Wrapped in the Flag and Carrying a Cross.

18 06 2016

That headline is from a quote by Sinclair Lewis which seems more and more to be chillingly prescient. Here’s another quote appropriate to the topic at hand:

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”- George Santayana

You may be curious about where I’m going with these quotes. I’m going to post a link to a news article here that will make my meaning crystal clear:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/14/politics/newt-gingrich-house-un-american-activities-committee/

Is everyone all through vomiting at the idea? Good. Let us continue.

For those who may have been living in a cave for the past few decades, there is an election approaching. This country has been mired in an election campaign for what seems like six or seven squintillion years. A campaign where the presumed nominee of one of the two major political parties has been openly espousing fascist ideology and overt racism to throngs of cheering supporters. Those same supporters who appear to be just fine with physically attacking anyone who vaguely hints at disagreement with their Leader or anyone with a less than lilly white skin tone. Supporters who have openly warned they would resort to violence if their Leader doesn’t win.

That’s bad enough, but now we have a retired politician from that same major political party saying- on camera- to a news organization that the country needs to return to the halcyon days of yesteryear in the form of the House Un-American Activities Commission. If you aren’t familiar with HUAC, go look it up. I’ll wait.

Here’s a bit of background for those unwilling to learn from history. In the 1950’s, a US Congressman names Joseph McCarthy claimed that he was in possession of a list of communists who had “infiltrated” the US government. He gleefully exploited public fear over the “Red Menace” (OMFG- the eebil rooshians are gonna come pollute our precious bodily fluids!) to establish the House Un-American Activities Commission in order to search out these communist infiltrators, wherever they might be- presumably including under your bed.

And so, the witch hunt was on. American citizens were accused to being communists or communist sympathizers, and the resulting public furor meant most of them lost their jobs and couldn’t get hired anywhere else. People were exhorted to inform on their friends, neighbors, and relatives if there was even a vague hint of “un-American activities”. Fear and prejudice and panic ensued, resulting in the director of the FBI investigating thousands of government employees to determine if they were sufficiently loyal to the United States- essentially based upon whether or not J Edgar Hoover agreed with their politics. Actors, writers, journalists, and publishers joined government workers in the endless search for the evil commies.

Please note that there was no burden of proof involved. Merely being accused was enough to destroy someone’s life and livelihood, and even successfully avoiding getting convicted in court wasn’t enough to undo the damage caused by being denounced.

This is what “the smartest man in the GOP” has publicly called for. On camera.

Never mind that HUAC was a cynically successful ploy by a small number of senior government officials and congressmen to gather more power for themselves. All these few people had to do was continually warn everyone they were in danger from godless communism and should therefore allow the power of the US government to be turned upon US citizens without check or hindrance. And the American people fell for it.

And a large number of Americans are being led down the same path to Hell today by their Leader.

Ooga booga! The evil moose limbs are coming to kill your children. Only we can protect you from this existential threat, but you gotta let us throw out that pesky Constitution in order to keep you safe. We pinky swear these powers will only be used against “them“. Them. The “others“. The people who don’t worship your god the same way you do. The people possessed of insufficiently white skin pigmentation. People who speak other languages. People who disagree with you politically. “Them“.

Shockingly, this message of xenophobia and bigotry is finding eager listeners among people who aren’t willing to use their brains much. Thinking is hard, and so is remembering lessons learned from long ago. Sure, it turns out that locking up tens of thousands of Americans who happened to be descended from Nipponese immigrants was stupid, expensive, wrong, and totally ineffective. Never mind that. This time is different, because … uh … because reasons.

Actually, there is a reason why dumb white people are buying into this line of thinking. There’s a reason why they have so much trouble articulating the source of their ignorant fear, and that reason is demographics. It turns out that white people will soon be less than half of the population. Oh, the horror! Rather than learning to treat other people equally, these dim-as-five-feet-up-a-pig’s-ass yokels are willing to destroy the very thing that made this country great: our non-homogenous society.

