Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Kingdom Of God Is Like This

What follows isn't really a parable. It really happened.

I've been enjoying reminiscing for the past few days, as I wrote a couple days ago. Of all the memories, places, teachers, old stores, make-out spots, and other things that this has dredged up, the one that has touched me most deeply is the discussion that was sparked when someone mentioned Keith Kellogg.

If you grew up in Waverly, NY in the 1970's, 1980's, perhaps in to the 1990's (I was long gone by then, so I don't really know for sure), then you knew Keith. He would be sitting on his bike, usually around the corner of Broad Street and Fulton Street, or riding up Chemung Street, perhaps even hanging around the High School if it was a summer day. Keith had a smile and greeting for everyone. His smile lit up his face, which was usually shaded by a grungy old baseball cap.

In a less enlightened age, people would have called Keith retarded. What Keith was, really, was a simple, beautiful person who loved his town - he was at every sporting event he could get to, football games, basketball games, wrestling matches - and the people who lived there. Kids knew, without having to be told, that Keith was their friend. If you rode your bike to the business district, Keith might challenge you to a race in the parking lot behind one block of businesses. Quite often, if you had stopped at Harper's News Stand and bought some candy, you would probably share some with him. Not because he had asked. Because you knew, somewhere you couldn't really name and without being able to put words to it, that Keith was special in a way that went beyond the limitations the accidents of genetics and birth had given him.

It wasn't just the kids, though. Adults would be greeted by a smile, a wave, an offer of a high-five, even out an open car window as you drove by. No store owners chased him away from in front of their buildings. No parents complained to the police or his parents that he was a menace to their children. Everyone in town understood that Keith was more than just "that guy that hangs around downtown". He was a part of the community in a way that even the stores and streets, the homes and families were not. Heaven protect you if you were from out of town, or just stupid and insensitive, and called Keith a name, or spoke ill of him to others. Keith wasn't a marginal character. His presence helped make the town a little more human, a little more fun, a little more like home. Keith was, it seemed, eternal.

Except, alas, he wasn't. Keith died a couple years back, and I was sad when I read his obituary. Waverly, it seemed, was now a little less than it used to be. No longer would kids be challenged to a bike race, have someone with whom to share their gum and cans of soda, or high-five as they rode by on their bikes. The football team would have one less super-fan. On that corner where he sat on his bike, watching the cars, smiling and waving, those of us who remember Keith can probably still feel his presence. I, for one, hope they still smile and wave, maybe stick their hand out for a smack as they drive through that weird, three-way stop on a four-way intersection.

The woman who started this little Facebook gathering site, Tawny (Keene) Villalobos said it best and most beautifully: "God put both of them right where they needed to be, In the Valley. Where they were/are loved and supported by a GREAT community."

That, I submit, is true. I would also submit that even though most wouldn't know it, or note it if they understood, we, the folks who lived in and near Waverly, NY, in our mutual respect and love and support with Keith - and everyone should know he gave far more than he got, but he got so much - is a glimpse in to what Jesus meant by "The Kingdom of God". A place where people love, and are loved in return, and are counted as special despite how the world defines them ("retarded") and would seek to lock them away.

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Smiley Faces Don't Make Things Suck Less (UPDATE)

I heard this story and really, really couldn't decide if laughing, barfing, or crying made more sense. Apparently, one London neighborhood has a "Peace Wall" where people write notes, telling the world that if everyone just loved themselves, and felt better about themselves, there would be no need for rioting.

It should be obvious that working class, ethnic minority communities in Britain, beset by racist, classist police harassment and a Tory-led government that thinks destroying the welfare state and cutting benefits to people who have no other lifeline of support should be irrelevant to how they feel about themselves.

One person said that the people should love their neighborhood, and if they did, they wouldn't be violent. Because no one has ever protested to the point of violence out of love. Ever. The Egyptians in Tahrir Square? They hated their country. The Syrians in Hama? The military is gunning down a bunch of traitors. We shouldn't forget all those outside agitators in the South in the 1950's and 1960's, commies and the rest of them, stirring up trouble among the happy Negroes.

Maybe the US could start supporting the folks protesting the deplorable conditions in working class urban Britain. Maybe send an aircraft carrier to the Irish Sea, just to send a message?

