DISCLAIMER: I do not attempt to be polite or partisan in my articles, merely truthful. If you are a partisan and believe that the letter after the name of a politician is more important then their policies, I suggest that you stop reading and leave this site immediately--there is nothing here for you.

Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.

I am your host, Josh Sager--a progressive activist, political writer and occupier--and I welcome you to SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The debt negotiations - Credit to Steve Greenberg for comic

debt ceiling - international perspective

These two articles focus on the views of the international community in the US's debt ceiling debate.



Living in the USA, we are somewhat inured to the political insanity of Washington, thus it is always interesting to hear the view of an outsider looking in. The entire world economy is built upon the US dollar and our insane debt debate effects everybody else. Europe is looking at the politicians in Washington as though they are that irritating drunk guy who stumbles around the dorm late at night knocking on everybody's doors and generally disrupting everything for no reason (every college dorm has one). Unfortunately there is no way for the international community to talk the right wing kamikazes out of shaking the world economy because they, like the drunk, have no reason nor do they really care about others.

The Media / Fox News

When I refer to the media I am talking about mainstream press outlets both in print and A/V mediums. At the beginning of my commentary I need to clarify that I am not referring to Fox news when I refer to the news media. I have separated my commentary on the news media and Fox news because I don't believe that fox news is a news media outlet but rather a the PR wing of the Republican party.

The news media is a very important component to any healthy democracy, providing information to the population which is necessary for making informed decisions. The theory behind voting is that individuals take in information from their surroundings, parse it for relevant facts to their life, and then vote rationally in their own self interests. In order for voters to vote rationally, accurate information must reach them either through the media or through interpersonal contacts. As the mass news media is the most effective way to distribute information to the entire population, they have the huge responsibility to report the news accurately or they can lead people to act contrary to their own self interests. Since the invention of the printing press and until just recently, journalism in the mass media has been fueled by reporting the facts, and not caring for balance.  Unfortunately, more recently the mass media has been concerned with balance rather than accuracy of the facts. 

One recent disturbing trend in the mass news media has been that there has been a greater focus on balanced reporting than on reporting the truth. The media reports the talking points of both sides (Democrat and Republican) without actually looking at the supporting facts to see whether both sides are valid. When one side is simply truthful while the other side is false but the media reports both sides as valid is referred to as a false equivalency problem. One example of such balanced but nonfactual reporting is on the recent debt ceiling, where both sides are seen as arguing evenly. Democrats and Republicans are both saying threat the other side refuses to deal but the actual facts show that the Democrats will give the Republicans more than they originally asked for but still cannot get a deal. A balanced but non fact checked story is potentially damaging in that the public doesn't get the information necessary to assign credit or blame. I am uncertain as to the actual cause of the recent shift away from the facts but hope that it is simply a short term issue.

In the past political parties have been confined by the facts because the media would attack them if they stated something truly false. With the prevalence of balanced reporting in the current media, the right wing has constructed its own set of facts to fit their world view. An ideology which seems to be the bastard child of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan has swept across the republicans and infected them with the belief in "voodoo economics". The trickle down economics theory has be so thoroughly debunked that politicians should see it as the economic equivalent to the Iraqi WMDs and stop using it to justify policy. In the No-Facts environment where balance rules, trickle down economic theory can still be used to give the rich tax breaks under false pretenses. If the media finally did its job and debunked failed policy we might actually be able to get some fiscal sanity and stop the regressive policies of the Republicans. There is no point to balance where only one party is bound by the facts and the other is using completely imaginary premise for their policy. A clown can say that the sky is neon pink but that does not mean that you put him next to a meteorologist and give them equal weight.

A secondary but much less significant issue in current media is that they inaccurately balance coverage towards extreme and interesting policy. Sarah Palin is strange and the political equivalent to a car wreck on the side of the road; nobody likes it and it is hard to look at, but people still slow down to watch disrupting the normal flow of traffic. The extreme right wing gets a disproportionately large amount of coverage compared to liberals because they are very loud and often clownish, thus drawing attention. The effect of the focus on the right wing is not only that they get more coverage than the left, but they are not fact checked and thus their delusions are displayed as fact.

