Change starts here

This country heads into the second half of a Presidential election year a divided nation – divided by war, philosophical differences, political parties, race, religion and societal lines.

We are a nation pitted against itself, threatened by ever-deepening canyons of division. Reasoned political debate is all but impossible. Differing political opinions are too often greeted with derision.

We know. Capitol Hill Blue has been a contributing factor to the divisiveness, a willing co-conspirator to the deterioration of civility in political debate, a bomb thrower of heated rhetoric.

As the publisher of this web site, I have called the President of the United States a war criminal, a mass murderer and an American Hitler. I’ve used just about every hate-filled name possible to describe other elected officials.

I thought such rhetoric made a point. It did: The wrong point.

America cannot survive as a divided nation. America cannot pull itself out of the doldrums if acerbic accusations replace action. America cannot survive if we fight ourselves instead of our enemies and our problems.

The tone has to change. The rhetoric has to cool. We have to heal ourselves if we are to heal the problems that threaten our nation.

I disagree strongly with some, but not all, of the positions and actions of President George W. Bush. I believe the Democratic leadership of Congress has, for the most part, failed to deliver on promises made in the 2006 mid-term elections. I believe change is absolutely necessary to address the many problems this nation faces.

But we cannot change the system with rancor, we cannot initiate change through hate and we cannot save this nation by tossing out verbal brickbats instead of useful solutions.

Political leaders and bloggers trekked over the weekend to Austin, Texas, for what has become an annual gathering of Internet activists – the Netroots.  But in reading too many of the blogs that have reported on the gathering, I see too much of the old rhetoric, the same expressions of hate, the usual obscenity-laced tirades.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Change cannot come from stringing together dirty words, cute nicknames for our elected leaders and emotional, but meaningless tirades against the "system."  Change comes the people who get up every morning and go to work at jobs keep this nation going. Those same people initiate changes at the ballot box by expressing their frustration at those they feel have led their town, city, country, state or nation down the wrong path.

I saw that change last year in my tiny Blue Ridge Mountain community when voters tossed out every incumbent with an opponent for local offices in the Republican primary and then solidified that change in the fall election by tossing out even more.  We saw that change in 2006 when voters changed the leadership of Congress.

But change can get lost in a political season dominated by name calling, outright racism, blatant hypocrisy and raunchy rhetoric.

Change cannot be driven by those who think of themselves primarily as Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, right or left.  Change can only come from those who leave their political baggage at the door and remember that they are, first and foremost, Americans who put the best interests of their country above all other consideration.

Change starts with each of us. I believe I can bury my anger and change my approach to work towards healing the deep divisions in this nation. I believe I can change this web site to be an agent of positive change.

Care to join us?


  1. Lcoast

    I’ve read you for years and I wouldn’t change a goddamned word. Work cooperatively for change among your peers, in your community if you like, bring people into common cause, which should be bare-knuckled outrage over what’s happened to us. That is the only rational response to the usurpation of our rights, our dignity, our capital and our place in the world. Outrage–there’s not enough of it.

    And you’re among the best at it. I have real problems with the go along to get along, mending fences nonsense peddled by Obama and this “new kind” of Dem. To your point in the Pelosi piece, we have sell-outs in every nook and cranny in this government–we should be screaming bloody murder. So scream away–one of our readers appreciates it, at least…

  2. acf

    I think the subject of changing the tone is brought on by the fact that it is near the end of the Bush era and we are just tired of fighting. If this had been a couple of years ago, and he had 2+ years left, it would be a different story and the battle would be raging on. Now, I have faced the fact that I can’t defeat him or drive him from office. I hope for a new, better beginning in January, but I’ll never have the `satisfaction of having beat him. He outlasted me.

  3. Sandra Price

    Interesting comments Richard; but then yours usually are worth reading more than once. I read you comments with the key word being “motivation.”

    America did better as a nation of Free men when our survival depended on being independent from any other nation and growing our own culture based on freedoms. We now have a majority of citizens focused on a false faith that American can do no wrong. We look to our leaders as wanting to continue our future of independence. Through the years we citizens have elected leaders who abuse their power and as a massive force, allowed their group to lead us into unscrupulous actions in other nations for a false sense of power.

