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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Preacher & The Carpetbagger

Based on the skeleton an old story called “The One Armed Piccolo Player” which I first heard over 40 years ago.  All I did was adapt it to current places and events.

One day Canadian Senator Ted Cruz, who happened to be carpetbaggin’ down in Texas at the time which after all was how he made his livin’ back then, decided it was time to brush up on the old Republican “man of the people” thing, what with the increase in attacks he was getting’ from the left AND the right after he’d blown up the country and shut down the government, in pursuit of which one Sunday mornin’ he made his way to a little country church, a way off in the sticks in the middle of one of the poorest parts of Tejas, frequented mostly by ranch hands, mgrant farm workers and maybe a propane salseman or two, to get his “aw shucks and country credibility” tickets punched.

Ted made his way down the aisle to a front pew where he could be readily seen by the entire congregation and there was plenty of room for the news fellas and aide types and their cameras and mics and as they were about to sit on down there, one of the “aide” pogies signaled the pastor who had of course been told they were comin’.  That worthy then proceeded to introduce Ted to his flock with the floweriest little speech of praise the senator’s alpha backslapper had been able to write down for him on such short notice, embellished by the preacher himself in such quantity as to be deemed sufficient return for the sizable contribution the PR fella had promised to put on the collection plate at the end of the service.

Just as the preacher finished his intro and Ted stood up in his $1000 suit and $100 necktie and $500 shoes to commence “relatin’” to these folks, a loud voice suddenly burst forth from somewhere in the back of the church, clear as a bell and unmistakable:  “Senator’s a sonofabitch!”

Ted immediately started stranglin’ on his speech and turned about 10 shades of purple before settlin’ on a dark bergundy that… to add insult to injury… clashed with his lavender necktie somethin’ fierce… and the pastor also looked righteously horrified for a few seconds before regainin’ control of his faculties enough to glare out over the shiny faces of his congregation… although it must be admitted that most of those faces were hidden behind hands and handkerchiefs at the moment and worse, there was the unmistakable sound of snickers and giggles, already beginnin’ to swell in both volume and intensity and threatenin’ to burst forth into uncontrollable guffaws, belly laughs and other kinds of rude sounds that the pastor… bein’ an educated fella having gone all the way through the tenth grade and all… knew would have been a further affront to a sittin’ member of the United States Senate and probably result in the collection plate having nothing more in it this day than the regular dimes and quarters  and the usual bran muffin from Sister Chelsea Chesterton who thought the pastor’s colon more important than his pocketbook on Sunday mornin’s..

QUIET!”, shouted the preacher in his best fire and brimstone “get the word to them what needs it worst” voice and silence ensued.  Oh it wasn’t instant silence or nothin’ like that but given the circumstances them folks did a fair to middlin’ job gettin’ themselves under control and after a minute or two the preacher was ready to begin his interrogation.

Alright”, he said, “which one of you called the senator a sonofabitch?”.  You could have heard a pin drop from one end of that hall to the other.  Nobody said a mumblin’ word.

Preacher says, “We’re gonna get to the bottom of this if it takes all day.  Somebody called the senator a sonofabitch.  If that person will just raise his hand and confess, the rest of us can get on with the service. Will the person called the senator a sonofabitch raise up his hand?”, and they all sat there still as statues not even darin’ to breathe hardly.

Pastor decided he’d try a new approach.  “Well then”, says he, “will the person sittin’ next to the person called the senator a sonofabitch raise up his hand?”. and again not a hair stirred amongst that entire group of… if not exactly God fearin’ folks, at least preacher fearin’ ones..

One more chance.”, says the pastor, who by this time is workin’ up a fair size piece of pissed off.  “Will the man sittin’ next to the man sittin’ next to the man called the senator a sonofabitch raise his hand”.  At this point, a small meek lookin’ little fella sittin’ just off the aisle near the middle of the church stuck his hand up kind of timid like.  “AHA!”, shouts the preacher, “Out with it man, let’s hear it!”.

Well,”, said the man, “I ain’t the one called the senator a sonofabitch and I ain’t the one sittin’ next to the one called the senator a sonofabitch.  I ain’t even the one sittin’ next to the one sittin’ next to the one called the senator a sonofabitch.  All I want to know is… who called that Canadian sonofabitch a senator?”

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Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Beyond the ACA: America’s New Kind of “Silent Majority”.

