THE TOTALITARIAN CULT OF PERSONALITY

I am reading an interesting book called “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: a Memoir of Food and Longing”. It isn’t really a cookbook, it is more of a history book. I’m at the part where it talks about Stalin, and what a COMPLETE JACKHOLE he was. Man, more people died horribly because of his military fuckups/paranoid political purges/self-caused starvation epidemics in the mother country of Old Russia than I can count on the fingers of many thousands of hands.

I know some Russians, because quite a lot of them have emigrated to my area under the auspices of Christianity. It may not be PC to say so, but in my limited experience, most Russian girls are lovely, hardworking, and serious. Many boys are arrogant, reckless, and suffer from a pretty intense Primo complex, meaning their mommies and daddies have imprinted them with their extraordinary specialness and wonderfulness since their earliest days in the crib. Like, get a load of the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers. The description of the big brother Tamerlan kind of fits that ego profile, don’t you think? First of all, he thought he was going to get away with the crime, and second of all, he so convinced himself he WAS going to get away with the crime, he dragged along his little brother. I imagine he was genuinely surprised when he was gunned down by law enforcement and then run over by his brother’s car. And yes, I DO know that those guys weren’t specifically ethnic Russians, but you know what? The land has a way of making its mark.

Anyway, I meet some really pushy Russians. Like the middle-aged woman at the doctor’s office who took up THREE chairs in the crowded waiting room for her personal comfort, thus condemning several elderly patients to stand up the whole time. I have been shoved around while shopping pretty strongly by Russian people, especially when they want to get at the thing I happen to be standing in front of. Some (the boys) drive like maniacs, cause wrecks, and run away from the scenes of accidents. Even my most intimate Russian friend happens to have a little heroine problem. He calls it “the girl I am in love with, but really want to dump.”

I also meet many perfectly ordinary Russians, who really are no different than anyone else who happens to frequent my workplace. But each time I meet a Russian person, I think to myself, “Here is someone whose family has suffered, and perhaps  him or herself has suffered, more greatly than I can imagine.” It is easier to excuse even egregiously unsociable behavior when you think that these people probably had to develop a whole suite of aggressive, forceful, impolite behaviors, just to survive in a politically inhospitable country. If you are Russian, it is a given that your family has suffered, and quite probably, you have too. It’s a lot easier to be nice when you have all the potato chips you can eat and a nice warm house, and have had them from time immemorial. These Americanized Russians strike me as smart survivors, and they are not shy about putting their hard-won survival skills to work.

But I digress. A substantial section of “Soviet Cooking” is dedicated to Stalin and his horrific iron fist, disappearing people every day, executing people for the most trifling reasons, and being generally despotic and monstrous. He was out-of-touch on a lot of topics, because his staff was too terrified to tell him anything. And yet, all over Russia, there were billboards and radio shows and newspaper pictures calling him “The Mountain Eagle – Transformer of Nature – Genius of Humanity – Chorale Conductor of Science – Great Strategist of the Revolution.” And also, in case anybody missed the point, “The Best Friend of All Children, Pensioners, Nursing Mothers, Kolkhoz Workers, Hunters, Chess Players, Milkmaids, Long-Distance Runners” and so on.

I have noted nothing about either the Russian temperament or the Russian intelligence quotient that would prevent them from seeing right through this blatant lot of propaganda. But there’s that thing called the “Totalitarian Cult of Personality”. It seems to be a combination of genuine wishful thinking and complete, prostrate fear and terror. People wound up loving Stalin like a father, because one could overlook kidnapping and torturing if it didn’t happen to them personally, despite the fact they had done absolutely nothing to deserve it anyway.  Furthermore, maybe sincerely loving the guy like a dad would magically forestall the likelihood of YOU being selected for some kind of awful consequence for happening to be in Russia. People were being picked up and shot or sent to Arctic prison camps all the the time! Even patriots! Generals! Selfless informers who scurried across the western frontier just to tell the Soviet military that the Germans were coming! So if you, a person who failed to mention the 1/2 ounce of extra breadcrumbs you found on the floor of the ration-card exchange and took home to your starving children … well, thanks Daddy Stalin! You didn’t kill me for it (yet)!

We have had a present-day parallel for Stalin, and his name was Kim Jong-Il. Same kind of guy. Executed people left and right. Stood like a god among the North Korean people, despite being a midget with a squeaky voice and a weakness for decadent Western bad habits. He starved lots of people to death too, not to mention had thousands of citizens stashed in horrific prison camps. Yet he was revered as a parent, which is no small props in an Asian culture. (If you want an extraordinary look into this particular period of North Korean history, you can read “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea” by Barbara Demick.) Now we have his spawn, the baby-faced 30-year old Kim Jong-Un. Time will tell if he is the same species of monster as Stalin and his dad, but he’s got a good start on it despite his tender years, since he just had his uncle executed, has continued Dad’s contributions to prison camps and firing squads, and presided over a 2013 famine that killed 10,000 people.

So the question is – if these people are horrific human monsters, why does the populace adore them so? Well, for one thing, you’d BETTER adore the monster or at least put on a good act, or you will probably wind up dead. There’s something funny about acting, though. When the body goes through certain motions, the mind is affected. People tend to think it is their conscious brain doing the thinking for them, but not really – research demonstrates that the greater part of one’s actions are dictated by the subconscious. So – as gang members, karate black belts, and women walking alone in iffy neighborhoods know – when you present your self physically as strong and in control, your mind follows. The physical presentation becomes the reality, and you FEEL tougher, more capable. People looking AT you feel it too, and are less likely to mess with you because of it. So if you were a Stalin-purge-era Russian, or for that matter, a present-day North Korean, you were/are FORCED to play the part of subservient worship, or you’re dead, dead, dead. And ironically, pretty soon it isn’t an act any more. You actually believe it, contrary to the reality. And you’d BETTER believe it, because it really cuts down the risk of accidentally slipping something that would have been MUCH better left unstated.

So, what does all this have to do with anything?

Let me begin by saying Obama is not the president I wanted. I wanted a strong progressive who went for single-payer health care, got out of Iraq and Afghanistan like he said he was going to, closed Gitmo, cut the military budget to levels that were at least supportable, if not reasonable, came out strong against torture (doesn’t work, you know), and wasn’t waging war on wedding parties via drone strikes.

What did I get? Kind of a low-key guy who not only didn’t do any of the above, but turned out to be more conservative than Richard Nixon.

Yet, when you bother to read the comment sections of major news sites, peruse the programming of Fox Fake News, have to resort to “the nuclear option” in Congress just to get past a solid blockade of Republican rednecks, you get the feeling that maybe there is a perceptual problem here. How many times have I read on the Net about how Obama is orchestrating a “cult of personality?” How evil and totalitarian he is? Certain citizens of the loyal opposition jump on the Google machine and yelp to the highlands the most racist, horrible, violent, insulting, demeaning, threatening bullshit imaginable, and create whole websites devoted to the very same. Ironically, if there WERE a  totalitarian cult of personality like Stalin or Kim Jong-Il, these people would vanish like dandelion puffs in a cataract. Gone, never to be heard from again.

