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Posts Tagged ‘we shall all perish’

Here are some things I have been thinking about:

It is a really, really bad idea to have our political debate reduced to focusing on how insane the far right is. When we simply stare with our mouths hanging open, shocked, we don’t really make things better. The right wing is gaining traction because we’re too busy reacting, and trying to fight racist, world-destroying assholes with logic. It doesn’t work. Those bitches be crazy. They are suffering from an age-old disease, and they have no ability to relate meaningful to other people and the Earth. They are wetikos.

We need to not give them any attention. We need to focus on real issues. I am not interested in debating the stimulus, or health care, or even cap and trade. The Earth is being destroyed. That means there will be no place for people. We are collectively committing suicide. Well, not we. A small cadre of insane, greedy cannibals, who are supported by emotionally/mentally crippled individuals.

We need to not just ignore them, but urgently present our own narrative. For example, Jon Stewart (and I like the guy) should stop reacting to Glenn Beck. You know what is more depressingly hilarious then listening to insane individuals on Fox News? The fact that hundreds of species are going extinct everyday. I mean, that’s not hilarious at all, but the collective obliviousness and carelessness sort of is (well not really, but I’m sure there are good jokes to be made nonetheless). Or Keith Olbermann to any of these nutcases. Left-wing blogs to Sarah Palin. These people are nuts, and the best defense is a good offense. They know that, and it’s time we put that into action ourselves.

So that’s what I’m for. More real depressing stories, and less reactions to the depressing tantrums of stunted individuals. Let’s do it.

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This isn’t 19th-century Russia. It feels a whole lot more depressing than that. Just look around. But still, it’s apt: What is to be done? From Paul Krugman:

The lights are going out all over America — literally. Colorado Springs has made headlines with its desperate attempt to save money by turning off a third of its streetlights, but similar things are either happening or being contemplated across the nation, from Philadelphia to Fresno.

Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.

And a nation that once prized education — that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children — is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened. And all signs point to even more cuts ahead.

We’re told that we have no choice, that basic government functions — essential services that have been provided for generations — are no longer affordable. And it’s true that state and local governments, hit hard by the recession, are cash-strapped. But they wouldn’t be quite as cash-strapped if their politicians were willing to consider at least some tax increases.”

People like Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein and Digby have succinctly and eloquently highlighted what is happening.

But I don’t think blogging or talking about it is enough. Huge segments of the population don’t think the President was born in our country. People are freaking out about mosques and the 14th Amendment. This is absolutely, utterly, maddeningly bat-shit insane.

Talking amongst ourselves is all well and good, but the fact is that large swathes of our population are not being remotely adequately informed about issues, and yet are organizing and protesting. I think it’s high time we middle-and-upper-class liberals realize we have to get up and walk out of our homes and engage the public and try to peacefully get attention. We need to be protesting the deadlock in the Senate, we need to be out in front of Goldman Sachs and pointing to why so many Americans are suffering. Our technology is disconnecting us from activism. People didn’t get the eight-hour work day (how I miss it) by blogging and chatting up fellow believers at dinner parties. They did it by striking and protesting and risking their lives against a System which considered them worthless. But slowly, slowly, slowly change came.

We are rapidly, rapidly, rapidly moving backward. We had enough problems where we were. How can we peacefully help stop what is happening and regain control of the narrative?

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I’ve finally realized there is really only one person who can help us now.

I should have realized this a long time ago. To preface, these are all very sad things. Everything these days, it’s a very sad thing! Earthquakes. Devastated economies. Oil swarming over the Gulf of Mexico. Perpetual unemployment exacerbating our growing perpetual underclass. Worldwide poverty. War in the Middle East, possible war in the Koreas. Human life threatening levels of Carbon Dioxide PPM in our atmosphere. Sinkholes! Black holes! Asteroids! Glenn Beck!

And the word sinkhole unfortunately brought to mind one persona.

We’re being sorta assaulted on all sides. Shady transnational corporations (shady is my kind adjective). Pollution. Oil spills. Trigger happy tyrants. I mean, thank you Mr. President for taking responsibility for the oil spill, but that doesn’t make me feel like I’m not living right in Rome, 472 A.D. I feel nervous, I feel wary, I want Buffy. Or really, I want Buffy to stroll into our Senate and say “Hey! Shut the fuck up! Campaign finance reform now! Let’s break up some monopolies! Let’s get off oil! Let’s reform public education so people aren’t reading Twilight and shit! Let’s close the Hellmouth, let’s get out our stakes and slay some fucking un-dead vampires/economic theories!!!”

This would be some inspiration. This would get me motivated. This would hopefully get other people motivated. It’s far better than Glee, or whatever t.v. show people are watching which involves fantasies of the vanishing middle-class singing their way to success.