UPDATE: This article says what I've been saying, only better.
THE REBELLION ripping across Britain in the last week was only the latest example of how the working class and the poor will not quietly accept austerity as the "solution" to the economic crisis. From Cairo to Lisbon, to Santiago, to Madison, and now to the streets of London, there is a growing global revolt against a resurgent neoliberal agenda that advocates the destruction of the remnants of a weakened public sector.

The London revolt has also shown how the brunt of the cuts and austerity have fallen disproportionately on Black and brown youth--prompting even more savage behavior by police to keep those communities contained.
As they always say, read the whole thing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Not A Legitimacy Crisis, Yet

So, yesterday, I wrote a bit about the British riots to highlight some pretty good working-class British protest music. I didn't really spend a whole lot of time on the post, because my main concern was music, not the British riots. After some time to think, though, I think some general observations are in order.

First, like Great Britain, the broad public is fed up the apparatus of the state. In Britain, however, the reach of the welfare state - from housing assistance and the National Health Service to unemployment benefits - was far larger. The decision by the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron, working without a clear majority (he rules in tandem with the Liberal Democrats, the tattered remnants of the great 19th Century British Liberal Party that hasn't had a significant presence in British government since the end of the First World War), to introduce extreme austerity measures at a time when the British economy, like much the rest of the world, bumbles along, has created far deeper tensions and resentments against authority than in the US. When a still-unclear incident in the Tottenham section of Greater London started a protest against the use of deadly force by police, the peaceful protests turned, once the sun went down, to angry riots. The riots have spread from Tottenham to various other sections of London as well as the cities of Birmingham and Bristol.

Yesterday, during an emergency sitting of Parliament, PM Cameron made clear his position - he was doing what Hosni Mubarak did not do; he was calling in the police to stop "mindless violence and criminality" (one got quite tired of hearing this stupid, mindless phrase, as if repeating it made it true). While we push for reform in Arab states where youths socially, economically, and politically disenfranchised by despotic, sometimes kleptocratic, regimes have taken to the streets - even taking sides in the Libyan Civil War - when similar conditions create similar reactions in Britain, it seems the ruling classes are happy with bullets and batons, with ignoring the realities that created the conditions. That fascist groove thing, it seems, is back in a big way.

The unfolding fake crisis over the debt-ceiling revealed our entire political class for what it is - tone-deaf, ignorant of basic economic realities, and not averse to thinking it possible to drain the water from a sinking boat by drilling a hole in the bottom - and the resulting crash-landing of public opinion regarding the institutions of governance has been met with chirping crickets. The right has been intellectually and morally, not to say politically, bankrupt for over a decade, holding on by sheer force of will to a nihilistic desire for power for its own sake. What people mistakenly call "liberalism" in the US accepts the basic framework set out by the right, but only wishes to use better PR to achieve, roughly, the same ends.

The problem should be clear enough. The real solutions to the ills that beset us are well-known. Paul Krugman, perhaps our most intelligent, most persistent, and least regarded (in official circles) political commentator, has said that over and over again: We know what needs to be done to solve the interlinked economic and fiscal problems we face. Those solutions, however aren't so much unknown as a priori ruled out of the realm of political possibility. So, we drift along, neither major party enjoying anything like support, certainly not confidence. Yet the American people, certainly as beset at the British, are not quite ready to hit the streets. Not quite.

My guess, however, is that if we continue with fiscal austerity as summer shifts to fall, then winter, without any serious improvement in the economy (and, no, there won't be because I do not believe in the economy fairy sprinkling confidence dust in our eyes; if we all clap our hands, things will still suck), we might just see isolated incidents in some urban centers. Detroit, perhaps; Los Angeles, certainly. Once it becomes clear that there are no more attempts to address the issues the people understand are central - jobs, jobs, and I should mention jobs - what is now a loss of confidence may well turn in to a crisis in legitimacy.

Unlike all Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and even, now, Israel, where the people have taken to the streets to demand state action for the benefit of all, we won't read too many pundits talking about an "American Spring".