Sorry guys, there isn’t a cult of personality around Obama, much less a totalitarian one. To say there is one – well, as noted previously, if you act like an asshole for long enough, you become one. Lots of times, your subconscious mind already made the decision that you were gonna be an asshole, so when you follow through and act like one, well, not much occurs  in the way of cognitive dissonance. But if you do happen to be a racist troll asshole, and try to actually think about Obama as a black person in America, and what kind of experiences would have shaped his perceptions – uh-oh. You get a real bad headache, don’t you.

Furthermore, being an American means that though you may have suffered in one way or another, you weren’t starved, beaten, rolled over, subjected to disappearing, used, made strategically expendable in ground zero warfare, thrown into an Arctic prison camp to dig rocks with your bare hands, or had your son’s wedding blown up by a drone. So stop bitching about it as though it is YOU suffering, because it ISN’T.

I rest my case.

KARL ROVE HAS WORDS FOR US

Yup, Karl Rove. Like one of those toads that creep out of their toad-holes in early spring to check out the weather, here comes Karl to check where the political winds are blowing after his meltdown during the election. You know, the election between Obama and … that other guy. What’s his name. Mr. 47-Percent-Of-You-People-Are-Takers. Yeah, him.

This time Karl is upset that a comedian named Alphacat made a video parodying Obamacare and how you should sign up, generally aimed at Californians. Karl takes exception to … well, all of it. “I worry about something that seems aim to glorification of the commander-in-chief, the president of the United States as opposed to simply advocating young people go out and sign up for this entitlement program,” sez Karl, on … wait for it … FOX NEWS.

You mean, “aiming at the glorification of the commander-in-chief”, kinda like THIS?

This picture still makes me want to hurl, by the way. Karl, why, why, why, are you so disingenuous? Are you truly incapable of seeing this particular hypocrisy of yours? You are an especially ugly form of conservative politician. Although, after reading the incredibly hateful, racist, mind-bogglingly disconnected rants of the tiny-brained trogs who frequent the comments sections of various news websites, I guess I should not be overly surprised. That’s the miracle of the Internet. Not only can it bring tons of porn straight into your home with only the slightest effort, it helps you to find other completely crazy people who share your weird, warped, schizoid views of what is the “real America”.

Of course, Karl has his own weird problems with his identification. For one thing – and this is total speculation on my part – the guy is as gay as Liberace. Sure, he was married once, to a gal named Darby, but that book is shut so tight there’s no opening it now. Other than that brief fling, there are no women in this guy’s life – anywhere. It’s like they don’t exist for him, and if they do, like, for example, Nancy Pelosi, he just treats ’em like men, pretty much. Not because they are as good or better than men, or because they are as wise, capable, and intelligent as men, but because “female” does not exist for Karl Rove. Just doesn’t. And if Karl IS gay, nobody should care anyway, EXCEPT when he starts pushing policies that are designed to screw gay people, which would be, in essence, much of the Republican platform.

Another problem for Karl is his dad.  You might not have known this, but the guy who raised Karl as his father was a flaming gay man who pioneered the questionable art of genital piercing. And we aren’t talking a little bit of discrete hole-poking here and there, we are talking 37 piercings on a piece of real estate smaller than the size of a piece of paper! Karl’s dad is a legend! (I’m sorry, but that’s a lot of piercings. I’d post the picture, but eeeeewwww. Cannot be unseen! If you are really into having a peek, Google it!)  Karl, of course finds it convenient to deny ever knowing his dad was gay.  Right, Karl. Here’s a bridge on the moon I’d like to sell everybody, too.

As if Dad were not enough of an interesting past, Karl’s mom then went on to commit suicide by gassing herself in her Reno garage in 1981. Karl would have been 31 at the time, which is a pretty formative age. Almost as formative as learning, at the age of 21, that his sperm-donor dad was indeed somebody else besides the loopy gay piercing advocate, Louis Rove, who he always thought was his bio dad.  (For the record, Karl’s biological dad would not acknowledge Karl when finally tracked down. Hmmm…)

Okay, exactly how messed up does all this make somebody? Personally, I think it explains a lot! For example,

1) how it happens that Rove is such an extraordinarily gifted liar
2) how it happens that Rove is fantastically and shamelessly manipulative
3) Rove’s seriously judgmental streak, where anything outside what he wants you to BELIEVE he thinks is “proper” is to be villified, villified, villified! (Actually, maybe this fits into the “lying” category.)
4) His mastery of the art of denial, and the accompanying hypocrisy.

Maybe all this is why NOBODY should pay ANY attention to ANYTHING Karl Rove says.

Let’s run that great Alphacat video one more time…

Barack

 

HUMANS DON’T CREATE NO STEENKIN’ CLIMATE CHANGE

Earth from space

I am tired of certain politicians telling me that climate change 1) isn’t caused by humans, and 2) doesn’t exist anyway. (Tell that to the former denizens of Tacloban, the Philippines).

If you’ll observe, this image is drawn from time lapse video of the Earth at night, taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. If you will also observe, there is a thin band of light hovering just above the contour of the planet. That band delineates the upper limit of our atmosphere, a gas mix of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon.

Gee, seems kinda … gosh, I dunno … NARROW. As in, not very thick! As in, FINITE and LIMITED. And we humans are busy without respite, pumping more and more destabilizing crap into that thin band. As I have pointed out before, it is like we have a catbox with seven billion cats shitting into it every day, who then look at the overflowing container and say “It isn’t ME!”

Yes it is. It’s all of us. And despite all our best intentions, we don’t seem to be able to do anything about ourselves. We just are what we are, and will keep shitting into that box until it pretty much buries us.

CATHY MCMORRIS TURNIPHEAD RODGERS’S STUPID NEWSLETTER

Yup, I am on her mailing list, so I get a steamin’ helping of tripe handed to me on a pretty plate just about every month or so. Generally, I blow them off. But this one … this one … talk about a valiant attempt by Cathy to completely rewrite history. Soldier through it with courage, reader, for there is a wonderful quote at the end.
From: Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers <wa05ima@mail.house.gov>
To: spokaloo@yahoo.com
Sent: Friday, October 4, 2013 4:03 PM
Subject: Update from Washington, DC

Dear Friend,

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update on the recent events in Washington, DC.    On October 1, the federal government shut down many operations – and furloughed hundreds of thousands of its employees –after the President and Senate Democrats refused to negotiate any of the funding bills the House sent over to them in the past three weeks.

 You know, you guys have had, what – 40 votes on this stupid Obamacare repeal, which if you were any politician at all, you would KNOW was not going to be repealed. Do you REALLY think that the rest of the House and Senate and the POTUS doesn’t really know how you feel about this? That perhaps, somehow, you haven’t been clear enough about it? Are you under the impression that, somehow, on the millionth time you talked about it, some special magic was gonna happen in your “negotiations” and give your band of nut cases everything they wanted? Incidentally – you’ve altered the story on what you want so many times already, it is difficult to pin down what the HELL your goal actually is.

 It was an extraordinarily difficult thing to see happen.

Yeah, right. All those grinning, backslapping Republicans leaving the shutdown vote really looked bummed about it.

 Nearly 800,000 federal employees don’t know when they’ll receive their next pay check.    They want certainty, decisiveness, and confidence that their elected leaders can protect them. That’s why Republicans are working every day to get this government open again and get the people of Eastern Washington and America back to work.  And it’s frustrating and unfortunate that the President and Senate Democrats are standing in the way of letting that happen.  

