Saturday, May 27, 2017

Purposeful Polarization (& Beguiling Bonkercockie)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy -- Designated Sticky
Dana -- Designated gentlereader (left shoulder)


Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

Purposeful Polarization (corollary -- beguiling bonkercockie), I stumbled on this phrase in a Wall Street Journal article. I've been following the seemingly endless attacks on the Donald, via the media and the Depublicans, fascinated by the deluge of if/then stories (if this should turn out to be true, then...) and unattributed (but trust us, we trust the leakers) rumors leaks.

I refer specifically to (insert a few bars of dramatic music here) the Russian Conspiracy. It turns out the Donald isn't the Hitler of the 21st century (well, so far, it's early yet). It turns out that he's not crazy after all (well, so far, it's early yet), at least not consistently. While he does regularly say (or tweet) crazy shtuff, even some of his many enemies have begun to figure out it's often crazy like a fox/strategic in nature.

While the crazy and Hitler memes were only base hits, (insert a few bars of dramatic music here) the Russian Conspiracy is a home run. Our left-leaning infotainment industrial complex and the Depublicans are having a good deal of success tying the Donald to the Pooteen and (insert a few bars of dramatic music here) the Russian Conspiracy.

They've managed this in spite of the fact no actual crimes, so far at least, have yet to be uncovered. That's world class Purposeful Polarization using a where there's smoke there's fire attack. However, the smoke, in this case, may just be a fog of spin and dizzinformation

 [Gentlereaders, please, bear with me. If you're sick of hearing about (insert a few bars of dramatic music here) the Russian Conspiracy you might be contemplating clicking off to elsewhere in cyberspace at this point. However, this letter/column isn't about (insert a few bars of dramatic music here) the Russian Conspiracy, it's about Purposeful Polarization.]



The WSJ article referenced above, Anti-Trump Democrats Invite Chaos, is a short editorial written by Ted Van Dyk who doesn't work for the paper and is described as being "...active for more than 40 years in Democratic administrations and campaigns..." succinctly states a list of reasons why our good friends on the left consider our newly appointed special prosecutor and calls for the Donald's impeachment to be justified.

He also succinctly demolishes them as there's no there, there -- the if/thens and leaks referenced above. He warns his fellow Depublicans that if they are successful in sidelining the Donald they could wind up with a true conservative in charge, which he considers to be a step backward from what they want. The Donald ain't a conservative, he's, well, the Donald. Personally, I think he's as surprised as the rest of us that he got elected, but that's another story.

Mr. Van Dyk's point is that the Depublicans (and America) would be better served if they were to find a way to compromise with the Donald on solutions for America's problems instead of perpetually pursuing Purposeful Polarization. (Sorry -- OK, not really.)

Mr. Van Dyk doesn't define purposeful polarization. In fact, he uses it only once, and towards the end of his article. He states that if we're to find some sort of rational compromise, "...purposeful polarization must give way to constructive engagement." Somebody needs to put that message on a t-shirt. To quote me (someone's got to do it), "Compromise, don't demonize."


And then, talk about perfect timing (for my purposes at least), the Donald's proposed (he ain't the king, the 535 selfless representatives of the people have to pass it) 2018 budget hits the street. Let the games and the bonkercockie begin!

The Donald's man at Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, unleashes the $4,100,000,000,000 buck beast upon the world and takes his show on the road to promote it. Like most of its modern predecessors, and in the time-honored tradition of The Gummit, it's a vast tome containing some truth and a lot of lies financial projections and assumptions extending out for a decade. In other words, it's chock full of guesstimates and ignores the fact we choose an administration every four years, not ten.

Cue the Cacophony.

The opposition party, and everyone/anyone who will, at least theoretically, be receiving less largess from Uncle Sugar, predict the end of civilization as we know it. The Infotainment Industrial Complex (IIC) tends to agree.

Fortunately, the objectivity and truth obsessed contingent of the IIC, the press, steps in to save us from ourselves. "Trump seeks to slash $3.6 trillion of spending in austere budget" according to a reuters.com headline from 5.23.17.

"By Roberta Rampton | WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump asked lawmakers on Tuesday to cut $3.6 trillion in government spending over the next decade, taking aim at healthcare and food assistance programs for the poor in an austere budget that also boosts the military."

This is not an editorial, this is allegedly straight news. Note she (I hope I'm using Ms. Rampton's preferred pronoun and honorific) also uses the decade (five congressional and two presidential elections from now) gambit.

Ms. Rampton and Mr. Mulvaney (the budget whisperer) crunch the same numbers. He predicts a balanced budget -- ten years from now. She slyly, but clearly, informs us that the Donald is going to expand the military and abuse the poor to pay for it -- over the course of the next ten years.

So, my dearest grandstickies and great-grandstickies, I wish you luck. At the moment the adults seem to be leaving the room at an ever accelerating pace. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, my favorite part, spending cuts by The Gummit aren't spending cuts. They're cuts to the amount of scheduled spending increases that The Gummit automatically increases each year. And no, I'm not making this up.

Two-thirds of, The Gummint, spending occurs on autopilot and includes scheduled increases. For example, the Donald's draconian, austere budget calls for spending $408,000,000,000 on Medicaid in the 2018 budget. This will be "cut" to only $688,000,000,000 by 2027. And no, I'm not making this up either. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.


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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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