Every group of immigrants has made America richer. They bring in new ideas, new foods and drink, new attitudes, new beliefs, and America gets better and stronger from adopting the globe-spanning range of new stuff brought here by immigrants. And every single one of those immigrant groups is treated like shit by the descendants of previous immigrants. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the Irish being vilified by descendants of English and Dutch immigrants.When Italians began arriving on our shores, the descendants of those Irish immigrants who been the subject of bigotry treated the Italians the same way. Asians, Africans, and Jews have been perennial victims of American xenophobia, along with anyone from any cultural background who doesn’t belong to the right religious group. They’re different, and therefore suspicious- if not outright evil.

Here’s a clue chit for the small-minded bigots among us: Different does not equal evil. Stranger does not mean enemy. Those “foreigners” you’re wetting your panties about aren’t foreigners anymore- they’re Americans. What are you imbeciles afraid of?

I want you

WITCH HUNT by Rush

The night is black
Without a moon
The air is thick and still
The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torch lit hill

Features distorted in the flickering light
The faces are twisted and grotesque
Silent and stern in the sweltering night
The mob moves like demons possessed
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
Confident their ways are best

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand…

Current status: Appalled

Current music: We Belong by Pat Benatar





Blatherings and Rantings of Dotards

23 12 2015

Oh, yeah. It just keeps getting better every four years. And, by “better“, I mean much, much worse.

It’s bad enough that our political processes have been essentially hijacked by a duopoly run by thieves, liars, and similar offal. But it seems one half of this duopoly is desperate to try and turn back the demographic clock by appealing to the base fears and prejudices of their sole remaining constituency- scared old white people. These people are simple folk. Farmers. The common clay of the new West.

You know- morons.

In their desperation at the prospect of losing control of the levers of power, this political party has descended into nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and overt fascism. Oh my dog! Horrible brown people are infiltrating this country to sully your precious bodily fluids, sodomize your sons, sell your wives and daughters into slavery, and drive down your property values! Boogah! Boogah!

Scary, isn’t it? No, not the nonsense regularly oozing from the sense-organ clusters atop the perambulating mounds of excrement that this party has put forth as contenders for the Presidency. That’s almost to be expected. What is truly frightening are the mindless herds of wannabe Brown Shirts bleating and screaming is support of such nonsense- no matter how vile, fascistic, and profoundly un-American it may be.

In their defense, I suppose one could say that little more could be expected from the panty-wetting and firmly anti-intellectual crowd being pandered to so successfully, but the fact that there appear to be tens of thousands of these mule-headed imbeciles who are willing to stop fucking their kinfolk and/or farm animals long enough to go to political rallies ought to give any rational person pause.

For FSM’s sake, at work the other day I overheard two African-American men speak admiringly of two of the more reprehensible would-be Presidents. Two candidates whose public pronouncements and rhetoric say they would relegate African-American citizens to (at best) third-class citizenship. But these two men- who are not particularly thick-witted on other issues- were speaking at length about actually voting for one of the aforementioned walking stacks of horseshit.

Therein lies the problem. Far too many people are willing to vote against their own best interests solely because they’ve allowed themselves to become frightened of the “other“. The outsider. The foreigner. The immigrant. The non-christian. Anyone who is different.

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Guess what? We are all different, in one way or another. Traveling down this road leads to pogroms, mass-murder, and eventual Balkanization. Sooner or later, those to whom we have given power to save us from the “other“, will determine that we are too different to be allowed to live.

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. – H.L. Mencken

Out of sheer self-defense, we (the People) must utterly reject these demands that we divest ourselves of our innate decency as Americans and piss ourselves in terror while the Wise Ones in charge “protect” us from the “other”. Every one of those calling loudly for such un-American ideals as preventing people of a certain ideology or a certain religion or a certain skin color from entering the country- even if they are American citizens- must be run out of town on a rail. These people are willing to destroy the very thing that makes the United States of America so successful just so they can gain a tiny amount of short-term political advantage.