 If you’re so upset about all those poor people, then HAVE THE UP-DOWN VOTE ON A CLEAN BILL. It isn’t that hard to fix! And blaming other people for YOUR IGNORANT PUSHINESS does NOT make you look good.

But we won’t let that stop us from acting.    We’re working every day to get this government open again by putting forward legislation that will allow federal agencies to resume its operations as soon as possible.    Military and national intelligence operations are continuing – and Medicare and Social Security will keep going – right through the shutdown.

 Do you really think this piecemeal thing is going to stop anybody from figuring out that you cruel SOB’s on the right wing DID THIS TO US? Nice to know YOUR interests are being protected, since you’re in a position to keep yourself well refreshed from the public trough, while so many people are getting SCREWED by your short-sighted decisions.

But national parks, monuments, the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, NASA and other agencies have sent home hundreds of thousands of workers.    In Spokane, Fairchild Air Force Base has furloughed some civilian personnel, and other federal research facilities are closed.   Three-thousand miles away, in the “other” Washington, we’ve had to furlough most of our staff and until the government re-opens, we cannot help constituents with VA, immigration or other issues.

I have voluntarily chosen to withhold my salary during the shutdown, and it goes without saying that I’ve suspended all political fundraising events.

Oh my God, one of the richest people in America is foregoing her salary. Big whoop. Here’s hoping agricultural mega-lobbyist hubby Brian is gonna bring home enough massive slabs of bacon to support you in the style to which you have become accustomed.

But this is about much more than a debate over a funding bill.    It’s a fundamental difference about how to govern, about what kind of future we want to leave for our children and grandchildren.

Right. And I and MANY MANY MANY OTHERS do NOT agree with your concept on “how to govern”. And spare me the malarkey about “what kind of future for our children and grandchildren”, Ms. Monsanto-Keystone Pipeline-Global Climate Change Denier.

  Let me explain how we’ve reached this point.    For three years, since Obamacare passed on a strictly partisan vote – pushed through with every parliamentary tactic in the book – the Administration and Senate have refused to listen to the American people.

Look, you lost every round on this. Your lost your legal challenges. You lost the Supreme Court decision. You lost the 2012 ELECTION for crying out loud. CAN YOU NOT TAKE A HINT? A lot of people WANT THIS – the ONLY thing that will actually benefit them directly when they pay their taxes. We certainly are getting NOTHING out of you House congresspeople – you’re so busy yakking about abortion and shutdowns, you haven’t had time to legislate ANYTHING ELSE. NOT ONE major piece of legislation has come out of the House since you became the majority. NOT ONE.

Sadly, the only time we have made any progress is when faced with one “fiscal crisis” or another, each one brought on by the federal government’s unprecedented growth in spending.    Even today, the federal government is spending over $600 billion more a year than we bring in – and that number would be twice as high if the House had not forced spending reforms the last time we came up against the debt ceiling.

If you’re so concerned about governing by fiscal crisis, HOW ABOUT NOT MAKING US GO THROUGH ANY MORE OF THEM. This is on YOU REPUBLICANS and nobody else!

For the first time since the Korean War, total federal spending has gone down for two years in a row.    The Budget Control Act (BCA), which the Republicans passed, was the largest spending reduction bill of the last 25 years – amounting to $630 billion in savings over five years.    It was the largest deficit control bill since 1981 not to contain a penny in tax increases.    Our legislation successfully protected 99 percent of Americans from a tax increase on a permanent basis, and ensured that almost all of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates were made permanent, including the death tax and lower rates on capital gains and dividends.

You and your stupid death tax scarecrow. You mean the estate tax? The one that 99 percent of you people in Congress wouldn’t pay anyway, because you are so cunning and smart and can hire people to shelter your assets? You are SUCH A HYPOCRITE! Jeez!

We have ideas to revive our economy – from the Keystone Pipeline Project and energy expansion,

Hey, weren’t you just babbling about the future for our children and all that etcetera? Nice segue.

 to tax reform that would spur a new generation of American manufacturing jobs, and health care reforms that would reduce consumer costs and bring competition back into the marketplace.

WE HAVE HAD TAX CUTS SINCE REAGAN. THEY DIDN’T CREATE JOBS. THEY WON’T CREATE JOBS. STOP EXPERIMENTING ON US. Unfortunately for you Republicans, facts tend to dictate the course of situations, rather than you guys rewriting the situation to cast your reworked, scrubbed, invented facts in a jollier light. THAT WON’T WORK ANYMORE, unless it’s on the REALLY information-challenged part of your constituency.

   But the Senate believes their slim majority gives them the right to ignore everything coming from this side of the Capitol.    And Americans are paying the price because of it.

Oh. My. God. EVERYBODY knows it is the “slim majority” of House Teabaggers who are screwing over the country for their weird, far-right, incomprehensibly vague reasons. DO NOT TRY TO ADAPT THE FACTS TO SUPPORT YOUR LOONY PURSUIT OF … WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANT THAT YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A CHANCE OF CUTTING A DEAL ON.

With just two weeks to go until the Treasury runs out of money, with federal agencies closed and national parks padlocked, our message to the President and Democratic-controlled Senate could not be clearer: come to the negotiating table.

Last week it was “Ditch the Affordable Care Act”. This week, all of a sudden, it’s boo-hoo, all we want is negotiation. Make up your minds. No, don’t bother. You actually need to come to a VOTE. Enough negotiating already. If negotiating did anybody any good, maybe people would try it, one more time. But the House has been infected with some virus of age regression: many of you are acting like five-year-olds with Oppositional Defiance Disorder.

  Listen to the American people.

I HATE it when you say this. I’m an American person! I have as many national rights and obligations as you do! But I am saying the opposite of what you are! Does MY opinion count? HELL NO. You ignore me like I was a piece of gum stuck to your shoe.

 We don’t expect to get 100 percent of what we want, but we represent one half of the legislative branch and we insist on being heard.

You represent ONE-SIXTH of the government as a whole. Don’t get any more full of yourself than you already are, you hubristic, wealthy non-resident of my beautiful state of Washington. And yes, you DO want 100 percent of what you ask for because NOTHING IS EVER ENOUGH FOR YOU PEOPLE. Jeez! You are SO out of touch.

   In times of divided government, both bodies of Congress and both parties have come to the table and worked out their differences.    This time should be no different.    Congress works best with negotiations and compromises, not shutdowns and crises.

Maybe you should have thought about this before you went CRAZY and imposed your “concept of governance” on a bunch of citizens that JUST WANT GOVERNMENT TO WORK. You SUCK at compromise and you are SO sure of your own divine correctness, you absolutely do NOT get why hardly anybody is agreeing with you and just following your path like a good little bunch of cattle. Ye Gods, are you and your House buddies really that out of it? Apparently – yes.

As the Bible so wisely instructs: “Come let us reason together.”    We ask the President and Senate to do just that.    It all starts with a dialogue.    We’ll keep working hard to get the government running again – to get us through the next year and put us on a sustainable financial path forward for many years to come.

Spare me this stupid BS. Dialogue. Hah. You guys blew it, finally – took it WAY too far because you were so very sure of yourselves. Epistemic closure all over again. And you know what? If there actually was a just and loving God, he would not have allowed you lot of werewolves to start dictating to Americans what we can and can’t have. MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE NEGOTIATED FIRST instead of shoving it to this ridiculous, harmful extreme. GET OVER YOURSELVES.

