1994 all over again

I remember how depressed I was on that November morning of 1994 after Newt Gingrich dashed all my hopes of a better “democratic” America… Clinton got re-elected in 1996 and so will Obama if people start remembering what the poor dude inherited from 8 years of  Bush…The complicated Health plan was a big factor in both democratic losses in 1994 and 2010 but these two presidents at least tried to do something about the shameful health care disaster of United States.

This time around it is easier for me (blame my age) and I think that even though the tea baggers took over the House, the fact that the twin evil sisters of Meg Whitman (in spite of her pro choice views and mild progressive agenda) and Carly Fiorina lost in California keeps my hope alive! Meg Whitman‘s loss is particularly sweet to me: no one has the right to buy an election with 140 million dollars of their own money!!

There still are some things left that rich people just can’t “buy”— intelligence, culture and compassion are among them.

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About Michele

I am a certified user experience designer and I am passionate about the role of design in creating flexible structures in our connected environment. Contact me: michele.roohani@gmail.com

32 thoughts on “1994 all over again

  1. Very insightful observations and I couldn’t agree more. I thought the same thing when I heard that Whitman spent 140 mil just to run for office. My immediate reaction was, couldn’t that surplus money of hers have been put to better use by helping those in her state who are out of work and don’t know where to turn? The quest for power is very blinding.

  2. You forget that for democracy to work you need to have voices on both the left and right heard, Recently the Democratic House and Senate passed the biggest law (Obamacare) in U.S. history without a single vote from the opposition party. This is not democracy.That same bill has certainly put our entire society at risk and I am not talking about healthcare.

    Barbara Boxer in her 28 years in the Senate did not have a single accomplishment to run on. She ran on a smear campaign.

  3. Michelle too right you are. I am in the US for a couple weeks and am looking forward to see what the mood is like in PA where I am now.

  4. Michele, does being outside of the country help lessen the blow?

    I’m sorry Mr. Foster, but the definition of democracy does not include having to gain votes from opposition parties to pass laws. I think the problem is the US 2 party system, which does not seem to foster 😉 cooperation.

    From Wikipedia: Democracy is a political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people, either by direct referendum (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy).

  5. Well, my age seems to help not one bit with the apparent crash of hope for real change. The momentum from 2 years seems sadly squandered.

    Our first ever new Hispanic female governor in her first move wants to revers legislation by the Environmental Protection Agency to inhibit corporate polluters!

    We live in a very strange world. I mourn the loss of what might have been with maybe a bolder approach from President Obama.

  6. Frank oh master of the wikipedia. You must look up the Congressional votes that created Medicare, Social Security, Medicare Modification and the Workers Welfare act for you to understand what I am alluding to about our Constitutional Democracy. Any big ENTITLEMENT that has passed in this great nation has had BOTH Parties vote for even they though may have opposed it before the vote. No good ENTITLEMENT is good if it only represents a party that clearly does not listen to it’s citizens. Hence the last election last Tuesday. Maybe you were not aware the majority of Americans were against “AB1720”. CF

  7. agree with you 100%!! The likes of Sara Palin & Christin O’Donnell are indeed by far much scarier than the 2-faced Newt Gingrich, & just the thought of such brainless& self-serving individuals who have extensive witchcraft background being of influence these days in the US makes my blood boil!

    How sad that all GOP’s plan for the next 2 years is to work towards defeating Obama in 2011 (as they have openly said so)! Unfortunately, the very wealthy lobbyists & powerful self-serving individuals (the worst of them in the world being Dick Chaney & Carl Rove) rule America, & not the people! May God be on our side to turn this around & help Obama to stay on the job for a 2nd term to hopefully restore some sanity into our very corrupted political system.

