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: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 12:33

The Social Security was put in effect as a "private" entity for the assurance when the citizens reached a retirement age they would be able to live a comfortable life until their death.

Then, Lyndon B. Jackass stepped into the picture and put it in the national treasury with the consent of the congress. It has continued to loose money ever since.

By: brrrrk on 7/8/11 at 12:34

dargent7 said

"She did it."

Jury's have a higher standard of proof. Opinion doesn't count. And if you know for a fact she did it.... what do you know? Maybe YOU should have been on the stand. :-)

By: brrrrk on 7/8/11 at 12:39

It's right out in the open..............

"Appearing on CNBC this morning, presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was asked about this morning’s dismal jobs report and whether higher unemployment rates might help her chances of winning in 2012. 'Does it strike you that as the unemployment rate goes up, your chances of winning office also go up?' host Carl Quintanilla asked. 'Well, that could be. Again, I hope so,' Bachmann replied."

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 12:44

"It has continued to loose money ever since."

You have to be wary of loose money...like loose women...

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 12:56

By: gdiafante on 7/8/11 at 1:32

So what was the evidence?

yogi has tried to find the evidence, but with his reading ability at -0, anything past a 4 letter word, just fuddles him something terrible.

By: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 12:59


I agree with your 10:59 post about a courtroom being a show room. But it has been shown in the past the prosecutors have kept defensive evidence the defense attorneys wasn't aware of out of the trail and the judge backed them. That's a fair trial? Hell, they might get beat and they sure don't want that to happen.

I have never known an attorney who was glad they got beat on a case, even when it was a fair decision.

By: dargent7 on 7/8/11 at 2:06

"What was the evidence..."?
A skeleton remains of a 2 year old.
That's my evidence.
So, we piece back the puzzle, and reconstruct the scene.
Someone put that kid in the bag...either it was Ma, Pa, a stranger, or Casey.
So, Casey walks, her parents won't be charged, and America has another rung to hang it's sanctimonious hat on.
Total bullshit.

By: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 2:35


In answer to your 1:32 question. perhaps you can answer mine.

As states in the book "Dreams From My Father" he noted he was adopted by his Indonesian stepfather so he could go to school in Indonesia because they would not accept children who were not Indonesian citizens. He further stated his stepfather renamed him Barry Soetoro because his stepfather's name was Lolo Soetoro.

Now my question to you: Did he, and when did he, reverse his name back to Barack Hussein Obama?

By: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 2:44


You are showing your ignorance more every time to post on this site. I can prove his stepfather renamed him as Barry Soetoto can you prove he changed his name back to Barack Hussein Obama legally? Didn't think so.

You can call yourself any name. Its called nickname.

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 3:10

Then show that proof yogi!

By: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 3:43

Read the book, dummy. Then show where he changed his citizenship and name back to its originality. It ain't there, dummy. I can only prove something isn't there that isn't there.

You can only prove my point as false when you can show where he reversed him name and citizenship back to its originality. Otherwise, your accusations are showing more of your ignorance.

By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 4:06

What point yogi? You haven't made a point yet! 0, nada, nil, not even 1

By: Mike Burch on 7/8/11 at 5:34

While it's sort of an honor to be vilified for opposing unnecessary wars enough to be called "stale," I think some of my detractors may have missed my main point.

It seems self-evident that many American politicians are more interested in getting elected, then pounding the opposing "team" into the dirt, as if what really matters is whether the Republicans "win" or the Democrats "win," not the fate of American citizens. Letting them have their "fun," then pound their chests like alpha male gorillas is one thing. Letting them destroy the world is something else.

Einstein and JFK made the point that our technology has advanced to the point that one more world war may end the world as we know it. Our government care barely manage American affairs, much less "improve" far-away nations whose culture we fail to understand and seem only capable of destroying. So why fight decade-long wars in which we blow up countries to create a system of government that doesn't work all that well for us?

As Will Rogers pointed out, democracy only allows us to elect people, after which we have little say in what they do. But if the majority of Americans chose only to vote for anti-war candidates, we could at least keep the morons we elect from destroying the planet. So we should consider using our votes to end war, which would have the added benefit of saving trillions of dollars and multitudes of lives.

I'm sorry that some people find trying to end senseless wars "stale" ... perhaps I can find some lighter fare to amuse them.


By: bfra on 7/8/11 at 6:14

Ending senseless wars is not "stale"! Your every Friday commentaries, are. Sorry, but that is my honest opinion. Letters to the editor produced more than one persons opinion and much more interesting.

By: yogiman on 7/8/11 at 6:46

Well, Mike, I guess you have to say we took over from England after the Revolutionary War. They started down-sizing and we started up-sizing.

Sadly, it looks like we have gone over the top of the hill.

By: Moonglow1 on 7/8/11 at 7:12

Moonglow1: according to serr8d tax cuts for the top 1 percent spurs job's growth. Yes it does. Ask China and India. What the Tea does not understand is that multinational corporations have no allegiance to the United States of America. Give them more tax breaks and the jobs go off shore. Then bust the unions and we in the USA get migrant worker jobs. Well the only trickle down that serr8d will see from giving tax cuts to the rich will be when he looks up from the bottom of a toilet bowl.

By: serr8d on 7/8/11 at 8:55


"I'm sorry that some people find trying to end senseless wars "stale" ... perhaps I can find some lighter fare to amuse them. "

Grab your guy Barry O (who rode into World Prominence in 2008 on that gelded unicorn of his by promising all you LeftLibProggs that he'd STOP THE WARS!, TURN OFF THE NUKES! and generally give you a sense of security you've never ever ever had in this Republic (did you, too, for the first time in your adult life (for as little time as that's been) finally feel 'proud' of your country?) and shake him just a bit, asking "Hey, remember me? I'm one of the millions who actually believed that you could come in here and CHANGE this nation for the better, I had HOPE, man! And, I thought that Nobel Peace Prize was da BOMB!".

No, wars will never, ever end, Burch. But don't you stop believing in man, mankind, humankind; and read all the Chomsky and Ward Churchill you can get your hands on.

For the renewal of your FAITH~!

By: localboy on 7/11/11 at 8:48

Capt. Nemo won this string...