    The most damaging power found in the last 15 to 20 years as been our lust for oil. I have read many books on the subject that the world will run under whoever controls the production of oil. We have known for many years that oil reached a peak supply and only with alternative sources of energy will this old planet continue to supply our needs.

    Men like Bush and Cheney saw their opportunity to take what is left of the oil supply and make themselves and their cohorts wealthy beyond belief. These men knew very well that Americans run their lives on faith, not facts. Whatever triggered 9/11 was turned into a religious war to bring the religious Americans into a world power source for oil against Islam.

    Slowly but surely Americans are not buying this false faith in America any more. We have seen evil don the cover of power and it will destroy our freedoms faster than a series of bombs sent by Islam. We have seen this false faith in power destroy the Roman Empire, the ancient Egyptian Kings and even the British Empire when the Christians divided into Protestants and Catholics.

    The only power the Social conservatives have in the November election comes from those who claim to be dedicated Christians and not dedicated men who will take an oath to the U.S. Constitution. America is now as weak as any other failed Empire when faith as a false premise, takes over the power.

    I guess we should celebrate that for 225 years we managed a fair chance at freedom. Communism could not stop us but a faith that we could do no wrong brought us down. A simple right from wrong was missing in our elected officials.

    Are we beating a dead horse in November? Will we elect the perfect President who will run on faith alone or a return to individual freedoms? We have slipped too far into believing the government must take over our decisions and education of our next generation. It is the end of American freedoms and the beginning of everything Orwell warned us about.

  4. Ladywolf55

    Excellent assessment, DejavuAllOver. Well said! I prefer an honest Rant, even if over the top, to pablum.

    However, I also prefer action rather than just sitting around cussing and discussing. Tip that applecart soon!

  5. Warren

    Doug, perhaps I misunderstood what you have been doing.

    You have often taken positions well outside of center, at the edge of a problem. You have sometimes spoken inflammatory words and ideas. All along I have presumed that your purpose is to incite dialog that explores the boundaries of the issue at hand. Well, that style works. Much good debate has been had on this channel, spawned by your occasionally over-the-top positions.

    I am an engineer by training, with many years of experience in my earlier career. I know that workable solutions to problems only come from exploring their boundaries. You have contributed to the exploration of the boundaries of problems and solutions in our political system.

    And still, you haven’t taken it too far. It’s never been really unseemly. It’s been just enough to get some good exploration of the boundaries.

    What if your Rants had been mediocre pablum, stand in a circle and sing Kumbaya stuff. How useful would that have been? How useful will that be?

    I’m here to take the alternate view. I hope you will continue to explore the boundaries of the problems. Otherwise this site will lose much of what makes it special.

  6. Direct Democracy

    We can piss and moan until hell freezes over but the fact of the matter is that the people who are running the show aren’t listening to us, and until the apple cart tips over and their precious apples roll all over the street nothing is going to change.

    Stop talking, start tipping.



  7. ekaton

    ” … while those of us on the left sputter with impotent rage, or dissolve into a feckless inarticulate mass.”

    Sad but true. Trying to get a bunch of liberals to agree on anything is kind of like trying to herd cats.

    — Kent Shaw

  8. DejaVuAllOver

    At this point, Doug, the kharmic forces are so big and so powerful that quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter much what you say. Human egos don’t much like to admit it, but it’s the truth. Buddha said, ‘What is, is right.’ Your words, angry or not, will not change the course we’re on, which is a function of our collective history, our people and their relationship to other countries. But don’t let your ego get your panties in a bundle. Say what needs to be said, whether it’s polite or not. It won’t change the outcome, but it WILL change you, and almost always for the better, as long as what you say is the truth, as best you can determine it.

    Sermon over. Carry on and don’t let stupid guilt turn you into a twerp.

  9. Janice

    I’m on board Doug.

    Change can only come from those who leave their political baggage at the door and remember that they are, first and foremost, Americans who put the best interests of their country above all other consideration.

    Change starts with each of us. I believe I can bury my anger and change my approach to work towards healing the deep divisions in this nation. I believe I can change this web site to be an agent of positive change.

    ..and have been for a while.