I want you

We can do this. We (the People) can metaphorically run these bags of manure masquerading as humans out of town by the modest expenditure of the time it takes to show up and vote. While you’re thinking about that, here’s another line of verse to remind you of what the United States of America is supposed to be all about:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Current status: Appalled

Current music: Brandenburg Concerto #5 by J.S. bach





Telepathic Hookers and Ping Pong

5 11 2012

Relax- I haven’t gone insane. Make that, I’m no more insane than usual. The headline is a tongue-in-cheek  reference to some of the political parties available on various state ballots around the country. As far as I know, there are no “Hooker” parties out there, but there really is a Telepathic party, as well as a Ping Pong party. You may wish to look them up for the lulz.

The reason I mention these political-parties-located-only-in-the-Hubble-Deep-Field of American politics is, of course, the impending electopocalypse tomorrow. I urge you to properly exercise your national franchise and vote, if you haven’t already. There may not be anyone you want to vote for, but there are lots of people worth voting against. The two major party candidates are implicitly included in that last option.

Some people say they refuse to vote, because that implies that they’re buying into one side or another, and they’re all a bunch of crooks. I utterly reject this argument. In the first place, crooks can possibly be converted into productive citizens, where politicians are all irredeemably lost. Secondly, if you are able to vote and don’t, you are basically handing the country’s political future over to the senescent old geeps who have nothing better to do than complain about their kids not calling more often and voting. Don’t believe me? Check out who is actually voting for people like Joe Arpaio- it’s the frightened-into-incontinence old fogies (almost all of whom are white) who are deeply concerned that brown people are after their Hover-Rounds™. They all vote, in every election. Very few of them actually read what they’re voting for, they usually rely on whatever xenophobic nonsense they’ve heard on various AM radio stations or in church. If you don’t vote, then every one of those pasty codgers becomes a major player in every election. You are basically surrendering control of the country to a group of people who think the internet is a series of tubes. Do you really want this country’s political landscape dominated by your senile elderly relative who sends tons of emailed drivel with “fw;fw;fw;fw;fw;” in the subject line?

So, go forth and vote. I don’t care if you vote republican, democrat, libertarian, socialist, communist, albigensian, jedi, left-handed shroom-harvester, independent, or green (note that all but two of those are real political parties), but you must vote. Read up on the candidates and their stated positions before you decide. Don’t listen to speeches, read their policy statements and party platforms. Read up on all the local ballot measures and state initiatives, too. If you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention to what any of the turd sandwiches running for office actually stand for, I have a cheap and easy way to help you decide how to choose. Find some well-meaning fool (this should prove simple, as humanity is amply supplied with such creatures), and ask him or her how they plan to vote. Then vote the other way.

As for me, I plan on writing in a candidate for president of the United States. The person I have in mind is extremely intelligent, passionate, amusing, and not obviously affiliated with any regular political group. The only problem with voting for this person is the very real possibility that his regular job would suffer if he were to win. The person I have in mind is Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium. For his running mate, I suggest Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. Between the two of them, they have more intelligence, integrity, and demonstrated usefulness to society than all the other candidates combined. Besides, Dr, Tyson hangs out with Superman.

A lot of people are screeching that a vote for any candidate other than the two main ones is a vote for the other major party candidate. These people are deluded, insecure, or merely well-meaning and wrong. They keep hoping that they can change the major parties by giving them their votes. This is analogous to feeding your arm to a shark in hopes it will be satisfied and go away. If you give a politician your vote, you’re only encouraging the bastards.

One more thing before I sign off- don’t forget that there are several hundred Congress-critters and a couple of dozen Senators up for election this year, too. Those positions may not get all the glamor of the presidency, but they’re the ones who actually run the country. Take a look at your designated Representative and Senators and see how they’ve been voting. If you don’t like what they’ve been doing to the country (and the world) in your name, perhaps it is time to bring in some fresh faces.