Today I started a little line of posts on Twitter designed to remind people that there are subjects of interest (to at least a few folks) other than the implementation of the ACA and the absolute “wonderfulness” of Barack Obama.  Not likely to be very popular, especially that second one, they most likely serve little real purpose but I’m pretty sure that it we continue to ignore the subjects of these little “reminders”, we’ll wake up after the coming budget negotiations to realize said negotiations are once again all said and done and we were once again left out of the process and allowed to have little to nothing to say or do with any of it. Which… by the way is the reason I most suspect most “Emos” chose to stay home in 2010 if that’s indeed what they did and a situation which you progressives have done absolutely nothing to change other than to reaffirm over and over ad infinitum that you consider them as useless as tits on an a boar hog except for an hour or so on election day.

I view the current tendency among rank and file Democrats to simply sit back and trust Barack Obama to do all the thinking while they act as little more than cheerleaders for whatever he decides to do or not do as a downright scary proposition.  The fact that much of the same kind of rhetoric and virtual worship was practiced towards Bill Clinton who at the end of the day managed to accomplish more for deregulation and corporate and conservative interests and against the working poor than any Republican president up to his time… and with the blessings of the Democrat middle class… simply ads to my conviction that we no longer have any clear cut choice in America today. And the fact that the “prags” are already applying the same bullshit rhetoric to Hillary… even though she has yet to announce she’s running… and speaking of her election as if it’s already not only a foregone conclusion but an accomplished fact… doesn’t help either.

It’s either the openly RW corporatists who will instantly shred democracy in a wholesale effort to re-institute virtual Feudalism by force, thereby possibly incurring open rebellion, or the silver tongued take your time kind of corporatist the like of which brought us welfare “reform”, NAFTA and the destruction of Glass Steagall and who did more for deregulation than Reagan.  The “liberal” who will sell democracy off one small bit at a time to those who would turn 21st century America the into 19th century England of Charles Dickens in an attempt to keep the serfs from open rebellion until it’s a done deal.

The major bone of contention among these politicians is not whether or not anything they propose to do is good for a majority of the people or not. That’s not the object and hasn’t been since at least 1980.  The object is to determine which flock of corporatist monkeys can curry the most favor with Wall Street by a) providing the highest ROI to the almighty institutional and professional shareholders over the longest period of time thereby securing the rich vote…  and b) who can fling the hugest amounts of highly expensive poop at each other for the longest, getting the poop loving public to “choose sides” based pretty much solely on who has produced and flung the highest and smelliest levels of poop for the win among the not so rich and just plain poor.

As I’m always saying, it’s a helluva way to run a country and you’d think that all Americans had to do is look around at other industrial or otherwise “civilized” nations that are more successful and whose citizens are happier, healthier, and more well fed than we are and simply do whatever it is they’re doing.   There are several reasons why that won’t work with a people who feel themselves innately superior to any and all other peoples, however.

Perhaps the most important one to your average right and center right peon is the fact that unfortunately, that would fly in the face of American Exceptionalism as it applies to our failed system.  Hell,  even Barack Obama has been unable to challenge our alleged exceptionalism and indeed having seen it’s almost universal appeal to the overage low info American voter, practices it’s basic rhetoric himself at every opportunity.

Second, the reasons most of those countries are more successful than us is that their systems are identified with socialism and it’s considered better by many Americans to starve and to let other people starve to death in the gutter as “free” Americans than to do anything that might be considered “socialist” which is hype for anything  that would cut into profits… and therefore the aforementioned stockholder ROI, that 99% of us never share in anyway… and thereby make us “slaves” so forget that.

I don’t believe we’ve done anything but pay lip service to the concepts of equality and liberty since the founders’ day and I don’t believe that anyone… Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, does anything else today.   I CERTAINLY don’t believe that “pragmatic” progressives are ever going to be willing to stand up and go toe to toe with Wall Street when and if the showdown ever comes any more than they’ll ever accept responsibility for not doing so today.  I believe indeed that most of them are doing their level best instead to see that it never happens.  As for some of the others?

Liberals might actually have constituted a threat to Wall Street back in the 60s & 70s but they couldn’t muster the collective wind to blow a match out today.  On the other hand, if a few didn’t still exist, the Democrats would have to reinvent them because their main purpose for existence today is to be the scapegoats whenever Progressives and pragmatics can’t muster enough votes to swing the undecided and  independent blocs to their side.

