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angry rant, commentary, Opinion, politics



Unless we turn this battleship of state around post-haste we, as a country, are going to continue our slide into the mud hole of history alongside the glory that was Rome. As long as we continue to downgrade education, see; *(summary of Rick Perry’s education record in Texas at end of article), destroy the middle-class, and trade guns, and wars, for butter we are doomed. Last nights sorry Republican excuse for a “debate” should serve to illustrate their aversion towards programs that might (Mother Nature forbid) benefit the middle class. Seeing all these imbeciles onstage at once brings to mind the British wag who famously remarked “somewhere in England there’s a village missing a perfectly good idiot”.


Witness Herman Cain’s witless **tax scheme that an independent tax analysis shows would raise taxes on the bottom 84% of us, while being a windfall to the top 16%. Nice try Herm. Michele Bachmann, bless her little religiously fevered mind, wants to send troops to Africa??? A jobs plan if I’ve ever heard one. And Mitt and Rick wanna out- glare and out-shout one another while ignoring er- actually Ricky has a plan – somewhat. He wants a flat tax. Only thing is, said ***Alan Auerbach, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, the impact of Perry’s proposal would, under some formulations, raise middle-income taxes to more than they are now, and under others, low-income people would pay more. And, Auerbach said, “At the top, it’s definitely going to shift the burden away from the highest-income people,” also a nice try. Nice – but alas, somewhat lacking. And all these mental midgets are, make no mistake, the spawn of one Ronnie Reagan – Saint Ronnie to the fawning, but somewhat less than bright, Republican faithful.


Ever since California’s erstwhile Governor and future President of these United States, Saint Ronnie of Reagan ascended to power, I have watched my country slowly disintegrate before my eyes. With a few notable exceptions, they being Dwight D. Eisenhower, and to some extent Richard M. Nixon, most Republican Presidents in the last sixty years have been empty suits – fairly dim toadying front men for the plutocrats that owned and operated them. But Ronald Wilson Reagan was the quintessential empty suit – complete with hat, vest, and two pair of pants. Chief among his many gubernatorial achievements this jolly hail-fellow-well-met jelly bean gourmet single handedly dismantled the greatest free University system the world has known declaring; ****”a small minority of hippies, radicals and filthy free speech advocates” had caused disorder and that they should “be taken by the scruff of the neck and thrown off campus — permanently”,[1] then; he called for an end to free tuition for state college and university students, annually demanding 20% across-the-board cuts in higher education funding,[2] repeatedly slashing construction funds for state campuses, engineering the firing of Clark Kerr, the popular President of the University of California, and further declaring that the state “should not subsidize intellectual curiosity.[3]” I guess he would’ve been the one to know that.

In his 1961 Farewell address President Eisenhower, a man who certainly knew the horrors of war first-hand, delivered his famously prescient warning; “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist” By the late 1970’s the military budget had declined in the years since the end of the Vietnam War, and we no longer had some 500,000 troops in Indochina which required huge amounts of war supplies. Of course, several hawkish organizations launched a campaign stressing the need for higher military spending to keep us ahead of the dreaded USSR. That, along with President Carter’s inability to stop the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or handle the Iranian hostage crisis, fed the atmosphere of crisis and led to the publics’ willingness to throw money at the Pentagon. Of course, lost in the shuffle was Eisenhower’s plea. And then, along came aw-shucks Ronnie to exploit the public’s jerried-up fear, and their just plain natural, but lovable, ignorance. Obviously, in him, they saw themselves.

Upon being elected President, ostensibly by the progenitors of the same inbred mouth breathers who elected George W. Bush – twice (!), Reagan raised the military budget by $34.2 billion while cutting domestic spending programs by $29 billion. Between 1980 and 1986 he doubled the Pentagon’s budget. Never mind education, roads, mass transit, medical care – we didn’t need any of that there sissy stuff…and it seems, according to this current crap er – crop of Republican hopefuls, we still don’t. By 1985 The Pentagon’s massive allowance coupled with huge tax cuts (does this all sound familiar? Do the names Cheney and Bush ring a bell?) had us in the hole for $200 billion and counting. The Reagan “revolution” had made us a debtor nation, saddled with enormous trade deficits with our trading partners abroad, and tightened credit here at home…and started us on the road we find ourselves punch-drunkenly stumbling down today.

