Taking on the Great God of Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism

Time was when the U.S. was really truly exceptional in many areas — in the 1950’s and 1960’s  —- after the rest of the world’s manufacturing was destroyed in World War II. But in those years, there wasn’t much talk of American Exceptionalism. It was so obvious, especially in the economic sphere, when the U.S. accounted for 50 percent of the World’s GDP. But, America was also clearly superior to the rest of the world in terms of education, civil liberties, social mobility, science, health care, and a host of other areas. And most importantly, the ideas — our ideas,  that were at the formation of the American Revolution: liberty, equality, free trade, the rights of the governed, etc — … Continue reading

Is The President a Little Jealous of Edward Snowden?

obama-national-security

“I was going to do it, really I was.” This is the essence of President Obama’s remarks last week when he announced an overhaul of NSA procedures and the secret courts and secret opinions. “I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks… ” In other words, “He stole my thunder.” President Obama respectfully mentioned “Mr. Snowden” seven times in his remarks and almost seemed jealous of the whistleblower’s influence. He didn’t call Putin “Mr. Putin” The president said last week: “As I said at the National Defense University back in May…we have to strike the right balance between protecting our security and preserving our freedoms. And as part of this rebalancing, I … Continue reading

NRA Liars and Congressional Cowards

    by Walter Brasch   President Obama cast off his “No Drama Obama” garb, and became the fiery leader of hope and change that Americans first elected in 2008. At a speech in Hartford, Conn., the President, frustrated by Republican obstructionism, demanded of his audience, “If you believe that the families of Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech and the thousands of Americans who have been gunned down in the last four months deserve a vote, we all have to stand up.” He demand, “If you want the people you send to Washington to have just an iota of the courage that the educators at Sandy Hook showed when danger arrived on their doorstep, then we’re all … Continue reading

The Paul Ryan Magical Mystery Chop, Dice, and Slice Budget

  By Walter Brasch   In 2011, before he was the Republican nominee for vice-president, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) proposed a federal budget. He called it, “The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise.” Two years later, now in his second year as chair of the House budget committee, he dusted off and polished his old proposal. He calls this one: “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible Balanced Budget.” His plan is to cut the federal deficit by $4.6 trillion in four years, reducing the deficit to about $12.1 trillion. While the Republicans blame President Obama and the Democrats for wild tax-and-spend policies that led to the huge deficit, they conveniently overlook the reality that Bill Clinton left George W. Bush … Continue reading

Holding the American People Hostage

by Walter Brasch   Judges who wish to assure that a jury has no outside influence will sequester them. Legally, a sequestered jury is seized by authority and isolated from all outside influences. The jurors are escorted into and out of the courtroom. They aren’t allowed to read newspapers, listen to radio news, or watch TV news, ’lest they could be influenced by the media. They are escorted to and from meals, and isolated from other customers. They can’t discuss the case with family or friends. They can’t even go home at the end of the day; they’re housed in hotel rooms. In the summer of 2011, a bipartisan “super-committee” was supposed to come up with a reasonable budget to … Continue reading

The No News News Media

There was a lot of news this past week. Some of it was even reported by the news media. First, there was a football player from Notre Dame who either did or didn’t know that his girlfriend was or wasn’t real, but died sometime during the season. Six column headlines for several days announced the fraud. Network news and talk show hosts rehashed it almost daily. Two weeks ago, Lance Armstrong admitted he was a dope. Or maybe he just took dope. The news media kept sending urgent flashes all week of what he was going to tell Oprah. And then he told Oprah, and now we’ll be reading stories about it until Schwinn adds a jet engine to a … Continue reading

The Problem with the Bahmas

His face flushed, his cheeks puffing half-syllables of super-heated air, Sen. Porkbelly Fishbottom was about to swallow an aneurysm. I threw water on his face, trying to cool him. It just sputtered and sizzled. I tried quietly talking to him, trying to calm him down. He wasn’t listening. After five minutes, I was about to call 911 to report a stroke victim, when he said his first two-syllable word. “Bahma!” “Bama?” I asked. “Something wrong in Alabama? Is the school cancelling its professional football team?” “Bahma!” he said, spitting out both syllables. His fire-red cheeks drained into his neck, leaving a pasty-white face. He was returning to normal, and there would be no need to call out a $2,500 lifeflight … Continue reading

Obama ‘Man of The Year,’ But GOP’s Time May Be Past

Poised on the eve of a second term in the White House and now Time magazine’s 2012 “Person of The Year,” Barack Obama appears to be on the top of his game. The same can’t be said for the Republican Party. Even as the GOP attempts to go toe-to-toe with the re-elected president as the sides deal to avoid the coming so-called “fiscal cliff,” the Republican brand appears to be sinking into the toilet. The party, which just two years ago appeared ascendant with tea party fervor, now is mired with just a 31 percent favorable number, with not favorable up to 60 percent, according to a new CBS poll. Meanwhile, the CBS poll has even more bad news for … Continue reading