I hope you found this information helpful. As always, I want to hear what’s on your mind, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything at all I can do to help.

You make me SO ANGRY that I can’t sleep for a week after getting one of these STUPID emails of yours. Thanks a LOT.

Sincerely,

Cathy

Sincerely

Spokaloo

P.S.  Last week, I was honored to deliver the Weekly Address to discuss many of these issues.

It is so interesting that you never show us clips of your Town Hall meetings instead of one of these carefully staged and rehearsed so-called “weekly addresses”. I didn’t go to the last on in Spokane, but I heard it was a doozy. Here’s an idea: HOW ABOUT LISTENING TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS. Does it fit into your oh-so-special “concept of governance”? I am pretty sure you pay zero attention to ME, despite the fact I write you constantly. Your office slaves can’t even get the topic right: if I tell you about my observations of the economy, I get a note thanking me for my insights on farm policy, generally about 4 months later so I forgot what you ticked me off about in the first place. Way to communicate, office slaves! Hope you’re enjoying your enforced pay cut!

And in closing, ever hear of a guy named Lao Tzu? This is what he said –

“A great nation is like a great man
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers.”

You don’t have a clue as to what he is talking about, do you. I find myself unsurprised.

 

THE HILARIOUSLY NONSENSICAL “GANG OF FIVE”

Gang_of_Five

 

HARRRR HAHA HEE HEE HEE HARDY HAR HARRRRR! This is so unreal as to be completely and entirely drifting in from another dimension.

First of all, is this not the most grammatically uncomfortable thing you’ve ever read? Leadership, media, smear groups, Wall Street, and partisans. Some are people, some are concepts, some are places, and some are things. Some are more than one of those. None are generally recognized as running in “gangs”. In fact, it would be physically impossible for a concept such as “leadership” to be in a “gang”. And then, some are plural and some are singular. “THE extremist liberal leadership” is different grammatically than “THOSE Hollywood partisans.” And NONE of these are individual sentient beings, so you just can’t say “WHO are the “Gang of Five”. It just sounds lame and strained, which I doubt would be the effect the authors are going for.

Second of all, if I were a Chinese person who was around in the 70’s, I might feel resentful that my national history was being milked for a very silly conservative campaign in 2013 USA. The original “Gang of Four” were four individuals in a 70’s Red Chinese political faction, who in a series of complicated political maneuvers, supposedly intended to take over the country upon Mao’s death. It was a big deal in China, and kind of a big deal here too, because in those days we had actual independent journalists reporting actual news from other parts of the world, instead of the slop we are currently being fed by the “Gang of Six”, otherwise known as the 6 giant media conglomerates that pre-chew all your information for you.

What else can we gather from this interesting document? Well, for one thing, we know these conservative buckwallers are not talking to anybody under the age of 30, because no current 30-year-olds were born yet. To get the maximum creepy, Mao-reminding, sneaky-Chinese-politics impact of the “Gang of Five” label, you have to be old, because they don’t tell you about it in high school either. You kind of had to be there, so to speak. So, conservatives, here you are, speaking only to all the old-fart, get-off-my-lawners yet again. When are you going to figure out there are people out here that don’t share your weird, uptight history? And, in fact, weren’t even around for most of it? Seriously, you guys should think about that.

Oh! Oh! And then there are the … the… what are they, anyway? Elements? List items? Talking points? Hallucinations? It’s hard to tell. The first one refers to “extremest liberal leadership”.

OH. MY. GOD. Where? Who? Name one! No, don’t just name one, name one and list their extremist liberal views. Because I am DYING to hear a few of those issuing out of the catbox called Washington DC. But I can tell you right now, there aren’t any. The most liberal legislator in the august Congressional ranks is barely a moderate in any other country. Obama himself is more conservative than the Republican president Richard Nixon. This “extremest liberal leadership” claim is such a pot of lard it deserves to be fed back to the hogs.

Next there is “The Elite Media”. Whatever. Giant media conglomerates are owned by fabulously wealthy people. Hmm… are these fab Richie Riches liberals or are they conservatives? I would say – neither. Whoever helps them make more money, that’s who they go for. Believe you me, media has its own agenda (more about that here), and it has little to do with you, me, or Nancy Pelosi.

Next up: “anti-American foreigners and mega-rich environmentalists” and their ‘SMEAR CAMPAIGNS”. Seriously, you guys? I don’t know why you keep talking about this, because the ONLY person any conservative  can EVER name as being both “rich” and “liberal” is George Soros. I’ve read books by George Soros. He’s a very smart guy. He made money by being smart, and not by lying, cheating, misleading, bullshitting, or being so crazy he’d sacrifice anyone and anything for the next dollaroo. And he isn’t very liberal, at least by Earth Firster standards. And “anti-American foreigners”? Really. Aren’t you CONSERVATIVES the ones who cheered the stupidest Supreme Court decision ever, where Roberts and Scalia and their pet Clarence Thomas declared money as free speech? So everybody ON EARTH could pour money into political campaigns to get the kind of American laws they wanted? If there were tons of “anti-American foreigners” dumping wads of green into Democratic coffers, not only would the Dems win a lot more elections, but we would be hearing it blared from your dozens of media outlets both ceaselessly and tirelessly. So I’d say … it ain’t happening.

Okay, this one is priceless. “Wall Street Liberals.” Well, we know that Wall Street SOMETHINGS screwed over the entire PLANET with their magical money-generating bullshittorama of a few years back. And I know Geithner was a Wall Street loyalist, and Larry Summers is a dick, and neither of those guys was any kind of liberal whatsoever. I know that the conservatives HATE Elizabeth Warren, the scourge of American bankers and hedge-fund managers. And I know the conservatives do NOT support such measures as, let’s say, taxing each exchange of stock a mill or two (that’s “mill” as in “one-tenth of a penny”, not “mill” as in what you want to win in the lottery), or making speculators actually take possession of that hundred-thousand barrels of crude oil, as opposed to buying it on paper, stashing it on paper, and then selling it on paper when the big-ass shortage hits in the real world because they were playing their little money games. “Wall Street liberals”. Hah. Stupidest, most transparent claim ever.

“Hollywood partisans.” Whuh? What are they talking about? Like, Bruce Willis is a real librul, fer shur, and then there’s that librul bastard Arnold Schwarzzeneger. Oh yeah, but my favorite is Craig T. Nelson, who famously said on the Glenn Beck show on Fox TV 2009,  “What happened to society? I go into business, I don’t make it, I go bankrupt. I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No. No.”

Priceless!

I get it, though. There’s a lot of actors with various hobbies and causes that could be considered “liberal”, like sympathy for the homeless, or women’s rights to health care, or even (gasp!) vegetarianism. And there’s the whole Hollywood gay thing, which drives authoritative bossypants religious people straight up a wall.

But do these Hollywood folk have any real power? Let’s see, there’s probably a couple hundred of them at the most generous estimate, and none of them is anywhere near as rich as Bill Gates. In fact, there isn’t a billionaire among them, unlike the Republican Party. And how, exactly, do those two hundred non-billionaire actors affect the nation? Explain it to me. If you don’t like a movie they make, don’t freaking go to it. That’ll show ’em. Cuz if there’s anywhere near the huge majority of Americans you claim on your side, the movie will quickly sink, and you will  be free forever of annoying people in Hollywood holding any kind of view that does not entirely match your own. Just like the McCarthy blacklisting days! Then we can look forward to a steady diet of “Little House on the Prairie”, and “Breaking Bad” will be entirely erased from our collective memories.