Let us now speak of “Reaganomics”, the Republican blueprint for how to fleece the middle class, also known as supply-side economics and trickle-down economics, of which the latter, to me anyway, engenders in me a mental picture of some rich guy’s piss slowly dribbling down a wall onto your middle-class head. Its key components are: reduce Growth of Government spending, reduce Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax, and reduce Government regulation. Or; the Plutocrat’s wet dream. In sum it amounts to; I’ll just start shoveling the taxes that those morons in the middle-class are paying over to my rich pals who own me lock, stock, and barrel, whilst lowering the tax rates for these very same rich pal’s in the bargain – sheer genius – if you don’t give a flying fuck about anyone who’s working for a living, and if you’re a giant sock puppet. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s just strip all the regulations that keep my rich pals from gouging the last drop of blood they possibly can from the working stiffs. Hmmm…yeah, that’s a plan.

That last part is so good that Republican Presidential candidate *****Mitt Romney also thinks that we should strip some more governmental regulations on his pals. What a shock. So, anyway – Reagan enacted lower marginal tax rates in conjunction with simplified income tax codes and continued deregulation. During his presidency the annual deficits averaged 4.2% of GDP[3] after inheriting an annual deficit of 2.7% of GDP in 1980 under president Carter.[4] The rate of growth in federal spending fell from 4% under Jimmy Carter to 2.5% under Ronald Reagan.[2]  If your searching for the beginning of the idea of “starving” the federal government a la Grover (nobody-liked-me-in-high-school-now-you’re-all-gonna-pay) Norquist, and all these other selfish right-wing Conservative buttholes, like Perry, Romney, Cain, Bachmann, Palin, and their Libertarian pal- that other ignorant-of-history fellow, Ron- we-don’t- need- FEMA- Paul, look no further than Saint Ronnie of Tampico. And as far as evidence that Reagan’s was the anti-regulation presidency, the number of pages added to the Federal Register (which records the rules and regulations that federal agencies issue per year), declined sharply under Reagan. This is not meant to absolve Jimmy Carter for his part in deregulation, but it was Reagan who took deregulation to dizzying heights. And P.S., Reagan’s administration is the only one not to have raised the minimum wage. Wow! – The Plutocrat’s quinella. You can expect that times two if you (Mother Nature forbid) get a Perry, or a Romney, in The White House.

As far as the issue of poverty in America, and robbing the working class to give to his rich-ass friends and backers; under Saint Ronnie’s astute stewardship, the number of Americans below the poverty level increased from 29.272 million in 1980 to 31.745 million in 1988, which means that, as a percentage of the total population, it remained almost stationary, from 12.95% in 1980 to 13% in 1988.[25] The poverty level for people under the age of 18 increased from 11.543 million in 1980 (18.3% of all child population) to 12.455 (19.5%) in 1988.[26] The share of total income going to the 5% highest-income households grew from 16.5% in 1980 to 18.3% in 1988 and the share of the highest fifth increased from 44.1% to 46.3% in same years. In contrast, the share of total income of the lowest fifth fell from 4.2% in 1980 to 3.8% in 1988 and the second poorest fifth from 10.2% to 9.6%.[27] And during Reagan’s first term, for the first time, homelessness became a visible problem in America’s urban centers, leading many to blame Reaganomics.[28] In the closing weeks of his presidency, Reagan told the New York Times that the homeless “make it their own choice for staying out there.” [29] Political opponents chided his policies as “Trickle-down economics“, due to the significant cuts in the upper tax brackets.[30]   Yes, with such epic disdain for the less fortunate among us, he is certainly deserving of Right-wing Republican sainthood alright.

                It bears repeating that this dismal record of wanton destruction by one of the very worst Presidents in our 235 year (and counting) history is exactly where our downward slide began. And I can not leave this without mentioning his doppelgangers (I was so tempted to spell that with one p), George W. Bush – another tale of ineptitude writ large- and the current heirs apparent, one Rick Perry, whose Presidential ambitions rival those of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann for sheer audacity, and hallucinatory ability regarding whatever capabilities he might think he has, and Cain, Romney, and Ron Paul (who has a juuuust a tad too much of the Ayn Rand in him for my taste.) And, the very worst of the lot; master grifter, con man extraordinaire, fraudster, liar, racist, womanizer, traitor, tax cheat, narcissist, looter of charities, and all-round lumbering grotesquerie, Donald J. Trump.  

As much as I revere and admire Franklin Delano Roosevelt for his uncommon patrician concern for the common man, there isn’t a word strong enough in the English language to describe how much I dislike Ronald Wilson Reagan and detest his ugly spawn Donald Trump. Both world-class dimwits, whose measured IQ’s no doubt soar to the stratospheric heights somewhere between 98 and 105, and whose pictures should be put not on the fifty dollar bill but embossed onto every sheet of every roll of toilet paper that leaves the supermarket…the ones anyway, that Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, the Koch Bros., Ralph Reed, Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan, Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh, to name just a few, are not on.