    We used to listen to those of opposing viewpoints, consider their points, debate it, and come to a compromise. Now we just spew hate. That gets us no where. It sidetracks us from dealing with the real problems facing our society. It also clouds our judgement and distracts us from the reality of what is going on. It is easier to bitch and argue, than to pay attention to what is being done. We have lost our focus as a people and as a nation. Doug, and many others, are right. It is time to set the hatred aside and come together to find solutions to the challenges facing us.

    We, as citizens of this country, have many serious issues to deal with … However, I KNOW that as Americans we can overcome these challenges – IF we move beyond the partisianship and work together.

    We need to stop bickering among ourselves and start working together to solve the problems facing us. If we do not, there will not be a future worth saving.


    Great thoughts spoken in wonderful words, but what are any of you going to do about it? Keep sitting and complaining? Where will that get our country?

    I joined a year ago, and am stepping to the plate again. Maybe this time we will get it right. We the People need to let the leadership in Washington know that we are not following anymore, and are ready to take the reins and lead.

    When the people lead, the leaders will follow…

  10. Sandra Price

    So someone wants to ban all corporations. Who will produce our products? Where will those of us who do not have the ability to own corporations be able to invest in them for profits? Are we to accept income from the government and never again have to work for others? Why bother with extended education if no corporations are there to hire us?

    We always seem to go into the extremes on these websites and we sould better off if we simply left everything as they are. I’m sorry I want rational fixes not the closing down of America; one corporation at a time.

  11. RichardKanePA


    The US in the past always had vision. Some of it looks silly now. Lounging in technological marvel. A delicious food supplement pill that will fill us up and satisfies our every heath need. Enjoying a beautiful world in 3 D movie screen, and even once in a while even envisioning a world enjoying no more hunger and disease, with better and better types of miracle grow.

    So today it’s hard to find things to motivate us other than hate, and trying to find someone to blame for hastening the collapse.

    I’m hoping that the vision of us like the British Empire slowing declining probably long into the future without starvation or chaos can get us excited, or at least comfortable enough not to have to let anger drive us though the day.


  12. adb8917

    The Age of the Feuilleton

    The German author Herman Hesse wrote in his novel “The Glass Bead Game” (1943) of a time of social failure that was precipitated by “The Age of the Feuilleton” (i.e., leaflet commentary and talking heads), where anybody was entitled to an opinion and because of which society decayed into chaotic babble and dissension. Because the Internet is now manifestly the real version of that once fictional society, all of us who inhabit the blogosphere have become Feuilletons; and because of the ease with which we can spread the infection, we actually think that every one of our opinions matter and must be heard.

    Liberals (Capital L) are by John Locke’s definition people of many persuasions that expect that their government will provide for those things that individuals cannot, whether it is delivery of services, collecting taxes, making war, or stopping runaway abuses of power. We are, fundamentally, people who believe that government has a duty to act. Historical Conservatives were largely those who felt that the paramount role of government was to prevent the Hobbesian “war of all against all,” and thus supported a strongly authoritarian and restrained central government to keep us from killing each other. The dynamic tension between these political and intellectual schools provided for a generally healthy balance among/between community interests.

    Today’s so-called liberals and neo-conservatives are a self-absorbed, muddled, hodge-podge of narrowly focused special pleaders who have made the social agenda all about winning and losing. Whether it’s the NRA on the right or PETA on the left, such organizations have made their issue a litmus test for every office, and woe to the politician who isn’t with them 100 percent of the time. Such absolutism drives out rational behavior and civility and replaces it with flamethrower argumentation and blood libels.

    I think it’s worth remembering that while the social divisions in our society are deep, they’re not really that wide. On virtually all social justice, economic, and moral questions that end up on ballots, the decisions tend to split by only around +/-3 percentage points. A 49-51 split says to me that we still have enough in common as Americans to have a rational conversation, provided we keep it civil.

    That said, as Blue liberals, we need to make our criticisms and challenges of the current government immediate, direct, and accurate. It is the ability of inaptly named groups like the NeoCons, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, or the American Family Alliance to wave the bloody shirt that outrages their followers and drives them to action; while those of us on the left sputter with impotent rage, or dissolve into a feckless inarticulate mass.

