Saturday, November 27, 2021

Understanding What Divides Us and Why


A recent national poll of just under seven million respondents showed that 35% of Americans identify as Conservatives. 25% as Liberals while a whopping 45%  said they were Moderates. It appears that Americans, as a whole, don't like what either of the two corporate owned parties are peddling. 

Of course, no doubt, that almost every elected politician in Washington who sees this poll would automatically claim to be a "moderate" if that meant hanging on to their office. They change positions faster than a chameleon walking on plaid!

RepresentUs, a nonpartisan advocacy group, published an interesting survey which showed how Americans ranked themselves based on their political views. According to the survey, there are nine distinct groups. 10% are flag and faith conservatives (Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, etc). 7% are dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. 11% are populist right wingers (Tea Party, etc). 12% lean conservative. 15% are "stressed sideliners" or nonpartisans. 10% lean liberal. 16% are dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. 13% are Establishment Liberals. Finally, 6% are extreme or "progressive" Left Wing (Antifa, etc).

So, you can see that even by this breakdown, 37% are moderates (and, although the survey didn't indicate, likely Independent since Independents tend to lean conservative on some issues and liberal on others). Meanwhile, 35% are Left Wing while 28% are Right Wing.

I guess it's not surprising that the majority of Americans consider themselves to be moderate. Moderates, and their willingness to see both sides of an issue is what has historically moved this nation forward.  We've never really been a nation of extremism until relatively recently. Then again, both parties, in their collective race to the bottom, have virtually purged their membership of moderates.

The only time you see either party come anywhere near the middle is during the general election, and that's just to appeal to the "Great Middle" and get their vote. After which, both sides gravitate back to the outer edges of reality and to the extremists on either side.  So, who is the "middle" anyway?

Traditionally, the middle was what governed this nation. In recent history it's been individuals like Truman, Eisenhower, Rockefeller, and John Kennedy.  Today, it's the Independents, the largest voting bloc in country. As of the end of October 2021, Independents made up 44% of registered voters while Republicans and Democrats were basically tied at 26% each according to a Gallup poll.

I think Independents see both parties for what they are---two flea infested wings of the same old corporate vulture. That's why they've jettisoned their malignant dogmas. While each party likes to finger point at the other, both are responsible for the shape America is in, including the corruption, cronyism, and increasingly extremist behavior. Both sides have sold out the Republic and transformed us into a neo-fascist Corporatocracy.  They have created a surveillance state which is one crisis away from becoming a police state.

 Corporate lobbyists are responsible for writing the overwhelming majority of legislation, and then shepherding it through the various Byzantine maze of committees and subcommittees, greasing palms and adding self serving amendments along the way. They fund campaigns, party coffers, and line the pockets of those willing to go along with the status quo. They control our foreign and domestic policies just as they control the media and use it as their propaganda arm. We can't keep going on like this.

They create and exploit divisions among the citizenry. The more we're divided, the easier we are to control and manipulate while they pull the puppet strings. And all that "infighting" you see on television? That's one corporate interest group competing with another. Anything positive we get out of it, the crumbs, is purely happenstance.  Of course, they put on a show when election times rolls around to make it look like they're doing something and it's "the other guy's fault", but that's all it really is, a show.

Given what both parties have done to us and our country, is it any wonder that the overall Congressional approval rate, as of the end of October, was just 21%? In practically every other country, politicians would be packing their bags and heading for the nearest airport out with that kind of approval rating.

The good news I suppose is that the rating is up from 18% a few weeks earlier. Nevertheless, Congress has been maintaining pathetically low levels for decades. But, in their defense, while we've been giving them low approval ratings, they've been giving us low performance ratings in return!

According to the same poll, the approval rating for Democrats was just 33%, but don't gloat Republicans. Yours was just 5%. As for "Sleepy Joe" Biden, his approval rating tanked to 38%.  His Vice President, Kamala Harris, didn't do much better. Her approval rating was 27.8%. As an aside, 44% of Independents disapprove of Biden's job.

 Also, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi's approval rating was 38%, though 72% of Democrats like her while McConnell's approval rating was just 30% of which 62% of Republicans like the job he's doing.  It's worth noting that while the majority of America's support the infrastructure bill (61%) before Biden, only a quarter of them think it will benefit them in any meaningful way.

All this makes me wonder why we've allowed it to continue. You know, despite these embarrassing approval ratings, we still elect well over 90% of them! Even the old Soviet Politburo didn't have that rate of reelection! It seems to me that the ones we should be upset the most with isn't Congress or whoever is the president. It's us for continuing to reelect this den of thieves.

Did you know that, according to another RepresentUs survey, that despite their lackluster approval ratings, 45 member of Congress still violated the Stock Act of 2021, including Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Rand Paul, Representative Dan Crenshaw, and Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? The act was to prevent insider trading by members of the House and Senate.

 By the way, you should remember Debbie. She was fired in 2016 for helping Hillary to rig the Democrat Primary against Senator Bernie Sanders. But no worries. She was hired the next day to work directly on Hillary's failed presidential campaign, and how she's in Congress. Amazing how they land on their feet isn't it?

