Category Archives: Politics

Yeehaw

Well… Come January 1st, we are going Wild, Wild West here in Misery. The Legislature has over-ridden the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 656. Check it:

The marquee section generally allows gun owners to pack them concealed without the need of passing the special training and paying permit fees the state has required since 2004.

As a concealed carry permit holder, who has had that special training, paid those permit fees over the years, and passed the background checks, I am deeply offended — and a little frightened — by the notion that any and all of my fellow citizens are suddenly responsible enough to start going around strapped. This part makes it even better:

Another key change is in the definition of “stand your ground,” which generally protects a person using deadly force to defend his or her home or vehicle. The new law no longer requires people to attempt to back away from trouble in public, as in a tavern parking lot, before using deadly force if there is fear of bodily harm.

I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who shouldn’t be anywhere near a firearm. Any time, let alone when they are angry or buzzed. (You might call them hillbilly white trash, I call them family.) An average 6th-grader has enough historical knowledge to know there was a time in Amurka when everybody went around armed all the time. That same 6th-grader can tell you that was before we brought civilization and law and order and the principle of commonwealth to the frontier. Laws were passed to disarm the populace for the good of society as a whole.

When our Legislature first passed this bill earlier this year, I thought it was irresponsible, but I — and the Legislature — knew it was going to be vetoed, so I just assumed it was a symbolic poke in the eye to the anti-gun liberals. The foolhardiness and sheer hubris of over-riding that veto is astonishing. This will not end well.

I could go on, but I gotta roll. Making another ammunition run.

Genghis Con

This summer, as part of my personal mental health regimen, I have been trying my level best to ignore as much of the election season madness as possible. My efforts have been largely unsuccessful. It is difficult to ignore the fact that the Republicans have nominated a Multi-Level Marketing, World Wrestling Federation, reality teevee guy for preznit! It’s like an episode of Creature Features from back in the ’70s, but it’s in color, and it’s real. A giant, orange asshole is in the process of consuming one of our two viable political parties.

I think it’s already too late, but some of the old school Republicans are fighting back, with a sternly worded letter. Many of the signatories of the letter were part of the gang of thugs from the dubya administration that instituted torture as part of our foreign policy, so it bothers me that I agree with anything they have to say, but I really believe America needs to listen to this:

“Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

I think it is too late for the Republican party because I don’t think there are enough good, decent human beings who happen to be conservative left in the party to wrest control back from the reality teevee guy’s legions of rabid, screaming fascists. A couple of decades of the right-wing noise machine stoking fear and hatred has distilled the party down to an angry, ignorant rump with genuinely no interest in policy or governance. They are ready — eager, even — to tear it all down and blame it on political correctness. What does that even mean, anyway?

A Question

Something weird happened to me at my polling place today. I walked in with the intention of choosing a Republican ballot to waste my vote for the presidential primary on John Kasich, the reasonably sane, but not really, it just looks that way because everyone else in the GOP field is crazier than a shit-house rat candidate. But at the last minute I chose a Democratic ballot, quickly filled in the bubble for Ghostface Hilz, and fed the card into the electronic reader. I’m still not sure why I did that. Maybe I just wanted to help finish putting Bernie out of his misery.

But that’s got nothing to do with my question. For weeks I have been all over the intertoobz reading story after story after story about how the reality teevee guy has harnessed all the angry voters across Amurka, and that really does seem to be true. My question is this: What happens to all that anger when the inevitable happens? What happens when the Donald loses to Hillary in the general election or, FSM forbid, he gets elected preznit and then can’t deliver on all the outrageous promises he has made to those angry voters? Where does the anger go? From my viewpoint, what this nation desperately needs right now is a spite bleeder valve.

Leap Day Ramble

Due to the fraction generated when calculating how many revolutions of the earth occur during one orbit around the sun, it is technically still February today. But it sure feels like Spring here in Misery. The temperatures have been up and down like a yo-yo, everywhere from the 30s to the 70s, playing havoc with my sinuses and fooling the trees into budding early. The birds are getting pretty active around here too, but I can’t help thinking Winter will pull another drive-by on us.

I’m currently giving my hands and shoulders a break from wet sanding the PotatoCaster neck. I should have it ready to buff out by the end of the day. Then I can attach it to the body and begin shaping a nut.

Tomorrow is what is known in the politicking game as “Super Tuesday.” Several states hold their primary elections on the same day, and all indications are that Ghostface Hillah and reality teevee guy will extend their leads. It looks like the Republican establishment has just about reached the final stage of their grief and begun accepting the Donald as their likely nominee. It should be fun, over the next few months, watching the pundits who — rightly — denounced him for the xenophobic, fascist, racist, misogynist, egotistical buffoon he is publicly talk themselves into supporting him.