Let’s get serious about our problems. Then maybe we can all chill out and talk about Buffy and Spike.

That would be a happy time.

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This is bad, bad, bad, bad news. It broke on AP about 30 minutes ago: the Democrats are discussing dropping the public option in favor of expanding Medicare to people 55 and up.

Thanks guys! Protect those baby-boomers! Lower the minimum age requirement to 55. How awesome! Children and young adults, the poor and the struggling middle-class, whatever! Go to hell, folks! It’s hilarious that the grey-haired senate is going to expand health care coverage to care for… more middle-aged people. Great! Hey, no, it’s super neat really, I love expanding access to health care. But I’m fed up with how children and college students and young adults are completely screwed over so that the baby-boomers can take care of themselves.

Why did they have us? They jacked up college tuition to unbelievable levels, they promoted free-market fundamentalism so that jobs were leaving the country like shitty diarrhea (ha!), they polluted our environment while sing-songing about how all the school children should learn to recycle, they built cookie cutter mansions in the suburbs and mocked providing hand-outs to the poor (why don’t those people get a job or something?) while they neglected to think about the unspoken affirmative action (the old white boy’s club) which helped them along, they fought taxes so they wouldn’t have to pay for public transportation as their children commuted to their shitty community colleges because they couldn’t afford student loan payments, and now they are making sure they are covered by health care. But the poor, the students, the caregivers, the struggling working-and-middle class parents… hey, who cares?

So my question is, why the fuck did they ever have kids, if they intended to screw us all over so royally?

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My God. Arizona has decided to push through a “common sense” gun law which would allow guns… in… bars.

Here is the story.

I can’t believe someone had to point this out: “We don’t let people drink and drive, why should we let them drink and carry guns?” – Senator Paula Aboud, a Democrat from Tucson.

My favorite piece of ridiculousness? MSNBC ran the article with the line:

Critics of the measure say guns and alcohol are dangerous combination.

Really? You, you think so, MSNBC? I’m glad you’re willing to allow people to point that out. I mean, I know common sense according to the NRA means we should always ask ourselves “What would John Wayne do?” in any given situation. But these critics… I dunno, I think, I think they may be on to something.

Personally, I just don’t feel good about a law which means a person driving home drunk can say “hey, this may be dangerous, but at least I don’t bring a fucking gun to the bar though I’m legally allowed to do so,” and honestly seem like less of an asshole than the people who do, you know, bring guns to bars. Cos they can now.

Arizona. Seriously.

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The world, and more specifically American politics, do not give much cause for optimism most days. In order to not turn into a bitter angry shell of a human being, I spend a lot of time thinking about shit which doesn’t inspire feelings of impending doom. Instead of waking up and saying, “Oh, isn’t it depressing that The Post still has George Will writing for them. Oh, how unsurprising that all the Hummers are back on the roads now that gas prices have temporarily gone down. Oh, and isn’t it frustrating that nothing is being done about the environmental/social/financial crises…” No, this shall not do! I prefer a different attitude: “We mustn’t dwell. No, not today. We can’t. Not on Rex Manning Day!” While I think about shitty things, and try to do what I can about them when possible, it’s important to focus also on that which gives cause for hope. It helps to remember that other people are out there doing way more good than me, so there’s no excuse to not jump in and do what we can.

But not now. I would like to take some time to indulge the despair and cynicism this morning’s examination of our heartbreaking world has inspired in me. For the rest of this post I take the position that we shall all perish and all is lost. Joy and adoration to be resumed at a later time.

Exhibit A: Michael Jackson died four days ago. Fucking CNN’s headline article is still about Michael Jackson. I hate to break it to you, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper, but Michael Jackson was a sad, lonely man whose life had value to the public based solely on his ability to entertain them. He wasn’t the  first person to be given too much fame, too much money, too much permissiveness and too much pressure, and he won’t be the last. This sick obsession with celebrity has got to be curtailed, especially since so much else is going on right now of major importance. Such as:

Exhibit B: Honduras had themselves a coup. Personally, when I hear about governments getting overthrown in Latin America by the military I tend to get a little antsy. I get more nutty when the new leader of said country gives a speech praising democracy.

Exhibit C: In the midst of an environmental crisis, crisis meaning a threat to not only our way of life but our ability to sustain human life on this planet, we lucky Americans are getting a fantastically watered down bill from Congress that will really not be of so much help! We also get the treat of ever-helpful Fox not -so-subtly insinuating that Congress and Nancy Pelosi are engaged in some sort of treason due to said bill! This is fucked up for more than one reason, and I’m pissed off about this enough to list them.