Here's a little factoid for you to consider. For the 535 members of Congress, there are 11,524 lobbyists representing corporations and none that represent average Americans. Of that 11,524 lobbyists, Big Pharma has approximately 1,350 of them (roughly 3 per Congressman), and they're not bashful about spending money. This year alone they've spent $263 million on Congress.

While 83% of Americans favor federally negotiated drug prices, Big Pharma doesn't. Since 2003, it has spent over $3.8 billion dollars to make sure it doesn't happen, and you know how many bills have been passed to regulate drug prices? Zero. Nada. Goose egg. But then again, as I've said, it's the lobbyists who write the bills, so what do you expect?

Here's another factoid for you. Consider it a bonus. Of all the industrialized nations in the world, we have the highest incarceration rate of any of them. As of 2019, there was 2.1 million people behind bars. That's more than China, Russia, Cuba, India, Mexico, Rwanda, or any of the Muslim nations like Iran, Turkistan, or Pakistan.

If states were ranked as countries, 25 states have a higher percentage of prisoners that the first country on the list, which so happens to be the U.S.. The state with the higher incarceration percentage is Louisiana, followed by Mississippi and Oklahoma. Kentucky is seventh. We have to go another ten more states before we get to the next country, El Salvador!  Why is this? Why should one of the "freest" nations on earth have the highest incarceration rate on the planet? 

For the fifth straight year, the United States has been ranked as "flawed democracy", which is just one step above a failed democracy. We are currently ranked 25th in the world of freest countries, and we've continued to drop regardless of who is president or which corporate party has the majority in Congress.

By all other measures, such as quality of life, longevity, happiness, healthcare, education, and so on, we're consistently ranked, at best, toward the bottom of the top tier or in the second tier. Surely we can't keep going on like this.

It reminds me of the Ancient Roman Republic which, despite having the most powerful military in the world, was rapidly decay internally due to corruption, a powerful political and economic oligarchy, invading tribes, a deteriorating infrastructure, as well as economic instability, rising taxes and public debt (it also sounds a lot like Weimar Germany in the 1920's, just prior to the rise of the Nazis).

Something tells me that living under a new Caesar or Fuehrer won't be a lot of fun, especially given the level of technology, hereto unseen in history of Mankind, and the fact that we're already a surveillance state in place; just one crisis (real or manufactured) away from a police state.  All you need to do is look around...or down at your Smartphone or up at your computer screen.

Let's not forget, they already have a propaganda wing in the form of the media, which has been actively attempting to control, divide, and manipulate us for decades now. It will take tremendous personal fortitude to see through the manufactured BS; more than it did in Fascist Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, or Soviet era Russia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany, or modern China and North Korea.

Americans, though, are a unique breed. Most of us are not just the descendants of immigrants. We're mostly the descendents of misfits who simply didn't fit in with the established status quo. We wanted to do better. We wanted to believe what we wanted. We wanted our own land or our own business. We wanted to say and read and think what we wanted. We wanted to exist with as little government interference as possible (today that would include corporate interference too).

Even those who came here against their will, having been kidnapped or captured and sold by their own people are a helluva lot better off than the best of those they left behind. America is still the first choice for those seeking a better life (though it's not exactly as billed). The main problem is that they don't want to do it legally or they think they're entitled to an automatic pass for some reason. So claim that "no one is illegal", which is true, but their actions may be. That's why we have laws. 

Nevertheless, there's still much we can do to reclaim our country and restore the Republic. As I've often pointed out in my articles, we can still reverse our decline into some sort of modern servitude to the Corporate state which will affect all of us regardless of political registration, ideology, gender or orientation, religion (or lack thereof), where we live or went to school, or the color of our skin.

Those are manufactured divisions anyway whose sole purpose is to keep us fighting each other while the ruling Oligarchy grows like a cancer and becomes stronger while the media continues to tell us what to think, who to hate, or who to blame for whatever make believe slight they conjure up.

The truth is that we alone are responsible for what to think or believe. We alone are responsible for our decisions, good or bad. We control the means to achieve our success. There's no one to blame but us for our failures without need of their readymade excuses and scapegoats. We have the right to live where we want (assuming we can afford it) no matter what we look like, believe, or love.

At the same time, we have the right as human beings to associate with whomever we want without fear of some artificial construct (aka "political correctness"). That goes for what we say, read, or watch too. We owe no one an apology or "reparations" for the past anymore than we can guarantee the future. We only have the here and now to determine our actions.  

We owe no dogma our loyalty. Dogmas, political or otherwise, only create barriers and differences. The only loyalty we owe is to Truth, Honesty, and to ourselves. As the great Hebrew sage, Hillel, once famously said, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor", to which I would add my own quote "what divides us makes society and ourselves vulnerable and weak  while what unites us makes us stronger as a society and as individuals".  Perhaps we're finally waking up to what's hateful to ourselves and others.


Congress Approval Lowest in 2021 as Democrats Turn Negative

Gloomy landscape for Democrats in midterms as Biden's approval rating drops to 38% in USAToday/Suffolk poll

U.S. Congressional Leaders Unpopular on the Balance


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