Fox News

The first thing that you need to know about Fox News is that it is not a news station. Starting over a decade ago, Fox made a conscious choice to become the media wing of the Republican party and distribute propaganda. The difference between news and propaganda is that news must be based in fact and shouldn't be designed to support one side or the other. Fox not only makes up news to support Republicans, but also donated $1 million to the RGA and employs a majority of the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. How can a news outlet even pretend to be unbiased in the face of all of the evidence to the contrary? The rest of the media lets them. The bias towards the Republicans was actually the initial purpose of Fox news as explained by Nixon era memos between Nixon and Ailes. The memos detail the creation of a republican media outlet masquerading as a balanced news source. Tellingly, the proposed motto of the theoretical propaganda outlet in the memos is "fair and balanced". Fox news calling itself fair and balance is the media equivalent to the countries which refer to themselves a "The Democratic Republic of ____", where you can bet that the country is not even vaguely democratic.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Supreme Court

The supreme court is the top court of the land, wise beyond all other jurists, without bias, above the fray because they are appointed for life, beholden to nobody, and working tirelessly for the good of the people. One need only look at the history of the court to see that this view is naive to the point of believing in the tooth fairy. The supreme has historically been filled with flawed HUMANS who have biases and personal issues which color their decisions. While the past generations courts have been filled with flawed individuals, the current Roberts court has completely given up the pretense of impartiality and neutrality to become the personal lapdogs of big industry. Every single decision where the rights of corporations has been weighed against the rights of the people has turned out with the corporations on top with a 5-4 split. While I am not a neutral observer as I am biased against corporate interests, nobody with half a hemisphere firing in their brain can look at the court and say that the republican majority is impartial

I don't even know where to begin with the Republican side of the court. Justices Alito, and Roberts, are both conservative and thus will always fall in line with the conservative position but Justices Thomas and Scalia are completely beyond the normal spectrum of judicial appointees. Justice Kennedy is the deciding vote on the court and a wild card, straddling the fence on many issues. My view of the court is that there are two types of Justice, those who follow their belief and those who are prostitutes to the interests. While I disagree with the conservative views of Roberts, Alito, and much of the time Kennedy, I respect the differences of opinion and believe them to be honest actors. I have no right to say that the liberal view is the correct one and anybody who disagrees with it is immediately evil and must be corrupt (that would be the tea party and religious fundamentalists' viewpoint). On the other hand, the blatantly corrupt actions of Thomas ans Scalia are in my opinion completely inexcusable. 

Justices Thomas and Scalia have sold their vote without shame and should be stripped of any power, then prosecuted for corruption. Justice Thomas openly accepted numerous gifts such as historical objects (Bible owned by Frederick Douglas, bust of Lincoln, etc.) from rich donors and then preceded to hear cases related to the interests of the donors. In addition to his gifts, Ginny Thomas runs a lobbying firm for extreme right wing causes and benefits directly from the decisions of her husband (Citizens United case). The actions of Justice Thomas and his wife are the very definition of bribery and would get any other federal judge tossed out on their ass at the very least; the only thing saving Thomas from being kicked out is the loophole that essentially exempts the Supreme court from all oversight.

The creators of the supreme court failed to see a fatal flaw in their design. In creating a court which operates above all others, they attempted to create a body which cannot be interfered with by outside influences. In theory, the court would be post-partisan and be able to rule based upon the law and conscience only. The Supreme Court exists in a neutral bubble, where no outside force can reach in and attack the Justices for their decisions, thus the court can effect issues such as civil rights without worry of electoral backlash. The one failure in this design is that the Justices are human and thus susceptible to bias and corruption. By having nobody above them, the Supreme Court falls into the trap of "Who watches the Watcher" and they have become increasingly corrupt.

