Burch: American lemmings

Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Lemmings are famous, or infamous, for playing “follow the leader” to such an extent that they end up leaping from high cliffs together. This is not entirely a myth: there are videos of their strange behavior on YouTube.

Did we just see something similar with the famous, or infamous, “fiscal cliff”? It seems America’s lemming-like politicians — euphemistically called “leaders” — are never content except when engaging in brinkmanship on the verge of doom. Now that might not be so bad, if they were only thinning out their own numbers, but unfortunately they seem to be intent on taking us down with them.

I am reminded of the wit and wisdom of two of my favorite writers. Here’s Mark Twain on the subject of American politics:

“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.”

And here’s the inimitable Will Rogers:

“A fool and his money are soon elected.”

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.”

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

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

“It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so.”

I think the last jibe is both unfortunately true and especially appropriate here in Tennessee. We are increasing the victims of what the not-so-super-majority of befuddled Republican bumpkins insist they “know” that just “ain’t so.”

For instance, the bumpkins know that “guns don’t kill people” and therefore we should have guns in restaurants, bars, parks, trunks, business parking lots and schools. Never mind that the U.S. has 20 times as many gun-related deaths as the other 22 richest industrialized nations, according to a U.N. report. The bumpkins know that gun control “doesn’t work” even though it really does, elsewhere in the civilized world.

The bumpkins also know that global warming is a liberal “myth,” even though the fabled Northwest Passage is now a reality, and explorers are talking about being able to kayak to the magnetic North Pole because so much arctic ice has melted recently.

The bumpkins also know that chastity is the only God-ordained solution to unwanted pregnancies, so Planned Parenthood must be demonized and defunded. (But of course the bumpkins don’t want to pay the additional taxes needed to care for all the unwanted babies.)

The bumpkins also know that homosexuality is a “sin” because the “Bible says so.” Never mind that according to the Bible, Jesus Christ never said a word about homosexuality, suggesting that it didn’t rank high on his agenda. And never mind that the ethics of the writers of the Bible are suspect because the Bible repeatedly commands and/or condones racism, slavery, sex slavery, matricide, infanticide, ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The bumpkins also know that our nation’s problems in the Middle East are entirely the result of Muslims hating American freedoms and values, and have absolutely nothing to do with our government’s wild injustices in the region, such as the CIA engineering a coup of Iran’s democratically-elected government in 1953, or our government’s support for Israel despite what Nobel Peace Prize winners Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have called a system of apartheid.

The bumpkins know all sorts of other things too: that business is good and government is bad; that raising taxes is the path to “totalitarian socialism” even though other civilized nations have higher taxes on their wealthiest citizens; that unions are evil and union busters are heroes; that rich people are morally superior to poor people; and so on.

The thing I find most interesting about the bumpkins is that they somehow manage to be wrong on every single issue. How is that possible? Did nature endow them with a death wish, to keep them from overpopulating? That is, after all, how some experts explain the strange behavior of lemmings.

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

130 Comments on this post:

By: Captain Nemo on 1/4/13 at 9:22

If only Congress was like Lemmings, but sometime Evolution works too slow.

By: budlight on 1/4/13 at 9:24

Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 8:08
Yesterday, Ben and bud could not conceed that unemployment is improving (still not where it needs to be but it is improving) even when you show them facts of companies who are adding jobs for Q1 2013.

OK, I'll conceed that unemployment is improving.

Now can you give me an answer to this question: Before Christmas many seasonal jobs were created and filled. They will now be laid off by February. How does that fit into the numbers and statistics?

By: Moonglow1 on 1/4/13 at 9:25

Tennessee bumpkins here they come
Kneeling at the feet of the NRA
We will carry our guns every day
Lawmakers against, they'll need to pay
No money for them, remove them from office
That is how we play the game in Tennessee
With em not against em
There is no other way

By: Moonglow1 on 1/4/13 at 9:30

Moonglow1: Blanket, your point is correct. Few people know that Congress has already appropriated the money for what Congress has already spent. So these Tea Lemmings are being instructed by their oligarchy benefactors to spew out nonsense on the corporate controlled airwaves. I am thrilled we will soon be able to listen to El Jazera. Perhaps they will be "fair & balanced. "

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:41

bud, the report was not referring to seasonal job. Also, I posted THREE different articles speaking of job growth and companies who budgeted for new jobs in Q1 2013. There was no mention of seasonal jobs - that is an assuption on your part.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/4/13 at 9:45

Blanket, I think it was said about the December unemployment improving was just how big it was. More than expected.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:46

Also, what I posted yesterday was for higher paying jobs and showing an increase in highering planned for 2013 college grads but because ONE survey was conducted by Manpower you assumed the jobs were low paying temp jobs, which they are not. You should read more carefully.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:46

That is correct, Nemo. The number of jobs created was more than expected.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:47

OMG - should have been "hiring." My spelling is atrocious today!