Swings and Independents are what make the difference as far as I’m concerned although I admit to a certain amount of prejudice because I am one of ‘em.  You pragmatic types continue to make the mistake of thinking that just because Twitter and Facebook aren’t loaded down with us we don’t exist when the simple truth is that many of us just aren’t that into computers, the internet and social networking like I am.  Some of that is due largely to a generational thing, some to economic considerations, some to reasons that will never be known…  but quite simply and for whatever reason, for every one who is following you on Twitter or Facebook… the only ones you can even begin to quantify… there are at least 310 million people in this country who aren’t your friends and/or followers and they represent EVERY part of the political spectrum.

Some will vote third party, others will vote Republican, some aren’t even old enough to vote yet but will be eventually and yes, others will refuse to vote at all.  Those are facts of life and you need to get the hell used to them.  These are all people that YOU and YOUR faction dropped the ball on and that vastly outnumber the “libs” or “emos” that you manage to convince yourself are to blame for anything that goes wrong in your little world.

If you really gave a rat’s ass what’s going on in this country there would be a massive outreach to these people who constitute the 21st century’s version of the Silent Majority instead of a close minded attempt to shove your head in a gopher hole and pretend they don’t exist while you blame the relatively small faction of institutional liberals for your failures when their only crime is being part of that 310 million people who neither know nor care what you think.  You really don’t think I’m the only old poor person who votes do you?

At least it ought to be something to think about.  I do.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Twitterdom’s Shameful Jump To Judgement

From a compilation of several media and eyewitness accounts. The lady shot in DC today was a young black dental hygienist who according to law enforcement officials was non-political and  had suffered head trauma in an accident a year ago.  She was unarmed, had her 2-3 year old child in a car seat in the back and apparently either blundered into or otherwise approached some kind of unexpected checkpoint without slowing or stopping near the White House. Details are still sketchy but it appears that when confronted by officers and agents, possibly with with weapons drawn… since that’s now the first resort instead of the last… she allegedly panicked and tried to flee and a high speed chase ensued during which two officers were accidentally injured in a crash or crashes probably involving attempts to block or stop her vehicle.

She finally stopped after driving into some kind of and eyewitnesses say exited the car from the rear with both hands plainly empty and in plain sight.  The incident appeared to be over when one officer suddenly fired and then it became a shooting gallery.  So far, there is no indication of what triggered the gunfire and officials say only that it is under investigation.

There will no doubt be conflicting accounts for some time to come but this is the gist of what has come out so far.  There is no hard evidence that this woman intended any criminal acts of any kind and tthe only known crime appears to be that of fleeing from the original scene, which may have been due to an altered mental state triggered by having a number of armed people pointing weapons at her and her child.

I describe this here because of the reactions I saw, from both sides of the political aisle who within minutes were attempting to politicize the incident and make it about the crazy lady who was out to kill some congresspeople or maybe even the president.  Virtually every person posting was using it to try to get people fired up and hating whoever the poster happened to hate.

Again, within mere minutes of the first report of a “shooting incident” people on most social networks were gleefully trying to score political points off of what simply seems now to have been a tragic turn of events and raving on how horrible it was that the Capitol Police who had just “saved” all those congress folks weren’t even getting paid because of the shutdown brought about by the people they had just saved, yadayada, even as their primary assertions were starting to unravel.

I offer no opinion indictment on the rightness or wrongness of any act of anyone involved in this tragedy but if it were in my power TO indict anyone it would be the news media who… as always… milked it for all the ratings they could get from it and the people on the social networks who not only ran with the hype and innuendo put out by the media but even embellished it with hype and innuendo of their own.  Hours after the actual story started to come out these were still trying to justify their initial statements, trying to make it a political issue and referring to her as that “crazy lady”.  The LA Times was still calling her “the suspect in a shooting incident” as if she were something other than the victim of the only shots fired.

This is what extreme polarization does folks.  This is what you get when your country is run on the basis not of simple political rivalry where one side attempts to win votes by doing the most good for society but on that of hate, vitriol and attempts to marginalize the “opposition” as some kind of foul monster who doesn’t even deserve to live.  You become inured to the fact that the vast majority of people out there are simply folks like yourselves, just trying to string enough paychecks together to get by and who want the same things you do but happen to believe in a different way of achieving those mutual goals than you might.

I hope you’ll think about that next time you talk about “So and so needs to be hung” or “Somebody ought to shoot that sonofabitch”.  Yes, I’m aware that I do both those things on occasion and I also hope I’m going to be a little more aware of what a steady diet of hate and venom can do to ordinary folks like you and me.