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Is Calling

So is it just mindless criminality, as Prime Minister David Cameron insists? Or, perhaps, is it the final refuge of a population that has suffered so many indignities since Margaret Thatcher became PM in 1979 they feel there just isn't any other way to make their grievance heard? Is it a bunch of hooligans running wild? Or is it a bunch of people who don't believe in the police, tired as they are of rampant race and class bias? Is it people who want free goodies, or people who no longer believe the state, or the economy, or any institution has any legitimacy anymore?

For now, I'll just say that I don't think looting is a really awesome political statement. On the other hand, I don't think PM Cameron's decision to go overboard with the police will win him a lot of friends out in the country. In Parliament, it will probably be a winner. With the aristocracy, which still holds the bulk of British private wealth, I can only imagine the cheers in the ridiculously anachronistic House of Lords. Out where people feel they have run out of options, though, it might just backfire. As London, and Bristol, and Manchester, and Birmingham, and other cities start to burn, let's remember this - capitalism really got going in Britain first. We might just be watching it start its final unraveling there, too.

At least we got a soundtrack!

Harm's Way - Spock's Beard
So Long Ago, So Clear - Vangelis w/Jon Anderson
Wonderful Remark - Van Morrison
Prayer For Light - Renaissance
Revolution - The Cult
Woodpecker From Mars - Faith No More
Ra - Jordan Rudess
Southern Scene (Live at Carnegie Hall) - Dave Brubeck Quartet
Significant Other - Steven Wilson
Wanderings - Lunatic Soul

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Little Nostalgia Is Good For The Soul

First, let me stress "a little".

Someone had the genius idea of starting an open group on Facebook called "Growing Up In The Valley Memory Lane". If you have to ask "What Valley?", then you don't belong in the group. It now has over 700 members, and it is astonishing the stuff people are bringing up. Dredging up is more like it. Old bars and restaurants and hang-out spots and ice cream stands. Stores in the business district that don't exist anymore - we used to go back-to-school shopping on Broad Street in Waverly, not at the K-Mart, or Grants, or Ames Department Stores on Elmira Street in South Waverly and Athens. The New York Store and Yanuzzi's for clothes, Triange for shoes. Philadelphia Sales for school supplies.

It's been fun to read stuff people are remembering. Most of the folks in the group are like me, long since moved away, indulging in a bit of "remember when?", and sharing - even if we didn't know one another existed - the ways we have been shaped by common points of reference. Most of the "Memories" are either from childhood and a time when the Valley seemed the whole world, and parents would let us wander hither and yon without too much worry (a whole lot of people are talking about leaving the house in the summer just after breakfast, and getting back home around dark; yeah, I did that, too), or our youth when it was possible to get in to bars and liquor stores pretty much any age. And what bars! I'd forgotten the Chemung Hotel, but there was the Cork 'N' Bottle - with its balcony and bands and even the more-than-occasional fight, either inside our out in the parking lot where most folks smoked some weed before going in. Billy Joe's with the cat behind the bar. Stuffed, as in taxidermied. It had been a live cat, but it got itself hit and killed by a bar patron, and the owner kept it around. . .

I remember the first time I went to Putz' Place on the East Side of Sayre. I was underage (weren't we all?) and scared out of my mind and the bouncer didn't even look at my ID. The one time I really got carded - at Billy Joe's in Waverly - the bartender had to know I was underage, but smiled, handed me back my license with my beer. Another case of money talking and BS walking, I guess.

Then there was summer in the Valley. Ice cream at The Valley Creamery before it became a cheese plant. The Jolly Farmer, where if you were in high school, you might stand around and chat with the girls who were selling you cones, because they were classmates of yours. And, of course, Mr. Softee.

Waverly and Sayre high schools both had open swimming. It was two hours for a quarter, then fifty cents, at Waverly. The same amount got you four hours at Sayre, so we would ride our bikes down to Sayre High School. You had to have an iron-on "S" patch on your suit to get in, so I wore my brother's. You put your shoes and shirt in a basket, and got a pin with the basket number on it to put on your suit. They had a three meter diving board at the Sayre High pool, and it seemed to be a mark of some kind of courage to climb that ladder time and again and dive or jump off. Also, as I pointed out on FB, Sayre had better looking lifeguards.

