Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:49 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 125 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror" 
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3136
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Click here to read topic.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:25 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
What a terrible ReelThoughts you've authored! The mopey depressive's tone in passages such as

Quote:
All solutions seem to rely on a utopian philosophy or a belief that human beings are essentially good. I gave up on bedtime fairy tales a few decades ago. Anyone for a benevolent dictatorship?

and
Quote:
The candidates we get are typically second rate. (What kind of gifted individual would want to run for office in the first place?) So we're presented with a choice between a rotting fish head and a decomposing pig's foot. We grimly hold our noses and pick one rather than turning away and vomiting.


sound like the half-baked rantings of a pissed-at-the-world adolescent. Not only is the cynicism being advertised tremendously unappealing but it's almost as if you've reduced politics down into how the media covers it. Rather than pinpoint precisely what it is you believe you've instead dedicated 1,500 words to something that could have been phoned in by Dorothy Parker's bratty little sister on an off day. Lame.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:22 pm
Assistant Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:56 am
Posts: 55
Location: Montreal, Canada
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
The last great American president was Jed Bartlet.

And oh, right, he was fictional...

Great post though, James. Just glad to be Canadian where our elected are honest and selfless and-- Yeah, scratch that. The whole western democratic model has been hijacked by corporations and money-heavy special interests. We're doomed.

Waiting for Lucifer's Hammer to drop...

_________________
I write books
http://stevericherbooks.com


Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:31 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Yeah this is why I choose to stay away from politics for the most part, i'm not NEARLY as cynical as you are, i'm mostly fine with how things are right now with our government even if there is a ton of room for improvement, and i'm still proud that I voted for Obama. But election day isn't even on my mind right now, i'm not even so sure which side of the political fence i'm on right now, so I stay away from political debates and such. Also i've got to agree with Major on this one, you're awfully vague about explaining exactly WHY you're so downbeat about our current government, no offense but i'd say this is probably one of the worst Reelthoughts you've ever written, all you manage to say in 1500 words is an unnecessarily drawn-out "our government sucks"! I used to look forward to reading your Reelthoughts articles even if I didn't always agree with them, now i can hardly muster up the enthusiasm to read them all the way through, sorry James but since politics really dosen't seem to be your strong point, then maybe you should just quit talking about them altogether.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:42 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:32 pm
Posts: 9
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Quote:
I realized that my single vote really doesn't count.

How childish and selfish your alternative seems. "If I can't decide an election among a million people with my single vote, I'm taking my ball and going home!"

Your vote matters as much as you want it to matter. If you live in a district dominated by one party, pitch in for community activism. The more people you bring around, the closer the margin and the more weight to your own vote.

Quote:
I'm responsible only for myself

Do you believe that? I'm sure you can think of two more people you're responsible for. Perhaps you might also feel responsibility to your extended family, your friends, and acquaintances.

In fact, let's go a step further: you're probably in the top percentile of intelligence in this country. What does it say if you choose not to vote? Is it any surprise that we end up with the dregs when the elite excuse themselves from the voting process?

Quote:
Besides, true differences between D's and R's are window-dressing.

It's true that a successful politician in this country must be centrist, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It does not follow that all centrists are equal. Voting lets you choose the man, and there are vast differences among them. Do you suppose a Gore administration would have led us into Iraq?

Quote:
Yes, that's cynical - but it's also pragmatic.

Sorry James, it just sounds lazy and selfish.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:01 pm
Profile
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I am surprised by this article. Well-written, cleverly connected to the current day, but, you're just stating what many people have stated before. It's like saying: "I'm with these guys."


One thing I find odd is this:"Besides, true differences between D's and R's are window-dressing. They're all beholden to the same masters, and those aren't the citizens who pull the levers. "

You are putting that after a "besides" when it's really the most important (if not very original) point.

The "one vote doesn't mean anything" argument is not only old and obvious but weak, too. You alone provided the answer but I think that you missed the point. "Thinking as a group" is necessary in a democratic society. Or any society. I mean that, there are things you can do on your own and things you can only do by uniting your power with someone else's.

