The Long And The Short Of It

Like lots of Americans, I go to the doctor twice a year for check-ups, and I respond to the standard initial questions: have I fallen in the past six months? Have I been depressed? Thought about harming myself?

I have standard responses to those last two standard questions: I’m only depressed when I pay attention to the news. I haven’t wanted to harm myself, but I have definitely wanted to harm some other people I could name….

Actually, I’m pretty sure I have a widely-shared medical condition I’ll call “news sickness.” Its symptoms are lack of focus, feelings of futility, and free-floating anger.

The lack of focus is most maddening. What should I be concentrating on–what news should I be following– at a time when there is a new threat to democracy, to well-being, to sanity every single day? A morning scan of the media highlights the most recent atrocity, in this case, the murder of yet more innocent children and their teachers in a Texas classroom. That followed closely on the White Nationalist massacre in Buffalo, and has prompted media reviews of the unthinkable number of mass shootings in America, along with statistics showing that gun violence is a peculiarly American problem. (Evidently, the mentally-ill in other countries are less murderous…)

These recent events have operated to overshadow other recent and important matters: an unprovoked war in Ukraine that is killing thousands, displacing millions, and threatening to ignite World War III; revelations of traitorous behaviors uncovered almost daily by the January 6th Committee in the course of its investigation into the unprecedented attempt to overthrow a duly elected President; the increasing successes of the retrograde movement to strip women of their right to self-determination, beginning with abortion but sending strong signals that the war on women and gay people won’t end there…

And then there are ongoing debates over COVID measures, and the shameful revelations about Baptist clergy, who–it turns out–are just as prone to sexual misbehavior as Catholic priests (and undoubtedly other “men of the cloth.”).

Hovering over all of these and many other issues is the threat posed by climate change. And hovering over all of it is the adamant refusal of the Republican Party to engage responsibly with any of these issues, and its determination to keep others from doing anything about them either.

Here, for example, is a recent report from the New York Times, detailing an organized GOP effort to punish corporations trying to be responsible stewards of the environment.

In West Virginia, the state treasurer has pulled money from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, because the Wall Street firm has flagged climate change as an economic risk.

In Texas, a new law bars the state’s retirement and investment funds from doing business with companies that the state comptroller says are boycotting fossil fuels. Conservative lawmakers in 15 other states are promoting similar legislation.

And officials in Utah and Idaho have assailed a major ratings agency for considering environmental risks and other factors, in addition to the balance sheet, when assessing states’ creditworthiness.

Across the country, Republican lawmakers and their allies have launched a campaign to try to rein in what they see as activist companies trying to reduce the greenhouse gases that are dangerously heating the planet.

Every single day, we get media reports with the same story: Republicans continue to block even the most modest gun control efforts. State-level Republicans are passing draconian measures aimed at criminalizing abortion and punishing both women and those who might help them obtain one. Republican lawmakers are resisting subpoenas and refusing to testify to the January 6th Committee. Senate Republicans filibustered and defeated the recent anti-terrorism bill.  Senate Republican “leadership” refuses to sanction the party’s (several) “out and proud” congressional White Supremicists. A significant number of Congressional Republicans resist sending help to Ukraine, and to varying degrees, offer justifications for Russia’s invasion.

If you make a list of the most pressing issues facing the United States, it becomes blindingly clear that the federal government and the various governments of America’s Red states are doing virtually nothing to address those issues. It also becomes blindingly clear why that is: today’s Republican Party has morphed into a White Christian Supremicist cult, dismissive of science and evidence and intent upon “returning” the country to a time that never was. Thanks to gerrymandering and several outdated elements of America’s electoral system, that cult wields considerably more power than fair democratic elections would otherwise give it, and it is using its disproportionate and unrepresentative power to thwart passage of desperately-needed legislation.

What’s wrong with America today can be reduced to one simple statement:  the Republican stranglehold on government.


  1. Yes. One crazy Republican blocked the entire US government from sending timely aid to Ukraine recently. The whole world wants to help these people and ONE Republican nut can stop the whole process. This is just crazy. I fully expect the Republicans to come up with some truly nutty ideas on the gun violence issue. Perhaps they will want to ARM the students. Nobody will attack a school where all the kids are packin’ heat. Exhausting.

  2. The problem with the one simple statement is that Republicans are doing what their donors want them to do, especially taking away federal control of the states so the Koch network can control what goes on in the states they own. Some folks on here would call those states the Neo-Confederacy.