  8. Mr. Foster, thanks for the clarification and the humor. Yes I do like Wikipedia.

    And below are some more facts from the same source.
    In the three days preceding the health care reform bill vote in the House (March 19–21), a CNN poll of 1,030 adult Americans found that 59% opposed the legislation while 39% supported it. Further breakdown showed that 43% opposed the bill because it was too liberal, 13% opposed it because it was not liberal enough, and the remaining 39% supported the bill.
    I read that as saying 52% supported or wanted even more change than was provided by PPACA.

  9. Sorry about your dashed hopes for Obama. I didn’t vote for him because I knew the machine was bigger than he was. Democracy died a long time ago in the US. If, then, it has disappeared in the ‘home of the brave,’ how can on be suprised by the excesses of power in Iran? Outrage is appropriate and necessary but ineffective, in both cases,

    Am I pessimistic, or despairing? Perhaps it is a result of a fundamental lack of a sense of security. Perhaps fear was mixed with my mother’s milk.

    “Le sécurité ne peut être atteint que par un esprit désespèré et pour être désespèré il faut avoir beaucoup vècu et aimer encore”

  10. Mr. Frank : 1st you are wrong about wealthy lobbyist being in the Republican coffers. Despite Presidents Obama’s promise lobbyist activity as far as expenditures increased markedly in the last 2 years. Also despite Obama’s promise quite a few ex-lobbyist were working in the White House or their spouses. BTW union money spent to support a candidate is just as slimy as a lobbyist dollars as far as I am concerned.

    You should try to read the bill. It is a travesty and has very little to do with health care. The thing that it does is creates several new divisions of government and the IRS. From the post I have read here all of you believe in big government. I am guessing 25% of GNP is not big enough for you. CF

  11. @Clarence. If you read what I wrote above, I didn’t say anything about wealthy lobbyists, etc.

    I think many people can agree that the Republican party is currently much more effective than the Democrats. And I’ve even heard Paul Begala, a democratic party adviser/insider, admit it publicly on This Ameerican Life (episode #417 THIS PARTY SUCKS).

    The big question is why are the Dems much less effective? And Begala even tries to answer that question saying things like: “it’s a cultural difference”, bla, bla, bla…

    The elephant in the room that politicians don’t want to talk about is MONEY.

    In general the Republican party goal is to benefit corporations and people who have more money than the average. They get contributions from these sources and then go out and do whatever it takes to accomplish this goal.

    The Dems on the other hand, supposedly are more on the side of people who aren’t so well off financially. But they’re badly conflicted because they want the political contributions from corporations and rich people really bad, so that they can get reelected.

    The result is that neither party, despite their rhetoric, represent the interests of people who don’t have that much money.

    With the current political system in the USA, it isn’t surprising that PPACA is a monstrosity.

    A large majority of americans have supported a single payer health care system for many years (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-payer_health_care#Public_opinion_in_the_United_States). But it was never even considered as an option, because it isn’t aligned with the interests of the health insurance industry.

    Poor A. Lincoln must be spinning in his grave, because the USA is now very far away from his ideal of “government of the people, by the people, for the people…”.

  12. I don’t know, seems to me like intelligence and culture are bought daily, most especially by corporate sponsors who sponsor intelligent cultural events that are then modified to fit the sponsor’s requirements. By ad agencies who fund intellectual input and psychological consultations. And so forth.
    Compassion I think you still can’t buy.
    LIke the elderly couple from Nova Scotia who gave away their $11million lottery win to charity:

  13. , democrats have themselves to blame. What we learn from history is that…we learn nothing from history. Obama should have known better to try to do too much this quickly and with the rather simple minded media driven ,economically hard up people .The democrats did not make their points known to the majority. Even in the medical profession(and I have been working now as a neurologist for a year in the US) no one knows exactly what the health care bill involves…4000 pages,you must be joking. Democrats were attacked,i think unjustly ,but did not put up an effective defense.

  14. As such I do not claim to understand issues of American Politics .. However in the course of debate and settling scores, which beyond a point seems futile, we seem to be oblivious to a bigger picture ..

