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Profile Information

Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 43,167

About Me

I live in Houston, if you can call this living. I teach history to 11th graders. They don't appreciate my genius. I'm an active Democrat really only around election time (knock on doors, make a few phone calls, maybe donate a dollar or two if I think it'll do some good). I'm 48. I'm datin a real special gal right now, but if I don't watch my step I may have to edit out this sentence. I have pretensions toward being a director of performance art, although I've only put on one show (as of Dec 2011). I'm currently working on a second show. Our group is called Invisible Lines (www.invisiblelines.net). I mostly drink Shiner Bock beer because it's a mouth full of heaven. I'm a nut about George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, and John Dewey. I've resisted for three years saying "I told ya so" about Barack Obama (but then again, I supported Biden in '08 so my room for complaining is minimal). That said, I'll certainly vote mediocre over evil any day of the week. I want Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016. And a pony. I totally want a pony.

Journal Archives

As I get older, I find myself becoming more conservative.

Props to this thread ==> http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=1953862

I'm 49. I may act like a kid most times, but there's no denying that I'm officially middle aged now. I have high blood pressure and a receding hairline. And even if I don't shout at them about it, I don't like it when those damned kids are on my lawn.

That's a metaphor, of course. My "those damned kids" I mean Fox News and their Republican muppets. By "my lawn" I mean Medicare and Social Security. By "high blood pressure" I mean "hypertension"--which somehow sounds worse.

But I really am becoming more conservative as I age along. Besides Medicare and Social Security, I also want to conserve the environment, the middle class, and the Bill of Rights. I want to conserve the economic wellspring of I want to conserve the national parks from greedy developers (or "despoilers" as we conservatives call them) who will liberally scatter their pollutants about the ecosystem. In fact, they are "radicals"--literally, as they rip up the ground up by the roots, looking for mineral deposits that should belong to all the people, not just a few hoity toity eastern liberal elites who went to Ivy League schools and now control soulless, and thus unChristian, corporations.

As a conservative, I steep myself in traditional American values and constantly worry that we are losing touch with the things that made America great. I stand up for great conservative institutions that built and empowered America's greatestness: labor unions and civil rights movements and the sanctity of marriage. As a conservative, I wish to see these institutions spread to include all Americans. When we bring all Americans into the mainstream, the waters swell and the lifting tide raises all boats.

I am aging aggressively now and becoming starkly pro-business. When megacorporations drive mom-and-pop shops out of business, I know it weakens America. I support whatever will build new businesses--like extensive investment in the country's physical commercial infrastructure: repair more roads, build more bridges, expand internet connectivity, clean up the cities, shift to renewable, sustainable energy sources, and stamp out poverty. These are the things that built America, from the Erie Canal to the Transcontinental Railroad to the telegraph networks to the interstate highway system. When America builds infrastructure, business flourishes. Do that more, I say.

I stand firmly in favor of the American Work Ethic: hard, honest work is not only pro-family, it is also the best way to instill character-buiding family values in future generations of America. So I support spending more money on education, more money on job training, so that employers can be attracted to a superior American workforce, and more money on OSHA inspections on these new American workplaces--because I want to conserve American fingers and backs and lungs along with the rest of the American things I favor conserving. People who lose their health in an unsafe work environment lose the benefits and joy that comes from an honest day's labor.

I'm particularly conservative on taxes. No more free rides, I say!! Everyone should pay their fair share of taxes. No more deadbeats--I'm looking at you, investor class, who only pay 15% income tax on your incomes because it's all catorized as capital gains. You've been getting more government than you've been paying for--for decades now! The bill is due, maybe overdue judging from the size of the annual deficit. Time to pay the bill and tote your own load, you country club slackers! You tell me being an investment capitalist is a real job? Well, time to pay a real grown-up's tax rate then--or don't you believe in America, capitalism, and honest work? And you other tax slackers, yes, I'm looking at you corporations who pay no taxes at all! Get off the government welfare, Walmart, and quit sucking on Uncle Sam's teat! No more free loaders!!

