Tag Archives: michele-bachmann

Gridlock and Bedlam


It’s scary, but I’m starting to agree with my pessimist friend.

Donald KaulBy Donald Kaul

My friend Richard is a little crazy and very smart. He spends his days filling the Internet with screeds and rants on his favorite subject — the continuing collapse of our society. I’d tell you his last name, but if you wrote him, you’d get his scary emails too.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent effort after the stock market had a bad-hair day.

“As I’ve said all along, it’s Depression II. The stock market is catching on. Dow is down 4.5 percent today. Has a long way to go (down) to get to a reasonable value considering the fundamentals…Corrupt and disintegrating governmental systems here and in England. Gridlock. Incompetence everywhere…”

Did I mention that he is an angry old man? He seems to have caught the zeitgeist, however: that vague feeling of terror caused by being at the mercy of mysterious forces we can’t control.

To scroll through a good newspaper (there are still a few) is to be confronted with one horror story after another.

If the “Arab Spring” isn’t threatening to go sour on us, the Israelis and Palestinians are making rude Italian gestures at each other in the United Nations. Every time the Greek government blows its nose, financial markets throughout the Western world get pneumonia. Pakistan’s military is preparing its country for war, quite possibly with us — even though we supply them with weapons and money. Every other month or so Congress goes to the brink of shutting down the government and with it the economy, which is already dead in the water and sinking, slowly.

In 18th-century London people used to go to Bedlam, the city’s mental institution, to amuse themselves by gawking at the insane, sometimes paying a penny for a special peek. Today we watch Republican presidential debates.

So far we have heard cheers for both executions and America’s shortage of health insurance. There have been boos for a soldier who served in Iraq because he was gay. During each of those appalling moments, no candidate raised his or her voice in protest.

We have seen Mitt Romney and Rick Perry back away from their most noble achievements as governors simply to appease the unappeasable.

We have witnessed Michele Bachmann make a fool of herself time after time with no one, apparently, noticing.

What an awful bunch. It’s like an early round of “American Idol.” I suppose Romney is the least worst of them. If elected, he’s likely to abandon his current positions as readily as he did most of his previous positions.

Barack Obama has been no great prize either. He holds his great achievements — the health care bill and the rescue of the auto industry — at arm’s length, as though he doesn’t want them to stain his suit.

The world has begun the fourth year of a financial crisis with no end in sight. Our leaders not only don’t have the answers; they don’t seem to know the questions.

I don’t agree with everything my friend Richard says, but I’m beginning to share his rising sense of panic.

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Columbus Day Questions


On this Columbus Day, let’s consider the discrepancy between how newcomers are celebrated in our history but ostracized in our society.

By Sara Joseph

Many of us will never forget that famous elementary school rhyme: “In fourteen hundred ninety-two / Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” At the time, it’s not likely that we would have sensed any looming controversy behind those grade school lessons. With Columbus Day just around the corner, however, it’s worth asking whether affection for the holiday is really a serious case of misguided nostalgia.

Columbus Day celebrates the “discovery” of the Americas. But it’s clear that the continent had already been inhabited by well-established indigenous communities.

The people who already lived in the region welcomed the first European immigrants with curiosity and open hearts and minds. But it soon became clear that the explorers sent by European royalty had come to dominate, defeat, and destroy.

On October 12, 1492, Columbus wrote of the native people he encountered: “They should be good servants…they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”

Columbus is credited with forging the first links between American and European civilizations. But whether the manner in which these cultures collided merits commemoration as a federal holiday is doubtful at best.

Throughout most of the Americas, schoolchildren don’t remember Columbus Day with cutesy images of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. In fact, it’s often called by an entirely different name: Dia de la Raza (Latin American Heritage Day). This is a way to recognize indigenous roots in the Americas. It also serves as a tribute to the lives and civilizations lost in the name of slavery and European expansion — beginning with Columbus’ arrival in 1492.

Today, Latin American and Caribbean schoolchildren that migrate to the United States are unlikely to receive a hero’s welcome. In fact, they are often forced to live in the shadows as their parents struggle to survive. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann recently went so far as to mock Rick Perry’s statement that anyone with a “heart” would want to protect the rights of immigrant children to an education — even if they were brought to the United States “through no fault of their own.”

Migration across what’s now the U.S.-Mexican border has existed for centuries. The reality is that this history was marked by periodic shared interest in promoting immigration. But as economic and anti-narcotic policies initiated by Washington have increased pressure on Latin American people to migrate, immigration has become a hot-button issue for people across the political spectrum.

To many, the flow of immigration seems daunting. Bachmann recently proposed a solution: “Build a barrier, a fence, a wall…every mile, every yard, every foot, every inch will be covered on that southern border.”

But spending billions on border militarization hasn’t stopped undocumented migration. In fact, one of the only notable outcomes of beefing up the border has been more death, danger, and lives lost in the desert.

Ideally, every October we would celebrate the coming together of the cultures of the Americas. Sadly, the legacy of cultural domination and separation continues with border militarization as a tenet of our foreign policy.

According to President Barack Obama, it is Columbus’ “intrepid character and spirit of possibility that has come to define America, and is the reason countless families still journey to our shores.”

To whom is Obama referring if not the immigrants who come to the United States for a chance to support their families? On this Columbus Day, let’s consider the discrepancy between how newcomers are celebrated in our history but ostracized in our society — and what we can learn from a modern analysis of Columbus’ story.

For a quick read about the people native to my own part of this country, go HERE.

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Filed under Crime, History, Human Rights, Native American, Opinion, Politics

Bachmann’s Government Benefits


  For someone whose ideology is really defined by a strong dislike for government, if you look at the way she’s supported herself over the years, it’s mostly through the government. After law school, she works at the IRS, she’s there for four years, then in 1992 she starts taking in foster children and does that from 1992-1998 and is paid by the state to do that. She then works briefly for a local charter school and then she starts running for office and becomes first an employee of the state of Minnesota and then a congresswoman, an employee of the federal government. … Her husband is a psychologist [who] has two counseling clinics that like any other medical professional [clinic] takes lots of money from Medicare and Medicaid — and then on top of that, has received generous farm subsidies for a farm he owns in Wisconsin.

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True Patriotism (via WordCritical)


True Patriotism Just a brief exposure to an image of the American flag shifts voters, even Democrats, to Republican beliefs, attitudes and voting behavior even though most don't believe it will impact their politics, according to a new two-year study just published in the scholarly Psychological Science… For some reason, this comes as a surprise to a lot of people. Republicans have used patriotic symbolism for a long, long time, and their advertising strategy … Read More

via WordCritical

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Michele Bachman Tries To Identify With a Serial Killer. (via Beneath the Tin Foil Hat)


Michele Bachman Tries To Identify With a Serial Killer. Here's another foot in mouth moment for Michele Bachmann: While announcing her official candidacy today in Waterloo Iowa, she told Faux News that "John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit I have too." The historically challenged Bachmann was kind of correct; John Wayne was from Waterloo. However, it was notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy who was from Waterloo, not the actor John Wayne, who Bachmann idolizes. As most of y … Read More

via Beneath the Tin Foil Hat

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