    We’re in a giant car heading toward a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit. – David Suzuki

  15. I guess one of the advantages of living abroad is that it fosters the critical mind, when contexts of living and issues of democracy become more vivid when you can trace shades of discrepancies and diversity of social and political views, their meaning and implications beyond the bold and the beautiful, where the totality of life becomes tangible and important for the “many”. Nothing is born in the oblivion however, detached from it´s historical contexts, only then you begin to understand the course where you´re heading. I guess we are talking about knowledge, the very image of the sums of our experiences!
    “There still are some things left that rich people just can’t “buy”— intelligence, culture and compassion are among them.” I guess the reproduction of ideologies always comes to a halt when people gain insights of their living situations and the hope for a brighter future.

  16. As usual, I am astonished at how the top 1% gets the bottom 26% (or whatever the numbers work out in each electorate to get republicans elected) to vote against their own interests. Do they think by voting for the rich they will somehow benefit? Do some people buy the rhetoric when a buffoon like Rand Paul says “there is no rich or poor, we are all interconnected, you either work for a rich person or sell stuff to a rich person” and think that giving more to the rich will get something back to them…..

  17. The ELITE Liberal views on this page are painful for me to read. The top 3% of tax payers in America pay the majority of taxes. As a matter of fact almost 50% of voters in America get a net benefit from the federal government, i.e. pay no federal taxes. THe federal government should decrease in size, the entitlements handed out should decrease in size. I know you love the French big government, big union broke, class warfare model, but this is the U.S.A. We do not trust big government !!! Maybe France and Greece can learn from us.

  18. @Clarence, I’m an independent voter, but from what I’ve read here so far, I don’t think anyone on this page has claimed that they like big government. The issue at hand was healthcare and Frank produced convincing evidence that our healthcare system is broke and needs some creative solutions. The size of government is not the argument here, government priorities are! A government that spends over 700 Billion dollars on its military but fails to provide basic healthcare to its own citizens signals a priority that seems out of order. The purpose of the military is to protect our citizens; but isn’t it true that exponentially greater number of people die of preventable disease than war and terrorism? I don’t think the government should expand but I think that it should recalculate its priorities more logically. Unfortunately, Frank is right about the abundance of special interest in our politics, and I do agree that this interest is pervasive on both sides of the aisle (although, let’s be honest, it’s far more powerful on the right! 😉 but unless we plan our future based on reasonable priorities things do not look good for any of us, or our children! So the Tea Party had a big run during the last election; but other than saying we want a smaller government no one really explained what they would cut and how they would balance the budget! The Tea Party (if you can call it a party since it’s so fragmented and non-centralized,) has yet to prove itself as more than a bunch of disgruntled folks. To succeed, they should represent a cohesive political philosophy that is fair, and more importantly, a sustainable economic concept in the modern world. So far, its members remind me of the kind of president I’d like to have a beer with than a president I’d like to run my country! 🙂

  19. I hate just repeating what I just said. Look at my prior post so you can see how I really feel.

    @Ali, the recent healthcare bill does nothing to contain cost or using your word, “priorities ” of the federal government. The right is not stronger in this country. The Republicans got a “shellacking” last election since they also allowed the federal government to grow. The Republican party under the the last President Bush was not a Right Centered group. Entitlements are entitlements whether it goes to big corporations (Haliburton) or all the Democratic special interest groups such as teachers unions (while our schools fail).

    As far as our military, Spain, England, France, Netherlands have all had terrorist attacks. I do not see any of those nations stepping up on the world stage to take the place of our military. When they do then we will cut our military budget.

  20. Well Clrarence, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-partisian group, disagrees with your claim about the overall cost of this bill to the deficit (http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/health.cfm). They estimate that the two pieces of legislation will reduce the deficit by $142 Billion from 2010-2019. So, this is not a case of spending but rather investing.

