Burch: As the saying goes...

Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

According to CBS News, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., recently called the Senate the “most dysfunctional place I've ever been in my life” as he urged his fellow lawmakers to “quit bashing each other” and engage in a civilized discourse over the deficit. Corker has also criticized President Obama for suggesting that bombing Libya does not qualify as “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution (which reminds me of Bill Clinton’s verbal contortions over the meaning of the word “is” ).

When Corker criticizes his fellow politicians, he’s in good company. Here’s what one of America’s wisest men, Mark Twain, had to say on the subject:

“There is probably no distinctly American criminal class, except Congress.”

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. Now suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Will Rogers was another wise (and funny) man with a low opinion of Congress and American politicians in general:

“A fool and his money are soon elected.”

“The U.S. Senate opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation.”

“There ought to be one day, just one, when there is open season on senators.”

“Congress in session is like when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”

Rogers also pointed out the Achilles heel of American-style representative government:

“Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do.”

Ronald Reagan chimed in with funny-but-unfortunately-true observations:

“Politics is the second oldest profession. It bears a very close resemblance to the first.”

“I wonder what the Ten Commandments would look like if Moses had run them through Congress.”

It’s bad enough when our government squanders taxpayer money at home, far worse when we go bankrupt waging war in futile attempts to “reform” other countries. Does it make any sense whatsoever for American politicians to waste thousands of lives and trillions of dollars exporting something they’re not good at themselves (i.e., democracy)?

Here’s Will Rogers again:

“If there's one thing we do worse than any other nation, it's managing somebody else's affairs.”

“Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.”

“The United States never lost a war or won a conference.”

“I have a scheme for stopping war: No nation can enter a war till it's paid for the last one.”

Albert Einstein also offered words to the wise:


“I don't know about World War III, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

John F. Kennedy concurred, saying:

“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”

Oscar Wilde, the greatest of the epigrammatists, was probably too heretical for the majority of Americans, but struck at the heart of the current wars:

“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”

“A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.”

If American politics has a saving grace, perhaps it’s that we can laugh till it hurts, as we barrel toward Armageddon.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

68 Comments on this post:

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 3:35

These Burch articles, every Fri. are getting stale. Letters from readers, presented more interesting information & comments.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 4:46

Libya was 2 months ago.
We've moved on to the Casey Anthony trial.
Unless Lindsay Lohan does something stupid, we'll follow Anthony's release from jail and her every move. Who will score the coveted 1st interview? I bet Geraldo since Jose Baez is also Puerto Rican.
Gaddafi is still in power, but who in America cares about Libya?

By: govskeptic on 7/8/11 at 5:59

Does the author have a suggestion as to what we should substitute in place
of our two houses of congress with? Having just enjoyed "Independence Day"
(at least this reader did) I'm just glad we have a vote to at least replace those
individual members peacefully that are the problems within this Republic!

By: budlight on 7/8/11 at 6:25

D7 I think Casey will get a book and movie deal and then appear in Playboy!

govskeptic, you are correct and I'm on board with you having just enjoyed Independence Day!

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 6:26

IMO, he's stating that it doesn't matter who we vote in office, the result is always the same.

By: treehugger7 on 7/8/11 at 6:27

Amen to the stale!

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 6:34

He omitted Woody Allen:
"I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member....."
And Grucho Marx had a few good lines.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 6:36

re: Casey Anthony...
She's out next Weds.
People, (tv, talk, book, movie) are lining up to capture an "exclusive".
Any wonder America is in the tank and bankrupt?

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 6:41

Darge, Nancy Grace beat Fox News in ratings the day of the verdict...there's a Jerry Springer audience out there for this crap, that's why they do it.

And every network ran with this trial, though HLN seemed to become the Casey Anthony Network. The media in this country is out of control, but as long as there's an audience, nothing will change.

