February 6, 2013 - January 30, 2013
Thursday, March 22, 2012
It can't be. It just can't be.
Because we're too smart. We'd have seen it already. And besides we know that everybody in
politics is exactly as lousy as everybody else in politics. Because we really
really hate our Republicans. Don't confuse us.
We're the smart ones. We know shit. We do. And we hate Rockefeller
HOWDY DOODY FACTOR. I listened to Rush Limbaugh today, which I only
do at odd
intervals anymore, because he reminds me of me. He's not so funny
anymore. He's angry, frustrated, alarmed, and openly acknowledging that
even his own talents are unequal to conveying the immensity of the
threat to our republic. He didn't take a call in the first hour. He
was, almost desperately, trying to drive home the significance of
Obama's announcement today that he will seek to remove the bureaucratic
barriers to building the lower half of the Keystone pipeline.
I won't reprise all his arguments. Just a select few that are
responsible for his sense that he hasn't, that no one has, done enough
to expose the rank, blatantly arrogant and cynical dishonesty of the
president and his cheerleaders in the press. Just yesterday, the
president dropped the line "there is no silver bullet that can bring
down gas prices" from his energy stump speech because today he is
taking credit for the Oklahoma to Texas portion of the Keystone
pipeline, which he never had any power to stop since it is a separate
project from the international Canada-to-U.S. portion and was going to
be built anyway. The president has no authority to halt pipeline
projects within the U.S. But here he was, claiming that he is blazing
the trail to oil independence. And in the same speech, he is still
claiming that nothing we do in the U.S. can affect world oil prices. So
he wants credit for something he insists can have no positive effect.
And anyone who says otherwise belongs to the Flat Earth Society. The
drip-drip of contempt he feels for all those of us who feel more U.S.
oil means a corresponding decrease in dependence on foreign oil is
acid. But he's taking bold decisive action for the American people we
should all admire. Logical mindfuck.
By the beginning of the second hour, Rush was actually sputtering. How
can anyone not see how coldly calculating and scruple-free this
president is? How can the state of journalism have fallen so low so
quickly that there is literally no one in the mainstream press who
isn't in the tank for whatever he says? His lies are obvious, directly
linked to polls, and not only not vetted by the MSM but positively
sustained with manipulated facts and made-up confirmations. He even has
the nerve to blame external factors which are directly his
responsibility and which he has ignored from day one -- like the
instability in the mideast associated with Iran and the Arab Spring he
has done nothing whatever to address.
Rush went so far as to threaten to do his first hour all over again,
backing off only because he knows it would become boring.
How I feel when I get a comment like this:
Your main point? That Obama needs to
go, or that anyone who is "...so blind and ignorant and selfish as to
piss on the future of your nation and its children..."?
Given that we (seem) to agree that this happens on BOTH sides of the
aisle by both politicians and voters, would you be so willing to agree
with the following sentences?
"I think people who voted for Bush in 2000 committed a mortal sin. They
can be forgiven if they confess and make atonement. People who still
defend and support Bush are actually evil. I cannot be their friend on
any level, and there is no excuse -- be it ignorance, folly, or
miseducation -- that can possibly make it right."
"I think people who will vote for Santorum OR Romney will be committing
a mortal sin. People who still defend and support Santorum OR Romney
are actually evil. I cannot be their friend on any level, and there is
no excuse -- be it ignorance, folly, or miseducation -- that can
possibly make it right."
Nah...probably not. Even though they are just as guilty of ignoring the
constitution when it serves their purposes and wave it proudly when it
So why not?
Just because they (Santorum, Romney, & Bush) are LESS "evil" in
some way? Or because their detours from the constitution are somehow
OK? Or maybe "a fait accompli makes morality go away"?
Way I see it (and what the fuck do I know, I'm just the guitar player
rubbing 2 pennies here), whether it's Obama's destruction of the
constitution or Santorum/Romney's destruction of the constitution, the
constitution ends up destroyed.
Romney doesn't spell victory to me. Ditto Santorum. They might just
slow the slide by patching the hole in the Titanic so that it slides a
tad slower into the murky abyss. The economy will at least
superficially improve, so I guess we get to drink champagne and eat
caviar in the penthouse as the country burns instead of swilling cheap
gin and munching Cheetos on the bumper.
That the plan?
Nah....I don't like those scenarios at all.
Yeah. Everything's all the same. Right? That would be the left wing
argument, wouldn't it? Every sin is equally immoral, and so the right
response is to condemn everyone and go stick my head in the oven.
Here's what one brave
moviemaker -- one with a lot to lose -- is prepared to do:
Director Steven Spielberg, who donated
more than $87,000 to the Democratic Party in the last election cycle,
has a co-producer who feels a little differently than he does about
President Barack Obama.
Meet Gerald R. Molen: Spielbergís co-producer on Hollywood blockbusters
such as "Schindlerís List," "Jurassic Park" and "Minority Report."
Molen is the driving force behind ď2016,Ē a documentary -- based on
"The Roots of Obama's Rage," a book written by Dinesh D'Souza -- about
President Obama scheduled to hit theaters this summer.
Molen promises, that like D'Souza's book, the film will take viewers
deep into the heart and mind of our president, a leader he contends is
unique in the course of our nationís history because of his far-left
The filmís trailer debuted at CPAC 2012 earlier this year and was
followed by a moving speech by DíSouza himself. The film's, as
explained by DíSouza, is simple: Obama is not a traditional Democrat
like Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis. Nor is Obama akin to left-wing
liberals such as John Kerry or Jimmy Carter.
Traditional liberals, DíSouza explained, only want to redistribute
wealth within America. Obama, he says, wants to redistribute Americaís
power among smaller nations throughout the world.
Why? DíSouza explained that Obama is literally trying to fulfill the
title of his book, ďDreams from My Father.Ē Obamaís father, who was
Kenyan, viewed the world from an anti-Colonial perspective. Molen says
Obama now wants to use his power as the American president to rid the
world of colonialism Ö starting with downsizing the very power of the
DíSouza explained the premise further:
What is this anti-colonialism? It is,
in fact, the most powerful ideology in Asia, in Africa, in South
America, in the past 100 years. If you want to know why thereís
anti-Americanism around the world, itís not just because of Islamic
radicalism - that would help to explain it in the Middle East. Itís
The anti-colonial ideology very simply says that the world is divided
into the oppressors and the oppressed. There is the West, now led by
America. Then there are the poor people led by Asia, Africa, and South
America. The anti-colonial ideology is that the rich countries got rich
by invading, occupying, and looting the poor countries. The ideology
says that to fight against all of this, you have to put a leash on the
rogue elephant that is America. It also says that there are
concentrations of economic power: The banks, the insurance companies,
the oil companies - this is the economic wing of colonialism. And what
you have to do to fight this is to use the power of the state to
Molen named his film ď2016Ē because
heís attempting to demonstrate what America and the world could look
like if Obama is re-elected. And that, Molen and D'Souza believe, would
be a dangerous thing for those who want to preserve the American dream.
DíSouza told the crowd that Obama's second term would mean the
president "won't be tethered to public opinion, he wonít have to run
for re-election again, he will be truly, in a sense, a free man in the
White House to do what he wants.Ē
Molenís ď2016Ē is scheduled to be released nationwide this summer.
And don't trot out the "lame duck" argument. The first term has shown
that Obama is adept at and devoted to bypassing the congress, the
courts, and every other constitutional constraint to govern by 'czar,'
edict, and regulation.
But Republicans are as bad as Democrats, so we might as well fold our
tents and go home. Give me a break.
What I'm beginning to suspect about the dismal pessimists on our side
is that the smarter they are, the dumber they are.
The Democrats have succeeded in creating an elite political class that
owns the media, academia, the federal bureaucracy, and the leadership
positions in their party's congressional caucus. The Republicans in
congress are the dumb ones who didn't do what most capitalists do --
make prosperous and rewarding lives in the private sector. (My answer
to the question, "Why do so many Republican congressmen have bad
Are Republicans occasionally corrupt, gullible, and inept, so much so
that they constantly play into their opponents' hands? You betcha.
But that's the good news. The Democrat political class -- Kennedys,
Rockefellers, Byrds, etc -- want to rule us all. The Republicans want
to get reelected. Which would you rather have in charge of the federal
Republicans may misunderstand parts of the constitution, but they
revere it and will obey when the rulings go against them. Too much, it
can be argued, but that's also why they never seem to understand the
danger of Democrat nominees who want to junk the whole thing in favor
of their own unique ideas of 'social justice.'
Our presidential candidates are all dumb in the same way. They never
seem to fully comprehend the danger of a political class that outwits
them at every turn and always makes them look like idiots. Which they
They're our best hope. Don't you get that? You're all pissed off
because Gingrich is so smart he keeps sounding like he's a charter
member of the political class. And everybody else has been a flavor of
the month -- Cain, Perry, Bachmann, and now Santorum --all dumb as
rocks. Except Romney. Who's maybe not as dumb as he is clueless. As if
he thinks the presidency is the kind of national CEO Calvin Coolidge
saw it as and flatly fails to understand the need for vision, fiery
rhetoric and something called charisma. He thinks we're hiring a
federal accountant, and accountants are supposed to be meticulously
If you want smaller, more limited government, wouldn't you actually
prefer the dumb ones? Balance the books, you dummies. Leave vision to
the private sector. We can handle dreams of the future on our own. They
don't suffer from Napoleonic fantasies. They don't have the gravitas
for it. And maybe they have the humble decency not to dream in that
I'll close with an item of pure triviality. I've written before about
P.G. Wodehouse, a genius who was always regarded as a personal
mediocrity except for his purely entertaining, apolitical fiction. He
did a series of golf stories, usually involving indifferent golfers who
needed a match-play victory to win the hand of a girl. One that comes
to me now is the story of a young man who had a notoriously volatile
temper and was faced with playing his potential boss for a CFO position
he needed to, uh, win the hand of his girl. He tried manfully to
contain his temper, but a series of unlucky shots resulted in his
tossing his golf clubs into a water hazard and stalking off the course.
Professional and romantic prospects in ruins, he waited in the
clubhouse for the verdict of his once-intended boss. Who said, "My boy,
there's no way you could ever steal from me and my firm. I can see
every flicker of emotion on your face. Congratulations! You've got the
Deep down smart comes our way once in a long while in the political
arena. How we got Ronald Reagan. We had Sarah Palin, but we stood by
and let the media gang rape her onto the sidelines. Until we get
another smart one, dumb and transparent will have to do. Which is far
far better than evil. Unless you'd rather suck your thumb in the dark.
What does it all mean, if anything? I think the two stories are
related, if only philosophically. But I'll get into that part of it
First, the Saints. Anybody struck by the team name here? It's never
been meant or understood as a Christian reference, has it? It's about
New Orleans, conjuring images of jazz funerals featuring the classic
song "The Saints Go Marching In." The ascendancy of the football team
really dates to the Hurricane Katrina debacle, long blamed on federal
government failure to bail the city out of a largely self-imposed
catastrophe. But we all wanted them to come back from disaster, and we
joined gleefully in the narrative (utterly false) that Sean Payton and
Drew Brees and the Saints restored the spirit of a defeated city and
made resurrection a reality.
There's that. Of course, to the extent that New Orleans has recovered
it's due to the efforts of Governor Bobby Jindal, who has reclaimed
power and authority from the feds to a state government that knows how
to get things done without an endlessly extended hand begging for
largesse. Still a long way to go, though. Major obstacle? The culture of
a city which calls itself "The Big Easy" and is notoriously constant in
its search for shortcuts, convenient excuses, morally ambiguous
choices, and an historical tolerance for all manner of personal and
institutional corruption. Rot is so engrained in this place that it's
even considered part of the city's architectural charm.† Everything in
New Orleans reeks of mold, mildew, dank water, and the many flavors of entropic
decay. Disagree? Who would not recognize "decadent" as a keyword in any
tourist-attracting description of this city? Vegas is sin in neon. New
Orleans is sin incarnate.
Which brings us to the scandal of the New Orleans "Saints." Saints in
what belief system? How about this one? Whatever we can get away with.
Now, apparently, they're the French Quarter of football. Successfully
sleazy. Colorfully corrupt. We admire the canniest rogues among us. And
what's the big deal? We've got it covered. It's called Zydeco:
Infectious. Like many things, good
That said, I'm troubled by the possibility of giving too much credit to
the NFL for coming down on all this rot like a ton of bricks. The NFL
isn't a free market institution wielding the power of consumers who are
voting with their pocketbooks. The NFL is a government-created
monopoly. No failure by any NFL team is going to reduce ticket prices.
These aren't set by the market. They're set by the power of monopoly,
which, as any Econ 101 student knows, are an order of magnitude higher
than a free market would produce.
Let me put it another way. What would a free market response to the
Saints bounty system be? It probably wouldn't be a nanny state lashing
of the supposedly guilty in the hypocritical pretense that football
isn't about hurting the other guy and if possible knocking him out of
the game. It would consist of fan appraisals of what players, coaches,
and pundits have to say. Do they want an all-powerful czar to intercede
and tell them what to think and how and why? Do they want to decide for
themselves how much violence is too much violence? Do they want to
decide to vote with their feet if their beloved game is, finally, too
destructive and violent to support with their own money? Anecdotally, I
was young when Howard Cosell called for the abolition of boxing. He'd
made his career from it. I thought he was nuts. Now I see Muhammed Ali
and I understand precisely what he was talking about. But there is no
boxing monopoly with a commissioner like Goodell who can pretend that
promoters are really truly interested in the physical well being of the
meat that makes the money.