1) After calling people who were reasonably critical of George Bush and the war in Iraq “unpatriotic” and worse, after spying on them, after endless harassment… these same people are completely willing to accuse other elected leaders of “treason”…for dealing with the issues they were elected to … my, God… deal with. Right.

2) After acts of domestic terrorism in Knoxville, Pittsburgh, Kansas, and DC, which all involved right-wing men influenced by insidious eliminationist talk, Fox still thinks it’s a good idea to put up pictures of Nancy Pelosi with the word “treason.” Thank you, fellas.

3) Oh, Fox, I did not realize you were so concerned about the industrial base of America!! Does this mean you would like to put some restrictions on multinational corporations which outsource their jobs, thus crippling our domestic manufacturing base? Are you ready to support unions which protect the legal rights of our industrial workers?? I, too, would like to do some of these things. Silly me, I didn’t realize we were allies all this time! except:

4) As much as I value protecting the jobs of workers in difficult industrial jobs, some of our industries are hurting the planet. Like, for real. It sucks, Fox, I mean, it was really great of you to start thinking of protecting American workers, but protecting an industry which is engaged in rampant destruction isn’t really a great idea. It might be better to create jobs for those workers which did not imply, you know, pillaging the Earth.

5) But of even more importance, I have to let you know that this bill is not an attack on workers. It’s a grown-up way of dealing with childish, petulant corporate elites who have refused to make the slightest bit of change to their industry in order to maximize their profits. They have had every opportunity to make some changes on their own. They were presented time and again with the evidence of how their practices are rapidly destroying parts of our planet. They did not care. This bill is not intended to hurt workers, but to force their employers to adhere to some minimum standards. When I say minimum, I mean minimum. And Fox, your inability to show even the slightest bit of interest in the future, your refusal to accept that there is a day after tomorrow and a generation after our own… it’s severely discouraging. You make me want to weep into a blueberry pie.

Exhibit D: Of all the Supreme Court decisions being handed down this week, I am probably the least knowledgeable about Ricci v. Destefano. As a supporter of affirmative action, I must also acknowledge there are individual situations which are unfair. I suspect this may have been one, but I am just not qualified in getting into a debate which is, quite frankly, out of my league. I also am loathe to ally myself with a group which includes Clarence Thomas or John Roberts. What I do feel capable of chirping in on is not the specifics, but how this decision may affect us in a more general sense. I am so protective of the good that affirmative action has done, and of how much more needs to be done, and I am worried about how strong the wave of sentiment is against affirmative action. I am afraid this decision may be used in such a way which will cripple affirmative action programs and strengthen the support for those who would dismantle them. More so, I am concerned that Sonia Sotomayor, who was obligated by binding precedent to rule as she did when the case came before the 2nd Circuit, will be the target of even more warped right-wing attacks. The initial criticisms of her were so absurd, sexist, and racist that I just can’t read about it anymore. This country is not ready for a serious talk about race, class, gender, or sexuality, but this country is entirely ready for white men to attack people as playing the victim while… playing the victim (and get away with the contradiction). Oh Despair, your name is I.

Exhibit E: Obama. Seriously. Listen, I know Congress is a wreck. I know our legislative process is failing us utterly. It needs an overhaul, but we will not get it. But I need you to not go down the same path as George Bush. I shouldn’t be surprised, and I’m not really, but this is just so disappointing. Because as much as you spoke about change, you don’t want to give it to us. None of you do. You don’t want to really worry about what happens later.  You continue to make bipartisanship your idol, to make half-measures and baby-steps your hallmark. I understand why. It’s worked in the past. Sometimes you can keep the wolf at bay, but not forever. I hate to say it again, but the environmental crisis doesn’t care about your legacy or how you look in the eyes of Republicans. It doesn’t care about negotiations and compromises and if big business is okay with things. Capitalism was supposed to be about putting self-interest first. Our self-interest now lies with having healthy citizens and a healthy planet. So when you said “change!” did you really mean it? Or did you just mean finding a way to create little islands of security for the wealthy and letting the rest of humanity fend for ourselves? I believe you have good intentions, really I do. But I also believe that you, like so many West Wing-devotees and Beltway Insiders, are utterly insulated from the real-world results of your half-measures. I believe that if you circumvent Congress and continue to enhance your executive power that you make it that much easier for a more ambitious individual down the road to go all Augustus on us. Deal with problem of legislating, but don’t give up on it. Don’t take more power for yourself, don’t rationalize behaving as Bush did. Please.

Exhibit F: I kinda have always had massive disdain for people obsessed with economic models and talk of GDP. This is because I usually find them totally dismissive of the needs of real people, and also lacking in all common sense. I get tired of hearing endless talk about what works for the economy. What about what works for people? I will talk about this more at another time. I only mention this because that is why I enormously appreciated this post by Nate Silver. I hope someone is paying him for his work.

