Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just let it die

“Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too,”

-Michelle Bachmann on Fox News-

John Wayne, I never really liked him; not as an actor and particularly not as something he attempted to portray off the stage: a patriot. No, the only uniform he ever wore came from the costume department at Republic Studios, the folks who got him his 2A draft status during WW II because it would have meant lost profits had he followed so many actors into the military.

But of course by the time the Vietnam war became a tragi-comic opera, he was a Hollywood soldier of long standing, fond of telling many of us we weren't real Americans because we didn't quite see the glory of the whole thing.

So leave it to Michelle Bachmann to claim she's channeling his "spirit" -- whatever that might be. Whether that consists of telling us we're not real Americans because we dare to measure the age of things or don't accept the Biblical nonsense about the "waters" above and below the Earth I don't know, but there are few things that amuse me more than the trolls, public and private, who present their limitations and disabilities and delusions as their strength. Haven't we all had people tell us ungrammatically how stupid we are and spell stupid wrong? Petty irony it is indeed, but then such little moments of irony may provide the most satisfaction one can expect in our kind of times. It costs too much to care any more.

So should we laugh at Michelle for confusing Winterset, Iowa, birthplace of John Wayne (nee Marion Morrison) with Waterloo, Iowa, birthplace of John Wayne Gacy who strangled little boys and buried them in his crawl space? The entire pandemonium of journalists, bloggers and blowhards has been going at it since yesterday morning. Go ahead and join in, but I'm beyond laughter or tears for that matter. When it comes to giving a shit, I don't. I'm all out of givadamn and I'm not shopping for more. As I said, it just costs too much these days.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Things change, everyone gets older. You start to wonder how many more father's days will pass while you still have a father to spend it with. It's good then, to see how some things never change; things like the bitter, miserable, vicious lies that spew from the GOP. Take the current Elmer Fudd of the Party, John McCain, the tortured war hero who didn't have the courage to stand up to the party's support of torture. Take John, who is making this Father's Day so much happier by blaming the Arizona wildfires on illegal immigrants rather than on the drought.

But he has substantial evidence, which he will, no doubt, reveal eventually, or not reveal or simply forget about after the wildfire of hate has got beyond control. Remember when Mexicans were bringing leprosy across the border? Many will long remember Lou Dobbs' accusations but not the lack of evidence and perhaps the wildfire libel will stick long after McCain's slide into dementia becomes all too obvious.

Well thanks John, for all you do and for reminding us of Republican fathers long gone like Joe McCarthy with their vaporous claims of "evidence" and I'm sure your legacy will stink long after you're gone.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

War or not a war

"If it looks like a war, it's a war"
said Dennis Kucinich to CNN, but he's wrong. Many things look like wars and many things have been sold to us as wars that aren't wars. Johnson's War on Poverty? The war on Drugs? calling it a war doesn't make it so nor does saying it is when it isn't. The 1968 Democratic convention looked and smelled like a war -- maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.

Of course invoking the War Powers Resolution of 1973 finally gives the dogs something to bark about and they've been looking for impeachment arguments since election day, but is the current hoopla about our support of NATO actions in Syria based on concern for the law or another congressional burlesque show attempt to overturn an election they lost for good reason?

It looks like a war to the Republicans too but then, Birth of a Nation looks like history to them. Reagan's invasion of Granda and Bush's invasion of Panama looked pretty much like wars as well, but although both those presidents did report to Congress under the War Powers Resolution they did so without citing section 4(a)(1) which would require approval to continue after 60 days. In both cases hostilities ceased before the 60 day period even though troops remained in Panama and the question was deemed moot.

The question then hinges on whether American forces and personnel are still involved in hostilities 60 days after the initial air strikes and are still substantially in harms way. Obama argues that they are not, that they are only providing support for an embargo. His opponents disagree, but then they disagree with his presence in office and everything he says or does even when it mirrors their own sentiments. Scandal has been cried more often than Wolf, but while I tend to see the argument in similar light as the White House does, I Wish he could have done what Bush did by taking action when Congress was out of session, but not having had that option, I wish he would simply remove this issue from the spotlight and allow Congress to have their way. If nothing else it would take my Representative Tom "Looney" Rooney off the soapbox and out of my inbox for a while.

I think NATO can do without us and if this is so important to the Arab League, they can use some of that firepower we sold them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cicero on Fox News

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Friday, June 10, 2011

A horse of the same color

"I believe this because I believe that and I believe that because I'm a believer and believers believe it." If this passes as anything resembling reason I give up and if it's the argument of someone who feels qualified to be the President of the United States in the 21st century I'm getting out. It's not because I believe anything or believe in believing as either a virtue or a way to run a country, but because I'm simply tired of the sanctified madness.