Starting in the middle of the 20th century, there began a right wing push to stack the court with conservatives who will act in the interests of the right wing. While stacking the court is completely against the ideals of its formation, this is neither illegal nor unethical, but rather an effective way to affect public policy. While I abhor several of the decisions of the conservative court such as Citizen's United which give corporations unlimited power to effect elections and Thomson V. Louisiana where the court simply stripped a man of settlement money for being sent to death row for 14 years in  a staged case, the most damaging decision by far was the Bush V. Gore case of 2001. As I have previously stated, the conservatives on the court don't think like liberals not making them immoral or wrong, merely different. I hold issue with the Bush V. Gore case because the case itself is simply wrong and immoral. 

The Bush V. Gore case in 2001 decided the election in favor of Bush. Being a liberal, I dislike the policies of Bush, but even if the court had decided on the side of Gore, this case would be a massive breach of the constitution. The president of the United Stated is decided by the votes of the people expressed by the electoral college and the very fact that the court got to decide the winner of the election by a partisan vote is simply wrong. The 9 justices of the Supreme Court decided the election for Bush when they should have simply ordered a full recount of Florida, preserving the integrity of the election process. The fact that Gore actually won the election after the recount was over means that Bush was the first ever president of the USA who was not elected by either popular or representative vote. When his lack of election is taken into account with the great economic, social, civil, and international harm he caused, the entire issue becomes even more grotesque. All of the harm of the Bush administration could be laid at the feet of the 5 men who elected him president, but they will never feel blame for this because as always, they are SUPREME.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Weekly Issue #1 - 7/30/2011 - The Debt Ceiling

This is the first posting in my Weekly Issue section of my blog. Every Saturday I plan on writing a piece giving my take on the largest or most pertinent issue in domestic politics. In each weekly posting I plan to give a general overview of the issue at large and then my take on the subject. At the end of every post I will include links to sites which I used when informing myself on the issues and from which I formed my opinion.

The most talked about issue in domestic politics this week is that of the federal debt ceiling and potential default of the USA. The basic facts of this issue are as such:
1) The US government has surpassed the present debt ceiling as of May this year and thus need to raise it in order to avoid default.
2) If we default, in addition to losing our AAA credit rating, we will see a rise in interest rates which will increase all of our debts (even a 1% rise = many billions of dollars). A default would also cause catastrophic cuts to vital services such as military salaries and entitlement programs.
3) In the past, debt ceiling votes have been largely symbolic because in reality it is simply a statement that we will pay for the things which we have already bought. 4) The unbelievable level of dysfunction in the federal government, particularly in the legislative branch has led to a stalemate and thus a lack of progress on the debt ceiling debate.
4) The final due date for the debt ceiling extension is August 2nd but legislation must be prepared earlier in order to be brought through the House, Senate, and White house.

My opinion on the debt ceiling issue is very simple; raise the damn debt ceiling before you create a completely engineered crisis and deal immense harm to the entire world economy. In my opinion, this entire debate should be moot because the debt ceiling is both unnecessary and completely illogical. The House holds the purse-strings of the federal government and such is able to decide funding for programs, but the debt ceiling exists independantly of the budget as an artificial cap on what the governement can spend. If you think about it in terms of the real world, the debt ceiling debate is akin to a group of people going to a resteraunt, eating a lot of food, and then refusing to pay the full bill because it costs more than they wanted to spend when the entered the resteraunt. The economics of running a government simply doesn't work in a manner consistant with such arbitrary spending limits. If the government "buys" something then it simply must pay for it even if it puts us over the debt ceiling. Even if you believe that there is wast in the system, you cannot simply not pay because you believe there is too much spending. I believe that there is waste in the government that can be cut, but pushing the country into default and destroying the full faith in credit of the USA is not the way to go about cutting.