Current status: Fed Up

Current music: Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh





Things and Stuff

15 04 2012

No apologies or excuses. I’ve been busy, and had to put my ranting and raving on hold for a bit. Assuming there’s still anyone out there interested in what I have to say, I’ll get right into it.

POLITICAL SHIFT

It’s weird. I used to be considered fairly conservative as recently as six years ago. As far as I can tell, my political views haven’t changed a jot, but I find myself increasingly accused of being a democrat. Maybe the fact that I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal has something to do with it. Once upon a time, I identified more with republicans than democrats- especially in matters of the size and power of government vs the individual and fiscal policy. Oddly enough, my personal politics is still the same as it used to be, but republicans have drifted far from these original points of agreement. The past decade or so has shown that conservatives are no better at fiscal matters than liberals- and may even be worse, depending on your standard of measurement. Having lost this advantage over their foes, the republicans have been forced to stress the only things which really distinguish them from democrats- social policy.

This is not a winning strategy for republicans. In their zeal to demonstrate their socially conservative chops by espousing ever-more extremist positions, republicans are driving ordinary conservatives out of the fold, creating a huge number of conservative voters who are horrified at what has happened to their party. Contrary to the current republican positions (based upon the staggering number of pig-ignorant legislation coming from republican-dominated state legislatures and various extremist groups extracting pledges of ideological purity from national candidates), most people in the US really don’t give a rat’s ass what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes and think the government should stay out of everyone’s business- including the lady parts republicans suddenly seem to find so icky. I’m kind of in the same boat. Like the comedian said, “I can’t be a democrat because I like to keep and spend the money I make, but I can’t be a republican because I like to spend it on drugs and whores.”

The end result of this shift to the extreme right by the nominally conservative republicans is likely to be an electoral bloodbath this coming November. I really dislike single-party rule. History shows that such states tend to become very nasty, very quickly. I rather like it when neither side has a massive majority, for the same reason. Our government functions (to the extent it does function) by compromise, and compromise is hard to come by when one party or the other has an overwhelming vote advantage. So, republicans, if you want to avoid going the way the Whig party did, please come back from your extended sojourn into whackjob-land. The vast majority of the voting public will be waiting for you near the center, and I’ll be with them.

RESPONSIBILITY

I own several firearms. I’m licensed by the state where I reside to carry a firearm, and I often do. Carrying a firearm is a serious responsibility. By carrying a firearm, you are taking upon yourself the power to take a life. If you carry a firearm and are not willing to kill should it become necessary, you are essentially delivering a weapon to whomever is willing to take it from you. This is not acting responsibly. Likewise, the person who carries a firearm who goes out of his or her way to find an excuse to use it is not behaving responsibly. Your primary policy of self-defense should be a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

As a (hopefully) responsible gun owner, I am disgusted by the shooting of an unarmed young man by a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida a few weeks ago. The shooter’s actions did not involve avoidance, deterrence, or de-escalation, and a young man is unjustly dead. My personal opinion is that the shooter is guilty of murder, but I’m not sure it will be possible to convict him due to the poorly written laws in Florida regarding the use of lethal force. There are no winners in this incident, but there are lots of losers. Every single person or organization trying to make political hay out of the death of an unarmed young man has lost whatever vestiges of humanity they may have once had.

SYRIA

Bashar al Assad is proving to be less ruthless than his father in dealing with internal dissent. That said, his government’s actions have been overwhelmingly vicious over the past year since the so-called “Arab Spring” uprisings came to Syria. Where Hafez al Assad obliterated the city of Hama, sonny boy has only managed to butcher a few thousand people in the city. Bashar al Assad’s military is beginning to fracture as well, with entire units deserting or joining the uprising.

Syria’s government is not in a particularly good position. The whole world is watching, and Syria has several powerful neighbors who are distinctly unhappy with the slaughter in Syrian cities. Turkey is the big player in the immediate area, and the Turks are easily capable of crushing Syria militarily if provoked. The only thing preventing Syria from being completely isolated is the increasingly tepid support from Russia and China. I suspect Russia is supporting Syria out of a vague paternal feeling for a former client state, but even Russian and Chinese tolerance is growing strained by the continuing bloodshed. I hope Russia and China decide to exert some real pressure on Syria to find a less apocalyptic solution to their internal problem than the current policy of killing everyone in the general vicinity of anyone expressing mild disapproval of the Syrian government. Otherwise, Syria would likely end up a bloodier version of Libya.

