A Sunday Afternoon Comment

November 9, 2014 § 5 Comments

On October 20th I woke up and discovered that my eyesight had malfunctioned and, as a result, everything I looked at was a double image, one atop the other.  When this problem persisted and my effort to ignore it proved to be too taxing, I finally went to a neighborhood hospital center.  After a CTscan, an MRI, an EKG and a thorough series of blood tests,  the message from this premier medical center was: ” Good news!  You don’t have diabetes; you didn’t have a stroke; one of your cranial nerves has malfunctioned; we don’t know why, but it will probably correct itself and your eyes will return to default condition sometime in a few weeks.  Put a patch on one eye and you’ll be fine.  And, if that doesn’t happen, we’ll fit you with a pair of glasses with an embedded prism that will correct the problem.”

So, now I have a clue about how pirates feel, except I don’t have a peg-leg and a parrot.

This mishap has curtailed my reading and my attention to this blog.  But, I do have one comment on last Tuesday’s “Republican Sweep” and the “Top to Bottom Assessment” that the Democratic Party has now launched.

I find myself agreeing with Bruce Bartlett, a conservative writer and former adviser to HW Bush and Ronnie Reagan.  He recently wrote an article in American Conservative magazine entitled, “Obama Is A Republican”.   He supported Obama in 2008, because he was furious at GW Bush because of GW’s fiscal policies.  In his article, he cites chapter and verse to explain his contention that Obama forgot his Saul Alinsky roots and governed like a moderate Republican.  Here is a link:  Bartlett

I commend the article to you.  Bartlett is a right-wing true believer in some economic policy fairy dust, but he has produced a thoughtful reminder of some of Obama’s policies.

I mention this article now because I think it offers a clue about why the Democratic Party voters did not vote last Tuesday.  Maybe it was because they were no longer convinced that Barack Obama’s policies promised the kind of relief and change they needed.  Their wage levels were dwindling.  The jobs they lost were not being replaced with work that enabled them to support a family.  They needed policies that targeted the excessive greed of the rentier class.  They were looking for Elizabeth Warren and what they were offered was a now-fully-disclosed Barack Obama and the future prospect of Hillary Clinton.  They didn’t perceive Obama as an enemy.  What they perceived was indifference, not in his rhetoric, but in his actions.

I don’t think those voters were thrilled by speeches about women’s reproductive rights and gay marriage.  There were three groups of potential supporters for Democratic Party candidates:  Chicanos who want legalization and a path to citizenship; young people who want relief from oppressive debt and prospects for decent jobs; and working class wage earners who wante decently paid jobs.  I didn’t see or hear many campaign speeches talking about those issues.

I hope the post election assessment convinces the Democrats to forget about “reaching across the aisle” and foreswearing “class warfare” and “populism”.  We live in divided country.  There are two sides.  When the Republican side talks about “compromise” and “getting things done”, they mean “agree with us”.  The voters are not sophisticated.  They do not understand how the nuts and bolts of government work.  But they do understand discussions of their fears and their desperation.  If we want to preserve our democracy, we better begin to offer some solutions even if the solutions don’t please the tiny fraction of our population that furnishes most of the money that corrupts our politics.

I have zero confidence that my proposal will even be discussed at the high-level strategy sessions that are probably now occurring.  The hallmark of political expertise in America is recognition that political policies that displease those who furnish the money in political campaigns are “tilting at windmills’ style notions and Sancho Panza is not a viable political mentor.

I have mentioned Dan Carlin before in posts on this blog.  He has a channel called “Common Sense”, in which he discusses various current issues.  In a recent one, he discussed what he perceives as a real threat to our democracy:  Pent up rage and frustration in response to government’s indifference to the economic problems facing working class Americans.  If you would like to hear his reasoning on this subject, here is a link:  Common Sense

This link takes you to the home page of his blog.  Scroll down and click on “The Specter of Dissent”.

§ 5 Responses to A Sunday Afternoon Comment

  • Thomas Laing says:


    I had a similar thing and it was diagnosed as an ocular migraine. It involves no pain but messes up your vision for a while. Could be from thinking too much.

    Hope it all works out well.



    • Bob Hall says:

      Thank you for your comment. I understand that, for some unknown reason, the tiny blood vessel furnishing a blood supply to my fourth cranial nerve (the one that fixes the aim of one of my eyes) malfunctioned. So, the nerve malfunctioned. There is a good chance that it will correct itself in a few weeks. I hope so.



  • Sorry to hear about your sight. Thanks for the very insightful observations above. My theory has been that Obama, as a black man, is doing what he feels he needs to do to stay alive through two terms as president of the USA. Believe me, there are a lot of crazy rednecks who’d love to do something crazy. (My husband is always pointing out the crazies on Facebook and Yahoo – and he is a die hard Obama supporter – and he’s white). I supported Obama while he was running for the Illinois Senate – and I was living in Iowa. He never should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was raised by well-meaning white people and educated in white institutions. But, I think his true roots and power for change will manifest when he leaves the presidency. And yes, many are suffering but much positive change is happening in this world – and in this country. Now, your experience with the health care system is an example of what is wrong with the US medical system. They have no idea how to help those of us who are growing older. See if you can find a Functional Medicine Doctor. They combine traditional medicine with a unique interpretation of lab results and alternative medicine. (I’m an RN and work with a FM doctor and have studied it). Otherwise, just rest your eyes, see if you can find a talking computer, and stay in touch. I’ll keep you in my prayers too – Buddhist prayers. 🙂


  • Sid says:

    Don Roberto… so sorry to hear about your optic nerve mix-up, but as a wearer of a patch as a child, worse can happen. In the end, my problems got me rejected at my second induction physical in Berkeley, California, when I was #7 in the lottery and competition for deferments was, shall I say, challenging. I’m sure your issues will work out, but given the realities of your own observations about the Repugnant electoral victories… I’m not entirely convinced that not seeing the world as clearly as before isn’t a blessing in disguise.

    My own view squares generally with Bartlett’s. Indeed, other than his two campaigns, I never saw the fighter we so desperately need and needed. From his laconic election eve walk-on in Grant Park forwards, there was no progressive leadership other than toothless rhetoric. I can’t and won’t propose reasons for it, but I do know that it’s a fact. I commented to Milton that no one showed up to vote for him simply in order to the return the favor, as he’s been a no show from day one. I can’t even tell you whether he himself knows that… but everyone else does, and this election proves it. Why fight if your leader is either not going to fight and possibly die with you on that distant hill, or even go the other direction and try and strike a ‘compromise’ with the adversary.

    Anyway, maybe it’s a good time not to see the world so clearly, as in times like this it hurts to much to do so.

    All the best


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