    We lost the battle a long time ago when we let “Them” condemn us by accepting the word “Liberal” as a pejorative, and by ceding to them the “authority” to define the “proper” role of government. We lost another round when we let rigid ideology intrude into the public space, without calling it for the prejudice and ignorance that it was and still is, and so we are playing catch-up ball. In no small part our failings as liberals stem from our willingness to let “a hundred flowers (of controversy) blossom” without critical examination and immediate contradiction.

    But that was then and this is now, and despite the cliché, if we want to assert a role in the national community that is respectful and respected, we must reclaim the agenda; redefine the terms of the debate; field our own truth-squads to rebut the lies and libels of the anonymous contributor and the POV biases of the chattering class; and get a grip on our own rhetoric.

    None of this is particularly revolutionary, but it will require courtesy, discipline, and patience to restore mutual respect and get beyond the noise of the “other” Feuilletons. (And if we consider the quality of the Obama campaign, that seems to be their model…)


  13. jarrodlombardo

    The international bankers that semi-secretly run the Federal Reserve and therefore control the entire US government including the military will never let this happen. Get rid of #2 and then it becomes possible without mass violence.

    To extend #2 and make the new party support an ethical view I’d like Plank 4 to be: Ban all corporations; only self-proprietorship and partnerships are allowed. The concept of “limited liability” was invented by the rich in the late 1700s/early 1800s specifically to unethically defraud the public.


  14. pollchecker

    I often think about how great my life would be if my government would just get the hell outa my way and let me live in peace.

    I’m in total agreement with you on that.

  15. griff

    What we need in this country is Freedom. Simple, delicious Freedom.

    I often think about how great my life would be if my government would just get the hell outa my way and let me live in peace.

  16. AustinRanter

    Food for Thought…….

    We can’t think ourselves into acting right. We have to act ourselves into thinking right.

    Ponder that…see if it makes sense and in line with Doug’s comments.

  17. ekaton

    We need to write a platform for a new political party, as much as I hate political parties. Maybe that sounds arrogant, but if not US, then WHOM, and if not NOW then WHEN?

    Plank 1: No military intervention in any country which has not directly attacked the U.S. mainland, Alaska or Hawaii. “Terrorist” attacks on U.S. foreign embassies or at home are crimes to be handled by police agencies and not the U.S. military.

    Plank 2: Dissolution of the Federal Reserve, and returning of money creation to the U.S. Government as defined by the Constitution.

    Plank 3: Withdrawal of all U.S. military forces everywhere, and closing of all foreign U.S. military bases.

    Next? Anyone?

    — Kent Shaw

  18. Belle

    The anger, frustration and all the rest of the negative side of life are coming from very dissatisfied, unlistened to Americans, yes, even bitter ones. (When did THAT become a nasty word?” To those who bleat about Obamas short time in DC I say.. Thank heavens he has not yet had time to become like the rest of them there, I think his limited amount of time there is a PLUS for him. If he gets to be like the rest of the group in DC, I will have a very great disappointment in my old life here. From where I sit, I see a man who is unafraid to change his thoughts when facts are brought to him that make a change in policy necessary. He is only ONE MAN and no one man can make the necessary changes in anything like this screwed up government in Washington.

    The thought of having an intelligent man in charge is scaring the hell out of the neocons running things now. They have dealt so long with this airhead of a president. that having someone come into office with an IQ larger than his shoe size is really giving them a lot of food for thought. He will need the help of every thinking American to accomplish what he wants to in office. I am sick of the men and women who say.. if I cannot vote for–whoever— I won’t vote at all. Shame on them. It is one of our most precious rights, and imagine how you would feel if told your right to vote had been stripped from your freedom as an American
    There IS NO perfect man walking the face of this earth I cannot see the old man running as president, not for a split second…read his past history as a person in private life. He puts Clinton to shame on adultry…and for all the glory he heaps on himself from HIS war.. he is no better than any other POW who served the same way as he did. The glory part of his life is well overdone., because in my own mind, the heroes of that war, 65,000 of them, never came home.