In addition to the policy aspect of the debt ceiling there is a massive partisan politics component to the debt ceiling negotiations. Put plainly: What the hell has happened to the Washington politicians; the Republicans are going Kamikaze with the entire world economy stirring up a tempest out of nothing, and the Democrats are showing the spine of the average jellyfish. Even the most modest and moderate Republicans in Washington are making the John Birch society look well adjusted. House Republicans manufactured a crisis in order to push an agenda, but then the tea baggers got a deathgrip on the dept debate and the "mainstream" Republicans lost control of the issue. What began as an exercise to embarrass Obama and gain some right wing goodies for their votes has snowballed into a world economic crisis. Even John Boehner's right wing proposal required three tries to get out of the House where he is supposedly in control. Any bill extreme enough in the House is DOA in the Senate and would be vetoed by Obama anyway but similarly, any bill without extreme right wing provisions in it cannot pass the house. This situation is similar to those irritating bamboo finger cuffs where the herder you pull to either side, the tighter it gets in holding you. As with the cuffs, the only way to get out of them is to stop pulling to the sides and instead push towards the middle.

In my opinion the Ideal way to get out of the debate morass would be to pass a clean one sentence bill extending the debt limit (or abolishing it in the future, but suggesting that publicly would have the Republicans bringing the tar and the Democrats the feather and dunce cap). While the Republicans are wholly at fault for the creation of the debt crisis both in spending and in politics, the Democrats couldn't possibly have handled the situation worse.

The Democratic response to the Republican insanity in the debt crisis has been worse than if they just did nothing. Both by compromising on debt ceiling negotiations and not standing up and yelling "your policies and wars created the debt and now you want to skip out on the check". The Democrats should have come to the table and said on the first day "Whatever we agree to will not cut entitlement s because they have nothing to do with the debt, and tax increases for the rich and corporations will be matching any cuts we make". By gradually edging towards the Republicans, who refuse to budge, Democrats will always end up on the wrong side of the bargain. Ironically, polls show that the Democratic proposals have massive (>60%) support by the public but this is drowned out by the D.C. echo chamber. In addition to the policy debate, Democrats have utterly failed to pin the debt on the Republicans. Republican policy created the debt and Republicans still constantly blame Obama with no response from the other side. Taking the high road only works when the population isn't composed of sheeple who actually believe what Fox news spews out. Unless the Democrats fight back, the Republicans will always control the agenda.

Obama is either the worst negotiator in the history of politics or has a very intelligent agenda, but only after the final bell will we be able to figure out which is the truth. Throughout the debate, Obama has been taking the high road and refusing the involve himself in the animal-house that the negotiations have become. His proposal or "grand bargain" cut $4 trillion and included both tax cuts and entitlement cuts. In many ways his proposal was completely centrist, earning ire from just about everybody, but the plan could be a genius political ploy. By acting as the grownup and offering a balanced plan, Obama gets credit from the independents, and by offering the trillions in debt reduction, he attacks the Republicans from the right. If Obama predicted that the Republicans would shoot down the plan due to its tax aspect, he could project himself as more of a deficit cutter  then the Republicans, willing to make a deal, and without actually having to cut any entitlements. In the coming election Obama can now say "I wanted to cut $4 trillion out of the deficit but the Republicans wanted to protect tax breaks for the jet owners and they wouldn't let me" every time the Republicans say that he is a big spender. Because the plan was never enacted Obama wouldn't suffer the political damage of being the one to cut social security or medicare while at the same time appearing to be a deficit cutter.

In the end, I predict one of two things will happen; either the Reid plan will be amended to include some Republican goodies and thus will pass the house and fix the debt crisis, or Obama will pull the 14th amendment card in the 11th hour thus evading the issue entirely. While I hope that Obama simply declares the debt ceiling unconstitutional and disposes of the entire issue without tying cutting spending to the debate, it would undoubtedly lead to a massive court case and possible impeachment. The legal challenges would probably die in the corporately controlled supreme court and a successful impeachment is unlikely because of the 14th amendment's wording, but the issue would be a huge distraction and likely would eat up time that we could use to work on our failing job market.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Internet Links

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Tea Party

By Josh Sager

Note: I am biased against these social and economic regressives and won't even try to pretend otherwise but I believe that my assessment is depressingly accurate. They are essentially a caricature of themselves and I cannot comprehend an extreme which they wouldn't conceivably go to.