Current status: Tired

Current music: Tango to Evora by Loreena McKennitt





Hoist By Their Own Retard

19 02 2012

It must be tough to be a christian Dominionist these days. They’ve been nibbling quietly away at the foundations of the Constitution for decades without attracting much notice, but now they have a serious PR problem. It seems that a bunch of Dominionists have managed to get in front of cameras over the past few months, and- to their dismay- have been spouting christian Dominion and similar theocratic drivel out in public. Worse still (from the Dominionist point of view), the enormous majority of the American public which is inherently opposed to Dominion Theology has seen or heard these American Taliban on TV and the internet. To further complicate the theocrats’ work, the video of their pet political mouthpieces has been aired unedited, and the press has been crucifying these religious fuckheads using nothing more than their own words- verbatim.

One would suppose that christian theocrats would be used to getting eviscerated in public- it tends to happen whenever one of them speaks candidly anywhere near a camera. They’ve apparently been spouting christian theocracy propaganda at each other for so long that some of them actually believe that their extremist positions are shared by the majority of Americans. As a result of this cognitive dissonance, several prominent would-be theocrats tend to babble freely to the media about supplanting the Constitution with their own version of Iranian theocracy, which generally makes every American with anything resembling a room-temperature IQ think that the Dominionists are bat-shit insane. The current untenable state of their affairs gets rather more ludicrous when they feebly demand that media organization stop posting unedited versions of christian Dominionist speeches- because the unedited comments of Dominionist mouth-breathers  make the American Taliban look bad. One could say they’re being hoist by their own retards (I really wish I’d come up with that phrase, but I stole it from one of the more clever commenters on FARK.com)

Assuming you can bear the toxic levels of derp, cast your gaze upon Rick Santorum. This imbecile honestly believes that a majority of Americans want to join him in creating a christian Caliphate here in the US. He has babbled freely and at great length about making extra- and pre-marital sex illegal, of federal investigations for murder against women who miscarry, creating a federal commission to evaluate college and university professors to ensure they are “conservative enough”, and that rape victims who get pregnant should accept the pregnancy as “God’s gift”. Why is this person allowed to wander about without psychiatric help, much less run for President?

Let’s take a brief look at christian dominion theology, where a lot of this bullshit has its roots. The christian fanatics who embody this “movement” believe that they have been called by their god to take over the institutions of power by any means necessary so they can bring about the return of their messiah. Dominion Theology teaches that it is their christian duty to take over the world politically or militarily and impose a christian theocratic government ruling by biblical fiat. They believe that their Christ will not return until their church has overthrown all of the world’s governments and civil institutions. This belief is not popular even among fellow christians, many of whom quietly decry the dominionist fanaticism. Those who agree with Dominion Theology have therefore been generally circumspect in what they say and to whom, limiting discussion of their true motives to small groups of like-minded lunatics.

Make no mistake, these people are out of their tiny little minds. They aren’t necessarily stupid (although many of them are), but their ability to deceive themselves that they’re doing this for the good of all while simultaneously trying desperately to conceal what they’re really up to from everyone except fellow believers is at best a type of group psychosis. You can’t have it both ways, people. If what you’re trying to accomplish really is in the best interests of everyone else, concealing your motives and activities from those people is disingenuous and counter-productive. Last I looked, there were perhaps a billion christians on the planet, separated by a common religious history. Almost every one of the multitudes of christian sects poisonously hates all of the others. Even if every single adherent of some flavor of christianity were fire-breathing fanatics about it (which is demonstrably not the case), the fact that each sect is smugly certain that only their particular set of beliefs and practices are the “right” ones and everyone else is a heretical unbeliever tends to reduce their effective numbers dramatically. The Pope can’t even count on the loyalty of all catholics, for example. Yet somehow these aggressively independent splinter groups will impose their will upon the six billion non-believers who share the planet with them.