By: Moonglow1 on 7/8/11 at 6:42

Moonglow1: Corker is not above the fray. He is also part of the problem. He is a Tea Republican like all of the other money grubbing greedy Teas who actually suck money from the government to line their own pockets. They all want to cut from the middle class but keep the corporate welfare in place and write legislation to benefit the top 1 percent which is the "Club" to which they belong. I am so sick of hearing the term "entitlement. ". I have paid in to social security. It is not an entitlement. It is an insurance plan which was raided by these fools.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 6:55

gD: FOX News...Shepard Smith, ran his full hour on it.
But she's now a "star" and someone will get the 1st interview.
10 bucks it's Geraldo who was the ONLY one who said the jury did "right".
Jose Baez is Puerto Rican like him, so it might/ will happen.
Unless Obama invites Anthony and the entire clan to the W.H.

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 6:56

I wish the GOP was as concerned with the middle class as they are for the privileged class. Despite evidence to the contrary, if you give the wealthy tax cuts, they won't help the economy, they'll help themselves.

If the economy continues down this path, they're going to have to increase taxes. That's just a fact. As Ben Stein said, there's no evidence that if you increase taxes on the wealthy that it hinders economic growth...quite the contrary, some of the greatest prosperity we've had came when taxes on the privileged were higher than they are currently.

But, I'm sure Obama and the Dems will cave. They always do. Darwin would be inspired to see how one branch of mankind evolved with no backbone.

By: serr8d on 7/8/11 at 6:57

Justice William Brennan, Jr., in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)

“We consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

Get over it, Corker. Your butt needs held to the fire if you follow too closely behind that too-soft Lamar Alexander (guaranteed a Tea Party challenge ASAP).

Oh, and notice how Barack Hussein Obama put Social Security on the table yesterday? I posted on that just today...

Yesterday, Barack Hussein Obama, after months and years spent vilifying the Republicans for daring to mention Social Security as an item that possibly can (and needs) be cut, put Social Security squarely on the table as a negotiating item that can (and needs) be cut.

So much for Democrats wailing that Republicans want to rush old people into their graves, after feeding them cat food and hiding their spectacles and medicines. There goes a few votes Obama and his Democratic cohorts were counting on, flying out the window.

I can smell a last-minute debt ceiling increase compromise in the works. We will, unfortunately, allow more deficit spending; but to offset, Democrats have lost an heinous weapon they deployed against anyone desirous of fiscal sanity. Never again can they say "Republicans and Republicans alone want to cut Social Security". That's a relief, really.

Now, we, Team Tea Party, should push for the Balanced Budget Amendment, the necessary tool to forever stop the Democrat's usage of the Treasury to buy votes for their far-left-drifting neo-Socialist Party.

http://serr8d.blogspot.com/2011/07/encroaching-default.html

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 7:17

Orrin Hatch is on record saying, "the poor have to contribute to the National debt..."
An Utah Senator commenting on society in America.
Guy's been in a padded bubble for 30 years. Has no clue as to what's going on.
But, as a Republican, acts as if he does.

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 7:50

The unemployment rate hits 9.2% in June with only 18K jobs created. Thank God those tax cuts for the top 1% are working...

Oh wait...

By: LizzyD on 7/8/11 at 7:52

To Moonglow:

"I have paid in to social security. It is not an entitlement. It is an insurance plan which was raided by these fools."

And the many fools who came before them.

AMEN!

By: Kosh III on 7/8/11 at 8:11

balanced budget wss pushed ny the gop for years until the gop took control of congress in 94; then it disappeared and when bush came in the gop spent like a i kid in an xmas toy store
"woe unto you...hypocrites"
and
"by their fruits will you know them"

thats from jesus; someone you're probably not familiar with

By: LizzyD on 7/8/11 at 8:12

"Now, we, Team Tea Party, should push for the Balanced Budget Amendment."

People with big mouths and small brains should take the time to follow a thought to its logical conclusion before publishing it.

Maybe"Team Tea Party" can get jobs going around gathering up the bodies to deposit into the mass graves. It won't pay much, but they should enjoy the work since it is what they have been striving for.

