REFLECTIONS: On Conflicts of Interest
GRAY MATTERS: Misunderstanding Medicare

Post-Election Woes

In ruminating on the election, Crabby Old Lady finds herself appalled that so many politicians are nothing better than embarrassing. Can't we just say it. Christine O'Donnell – still a girl at 41 – has the intellectual underpinnings of a gnat. Sarah Palin is incoherent. Sharron Angle, Michele Bachmann and Jan Brewer are freaks – and two of them won!

Crabby is not picking on women in particular, but they have cornered the market on crackpot politics. Anti-masturbation? Death panels? Second Amendment remedies? Nuclear strike on Iran? Decapitated bodies in the desert? Candidates apparently believe these positions are vote-getters. Worse, most were not wrong.

If you don't count Linda McMahon's knee to her husband's groin, male candidates have a greater penchant for personal violence in politics. Alaska's Joe Miller defended his security team's assault on a journalist. Carl Paladino, in New York, threatened to “take out” a reporter and brought a baseball bat to his concession speech. Larry West of Florida won on a platform of hand-to-hand combat with muskets and bayonets.

On a bi-gender basis, here are some of the extreme beliefs of the freshman Republicans who will join the 112th Congress in January, as compiled by ThinkProgress:

• 91% have sworn to never allow an income tax increase on any individual or business – regardless of deficits or war

• 79% have pledged to permanently repeal the the estate tax

• 50% deny the existence of man-made climate change

• 25% want to end birthright citizenship

Although those are all House members, the supposedly “adult” side of Congress doesn't appear to be even thinking about policy. In late October, Senate Minority leader, Mitch McConnell, told the National Journal - and repeated on television on election night - that

"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

When the Congressional leadership is not abdicating its sworn responsibilities, it's delusional. House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner reiterating in his acceptance speech his determination to repeal health care reform, referred to America's “best health care system in the world.” What planet does this guy live on?

Cooperation with the Democrats and the White House? Not a chance.

Mainstream media is equally irresponsible. It was almost devoid of cogent analysis during the long campaign, also abdicating its responsibility to point out the lies of candidates and concentrating, as usual, only on the horse race. A news organization does not have to be partisan to call a freak bizarre, but they covered the ignorant and grotesque with the same “fairness” as the competent candidates.

They can't get even the simple stuff right. On Wednesday morning, Crabby Old Lady watched CNN's John Roberts tell Senator Harry Reid he had “eked” out a win over Sharron Angle. Reid took issue with that characterization and so does Crabby. Six points is hardly a squeaker.

Voters aren't off Crabby Old Lady's hook either. Oklahoma passed legislation outlawing the non-existent threat of Sharia law. And San Franciscans voted to take away toys from kids who don't order nutritionally correct Happy Meals. On “issues” such as these, it's hard for Crabby to not agree with the tea party about too much government.

The election of know-nothings, extremists and corporate sycophants comes down on no one's head more than ignorant voters – you know, the birthers, truthers and those who think painting a Hitler mustache on a photo of President Obama is a persuasive political statement. Unfortunately, that appears to succeed.

What gives Crabby gas is that too many elders are among the witless who are eager to vote against their own interests. As Saul Friedman details in his Gray Matters column on this blog tomorrow, elders so little understand their own health care program, Medicare, that they voted for the people who want to destroy it – and Social Security too.

Many tea partiers and Republicans railed in this election campaign against what they call the elite by which they seem to mean smart, educated, thoughtful. It is a long tradition in the United States to do so - just ask Adlai Stevenson who suffered through two campaigns being pelted with the “egghead” epithet.

Even in the best of times, we need intelligent leadership and this is pretty damned close to the worst of times. Crabby Old Lady is hanging on by a thread in hope that our country is not doomed through stupidity. Or gridlock. Whichever comes first.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz: Midlife Surprise


I think stupidity and gridlock will ride in on the same horse double saddle.
I am thankful for your blog and all those who comment here because you are an island of sanity.

I'm kind of glad I won't be around long enough to see what happens as this century whirls and skids into the future.

Just think, Crabby, John Boehner may be the first man of color (Orange) to be Speaker of the House...

Aren't you proud?

Saul summed it up nicely yesterday in making a very convincing case that the media is populated with whores and I think the actions of the people in our legislatures are testament to the fact that they too qualify for whoredom. And the voters? They're the "johns"

Well, we *are* doomed. Everything's doomed. Who in their day thought Rome would fall, or the pharaohs, or the Tudors, or, for that matter, western civilization? Some of this is politics, but I'm beginning to think most of it is just the human condition and the ebb and flow of history.

I'm this ][ close to saying, ah, screw American politics. I can help to feed a couple of hungry people and celebrate the gift of life while I'm enjoying it. And I think that's what I'm going to do.

Crabbing right there beside you, Ronni. I remember watching Ike and Adlai speaking--one of the first things we saw on our brand new television--during their campaigns in 1952, when I was four. My mother was a staunch Republican, but she admired intelligence and pointed out how smart Stevenson was. When our little family "voted" after the show, I chose Stevenson. I'd watched him closely to see what smart really looked like, so I could be just like him when I grew up.