Lunacy.

Fortunately, those of us who do not share in the beliefs of the Dominionists have a wonderful weapon at our disposal to defeat the christian jihadists among us- their own words. Much as I despise the media in this country, they’ve been doing an acceptable job of shining a light on the cockroaches of christian dominion theology. The dominionists do their best to scuttle out of sight when the lights come on, but they’ve wandered too far from shelter by putting forward one of their own in major political campaign. Too many of their colleagues and fellow-believers have been caught on camera telling the world exactly what they intend to do once they get the power, thereby helping ensure that this will not happen. Everyone else in the US is looking at these misogynistic, reactionary fuckwits and seeing them for what they really are: a collection of backward, sexist, racist, and deeply stupid people who espouse turning back the clock to the “good old days” of the dark ages. A time when men were men, and women were property. A time when only white male landowners were allowed to have a say in the affairs of government, and dark-skinned people were either servants or slaves. They’re also too stupid and smugly certain of their own righteousness to successfully hide their motives and goals from those of us who aren’t bigoted shitheads. All it takes is a camera or sound recorder, and they all-too-eagerly let it all out.

And that is the only good thing to come out of the current political season.

Current status: Bemused

Current music: Such Great Heights by The Postal Service





Folly Writ Large

13 06 2011

I sometimes despair at the pathetic attention span so often demonstrated by my fellow Americans.

In the past few weeks, a great many important things have been happening all over the world. The government of Syria has been using increasingly brutal means of crushing dissent, lest Bashar al Assad go the way of ben Ali and Mubarak. In doing so, Assad has brought his people ever closer to the precipice of open revolt. Open revolt is already underway in Yemen, where a rebel attack on a mosque seriously injured Yemen’s embattled president. Also in Yemen, the not-very-covert US campaign to attack anything remotely resembling Al Qaeda with air strikes and drone attacks has been accelerated, in an attempt to do as much damage to Al Qaeda in Yemen before what’s left of the government there collapses. NATO is increasing the number and frequency of air strikes in Libya, trying to kill Muammar Ghaddafi without technically trying to kill him. The government of Russia is steadily returning to the old Soviet ways, even ordering several hundred leather trenchcoats reminiscent of the old NKVD uniforms. North Korean shipping has been intercepted trying to transport arms to Burma/Myanmar in violation of a couple of different UN resolutions. Mexico is sliding farther into anarchy near the US border, with drug cartels making war on the government through assassination and open conflict- some of which is spilling across the border into the US.

Here at home, various police agencies have been alienating the citizens they supposedly serve through violent raids on non-violent suspects. Even such agencies as the Department of Education have SWAT units to carry out such assaults on private citizens. Police officers all over the country assault, rape, beat, maim, and kill US citizens without significant consequences beyond a few days suspension with pay, for the most part. Every single report commissioned by the government on the status of the “war on drugs” has repeatedly demonstrated that our decades-long attempt to recreate Prohibition has had exactly the same results as the original Prohibition: a supremely profitable environment for organized crime, millions of Americans thrown into prisons for ridiculous reasons, widespread violations of civil and Constitutional rights, and hundreds of billions of dollars poured down a rat hole for no measurable gain. Drugs are more readily available, cheaper, and are of a higher quality than before the “war on drugs” got kicked off by Tricky Dick Nixon in a vain attempt to distract the public from the unpopular real war in Vietnam. Despite this abject failure, there is no end in sight to the war on drugs. The FBI has been given wider powers to spy on American citizens for any reason at all without the bother of opening a formal investigation- effectively putting the US and Russia on equal moral footing as the Hoover-era Feebs were but pale reflections of the NKVD.