    I would call the Koch network our true domestic terrorists but for some reason, the Democratic Party refuses to do anything about it. I’ll let your imagination concoct theories about why because I’m told my opinion is irrelevant. 😉

  3. What to do about “news fatigue”? Turn it off. Go outside, hug your grandchildren, volunteer for a cause that you find meaningful. Write your Congressperson to let them know what you want them to do, not because they will do it but because you will have tried. Be disciplined in your news consumption and social media engagement. Let that shit go.
    Today I agree with Todd. The GOP is leading us to the brink of totalitarianism, but the D’s have failed miserably to take steps to prevent it when they had the chance, and the common cause is greed for power and money.
    It is like watching a Greek tragedy unfold, or a slow-motion train wreck. You know how it is going to end but you have no power to change it and you can’t look away.

  4. The filibuster must go.

    A government with a majority must be able to actually govern, and implement their policies. I believe this regardless of which party will be in power. (I believe the Dems could do some good for a lot of people, and I believe that if the GOP did pass bills, there’d be a backlash, and Dem voters would become more energised.) If not, government is simply a failure, and this benefits the GOP. It promotes anger or apathy, depending. Right now, the U.S. governement is utterly broken. There are only two functioning branches of government in the US, judicial and executive: the legislative branch is dead. AND, the two functioning branches are rife with partisanship and corruption, so they’re little help. This is certainly purposeful on the part of the GOP. They work hard to install ultra-conservative judges and grant more powers to the executive branch for a reason.

    The GOP cares very little about the legislative branch. No platform, people!! There are only three main things that they really want to do from a legislative perspective: (1) seat judges, (2) give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, and (3) repeal regulation. There are a few side plots, though. For example, they’d like the government to be more theocratic; they’d repeal progressive policies and laws that their Christian religion dislikes.

    Second place: get money out of politics. PACs should go. Corporations aren’t people and shouldn’t be able to contribute.

    Damn, this stuff gets me furious.

  5. seeking the journalists that can and do relate is a possitive thought. though the subject may infringe upon ones mind, its not in front of me to hit. having a few various subjects to search,keep abreast of file for the long haul. its someone elses world when the news finds us. make your assesmemts and mind that you didnt see it happen. keeping a eye on whos in the journalists circle and find other like stories to match against the already known. all the subjects today seem in line with my own filings. tryin to keep up on whos on what PACS is a game in itself. red/blue ?
    news fatique,yea,plenty of it. theres a song by john kay,former steppenwolf leadman.. “give me some news i can use”,,,,,the scenerio is todays best topics…

  6. James; the only way I can translate your entire first paragraph is to believe you are telling us to be “Good Germans” and not know what is going on around us. One week ago we saw the Uvalde, Texas police force stand outside of their elementary school doing nothing, the only person of authority was the head of the school police who had no authority. Little children inside the school were on their phones begging for police to please come help them. We have learned since that the police were told NOT to act and that the school had no protective measures set up in case of a deranged shooter. Evidently they had “let that shit go”; the death toll to date is NINETEEN CHILDREN, TWO TEACHERS and countless family members and friends seeking solace and someone to share their grief with but they are surrounded by the other family members and friends who are seeking solace and someone to share their grief with over the loss of their own child.

    As for your second paragraph; the GOP continues to hold power and control by ignoring and breaking all laws, rules and ordinances as they ignore the requirements of their elected positions and their Oath of Office. There apparently is no one or no way to force them to conform to laws, rules and ordinances. The Democrats are following the laws and are overpowered by the minority dictatorship; bought and paid for by the 1-2% who have most of the money in this nation and aren’t turning loose of their fair share to pay taxes.

    Your third paragraph is the plain truth; but it is not a Greek tragedy but a Republican tragedy who paid Trump’s way into the White House and are well on their way to repeating that to finish the destruction of democracy, civil and human rights which is, or was, the American way. They did prove one old, and once hopeful, adage to be true, “Anyone in America can grow up to be president.” but turned that hope into a nightmare.

  7. I agree with the analysis and advice from Todd and James. I would ask that we all, each in our own way, be part of the solution, and not allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by the hysteria being poured over the country by the media.

  8. One more time…you are playing their “game” when you put each and every individual Republican in the country into the GOP Party scheme. Do not disrespect what Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger , Larry Hogan and others are doing.

    Single party rule is not what America is about, even if it were DEMs (of course, DEMS are now at least two parties anyway).

