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July 14, 2011

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This is a very good article, but I think Mr. Talton is far too optimistic. In 2012 we will have a choice between Obama and a Republican who will be even worse. Let's hope that it is not Jeb Bush.

It is easy to predict how this will turn out. The future of the United States is as follows.

Unemployment will continue to rise, with no end in sight. 20% unemployment will become the norm. Very soon, 50 million Americans will be on Food Stamps, and this number will increase forever -- until Food Stamps are abolish. Then those people will starve.

Job destruction and outsourcing of jobs will continue, with no end in sight. NO worthwhile jobs are going to be created in the United States, because the government is hell-bent to prevent it. Rich people are not supposed to pay taxes, nor are they supposed to sign payroll checks. Good jobs are for Indians and Chinese, not Americans.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce and the US government will scream for more H-1b visas and more immigrants, and will howl that no one can find any workers. Millions of unemployed Americans are just invisible at hiring time.

The US government will continue to engage in two stupid, worthless wars, while cutting off Medicare and causing Americans to die for lack of health care. Warmongering in Asia is more important than taking care of our own people.

The rich will get more tax cuts. Working Americans will have to live on one bowl of gruel per day.

We need a third part. We need anti-war protests in the street. We need millions of unemployed Americans marching in the street demanding jobs.

This country is finished. The United States will not exist as an independent nation by 2050.

If Jeb Bush were to win in 2012, the US would not exist as an independent country in 2020, and millions of Americans will starve to death before 2016.

Obama is a weak president and deserves every bit of criticism he gets. I don't buy the 11-dimensional chess theory. But there is one explanation for his budget tightening rhetoric, if one cares to be generous to him. Reagan and subsequent Republican presidents have talked incessantly about being fiscally conservative and budget-balancers, all while racking up huge deficits. Wouldn't it be nice if Obama decided to talk that way, too, all for the purpose of getting away with some great Keynesian stimulus? I know, I'm dreaming.
Mick, we'll still be a country in 2050. We just won't be a very nice one.

In Arizona's first presidential vote, Wilson came in first followed by Roosevelt, the socialist Eugene Debs, and lastly, Taft.

100 years later, Michele Bachmann would carry this miserable state.

My disappointment with Obama is buffered by that prospect. As awful as he's been, as weak a negotiator, as uninspiring and gutless a leader, he's still sane. The probable GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, is also sane. But as a Republican he would staff his administration with Movement Conservatives, zealots who want to dismantle most of this country's regulatory framework. He would appoint hard-right extremists to the Supreme Court and the federal bench, which a Republican Senate would overwhelmingly approve. He would necessarily advance the Norquist project of shrinking government at the expense of the poor, the working class, and yes, you, esteemed members of the middle class. If you vote for Romney, or if you don't vote at all, you're insane.

This country, already under the control of an oligarchy, is about to become unrecognizable to us because one its major political parties is stone cold crazy. Perhaps we should expedite our descent into this Randian hell since in the best-case scenario citizens might wake up. Or, maybe they won't.

Every crossroads becomes a hell of inexplicable choice. In 2008, we chose an electric personality who seemed ready to lift our national project into the 21st century. He didn't. He didn't even try. I second-guess myself for thinking Obama was our champion. In retrospect, had McCain won, the national prospects would be immeasurably better. The Great Recession (or the Lesser Depression) would lie squarely at the feet of Republicans. The best Goebbels of the GOP couldn't dodge this responsibility like they have today. 2012 would have been an epic year for liberalism. Now it appears to be an epic year for failure.

Even if Obama wins, this nation's decline is now unalterable. We might buy ourselves some time to figure out how we can salvage some things and manage some semblance of order as impoverishment spreads. As passive as we are, I think some people will start shooting well before the decade is finished. We are about to encounter one another in all our transfigured exceptionalism.

Maybe Romney with a Democratic Senate and House. Altho I'm of the opinion the Demos will still sell out the middle class to lick the boots of their masters (and I'm not talking unions, blacks, or gays).

It appears that "survival of the fittest" might become the theme for this decade. For many of us folks in the shrinking middle class, now's the time to have cash, not debt. Fortunately, my kids understand this . . and yet I realize that there are boo-coo bucks to be made on distressed valley real estate (by shrewd investors) if one has the huevos to ride out the ongoing turmoil.

Heaven help those who are old or sick or poor. . .