Remember China's Great Proletariat Revolution and the One Hundred Flowers campaign that resulted in a purge of China's intellectuals? That keeps coming to mind these days. Oooh, I feel a blog post coming on...

@Nance: the purge of the intellectuals haunts me, too, but in a different place. One of the professors at the college I work at has done a lot of work with water quality issues in Cambodia; unsafe water is the leading cause of preventable deaths there. The reason, according to him, is that the Khmer Rouge killed the educated populace; there were no educated people to keep the country's water clean, or its infrastructure operating.

Look, seven folks were up before me and feel just like I do. Everyone is reacting or sticking their heads in the sand. I'm reacting to other things and will leave the big issues to you.

We need education and jobs as well as healthcare. I too, believe we are following in the well worn shoes of other collapsed powers. I'm worried for our children and grandchild. Meanwhile I too, give what I can to the food bank, homeless shelters, and vote but feel discouraged.

I keep wondering if there is a large portion of our population who are high functioning paranoid schizophrenics. Never diagnosed, but always afraid of all the wrong things. Seriously! Wouldn't it explain a lot of the "politics" we have seen in the last few years.

IMHO, 1) what we are seeing at play here are the Mechanics of Hatred, pure and simple. 2) After just scanning the news, listening to all the heads talking, I think there is a faint hope here -- that now that they got what they think they want, maybe they'll self-destruct from the inside? And last but not least, a warning 3) Everyone thought Hitler was just a crazy paper hanger and not worth worrying about. Anything driven by hate, no matter how subtle, is something to worry about. Meaning, "don't underestimate the ridiculous!

Now that I live month to month on my social security income, I cannot imagine what would happen if that income were stopped and all of us without income. I can't imagine anyone already on social security voting for an idiot who wants to stop social security. You are right to rant. You say it so much more eloquently than I could and without all the curse words too.

"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."


First US President...and Prophet(?)

The absolute ignorance of the masses appalls me. I am constantly amazed when they fall for lies and distortions.

It sickens me that the ignorant follow the ones who appeal to their worst instincts and that hatred is so easily roused. It is always easier to stir up hatred and fear when times are bad. People need a scapegoat and the unprincipled, knowing that, provide one by stirring up anger at the opposition party.

Big ((((((((SIGH)))))))

Reading Ronni's and Saul's blogs and watching Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart keep me semi-sane here in crazy Arizona! Sometimes it's hard to feel as if anything I do or say makes a difference to any of my elected officials (McKain? Jon Kyl? Brewer?)

BUT the article I published on the net about Arizona's 10 confusing propositions got over 1700 hits, so perhaps that helped a few voters understand what their vote would do.They actually turned out mostly OK, in my opinion.

Oh hell, we are taking off to see Alan Jackson in Vegas and I'm going to just forget about the whole thing for the weekend!

Unfortunately, very few Americans voted in this recent election (around 25% I hear), and most of them were white-skinned elders. Elders are traditionally very conservative and/or reactionary, and this election is not much different, apparently. It's hard to have to acknowledge that 'the enemy' is us.

Younger people stay away in droves, I guess they feel that their vote won't count so why bother. It's too bad. My hope for the future still rests in them though, a lot of younger people are really working for a better future and I think it is our job as elders to support them in that endeavour.

Yes, Annie, we in the broad sense are part of the problem. You said it in a nicer way, but truth is my generation (most Tea Partiers appear to belong to it) includes a disproportionate number of racists.

Many erred after Barack Obama was elected when they assumed we had overcome racism in American politics. All we did is make a huge jump forward. Substantial racism remains, especially in the white working class and retired workers who are heavily represented in theTea Party, and it was a big factor in this election.

Take heart, my generation soon will be gone, the population will be better educated generally, and racism truly will become a much smaller factor in politics.

I don't see any hope. As others have noted, the American populace seems incredibly dense about both public policy and politics. I actually had to turn off Rachel Maddow last night as she unfolded the story of the self-contained, closed bubble of the right-wing media blitz and how that will keep on reinforcing - for the mass of people they obviously reach - ignorant falsehoods. Rachel just brought home for me the fact that it matters not one whit the truth of what she reports, since it's only "the choir" who's listening. I'm angry -- and incredibly sad.


Reasoned? Non-Partisan? Working
to bring the country together?
Not on your life! I am a registered Democrat and vote in EVERY election--the rants I read here--all so smart and Sooo for the good of all of us are exactly what will keep the nonsense and the meaness going on and on. Let's get it together and try to see some positive ideas in others at least once in a while!

Arizona is now governed by the foolish and the dumb. It was one thing to elevate Jan Brewer to the governorship; to elect her is just embarrassing.

When did stupid become a qualification for election?

It's TV Nation. It's Wal-Mart Nation. A stupified populace marches to its doom.

ACcording to the Alliance for Retired Americans, which used CNN exit polls, 38% of seniors voted Democratic and 59% voted Republican; and also 47% of those 60 and older saying they support the Tea Party and only 26% of voters ages 18 to 29 saying they do.