    The issue of terrorism and its relationship with our military, however, is an entirely different story. We’re not going to fight terrorism with drones, Stealth Bombers, and nuclear ballistic missiles. The countries you mentioned did not lose their heads and go to war with another country’s military after isolated terrorist attacks by small minded individuals. They understand that terrorism, like homelessness, addiction, garbage, and political pork, is a modern social ailment that is somewhat inevitable. There will always be some crazy idiot out there who will think terrorizing the innocent is the best way to sell his/her ideology. They could be of any religious denomination or even atheist. The minute you’e willing to die for your believes all bets are off in terms of protecting the innocent. So, unless we turn the state into a complete police state you can’t account for these types of folks. A larger military will not resolve this issue any more than more cops on the streets could make car accidents obsolete. The root cause won’t be resolved with force. If anything, force is like an accelerant to this ideological fire. I always believed that this specific issue should have been dealt with through covert operations and diplomatic deals with their host countries. But that’s me.

    But a larger picture we have to come to terms with in this country is that terrorism is a price we pay for being a free people. It’s impossible to completely eliminate it the same way the War on Drugs has not eliminated drugs over the pat 40 years. These are political slogans, not true results. We just have to accept that some measure of sacrifice is the price of freedom we enjoy in this country. We don’t stop driving because of car accidents. We understand that accidents are rare and we go about our daily lives hoping we can avoid them. Getting to our destination is more important than the very small chance of a fatal car accident. Terrorism is actually a less likely problem than car accidents; but we seem to have magnified this issue to hysterical proportion! It has become a deep phobia within our psyche. We lost three thousand innocent souls on 9/11 – a true tragedy in every sense of the word – but in response, we lost about seven thousand additional young Americans lives and tens of thousands of casualties and injured soldiers coming back homewith a multi trillion dollar bill. That’s not even considering the innocent lives on the other side that was lost and tangled in the middle of this agenda. And Terrorism is still as thriving in the world as ever. It’s time we think more about results than postures. We’re in this financial hole because of our unnecessary wars, not because we’re giving millions of poor Americans who don’t have healthcare a chance to live decent, healthy lives. And at least according to the CBO, we can have our cake and eat it too. I say let’s cut the welfare check to our military before watching American children without coverage suffer in vain. That’s my two cents on the issue! 🙂

  21. In my opinion, Ali’s “perspective” is deeply flawed, particularly the part about terrorism. Sure, crime will always exist – does that mean that society should not respond to crime forcefully? Yes, terrorism is the price we pay for being who we are, but that does not mean that we shouldn’t fight it with every resource available to us. It is precisely because of our military response to terror that the probability of successful attacks on our soil remains low. Those are the results that i see. There is no doubt in my mind that in the absence of our military actions after the 9-11 tragedy, we would have already had several mass murders after that that would dwarf those four airplanes in comparison. So, for the foreseeable future, the one part of the budget that i would not want to cut is the money that is needed to keep our military as strong as possible. And these are my two pennies about that.

  22. Thank you Mark for responding. Ali’s comment about terrorism is so depply flawed I decided to stop responding to this blog. It is crazy to think that the terrorism aroun the world under the banner of “Jihad” is the same as a random rape, robbery or murder down the street. It is this same logic that allows others to look the other way while Mexican elected officials, journalists and just regular citizens are being gunned down in the streets, they say “there are more murders in the U.S.” Deeply flawed potical correctness gone wild.

    @ Ali, I just want to add the CBO’s conclusion about Obamacare makes no sense and the CBO’s estimates for Medicare have historically been wrong. You can’t add 36 million more people to Medicaid and not have the system cost more money, despite the supposed cut in Mediacre for the elderly. The 18,000 IRS agents that the bill will require be hired alone will be quite expensive.