You’d like that, wouldn’t you, you crazy werewolf Republicans. Your happy place is where everybody thinks and acts exactly like YOU. But it’s a big ol’ complicated world, and it will never be the way you think it should be – even when you paper the country with malarkey like “The Gang of Five”. What a futile, self-serving, transparent, oh-so-obvious attempt to scare people over to your questionable position.

Really. It’s embarrassing. Stop it.

 

THIS GMO LABELING KERFUFFLE

Finally, something that Washington voters can actually DO something about! Cast a real vote on I-522 and see a functional result occur at some future point in time! It is one thing to get furiously angry about things I can do nothing about – like the sequester, or the fact that Mitch McConnell still lives and breathes, or that Cathy McMorris Turniphead-Rodgers still has people who actually vote for her despite her complete vacancy of intellect.

But this, I can sink my teeth into, so to speak! Corporations have been stupiding the American consumer down for decades, starting back in the day when corporations sponsored “news TV” for free in classrooms, liberally peppered with product endorsements. And that was in the 70’s!

Again, but this! This anti-GMO labeling madness is dumb from the get-go, because who DOESN’T want to know what they are eating? I mean, if I am going to be consuming some mysterious Key Lime Ham Tostada Souvlaki Medley from a little cardboard box, wouldn’t it be nice to know if there was actually ham in it? Or, at least, “ham-flavored protein derivative”, which is, as most of us consumers already know, would be pig noses and hog bungholes that have been briefly swished in salt water? Who would disagree with the basic Constitutional good sense of this? Truth in advertising! The American way! Apple pie, or at least, vegetable-oil baked wheat-based flour husks containing apple-flavored fruit residue of prunes, plums, coconuts, aloe and pine bark. May have been produced on equipment exposed to tree nuts!

If the GMO industry was actually interested in preserving their profit margins, which is what this is all about, they should STFU about it. Then they could go with the standard corporate playbook: sort of half-assedly follow the law, if in fact enough people showed up to vote on it, pay some fines when they blew off the requirements, and barely comply with the letter and totally not the spirit of whatever legislation it turns out to be. You know, USA business as usual, where corporations rule and the rest of us kind of mill around in the grass at the bottom of the giant corporate headquarters buildings.

But now, corporate food purveyors have committed to a path, and blazed the way along this path by spending $46 MILLION dollars to defeat California proposition 37 to hoodwink consumers into ever more deeply blindered ignorance. That might be just about the first time corporate food giants actually tipped their hands about intentionally trying to keep consumers stupid and compliant. Oops! Backfire! Now EVERYBODY is starting to feel they have a dog in the fight!

So, you know what that means, Washington State voter. Hyperbole, lies, BS, leading the consumer by the nose, tightening the reins, sitting on the consumer’s chest while his head is underwater, etc. etc. In short, desperate actions in desperate times. It is entertaining, in fact, to peruse the information corporations are using as “proof” that labeling GMO products would be AWFUL. And, here’s a selection, just for you!

1) It’ll cost consumers wads of money. Haven’t we heard this one before? These outfits  change their boxes every three weeks to keep the product “fresh” in consumer minds, yet adding a teeny logo is gonna cost a fortune? Europe labels GMO’s, without a corresponding hike in prices. Trader Joe’s labels non-GMO’s, and claim it doesn’t cost them any more. And, you know why Joe’s labels NON-GMO’s instead of GMO’s? Because the corporate food masters would sue the pants off them otherwise. Yet it seems like suing is … you know … expensive.

2) Arbitrary exemptions for special interests will just confuse consumers. Oh, I get it. We are WAY TOO STUPID to figure anything out. Okay, here are the exemptions for I-522: restaurants, meat-cheese-egg-dairy products, and alcohol. Are you too confused? Better take a couple Advil and go to bed, you poor overtaxed consumer.

3) American consumers can just buy organic, which is already labeled. WHAT? Have you been to Huckleberry’s lately? It costs a FORTUNE to buy organic. And besides, “organic” covers a whole host of requirements besides GMO or not-GMO. Seems like GMO labeling would open up a whole marketing area for American business entrepreneurs: food that isn’t necessarily organic, but is non-GMO. Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen in a capitalist democracy? Competition on the level playing field?

4) Washington will be the only state in the Union that requires GMO labeling. Flat lie alert: Connecticut, Maine and Alaska have passed labeling laws and dozens of other states are considering identical proposals. And incidentally, 64 other countries require it too. Seems like markets would open up for growers and farmers, rather than the other way around.

5) I-522 will encourage lawsuits against food growers, producers, and store owners over the wording on the label. Really? The proposal as written gives everybody a good long opportunity to fix their label problem. If they don’t, why wouldn’t they?? Lying cheating, thieving… Sorry! Sorry! I mean, if they don’t, and there is a lawsuit, then the penalties recovered go to the state, not the plaintiff. So, where’s the incentive to sue?

6) Labeling GMO’s would be a nightmare for grocers, retailers, and the state government in charge of monitoring the labeling. Actually, it would be the corporate producer’s responsibility to label. They’re the guys who put the label on the can, or whatever, so they are supposed to do it. And if they fail in their sworn duty, it is THEY who cost the state, and from THEM will come the penalty dollars. Ha, ha!

7) “Genetically enhanced” foods pose no health safety risks. Jury’s still out on that one, but The FDA requires no pre-market health safety studies, The only long term peer-reviewed animal study conducted involving GMO corn sprayed with Monsanto’s Round Up herbicide, found massive tumors, organ failure and premature death in rats. Ick! And you know why there’s only one study? Because Monsanto found ways to block funding, disgrace scientists, and preemptively conduct their own studies that “prove” whatever it is they want to prove, because they are the foxes monitoring our big national food chicken coop.

8) Genetically enhanced foods are as, or more, nutritious than organic foods. If you grow corn that has been genetically enhanced by – let’s say – marmot genes, that make it possible to grow said corn in a brickyard, does that mean it is going to be “more nutritious”? Plants are only as nutritious as what goes into them, or so has been demonstrated by scientists not employed by Monsanto.

9) The World Health Organization, AMA, National Academy of Sciences and other respected medical and health organizations all conclude that GE foods are safe. Well, only if they DID come to these conclusions, which they have NOT. They all want pre-market testing, which the industry, as noted above, wants to to do all by its lonesome with no troublesome dissent. And then, there are a bunch of health organizations who DO support GMO labeling, like the American Public Health Association, Washington State Nurses Association, Breast Cancer Action, Allergy Kids Foundation, and Autism One. Hmmmm…..

10) GMO’s are feeding the world; what, you want people to STARVE? This is misleading out of the gate. First of all, starvation and/or malnutrition is not a result of a food shortage, it is a result of problems of distribution, and distribution problems are due mainly to corruption. Remember the whole Rwanda thing, where the Hutus wiped out the Tutsis? Well, the Tutsis got pissed, and did some wiping out of their own once they had collected themselves, so the Hutus fled to refugee camps in the Congo. These refugee camps were full of starving, hollow-eyed women and children, but the young bucks with their AK-47’s looked as sleek and well-fed as racehorses. Problem: distribution as remodeled by corruption.