Exhibit G: I first thought about starting my own blog during the unending campaign of 2008. I was able to restrain myself because I knew exactly what said blog would resemble: immense despair, ramblings consisting of pleas, curses, frantic prayers to the heavens, weeping, and an increasingly incoherent panic which would suggest the need for something resembling WaitMate (I love you, Tim and Eric) after Sarah Palin’s nomination for VP. Ah, lucky those days are in the past! Now, I can sit and look back: with regret. Regret, regret that there was the possibility of anything like this being true about the candidate with the best political ideas and the most incredible stupidity and disloyalty towards his family, as well as his supporters (thanks for using that money we donated to let your mistress make shitty videos asshole! if there’s a sex tape I swear to God, that better have come out of your own pocketbook). I can also regret that though we can never know what a Hillary presidency would have been like (and I really don’t think it would be much better), I still feel in some deep part of my soul that she would have been delighted to tell republicans to Suck It. I just feel bipartisanship is not the idol for her that it is for Obama, and she would be pushing for a public option right now so much more vocally and vehemently. I also feel she could not possibly be worse for the gay community than Obama has been.

The country is ready (yeah Iowa!) and who cares about who isn’t because this is about civil rights. I am frustrated that in this country, a country whose infrastructure is falling apart and is in the midst of several crises, we are debating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Are you fucking kidding me? Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a ridiculous and shitty policy which needs to be repealed right now so that we can start solving the shit that cannot wait. I cannot hear one more word about Miss California-whoever. I cannot listen to anymore talk about Prop 8 or if the country is entirely ready for gay marriage. This is a travesty. I don’t care who is ready and I don’t care who isn’t just like I would hope Obama wouldn’t have tolerated such shit standing in the way of his parent’s marriage. Stop being insane and give the gay community their basic fucking rights because it’s so obvious how wrong and inane your defense of the horrible Defense of Marriage Act was. You have to do this so that we can talk about how we are all going to die because health insurance companies do not help sick people and unemployment is still climbing and the planet is warming and our use of torture may not mean death for me but it is so horribly wrong and why can there not be some sort of basic justice and accountability for that kind of evil and  obesity is climbing and animals are being mutated and their miserable lives are filling the poor Chesapeake with chicken shit and why are gay people not allowed to get drunk wtf and our pathetic justice system still refuses to deal with a man who is very likely innocent (let alone the fact that the death penalty is inherently wrong and fucked-up no matter what) and Iran is apparently having some sort of military coup and these are some obviously pressing issues and maybe someone should take Ezra Klein’s analysis on the grander scheme of things seriously so we can stop having our government fail cos, you know, maybe it’s time to really fix some of these things??

… Of course not, silly me. Oh well. I accept this. We shall all perish in flames. But I must not leave you all in complete despair. Not today, not while there is such a thing as true love left in this world. Not while there is something to warm the cockles of our bitter hearts. I am referring, of course, to my new love:

Mark Sanford’s press conference.

My Own Guilty Love

My Own Guilty Love

Not Mark Sanford. No, he’s an asshole who is in the midst of a nervous breakdown and needs to resign. But his press conference… that press conference. Mark Sanford showed me Love is Real. I am not referring to his love for Maria or his wife, of course. I am referring to his love for the Appalachian Trail and Tom Davis. This is why all the above shit has pissed me off. It is just taking up too much space in our national discourse. I really really need to spend some more time on this.

Why can’t I just have a few more days to enjoy the fact that a Republican politician was so incoherent and fumbling that I actually empathized with him? Is it so wrong to want a bit more time to focus on how he was such a spontaneous mess of self-indulgence and sorrow, on the way he gave the public a press conference which was actually less polished or controlled than Sarah Palin’s Katie Couric interviews? I realize enjoying it’s sweet inanity is the antithesis of the craving for sanity in our public political discourse that I expressed above. But every time I think about this current state of affairs I find myself longing for that simple time of last week when a man named Mark Sanford was twenty minutes late to his own press conference. I think about how he wept his way through it, called a man with the joyous name Cubby Colbertson a “spiritual giant”, thanked all the Tom Davises of the world multiple times, referenced Jurassic Park, evoked (in spirit though not literally) Evita… and made me cringe and want to leap onstage and create an escape path for such a wreck. Poor, poor man. But I thank you for having been such a complete dick of a politician in the past that I was able to smile at your incoherence as much as did the hilarious young woman behind you. I thank you for being such a non-threatening disaster that I could guiltily enjoy your shenanigans and put off thinking about our health insurance crisis for a little while. Thank you, Mark Sanford.

And thank you, Tom Davis.

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