By: serr8d on 7/8/11 at 8:23

LizzyD, tell me dearie, if 'Tax Cuts for the EEEEVIL RIIIICH!' don't and can't and won't spur job growth, exactly how tax increases for the same EEEEVIL RIIIICH! will? Hmmmm?

Run that thought around your septic micro-encephalic brain-pan for awhile. I'll wait.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 8:48

Coker is trying to make up for not supporting the GM bailout.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 8:50

Nancy Grace is steaming because she predicted a guilty verdict. She does not like to be proven wrong.

The jury did what was required of them. There was not enough evidence to show she did it and the prosecutor did a lousy job. I hold the prosecuting attorney guilty for showboating.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 8:50

The down fall of America will be the doing of the Tea Party. Heil serr8d!

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 8:53

Kosh-
The only thing the GOP is pushing is the return of tax-free slavery.

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 8:54

Everyone should sign this petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/create-caylees-law

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 8:57

It isn't if the current tax cuts can't and won't spur job growth, they are not. So with nothing "trickling down", despite corporate incomes rising, why would you push to increase this?

And, can you really label cutting tax loopholes as direct taxation? That seems disingenous at best.

By: nom faux on 7/8/11 at 9:08

bfra

"These Burch articles, every Fri. are getting stale. Letters from readers, presented more interesting information & comments."

Talk about low expectations.

By: nom faux on 7/8/11 at 9:17

serr8d

"Now, we, Team Tea Party, should push for the Balanced Budget Amendment"

Go ahead. I'll wait.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 9:19

CptN: No mother, except for the retarded, does NOT report her 2 year old child missing. For 31 days, only after the grandmother reports it. She could of gone 4 months...partying..."La Viva Loca".
The whole family gives The Musters and Addams Family a run for their money.
Like I said in other poists...dead bodies turn up and, NOBODY did it.
What a coincidence.

By: Kosh III on 7/8/11 at 9:27

We had massive tax cuts for the rich during the reign of George III (2001-2009)

It gave us massive job losses because the avowed capitalist corporations moved millionsof American jobs to Communist China and then Wall Street crooks nearly wrecked the economy. Some countries, like Iceland, were wrecked.

Yet, they want even more cuts for their corporate masters.

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 9:29

Nemo - Now they should try her for child abuse!

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 9:29

d7-

I never said that she was innocent. As a matter of fact I think that she is wholly or in part guilty of the crime. I said that the jury did what was required under law.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 9:35

d7-

That is a possibility bfra, but I think somewhere down the line she will get what is coming to her.

As far as any book deals or movies are concerned, the prosecuting attorney will cash in on that.

By: brrrrk on 7/8/11 at 9:38

Kosh III said

"We had massive tax cuts for the rich during the reign of George III (2001-2009)

It gave us massive job losses because the avowed capitalist corporations moved millionsof American jobs to Communist China and then Wall Street crooks nearly wrecked the economy. Some countries, like Iceland, were wrecked.

Yet, they want even more cuts for their corporate masters."

Spot on. Here's a challenge for you free market people. Show me ANY empirical data to support the position that lower taxes (especially on the wealthy/investor class) creates jobs. The fact is, history clearly shows the inverse to be true.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 9:42

This disconnect, between, "she's not guilty in a court of law, but that doesn't meant she's innocent", is revolting.
When did this ideology come into play in America?I listened to Allan Dershowitz talk of this concept.
According to him, in the courts it's all about "the law", "but that has no bearing on the reality of the crime".
You really have to listen to him to realize how fu**cked up our system of justice is here in America.
The "truth" doesn't matter whern it comes to "the law"?
Let a lawyer organize it for you.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 9:48

d7

Just because you think someone is guilty does not make it so. That is why we have laws. If we are to abandon the laws to go after the devil, then once we is done there is nothing standing between us and that devil.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 9:59