Sure, if you throw a cup of oil into the sea, it's not a big deal. But if everybody does it...

And even if the two parties are not as different as they pretend to be, they can't be exactly the same. So, it might really make some difference. Doesn't that make voting useful? A little, a lot.. is that the point?

Anyway, I "get" your lack of hope and I can't blame you. I can't even say I disagree. Not sure yet. But I was expecting something more than some cliches which are not even 100% accurate.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:35 pm
Director
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:04 pm
Posts: 1688
Location: New Hampshire
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Cynical, yes. But there is some truth in what JB said.

In the United States, 1% of the population owns 50% of the wealth. 10% of the population controls over 90% of the wealth. The bottom 50% controls less than 2% of the entire nation's wealth. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that those top 10% are going to get what they want from our government, the rest of us be damned.

I don't want to say that voting doesn't matter. But I like to keep in perspective who we're voting for. Largely, our candidates are chosen from two corporatist parties promoted by a corporatist media (over 95% of our media is owned by six major conglomerates). So when that is what you have, it's pretty hard for a true independent voice to sneak in there. You get a few, like Bernie Sanders and Dennis Kucinich, but the system doesn't need everyone to be bought off. It only needs most of the people to be bought off.

I think I'll leave it at that. Voting is a good thing; I'm glad I have the right, and I'm glad that I can choose whether or not to exercise it. I just wish I had better choices.

_________________
Death is pretty final
I'm collecting vinyl
I'm gonna DJ at the end of the world.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:47 pm
Profile
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Couldn't agree more. Friends and family have constantly asked which party I belong to and which way I lean. My answer is simple- I'm a member of the "I Don't Give a Shit" Party because let's face it, life is just simpler when you don't bother with things you have no control over. And I believe it was Trey Parker and Matt Stone who said it best on an episode of "South Park"- "Every election is a choice between a douche and a turd."
I have never voted and never plan to. As far as I'm concerned, nothing either the Democrats or the Republicans have ever done has ever effected me in a negative or a positive way (at least as far as I know). I don't know anybody who's fighting in the war so it is of absolutely no consequence to me whether or not the troops come home tomorrow or in a hundred years. Perhaps the only positive would be not having to look at the stupid "Support Out Troops" bumper stickers everybody seems to like. The only troops I support are the ones fighting against their will, and since there has yet to be a draft, I guess all the troops in Iraq are there because they volunteered to be in the Army. I don't support people just for doing a job they agreed to do.
With politics, I've always stayed away. Both parties same the same thing and nothing happens so it just seems like a lot of circling the drain. The one thing I hear over and over is that if I don't cast my vote the greedy capitalists will keep making lots of money they don't deserve. To that all I can say is that it must be great to be a greedy capitalist. Bottom line- let the politicians worry about politics. Everybody else should just worry about themselves.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:57 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:34 pm
Posts: 11
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
James,

I usually agree with you on just about everything, but I am very disappointed in your unbelievably cynical post about the state of American politics. Like you, I am a reasonable and sensible person who becomes exasperated with the inability of politicians to work together to solve our most pressing problems. But to suggest, as you do, that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats, is a shockingly simplistic and wholly inaccurate belief to harbor. Moreover, it indicates that you do not follow politics as closely as you claim, because if you did, it would be obvious to you just how different the two parties actually are.

I'm a college student who is a political science major, and so I follow politics incessantly. I won't articulate my own political beliefs in this response. Rather, I'll just impartially and neutrally demonstrate why there does exist a sharp divide between the two parties. On the central issues that define contemporary politics, there are glaring philosophical, ideological, and substantive differences between Democrats and Republicans.