Love your throughtful dissections of our national and local kabuki and political theater...especially here in hybrid AZ....I think being up far north and out of the heat of the state has enabled you to see what's going on here in a clearer light.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/opinion/15krugman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

One of the ironic side effects of mainstreaming extremism is our contempt for anything that has been powerless against it. This includes ourselves.

Upon the election of Barack Obama conservative pundits declared the end of the modern conservative era ushered in by Ronald Reagan. The new cycle that could have been in 2008, in fact, will be no more than a blip of liberalism as the US continues down its path to the right.

When the working class began to be devalued years ago, and their jobs were out-sourced or given to easily exploited undocumented workers, the "educated" middle-class said nothing. They benefited from lower costs. They happily invested in rental properties in formerly solid working-class neighborhoods, turning them into slums. Now that the elite no longer need the middle-class,suddenly what's being done to them now is somehow unconscionable, cruel, unfair. Ah, the irony.

I will be in L.A. this weekend (UGH) and am wondering what the "carmageddon" will be like. L.A. is spending a billion dollars to expand the 405; as if that city needs more freeway lanes.

In regards to our President, his situation comes down to marketing; during his 2008 campaign he over-promised and under-delivered. But many of his failures were out of his control with Republicans filibustering any attempt at progressive legislation. This put the President in a rather precarious position. He had to "work with" the Republicans. It is not illogical to suspect he learned from the past and is under-promising with the intent to over-deliver in 2012 and beyond. It makes sense if he is to position himself for reelection.

I'm not falling for catastrophic predictions since opportunity still exists in this country. We are not "out of money" so much as we are not properly managing the nation's assets and revenue sources.

pSf, what an optomist you are !!!

I bet if you jumped off a 100 story building and passed someone on a balcony at the 50th floor, you would shout out to them, "Looking pretty good, so far."

( : - )

I'm with PSF when he says, "I'm not falling for catastrophic predictions since opportunity still exists in this country". These blogs could sometimes be mistaken for the sour ruminations of the "Ain't It Awful? Society". True, I'm not optimistic about the plight of those who are old, poor, or sick . . but maybe the so-called FAITH-BASED groups will step up. Certainly our government doesn't have to act as the be-all/end-all. Example: my church has just moved the local food bank to its property and thus under its umbrella.

If this makes me sound like one of the delusional Bushies, so be it. Too many people of faith have become psalm singing frozen chosen pew sitters with relatively little real outreach to the least among us in our own country.

psf to morecleanair "looks like we're going to hit the ground at 160 mph"

mca to psf, "you just need to have faith"

psf to mca, "OK, I have faith that we're going to hit the ground at 160 mph"

mca to psf, "I wouldn't worry, I think this is just a dream"

psf to mca, " how do you know?"

mca to psf, "because Arizona doesn't have a 100 story building"

There are always opportunities. They existed in the 1880s, which is the social/legal era to which the GOP wants to return us. Churches were looked-to for social aid until they and other private "relief" were overwhelmed by the Great Depression and the needs of a complex society. We've seen this movie before and know how it ends. As for "catastrophic," I don't know what else you would call what we're facing from climate change, peak oil, peak crazy, the collapse of the middle class and all the associated destabilization. Opportunities will exist there, too. One can still find a good martini, even. But that's not really our mission here. (Well, we're all into drinking and eating good Mexican food, but we're still going to discuss serious topics. For happy drugs, consult your local Gannett paper).

The spirit of Oscar Hammerstein II lives. While this blog may not be a church, it has a Panglossian Pew where the unicorns frolic and the sky is full of rainbows.

If you think that somehow the paralysis of the past 15 years is merely a minor problem, say, the denial about environmental issues, the denial of basic arithmetic and a financialized economy that works only for the rich, not to mention the right-wing desire to assert wishes as reality, or the anti-scientific smugness of a know-nothing society, or the acid contempt for those deemed less than ourselves, particularly Mexicans, you're so unconscious nothing will wake you.

I love watching those TED videos where smart people come together to figure out how to do things better. It has a Thomas Friedman kind of vibe. All we need to do is x,y and z, and presto! The lemons become lemonade. But I want to see the change not in a room full of upper-middle class, self-congratulating Chautauqua types. I want to see it here. Because if it's not on the street where I live or the city where I despair, it's not happening.

Optimism itself is little more than a vehicle to take denialism to another, more lofty plane. It reeks of its own virtue.

Pessimism is a baseline test of sanity. If something isn't working, there's a problem. And if there's a problem, maybe, JUST MAYBE we can fix it. But until we worry enough to actually wake up, the sweetness of our dreams will ensure that we won't. That's why optimism is not an answer. It's not even a precursor to an answer since it prefers saying "things will get better!" to actually getting sufficiently unnerved to start moving.