But what other choice do they have? Ted Cruz is a god-bothering asshole that even his friends don’t like, and Marco Rubio is nothing more than a telegenic parrot. Granted, that is normally considered a good thing in Republican politicians, but anyone with a functioning brain can see, in a debate with Hillary, Marco is going to be exposed as a 2.5-watt appliance bulb in a Xenon world. We’re talking dim, son, dim. (/Foghorn Leghorn)

I don’t believe in karma, but sometimes you really do reap what you sow. The Republican establishment, with the aid of the right-wing noise machine, has spent the last 7 years proclaiming to their rabid base that Michelle’s husband was hell-bent on destroying Amurka, and now they seem genuinely befuddled as to why that base is pissed off at them for not doing anything about it. The right-wing base may be “poorly educated” but they are smart enough to realize the establishment doesn’t really believe the accusations they throw around to get elected. The scary thing is, the right-wing base does believe the bullshit. Every word of it.

So, keeping in mind that my political prediction skills are non-existent somewhat limited, here’s how I see this election going down. Hillz will carry about 45 states in giving reality teevee guy an epic beat-down, and on her coat-tails the Democrats will re-take control of the Senate. Then, upon taking office, she will nominate Michelle’s husband for the empty Supreme Court seat the Republicans refused to fill. All around the country, Republican heads will pop like teenager’s zits. It will be glorious to behold.

Is Peak Wingnut Just A Dream?

For my own health and sanity, I’ve been doing my level best to avoid paying any attention whatsoever to Republican politics right now, but honestly, no matter how studiously you look away from a dumpster fire, you can still smell it. As if the presidential primary wasn’t bad enough, the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has finally given Republicans in the Senate a reason to openly take us where they’ve wanted to go all along. They are refusing to do their constitutionally mandated jobs and hold confirmation hearings for the next Supreme Court Justice… because the preznit is a Democrat. The Republicans have decided that Democrats are illegitimate as a party and are refusing to govern with them.

Meanwhile, in the aforementioned primary, reality teevee guy is still bitch-slapping all comers. Things have gotten pretty desperate for my pre-season pick. Word on the intertoobz is Jeb(!) has dragged big brother dubya away from his paint-by-numbers set to campaign for him in South Carolina. I refuse to go looking for video, just the sound of dubya’s voice would probably give me flashbacks. I might risk it if I heard he was about to start issuing apologies to the entire world — he could start with the Dixie Chicks and work his way up to Iraq — but not for his little brother’s pathetic campaign.

Seriously, Jeb(!), if you can’t crack the top 3 in this field, you need to hang it up. You are getting your ass handed to you by a reality teevee guy campaigning for Emperor, a religious nut-job campaigning for God-Emperor, and your own dumbass protégé from Florida, who only wants to be preznit because being a Senator is too much work.

From the outside looking in, it seems like the Republican party is currently destroying itself. I sincerely hope I am right about that, but I know that no matter what happens, whichever one of these furballs the rabid Republican base coughs up for the nomination, he is already guaranteed about 45% of the votes come November. And that is why I just can’t watch.

Fear Itself

It might be because I am currently fighting off my annual head cold that will inevitably sink into my chest causing me to cough all winter, but I’m feeling a little nervous lately.

For years I have made fun of the paranoia and outright cowardice that emanates from our political right wing every time a terrorist attack is carried out by Muslims. When a white guy goes into a church or a movie theater and starts stacking up bodies like fire wood, conservative Amurka will shrug and somberly say something inane about the costs of freedom, but, whether it happens in Paris or San Bernadino, there is something about the killers being Muslim that makes the right wing come unglued. It’s like they think Muslims have super powers.

On Sunday night, Michelle’s husband addressed the nation on this very issue, stating calmly and rationally — for the umpteenth time — that ISIL does not speak for Islam, we are not going to give ISIL what it wants, we are not going to war with Islam, we are not going to invade and occupy any other sovereign nations, and everybody needs to calm the fuck down. (Okay, not in those exact words.) Nobody was listening.

I’m feeling nervous because we are coming up on an election year, and since the GOP really doesn’t have any ideas beyond tax cuts for the wealthy, the clown car is playing up the fear. Donald Trump now says we need to close the borders (to Muslims) and shut down the intertoobz to keep ISIL from radicalizing our children. Of course, you can discount most things Trump says because reality teevee guy will say pretty much anything, as long as it keeps the cameras pointed at him. But the problem is, the rest of the GOP candidates are not putting any effort into calling him out on this stuff because they are afraid he will say mean things about them and make their poll numbers drop. This results in the entire GOP primary conversation moving into a dark and scary place. They’ve gone from the ludicrous debate about who would eliminate the most departments of our government to the truly insane argument over who would be willing to kill the most civilians in order to defeat ISIL.