    Give the young man a chance,he could never be worse than what we have had for the past 7 1/2 years.He will come home from this trip abroad with many things to finally decide on and Flip Flop John will have a heyday making light of all he hears, because that tired old man really has NOTHING new to say except be critical of Obama.He is negative on everything Obama does. his funeral oration puts me to sleep. We need youth in this country to keep us going forward and I guess the old saying of Love your country or leave it, still applies. I have lived with seven generations in my life, and never before have we needed so big a change in this country. Obama is the best we have to vote for this time around. Help the man out, do not disparage him before he has a chance.

  19. pollchecker

    Negativity is for some, like a vacuum….its easy to get sucked in. For others, it is a way of life and a very hard habit to break, much like cigarettes. I understand this because I’m as guilty as the next guy of being sucked into someone else’s vile agenda.

    But what choice do we have? Give up in a last desparate act of futility? We’ve seen the results of inaction and they are not pretty.

    I prefer to act even if I fail.

    “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

    — Henry Ford, Inventor and Founder of Ford Motor Co.

  20. pollchecker

    cool Kent. I started this idea a couple of weeks ago. Glad to see others catching the bug. I think we should write a CHB platform and submit it to all parties not just the Dems and GOP. We have a lot of great ideas around here. Surely we could find a spot somewhere that would just be a continual thread regarding this issue. I’d love to hear others input but at least it would be a positive action even if it could be futile in the end.

  21. ChescoRes

    Doug, I’ve been reading your stuff for quite a while now and am certainly in agreement with the premise of your piece.

    This does however bring a couple of questions to mind.

    1. You’ve been in politics/journalism for HOW many years?? And you’re just figuring this out NOW?

    2. Can you really do it? Can you break the pattern that has been highly consistent the entire time I’ve been reading this site?

    I’m wondering how long it will be before W or Pelosi piss you off again and how you’ll react.

    I’m wondering if this “change” will last longer than your most recent “retirement”.

    I would gladly welcome the change you describe, but honestly? I’ll believe when I see it.

  22. Timr

    I agree with the comments on the “grass roots” change imposed by those at the top will always fail. Change only comes from the bottom up, when enough people get together and say”I have had enough”. Until then, things will continue on their chosen path. We will continue to elect “clowns” because of the darth of information from the MSM. It is their willingness to repeat the days talking points of the republician party as revealed truth, without background, context, or knowledge. It is no wonder that we have become a nation of the ignorant, our constitutionally protected MSM continues to do us a disservice by blindly repeating the words of the party in power. The fact remains that the MSM is owned by a very few major corporations, that those corporations, and others of their ilk, want things to remain the same . This is why change must come from the bottom up. There is no other way to change the top without changing the bottom. Kick all the bastards out, start over. One thing that my city-San Antonio, Texas, 7th (soon to be 6th) largest city in the nation did when total disgust with those in power finally led to the citizens deciding how to take charge. They enacted term limits-the toughest in the nation-on the mayor and on the city council. 2 2 year terms each. period. Having the right of the vote to kick the bastards out means nothing. 98% of incumbents win reelection. Term limits are the only way to put a stop to this once and for all. Now those who desire power and want to continue in office have tried to get the public to vote for much longer term limits, so far they have failed in every election. Remember when the republicians took charge of congress, how they all promised to impose voluntary term limits on themselves? How many kept that promise. The answer shouldn’t surprise anyone. None were willing to keep that promise to not seek reelection after their self imposed term limits. The only way that we the people can take back our government and our country is to impose real term limits on congress. make it 12 years. total. 2 terms as senator, or 6 as a representive or a combination of the two. No more. and if a representive becomes a senator, the 12 year limit stays. We changed the constitution to limit a president to 2 4 year terms. So we should be able-if the disgust level is high enough-to change the laws to limit the number of years that one can serve in congress. There, a positive solution, not a name calling rant.

  23. ekaton

    ONE five-year term for President, ONE six-year term for the Senate and TWO three-year terms for the House.

    Presidential, House and Senate campaigns financed ONLY from public monies. Free airtime for legitimate debates (NOTHING like the “debates” we’ve seen so far which have been little better than dog and pony shows. “Everyone who believes in God raise your hand.”)


    — Kent Shaw