There are so many other memories, touchstones for all these disparate people now spread out across the country. Sharing memories we didn't even know we shared. Laughing at the stuff we forgot we remembered. Kidding ourselves that life was easier then, or simpler, or less confusing because we have forgotten the emotional weather of youth, and remember only the freedom for which we now yearn. Part of that freedom, of course, included doing things that were unbelievably stupid, even dangerous, and, of course, illegal. Most of us, most of the time, indulged without considering just how stupid and/or dangerous. That, too, is a part of being young. Being too ignorant to understand how closely you are dancing with death, always with a smile, even laughing at the prospect.

It has been fun, to be sure, strolling down others' memory lanes, joining in with a smile and shake of the head. Best of all, even more than the memories of stuff that's long gone - like most of the business district on Broad Street in Waverly, either boarded up or burned down or torn down - has been the chance for a whole lot of people, some of whom don't know one another, to share bits and pieces of our lives, how similar they were because the places and names were all there. I have very little desire ever to return to Waverly. All the same, it was a great place to grow up, be a kid then a youth, then run from as fast as you could before the gravity could pull you back in.

My father told me once that the Valley was like the legend of the secret elephant burial ground. If you weren't careful, you'd find yourself back there and it was only a matter of time before you just couldn't get out again. He should know, of course. All the same, it was a great place to live, and with, just a few minutes after having started to write this, membership over 800, it seems a whole lot of us are enjoying sitting around and sharing our memories.

I Don't Believe In Talking Snakes, Either

Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: "That would be against all the genomic evidence that we've assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all."
This is from a report on NPR this morning on the growing refusal among some conservative Christians to give a literal reading to the creation accounts in Genesis. Among the many interesting, funny, and quite stupid things in the report - both from the folks quoted and the reporter, who apparently has no idea that there are over two centuries of serious, critical scholarly work on the Bible, as well as thousands of years of doctrinal interpretation of the Genesis passages, in tandem with various "creation Psalms" - was some fun stuff from Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.
"When Adam sinned, he sinned for us," Mohler says. "And it's that very sinfulness that sets up our understanding of our need for a savior.

Mohler says the Adam and Eve story is not just about a fall from paradise: It goes to the heart of Christianity. He notes that the Apostle Paul (in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15) argued that the whole point of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection was to undo Adam's original sin.

"Without Adam, the work of Christ makes no sense whatsoever in Paul's description of the Gospel, which is the classic description of the Gospel we have in the New Testament," Mohler says.
A point of view which would, I think, have surprised the Apostle.

Let me state categorically that I do not believe for an instant that the stories in Genesis 1 and 2 - mutually exclusive accounts of creation from different sources, hundreds of years apart in origin, saying very different things about who God is, not least who this God is who is doing this creating thing - tell us anything factual. No Adam. No Eve. No Garden. No trees with fruit with magical powers.

No, no talking snakes, either (and just where, may I ask, is there any indication this snake is really Satan or the Devil or whoever? Not in the Bible!).

That doesn't mean these stories don't tell us stuff that is important for our faith as Christians. If that were the case, we could stop talking about them all together. We could lump them with all those texts which are, to be polite, equivocal in their intellectual, moral, or other content. I believe these stories, in tandem with the Psalms that praise God as Creator, the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel that states categorically that the Word was with God at Creation, and it was through this same Word that creation was accomplished, tell us all sorts of things that are necessary for understanding what it means to say, "I believe in God, maker of heaven and earth."

This statement is not a declaration of how or when. To claim that one believes God creates is to say something first about God, and only secondarily about creation. To state that God creates, but to limit that creative activity to some point six thousand years ago, is a kind of implicit Deism. God gets the whole ball of wax rolling downhill, then leans back and enjoys the show.

The profession of belief in God as Creator is a profession of God's freedom. It is a profession of wonder that there is anything at all. It is a profession of our own dependence, at all times, at each moment of existence, on something outside ourselves. It is confession of our awareness that this confounded world, with all its troubles and beauty, flesh-eating bacteria and orchids and quasars and Lindsay Lohan could, given a power of less patience, less humor, and certainly less love, not be. When we confess God as Creator we are stating that we understand existence as completely, utterly contingent. There is no necessity in anything. Not in gravity, not in power abhorring a vacuum, not in capitalism, not in spring following winter. It is all there for us to take in, neither as "stuff" for us to exploit nor as blind forces against which to struggle. It is, rather, here for us to live in, to use with care and love, and always - always! - something for which we should give thanks.