The Tea party is a very new political denomination relative to the others, founded essentially the day after a black Democrat was elected into office. They are a strange brand of right wing extremists, who are not only extremely vocal and intense, but have the bizarre habit of dressing up in revolutionary war era clothing and mangling the word/intents of the founding fathers. As far as I can see, they exist simply to serve the corporations that fund their buses and donuts as well as to remove the scary black socialist, Muslim, Marxist, fascist, etc. president from the White House. In addition to corporations and the top 2% economically, Fox news was instrumental in the organizing, stoking and mainstreaming of the Tea Parties. Fox News was probably motivated by its administrators' ideological extremism, coverage acting as a very effective way to pander to their audience, and increased ratings. If you look at any of the tea party gatherings that are televised, I suggest that you look for any non-middle-class middle-aged white person that you can find in the crowd; it’s fairly telling just how homogeneous the crowds are.

I am of two minds on the subject of the Tea Party in that I kind of feel bad about insulting them but they insist on intruding into the political debate and thus open themselves up to judgment. It feels kind of like you are making fun of the special education students who ride the short bus to school, but then, those people don't insist on making national policy decisions in the most powerful country on earth. In a battle of wits and facts, the Tea Party has unilaterally disarmed, but they do make up for it with nastiness, dedication and decibels.

The Tea baggers are essentially a distillation of the white, old, middle class right wingers of the Republican Party. Tea baggers as a group know nothing and are perversely proud of it leading them to act like right wing political lemmings (I seriously question the intelligence of any political group which accidentally names itself after a sex act and is surprised when people mock them). Corporations, notably the Koch brothers and various Karl Rove affiliates bankroll these gullible people to act against their own interest in order to help the rich. Ironically, the Tea baggers are just the people who would stand to benefit from the policies that they are hell-bent on opposing.

In the short term, I see the Tea party as an extremely irritating roadblock and a force pulling the debate to the right but ultimately, in the long term the Tea party is unsustainable. The tea baggers are like the synthetic elements which burn brightly for a short time but decay in a blink, and in my opinion they will gradually be reabsorbed into the right wing of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party

By Josh Sager

FULL DISCLOSURE: If you read the title of my blog (SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com), you may have discerned the fact that I am a liberal and thus might be somewhat biased against the conservatives.

Note: I am not talking about the historic Republican Party in this post, but rather the Republican Party of the last 100 years. The Republicans spent decades as a legitimate political party, with an ideology based in reality, but in recent decades, they have degrades into a shadow of their previous selves.

Ah, the Grand Old Party also referred to as the Gas and Oil Party, or Greed Over People party by those who pay attention. The Republican Party has three central ideals that a vast majority of its members believe in: 1) Lower taxes and Cut services/abolish the welfare state, 2) Shrink government and give power to the people, 3) Impose their social conservative views on the rest of the country. While these three ideals are the central tenants of conservatism, there is a dichotomy of beliefs in the Republican Party in that for every ideal that they hold, their policies express the exact opposite sentiment.

1) Lower taxes and cut services/abolish the welfare state --- This Republican ideal when expressed in policy boils down into cutting THEIR taxes and cutting OTHER PEOPLE' services and economic welfare programs. The same people who are the first to complain about unemployment benefits to the poor or single mothers would have a collective seizure if their Medicare or Social Security were ten seconds late.