    Call out each every evil one for each and every evil thing. That includes “The Squad” for trying to hold up a bi-partisan hard infrastructure bill for purely ideological points.

    Servant leaders come in all Party colors and independent colors as well as, variations in shades.

  9. We could address innumerable problems, with changes to Senate rules. Why should we allow one Senator to object and, in objecting, obstruct needed legislation and appointments? That is even more bonkers than the filibuster, which everyone except Manchin, Sinema, and McConnell believe should be done away with. BTW McConnell only wants to keep the filibuster to block Democrats. If he is in charge, his group of zombie Senators will follow his wishes and suspend it for anything he wants to get done.

  10. I have to come down on the side of Theresa’s comments.

    At the same time I am in the midst of reading Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” and recently came across the following, which seems to me to be especially related to the Fascist/Totalitarian cravings of the White Christian Supremacist GOP:

    Arendt states that “the rise of the mob out of the capitalist organization (of society) was observed early, and its growth carefully and anxiously noted by all great historians of the nineteenth century. But what the historians…sadly failed to grasp was that the mob could not be identified with the growing industrial working class, and certainly not with the people as a whole, but that it was composed actually of the refuse of all classes…it’s distortion and caricature. The historical pessimists understood the essential irresponsibility of this new social stratum , and they also correctly foresaw the possibility of converting democracy into a despotism whose tyrants would rise from the mob and lean on it for support.” pg. 155.

    Along with imperialism, comes racism, as the imperialists portray the colonialized as “less than.” And, here we are, with the political process bathed in the same racism that saw the white Uvalde police not risking themselves for hispanics.

    Arendt was of the opinion that the philosopher, Hobbes “…affords the best possible theoretical foundation for those naturalistic ideologies which holds nations to be tribes, separated from each other by nature, without any connection whatever, unconscious of the solidarity of mankind, and having in common only the instinct for self preservation which man shares with the animal world. If the idea of humanity, of which the most conclusive symbol is the common origin of the human species is no longer valid, then nothing is more plausible than a theory according to which brown, yellow, or black races are descended from some other species of ape than the white race, and that all together are predestined by nature to war against each other until they have disappeared from the face of the earth.

    Racism may indeed carry out the doom of the western world and, for that matter, the whole of human civilization. When Russians have become Slavs, when Frenchmen have assumed the role of commanders of a force noir, when Englishmen have turned into ‘white men,’ as already for a disastrous spell all Germans became Aryans, then this change will itself signify the end of western man. For, no matter what learned scientists may say, race is, politically speaking, not the beginning of humanity, but its end, not the origin of peoples, but their decay, not the natural birth of man but his unnatural death.” pg.157.

    Given the current immersion in war, Trumpism, McConnellism, and Orbanism, that we are experiencing at this moment, Arendt’s prediction seems to have special traction.

  11. There are still ways that things can be accomplished considering the constitute a clear and present danger to society. Unfortunately, politics by imperfect humans will continue to devastate and obliterate and obfuscate.

    Take a look at this century, and compare it to the first part of the last century! The first world war had just ended, and they were preparing for the second World War. It seemed apocalyptic to many, unfathomable and unconscionable to most.

    But, government worked! The wealthy robber barons who attempted to overthrow government, were put in their place. The government split up the railroads in the oil industries, it furthered competition and defanged the “Oligarchy” as Todd calls it, for a while! There were no mass shootings in schools or anywhere in the United states. People still left their doors unlocked! There was more rationality, but, the Great depression was looming, the robber barons were doing their thing, and Roosevelt, a republican, was getting ready to put a kink in the armor of the business oligarchy. People demanded the government do something, you could say to save the empire! And, they work together and came up with some fantastic ideas which put people to work during a terrible time, they even came up with that terrible socialist idea of social security! They attempted to correct wrongs that were left to Fester too long.

    Today, the cry is to burn it all down! Irrationality rules, cooperation is non-existent, and everyone wants to hold a huge box of matches and a war club! The competition is in full gear to reach a higher and higher Pinnacle of ignorance and stupidity. After all, would you drive your vehicle with the pedal to the floor through a sign that says bridge out and figure that doing so well make someone else look bad? Or, produce great admirers that bestow them with power?

    Irrationality: the quality of being illogical or unreasonable.

    Willful ignorance: a decision in bad faith to avoid becoming informed about something so as to avoid having to make undesirable decisions that such information might prompt.