By: Captain Nemo on 1/4/13 at 9:52

Blanket, I have a feeling that the extreme right of Wrong will be very disappointed when their predictions does not appear. Life must be a Greek Tragedy to this folks.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:54

Cheering for failure, Nemo.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:57

The lemmings are being duped by the fiscal cliff hoax - in hopes of diminishing the economy which in turn would help get more republicans elected (or so they hope). Once elected, the lobbiests would make sure that leglislation supporting big business would be a shoo-in and the lemmings who voted for them would have less and less. Their extreme hatred of Obama and the dems blinds them to what's going on, even if you show it to them.

By: Loner on 1/4/13 at 10:01

I like the lyrics in your 9:25 post, Moonglow. I see a coonskin cap in there...from Crockett to crock...it's the Tennessee Tea-bagger FOX Trot....the sequel to the Tennessee Waltz....the Tennessee Stud....etc.

There is something about Tennessee that brings out the lyricist in people....Tennessee sings....Nashville is Music City.

By: slacker on 1/4/13 at 10:03

For you Loner

By: budlight on 1/4/13 at 10:16

BenDover on 1/4/13 at 8:58
Give me a break Blanket... Obama's use of the class envy politics since before he was elected the first time is what has contributed so much to the uncertainty and job stagnation we've suffered.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 9:01
Ben, that is simply your opinion.

Blanket it is also the opinion of about 49 or 50% of the people in this country. He has been very divisive. He's injected himself into issues that only local or state gov-ment should be involved in, ie, the Boston college prof debacle which ended in a beer drinking session on the white house lawn; or the nappy comment debacle, and there are more but I can't think of them right now. He needs to stay in the White House and out of states' business.

For me, I think that none of this posting nonsense is really that serious. People have opinions and that is all they are -- opinions! In the end, none of us will live through the life we have been given. We all have 2 things in common: We are born. . . and we will die! Some of us, sooner than others. In the meantime, we can only do one thing - and that is to live life to it's fullest. It's our only chance.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 10:25

bud, the point is that there is a difference between something that is merely an opinion and something that is FACT. Saying that Obama creates class envy is an opinion, not a factual statement.

By: Loner on 1/4/13 at 10:31

OK, my turn:

Do the FOX Trot. Do the FOX Trot.

Put your bags in the teapot.....
Do the FOX Trot. Do the FOX Trot.
A tempest in a teapot....
Do the FOX Trot. Do the FOX Trot.

Tea-baggers braggin' ...shouting about:
What the FOX trots out. What the FOX trots out.
You know what all the hype & hate's about:
What the FOX trots out. What the FOX trots out.

FOX 's conspiracy theories,
Feed the mentally diseased.
They call it fair & balanced,
But I call it sleaze.

Do the FOX Trot. Do the FOX Trot. Do the FOX Trot. Do the FOX Trot. (Fade Out)

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 10:31

Also, a lot of the divisive needs is made up stuff created by the right - such as the deficit spending and the fiscal cliff.

By: Loner on 1/4/13 at 10:47

Thank you, Slack, for the link...Patti Page passed away recently, on New Years Day. She certainly did have a sweet, honey-like voice....the gown that she is wearing in the video reminded me of that worn by Glenda, the Good Witch of the North....Patti Page was the Good Witch of the South?

May Patti Page rest in peace.

Here's one for you, Slack:


I loved that tune, when I was a young lad. I haven't listened to it in ages...it's still cool...maybe I'll add that tune to my repertoire...it could use a tenor sax interlude, IMO.

By: Loner on 1/4/13 at 11:08

As an addendum to my 10:31 post...here is a Foxtrot Dance video...


"Quick, Quick, Slow....Quick, Quick, Slow..." oh yeah, my baby, she does the Foxtrot.

By: brrrrk on 1/4/13 at 12:27

Well, according to Yukon Cornelius, bumpkins bounce.... no... wait... that's bumbles.