In addition to the endemic selfishness in the policies of taxing and cutting, republicans as a group seem to have no comprehension as to what pays for defense, roads, disaster relief, and education. The Republican base seem to see no connection between the taxes that they pay and the services that the receive, instead attributing the services to something akin to magical fairies fixing the roads at night; but god help their representative if the roads start breaking down or if the underpaid and disrespected teachers are unable to teach their 50 student classes well enough that every one of their children gets into a good college.

2) Shrink government and give power to the people --- Republicans, as a group, hate what they see as government overreach into their lives while at the same time want the government to reach into the lives of other in order to regulate their behavior. Classic examples of rights Republicans demand but are inconsistent upon are personal rights such as the right to bear arms and, the freedom of religion.

Many Republicans want to be able to own any gun including assault rifles and to carry it anywhere they want. At the same time Republicans are using 10th amendment arguments to secure the right to carry bazookas; they disregard the exact same argument in favor of gay marriage. A parallel situation to the guns/gay marriage double standard has also arisen in the debate over freedom of religion. Republican fundamentalists demand the right to not only practice their religion but insert it into the public discourse while at the same demonizing other religions, particularly Muslims, and attempting to take their rights. The abortion and gay marriage debates are perfect examples of how republican religious fundamentalists have attempted to insert their own beliefs into public policy. Ironically, the same people who are pushing for a Christian theocracy are those who demonize American Muslims for the Sharia laws of other Muslims half the world away. This situation makes one wonder whether they dislike the idea of Muslim laws or whether they are simply jealous that the Sharia law proponents have succeed in controlling the population and oppressing women, while they haven't been nearly as successful.

3) Imposing social conservative views on the country --- The Republican base is for the most part socially conservative and feels the need for to impose these views on everybody else through legislation. While a majority of the Republican base feels the need to impose their views through legislation, they react extremely badly to what they perceive as others reaching into their lives.

Apart from their common ideology, there is a personal characteristic that is far more common in Republican politicians than in the Democratic Party or the past Republican Party: The current Republican Party has developed the habit of supporting unbelievably stupid or ignorant politicians to represent it. The modern Republican electorate, starting in the nineties, has developed the habit of electing unbelievably stupid candidates to office. Politicians such as Bush, Palin, Bachmann, West, and Perry are all examples of unbelievably stupid Republican politicians who have garnered enough support to get elected in recent years. I can find no elected Democratic politician who matches these Republicans for shear lack of knowledge or intelligence. While it is entirely excusable for a few ignorant politicians to get elected based upon their charisma or just luck, the volume of ignorant Republicans is so high that it indicates a party wide problem rather than a few isolated cases.

The combination of stupid politicians, large amounts of corporate money and illogical, religiously based, beliefs has turned the Republican Party into a caricature of its past self. Even Ronald Reagan would be considered too liberal to survive in the current Republican Party; a party that has adopted a kamikaze like mentality where the government and economy can crash and burn while they get paid just as long as they have their bibles and get paid by their true bosses (See: The 2011 debt ceiling fight as an example).

The Democratic Party

Note: When I refer to the Democrat party I am referring to the post-reconstruction party not its previous incarnation in the south before the civil war.

Historically the Democratic party has been a large tent party which supports labor, the middle class, and equal rights for minorities/women. Democrats were the primary driving force behind the civil rights legislation and women's suffrage as well as entitlement programs that benefit the poor and middle class. Democrats have also traditionally supported immigration reform and a women's right to choose, however there has always been more variation in beliefs for these two issues.