Am I angry? Damn fucking right!

See the source image


© tony powers and Barking in the Dark,2011, revised 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to tony powers and Barking in the Dark with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About barkinginthedark

Tony Powers is a writer/actor/musician. His full bio may be seen by clicking on the picture, and then clicking on either of the 2 boxes below it.



  1. I love reading your perspective on Reaganomics. How I wish you would also post something on Clintonomics.


    Posted by Roy Lando | August 6, 2020, 9:15 pm
    • To sum up “Clintonomics” this is from NPR “In 2000, the final year of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the unemployment rate fell as low as 3.8 percent. Then, within a decade of his White House departure, the rate was up to 10 percent.

      Those two numbers explain why the name “Clinton” remains magic for many. People who got jobs, bought homes and invested money two decades ago associate “Clintonomics” with good times.”
      My sentiments exactly. Thanks Roy. be well and continue…


      Posted by barkinginthedark | August 6, 2020, 11:39 pm
  2. Such insightful writing about important information and some flame throwing too! Learning from the dialogue….


    Posted by An Embarrassment of Freedom | October 22, 2011, 12:28 am
  3. Oh my. From my seat left of Maddow, I’m on my feet applauding you, Tony.

    Thank you for validating the emotional argument, which has become so reviled in recent years that I’ve taken to throwing my bleeding heart all over the place in the hopes of leaving a smear on Romney’s silk tie. While it’s possible that we all may want the same things for our country, left and right, that possibility has become as unlikely as the bearded man in the sky whom football players thank when they make a first down.

    We don’t want the same things. Not even close.


    Posted by Averil Dean | October 21, 2011, 10:45 pm
  4. Thanks for wading thru this stuff Noeleen, and for the high praise re writing…i trust u and Daniel are well. i will look in on u both later. continue


    Posted by barkinginthedark | October 21, 2011, 6:51 pm
  5. Noeleen, thanks for wading through this stuff. Not sure i have too much faith in them myself. i appreciate the kind words re writing. trust u and Daniel are well. will check in on you later. continue…


    Posted by barkinginthedark | October 21, 2011, 5:28 pm
    • Mr. Barking, it’s rather pathetic that you couldn’t end us discussion with an agreement to disagree. I don’t know what you put in your coffee, but it seems more likely to be spoiled milk than sugar.

      You write: “…. upon close examination, is so blindingly descriptive of an amoral worldview where the crime committed today doesn’t count because the end justifies the means….” Firstly, I challenge you to find any “crime” which I advocated. Secondly, it’s ironic that you cite lawful attempts to mitigate voter registration fraud in the same post — as THAT is a perfect example of advocating a crime where the ends justifies the means.

      I need a government ID to buy a beer or pack of cigarettes.
      I need a government ID to purchase a bus ticket or airplane ticket.
      I need a government-issued Social Security Card to get a job.
      I need a government ID to open a bank account or cash a check.
      All of these are mundane activities. And all of these activities require a most basic form of government ID. I don’t see you lamenting the thousands folks who can’t get a pack of smokes and a beer (or a job) because they don’t have an ID card. Why? Because the argument is ridiculous on its face.

      Yet, you loathe presenting basic identification to register to vote — an activity that is both sacred and key to our democracy. And then you make a completely ignorant comment about the electoral college! I’m not going to waste my time trying to explain the Founding Father’s reasons for creating the Electoral College, anymore than I’ll waste my time explaining to you why Wyoming has the same number of Senators as California.Although I will note that proposals in places such as Pennsylvania to end the winner-take-all electoral college process will do more to shift this country to the right than any legitimate attempts to prevent voter fraud.

      Your rhetoric leaves one with the impression that you care about fairness ONLY when it impinges on advancing your left wing, socialist agenda — but is really not about fairness at all. It’s about “vote early and often” — which is attribted variously to Al Capone, Richard Daley and William Hale Thompson. And it conveniently overlooks the electoral college effects in a state like New York, where the upstate (Republican) voters are effectively disenfranchised by the downstate Democratic-leaning cities.

      “Amoral Worldview,” you accuse me of having. I beg to differ. From what moral authority do YOU derive your standards? God? The Consititution? Karl Marx?