Take Herman Cain -- please. Take him far away from any office that allows him to rule and ruin other people with his beliefs; allows him to substitute his beliefs for law and invent crimes at will. Cain, you see, says that homosexuality is a "choice" and is a sin and he believes it because he believes it and that makes it true.

“I believe homosexuality is a sin because I’m a Bible-believing Christian, I believe it’s a sin,”
he says and yes, that's just the sort of thing Republicans like to pass off as reason and package this fear of retributive and divine bogeymen with fear of communism and common decency like Wall Street packages bad loans.

Sin, Mr. Cain, is not crime, it's a tool used to tyrannize the mind and because the sin of one frame of reference is not the sin of another and because we are a government of laws and not of prophets and because those laws are designed to protect liberty and property and not to protect your tangled web of beliefs or promote them or ennoble them or sanctify them or elevate them to the status of law and permit them to persecute others: and because sir, you are a man like the rest of us, neither better nor worse nor more to be obeyed because of your beliefs, you should save them for Sunday and leave the rest of us the hell alone with your damned arrogant beliefs. No man is elevated by standing on Bibles.

Preacher Cain of course would be a good choice for the GOP at this point -- evidence that they're not really racists and have only set the dogs on that other black man because he's not Christian enough or as concerned with the things God hates like Medicare or the Minimum wage. A different shade of black man and one more easily used as a tool to get things back to the way they used to be when there was a place for everyone and everyone was in his place.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Koching up some trouble

"Good Lord. These are truly evil people"
says The Impolitic and it's hard to disagree. Of course the people that thought it would be a "conservative" thing to do; giving struggling Detroit homeowners fake foreclosure notices, don't think they're being vandals trying to destabilize civilization and built a "conservative" Utopia on the ruins. In fact the Koch brothers who seem to be behind this prank have a vision for the future that more resembles an Orwellian horror with the part of Big Brother played by corporate robber barons like them and the sinister, black menace portrayed by Barack H. Obama. Their lackeys see it otherwise, I'm sure. A step in the final solution of the "colored problem" that the Liberals and do-gooders brought upon Detroit and a reaction to the stunning affront of ACORN having forced a black president on us -- a man nobody voted for, of course. The new North. It's the old South without the sheets.

It's truly hard to describe this sort of thing in the way we describe rational human conduct, because it isn't any more rational than drunken football hooliganism or beer hall riot -- and a hell of a lot more dangerous. It's all the more dangerous for the lack of attention given. CNN.com today provides a bright colorful farrago of sex scandal, new Facebook features, the exploits of rappers and little else. Indeed what else concerns us?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Sesame Manifesto

It's impossible for me to watch a Fox "panel" chew a story without thinking of an alligator feeding frenzy or a bunch of mean dogs fighting for possession of a bit of rawhide. Actually it's impossible for me to watch Fox News at all, but for those of a tougher breed, here's a prime example of the ruthless war on reality called Fox.

Listen carefully and you'll spot the message that Sesame Street aims at lower income, Urban kids and you'll smell the racism and you'll hear the Republican anthem that the fraction of a cent per taxpayer that this show costs is "on principle" too much and especially because it tries to elevate the underclasses in direct contravention of Divine Law and Ayn Rand, whichever is the more powerful.

Does anyone really believe that Big Bird is a Communist or that Sesame Street is ruining America and the morals of its children? (perhaps Doctor Spock fans can sigh with relief now that they've moved on to a new chew toy.)

Perhaps you do, perhaps you watch Fox anyway. Perhaps you're a malicious idiot with delusions of persecution, but here it is again:

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Horror

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-


I had pretty much made up my mind that I wasn't going to grant Sarah Palin any more free publicity or waste any more stress-filled time reacting to the Idiot's Princess, but like the safety valve on a boiler, I have my set limit. Pop goes the weasel, or at least the blogger.

I read her garbled soliloquy yesterday, about how the immigrants who built this country up from an agrarian economy to an economic giant had a terribly hard time gaining entrance and getting citizenship and could not favorably be compared to those today who were raised in the USA from infancy, got an education and became part of our society only to be expelled on some error in their parent's papers. She's right, you can't. It took a matter of hours to go through Immigration in the Ellis Island days and if you weren't Chinese, you were all right. No English required, no guaranteed job, no nothin' -- and they came by the millions. Today it takes years, of course, but we're dealing with Sarah Palin, congenitally stupid product of a fourth tier higher educational system and a lifetime of reading nothing. She's dumber than a pre-schooler and she's a Republican front-runner.

My mother read me that Longfellow poem when I was little more than an infant and I don't think any of my contemporaries did not know by early grade school of that somewhat mythological event, but no, not Sarah Palin who seems to think that the famed Boston silversmith was a spokesman for the NRA and a right wing, saber rattling blowhard whose main concern was promoting gun rights in the American wilderness.
“…he who warned the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and, um, makin’ sure as he’s ridin’ his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free. And we were gonna be armed.” You betcha, gol durn it!