When we tie God's hands, creatively speaking, to some point in time, we are forgetting that the point of the stories isn't about creation. It isn't about Adam and Eve or naming animals or trees with magical fruit or conniving snakes who will get their heads ground in to the dust. It is about God being whimsical enough, free enough, loving enough, to refuse to be alone. When the Bible says we are created in God's image, it isn't because we are bipedal primates. We are God's icons because, like God, we are free, we have the capacity for joy and love in being with others, and because we recognize that all that is could not be, yet is not of or for itself.

A literal reading of the Genesis stories impoverishes so much. Our understanding of God. Our understanding of the odd idea that God, through no in-born necessity, decided that it would be fun to have all sorts of things around. And keep them around. Creation is an on-going project. God didn't wind the cosmic clock, and now sitting back in the Divine sitting room, fingers greasy from popcorn as the show flows across a mammoth LCD screen. Each second of our existence is a Divine Creative Act. Sitting around arguing about Adam and Eve makes no sense for many reasons, not least because it misses the point that God is making me, and you, and the rabbit sitting in my front yard, the cosmic ray that is breaking through the atmosphere right now striking the genetic material of some creature, slightly altering it.

The doctrine of creation is about wonder. The wonder that the God we profess continues this whole weird thing called the Universe, which may well just be one of potentially infinite multi-verses, stacked up against one another like old LP albums on a shelf. If we get bogged down in nonsense like whether or not Adam and Eve had belly-buttons or where Cain's wife came from, we lose that wonder.

We also, needless to say, miss the point.

Monday, August 08, 2011

In Which I Admit I Got Rolled

So I decided to go back and check out what I wrote three years ago during the Democratic primaries. I am astonished to read this post which, despite a bow in the general direction of Obama's obvious weaknesses, I am revealed to all the world as someone who was willing to swallow a line. Even worse, I wrote the following:
- I believe that electing Barack Obama President of the United States will open up vast energies of enthusiasm and a sense of arriviste that a younger generation of Americans (even at 42, I include myself in this cohort; Obama is only three years older than I) both needs and will welcome. The boomer's have proven themselves ill-suited for governance, not once but twice, with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The new generation to whom a torch should be passed is one thatis quite tired of Republican nonsense, and the constant drumbeat of "must"'s that we hear from conservatives. The government, the economy, the society - they are ours, and we will fashion them for all our ends.

- Hope is not the same as blind faith. It includes faith, indeed, but is an active, rather than passive thing. It is working towards realizing that which in which we believe. All the tired dismissals of Obama's talk of hope misses the simple fact that for far too long both Republicans and Democrats have not told us we not only should be better than we are, but that we have the power to be better. We are not called upon to believe in Sen. Obama, but ourselves.
That last sentence, without a doubt, is one of the most embarrassing things I have ever written. It would be nice to say something like, "Well, I admit up front I have no illusions that Obama is a real progressive!", and I did do that. Except, if I really believed that, I never would have written that last bullet point, let alone that last sentence.

In retrospect, the Democratic field in 2008 was horrible. I had flirted with supporting John Edwards, but really wanted to get behind a winner early. I still think Hillary Clinton was unelectable for a variety of reasons. I think she would have been little different in matters of economic policy than Obama has been; she entered his Administration, after all, and I don't see her falling on her sword over his many failures.

The simple truth is I got rolled. I bought the whole, "Yes We Can" nonsense. Not only because I saw that Obama understood the most important lesson of Presidential electioneering - sell the voters a positive message, an upbeat message. I actually believed that Obama would be a different person than he had already shown himself to be.

The air-space between the Obama Administration and Bush Administration on a host of issues from the endless, stupid wars in Asia to the economy is almost non-existent. For all the right has this weird idea that Obama is some crazed Muslim sleeper-socialist, he is, in fact, that most dangerous of political creatures - a defender of the status quo.

Need I remind the world that on the day I'm writing this the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 635 points? Need I remind the world that Obama came out today and insisted we need to get busy cutting spending? Need I remind the world that Duncan Black is quite right - no one really knows what the hell to do?

