New Year’s Resolutions and Evolutions

Diary

Diary (Photo credit: Barnaby)

If I make resolutions at all, they are small ones that seem relatively easy to keep.   For example, MY ONE resolution for 2013 is to make an entry in my personal journal every day instead of leaving several days blank as I have done in previous years.  The entry can be only one sentence.  Just as long as I do it.  And if for some reason I fail to be perfect, which is likely, than I will take the fall back position of making the resolution a general goal….to get into the habit of making an entry almost every day of 2013.    And then aim to do better in 2014.

In other words I will let the entry making evolve. The same as I did with this blog.  I began working on it a year ago, uncertain that I would actually wind up doing it.   The “it” being to examine our leaking political economy in hopes of separating the real issues we face from the politicized versions so that we  might actually have useful dialogues about how to patch the holes.

At times I felt totally intimidated.  The issues I wanted to sort out seemed too complex requiring too much time to get any kind of handle on them.  Who did I think I was? (*1).   I calmed down when reminding myself that most Americans concerned with the future of our country must have similar feelings. The difference between me and most of my fellow citizens is that I am inclined to put more time and energy into researching these issues, and to write something about my limited understanding of them.

Still, I did not fully commit to writing the blog until  I realized, after I had already decided on the title, that April 14th was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  That seemed an amazing coincidence to me, an omen which dispelled doubts and firmed up my commitment (*2).

My ongoing goal is not to come up with solutions but to better illuminate the nature of our real problems, so we might better understand our disagreements. That’s what I hope makes this blog worthwhile reading, despite my shortcomings.

Because misinformation abounds, most of my posts have either revolved around that issue or been tangential to it.   Most of the political chatter over months and months of electioneering was tangential at best when it comes to discussing our real political/economic problems and how we might combat them.   So, I tried to point out lies, distortions, facts out of context that prompted false conclusions, etc.   One reader kindly thanked me for guiding her through the election.  I try to be a trustworthy guide, while admitting I often get lost in the labyrinth of political spin, a house of horrors for someone struggling to understand.

While understanding the problems of our complex political economy is hard in itself, our loss of a common base of respected knowledge  makes understanding border on the mind boggling, while often refused a visa.   As conservative Democratic Senator Michael Bennett recently described the problem, in Washington “there are all kinds of people whose job it is to obfusgate the facts.”   That’s just for starters.  The internet allows us all to make our versions of the truth go viral, no matter how ungrounded they are.

Along with “sifting and winnowing” in search of truth,  much of what I have written has been about the presidential election, even though it often struck me as largely a huge waste of money, energy and time just to decide whether Barack Obama would remain Captain of our Titanic or be replaced by someone else.    Except for an economy that remains on an upward slope (but still largely a jobless recovery), our fiscal problems and our politicians inability to work together on addressing them, have not improved, as if that is news to anyone.

Regular readers know I am glad Barack Obama was reelected.  I spent a lot of space defending him from Republican talking points, which for the most part were lies or reasonable facsimiles of such.

Now that he has been reelected I can spend more time on examining how he does.  And how the Congress does in actually tackling our political/economic problems.   The recent fiscal deal was not a great start, but it was a start, reminding me of that ancient Chinese proverb… “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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(1*)  For those who do not know, I am 67 with a varied work back ground, though most of it has been related to education or horse racing, at times the two being combined.   My credentials regarding politics and economics are largely having observed the two in action over several decades.  That and my knowledge of history, being a history major in college and a history buff ever since.

(2*)   While a skeptic I have long thought there is something valid in what the psychologist Carl Jung called “synchronicity.”  Wikopedia provides a useful definition: ” Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.”

So, I do think that some coincidences mean something, even though I’m always guessing at what they might mean.

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The Lincoln Movie and Confessions of a RINO

This Post combines two unrelated topics as implied by the title.  Why?  Because I want to.   Since writing my last post I ran across a piece titled:  What’s True and False About the Lincoln Movie, by Harold Holzer, a Lincoln authority who served as an adviser to the film.   Holzer gives a much fuller picture of the extent to which the film reflects historical reality than I did.

Also, he makes a point worth noting about the relationship between history and fiction.    As producer/director Steven Spielberg has stated:   While…  “it’s a betrayal of the job of the historian,……One of the jobs of art is to go to the impossible places that history must avoid.”  Harold Holzer adds:  “There is no doubt that Spielberg has traveled toward an understanding of Abraham Lincoln more boldly than any other filmmaker before him.”

NOTE:  I would not read Holzer’s piece until after I had seen the movie as some of the factual inconsistencies, though minor,  might interfere with the viewing experience.

By the way, I have a confession to make.  That last post drew an additional 93 readers who apparently were Googling for information about the Lincoln movie, so besides wanting to point out Holzer’s article, I want to see if the Lincoln movie attracts more attention.  Let me repeat, the Lincoln movie, the Lincoln movie, the Lincoln movie.

CONFESSIONS OF A RINO

English: Crude drawing of the "No RINO&qu...

English: Crude drawing of the “No RINO” buttons used by American Republicans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In case you haven’t run across the term, RINO stands for Republican in Name Only.   The term is applied by the right to those whom they see as liberals in Republican clothing, a growing number in recent years as the Republican Party has moved further to the right.  Bruce Bartlett is a great example as he has been a Republican lifer as revealed in this piece he recently wrote for the The American Conservative.  In fact, he has so many Republican bona fides the list makes up about one-third of the article.

He goes to such great lengths because he wants to convince readers that he is not a liberal or a Democrat.   He is a Republican who thinks his party has gone crazy, not exactly his description, but close.   Bartlett does a great job of describing his own intellectual journey as well as the rightward movement of his party, which has left him feeling “center-left”.

I obviously like him as that’s where I see myself and much of what he says I have already inferred from other sources.  Though he wouldn’t go this far,  I would say like me he has become a Democrat by default.

David Frum and Andrew Sullivan (links to their blogs in Blogroll to the upper left) also tend to look RINOish from a right perspective, especially Frum, while David Brooks seems to fit there along with Kathleen Sullivan, two other well known columnists.

The others would not likely describe themselves as center-left, but they certainly must look that way as viewed by the far right.  At some point I will do at least one post on them as they are all essentially centrist in nature, a center I would like to help develop through this blog.  In case you haven’t inferred that as yet.

For now,  go read Bartlett’s article.  I think you’ll enjoy it.