Talton's history here ought to light the way to a rudimentary insight: if you take the risk of being negative, of uttering unwelcome truths, or offending community cheerleaders, you will pay a price. But that price is even steeper for us if, like most Arizonans, you ignored his message the first time. And now the second time. If there's a third time, chances are you'll either be comatose or dead.

Name calling is one of those things we do when we have no answer to someone with a conflicting opinion. I doubt any of us are so optimistic that we continue on about our business without a worry. On the contrary, but what does it say about a people if their only answer is to bitch and complain about every fucking thing without trying to make a difference? Even if that difference only touches an immediate few...it has the power to reverberate. That is how I choose to spend my energy. I am optimistic only because I see the inherent value of human life and our ability to grow more intelligent; this often only occurs after great destabilization and uncertainty but that helps fuel human innovation. Hope you all have a good night I have a flight to catch and I believe we'll be hitting the ground at 120-160mph. :-)

azreb: maybe you think it is clever to put words in my mouth but I doubt that it is on point. When we lose faith, we don't have a helluva lot left, sir!

Let’s face it Jon if all you needed to be President was a strong spine and a humongous set of balls, Sarah Palin would be our next leader. However my hero, the colonel, Teddy had a huge brain, a deep need for information and hands on experience. He was a keen observer of the nature of the planet and its inhabitants. Such giants come along very seldom. Attila and Cicero were such humans. Obama has a brain, but he brings no real experience to the table. His spine never developed in his quiet upbringing. Shooting hoops is as close as he got to war and all its entrails. I said prior to his election he was an attorney, he was a faux intellectual, a product of the Dailey Chicago political machine with no real life experience. In my opinion all negatives. McCain might have been a better choice but not with Palin as VP. As much as I think Hillary is a dangerous conservative democrat she probably would have been tougher at the table.
Dear Mick, you know of course that has been the plan all along. The banker summed that up for nude in the bath tub professor, Sigourney Weaver in the Michael Caine movie, Half Moon Street, “There are only 5000 people in the world,” everything else is a commodity. Of course the 5000 people are all bankers. A 1986 movie dealing with the Arab/Israel conflict. The Rumor Mill has it that the whole thing is a Bilderberg plot and Obama is allegedly a member. Gotta love the web for exciting rumors.

Dear PHXSUNFAN, keep that optimism going. It balances out that negative shit so many of us have. But I would not want to live if I couldn’t be negative, it’s an addiction. About once a year I check myself into the Albert Camus treatment center to remind myself that even though it is “Absurd” there is a rational reason (read myth of Sisyphus) to go on living. At 71 I can only think of one good reason but I cant post it here. Hit the ground running, there is a lot of rocks rolling to be done.

Per, Gloria my Spanish girl friend the La Cucaracha (the Roach) that was on the north side of east Indian School was owned by Southerner Jerry Balgenorth and his Spanish wife (second generation from Spain) Juaquinia Vivaretta. Even though Gloria was born in Arizona in 36 she does not recall the Roach being on the SE corner of Indian School road. Juaquinia’s cousin was married to Jerry Kimmel, my boss in the PPD organized crime unit.
Los Dos Molina’s was started in Springerville by the family matriarch and this original restaurant and all the old cars are still on site and working. A younger daughter has opened a Los Dos Molina’s in New York.
Currently for “to go food” I go to Molina’s. For Flan I go to El Barrio at 16 street and Thomas. For regular meals I go to Gallo Blanco in the Clarendon hotel. The spot investigative reporter Don Bolles was murdered by John Adamson and crew. El Gallo is owned by a man from Mexico. He is a Mexican and American citizen. The product of a Jewish Chicago father and a Mexican mother. The food is excellent. If you go tell the manager, Susan Hi for me.
Ok a quiz. What Mexican food restaurant in the 50’s barred black folks from their establishment on Central Avenue just south of Grant Street on the west side of the street?

morecleanair, well, I did think it was clever, but if it did offend, I apologize.

I am a person of faith and I'm very glad that I am. While we all hash out all this earthly stuff, I am very glad that in the end our affairs will be dealt with by God's hands.

On a serious earthly note, I had occasion to drive from Phx to Vegas yesterday. I had not made the drive for 4 years. What I saw was not good. In order to confirm that what I was seeing was not the exception, I drove off road for miles. Due to the drought, the Arizona Sonoran desert is dying. If the desert is dying of thirst, all the politics of people in the desert will become a moot point. I really enjoy all our conversations here on this blog, but I'm afraid Mother Nature is preparing to put us all in our place and it isn't going to be a fun place.