The fact that this perky little peanut brain couldn't graduate 5th grade much less pass a citizenship test -- or even, apparently, read a newspaper isn't just obvious, it's horrifying and what these daily enormities we're subjected to every day say about her is still less horrifying than what this says about America.

You can't have that!

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."

-Daniel Webster-

Every morning's bag of e-mail brings at least one call to arms and sometimes many more. I'm getting tired of the blaring slughorns and fraying pennants, whether or not I support the basic premises.

Take private cars and fuel economy. I got one from NRDC today; that's the Natural Resources Defense Council, a group whose purposes seem reasonably clear from the title. The headline purports to tell me how much I would save by switching to a 60MPG vehicle - one of those hermetically sealed capsules from which I could observe the glory of the ocean and dunes and the beauty of vast natural scenes through tinted windows, darkly. Think of how much money I would save and of course think of how I, an aging superhero, could "go green" and "save the planet!"

Numbers don't lie, people do and when I plugged in my actual figures, it told me I would save about 333 dollars a year. No I wouldn't and whoop-di-do if I did. First of all the cost to all things natural and to me of building another vehicle isn't factored in at all here nor is the possible 60+ year lifespan of my car Vs that of a Japanese post-modernist disposable gumdrop. I 'd have to sell the glorious red 190Mph convertible that may be worth more in my grandchildren's senescence than it is now and buy a rolling toad with those tiny wheels, primitive suspension and a ton of batteries ( which will have to be replaced at a high cost not added to the alleged savings.) Is life and the joy of living worth 300 bucks a year? I could save a fortune by selling the house and moving into a trailer in Central Florida after all. I could choose for myself.

The Modernist movement of the last century brought us the idea of minimalism in architecture; the idea that our homes were machines for living and that living in them made us better and more efficient -- efficient being the key word, I think. The stripped down, unornamented minimalized life of maximum efficiency isn't all that compatible with what most of us would consider a life. Integrating man into the means of production, minimizing private space and emphasizing public and communal areas and mechanizing the whole experience of life doesn't, in the mind of this inefficient life form, make for an existence I would enjoy, to say the least. It hardly allows for experiencing the intense joy of being alive on a minute to minute basis, unless you consider a brief two week packaged vacation from the cubicle to be living.
I don't know about you, but I'm not a machine or a piece of production equipment. My house is not a machine and my preferred transportation would not resemble one of those pneumatic capsules you put your checks and deposit slips into at the drive-through bank.

Send a message urging the government to strengthen pollution and fuel efficiency standards to deliver 60 miles per gallon by 2025!

screams the headline. It doesn't mention that the glut of huge, heavy, clumsy, dangerous hunks of iron now clogging the curves on our roads was the direct result of that same message sent back in the 1970's as a hysterical response to the Arab Oil Embargo. That was a perfect example of the "here's a problem - let's pass a bill" kind of knee-jerk politics that's clogged our arteries for decades and no, we can't hardly pin that on the Republicans.

You can get a 60 mpg vehicle right now if you want it - a 100 mpg vehicle that costs a thousand dollars. They sell them in several places around this town, you just have to sweat in the heat and get wet when it rains, and you can't go very fast but hey, it's all about efficiency and going green, right? Many people choose that, many enjoy it -- including me, for what it's worth, but it's a choice, not the result of a Federal mandate. Sometimes you feel like a truck, sometimes you don't -- you consider the need and the budget and you makes your choice. But is it "saving the planet" to drive one of those terrifying "smart Cars?" Did anyone stop to notice that the US military is the largest single fossil fuel burner in our country? Is our problem really cars or is it how much we drive. How much of the passion is really that same stale neo-Luddism that nestled into Liberal thought back in the 60's when it was oh so hip to destroy cars in the name of whatever you call it?

Sure Americans waste untold resources driving to work, waste a fortune to drive fashionably military-looking "safety" vehicles that cause 4 times more accidents and have to crawl through maneuvers like airships, but is the answer to regiment us, to furnish us with little steel boxes and proclaim "only this and nothing more?" Maybe it's time to let Dracula out of his coffin and raise the fuel tax! (gasp) Let people work out their personal mathematics by themselves - maybe move closer to work, maybe use a small car to drive to the train station, maybe buy a scooter. Raise the taxes steadily and put the money into high speed rail and local light rail. Eventually our obscene sprawl will contract and the mall to mall crawl may become a trip into town or down the block and people can make choices that suit them and their needs - you know, like free people in a free country. We don't trust you to use that ( insert anything here) wisely, we don't think you need it and therefore, you can't have it. It's the recipe for bad measures indeed.

Sure, I'm strongly convinced that something needs to be done, but I'm strongly convinced that it doesn't require us to become soulless gears and cams in the efficient, regulated machine of commerce and the State, if there's any difference between the two.