By: Eye Nose & Now ... on 1/4/13 at 12:52

it seems like no matters what subject be yogi and a few others allways want
to argue about grate things Obama do A few day ago I try to cumpromise with
Yogi and say--- yogi, you stop tell truth on Obama and we all others on CP stop tell lies on Obama to cover for him but if WE do tell lie to cover on Obama it covered
by religion by envoking Situationall Ethnics rule that say if good of tell lie outways
bad of tell truth then tell lie! I even check with my pastur on this and he say---
just what this purtain to? and I say it purtain to us allways tell lies about Obama
and say he born in Hawaai instead of Kenya, that he be U.s. citzen instead of
citizen of Indochina and he be Church of Christ insted of Musslim. Pastur he
tell me --- yes! if purtain to Obama be sure to lie & protect him as that outways
evil of crooked republicns get back in ofice and starve old folks and always lie to
jusstify evil deeds so I say ONE more time---yogi, stop tell truth and we all others
stop tell lies.

By: Loner on 1/4/13 at 1:25

Brrrrk: Bumfuzzled bumpkins, heads like brainless pumpkins, bumble & fumble... grumble and tumble....in a rump-house rumble...thuggery and buggery....the bumpkin is rump kin?

By: Loner on 1/4/13 at 1:39

EN&N is a white cracker mocking out poor uneducated black folk?

That's a weird way to get one's ya-ya's out....card-carrying KKK member? It certainly is creepy.

By: BenDover on 1/4/13 at 1:43


By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 1:45

Ben, did you read this comment at the bottom?

I get what you're trying to say, and it's seemingly plausible. But without numbers, it's not accurate. And it's in fact not correct. Reported domestic pre-tax corporate profits presented at the end of Q3 were $1.6 tr as compared to $2.0 tr on worldwide basis. This indicates a full 80% of profits generated domestically, not just a sliver as you imply. The American market is tremendous as represented by economic value, not by % of population as you expressed, and, believe it or not, not every American company is like GE or Apple or whatever that sells into an international marketplace. The 20% piece of pie that exists internationally, and the profit that derives from the piece, does not substantially change the picture of how low domestic wages are.

Anyway, again on a domestic basis, since June 2009, labor/wages only captured something like 1% of the growth in real income since then, as compared to corporations who gained 80% of real domestic income. This is a statistic previously unseen in economic recoveries.

Expressing economic value in terms of iPads sold, or Gucci bags sold to Chinese women or the like, doesn't paint a real picture for determining the relevance of wages paid (or not paid, rather) to American workers

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/pct-job-losses-in-post-wwii-recessions-2013-1#ixzz2H2PclVyn

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 2:04


What has changed is not pork. Pork is a distraction to stir anti-government sentiment. This is a pre-requisite to destroying the protections against looting.

As long as we are going nuts about a few billion in pork we are missing the systematic destruction of wages and pensions and the commons (schools, vital services, even disaster relief).

I hate pork. I hate watching as millions who have lived decent lives, worked hard, done their homework and yet are being cheated out of their equity, their pensions and their very futures. Dismantling government requires this type of propaganda and lots of it. It is all one can find scanning the channels. Filthy lies to give the international corporate bosses cover to steal what we work for.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/pct-job-losses-in-post-wwii-recessions-2013-1#ixzz2H2UIFFUy

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 2:05

And yet, Ben - you defend the corporations and scream that we are over-taxing them and the wealthy who own them.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 2:06

I forgot the icing on the cake - you blame Obama for stirring "class envy" to boot.

By: BenDover on 1/4/13 at 2:13

I never defended any corporate cronyism. I've said it's one of the worst problems we have. I was behind the guy who wanted to cut all of that out, remember.

By: BenDover on 1/4/13 at 2:16

“I will not rest until everyone American who is able, and ready and willing to work can find a job. And a job that pays a decent wage and has decent benefits to support a family.”

B. Obama, July 2010


By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 2:19

And I believe he is still working toward that.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 2:20

DESPITE the House GOP members who keep creating this fiscal cliff fiasco that keeps the markets unstable and threatens our credit rating.

By: dargent7 on 1/4/13 at 2:27

Bumpkin, mushkin...
Is it a news alert Tenn. is stocked full of hillbillies?
Always has been, always will be.
Get this: Al Gore's Channel TV was sold to Al Jessera for $500. million. He had a 20% stake, so cleared $100. million.
It's all over FOX News, "Mr. Global Warming" sold out to the bigest arm of oil producing nations....
Just perfect.

By: yogiman on 1/4/13 at 3:16

I agree, Loner. When someone wants to convince me to stop telling the truth by saying they will stop lying if I will, I have a good laugh at them. They can lie all the wish, I won't stop telling the truth until someone can convince me by proving I'm wrong.