These things have all largely gone unnoticed by most Americans because their attention was elsewhere. What could possibly have so thoroughly distracted the public’s miniscule attention span? A US Congressman sent pictures of his schlong to a woman not his wife. Horror of horrors! That’s just … just … utterly and completely fucking lame.

What the fuck is wrong with you people? Are you all so fat, dumb, and happy that you are willing to allow our Republic to drift slowly into authoritarianism so long as there’s something salacious on TV? Millions of Americans shed their blood over the past two hundred years or so to secure freedom for their descendants, but those descendants are too busy watching the antics of various attention whores to notice as that freedom is slowly and inexorably stolen by their own elected representatives. Our elected officials- from both parties- are gradually taking away all of our cherished liberties in their blind pursuit of money and power for themselves and their cronies, and you can’t be bothered to pay attention because American Idol is on? If the Founders were alive today, they’d die again from shame at what apathetic, easily distracted simpletons their countrymen have become.

The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation– enlightened as it is– if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.Samuel Adams

The greatest defense our country has against government tyranny is a well-informed and educated electorate. That defense has been weakened over the past fifty or so years by generations of Americans who care more for their rights than their responsibilities as citizens. Less than half of those eligible to vote do so in any given election. Because of this, our political processes have been hijacked by a vocal minority who regularly vote. In an election with a larger voter turnout, the fanatics on either side would be marginalized by the vastly larger number of moderates from both political parties. With a smaller voter turnout, the votes of that vocal minority of utter whackjobs have a far larger proportional influence than their demographic statistics ordinarily deserve. With lunatics and madmen at either end of the political spectrum  exerting ever-greater influence on our political leaders, our national political discourse has become increasingly polarized to moronic extremes. That fanaticism in politics disgusts and repels more and more moderates, leaving the loonies at either extreme increasingly in charge of the asylum. And so the vicious cycle continues unabated.

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. – George Jean Nathan

What can you do about it? VOTE, you lazy bastards! Vote in every election. Find a moderate in your local area and elect him or her to whichever position is up for election. If there aren’t any moderates on the ballot, find one and start a write-in campaign. Do this often enough at the local level and it will become easier to do at the state and federal level, too. The best way to drive the shrill fundamentalists out of the political process is to vote down their extremist agenda at every turn. Vote against every incumbent. Those in office are growing fat at our expense- kick the bastards out.

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.  Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.Walter H. Judd

We, the People, are supposed to be running this country. That only works if we, the People, get off our ever-fattening behinds and do our duty as citizens. There’s more to citizenship than your rights and paying taxes- you also have a responsibility to serve your country by voting in elections and taking a turn as a juror. We seem to have forgotten that our rights are balanced by responsibilities. Out of sheer laziness, too many Americans have allowed the government to take over far too many of those responsibilities. Thus, we have also granted our government the responsibility to take care of our rights, and governments are demonstrably unwilling to do so if it conflicts with the pursuit of power and wealth.

Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.Barry Goldwater

And so, our Republic dies the death of a thousand cuts. Not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with the self-satisfied sighs of millions of indolent citizens who cannot be bothered to pay attention as their elected representatives sell their future for short-term gains.

The most important political office is that of the private citizen. – Louis Brandeis

Current status: Pissed off

Current music: I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie





Howls of Derisive Laughter

18 04 2011

This missive is intended for the eyes of those who seek positions of power over the People. Since those striving for such a position rarely take the time to read anything beyond summaries and talking points, this open letter will most likely only be read by a few people on the Internet and- possibly- by those who work for the power-seekers and have to read their mail. There are two versions of this message- one short and one somewhat longer. I will start with the shorter version.

 Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

 The longer version is mainly an explanation of the short version.

 Have you heard the old saw about it being better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove doubt? It really and truly applies to politicians. Every time one of the so-called “political elite” opens his or her pie-hole, everyone with an IQ above room temperature begins face-palming so hard they risk mild concussions. Before you deign to pollute the public discourse with your “views” on any given subject, it would behoove you to know something more than the Cliff’s Notes version of the subject matter. If you don’t have a general working knowledge of any given subject, refer back to the short version of this message.