And I TRULY hope that when our corrupt news media starts trying to inflate some local situation or occurrence… like what what we currently know of today’s incident… into something of national significance that once again attempts to force us into open conflict with our friends and neighbors, … the only thing that made today’s tragic chase any more significant than all the others that take place regularly was where it happened and the opportunity it offered for political grandstanding and attention whoring by a whole nest full of grade A drama queens…  you’ll sit back for a bit and wait until the story actually comes out instead of jumping on your favorite network and flinging accusations and recriminations right and left before the gun smoke has even cleared.

If you made it this far, thanks. I appreciate it.  I love my country but today I can’t say I’m too proud of some of the people in it.  I’d like to see things like this a dim memory before I shuffle off this hate wracked coil and I’m quickly running out of time.  Let’s get this done, OK?

Update: Conflicting accounts.  (Earlier) unlinked and unsourced blog account says she was shot while still in the car.  She is also alleged in that blog entry to have suffered from postpartum depression since the birth of her daughter a year ago which if accurate, may be the basis for  the “trauma” allegation referred to in later accounts.  That was the child who was in the car when officers opened fire.  Also one of her neighbors says she was definitely “crazy” while her employer and co-workers say there was never anything to indicate she would be involved in anything like this.   Still nothing so far that would indicate that she had set out this morning out to inflict bodily harm on anyone.

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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

OK! ACA’s In. What’s Next?

First thing I need to do today is get this over and out of the way.  I do NOT oppose Obamacare.  Even though as near as I’ve been able to ascertain I gain nothing from it and by all indications am probably worse off because of it I’ve done my share to support it since its inception and continue to do so as we speak.

But I’ll tell you this… I’m getting goddammed sick and tired of middle class Democrats… especially the ones who call themselves “pragmatics”… gushing over it as if it’s an end in itself representing the final solution to a problem that at its core remains every bit as repugnant as it was before the ACA went into effect, that being that it is totally and inescapably evil for any nation pretending to any level of civilization to base it’s health care system on profit for a few at the expense of the many.  While it’s no doubt an improvement for many, that’s all it is… an improvement.  It did NOT fix the problem and most of you effing know it didn’t fix the problem but you can’t be bothered with little details like that right now.

I sit here and watch you people dancing in the streets and patting yourself on the back about your huge “victory” over the forces of evil.  I see post after post… numbering into the hundreds a day  raving on and on about how ACA is the magic panacea that will bring health and happiness to the masses.

What I DON’T see are any mention of the services and access to services lost by Medicare and Medicaid patients that were bargained away… largely by people who don’t have to depend on them for the basics… in feeble minded attempts to bargain with a pack of ravening ferrets who… in spite of every service to the poor you appeasers have bargained away to them over the past 20 or so years… went right on ahead and brought the country to the position it finds itself in today.

What I DON’T see, at least not in numbers remotely approaching those of the giddy self congratulators, are very damned many references to the eight million government workers and the untold hundreds of thousands or millions more employed by contractors and ancillary services who found themselves out of a job at the instant ACA went into effect.   Better health coverage is great, no mistake about it but when all is said and done, food on the table and a place to live are probably somewhat above it on any list of basic necessities.

I watched dozens of you yesterday rave on and on about all the services that will be available under the ACA… including some that USED to be available to those of us on Medicare and Medicaid but are no longer.  Many of you saw fit to mention that under ACA, many young people, including many with incomes higher than mine, will receive those services and more at a price LESS THAN THE MONTHLY MEDICARE PREMIUM for many like myself.

Some posters did try to swing the subject around to the millions of people tossed under the bus by the GOP in the shutdown after the celebrations had gone on for a few hours but a lot of you weren’t having any of that.  Fact is that while it’s wonderful that so many more will have health coverage, now is not the time to sit back and congratulate each other on a victory that took three years to accomplish, during which time the rest of the evils besetting the not so damned fortunate in this country continued to bloat to unmanageable proportions.

It’s done.  ACA is not only the law of the landit’s in action.  Those thousands of posts a day attesting to those two facts could quite possibly be better spent now on trying to find ways to remedy some of the ills that were allowed to fester and reversing the effects of the silent coup that continued and continues to take place even now during your continuing single minded focus on Obamacare.

The momentum doesn’t need to die away.  The focus just needs to shift.  This habit much of the the left has fallen into of looking for partial “victories” they can bargain instead of fight for… of always being prepared to sacrifice the right and the good for “not so wrong” and the “better than the other guy’s offering”… played a major role in getting us into this mess.  It ain’t gonna  do diddly squat to get us out of it.

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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Uncategorized