I am a religious conservative too! I believe in churchin'. I think it's vital for kids to grow up in an enviroment rooted in values and a clear sense of right and wrong. No society in history has been so arrogant and neglectful as to put that burden solely on parents. We need a growth of churches, a swelling of churches, a veritable mushrooming of spirituality in this country. And obviously the more religions the better. Let all stand as equals, for they are created equal (and what is more American than that idea?). Let there be Christian churches and Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques and Pagan covens and Buddhist temples and Flying Spaggheti bowls and atheist what-ever-ya-wanna-call-ums because enduring family values, by criminey, take a whole village to build and sustain.

And keep 'em all the fuck out of politics.

I am a stallwart economic conservative, an Adam Smith conservative, by damn! Adam Smith's radical insight in the 18th century was the understanding that the source of a nation's wealth is not land, but labor. Else, why would small nations like England and France come to dominate large ones like China and Russia? It is work that makes a nation great, and thus it is work that we must protect. That means bolstering American jobs, expanding American jobs, and when necessary protecting American jobs. Oh, I believe in open and vigorous trade too; I'm no isolationist. But above all else, it is the number of people working profitable, upwardly mobile jobs that will tell us how prosperous America is.

I believe in family values because I believe in the value of all families. It's not just cold economics that makes me feel that way. However I will point out that economic statistics tell us that married couples are better citizens--they commit fewer crimes, own more insurance, raise kids who are more likely to be college-bound, live longer, get sick less, earn more, and are more likely to be homeowners than their unmarried counterparts. So I am pro-traditional marriage and I wish see traditional marriage extended to everyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of it. Also, I'm a small government conservative, so states should quit telling private citizens who they can and can't marry.

But I am also pro-family values because I'm a sentimental conservative. I love a good wedding. They're not just good for business; they're good for the heart. I believe in the enduring family values of America. I believe in infrastructure improvements like George Washington did--I am all but mad for them! I believe in honest work and honesty pay like Abraham Lincoln did--and history shows it is the work of strong labor unions that best secures widespread prosperity to all. I am a "gung ho" American--from the Chinese phrase meaning "pull together"--working as a team we all benefit when the greatest number of us prosper. It makes no conservative sense that each of person is just in it him or herself. History rejects that model. Competition is healthy, but cooperation is vital. I believe in a healthy balance between competition and cooperation: I wish to conserve that from the hateful, organized criminals who plunder companies from Wall Street, destroying the real wealth of work in America and exchanging it for the illusory wealth of electronic capital. They are pirates and there are whole baneful boardrooms full of such criminals who ought to be put behind bars. Cause, yes, I am a law and order conservative too.

Above all else, I believe in that most enduring of American values: progress. I wish to see that conserved most of all. The history of our land, of our people (and as a conservative, I believe we are literally "one people") is a story of expanding rights and expanding inclusion to include the talents and dignity of all of us. We all contribute. We are all stakeholders and this is a land where, as Jefferson and Franklin taught, the few should not prosper at the expense of the many. I believe in values that are deeply rooted in the American dream--that if you work hard, if you play by the rules, and by jingo if you make that 1% play by the ever-lovin' rules too, then we'll all do better. If you look out for the least of us, then, you look out for all of us, because you expand who all we mean when we say "we."

This is the kind of conservative I am. And you are all free now to get off my lawn.


Goddammit, Bobby.

I wasn't even 5 when he was murdered. Even if you weren't alive yet when he died, when we lost him, you feel his absense. You may not know it or have words for it, but you feel the Bobby-shaped hole in our public square. Martin was a robbery; they took from us the voice that explained so gorgeously and etherally how we, as The People, can matter in a democracy. But Bobby's death wasn't a robbery; it was a cold, violent detour away from what could have been.