Anyone who closely followed the health care debate should be able to notice the huge chasm that existed between the positions of the Democrats and the Republicans. The Democrats were in favor of extending health insurance to 32 million Americans and mandating that everyone buy health insurance. The Republicans unequivocally opposed this approach...On economic policy, and how to respond to the Great Recession, the Democrats support so-called Keynesian methods, in which the government fills the void left by the private sector, and attempts to stimulate the economy through government spending on infrastructure and other public works projects. Republicans, by contrast, follow supply-side economics, and believe instead that tax cuts are the most effective means to stimulate the economy. On other issues, whether they be taxes, energy policy (remember the cap-and-trade debate earlier this year?), climate change, immigration, foreign policy, the role of the federal government, etc. (for the sake of brevity I won't delve into the differences), there are very noticeable contrasts between the two parties.

I also deeply disagree with your assertion that all politicians are corrupt. That is an unfair and sweeping overgeneralization to make, and it stuns me that someone as incredibly intelligent as you James would make such a cynical black-and-white statement like that. Of course, there are corrupt politicians out there; but there are also many politicians who are admirable public servants that make decisions based on their conscience, and who serve their constituents honorably. Being a politician is not as glamorous as it may seem. For instance, national politicians have to spend enormous amounts of their time fundraising, something they deeply despise having to engage in all the time. A career in politics is not something that a lot of people would want to get involved in, unless, on some level, they are motivated for the right reasons.

Lastly, in terms of your suggestion of "benevolent dictatorship, anyone?," I'll admit that it would make government run more efficiently. But who decides who gets to be the "benevolent dictator?" And what if the dictator turns out not to be so "benevolent" after all? The 230 year experiment in democracy I think has worked out pretty well for the United States. Moreover, I happen to think that the American people, although they are not always that well-informed, have the right to determine who represents them in government. Instead of blaming democracy for the problems that our political system faces, how about you instead focus your blame on the structures that prevents our politics from working--like hyperpartisanship, gerrymandered districts, and the arcane rules that lead to perpetual gridlock and paralysis in Congress, especially the total abuse of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate, which prevents the majority from being able to ever get anything accomplished. Indeed, much of what Obama has wanted to do has been blocked, simply because he often cannot get to 60 votes in the Senate to cut off filibusters (and even more absurd, is that the minority doesn't even have to filibuster anymore--so long as they have 41 senators in opposition, nothing even comes to the floor for a vote).

Instead of being so cynical, then, and just regurgitating angry populist talking points, I would recommend following politics more closely, becoming more aware of the sharp divide that unquestionably exists between the two parties, figuring out where you stand on that divide, and then going to the ballot box and making an informed and careful decision with your vote. Because of the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats, there is actually a lot at stake in elections.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:58 pm
Profile
Director
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:04 pm
Posts: 1688
Location: New Hampshire
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I have one last thing to say, and this is a bit more overtly political.

I must admit that I'm impressed with how our president has been able to work his people in Congress to get stuff through. If we take a look at our history, it'll show us that FDR had nearly 70 Democrats in the Senate when Social Security was passed; likewise for LBJ when Medicare and the Civil Rights acts were passed.

What did Barack Obama have? 57 Democrats, one independent populist, one Republican who switched parties, and Joe Lieberman, an independent who can go either way. Obama also had to deal with something FDR and LBJ never had to: a multi-billion dollar national right-wing echo chamber.

Simply put, individuals such as Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, and many, many others through their PACs have spent billions to spread outright false information about the president as a person, his policies, and his party...and it's worked pretty well. Yet this Congress did get stuff done. When put in that perspective, what has been accomplished by the Obama Administration is pretty impressive. Not perfect, but impressive.

It is my hope that President Obama can be the most effective leader he can be over the next two (and maybe six) years. That's all I ask. I'm not a miracle seeker.

_________________
Death is pretty final
I'm collecting vinyl
I'm gonna DJ at the end of the world.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:26 pm
Profile
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Quote:
Besides, true differences between D's and R's are window-dressing. They're all beholden to the same masters, and those aren't the citizens who pull the levers.