I cannot sit around and blame Republicans or Tea Partiers for the mess we are in. I can, however, make clear that I got fooled because, after eight years of George Bush, I was ready for just about anything that sounded better. I surrendered the one thing I never should have - critical thought. So, sure, I am, in some small way, responsible. Because it seemed I was willing to buy the idea that all that rhetoric, all that "hopey-changey" stuff actually meant something.

It didn't. I owe apologies all around to those who said, "You're getting rolled, man." Because I was. It isn't the Republicans or the Tea Partiers fault that Barack Obama is in the White House, buys in to the same set of assumptions and priorities as they do, and has enacted policies on the economy that are indistinguishable from what a Republican President would have.

Today, as the system tumbles, yet again, I want to do the one thing no one else seems to want to do. I want to admit I am, in my own tiny way, complicit in all this. I really have no one to blame but myself.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

It Isn't Just The Republicans' Fault

Throughout the just completed "crisis" over the debt ceiling, and previous "negotiations" between the Obama White House and Congressional Republicans, I have said, in essence, "The President has not negotiated properly. If he had, he would have taken position x as his starting point." After the "deal", I found a link on Facebook to this roundtable discussion on the President. This link includes, at the top, a link to a Glenn Greenwald piece. Even before checking the abundant evidence to which he links, there is little with which I could argue in his main point:
It appears to be true that the President wanted tax revenues to be part of this deal. But it is absolutely false that he did not want these brutal budget cuts and was simply forced -- either by his own strategic "blunders" or the "weakness" of his office -- into accepting them. The evidence is overwhelming that Obama has long wanted exactly what he got . . .

As I wrote back in April when progressive pundits in D.C. were so deeply baffled by Obama's supposed "tactical mistake" in not insisting on a clean debt ceiling increase, Obama's so-called "bad negotiating" or "weakness" is actually "shrewd negotiation" because he's getting what he actually wants (which, shockingly, is not always the same as what he publicly says he wants). In this case, what he wants -- and has long wanted, as he's said repeatedly in public -- are drastic spending cuts. In other words, he's willing -- eager -- to impose the "pain" [The New Republic's Jonathan] Cohn describes on those who can least afford to bear it so that he can run for re-election as a compromise-brokering, trans-partisan deficit cutter willing to "take considerable heat from his own party."
With that as a starting point, the discussion at Corey Robin's blog post swirls around the question - is Obama getting what he wants, or is both stupid and incompetent, repeatedly rolled by a group of fire-eating Republicans? If one takes the fight over the stimulus package in early 2009 as one's template, it is pretty clear that, right down the line, Obama has received what he wanted. In that case, the Republicans in Congress kept pushing to keep it smaller, the Democrats adding bits here and there only to have them taken out until the stimulus was almost exactly the size and scope the President originally asked for.

From regulatory reform for the financial industry to health care reform to the various incarnations of the budget and debt limit debates, the results usually end up where the President wanted them. Furthermore, that the President didn't push harder for a jobs bill, for cap-and-trade legislation, for the card check bill that has been a long-sought piece of legislation from labor, that he has not only continued but extended many of the Bush Administration policies on the use of drones in Pakistan, indefinite detention, domestic surveillance, ignoring the role of Congress in committing American troops to combat in Libya - all of these make clear that, rather than a dime's worth of difference, there isn't even a penny's worth of difference between the positions Obama works for and the general goals of the Republican Party.

Don't forget, last year Obama could barely be pushed out of the White House to campaign for Democrats in Congress. Is that because he wanted to appear above the fray? Or is it, perhaps, because he saw the Congressional Democrats as a hindrance to the achievement of his preferred policy goals? Because the leadership, particularly of the House Democrats, is far more liberal than he or the leadership of the Senate Democrats (Harry Reid is best described as Rockefeller Republican, is pro-life, and receives a whole lot of campaign money from Wall Street), getting the Republicans in charge of the lower chamber would allow him to work with a group that has a similar set of policy goals while at the same time giving him political cover in the face of partisan complaints from liberals.

The constant lament among liberals that the Republicans are being unreasonable, that it is all the fault of the Republicans that we are in our current mess is just blind to the reality that we are exactly where Pres. Obama wants us. I don't blame Republicans. I see the entire system as working exactly as it is designed to work.

Which is an even more frightening thought. . . .

Virtual Tin Cup

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