That's the phrase that will always haunt. What could have been. Even if, like all martyrs, he is changed in our hearts by the missing of him from what he was in flesh and in hustings. There is that weight in us, in what we needed him to be, perhaps what we need to be in ourselves, and the gravitation of that shadow of knowing: it won't ever be perfect.

But we miss him, in places we can't give name to sometimes, we who need to miss him, we who need to believe in someone who drew the line and let no hesitation for what is convenient or hard stop him from standing for what is right. We miss him in places that hurt for those among us who have always been forgotten and thought of as less. Bobby, for his life of pain and grit, never thought of anyone as less. We miss him for the imperfections in ourselves that need that crowd stirring "vigah" and that heart-felt, soul-deep toothy grin that beamed out bring on the fight; I know where right stands. We miss him for his arrogant challenges, like David with a slingshot, against the mighty and the corrupt.

Goddammit, Bobby. Why? Why is it you still?

I know what you'd say. Why not? Why wait for the dead? Why not do it yourselves? Roll up your sleeves. Sweep the mess where you're at.

Goddammit, Bobby. I miss you anyway.

When Reagan won...

When Reagan won in 1980, my dad had a dream that night that there'd be a new war real soon and that I was getting drafted to go fight it. I was 17. I had passed out flyers and bumper stickers for John Anderson (don't ask) and on election night I was all like, "Well, shit that sucks. I can't imagine how bad this'll be."

I expected the country would endure, because I have faith in America. By 1984 it seemed pretty clear that there wasn't going to be a new Vietnam (El Salvador or Nicaragua were the leading candidates, if you remember those days). And the country endured.

In 1988, when Poppy Bush won, I remember telling my college professor, "Well, shit, can't the Democrats do anything right?" But again, I never doubted the country would survive. I was too familiar with how economics work and how, even if the unions were getting screwed, the economy would always be changing and our people will always find a way to get through and even prosper a little.

In 1992, I got drunk on Election Night, danced in front of lesbian oompah band while wearing a fish tie, crashed in a hotel room with a woman I never even touched, and then had to climb over the Astrodome chain-link fence in order to get to my car and make it to work on time.

In 2000 I couldn't believe those fuckers stole it. I agreed with my mom when she said, "I'm sure the Republic will survive four years of George W. Bush." I was amazed at how many ways the BushCo crew found to fuck things up--from ignoring terrorist warnings to eating pretzels wrong--but the ship of state came out battered and still seaworthy after even eight years of Dick Cheney and that little obscene monkey he answered to. I never doubted that we would. Even when the banks looted the country first and the government second, I had faith in America. We have the incredible ability to adapt and overcome in the Land of the Free. Even bad governance, even monstrous fiscal malfeasance can't change that.

This past week, the Republicans lost an election. It was close, to their credit. Like Kerry's 48%, this year's Republican ticket made a respectable showing in the polls (if still disreputable in their ads and talking points). Without an honest fact to stand of, Romney still managed to hold a sitting president down below 51%.

But lots of Republicans, Twitterers all, many of them following cues from their leadership, don't seem to have faith in America. They're calling this the end of America, imagining apocalyptic scenarios of FEMA camps, mobs of looting welfare recipients, spinning wild tales of "takers and makers." This, sadly, speaks to a lack of character. I don't know when they put their faith in--it seems to be hatred of other people with different ideas than them--but it's not in the resilience of the United States and our long long history of triumphing over adversity, helping each other out, fixing problems, and allowing for personal liberty.

Without losing much personal liberty themselves in their own individual lives, they seem to imagine that liberty is somehow on the verge of being lost. They won't be able to name any valid examples, except maybe airport gropings. They decry government overregulation in general without citing specific incidents where it's prevented job creation. They pull out their hair screaming about socialism, but can't really name anything outside of the healthcare industry where the government has taken over any industry--even the now surging auto and banking industries saw only government investment and hardly any government oversight of how factories would be retooled and reformed.