Cal, that restaurant was the El Rey Cafe. It's been torn down and in it's place is a parking lot for St Anthony's Catholic Church.

Azrebel's observation about a desert that is dying (and it is....) ought to help us focus our attention. There's no short-to-medium term advantage in letting industrial civilization blow up. Climate change is already searing the Southwest and further drying is baked into the cake. Perhaps it seems counterintuitive, but saguaros would stand a better chance if we stablilized the climate instead of blindly (that is, optimistically) deciding that there's no problem a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and a cold glass of milk can't fix. But the rational plan means you'd need a concerted effort to reduce CO2 emissions, and anarchy is famously unsuited for that kind of endeavor.

Cal, Sisyphus was not an optimist but he was happy. Acceptance is the key.

...... or, as Hobbes said, "...nasty, brutish and short."

10-4 Soleri, you got the quiz right. Also I am not an optimist either but I keep rolling that rock. As did Camus, Kafka and a whole lot of folks that think (or thought) its "absurd." As I read the myth of Sisyphus it appeared to offer among other things a rational reason not to commit suicide. And not being a “god” guy this was an interesting thought.
AZrebel, having been offended by experts for the first 21 years of my life, I haven’t been offended since. I just chuckle and move on. Might be the reason I am a big fan of cartoons.

I been thinking about the entire problem with "optimism". This video clip of George Carlin helps explain the real issue. The proclivity to think positive thoughts might simply be the mind controlling itself with bullshit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJr_ggTeq64&feature=player_embedded

George Carlin is my Hero.
I keep copies of his stuff in the bathroom.

There's also "Brightsided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America."

http://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/brightsided.htm

Someone sent me my farewell column at the Republic, where I tried-tried-tried to strike a balanced stand, so as not to stoke the two emotional settings of Phoenicians -- wild optimism or suicidal depression.

I listed six accomplishments and six challenges, ending with the certainty that Arizona was up to those challenges. Four years later, almost all the accomplishments have been undermined and the dangers listed have been made much worse by deliberate public policy and ignorance.

Jon cites his final column in 2007. As he departed, the Republic left a slot for Doug MacEachern who is a study in shallow thinking and general ineptitude. For me, there remains the heartache of what might have been if he'd continued in the systematic exposure of the delusions that drive AZ politics and policy.

Jon could not have stayed in AZ. You can't write thoughtful commentary for a thoughtless population. It's best that he went to cooler country where there are cooler heads. Our loss is that he is not here to attend our meetings and thus be stuck with the check.

Jon went to cooler country but his pen still sizzles. Arizona's loss is that it had no way to reconcile his fiery rhetoric with a post-modern culture and its emaciated sense of history. By contrast, the right's storytelling involves primitive myths about "otherness" - liberals, Mexicans, blacks, gays, Muslims, etc. It's why nostalgia rather than history is its cognitive touchstone. And absent a countervailing myth where people of good will overcame those fears, the right's mythology has prevailed.

Arizona is not going to sleepwalk its way to a different future. If there's one worth having, we'll have to raise our voices and risk being "hot". I know that hurts some very sensitive feelings, particularly among those who have already decided that this subject is both boring and upsetting. And we all know Republicans who are perfectly nice people! But anger is the only vehicle that can take us out of this hell. It's not cool, it's not hip, it won't get you laid, but it's an absolute prerequisite if Arizona is going to pull out of its tailspin.

My dog spot turned 20 this July of 2011 and I made 71. Spot had a party at the Farm at South Mountain thanks to farm owner and friend Wayne Smith. Soleri was in attendance and his presence like his writing is always a pleasure. The above last entry by Soleri is outstanding as usual in its comprehension of Arizona, Arizona History and potential future. At 71 my pace has slowed but I look forward everyday to Talton’s blog and all the understanding commenter’s that inhabit this invisible space in time.

So, as a compromise, I'm guessing President Bushama is going to end up proposing Bernie Madoff as head of the new Consumer Protection Agency??

Cal writes as if 71 is old: "my dog spot turned 20 this July of 2011 and I made 71". Gave me a chuckle; his dog is 140!

But seriously folks, OLD is when we stop questioning, learning and advocating for the greater good. That mindset stands in stark contrast with "I've got mine" and "Survival of the Fittest". Dunno how the once proud Republican party can have descended into such a conceptually constipated state.

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