      Posted by Rocky Humbert | October 24, 2011, 1:04 pm
  6. Well Mr. Barking, I will, with pleasure, civilly debate you anytime on the merits of free enterprise; capitalism, and the principles that can best promote growth and prosperity. But first you need to make a statement that can be debated. For example, “It’s a good thing that more than half of the people in this country pay no income tax.” Or, “If everyone in the country made the same exact income, the country will be better off.” Or, “handing money to poor people ends poverty.” Or, “providing free healthcare to everyone can be accomplished with no increase in costs or decrease in quality.” Or, “government can create prosperity.” Blanket generations and hyperbole such as “robbing the middle class” hardly rises to this standard (and I suspect, looking at your sophisticated corpus of prose, you realize this as well.)

    I’ll be delighted if you make a substantial statement that can be weighed and debated on the substance. Many liberals (not that there’s anything wrong with them) fail to appreciate that good conservatives WANT to achieve the same goals as liberals (they just have a different path), and I’m cautiously optimistic that you are sufficiently erudite and open-minded to accept this. I’m certainly open-minded to the liberal perspective, I just find that the objective facts (without emotion) never work; and that liberals tend to appeal to aspirational emotion rather than the cruel reality of life. But you’ve got a chance to convert me (so long as I have a chance to convert you.) .

    If you are not sufficiently open-minded and erudite to engage in a substantive debate, including the possibility that we can civilly agree to disagree, then I bid you adieu. Yet, before I leave, I share the link to the MOST-VISITED Village Voice article of all time — written by someone who is, shall we say, near and dear to my heart:



    Posted by Rocky Humbert | October 21, 2011, 12:40 am
    • Here’s the thing…i don’t NEED to do anything. what’s more, i am NOT open-minded when it comes to today’s brand of conservatism. i have long said that if it were day one, hour one, minute one, i might be a conservative. i too value certain conservative principals, such as conserving our environment, whereas most of today’s conservatives think global warming a hoax. such as keeping government out of our private lives, except right wing conservatives insist a woman has no right to choose to abort a baby, even when raped by her father! So, at this juncture in our history, when education is out of the reach of too many, healthcare is unavailable to too many, and the richest country on the planet ranks 34th in infant mortality, i find most conservatives to be selfish, greedy, money-is-all-that-matters, government -out -of -our -lives- except -when- it -suits -their -purpose- people, who use the idea of free market economics to justify their unending pursuit of wealth – at any cost. i am willing to concede that their are some conservatives who want the same things as do liberals…alas too few, and too far between to ever make a difference in the present day conservative mindset. even your examples of a “statement” i might make are extreme. as for your pejorative use of the word liberal, i find it insulting to say the least. you’d do well to look up the dictionary meaning of the word. by the way, the Forbes presidential economic performance rankings list three liberal democrats 1,2,3, they are clinton, johnson, and kennedy. that’s not emotion, that’s a fact. also, i am wondering why your tone seems so defensive. understand this, i will not take this “debate” any further because i am a hard-core liberal and you are a hard-core conservative. there will be no convincing anyone of anything otherwise…and i won’t waste my time in trying. as for Mamet, i much prefer this article about him rather than yours. http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/06/did-tea-party-convert-david-mamet i love that Mamet credits a raving right-wing conservative lunatic, one Glenn Beck, among others, for his “conversion”. oh well…


      Posted by barkinginthedark | October 21, 2011, 2:23 am
      • Fair enough. We can agree to disagree. The beauty of democracy is that it will be the electorate who decide the direction of this country. I’m just one vote. And thankfully, the same is true for you.

        I’ll conclude my participation in your forum by saying that I didn’t reach my political conclusions and THEN find the facts to support them. I do not applaud nor condemn people’s views solely because of their grades or college degrees (mine are Ivy League) or even rhetorical skills as these cause one to miss the forest from the trees. Sadly, that seems to be derigueur for many on the left AND right. Lazy thinkers engage in ad hominum attacks and rants….

        Rather, one should try to WEIGH the objective and conflicting evidence, study HOW the facts are constructed, and only then DRAW conclusions. (An infinite number of hyperlinks to the NY Times doesn’t achieve this result.) Your use of infant mortality is a perfect case in point. The definition of infant mortality varies widely from country-to-country, and depending on how this statistic is constructed, one can reach vastly different conclusions on where the USA ranks. One can even reach comical conclusions: For example, recessions correlate with lower air pollution rates and lower air pollution is a known predictor of lower infant mortality. Hence, if one’s sole goal is to lower infant mortality (in the short-run), one should pursue a policy that encourages a depression! (Clearly neither of us want that, but it demonstrates the need to weigh both COSTS and BENEFITS when analyzing complex issues such as climate change.)