How can you scream at phantoms and never bother to gather evidence that they exist? The same way, I suppose, I keep enduring a sequence of Republican victories that boggle my mind. I have faith. The only difference is that they have faith in hatred of the tribe of liberals and the world-ending nightmares our victories bring about. As a liberal Democrat, I just have faith in the good old US of A. Even when we lose elections--and don't you worry, it'll happen again--the country just keeps on chugging along. I wish I could share my faith with them. But in the Land of the Free, I guess they're entitled to have any kind of faith they want.

TPM: Christie's camp denies Romney ever even asked him to come to a rally.

TPM Editor’s Blog:
Oh, It’s Getting Good

Romney camp claims they asked Christie to come to Pennsylvania campaign rally on Saturday night but Christie said no. Christie advisor now denying they ever even asked.

Get this though. I just focused in again on this quote from Jon Ward’s Huffpo piece.

“You can’t tell me he couldn’t have gone over there for a night rally,” a Romney campaign source told HuffPost.Maybe I’m getting naive. But doesn’t this strike people as the comment of someone who’s really lost it? I really mean that. Even in the context of everyone sort of losing it in the days just before a national election. There’s one rule of natural disasters for politicians. Be on the job and make sure you look like you really care? Obviously, ideally, actually care. But definitely look like it. And by all means don’t go to another state to appear at a political rally.

The fact that this story was put out as a hit on Christie is even more bizarre.

Why on earth would any Republican nominee want to get into a pissing contest with the single most popular Republican governor in country the day before the election? For the same reasons Christina Aguilera tries to get into a feud with Lady Gaga.

Yes, that's right. Bucky just called Chris Christie the Lady Gaga of the Republican Party. I mean, you try convincing me that's not a meat dress under there.

David Sedaris on Undecided Voters

Not sure how old this quote is, but it's an instant classic:

"To put them {undecided voters} in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes​ down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. 'Can I interest you in the chicken?​' she asks. 'Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?' To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

GOP Oppo-Defiance Disorder: I don't think that's quite how it works, sociologically.

The Republicans believe in domination more than cooperation. It's a tribal mentality. Thus on a subconscious level, there is an atavistic lure toward subliminal expressions of domination, leading to considerations of rape dynamics when formulating policy. I doubt Republican men are more likely to be rapists than Democratic men. Obviously your real rapists are going to Randians, libertarians, or (more likely) apolitical sociopaths. As more law-and-order types, Republicans will tend, overall to be anti-rape, except in the case of marriage (where opinions may be more closely divided)

But on a more surface level, the tribal instincts of the anti-rational Republican party will be anti-Democrat. Thus, when Democrats introduce rape into the dialogue about the emotionally charged abortion debate, it's the natural instinct of these "tribal" Republicans to offer knee-jerk counter arguments that invalidate the claims of their opponents. It's not rational, and it's sure as hell not scientific, but it's not malicious, either. Rather it's the simplistic formula expected from a tantrum throwing child trapped in oppositional-defiance mode. To wit:

Mom to screaming toddler: "Quit crying or we're leaving McDonald's"
Screaming toddler: "WAAAAAAAAGH! I want another Happy Meal! WAAAAAAAAGH!"

Democrat to Republican: "If you outlaw abortion, then some rapists will have the right to visit their victims for 18 years."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! Woman are scientifically proven to have bodies that can shut down conception during rapes!"

Democrat to Republican: "If we keep on polluting, we'll start to warm up the planet and melt the polar ice caps."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! There is no Global Warming! And it's caused by dinosaur farts! And dinosaurs were in Genesis!"

Republican to Democrat: "You're weak, and anti-gun, and soft on terrorism, and probably Muslim."
Democrat to Republican: "Actually I just sent the SEALS in to kill Bin Laden, even though you said he was unimportant."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! I'm voting against raising the debt ceiling!"
Democrat: "But you used to vote in favor of it all the time."
Republican: "WAAAAAAAAGH! You're a socialist!"