The current incarnation of the Democratic party resembles the historical democratic party in the same way a chiuaua and a malimut resemble each other in that they are both dogs. The current Democratic party insists on compromise to the point of complete ineffectiveness. When the Democratic weakness is combined with the insane radicalism of the Republicans, the result is that the Democrats are no longer liberal nor progressive but rather centrist. Democratic politicians seem largely incapable of showing any spine either in defense of their views or their fellow Democrats. Ironically, Anthony Weiner, one of the very few Democrats to show any balls on the floor of congress (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XsQg3JoMZ0) was essentially ejected from the congress for twittering pictures of said balls over the internet. The Democrats have gradually been pulled over to the right through compromise and refusing to draw a line in the sand. To the Republicans and corporate interests Democrats are essentially one of those blowup-punching bag clowns; irritating, impossible to completely knock over due to the heavy base re-righting it, but at the same time completely incapable of fighting back or protecting itself. Somehow some of the deals between the Democrats and Republicans end up with the Republicans getting more than the initially asked for (debt ceiling Reid plan, budget debate, etc.). Unfortunately the Democratic party is by far the best choice for political representation in the current national debate because while they are severely flawed, they are the only thing standing against a group which actively wants to destroy the US government and install a cross between a christian version of the Taliban and an Ayn Randian dystopia.

While the Democratic party is weak, ineffective, and makes deals which even the average middle school student can see border upon complete capitulation, they have one thing going for them: they are better than the other side.

The Sarcastic Liberal

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Post - America V. America

Welcome to the United States of America, that shining city on a hill where anybody can make a new and profitable life for themselves despite their background or circumstances. Everybody is treated equally in this society and has an opportunity to build the "American Dream", making a better life for their children than they had themselves. Characteristics such as race, religion and sexual orientation no longer effect a person's treatment in this society. From our very founding the concepts of religious freedom and liberty for all have been the driving social constructs in our society. Economically, we maximize profits through the free-market ideals of capitalist system of economics. Hard work and time will allow anybody to excel in this wonderful free-market economy where there is a direct correlation between effort/ingenuity and reward. In this society everybody pays taxes to the government and in exchange receives security, education, law, and regulations that protect the common good. Our government only looks out for our interests irregardless of corporate/interest group input and only acts in the defense of the common good. Eventually the end state of this utopic society is a country where everybody has a good job, lives in the suburbs, drives a nice car, has enough money for necessities and even has extra money for time off and vacations. The one problem with this wondrous society is that it only exists in the imaginations of the truly ignorant and the dreams of the most idealistic liberals.

Unfortunately, the true picture of the USA is far different than the fanciful ideal outlined above. Let me try to correct my previous misstatements

Welcome to the United States of America. A society where anybody can make something of themselves if they: A) come from money, B) are extremely intelligent/skilled, C) are extremely lucky. While the decrease in upward social mobility is a more recent development, there are social ills which have been endemic to our system from the beginning.

While Americans pay lip service to the ideals of equality and liberty, slavery existed for years and mistreatment of minorities stretches the full timeline of our country. Discrimination against minorities has evolved over the years, giving most definable ethnic groups a turn as the mistreated; from the abuses of the African Americans, to the "No Catholic Need Apply" signs and finally to Muslims and homosexuals in recent years, bigotry has a long history in the USA. As for religious freedom, a small but very vocal minority has co-opted areas of politics in order to impose their views upon society as a whole. Evolution deniers, young-earthers, climate-change deniers, pro-lifers, and various christian doomsday prophets have twisted what should be secular lawmaking in an attempts to change society to fit their delusions.

Our capitalist system has unfortunately been corrupted into a pseudo-corporatist system where a select few individuals at the top have consolidated massive wealth and influence which they have utilized in order to block others from excelling. Income disparities between the top members of society and the rest of us have grown to previously unimaginable heights at the same time record unemployment numbers plague the country.   The top 2% and multinational corporations have stacked the courts (particularly the upper tiers of federal courts) in order to stack the system in their favor. Political bribery has been legalized by removing donation caps and promoted by allowing all donations to be anonymous and thus without repercussions. All politicians (but no more so than the Republicans) are beholden to the rich and formulate policy intended to redistribute money up, cut the top/corporate tax rates, and deregulate industry to increase profits at the expense of average Americans.

WELCOME TO THE USA and good luck if you are poor, sick, a minority, uneducated, unemployed, an immigrant, a public employee, middle class, etc.. (basically everybody not in the top 10%),

The Sarcastic Liberal