Thanks to our complicit media, this nuttiness is spilling over into everyday life. I want to share with you some comments I copied from the intertoobz. They range from gun-fondling tough talk like this:

Before the victims’ bodies were even cold Dear Leader was blaming inanimate objects (guns) for the mayhem and charting a course for even more firearm restrictions by way of executive order (the Constitution be dämned — why let a serious crisis go to waste). Of course, had this happened in Texas the followers of the religion of peace would have, most assuredly, received return fire and the death toll would almost certainly have been lower.

Through lots of outright calls for a religious war (a really bad idea, says the atheist) like these:

However, the reality is in our doorway and turning a blind eye to this evil will only allow escalation as our leader has proven. We ALL must band together and drop the PC crap! God bless America!

**********

The animals migrating into Europe refuse to assimilate demanding the native people do the changing to accommodate their muslim culture.

On another matter, due to our politically correct culture, we will never face the truth about the % of muslims that support Jihad (radicals). There are many who will never physically participate in an act of terror that quietly support the genocide of the gentiles and there are many that will. I did a google search on the topic and there are surveys and studies that suggest the number is quite frightening.

**********

We’re not at war with terrorism — that’s just a tactic. We’re not at war with radicals — the so-called radicals are actually the most devout. We’re at war with Islam. Until we can stop the PC crap and face this truth we will continue to see an escalation in violence as the “religion of peace” follows the instructions set forth in their “holy” book in a quest for world-wide domination.

And of course, the preznit is a traitor:

Dear leader won’t stray from his plan on bringing in Syrian refugees. He’s clearly putting the American people at risk because there’s no way to screen people who you can’t properly ID or find their past. His actions and comments on this issue and the complete lack luster effort in dealing with ISIS makes you really wonder what side he’s really on. He’s a complete failure top to bottom. Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us, it’s a sad state of affairs my friends. 

**********

This all works in to the President’s agenda for the USA. He’s anti-colonialism and wants this country to become second rate. With this in mind look at what he’s done (or not done). To me it’s obvious. He feels that the US economy was built by the wealthy upon the back of the working stiff whom he thinks was taken advantage of in this effort. His liberal bend is so destructive to the noteworthy goals this country’s founders embraced that he really should be removed immediately…either by impeachment or military coup.

The “political correctness” trope comes directly from the GOP primary candidates. I don’t know where the “Dear Leader” stuff comes from, but it seems to be fairly common usage. I don’t listen to Rush and the gang on hate radio. Neither do I watch Fox News Outrage channel nor visit right-wing websites. And that sums up the point I was making about the campaign fear and hatred spilling over into everyday life; all of the comments I quoted above came from a single thread on a motorcycle forum I often visit in search of the latest farkles for my fancy German motorcycle. It’s getting harder to ignore the idiocy.

Clown Car Craziness

The Paris terrorist attacks have patriots all over Amurka cowering under their beds, alternately blaming our preznit and pleading with him to launch another pointless invasion of the Middle East. To his credit, Michelle’s husband has thus far resisted those calls. I wonder if he’s also resisting the urge to stand in front of a world map and say “Paris is in France. I’m not preznit of France.”

The Republican primary has gone full-frontal reality teevee, pandering to the rabid rump of their party. It’s a race to see who can make the most outrageous comment or promise to do the most unconstitutional things to Muslims. (And of course, the guy with the reality teevee resume and zero experience or knowledge of government starts flirting with fascism and jumps ahead in the polls.)

Charles Pierce has posted some thoughts on Ted Cruz basically accusing the perznit of treason.

As to repeating Daesh’s arguments, well, there were seven Christians on that stage, all of whom believe that we are in a Clash Of Civilization with some tech-savvy hoodlums, and all of whom believe in the political salience of the return of the 12th Imam. And it’s not the president that’s turning a group of vicious thugs into the vanguard of a worldwide caliphate—which, by the way, is exactly the way they think of themselves. It’s you guys.

If you haven’t bookmarked his blog for daily reading, you are really missing out. The guy is bringing it, every day. 

On Friday night, every single candidate expressed the view that the Supreme Court’s role in constitutional questions is largely an advisory one. Mike Huckabee stated flatly that a president simply should ignore Supreme Court decisions with which the president disagrees. Naturally, because this was the hay-shaking Bible-banging crowd, the discussion took place within the context of the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of marriage equality earlier this year.