It sucks, sometimes, being the party of principles.

But then again, who wants to have the kind of principles that never inconvenience you?

I was happy & amused about Christie for a while. But he's starting to creep me out now.

It's like having a friend who happens to know the age-of-consent laws for all 50 states. At some point, some point soon, the quirky amusement of it all starts to wear off...

No, really. Peggy Noonan accuses Obama & Cuomo of egocentrism

Peggy Noonan needs to become a movie theater. Her psychological projection skills are stunning. Note how in Italics (Peggy's, not mine) she's able to crawl inside Gov Cuomo's head and figure out exactly what a hectoring know-it-all nag she, I mean he, supposedly is in moments of crisis.

How Far Obama Has Fallen
by Peggy Noonan


New York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg, was sterling—a solid, unruffled giver of information whose news conferences were blessedly free of theatrics save for his gifted sign-language interpreter, who wowed a city and left the young evacuees in my apartment furiously signing "Where's the coffee?" and "I think the baby needs to be changed." Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was his usual compelling self, similarly informative. This is a man who knows a levy from a berm. He is one tough red-state player on a blue-state field. If Mitt Romney loses, will Mr. Christie garner Republican criticism for his hearty embrace of president Obama just days before the election? Yes, he will. Will it hurt him in Jersey? Not a bit. Will it help Jersey? Yes. They are cold and wet and running out of food in the house. Keep your friends close and your president closer.

The "I" of the storm was New York's Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. He was equally competent and effortful but took the mildly hectoring tone of a kind of leftism that is now old. It involves phrases like "As I've long said." I think this is the worst and I was appalled and when I was at HUD I handled storms and I learned a great deal and I saw we were prepared and I am relieved and I will work hard and I need you to know global warming is what I told you it was.

Really? That's what she got from Cuomo's "be-careful" speeches?

But the gems are yet to shine in the awesome tangle of Peggy Noonan's prose. Like any good Republican, her best literary moments come when she starts to rewrite history. Turning her lackadaisical crosshairs on Obama, she writes:

Look at where he started, placing his hand on the Bible Abe Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. It was Jan. 20, 2009. The new president was 47 and in the kind of position politicians can only dream of
He won by 9.5 million votes. Two days after his inauguration, Gallup had him at 68% approval, only 12% disapproval. He had a Democratic Senate, and for a time a cloture-proof 60 members. He had a Democratic House (256-178) with a colorful, energetic speaker. The mainstream media were excited about him, supportive of him. His political foes were demoralized, their party fractured.

He faced big problems—an economic crash,two wars—but those crises gave him broad latitude. All of his stars were perfectly aligned. He could do anything.

That's right. Lieberman's ongoing threats to switch parties and "break the 60" had nothing to do with the "demoralized" Republican Senate caucus walking in lock-step discipline threatening to filibuster and stall every major bill nearly every sub-cabinet appointment. The country was going to hell in a handbasket and, in Peggy's view, that only made the president's job that much easier. Peggy Noonan, I salute you. No one makes bullshit smell sweeter than you doo do.

Then health care, a mistake beginning to end. The president's 14-month-long preoccupation with ObamaCare signaled that he did not share the urgency of people's most immediate concerns—jobs, the economy, all the coming fiscal cliffs. The famous 2,000-page bill added to their misery by adding to their fear.

Voters would have had to trust the president a lot to believe his program wouldn't raise their premiums, wouldn't limit their autonomy, wouldn't make a shaky system worse. But they didn't trust him that much, because they'd just met him. They didn't really know him.

See what she did there? First the president has the unprecedented confidence of the American people, but then they can't trust him and his healthcare law because they don't know him. That's writing, folks. We bitch about Romney counting on the public not being able to remember what he was saying just six months ago. Peggy Noonan manages to make us forget what the entire premise of her essay was just six paragraphs ago. That's not just writing, that's re-writing at its best.