    An example of the law holding willful ignorance to accountability:

    Negligence can substitute for recklessness if an individual due to self-induced intoxication is unaware of a risk of which he should have been aware had he been sober. (An argument can be made that they are intoxicated with a movement or in search of power and authority) MPC { 2.08(2). Ex, similarly, while murder typically requires purpose or knowledge with respect to the victim’s death, “Recklessness”can suffice if the circumstance is manifest “Extreme indifference to the value of human life.” MPC { 210.2 (1)(B) Paul H. Robinson Yale law!

    I would say failing to deal with clear and present dangers to society as evidenced by actual events, is a criminal behavior. And, prosecutable.

    I think this clear and present danger would allow the president to declare martial law, suspend Habeas Corpus in the supreme court, revamp the supreme court, investigate those who are obviously guilty of willful ignorance, use a tribunal instead of a court to sort through evidence and pass a judgment, and these individuals could have their citizenship removed and expelled from the country. You think of Vlad the Impaler would let them in if they came a knockin? Then, repair the court systems and put in place competency regulations for judges. Willful ignorance or being willfully blind to danger, as stated by ‘Husak and Callender,’ Wisconsin Law Review, “Equal Culpability!”

    Shows that willful blindness can definitely be reckless, dangerous, and prosecutable!

    But there has to be caution, and, if POTUS were to contemplate something like that, the parameters should be agreed upon by constitutional experts beforehand.

    Would this or could this happen? I doubt it, because I don’t see anyone with a set of stones large enough to handle it! More than likely it would have to be a woman. Women seem to have a better radar for clear and present danger!

    This gun issue is the perfect vehicle for this sort of thing to take place, because the willful ignorance or willfully blind members of government are putting the entire state in danger.

    All someone has to do is write an executive order for martial law, and, the changes could be made, including the Restriction of religion IN government.

    We can look at the willful ignorance concerning covid, the willful ignorance concerning January 6th, the willful ignorance concerning weapons of war on the streets, the list is really endless. And it equates to negligence. Really, it equates also into conspiracy and treasonous behavior towards the detriment of government.

    Of course I don’t believe this will happen, but, it is actually legal and allowed under the constitution.

    I think the more likely path is going to be the destruction of Civil society by those who are conspiratorial and willfully ignorant!

    Interestingly, this is also a tenant of Christ’s law, and if a person is a Christian, they will not engage in being willfully ignorant or conspiratorial or slanderous or covetous or a liar!

    As the apostle Paul stated in his letter to the Galatians, things that are against Christ’s law are drunken bouts, envies, divisions, jealousy, fits of anger, enmities, strife, jealousy, loose conduct, brazen conduct, dissensions, and there are many more to the list. This is found in Galatians 5:19-21.

    So, those who claim to be religious, (Christian) are not only going against man’s law, they are going against the law of Christ!

    Now you have an Ironclad argument that can be made for a martial law edict to be made. You have no contradiction between man’s law and the law of Christ.

  12. In the current team standings we have two political parties offering different products and services, but competing, first to donors to pay for delivering voters their way, then using their donations to pay for entertainment on the most pervasive and persuasive feedback loop ever conceived by man, to voters, which is advertising, which is the polite word for propaganda.

    For products Republicans offer up blaming Democrats and excusing Republicans, which are very popular among home team fans. Democrats offer the same products in the opposite direction but diluted with the more traditional party offering of solutions towards a better future for everyone.

    It’s those last words, “better future for everyone”, that seem to be declining in popularity. I believe that is the “wisdom” in offering the most potent flavors of blame in the party’s package. The more effectively the propaganda can offer blame on specific targets, the more it will dilute traditional “better future for everyone” and replace it with “better future for me”.

  13. Lester — the “Squad” is not evil. They decided the “purely ideological points.” that the GOP had fought against for years were worth playing hard ball for. Fighting hard for the rights of workers, women, minorities, the environment, etc. is what is called for, especially when we have true evil doers like McConnell, using every evil tool in the tool box to see that those “purely ideological points.” are squelched. Like Joann said, should we be like “Good Germans” and play nice with the bad guys?
    Cheezzz – damned if you do and damned if you don’t !!!!
    Sheila — we’ve had 7 years of “News depression” and still it continues. Wait until the real shit hits the fan if Trump gets reelected!

  14. Resort to martial law to correct inequities and even wrongdoings in a given society is not a good idea, even if it worked. We don’t need that resort to authoritarianism to become the ordinary means by which issues of the day are settled. Such issues demand the consent of the governed via their representatives in a legislative process, not the whim of dictators.