Despite the mainstreaming of what were once extreme right-wing views, I hold out hope that a “rational right” still exists, but I fear they are what we now refer to as Democrats. After decades of a deliberate dumbing-down of our politics via the right-wing noise machine, the ignorant-and-angry, hollering-at-the-world crowd may be all that is left of the Republican party. We may have reached Peak Wingnut… post-factual reality.

 

 

First Sortie

Yesterday morning, as part of a reconnaissance mission prior to this year’s War on Christmas (© Fox News Outrage Channel), I ventured off the estate, masquerading as a irritable, middle-aged white man. For my disguise I used clothes from my closet and, uh… my face. I wanted to get a genuine feel for the area, put my finger on the pulse of the town, so to speak. I went to the barber shop.

Long story short, as far as intelligence gathering goes, I pretty much came up empty. Some highlights:

One of the barbers is a big Donald Trump fan. He thinks the Donald is saying all the things people want to hear. I suppressed my gag reflex and nodded sagely. Customers and barbers alike concurred that we don’t need any more foreigners in Amurka, especially here in Misery.

One customer, a loquacious and jowly man, said he would like to see Ted Cruz come up in the polls, since he was really the only “true conservative” in the race. I hadn’t been expecting weapons-grade stupidity so early in the day. I had to slip into the bathroom and do some breathing exercises to keep from having an anxiety attack.

When I returned, the topic of conversation had turned to Hillary Clinton. Whiteface Hill. Hillz. The Hildebeast. There was unanimous agreement that she represents a grave danger to all that is decent and holy, and it doesn’t matter who the Republican nominee is, as long as they beat her. I held my breath and waited for my opportunity.

It came when jowly voiced his concern that “some people are more interested in electing the first female preznit than they are in the damage these liberals are doing to the country. They already elected the first black preznit, and look where that’s got us.”

I commiserated. “Exactly” I said. “But I don’t see how she’s not the next preznit. She’s going to collect every vote Obummer did, plus she’s going to grab a bunch of the female vote from whichever Republican wins the nomination. I don’t see how they can stop her.”

The barber shop actually went a little quiet, and several people kind of shifted in their seats and glanced around like they smelled a fart. I watched jowly’s eyes go a little dead as the logic of what I had said sank in. One of the barbers nodded his head and allowed as how that sounded about right, as much as he hated the thought of it.

After a minute or so, jowly came back with one of those made-up-on-the-spot statistics about how 62% of the country thinks Hillary is an outright liar, and maybe that will stop her, but everyone there could see his heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t say much after that, just paid for his crew cut and left.

I took his place in the chair. I don’t know if the barber was onto me or he just had the shakes from a hangover, but he nicked me twice shaving around my ears and neck.

Neocon Redux

I had to work over the weekend, so luckily I missed most of the hand-wringing from our national press over the latest terrorist attack in Paris. The teevee was on in the break room, so I did catch a minute or two in passing when I popped in there every now and then to get a Snickers bar drink of water. On one such occasion, Sunday morning, I saw Jeb(!) Bush on Meet the Press, and he said something that stopped me in my tracks and left me standing there with my mouth open. From the NBC transcript:

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask it this way. You heard, Ben Rhodes believes we are at war. The French president says we are at war. There are wars that are tactical, and then there’s a war against an ideology. How do you defeat an ideology, governor?

JEB BUSH:

Well, you take it to them in Syria and Iraq. You destroy ISIS. And then you build a coalition to replace this radical Islamic terrorist threat to our country and to Europe and to the region with something that is more peace loving. We have to be engaged in this. This is not something you can contain. Each day that ISIS exists, it gains new energy and more recruits around the world.

Whereupon Chuck Todd gave him the horse laugh and said “Come the fuck on, Jeb(!), how are we supposed to take you seriously when you come on the show spouting recycled talking points from your dipshit big brother’s disastrous clusterfuck in Iraq? We just spent a decade and a trillion dollars ‘coalition building’ in Iraq, and it failed so miserably that a big chunk of Iraq is now part of the Islamic State. And now you want a do-over? And this time double the fun by including Syria in the mix? Get the fuck out of here.”

Okay, I made that last part up. I wonder if Chuck Todd even noticed that Jeb(!) basically ignored his question. An ideology is a set of ideas or opinions or beliefs, and so, very obviously, not bound by any borders. Yet, when asked how to defeat an ideology, Jeb(!) promptly named two countries we need to invade pronto. Chuck Todd did not ask a follow-up question, but to his credit, a few minutes later, he did stop tonguing Bush’s ball sack long enough to ask this:

CHUCK TODD:

Some of your closest advisors, or who you put on paper, are people that were members of your brother’s administration. A foreign policy in the Middle East that essentially the American public rejected in 2008. Why should they trust you to bring back that same foreign policy?