Let's read on and watch her do it again:

But they didn't trust him that much, because they'd just met him. They didn't really know him.

You have to build the kind of trust it takes to do something so all-encompassing.

*Blink, blink*

Damn, did I miss it again? First she tells us that president at the moment of his inauguration had the unthinking robot-like compliance of 68% of all America, so why didn't he do something magical? Then she concludes by telling us Obama's biggest mistake was... wait for it... not taking more time to "build the kind of trust it takes" to do that very something.

She not only rewrites history, she's even able to rewrite the fundamentals of her own argument against Obama within the space of a single essay. Now let's watch her back this baby into the garage:

Why did the president make such mistakes?


Because he had so much confidence, he thought whatever he did would work. He thought he had "a gift," as he is said to have told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He thought he had a special ability to sway the American people, or so he suggested to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

{Such impeccable sources!}

But whenever he went over the the heads of the media and Congress and went to the people, in prime-time addresses, it didn't really work. He did not have a magical ability to sway. And—oddly—he didn't seem to notice.

It is one thing to think you're Lebron. Its another thing to keep missing the basket and losing games and still think you're Lebron.

What horrible ego that president has! I see it all now, Peggers! The president seems to think he's the wrong negro! My gracious, what discerning eyes you have, Grandma. All the better to admire myself with, my dear.

Ya know, I used to admire Republicans for their relentless cherry picking skills. But I realize now I was comparing them to the wrong vehicle. Peggy Noonan, at least, is more like a luxury Italian sports car: You just admire her more for her relentless horseshitpower and stunningly tight turning radius. What a virtuoso of wit and perspective our Peggy is. First she's here, then when you look for her trail, she's over there behind you! Meep, meep! She's like the Roadrunner of the Republican world view.

Of course, back here in the real world, coyotes eat those pesky little flightless birds for dinner all the time.

In the middle of a swoon of election fantasy double talk, a clear slap of reality in the face.

Ever been driving while getting woozy, hopelessly relying on pure will power to wake up... and then nearly hit another car? There's nothing like a jolt of adrenalin to zap you awake and make you suddenly clearheaded and alert to what you need to do. There's a real possiblity of having a terrible accident or making a deadly mistake, and you were lulled into ignoring that danger by the drone of the tires and the blind will to press on and get that endless journey over with. You'd lost perspective.

But the minute the danger becomes real, the minute, lucky you, the urgent peril of the moment woke you up, you suddenly see things so much clearer. This isn't about getting home by dusk; this is about getting home alive. You need an action plan--pull over, get coffee, stretch your legs, whatever it takes to get the job done with you and your passengers all in good shape. That's what this storm feels like.

It's not about some bizarre fantasy of tax cuts ending the deficit or a bigger naval fleet protecting us from the Kaiser of Dick Cheney's nightmares. There's no UN conspiracies or American socialistic plot or apology tours or votes that will force God to damn you. That's just the smoke and fog of a barrage of corporate-funded gobbledy-gook trying to yank voters around so they can suck out a few more tax breaks for themselves. They want you sleepy, very very sleepy, and in such a rush to get the voting done with that you don't realize what you really need.

You need a mensch in the White House (at least this time, next time we might be voting for a "womensch"). You need a level headed manager who can solve problems, arrange priorities, eyeball our enemies, flatter or threaten our rivals, and push the public interest past the claws of public malice on a regular schedule. That's what this terrible killer storm did. It woke enough of the country up to what a brilliant gift we have running our affairs. Hopefully it woke enough of us up to swat away this grinning clown who spins fantasias of affluence with his eyes and lies, shamelessly assuring us that his plan will rain ice cream and shit marble.

It's hard to stay awake for the whole time in a months-long journey. But this sudden jolt of reality should wake a few more of us up, before it's too late.
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