, of course. Not to say "humanitarian" goals are absent, but definitely second place.

There is a site out there that has republican Bill Clinton calling Obama a puppet. I got such from a red neck Republican that wants a Republican president. I sent him this response.

Bush Jr was the worst President ever but regarding Obama.

Mike: I like the one about Obama being a puppet.

For the Military Industrial/Wall Street conglomeration.

He has not got the US out of any war theatre
Out of the Philippines
Out of Korea
Out of Germany
Out of NATO
He hasn't legalized drugs. (Would greatly help my Phillip Morris stock)
He hasn't done shit for wilderness. (Hard to find a quiet place to smoke my drugs)
He encourages more population. (Rug Rats)
He hasn’t lifted the Cuban embargo. (Cigars are good for capitalism)
He hasn’t done shit in my opinion. (But like assholes, I got one)
And Only Ron Paul is even on my radar. (Cause I think he enjoys a joint)
All the rest are idiots, bigots and religious whackos. (And need to smoke a joint)
Just so you all don’t get the wrong Idea, I don’t smoke

Regarding “Humanitarian Goals” That’s the only credible thing anyone could say about the invasion of Iraq. However we have killed thousands of innocent people in the humanitarian effort to bring “freedom” and a lot of profit to the current day Krupp’s. All for what, Iraq soon will be ruled by an Ayatollah.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, I believe that the themes for this decade are a combination of "Survival Of The Fittest" and "I've Got Mine".

We all see that the least among us are being squeezed and trampled by state legislatures that have drunk the Grover Norquist cocktail.

Thus, David Brooks is probably right in one respect when he says that stock market equities are NOT the place to be keeping one's dinero nowadays.

Cognitive dissonance rules when the world is turned upside down. Even a money manager like Jeremy Grantham is waking up and smelling a rat. Why hasn't his April quarterly newsletter gotten more traction in the press (maybe that's something for Jon in the Seattle Times)?

http://www.gmo.com/websitecontent/JGLetterALL_1Q11.pdf

But then history in the making -the current inflection point- never gets timely press until it's been long obvious. It almost never gets good press, either.

Where does this go in the long-term? How does progressivism look like in the age of decline? Can there even be an economic progressivism if things get continually worse? Can any government guarantee the basics of life and increasing living standards for all under democracy? Is conservatism the default option now that civilizational achievements of the welfare state (or even human rights) are reverted by circumstances?

The right is wheedling the public into a 'Road to Prosperity' via smaller government which of course they can't deliver - considering the apparent basic math education crisis (fix the deficit by cutting taxes!) they don't give me much hope. If the mainstream cognitive dissonance resolves itself what will their program be? Maybe they don't need one because one way or another we may land back in the 19th century - the tea people just want to get there faster.

Crises automatically make people more conservative so I think in a perpetual crisis progressivism will take a hike and maybe maintain some bastions of boutique liberalism (as soleri said: the gays, the cities, the others, the natures, ...). Unless the Wall street democrats, Modems, etc. have a change of heart and work to distribute the hardships of stagnation and decline fairly. Preferably with some dignity.

The national conversation is not yet at that point. Instead, desperate feel-good exceptionalism rules. Mr. Obama effectively says 'we can do anything we set our minds to because we just shot an old guy in his house.'

I suffer not from “conflicting Ideas” as my limited brain power does not go there. Maybe I qualify to be a Tea Party member.
Shooting the pathetic old guy was good for one thing, Votes. Why not just nuke the rest of those dudes. Maybe India will do it. China is not going to waste a buck on the problem. What we are doing in Afghanistan is nation building at American tax payer expense. Given technology there is not much reason to have anyone in Afghanistan other that a few CIA people to direct the drones. Screw McCain and his generals. Obama should fold the tent.
The web site for GMO by Grantham is right on and has been for the last 50 years. Silent Spring is upon us. It was a crap shoot, poker with no boundaries, to quote Charles Bowden, “The game is over, we are holding a dead man’s hand. “ From Some of the Dead are Still Breathing.
I think this is a good time for me to watch the first "Star Wars" release in 79 and break out my Frank Herbert trilogy "Dune. I lubed my recumbent and my "still suit" is working well. Thanks for the commentary folks but I am still stuck where I have been for years. Sahuaros not people.

Soleri, thanks for the web site. I am a contributing ($$$) member of SWBIODIV and have been passing out their Condoms.
They called the cops on me at the Mormon Temple. If you got to Urban Bean or Gallo Blanco they will confirm I supplied the staff with these Spotted Owl and Big Cat condoms. I also contribute to Jane Goodhall. The reason I can give up a few bucks a year is 5 years ago I sold the 3000 square foot house on South Mountain and moved into my 320 square foot motor home. My lease business car is a Honda civic and I try and walk and ride my recumbent as much as possible. However I do have in storage a Mad Max Honda Ridgeline for when I have to make the big "Getaway." Well I have to go now and slip on a big cat as I have a date with EVE.

I would like to say I am giving the optimist's a go as I am reading Fred Pearce's book "The coming Population Crash and Our Planets Surprising Future"

It occurs to me it wasn't the war between the states that created our current environment.

It was merely the weaknesses of mankind, those waging against personal fraility and coming up short.

If there is any tie to the Civil War, then maybe it led to people of a predatory nature migrating after the war south to become reconstructionist carpetbagging predators, and west to grab as much land and gold as might be found.

Once there, they pursued their 'freedom' and 'opportunity' but succumbed to the temptations of those eternal demons--the 7 deadly weaknesses--and not to some regional southern or western virus in the air there.

We all have the same being, and need for personal responsibility; but instead it turns out we lack enough good moral fiber, making it impossible for us to care for our neighbors (as ourselves) to say nothing of making good choices when deciding policy problems.

Petro, I take Taibbi's warning about Bachmann with deadly seriousness. She is a real threat. But Palin was equally dangerous in 2008 and Tina Fey's mockery neutralized it in the general public. Despite the constant bleating by the Right that the NoozMedia is liberal we all know it really isn't. It's entertainment media that transmits all the librul ideas, and gosh durn it, the righties can't do anything about it! Money and ratings talk and conservative sanctimony is mocked. Kristen Wiig will have a heyday doing bug-eyed Bachmann impressions and they will do more to destroy Bachmann's credibility than thousands of columnists and bloggers with all their umbrage could ever do.

Not that I want any of you to stop putting out umbrage-filled anti-Bachmann tirades!

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