JEB BUSH:

The world is going to be dramatically different in 2017 than it was in 2000. We need to be focused on the future. And this is a threat to Western civilization. There’s no way to deny this. This is how they’re organized. And containing ISIS isn’t going to work. Taking it out, we had the capability of doing it. And the focus ought to be on the future, not the past.

Seriously?!? The [insert enemy of choice] are a “threat to Western civilization.” “Containment doesn’t work.” We gotta “take ’em out.” We need to “look ahead, not backwards.” He’s just replaying dubya’s greatest hits, not even bothering to change the words. I thought Jeb(!) was just being loyal to his brother, but apparently he really doesn’t have anything new to offer. I can’t believe I picked this guy to win the Republican nomination. I need a do-over, too.

High-Octane Evil

It is only with age that one appreciates the importance of memories and realizes that knowledge without experience is merely data. I love that endorphin rush I get when some random bit of information triggers an avalanche of old memories. It must be why old people live in the past so much. It’s also why dementia is so frightening.

I can remember some specific things about the summer of 1977, but there are many more things that I simply know.

For instance, I know I was 14 years old; I remember looking forward to the fall when I would turn 15, and get that coveted driving permit.

I know it was the summer that Elvis died; I remember women my mother’s age losing their shit about that.

I know disco was all the rage, but I remember it as the summer of Bob Seger’s Night Moves and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, both still among my all-time favorites.

I was far from politically aware as a kid, so I was oblivious to our misadventures in the Middle East, but I know 1977 was only a few years after the Arab oil embargo, and I remember my parents bitching about high prices and long lines at the gas pumps. I remember we had a new preznit who talked a lot about conservation and alternative energy sources. I know nobody was listening.

Which leads me to the cause of my little trip down memory lane; a lengthy (three parts so far) story I’ve been reading this past week at Inside Climate News. It turns out, in July of 1977, while I was busy getting the right side pants leg of my Levi’s Super Bells tangled in my bike chain, one of Exxon Corporation’s senior scientists was speaking to a committee of their top management executives:

…Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity.

“In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” …

If you haven’t read this story — (and I highly recommend you do, here is Part One) — you are probably thinking Exxon just swept this information under the rug and continued with business as usual. But no, they did the right thing. They assembled a team of top-notch scientists and engineers, and spent millions to learn all they could about this emerging climate crisis.

Exxon responded swiftly. Within months the company launched its own extraordinary research into carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and its impact on the earth. Exxon’s ambitious program included both empirical CO2 sampling and rigorous climate modeling. It assembled a brain trust that would spend more than a decade deepening the company’s understanding of an environmental problem that posed an existential threat to the oil business.

Not only did they do the right thing, they seemingly did it for the right reasons. Internal memos show Exxon viewed climate change as an opportunity to conduct a project that would benefit mankind. It’s laughable to picture an international corporation doing something like that now, but astonishingly, Exxon actually helped create a good deal of the science they now routinely shit all over. From Part Three:

Through much of the 1980s, Exxon researchers worked alongside university and government scientists to generate objective climate models that yielded papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Their work confirmed the emerging scientific consensus on global warming’s risks.

Yet starting in 1989, Exxon leaders went down a different road. They repeatedly argued that the uncertainty inherent in computer models makes them useless for important policy decisions. Even as the models grew more powerful and reliable, Exxon publicly derided the type of work its own scientists had done. The company continued its involvement with climate research, but its reputation for objectivity began to erode as it campaigned internationally to cast doubt on the science.

As I noted above, there is still more of this story to come. We already knew the ending, now we have the beginning. The messy middle, the truth of Exxon’s reversal on this issue, will assuredly be about money. Notably, it came at the end of the Reagan administration, which ushered in our current era of government de-regulation and unconstrained corporate greed.

I can’t help thinking about the Butterfly Effect and all the other possible outcomes. Where would we be now if Exxon had continued down its path of corporate responsibility? Or if Amurka had listened to Jimmy Carter and begun constructing an alternative energy infrastructure in the ’70s? Would our lust for oil have abated by now? Or would we still be reeling from one catastrophe to the next in the Middle East?

Does it even matter any more? We are all pretty much powerless to do anything about it, so we might as well relax and listen to some tunes. Sing it, Stevie.

Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down?…