Ok, then:
OJ didn't do it..it was a drug cartel from Cuba who gave her a "Cuban Neck Tie:.
Robert Blake didn' do it, he was just going back to retieve his gun he left on the restaurant table.
Scott Peterson didn't do it, his wife just washed up on shore, unexpectably.
Phil Spector didn't do it, that pretty 40's blond decided to shoot herself in the mouth in his foir.
And that ex-Police guy, Peterson, who's all 4 wives died, didn't do it. They just drowned in bath tubs or took off with other men.
Face it: Our system of "justice" is a joke. Lawyers are clowns. Judges are ringmasters.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 10:00

Let me rephrase this;

Just because you think someone is guilty does not make it so "by the laws". That is why we have laws. If we are to abandon the laws to go after the devil, then once we is done there is nothing standing between us and that devil.

After all d7, you know there are a few on this board that has condemned you and me both. The only thing that keeps them from executing us is the law.

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 10:08

Sounds like the prosecutors failed, not the system.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 10:17

O.J got is in jail, but not for that crime.

That is another case where the police and DA’s office were thinking more of a book deal than the crime. If you are going to say that the justices system has failed, then I suggest that you look at this being on TV.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 10:18

I think so gdia.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 10:23

Marsha Clarks was on TV today saying that the jury was already inclined for not guilty. She is till defending her botched attempted in the Simpson trial. She made a bundle off that case.

I’m sure she made some money for appearing today.

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 10:26

But I also believe that no one can have a fair trial if cameras are allowed in the courtroom. This has to stop.

You have to ask yourself, is the media creating the monster? We aren't privy to what Anthony is thinking, but who do you suppose is putting the idea out there for book deals, Playboy, interviews, etc.?

Springer is offering a million dollars for her and her family to appear on the show. It's the media that is creating this scene...I'm not remotely involved in any of this and it embarrasses me to think that the world sees us through this media lens.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 10:28

Now back on subject. I think that Congress is the most dysfunctional.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 10:43

gdia-

I could not have sat on that jury and been impartial. That is why I think that this jury has done an exceptional job.

I did not watch this as closely as I did with the Simpson trial. I felt that she was guilty and that TV and its experts had already convicted her. There is a big difference between this trial and the Simpson case. It was divided among the public has to his guilt. There was only one opinion in this case, among the public. She was guilty.

By: brrrrk on 7/8/11 at 11:17

Captain Nemo said

"I could not have sat on that jury and been impartial. That is why I think that this jury has done an exceptional job.

I did not watch this as closely as I did with the Simpson trial. I felt that she was guilty and that TV and its experts had already convicted her. There is a big difference between this trial and the Simpson case. It was divided among the public has to his guilt. There was only one opinion in this case, among the public. She was guilty."

This brings up two important issues, the over abundant use of circumstantial evidence (and the public lack of understanding of it) and the medias sensationalizing of trials like this. Maybe we should consider what the Canadian media has a habit of doing... not reporting on trials until after the verdict is issued.

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 11:18

You're right, the media had her convicted. I didn't follow any of the case but from the media and public opinion, you'd think that the trial was just a formality on when to schedule her execution.

By: Captain Nemo on 7/8/11 at 11:34

I agree brrrk, wait till it is over. 48 Hours or Dateline could cover it.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 12:16

In today's world, circumstantial evidence takes on a whole new meaning.
As a people, we use our brains more than in the 1880's when it was only "eye witness" that ruled. Then finger prints.
Now, DNA, if jurors even know what that is.
All I know is that a 2 year old is dead.
Someone (not something) put her in a garbage bag and thru her into a swamp.
In 2011, we, as a society, cannot figure out, " who done it".
That bitch, called her "mom", did it.
Not Grand Pa, Granda Ma, not some stranger.
If she was molested at age 8, has no relevency to 2008 at age 22.
None.
She did it.

By: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 12:24

serr8d,

Hate to tell you, but you are misidentifying Barry Soetoro as Barack Hussein Obama.

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 12:32

So what was the evidence?