    Of course the argument will be made that the legislative process is deadlocked, that one party is not a party anymore but rather an amalgamation of Koch/white/Christian Nationalists etc. held together by fear of (choose your poison) higher taxes, replacement etc. who shamelessly use abortion, socialism and the like as red meat controls of the masses, resulting in the super strange alliance of the libertarian greedhog Koch with the laboring masses.

    What to do? Fight this threat out legislatively and, if necessary to save our experiment in democracy from state voter suppression efforts and Republican intrigue at the congressional level, add four new justices to the Supreme Court who will follow the will of the people as legislatively expressed by Congress rather than that of state level racists and terminal capitalists, all while vigorously prosecuting those who were involved in the 1/6 insurrection whatever their title or station (since our failure to do so will invite other such Big Lies, insurrections etc.). When to start? Today.

  15. Pete – WADR – most (by numbers of items, not value) political advertising/fund-raising is by candidate, not party.

  16. Kathy,

    I don’t think Lester was saying that the squad is evil, I believe he was really trying to get his point across. The point of taking what you can get right now and work on the rest later. Sometimes later never comes! It happens all too often. But, at least something gets accomplished!


    Lester really made my point.

    If the boat is sinking, do you want to forget about the leaks and bail with a teacup? Or, would you like to plug the holes and bail with a bucket?

    Time is of the essence, and I don’t hold out hope that men will be able to figure it out! Prophecy doesn’t say that will happen, prophecy tells a much different story! And I tend to believe that route myself. Because men have not done anything in the course of history to prove they can accomplish what they have not been able to attain yet. And that’s peace and security for all.

  17. Lester and John, great points.

    One of the ingredients in the local mess is Fox entertainment which exclusively pumps out Republican propaganda, not because the party or candidates pay for it but simply because it’s a profitable business plan for Fox. People who find blame and shame satisfying as an exclusive diet become virtually addicted to it with wide open heads for advertisers who do pay for it to fill with desire for wonderful goods and services.

    In fact Fox changed the party more than the party defined Fox. The party is now an adjunct for Fox and the two corporations mutually support each other by using complementary propaganda which Fox’s listeners and Republican voters find more credible as it comes from both sources.

  18. I am an old lady who remembers WWII. And the 50’s, 60’s, and all decades up to today. I and many others did what we could to promote civil rights and societal fairness. I used to be a Republican and became a Democrat when the John Birch Society reared its ugly head in the Republican party. One of its founders (Birch Society) was the father of the Koch brothers who have been so influential in the present-day Republican party. I remember what they say about apples not falling far from the tree.

    The election of Donald Trump made me feel as though everything we had ever fought for was suddenly made null and void. That includes what we fought for against Hitler. I watch as bigotry is made into law to deny the right to vote to people who might possibly vote for Democrats. The danger should be so clear, but I’m not sure it is.

  19. Over the last five months, ever since I filed to run as Town Council, I’ve had a reoccuring nightmare. In it, I am trying to teach 50 + students in a classroom I don’t even recognize. To complicate the dream, these kids are out of control, which is NOTHING like what my classrooms were ever like in my 40 year career.
    When I shared this with my daughters and how I woke up exhausted, they suggested a more authentic balance in my political/normally enjoyable life.
    I love the idea of running for town government.
    I love learning more about current events and how they affect Northern Indiana and the country at large.
    I’m not too happy with the policies that have emerged from my former GOP and that’s why I’m running for office.
    But the ‘Girls’ are correct.

    I need some balance.

    So I walk in my neighborhood and plant flowers in my yard.
    I called my Jr. High’s track meets.
    I listened to a local HS Choir perform.
    I attend my Mennonite Fellowship meetings every Sunday.
    I visit with my Grands every chance I get.
    I take online Math and French classes.
    I watch PBS.
    I play my piano.
    I love on my cat.
    All the while continuing to run a Democratic Club and run my campaign.

    I call it the best of all worlds.

    Thanks again, ‘Girls’

  20. Jan Two – I hear you and feel the same. It is so disheartening….

    Thank you Beth Kallimani!

  21. The world news is full of sadness and we are part of that world. Why can’t the Republican representatives in Congress have enough balls to speak out civility when McConnell forces them to follow the party theme. Why does the NRA have their hands in the pockets of our representatives, i.e Mitt Romney. We need to continue to vote and work to push for reforms that benefit all.

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