Oh! Oh! And remember the “golden rice” campaign in Asia, where Vitamin A was going to be delivered via rice that had been genetically modified by adding material from daffodils and soil bacteria? First go didn’t work: not enough Vitamin A. Second attempt had enough beta-carotene in the rice, but Vitamin A is unstable and doesn’t hold up well in storage and cooking. Of course, then there was the problem that you could not plant a new crop from last year’s seed; you had to buy it from Monsanto, which meant a lot of people starved simply because they couldn’t afford replacement seed. Monsanto: company with a heart of gold. Hah. My ass.
(Mr. Science alert! Golden rice does NOT supply a person with vitamin A! The rice supplies beta carotene, which then can be used by the body to synthesize Vitamin A. My bad. Thanks, Mr. Science!)

11) Creating GMO seed is just like crossbreeding plants for specific traits! Right, if you considering mating a jellyfish with a crocus as “crossbreeding”. Crossbreeding in a garden is basically speeding up Darwinian evolution by pairing the best with the best, as reflected by the genetically expressed traits of the plant. However, foreign species cannot be “crossbred” into a plant outside of a laboratory.

12) GE crops reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. NOT! According to a new study by Food and Water Watch, the “total volume of glyphosate (Round Up) applied to the three biggest GE crops — corn, cotton and soybeans — increased 10-fold from 15 million pounds in 1996 to 159 million pounds in 2012” with the overall pesticide use rising by 26 percent from 2001 to 2010.

Then there’s the problem of super-weeds, weeds that we are specifically (though inadvertently) breeding to ignore our most-often-used weedkillers:
jason norsworthy at test plotGuess which are the Round Up-tolerant weeds, and which are the cotton crop plants.

13) GE crops aren’t harmful to the environment. Even if they weren’t, how about all the Round Up we are pouring over them because those crops can “take it”? That stuff has been implicated in all manner of criminal aftermaths. We are engaged in the same war we have always fought: the bugs and weeds evolve to overcome whatever we throw at them. There is no magic bullet. As “Jurassic Park’s” Dr. Ian Malcolm pointed out in his pithy Jeff-Goldblum style, “life will find a way.”

 

There you have it. Voters: start your engines! Be prepared for lies, misdirection, heartwarming made-up anecdotes about babies’ lives being saved by judicious applications of 2,4-D to Agent-Orange-tolerant corn crops  (WARNING: the Agent Orange site contains images that are EXTREMELY unsettling), how a label on a package of hamburger buns is gonna cost you at least 20 bucks more, and how our American way of business is being threatened.

You know. The usual.

 

 

 

ONE GOOD REASON TO BE VERY AFRAID

I must say, most of the things that frighten conservatives do not bother me. I do not live in mortal terror of the Muslims taking over the world. It never occurred to me that the black citizens of America might rise up in riot over the Trayvon Martin verdict, as so many idiots morons paranoid looney tunes conservative pundits predicted. The threat of socialism does not rattle the foundations of my soul, because actually, I think this country could use a little more socialism, which, for you less-than-liberal types out there, does NOT equate to Communism! Get your mental political constructs figured out, sheesh!

Here’s what DOES scare the living shit out of me. Police forces in America are militarizing, and I am not talking a little bit of martial attitude here. We are talking a full-on, totally equipped, hierarchical, bureaucratic, Mad Max clusterfuck, complete with tribal affiliations, loyalty to the organization (but not to the principles of the organization), and plenty of room for mad-dog psychos to run amok.

Just here in Spokane we’ve had our share of police officers going dingo on us. Otto Zehm was basically murdered over waving a bottle of pop at one of Spokane’s finest, and then, at the perp Karl Thomas’s sentencing, his colleagues saluted him. I mean saluting is kind of an honor thing, a symbol of solidarity, right? So all these guys put aside the whole preserve-and-protect thing to support a sadistically-inclined member of their tribe? Hmmmm…. And how about James Olsen, inebriated off-duty Spokane cop who shot the Native dude Shonto Pete, who evidently wanted to get into Olsen’s truck ? I’m not saying I know the details of that story, because no one ever will, but I am beginning to notice that there’s a consistency of character between these overreactive officers: they are assholes.

Further afield, there was Kenneth Chamberlain, of White Plains, New York, who accidentally set off his emergency-assistance pendant he wore because he was old and infirm. The cops show up at his door and INSIST that they are coming in, even though Chamberlain tells them he’s fine. Then the cops tell a little lie, and claim to be the emergency center “Full Life Aid”, and ask him if there’s a problem. What did he say? “YES there’s an emergency – I have the White Plains Police Department knocking on my door and I did not call them and I am not sick!” So the cops break down his door, taze him, and shoot him dead. Of course, they were cleared.

Now we have yet another tale of police overreach: 95-year old World War II veteran John Wrana gets irascible in the Park Forest Illinois nursing home, so what happens? The Park Forest Police blow into the joint in full riot gear, taze him, and shoot him with beanbag rounds. Since the guy was 95 and frail and needed a walker to get around, he did expire from these multiple insults, that perhaps might have been better suited to dealing with a 250-pound 25-year-old man high on meth.

My question, conservative constitutionalists, is where in that hallowed document does it say this is okay? I happen to believe that we should be secure in our own homes, and that there might be better ways to approach issues such as these, like calling a social worker or something. Or maybe just saying, “Well, that’s okay… if he wants to be left alone, let’s leave him alone.” Then, if the person dies, it is nobody’s fault but his own, and the cops wouldn’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending their own complete inability to step outside the box and read the situation appropriately.

Here’s another police shooting that utterly confounds me. In September of 2003, a 17-year old high school kid named Sean Fitzpatrick goes into a classroom at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane. He has a handgun. He chases everybody out of the room. The school evacuates. The freeway is closed, because he might shoot that way and hurt somebody in a car (unlikely, but possible, I suppose). The kid is obviously distraught and depressed, and somewhere along the line, fires the gun into a wall. The SWAT team has arrived, complete with all their stuff: the shields and the Kevlar and the assault weapons locked and loaded. Then the kid “climbs a bookcase and pulls the gun”. Exactly how do you do that? Climbing and gun-pulling are somewhat mutually exclusive, but maybe it was poking him in the nuts or something and he just reacted. Whatever. The SWAT team cuts loose and mows the kid down. Here’s the official line: ‘‘He pulled the gun from his pants pocket,” Bragdon said. ‘‘That’s not the time to pull a gun because it put the officers in a no-choice situation.”

How, exactly, is it a “no-choice” situation? If you are Kevlar’d to the nines, exactly how is this kid going to hurt you? Or, how about, if just one SWAT guy shoots him in the knee, like they do on TV to incapacitate the villain?

But no. We live in the militarized police world now, so all the training, all the culture, and all the experience of that bureaucracy compells them to go straight into the red zone, regardless of circumstance. I am sure that there are individual members of police bureaucracies that can resist the temptation to just solve problems by blasting the shit out of things, or to put it more politely, give fealty to the principle of protect-and-serve instead of daily shoot-to-kill policy norms. But it can’t possibly be easy. Especially if you recruit from the ranks of:
1) people who are already primed to be bossypants authoritarian rules-followers, like former high school jocks, fundamentalist Christians (or fundamentalist Moslems, for that matter), ex-military guys, shopping mall security cops, pompous George Zimmerman neighborhood watch cop wannabes, and so on.
2) people who are men and not women (I just have to elaborate on this. Here’s a quote from an Australian report: “It is evident from the figure that women police are substantially less likely than males to attract a complaint from a member of the public, especially where the allegation is one of assault or excessive force.” This effect has been noted in research over and over again – female cops are better at defusing situations than males. And worse yet, when you get two or more male cops together and a situation arises – well, it becomes Testosterone Wars, where one bull mastodon just has to outdo the other in beating down the threat, even if it’s just a crabby old guy in a walker. Biology, duh. But, because of the resistance of male cultures everywhere, women trying to become police officers have much to overcome – not the least of which is that many of their co-workers are gonna be assholes about it. There’s that word again – assholes. Funny how it keeps coming up);
3) people who are already psychopaths and have been itchin’ to find a place where they can indulge their sadistic whims. Much as a child sexual predator gravitates to the Catholic Church, a psychopath will choose to lose himself in a labyrinthine bureaucracy that already condones violent solutions to simple problems. Perfect! Ironically, the psychopath himself may or may not know why he wants to be a cop – but it sure makes it easier to shoot down a depressed 17-year-old kid if your ethical brain development has been impaired. These people are often known colloquially as “assholes”.)

Now here’s the newest thing.

Down in Arlington, Texas, there was an organic farm, Garden of Eden. Just from a cursory exam, I would judge this place to be kind of a hippy enterprise. But being hippy-ish is not a federal offense, so far as I know. From what I can gather from various reports, some grumpy neighbors didn’t like the fact that the farm was kind of a mess, with weeds and junk laying around, so somebody lodged a complaint about the hippies growing pot. So – there was a SWAT raid.

Seriously? You have got to be kidding me.

So there’s a SWAT raid, where there is no marijuana found in any form,  but a lot of other stuff is carted off, one presumes as “evidence”: 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers. Then there was the general destruction caused by a bunch of dudes who can’t tell a sunflower from a pot plant stomping all over the garden beds, because, after all, this was an organic farm. They also took 55 gallon barrels which are used for rain water collection, animal water feed tanks, and aquaponics systems, glass doors which are used for green house purposes and solar dehydrator and solar water heating apparatuses, two refrigerators which are were to be used for solar hot air collectors to heat buildings without electric or gas heat , wood for building, tables, benches and chairs for the new commons room, and multiple axles to be used to make a home made trailer.

Really? They confiscated all this? How much time on their hands do these guys have, anyway? And then they held a bunch of people at gunpoint, including the mom of a 2-week old baby. The SWAT guys apparently put tape over their name tags so they couldn’t be identified, AND raided the place without a warrant – although one was produced several hours later, presumably in reaction to the public outcry, and still way too late to be legal.

And speaking of Arlington, Texas, guess what’s next for that fair city? Police use of drones! How could THAT possibly pose a problem for American citizens!

But this is what I am talking about. Police militarization. Everyone wringing their hands over it, and clueless about what to do. But let me tell you one thing: the powers-that-be have taken the police/military/asshole culture far into the realm of untouchability before most of us have wrapped our heads around it as a problem. It is systemic, it is invasive, and it is frightening.

And, it is ironic. Here the nation faces the most serious and relentless threat to the American lives in the last two hundred years: global climate change. But instead of spending a few bucks on preparing for THAT bad boy, we blow stacks of green to equip local police forces with enough military firepower to take out a small city, so the local power brokers (real estate agents, developers, county commissioners) can turn them loose to SWAT people that don’t quite match up to expectations, such as mentally challenged janitors, drunks, sick elderly veterans, and hippy farmers.

Wow. I feel so much safer.

 

 

THE FABLED LEFT WING BIAS IN MEDIA

Along with many other issues, there seems to be a problem in this country with seeing things that aren’t there, or, conversely, not seeing things that are there. For example, lots of parents see their children as lovely little perfect citizens, when in fact, they are evil hellions from beneath Satan’s doormat. Here’s an actual conversation I had with a parent whose unlovable spawn had stuck a sharp pencil into another kid’s arm while standing in a line.

Parent: “My child told me he didn’t do it.”
Me: “I SAW him do it.”
Parent: “But my child wouldn’t do something like that.”
Me: “But I SAW him DO it with my own eyes.”
Parent: “But he said he didn’t do it.”
Me: “Are you calling me a liar?”
Parent: “Of course not! But he said he didn’t do it…”

And so it goes. And also, so it goes with this perpetual blather about how biased the media is towards the left. My right-wing replacement nemesis – who is much more reasonable than my original right-wing nemesis, but you have to take ’em when you can get ’em – to this very DAY keeps telling me how biased to the left the media is. But how is it I can name off a dozen crazy righty organizations and personalities (American Heritage Institute, ALEC, Rush, Savage, Beck, Coulter, FOX Fake News, etc. etc) in the time it takes him to scratch his head and say “Rachel Maddow”? What can be more biasing than sheer weight of numbers?

While the actual, real-life “media sources” are busy stuffing our our skulls full of the Kardashians and American Idol, there are important stories languishing, stories vital to our American understanding of the world, stories vital to the preservation of what all those dozens of righties refer to as “our American  way of life”. Stories that, if there actually WAS a lefty bias in the media, you would be hearing about CONSTANTLY.

For example –
1) WHY DO 20% OF AMERICANS OWN 88% OF THE NATION’S NET WORTH?
 photo ownership_occupy_poster_zps7879609f.jpg

I hear crickets chirping when it comes to the illustrious left wing newshounds ferreting this one out. It certainly is a puzzler, and shouldn’t be a left- or right- puzzler either.

2) WHY IS THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SO STUPID? They have guys on the “science committee” making weird announcements about science. They voted to repeal Obamacare about 900 times, even though there isn’t a chance in hell it will be repealed. Don’t you wonder how on earth soooo many ignoramuses managed to get into such plum jobs? And they never get fired, even when they DON’T DO ANY WORK!

Here’s how: the magic of GERRYMANDERING! By creative use of great wads of money before the 2010 election, the Repubs managed to get their own guys installed in state legislatures before the census. That way, they’d be holding the reins when national congressional districts were redrawn, in order to fix them so Republicans would win a majority of districts. By pumping $30 million into state races to win the legislatures, Republicans redrew state maps in states such as Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Florida and Ohio to place all of the Democrats into just a few districts. In this manner, Democrats win heavy in a couple districts and lose the rest. Result: In 2012, Barack Obama was elected President by nearly 3.5 million votes. In Congressional races, Democrats drew nearly 1.4 million more votes than Republicans yet  Republicans won control of the House 234 seats to 201 seats.

 photo 5459fab1-8d5b-44e5-a728-b31ed72bf00d_zps9a434c5a.jpg

You might be cunning as a fox, but if cunning’s all you got, you will still do a lot of stupid things. So it goes in the House, the biggest collection of obstinate yay-hoos that ever there was, still not doing the peoples’ business. So, where’s the lefty media outrage about such a blatantly criminal hijacking of our democracy?
Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

3) The toughest nut: MEDIA CONSOLIDATION. Did you know, my fine, freedom-loving American readers, that in this land of vaunted opportunity and awesome open-mindedness, you get virtually ALL your information from a mere 6 sources? And these sources do not only control information here, but reach their pablum-coated tentacles throughout the world? Additionally, in case you didn’t know, these 6 sources could not be less interested in an informed citizenry. They are interested in perpetuating themselves (more about that here), and they are interested in MONEY. And were does quite a bit of that money come from? Well, a lot of it comes from really rich people forwarding their interests in order to make more money. And so the rich get richer, and the media gets paid handsomely for redirecting our gaze to kitties dancing in cancan lines or some third-tier celebrity getting shoved off a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, instead of reporting on – let’s say – manipulating politics through gerrymandering! Or, the incredible ratio of inequality in our own USA!