        “Liberals worry about today and think tomorrow will take care of itself. Conservatives worry about tomorrow and think that today will take care of itself.”

        All the best to you —


        Posted by Rocky Humbert | October 21, 2011, 12:23 pm
      • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, and the best to you too. tony


        Posted by barkinginthedark | October 21, 2011, 5:25 pm
      • After further consideration, and a nice cup of cawfee, I think I’ll add to my pithy response to your previous comment.
        I know, I know…facts are just so annoying aren’t they? And the mental acrobatics one must go through in order to discount them must be exhausting…yes? And, by the by, I think you do presume a bit too much in that pursuit. My conclusions are based on the facts first. Thanks to your lucid explanation I now realize that the way you “weigh” facts and “draw” conclusions is far more valid than I, or anyone else, who can’t say re: their degrees “mine are Ivy League”, and I note that you are careful to add an s the word degree…how very impressive on both counts. In the matter of the quote, “Liberals worry about today and think tomorrow will take care of itself. Conservatives worry about tomorrow and think today will take care of itself.” Why don’t we just build all our houses from the roof down? To further elaborate on what a nonsensical smoke-screen of obfuscation this is, nicely tailored to anyone who watches Fox news for a daily dose of their “facts”, unless they are uncaring of consequence, anyone who wants a house to stand builds it from the ground up. Liberals worry about today in order to lay the foundation for a better tomorrow. “Conservatives worry about tomorrow and think today will take care of itself” is a grouping of words that, upon close examination, is so blindingly descriptive of an amoral worldview where the crime committed today doesn’t count because the end justifies the means. How cold. And speaking of cold, yes – Liberals (read me) can be somewhat emotional. I am. I have a well developed feminine side. Sue me. It goes with having feelings, having a conscience, wanting for others what one enjoys oneself, wanting others to, at the very least, have the same opportunities to try to better their condition. If that’s unattractively emotional, then mark me down.

        As far as “the beauty of democracy” goes, that’s a knee slapper if ever there was one in view of the “fact” that…and hold on man – here come some of those annoying “facts” again…a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s Law School revealed that at least 34 states introduced legislation that would require voters to show photo identification in order to vote; at least 12 states introduced bills to require proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, to register to vote; at least 13 states introduced bills to end same-day voter registration or restrict voter registration drives; at least nine states had bills to reduce early and absentee voting periods; and two states reversed executive orders that made it easier for convicted felons to regain their voting rights. More than 14 states have implemented 19 laws and two executive orders altering their voting laws to the point that critics and recent studies say will negatively impact five million voters, most of them the Democratic Party’s core constituency – blacks, Hispanics, elderly and younger voters. These are Conservative Republican initiatives.

        A New York Times (yes, that damned newspaper again) editorial last week pointed out that these measures affect more than 21 million Americans, 11 percent of the population, do not have government ID cards. Most of them could have a hard time navigating the bureaucracy to get a card. And again, these are the Democratic Party’s core constituency – blacks, Hispanics, elderly and younger voters…democracy you say? I’ll warrant that these actions aren’t illegal but the poll tax was not a crime either during the period that it was enforced.
        And I’m not even going to get into what a bullshit system of voting we have in The Electoral College, which produces a different vote tally than the popular vote. One man, one vote…what a laugh.

        Perhaps the knowledge I can easily see that you possess, by virtue of a keen mind, of the vast amount of time and space there exists in all the many universes makes it easier for you to rationalize any action, by anybody, with “it really doesn’t much matter in the great scheme of things, does it”? To me – though I know it doesn’t matter really – I guess it really does.

        Upon re-reading this, I realize I tend towards the combative and the sarcastic. It’s my nature…Mea maxima culpa.


        Posted by barkinginthedark | October 21, 2011, 8:22 pm
  7. There are parallel universes . Unfortunately, politically speaking, we’ve slid off onto a branch that has something in common with cartoons.


    Posted by joem18b | October 20, 2011, 6:11 pm
  8. I’ve been looking at lot of visual aids regarding the current state of mess we’re in. When you look at the graphs, you can clearly see that the trouble started with Reagan. The numbers are depressingly consistent. I’m trying to wrap my head around how anyone in the middle and working classes can think that more of this policy instead of a reversal will help us out of this hole.


    Posted by Lisa Golden | October 20, 2011, 11:56 am

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