That is the common lament of the apathetic, but there is not much truth to it at all. President Gore would have done things very differently from President Bush, and President McCain and a GOP Congress would never have passed many of the laws that Obama has signed. I'm not even going to bother listing specific things because it's so incredibly obvious that I'm sure anyone can reading this can come up with plenty of examples for him or herself.

That said, I actually don't really care if people who feel this way don't vote. I don't see much that would be gained from it, and it is true that individual votes are more personally expressive acts than anything else. In this case, James clearly feels the most expressive by actively deciding not to vote, and writing about. I don't share the crushing cynicism, but I won't deny someone the right to express himself.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:28 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Quote:
I didn't vote in the last election. Right now, some of those reading this are tsk-tsking and shaking their heads.


I would willing to bet that those who do, are in the minority. I don't vote and I'm proud of it.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:11 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:34 pm
Posts: 11
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Sexual Chocolate--I completely agree with you. It is remarkable how much Pres. Obama has been able to accomplish, considering that 60 votes is needed to pass anything in the Senate. Before Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts, Obama had 60 votes, and so in order to get anything passed he had to ensure that not a single Democrat broke ranks. And then following the election of Scott Brown, he only had 59 votes, and so he needed at least one Republican to cross the aisle in order to secure passage of any legislation.

This is why it's so frustrating to me when people, including those on the left, attack Obama for not doing enough. Either these people don't understand that you need 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate, or they don't know how to count to 60. Some people seem to believe that since Obama is president, he can simply wave a wand and magicially conjure up 60 votes. It doesn't work that way. When a single Democrat broke ranks on legislation before the election of Scott Brown, then that legislation could not be passed (like the public option in the health care bill). Similarily, when not a single Republican agreed to cross the aisle and support a piece of legislation after the election of Scott Brown, then that legislation had no chance of passing (like what happened to energy legislation, or the attempted repeal of DADT).


Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:15 pm
Profile
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Wow James. What inspired you two write this?
Or was it the knock on effect of baseball?
Rob


Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:49 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
I agree with everything you said.

And I'm also totally down for a benevolent dictatorship. Anything that gets rid of this ridiculous controlling method pushed on us of "Democrats vs. Republicans" or in essence, "Us vs. the Strange Boogeymen with the weird ideas you must hate".


Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:31 pm
Director
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:04 pm
Posts: 1688
Location: New Hampshire
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Jonathon9 wrote:
Sexual Chocolate--I completely agree with you. It is remarkable how much Pres. Obama has been able to accomplish, considering that 60 votes is needed to pass anything in the Senate. Before Scott Brown was elected in Massachusetts, Obama had 60 votes, and so in order to get anything passed he had to ensure that not a single Democrat broke ranks. And then following the election of Scott Brown, he only had 59 votes, and so he needed at least one Republican to cross the aisle in order to secure passage of any legislation.

This is why it's so frustrating to me when people, including those on the left, attack Obama for not doing enough. Either these people don't understand that you need 60 votes to pass anything in the Senate, or they don't know how to count to 60. Some people seem to believe that since Obama is president, he can simply wave a wand and magicially conjure up 60 votes. It doesn't work that way. When a single Democrat broke ranks on legislation before the election of Scott Brown, then that legislation could not be passed (like the public option in the health care bill). Similarily, when not a single Republican agreed to cross the aisle and support a piece of legislation after the election of Scott Brown, then that legislation had no chance of passing (like what happened to energy legislation, or the attempted repeal of DADT).


You're touching on something that does grind my gears a lot, and it's that many individuals don't seem to understand how our government works. It can be downright clunky sometimes, but that's the way it is.

My frustrations are less with President Obama than with the Senate leadership of Harry Reid, who is completely spineless. I would have liked to have seen him bring things like a public option up for a vote, to just at least get people on the record. But he didn't bother; he was completely resigned to its failure. That's not what a leader does. A leader at least tries. I say alright, you don't have the votes, but put it to a vote anyway. Get people on the record.