Oh, there’s lots more than this. Check it out here. And please, stop telling me about “left wing media bias”. If there actually was any, you’d be hearing about this stuff night and day. But what you are actually are hearing is …

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR WHITE EUROPEAN ANCESTORS LIVED IN CRAPHOLES

I just saw a movie called “The Turin Horse”, by famous European director Bela Tarr, and it was fricking DEPRESSING. It actually took as long as real life does, if you cut out the sleeping part. Basically this gimpy old guy, who looks 70 but we learn is actually in his 50’s, owns the horse that famed philosopher Nietzsche flung his arms around to protect from a whipping, whereupon the big N went home and promptly took leave of his senses, cared for until the end of his brief life by his mother and sister. Well, we step in right after that episode, and take an extended, bumpy ride home in a horrible cart with the gimp dude, which I think took waaaay too long. Then we put the horse away, which involves a lot of barn doors opening and closing, hay being thrown, harnesses being hung, carts being rolled into barns, in great detail. When they finally get into the hut, or whatever, the guy is basically undressed by his daughter and stuffed into his grubby nighties. Dinner is two boiled potatoes, which are thrown unceremoniously onto wooden plates; the diners rip off the peels with their fingers, and chow down sans tableware. Yum! Then there is an exciting moment in this dreary parade when the daughter goes to pull up a couple buckets of water out of the well. Wow, that part was a thrill, really broke up the monotony! Then, a couple people come, couple people go, the wind blows, guy and the daughter stare out the window a lot, and pretty much, that’s the whole movie.

But this, my friends, as Rush might say, is where we came from. If you are white in America, you came from basically that place – whether it was a croft in starving Ireland, a barn loft above the pigs in Poland, a camp full of redheaded barbarians in Scotland, or a bunch of shivering Vikings waiting for Fenris to devour the world during those long, dark Northern latitude nights.

But it explains quite a bit!

It is funny, but a certain percentage of white people love to point out brown people as “takers”, when white people are BY FAR the biggest entitlement-minded goobers out there. But look where they came from! No amount of “hard work” and “bootstrapping” was going to make one iota of difference in these peoples’ lives. They had to labor like slaves to even survive, even though “working” in olden-days Europe involved long periods of just sitting around conserving energy. And if you were a sneaky olden-days European who had no conscience or community feeling worth mentioning, well, I suppose you could survive pretty handily on other people’s boiled potatoes. They’d starve, of course. But that’s okay! Because you personally would live to see another day!

I see a direct line of descent from those boiled-potato stealers to modern day Wall Street bankers and guys like Ken Lay, the erstwhile Enron SOB-in-chief. Same deal! They were born and bred for a dog-eat-dog world!

Now let’s consider Asia, but leave out all the Communist takeover paranoid fantasies and just focus on the people. If you were a way-back Southeast Asian farmer, you probably grew a lot of rice. Rice is complicated to grow. First you have to engineer the fields to be perfectly level and capable of retaining water. Then you have to figure out when to sprout, when to transplant, when to flood, when to drain,and when to harvest: the irrigation schedule is strict and water must be routed to the fields that need it by a series of gates. Then you have to multi-task the fields by adding and subtracting fish and ducks, for example. Then you have to do this three times a year, on average, because rice is a year-round crop, and you had to figure out a way to keep the fields fertile despite constant rotation.

This is complex, and requires a lot of cooperation. European farmers basically waited for spring, flung out some handfuls of barley or rye, and then waited around, harvesting what they could and hoping like hell it would carry them through to the next season. So I suppose it would pay to be a thief, at least some of the time. The penalty for being a thief was severe, however, so maybe it wasn’t worth the risk. Seems like quite a few of us white European borderer types often retain a lot of that bloodthirsty punishment mindset that defines many listeners of Fox Fake News (see Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus). And if you are a Wall Street banker, you probably aren’t scared at all of the penalty for screwing thousands upon thousands of people, because virtually nothing will happen to you! You are, in the words of Elizabeth Warren, “too big to prosecute”! Huge change from medieval days, when the scruffy, starving populace would have run you down with pitchforks and torches. (Of course, if you could BS your way out of the situation, you would. Hence today’s car salesmen.)

But I digress. Let’s go back to the movies. Ever seen one of those classical Chinese historical films, like “Red Cliff”? Or even “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”? Those movies are layered. Complex. Many levels. Often, things in these films are not what they appear to be, and it is easy to be misled, or make assumptions that turn out to be false. Definitely more challenging than, say, “Die Hard”.

But that’s America for you. Our ancestors did a lot of hanging around hoping things were going to turn out okay, while their Asian counterparts were beavering away both physically and mentally all year ’round, every year. Perhaps this is why many Asians are (sometimes inaccurately) perceived to be smarter, and/or harder workers, than white Americans. Because a lot of them are! And always have been! And don’t get me started on the native Incas and Mayans of South and Central America. Same deal: a sophisticated history with much amazing capability built into the culture. Those folks were organizing vast public works projects when Europeans were still crawling around the cave floor with the bear cubs.

And one more thing. Let’s say you are a poverty-stricken barely-surviving pasty-white farmer on some rock-strewn stretch of Irish coast, huddled in your craphole. Well, lots of people DID succeed under those circumstances, because if they hadn’t, Ireland would be an  island empty of people. So why did some of these Irish (and Italians and Czechs and Germans and Finns and Swedes and Bohemians and Scots etc. etc.) show up in America?

Simple. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD. A “neurobehavioral disorder characterized by significant problems either of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsiveness.” The US is chock-full of good citizens with this problem. That’s why they bugged out of Europe: they couldn’t focus on the family farm well enough to make a go of it, and made an (impulsive!) decision to blow that Continental Popsicle stand and show up on these pristine shores. And so now, with the majority of white people descended from a bunch of focus-challenged ex-farmers, is it any wonder we have arrived at our present-day consumer-and-entertainment culture? Lots and lots of simplistic, TV-watching, ass-sitting, incurious, judgmental, selfish, own-back-patting simpletons with attention problems, with a tendency to attribute success or failure, not to work, not to luck, not to being in the right place at the right time – but to a ubiquitous sky fairy who supposedly has your best interests at heart, though you couldn’t tell that through personal experience. Incidentally, most of these ex-farmers are perfectly awful drivers! They roll along on Prozac without seeing a single bloody thing else on the road, or zip around cursing and flipping people off in some hyperactive seizure until they hit a tree. Clearly, it is too much to expect members of this population to get it together for a massive effort to combat global climate change when most of them cannot figure out the basic dynamic of a four-way stop.

Ah, America. You are indeed a place experiencing interesting times.