By: yogiman on 1/4/13 at 3:28

He's still "working toward that", B2? What has he accomplished in the past 30 months? How many 'former employees' now have new jobs?

By: Moonglow1 on 1/4/13 at 3:29

Moonglow1: Hey Loner! Yeah, TN brings out the music. And the excellent real life material (tea nuts, lemmings, climate denial, religious nuts, gun nuts) gives us great ideas for lyrics.

Tea Party Ode to the NRA
NRA NRA we are here today
Give us a shout, common don't pout
We'll keep funneling money so you retain your clout
Haslam et all ya know we love ya
NRA NRA here today, yeah what do you say
Keep the money flowing your way

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 3:54

yogi, if you'd read the posts you would know the answer already. But then again, you can't manage to comprehend ANY of the information that has been given to you repeatedly.

By: budlight on 1/4/13 at 4:08

Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 2:06
I forgot the icing on the cake - you blame Obama for stirring "class envy" to boot.

Blanket, since Obama started his national campaign and has been in office, I have heard more remarks about "redistribution of wealth" from him than from any other president -- or anyone at all -- for that matter.

I don't want a gov-ment to tell me who, when and where to share with. In December I helped a girl who was evicted; didn't know her from adam. Got her things off the street, into storage and safe. Fed her and 2 of her friends. Paid the storage for one month; paid her apartment dweller insurance for 3 months. And still storing part of her bedroom set.

That was "redistribution of my funds" -- at my choice. I'm glad I could afford to help her. But this year, probably not. I just won't have any extra if my taxes go up.

D7: you gotta keep loving that democrat Al Gore regardless of his wealth, his lies or his just selling his TV channel to one of the -- in your words -- "biggest arm of oil producing nations".

Hey Bush Bashers! What did Bush do wrong in that deal. Al is a disgrace to TN, the US and the world. He would sell his mother if he could.

It's about money. 100 million $$$$; and didn't he do that BEFORE the 2013 increases? So how much tax will he pay?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 4:18

Thanks to Bush, there has been a great redistribution of wealth from the working class to the wealthy or hadn't you noticed?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 4:26

Read the articles and the posts above.

By: Mike Burch on 1/4/13 at 5:32

Bush Junior was just a hint of how bad things can get, if we elect moronic Holy Rollers to the highest offices. But the new GOP "stars" are even worse:

Bishop Romney
Lyin' Ryan

It's like the second coming of an even stupider Fourth Reich.

By: yogiman on 1/4/13 at 6:34

I'm sorry I can't seem to understand what you're posting, B2. You must be posting your information too complicated for me to understand what you're "saying", so how about posting your info in simple English so I can understand what you're trying to say.

By: budlight on 1/5/13 at 5:41

Blanketnazi2 on 1/4/13 at 4:18
Thanks to Bush, there has been a great redistribution of wealth from the working class to the wealthy or hadn't you noticed?

Then Obama and ya'll should be praising him.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/5/13 at 7:13

yogi, since you claim to have a higher IQ and are so much smarter than we, why should I have to dumb it down for you?

bud, apparently you didn't comprehend either because your response makes no sense.

By: yogiman on 1/5/13 at 7:35

I agree I'm smart enough to understand the usurper in office is in there under false claim, B2, but I'm too smart to accept your claim that I'm too stupid because you think I am.

Legal eligibility is a simple claim, thus, that is a major difference between our claims. I have repeatedly offered Barry's ineligibility but you won't offer me your thought of proof of his eligibility again. Why, have you finally come to the conclusion he's in that office illegally as master usurper?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 1/5/13 at 7:55

No, you are too stupid to comprehend what is presented to you, such as the information above. Then when you do realize that you might be wrong, you change the subject, like you are doing now. Trying to reason with you is pointless. You are an insufferible old fool and that will never change.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/5/13 at 8:38

Good morning Blanket. Typically bud shows us that she has no idea what is going on in the world. Her comment is so budlight.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/5/13 at 8:40

Dumbing down for the old fool would be far over the trolls head. Think lower. lol

By: yogiman on 1/5/13 at 8:53

Sorry, B2, but I can't comprehend what isn't presented to me. You keep repeating "it's been presented to you already" but I can't find what you say has been presented.

Therein lies a difference between us. I have repeated my side of the argument several times to persuade you and your fellow arguers, but you all apparently don't want to prove yourselves right by ramming your argument down my throat constantly until I agree with you.

Could it possibly be you keep forgetting what you 'said' the last time?