The way I see it, if the Dems keep the Senate but Reid loses his seat, it may very well be a good thing for them; they may actually make someone like Leahy or Schumer, someone who has backbone, majority leader.

_________________
Death is pretty final
I'm collecting vinyl
I'm gonna DJ at the end of the world.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:42 pm
Profile
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Democrats and Republicans have fundamentally different philosophies on how to run the country and recover from a nasty recession, but I think what JB is getting at is that both share the "scorched Earth" tactic he's talked about in other Reelthoughts. Why simply disagree and beat your opponent when you can obliterate and humiliate him/her?

The "my one vote doesn't matter" theory is far from airtight, but to me it seems the reason why JB hasn't voted lately is because no candidate has truly sold him yet. That and a distrust of politicians in general. We are so deeply polarized as a nation that it really doesn't matter who sits in the big chair; millions will love him and millions will hate him. The roar from the anti-status quo crowd is so loud that it will ALWAYS be there, no matter who our Commander in Chief is or which party has the majority in Congress (hence "Change" appearing as a buzzword on both sides).

I exercise my right to vote, but it is a right. You're not forced to do it, and as for corporations being more influencial than waves of voters, well.... who has the deeper pockets?

Then again, everything's run by the Patriots (or la-li-lu-le-lo) anyway.....


Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:18 pm
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
While the two parties have arguably had their moments of similarity (the most recent time during the Clinton administration's last 6 years), that isn't the case anymore. While the Democrats have moved somewhat rightward to the center, the GOP is currently the most extremist major political party in this country's history. Not only is their apparent current strategy one of "sit back and hope the economy gets better", they appear determined, once in total power, to dismantle a good chunk of our government and society's accomplishments over the past 80-hell 150-years, starting with Obamacare and working backward. If anyone thinks I'm exaggerating, you only need to read their official statements, including the vacuous "Promise to America". For example several have called for the repeal of a number of Amendments to the Constitution (mainly of course those dealing with civil rights and such). If anyone still truly thinks that it's a vote for "more of the same" vs. "more of the same Part II", they definitely have not been paying attention.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:28 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:34 pm
Posts: 11
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Quote:
You're touching on something that does grind my gears a lot, and it's that many individuals don't seem to understand how our government works. It can be downright clunky sometimes, but that's the way it is.

My frustrations are less with President Obama than with the Senate leadership of Harry Reid, who is completely spineless. I would have liked to have seen him bring things like a public option up for a vote, to just at least get people on the record. But he didn't bother; he was completely resigned to its failure. That's not what a leader does. A leader at least tries. I say alright, you don't have the votes, but put it to a vote anyway. Get people on the record.

The way I see it, if the Dems keep the Senate but Reid loses his seat, it may very well be a good thing for them; they may actually make someone like Leahy or Schumer, someone who has backbone, majority leader.


You're exactly right about Harry Reid. I can never understand why he is so terrified to force votes on legislation. It doesn't hurt anything if the vote fails, and it's good to put senators on record. Moreover, on important things like the public option, he should force Republicans to go on the Senate floor and actually filibuster, just like it always used to be. If Republicans feel so passionately about preventing an up-or-down vote on a particular piece of legislation, than they should have to filibuster. The mere threat of a filibuster (a.k.a. "ghost filibusters") to block all important legislation, has gotten out of hand. The Senate's "two-track process" would still allow Senate business to go on around the filibuster, so it's not like the filibuster would shut the entire Senate down. Even if the filibuster succeeds, at least it would make Americans more aware of the minority's obstruction, and how the minority is preventing up-or-down votes on legislation, even though the Constitution explicitely states that you only need a simple majority to pass legislation in the Senate.

If Reid loses on Tuesday, it will be either Dick Durbin or Chuck Schumner who will be the next majority leader. Either one would be an improvement over Reid.


Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:32 pm
Profile
Post Re: October 31, 2010: "The True Day of Horror"
Obama = GOD


Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:34 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 125 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr