2013: The Worst of the Rant
[A]s the weeks leading up to his inauguration wore on, my excitement slowly dissipated. By Inauguration Day 2009 it was gone. That's when it hit me: "What's President Obama going to be doing for the next eight years?" I asked out loud, "The same thing that black people in this country have been doing for the last four centuries: Cleaning up the mess left behind by lazy and ignorant white people! WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL???
I am now more convinced than ever that the "Grand Old Party" will be extinct in ten years' time. Recently John Boehner told an audience of "moderate" Republicans (They still exist???) that the president was attempting to shove their party into "history's dust bin". That's an unfair accusation. Their mortal wound is self-inflicted. Unfortunately there is still time for them to do some serious damage to this country.
I live less than forty miles from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. I visit there as often as I can because I really love the place. I always feel a little better about this doomed country whenever I leave there. It is truly a fitting memorial to a great American leader, arguably the greatest in history. I might be persuaded to visit the Bush Library someday - if only out of morbid curiosity you understand. I imagine any place that is designed for no other purpose than to put a sugar coating on the sick and twisted legacy of George W. Bush ought to be just oodles of fun to visit! I liken it to putting a smiley face on the carcass a decomposing pig. "Whoa! Lookie thar, Martha, ain't that purdy!"....One does not envy the people in charge of developing the exhibits for the Dubya Library. Whoever the poor bastards are I hope they're paid quite handsomely for their efforts. It takes real talent to turn a mountain of chickenshit into a tasty plate of chicken salad.
Show me a person who is seriously alarmed by these conjured-up "scandals" and I'll show you someone who isn't paying attention - or who is watching way-too-much Fox Noise. That's not to imply that there isn't policy to be reassessed or personnel to discipline, but let's put things in their proper perspective, okay? To refer to this administration (as many Republicans are curiously doing) as "Nixonian" is bit over the top, don'cha think? Comparing Barack Obama to Dick Nixon makes about as much sense as comparing the sniffles to an advanced case of terminal brain cancer. Let's get a grip here.
There have been nearly three-thousand gun-related deaths in this diseased land of ours since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14 of last year. Three of them occurred one night a couple of weeks ago less than twenty-five miles from where I sit - when an unknown gunman entered a house in Newburgh, NY and shot and killed a woman and two men. Although a relatively small city, Newburgh's homicide rate is ridiculously high. That holds true for the rest of the country. As long as the victims are proportionately poor and non-white nothing is going to change. Our "representatives" will see to that. Maybe when a few of their children are sacrificed on the alter of greed and stupidity it'll wake them up. Maybe.
Washington will be a bit less weird when [Michelle Bachmann] heads off into the sunset in January of 2015, which is a good thing - for your purposes - not for mine. Michele is the gift that keeps giving. She won't be going away from the national stage, you can count on that. But one can't blame her for wanting to leave DC. As the District of You-Know-Where gets nuttier by the hour it's difficult for a real media whore to stand out. As bat-shit-crazy as this Congresswoman undeniably is, she's got some serious competition. Insanity junkies are a dime a dozen in Washington these days. The time has come for our gal to strike out on her own. Service to the people doesn't mean a goddamned thing to the likes of Michele Bachmann.
Sarah Palin sabotaged John McCain's decades-long quest to be commander-and-chief - for no other reason than to put her "brand" on the market. She did it by "Going Rogue" the title of her 2009 book. She realized that there was a fortune that could be made outside of the Governor's Mansion - which she cheerfully vacated in the summer of that year. She became a highly-paid commentator on Fox Noise and joined the ranks of Honey Boo Boo as a star of reality TV. Fox finally dumped her last year. The revelations in Game Change had rendered her too embarrassing even for them I suppose.
PREDICTION: Unless those voter ID laws are successfully implemented between now and then, a Democratic administration will succeed another Democratic administration on Inauguration Day 2017. Do you know when the last time that happened? When Franklin Pierce handed over the reigns of power to stuffy old James Buchanan on March 4, 1857. It hasn't happened since - check the history books. And it might very well be that the first black president bequeaths the office to the first woman president. The juiciest irony of all is that most of the Democrats of 1857 were ingrained racists and (it goes without saying) sexist. Had they known of this possibility they would have disbanded the party then and there. Life is funny that way, you know?
The forces of reaction and and suppression have been in a full-tilt FREAK OUT ever since the American people elected the first African American to the White House five years ago. That was something that was never supposed to happen. They had no other choice but to declare a full-scale, state of emergency. Within a matter of months the Republicans were whining about "voter fraud" - an epidemic that was non-existent. Their scheme was to make it as difficult as humanly possible for the traditional Democratic constituency to cast their precious ballots by forcing them to purchase ID cards. That is what is known as a "poll tax".
You've got to hand it to the Republicans. They've got nearly a century-and-a-half of some heavy duty scandals behind them. From Iran/Contra to Watergate to Teapot Dome; jaw-dropping debacles going all the way back to the administration of Ulysses S Grant. That's not to mention the reign of the village idiot from Crawford, Texas, whose entire eight-year-run was one rolling scandal. About the best they could ever pin on the Democrats was the spectacle of the Bill Clinton years - and that was only after years of trying in vain to pin something on the guy. They had to trick him into lying under oath about a fling with a half-witted intern - something that was totally unrelated to what he was testifying about at the time. I think it's interesting that of all these presidents mired in corruption and shame, Clinton is the only one of the lot who had impeachment proceedings brought against him. The history of this nation is just drenched in dandy little ironies like that one.
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt did indeed have a perfectly radical idea. It was their belief that the whole purpose of representation in Washington was not merely to declare war and pass bad laws. They wanted a government that was in partnership with the people. As a result of their vision, they changed the sociological face of the United States forever. Today the right wing wants us to swallow the notion that "government is the problem" and that it should be done away with. We should be seeking the perfection of government - not its abolition.
First and foremost: Fuck Florida. There ought to be a nationwide tourism boycott of what must be the most overrated peninsula on this planet. You want to take your kids to a nice spot for a vacation? Try a mountain lake resort or a national park. To hell with Disney World.
With the creation of the Prison Industrial Complex, you will now see a new breed of lobbyists befouling the halls of congress. They will go there to bribe our "lawmakers" into passing more-and-more punitive laws in order to ensure that those prisons will be doing VERY BIG BUSINESS. We already have the highest percentage of citizens incarcerated than any other country in the world (Land of the free my ass). Expect a prison population explosion in the next decade. This is going to get interesting.
My problem is that this site is an outlet for my anger. Anger isn't as good a motivation as sorrow. The problem is that I'm more angry than sorrowful. In fact I'm in a blind freakin' rage. Also I don't claim to be what I'm not. I've never said that I have a hot line to the Almighty. He has never spoken to me (as He seems to "speak" to so many Republicans these days - Have you noticed that?) I'm not a perfect Christian but I will tell you this: If Mitch McConnell showed up at my doorstep one cold and stormy night - hungry and homeless - I would take him in, feed him and give him a warm bed to sleep on. Were the rolls reversed I don't think old Mitch would reciprocate. In fact I'm certain the old bugger would have me arrested - or shot.
Fifty years ago yesterday, Jim Crow died and went to hell. This year, right around the fiftieth anniversary of the murder of Medgar Evers, the United States Supreme Court raised the old bastard from the dead. Let's put the forces of oppression on notice: There is no way in hell we're going to turn back the clock. They can try to stop the tide from coming in. They can try to stop the moon from rising in the eastern sky at twilight. As a matter of fact, they just might have an easier time of it.
Note to the rest of the world: Planning on a sweet and cozy vacation for the spouse and kiddies? Here's some sound advice you'd be smart to heed: Stay out of the this place. We here in the good ol' USA want you dead. And if we catch you in the wrong place at the wrong time you're a goner, Buster. Of course the odds are much better than fifty/fifty that you'll get out of here alive but why on earth would you want to take such a chance - particularly when your loved ones are involved? Go out and hug a tree during a thunderstorm. It's much safer than visiting the United States of America. Think I'm kidding? Don't mess with us. Stay away from here if you know what's good for you. I'm not kidding.
It is now obvious that the Canadian-born [Ted] Cruz wants to take his weird act nationwide. He's planning on throwing his tinfoil-hat into the ring. It will probably be at least another two years before it's official, but Teddy Boy is planning on becoming president on January 20, 2017. Oh, thank you, fate.
You can expect at least one more mass killing before the year is out. And as more and more people are increasingly able to gain access do these dangerous, rapid-fire, people-killing machines, the carnage will only multiply. Until we wake the hell up, this is the way it's gonna be from now on, kids. Get used to it. Deal with it. Why get all bent-out-of-shape over the inevitable? I'm not. I long ago adjusted to living in a nation in ruins. You ought to, too. Don't worry. Be happy.
The one beautiful thing about this entire mess is that - for all the damage that's being done to the United States - it surely is an amusing spectacle to behold. I'm sure that watching Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned all around him must have been a funny thing to witness as well. You can say anything you want about the times in which we live, but you can't say that they're boring. Anything but. In fact I cannot recall an era more entertaining - in terms of pure ideological insanity - than this one. The ancient Chinese used to say, "May you live in interesting times". It was a blessing and a curse.
If I had been walking this earth one-hundred years ago, I might very well have been a registered Republican. Back in those bygone days they had a Progressive wing that was decades ahead of its time. Kiss those days goodbye forever. The party of Teddy Roosevelt has morphed into the party of Uncle Fester. That's okay. Soon they'll be gone forever. While the Democrats are useless and impotent, there is still a molecule of hope for them. The Republicans, on the other hand, are beyond redemption. The very fact that a bloviating dingbat like Ted Cruz is today one of their most recognizable spokesmen is all the proof you need that this is a party that has lost its mind. All of Boehner's horses and all of Boehner's men will not be able to put that party together again. Farewell, and good riddance.
How ironic that a political party founded on the principal that the black man should be liberated from bondage would commit suicide over the first African American being elected president.
"Obamacare" (The right wing doesn't dare call it by its real name: "Affordable Care") is now the law of the land - passed in both houses of Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. It's certainly not perfect, but as this country moves further to the left in the years to come (it's already happening - deal with it) it can be improved upon and it will be. Bringing it into existence, making it a reality, are merely baby-steps on the path to the bill's ultimate improvement (I can't bring myself to use the word "perfection". It's becoming clearer to me each day that perfection is an illusion).
Unless the Democrats really screw up this golden political moment (as they're not unknown to do) they have nothing to fear from the good fortune of Chris Christie. 2016 will be the the equivalent of shooting a school of brain-damaged fish in a leaky barrel. Their luck is hard to believe. For a right-winger, Chris is as decent as one could ever hope for. That is why he doesn't stand a chance in the Republican primaries. If he is the Dem's "worst nightmare", they should be quite grateful. With nightmares like that, who needs daydreams?
When I was a kid (in my household at least) whenever a major story broke, you went to CBS News no questions asked. Back in the day, that organization was known as "the diamond of the Tiffany Network". Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end; but end they certainly did. That rumbling that you can hear in the faint distance is the sound of Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite doing somersaults in their graves.
Something wonderful ended on November 22nd 1963, not only Jack Kennedy's life, but our sweet optimism. My generation still has faded memories of that America, but we were so young that it seems to us now as a ghost-like dream, a mental daguerreotype. By the time we came of age a decade or so later, this place was damaged - cynical and jaded. Maybe one day the United States will recover from what happened on November 22nd 1963, but I suppose it won't be until the last survivor with a conscious memory of those four dark days passes from the scene.
Conservative Catholics should be grateful. All Catholics should be grateful. This pope - and a whole lot of pesky nuns riding around on buses - are the ones who will save Catholicism. The last twenty years have been the darkest ones in centuries for the Church of Rome (I'll spare you the details - you know what I'm talking about). Francis is resuscitating it. Who was the last pope to take his vow of poverty as seriously as this one? I like this dude!
The NRA types love to jabber away - like diseased little myna birds - about "freedom". We need to came face-to-face with some extremely unpleasant realities: A people who live in a chronic state of mortal terror - wondering when and where the next massacre of innocent little boys and girls will take place may indeed be many things - no argument there! "Free" they are not. Let's just stop kidding ourselves here and now, okay?
This planet is such a dark and unhappy place. At times it can seem unbearable. There is not one of us who couldn't stand a little more love. Not one of us is incapable of giving a little more as well. Rather than cursing the darkness - and each other - let us, instead, light some candles tonight.
So that's it for 2013, my friends. Good riddance. Goodbye.
Happy New Year....(Please, God).
I never use a photograph more than once, but the one at the top of this diatribe of mine got such a nice response when I used it back in August, I figured I'd have another go at it.