  23. @ both Mark & Clarence: doing nothing about terrorism is not the alternative to doing the full Monty with military engagement! This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s about getting results and what’s the most efficient way to get them. There are more measured approaches available that are more covert and surgical vs. dull and advertised. My point is that collateral damage in such wars is fuel for future terrorism. What happens to the children and relatives of an innocent bystander killed during our surges? Surely, if they didn’t care about US until then they will feel revengeful thereafter! Now, we’ve created a new problem and given rise to another potential terrorist. Such individuals are then prone to manipulation by those dark forces that brainwash kids into heinous terrorist acts. The relatives of collateral damage don’t put things in perspective and simply understand; like most humans they would project their feelings towards the source. And now we’ve created someone else we must fight. Believe me, we’re not safer because of our military’s physical actions overseas. We would be safer, however, with better multilateral intelligence and forging alliances with countries that harbor terrorists. That allows us to uproot the problem from within. That’s how the problem started to begin with!
    Look, I bet you guys have no idea that the reason these Pakistani Madras’s that brainwash people into terrorists are there is because of the direct funding by us and the Saudis back in the 70’s and the 80’s to create such institutions! Back then; we believed that such ultra-orthodox religious institutions can help us defend our interests by creating an ideological force against the Godless Communists – basically a proxy war of competing ideologies! It’s only after the Communists where defeated and deposed from that area that the energy that went to building and training these ideological soldiers was directed back at us. So, there are unintended consequences to things, some of which blow back in our faces.
    I believe that terrorism is best controlled covertly and then uprooted by slowly undermining it from within, and not by fighting it out in the open through an invasion and dropping a multimillion dollar weapons on 5 dollar tents, where every terrorist killed gives rise to two.
    Furthermore, I definitely believe that we should all go about our lives and worry far less about such outliers as Terrorism and far more about the more common causes of our demise, such as Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Pulmonary Infections, and Automobile accidents! You invest a fraction of the cost of our wars in these areas and you’ll experience an immediate return on investment. Don’t let a Black Swan event such as terrorism worry you too much. The number of Americans dead due to Jihad related terrorist attacks during the past 30 years? About 3,000, (non-soldiers) – the number dead during the very same time due to car accidents, about 1,200,000! My two cents back at ya’all! 😉

  24. Fine then, let’s just relax and wait until we lose a couple of million people to terror – is that when we should start getting serious about it? Really, Ali, what you are writing here is not only grossly inconsistent, but essentially either totally ignorant or terribly naive; possibly both. My only hope is that those people in our government who are responsible for these policies do not share such illogical illusions.

  25. Ali’s remarks seem to me to be intelligent, well thought out and backed up by facts.

    And he definitely wasn’t proposing “to do nothing”, as MarK is trying to make it seem.

    Backing arguments up with facts and reasoning is infinitely more convincing than someone just saying “I have no doubts”!

  26. The “facts” presented by Ali are extremely selective and the “reasoning” is highly inconsistent – therefore the conclusions do not convince. Besides, saying “believe me” (as in Ali’s previous comment) is not in any way more factual than “i have no doubts”.
    At this time, i have no interest in continuing this argument here on Michele’s beautiful blog. Right now all i want to do is to wish our dear Michele and everyone else the most wonderful, peaceful, healthy and joyous Thanksgiving holiday!

  27. Fair enough Mark. I wish I had the time to explain myself better; but it appears that we should best agree to disagree on the topic. Obviously, I don’t propose waiting until we have have a few million in losses before we do something. It’s what we do about the problem now that we disagree on. It appears that Frank understands my point but I guess I fail to make to make it clear to you or you seem to have a different world view- which is fine. Either way, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and don’t overdose on the turkey! Oh, and go Pats!! 🙂

  28. Dear Michele

    I guess its time to close comments on this post.
    As such a Beautiful Blog is not a platform or arena for political altercation

    I Quote ..

    What happened was, 2,400 years ago, the Greek Gang of Three, by whom I mean Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, started to think based on analysis, judgment and knowledge.

    At the same time, church people, who ran the schools and universities, wanted logic to prove the heretics wrong. As a result, design and perceptual thinking was never developed.

    People assumed philosophers were doing it and so they blocked anyone else from doing it. But philosophers were not. Philosophers may look out at the world from a stained-glass window, but after a while they stop looking at the world and start looking at the stained glass.

    – Edward de Bono

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