What does any of this have to do with Tebow? Maybe nothing. But Rich
Eisen, who has already repeatedly professed his astonishment at the NFL
penalties on the Saints, is also already proclaiming his conviction
that New Yorkers will not succumb to the Tebow spell. Without
articulating it in so many words, he is eloquent in averring that the Big Apple will
want nothing to do with Tebow's Christian iconography and he seems to
be licking his lips at the humiliation which will descend upon the
person everyone who's met him admires and respects. A sacrifice
waiting to happen.
Nanny state. We're there. Goodell is playing the Obama role. He knows
best. Because he's in charge. The ticket prices will never ever
decline. Bounties will persist in whatever form, even if they're
precipitated rhetorically by pundits like Eisen. And the Tebows will be
In the end it's not about the power to punish the guilty or the
innocent. It's about the power to punish period, the ability to use
power for the purposes of guile, deceit, manipulation, and control.
Think about it.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
tiresome. Little boys need to be stopped in their tracks.
Everybody knows this. Why does everyone deny it? Crap.
Here's how it went down when I was a kid, more than 50 years ago.
My dad would tell me that the next time I did something (he was
specific), I'd get a spanking. Then I would do it. My mother was a
notorious snitch. But not as bad as as my sister. My dad would tell me
I was going to get the promised spanking. We went into the bathroom. He
sat on the toilet. He wasn't angry, just resolved. I bent over his lap.
He didn't pull my pants down. He smacked me three to four times. It
hurt (a lot) but it left no bruises. He was making a point. It was
judicial. Sentence carried out, he was not angry; he was my father.
Afterwards, we were cool. Think about it. No simmering resentment. All
done. A transaction carried out,
I always knew that I deserved the spankings. He stopped administering
them when he could do worse with words. Which was, even then, never
about yelling, profanity, or name-calling. He expressed his disappointment. Which was far far
wose than spanking.
What I'm tired of:† the term 'spanking' used as a synonym for
thwacking kids on the butt out of instantaneous anger, using belts or paddles or
worse on their bare buttocks, and actual beatings.That's not spanking. It's violence.
News for the idiot generation. Little boys need spankings. The kind
I've described above. If they don't get them, they become slovenly,
ungovernable little assholes who eventually get shot by the cops.
Sorry if that interferes with your green tea break. Truth.
As you were.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Political versus Personal Civility:
Where do you
make your stand?
didn't want to make a fuss. "I delivered their ashes."
I'm not telling anyone else what to do. I'm just
asking a question. And reporting on my own emotional state. I'm fully
prepared to lose friends over politics this year.
I get the feeling that a lot of other people aren't. They have liberal
friends and so they avoid arguments by remaining silent or tactful or
noncommital in their responses. I used to be live and let live on this
point, but no longer.
I think people who voted for Obama in 2008 committed a mortal sin. They
can be forgiven if they confess and make atonement. People who still
defend and support Obama are actually evil. I cannot be their friend on
any level, and there is no excuse -- be it ignorance, folly, or
miseducation -- that can possibly make it right.
People, particularly on our side, tend to be personally generous. Yes, they have some bad ideas but I
care for them and they have always cared for me about the truly
important life matters, the state of our lives, children, marriages,
health, and careers. I have always cared for them in the same way and I
will be lesser if I default on this most intimate of human contracts.
Not along ago I did a "Little
Round Top" post. I said there are†times which rarely announce
themselves when everything is on the line. To my mind, this presidential
election year is one of those times. When the personal is
subordinate to the big picture. The Civil War was one of those times. Ambrose
Bierce wrote his best and most powerful stories about this rare
phenomenon. Brothers killing brothers. Sons killing fathers. Why, in
fact, he wrote his scorching masterpiece The Devil's Dictionary. Because
he knew both the value and the danger of ideas. One could argue it made
him the first American nihilist. But it was also clear that there was a
level of stupidity that could earn his contempt regardless of the
claims of human affection.
Where we are. Everyone knows I'm obsessed with the holocaust.
So it won't be any surprise that I continually ask myself what was
happening among middle-class German friendships between 1933 and 1938.
"We love Gunther and Ingrid, and their kinder have played with ours for
years. We know they're good people, so should we say anything when
they sound so supportive of the new National Socialist regime? Should
we? We don't want to offend them unnecessarily. We're still planning our vacation together come
spring. Nothing really terrible can happen, can it?"
Yes. This time the intended victims are ordinary hard-working Americans
who don't think they owe more to the past and the federal government
than they owe themselves and their own families. What monsters. Except
monsters are (supposed to be) good at fighting back. But whenever you stay silent or
overlook their bile, they're turning you into this:
Is it time, maybe,
to quit being a patsy for friends
who sneer at you for your unmentioned lowness?
Little Round Tops can be personal too.
In Germany the war began in 1933. We're at war here right now. Where do
you stand? When and where will you make your personal stand?