 I grant that the world is growing ever more complicated, and it is not possible to have encyclopedic knowledge of every subject. That is no excuse for policy-makers (and would-be policy-makers) not bothering to take the time to learn a little bit before running off at the microphone. If you plan on making policy or laws regarding a given subject, it ought to be required to know whereof you speak first. Sadly, this is not the case. Our elected representatives are routinely caught making demonstrably false statements on all manner of subjects- in public, no less. Here’s a clue for all you would-be movers and shakers in the realm of politics: Every fucking thing you say or write can be microscopically examined by anyone with internet access.

Here’s another clue for the politically-minded among us: The internet is a two-edged sword– it can be used by you or against you with equal ease. Just about every fragment of information you can think of is available online. Make use of this asset to help you avoid the more obvious pitfalls before speaking in public. You can also find out various and sundry interesting things about your political opponents online, but be warned- they will be doing the same thing to you. Failure to heed this warning will result in the worst possible outcome for political power-seekers: public humiliation.

 Being politicians- which is merely a synonym for “attention whore”- our elected oafishals are completely incapable of shutting their yaps. In a rational society, the drivel spouted by any given politician would be reserved for the “humor” sections of the Sunday newspapers. Here, of course, the media gives the empty-headed opinions of political “leaders” a great deal of air time, thus continuing the Klingon Death-Spiral of public discourse. This self-perpetuating cycle of vacuous commentary reported breathlessly as “news” only encourages more attention whores to vomit their misinformation onto the public’s collective laps. For those of you playing at home, “misinformation” is a long word for “lies”. Whenever a politician is speaking, assume that he or she is either not telling the whole truth or lying through their teeth. The same holds true for political pundits and similar would-be policymakers. Obfuscating the truth is part of their job description. From an engineering perspective, the truth is always preferable. Even unpleasant truths are serviceable. Lies break under strain. Politicians specialize in lies.

 Sadly, a solid majority of the voting public (which is a far smaller population than the public in general), is only too happy to swallow lies which make them feel good over unpleasant truths. This growing trend has allowed an ever-larger number of would-be rulers to survive and prosper in public office. This, in turn, has led to a growing number of politicians who treat the public they supposedly serve as either sheep for the shearing or inconvenient obstacles to be overcome. In either case, our elected officials are growing farther and farther removed from the people they are supposed to represent. Far too many of them are so secure in their positions that they routinely and openly treat their constituents with contempt. Whenever a politician grows complacent about his or her power and position, they tend to arrogantly assume that the voters in their district will mindlessly re-elect then regardless of how the politician acts or what the politician says.

 Fortunately, we (the People) can deal with arrogant would-be rulers: point and laugh, long and openly. Every time a politician does or says something stupid, point and laugh at them. Encourage others to point at them and laugh. Attention whores cannot stand getting laughed at, and that goes double for self-important ass-hats who think they’re better than their constituents. An unintended side benefit of pointing and laughing at dim-witted politicians and/or pundits is the fact that the voting public is more likely to remember something which made them laugh when it comes time to vote.

Scorn and derisive laughter are the sire and dam of change, to paraphrase a poem by Rudyard Kipling (The King’s Task), and real change is sorely needed. The turnover rate among our elected representatives is abysmally and shamefully low. Once an elected oafishal gets a taste of the power and perks of office, he or she starts compromising whatever principles  he or she has left in order to maintain that coveted spot sucking off the public teat. In order to remember just how badly these pernicious vermin-in-office are screwing us, we need to make fun of them. Fortunately, the nature of the beast is such that politicians are unable to stop doing and saying stupid things. Make jokes about these all-too-common fuck-ups by our self-described ruling class, it will help us remember why they don’t deserve another term when the next election rolls around. After they are hounded out of office by their justifiably-furious constituents, we can forget all about them.

But, in the meantime, don’t forget to point and laugh.

Current status: Disgusted

Current music: Secrets by One Republic