Yet other surveys say that seniors reject privitizing Social Security,allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to continue, or raising the retirement age.

So where's the logic in that?

Also, my son expressed amazement at the low numbers of voters under 30 - it was a "wake-up call" for him and his friends to realize that some of the things like health care access, gay rights and the enviroment that mean the most to them will likely take a backward turn because of their failure to vote. (My son did vote; many of his friends did not.)

What are those old fools thinking, without my SSI I'd be hard pressed to live. What really disturbs me is what will happen to our children. Many, many have jobs and some post secondary education and are just barely getting by; where would they get the money to save for retirement? They already can't afford medical insurance or medical care. God help us.

Yes, friends, we are smarter then they are. We should be making policy, not them.

I join several other respondents in wondering what on earth older Americans could possibly have been thinking when they voted for tea baggers and their ilk. Surely they're old enough to remember what can happen when the Far Right gains ascendancy (remember the days of Sen. Joe McCarthy right here in the good old USA?). Some of the folks our 65+ fellow citizens helped to elect hold very extreme views that weren't widely publicized. It's said that people get the government they deserve. Maybe so, but the only problem is that the rest of us will have to suffer the consequences along with those who elected these yahoos. Well, at least Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell lost.

How stupid people come into power still befuddles me. I guess I have to admit that stupid people vote for them. I am constantly surprised at how short sited and gullible most people are. I figure people who voted to have their health care repealed, their medicare and social security destroyed will live to see what bad choices they made voting for Tea Party and Republicans. I live in the state in which our metro's 6th district voted for Michele Bachmann. Just knowing the likes of her, Boehner, and McConnell are now the house majority makes me feel like I did when George W was president, sick in my gut. But I also have a feeling that sometime before the 2012 election the Republicans will reveal who they really are and the folks who voted for them will see nothing but selfish, greedy whores. Disgusted, you bet I am.

I am appalled and angry (and crabby too) at the lack of intelligence, the self-serving creeps, and the greedy cowards who are tearing down the values they pretend to be protecting. You can’t reason with them...I think they’ve lost all reason.
I read Saul’s column yesterday, and Ronni’s today, and agreed with each word. I also realized I have a lot I can do. I think there are many people who apparently would agree. In Colorado the hideous Tom Tancredo and Ken Buck were not elected showing that some degree of sanity exists in my state.
Back when we all were young, we caused change. We were active...we were activists.
I remember going up to a table on my college campus in the mid 1960s, learning about napalm and agent orange both made by Dow Chemical, about how the government was using them in Vietnam, how much money Dow was making, and I became outraged. I picked up leaflets and passed the word on to others. There were big demonstrations at several universities in California. (Dow was recruiting on campus – most avoided them.) I refused to buy Saran Wrap (invented and made by Dow) and got my mom to quit using it too. We didn’t make a dent in Dow’s fortunes or accomplish too much very soon, but in 1972 when Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the burned Vietnamese girl was everywhere, people who had been silent came out vocally. Richard Nixon said it was fake photo. He only added to his standing as a bad guy. Everyone knew about napalm and what our government was doing with it against civilians.
We need to do those kinds of things again.
I think we have to stay active at home and in the streets. Keep writing. Expose the lies and “journalist whores.” Picket the fat cats. March like Ghandi and King. Rally in the streets. What can it hurt? Rallies are what the tea partiers have done. More positively, it’s what Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart started last weekend. We can’t sit back now.

Annie, excellent post. Hang tough. Hugs from your Canadian friends.

Don't forget to invite us when you start those marches.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
Thomas Jefferson

"Well-informed" Ah, there's the rub!

I'm sad for all of us - in the UK as well as in the USA - the only thing to do is to keep speaking out like you do. I sometimes do a kind of rant on my blog, but it is never as coherent as your Crabby Old Lady! Every Blessing

Some good things did come from this election. Why is it we rarely if ever focus on the good things? After all, so much "bad" appears to be happening around us 24/7, somebody's certain to bring up some of it before the day's out... wouldn't it make a lot of sense to start focusing like laser beams on what is positive? Now, before I get hit with the "what rock do you live under" and "okay Pollyanna" comments, I'm not advocating people ignore difficulties. But harping on anger, fear, no hope, etc. is a major life disrupter. Why? Because when we're so filled up with rage and sorrow, only the smallest trickle of joy and fulfillment can come through. There are millions of young folks out there (and elders, too!) working like beavers to transform the planet and people on it in a good way... they're filled with ideas and projects and energy for making today better and tomorrow better still. Maybe we all need to take deep breaths from the media madness that keeps us all whipped up in a frenzy, and on a daily basis, look for the absolute BEST in every situation. Finding just one good thing daily will make us feel better and help the world, too. If we remember the saying, "life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved," then maybe, just maybe, we'll make that inner shift that lets us truly live, and have plenty of strength to meet any challenges that come our way. (do see...

... And here's one more url to bring us up:

p.s. As you'll read in the FAQ, this is hidden agenda-free. They are connected with one group, and you might want to check them out, too:


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