I’ll come back to the really important issues – neighborhood association mischief, exclusion v. diversity, racism, crypto-racism and general local ratbaggery in Downtown New Orleans (not to let Uptown off the hook – they seem worse, but I’m busy) all of which I have seen scary examples of this week.
But first some small screen stuff.
Did you see the Republican “debates” last Thursday? I was in a comfortable chair. At first I thought it was a re-run; I gently nodded off. I’ll have to pick the rest up on YouTube.
But I got the message.
It was Commander-in-Chief night. The undercard three were even crazier than the main event. I guess they need attention more. Three because the party and the polls relegated Rand Paul, but he declined. Quite right too. His position is a funny mixture of Paul family Libertarianism and Republican policies, which makes him wrong about most things, but he is a real Senator. Does he need to stand in public arguing with the unsavory likes of Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina?
To keep you safe and snug in your bed, these aspiring Commanders in Chief are going to kill a few million people. Most of them should be Muslim Arabs, but Russians and Iranians are okay too. Killing the right kinds of foreigners Keeps Us Safe, because they are Terrorists. Or rapists. When the US bombs cities by airplane and drone, we are defending freedom. We will be even more free when more brown people are dead, and so will they. Republican candidates say they are good at this important work. Carly Fiorina can do it better because she knows the presidents of the people she is going to kill. Cruz is going for carpet bombing as his weapon of choice. Trump – he might want to kill Cruz first, then make a deal with ISIS.
I have to go out and buy some guns before:
- Jackbooted Obamacratic thugs come to take them away. (Wait – did I get that right way ’round?)
- ISIS terrorists turn up in Bywater. If I am not packing, they may start gunning people down with those AKs and we’ll all be as dead as a Frenchman. But if I am quick on the draw with my Glock (that’s something like a “9” for white guys) and if Sergio Leone is with me in spirit, it’s all over for the jihad.
- In case I catch any immigrants in the act of stealing the jobs of proper, gun-carrying natural-born Americans. I am not sure whether I am supposed to kill them or just run them out of town. It might be in the instructions for the gun. I’ll check it on YouTube.
- To support our job-creating corporations against maligners, especially if the maligners are also terrorists, Muslims or immigrants, or are rude enough to ask where they are creating these jobs. This can get tricky. Muslims in expensive Bedouin-look costumes who arrive in Gulfstreams, run oil companies and sovereign wealth funds are very superior, important people. Islamophobia does not apply to them. But Muslims on the streetcar instead of in a motorcade . . . . it’s still a bit confusing. Thank God for YouTube.
- The Second Amendment uplifteth my soul. When I get my concealed carry permit, you will be safe if I am in the room, because I will show those so-called IS caliphate Islamic jihadis who is boss. Trump and Palin expect no less of me. Cool as a cucumber, I take careful aim while the AK ack-ack is raking the room, and with a steady hand put one right between the eyes. saving everybody’s life. Of course, when they hear I am packing, they may not turn up. Either way, I’ve got you covered.
- Even as a Second Amendment-toting red-blooded American, I can’t personally send the Marines and the Seals into Syria to finish off Islam once and for all. We need one of those Commanders in Chief to do that for us. When they get rid of that wimp in the White House, America will be Great Again and Putin will wet his pants.
- We will be great again too. You, me and Joe the Plumber. When the Empire kicks ass, our lives must be fine too, right? Those ragheads in Raqqa will fear us. We will have our Family Values back. Congress can defund everything and finally put an end to gayness. Wedding cakes won’t be so confusing. When abortion is terminated, we will have more faith-based proper White babies to fill the labor gap created by deporting 30 million immigrants by throwing them over the Mexican wall. Let’s just hope they can make a decent taco.
- The money will got to dropping bombs instead of funding schools or bringing the country up to standard, but so what? We’ll all be Chinese in the end anyway.
- Taxes will be easy: everybody will pay 15%. Me, Sheldon Adelson, Martin Shkreli – 15%. Equal rates will make us equal, right? No more 1%.
- Black Americans being unfair to police – our CinC will put a stop to that! If black people want their lives to matter, well, they can watch their step. Or find a way to become more white; maybe get a cowboy hat Head over to Oregon. Stop saying “systemic!” Just comply. Eyes down, and shut up. For the sake of PR, though, we will coach police to shoot a few more white guys.
- Blow off those regulations! Look at Beijing – all that smog and people wearing breathing masks – if we can’t have that here too, how can we compete? Child labour – come on, be a patriot. Do you want to be able to compete on even terms with Bangladesh or not? Because everybody is beating America. And that’s not how the world is supposed to be. The Exceptional Nation is supposed to beat them, then put military bases in their countries, and run their democratic elections properly, so they elect the right people.
- No more vilifying worthy Republican governors just for refusing Medicaid money and letting a few people die. What’s that about? America is not for wimps. If you’re a limp dick that can’t take a little lead poisoning, piss off to France. You might live, but the language sounds foreign. Europe is finished anyway. No financial management. Here, I f people can’t pay, well, they die. Sorry. Living while poor is just careless.
- State of the “Union.” Ha! You saw Paul Ryan’s face up there next to Biden. You know there is no Union. Just real Americans taking their country back and Making America Great Enough Again.
Wait a minute – did I nod off before or after I thought that stuff? Could it have been a dream?
Then the Dems had a debate. You might have missed it, because the DNC tucks them into Saturday night so no one watches. That is supposed to help Hillary Clinton. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairman of the DNC, was Hillary’s campaign manager in 2008. Maybe she wants the job back if HRC wins the nomination.
The Dems were less stupid. They didn’t pretend that one of the death cults (possibly another symptom of the popular urge to upheaval behind Occupy, the Tea Party, BLM, Trump and Sanders) that have grown up like buboes on victims of a plague outbreak within the Islamosphere, clever enough to take some landscape off of Iraq, broken to pieces by the Neocon invasions, and Syria, the brittle hold of its dictator shattered by civil war, had become the major threat to the security of the most powerful and frequently violent military force in history, and that what was needed to fight an enemy that has no planes or ships is more planes and ships. The position of some of the fox-like punditry gets quite funny when they are confronted with the fact that the ISIS threat here is statistical zero compared to what America does to itself,with bad gun law, bad driving and the pervasive attitude of violence linked with anxiety. It doesn’t matter, they say; the people think it is, so the politicians have to put it at the top of the list.
The Dems did finally show us some clear blue water between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Hillary is doubling down on her mainstream ID by saying she is going to keep Obama policy on the same rails. (Not sure even he would say that if he were running.) She wants to control banks by regulation, Bernie by breaking them up. (Neither will work.) Clinton wants to improve healthcare by incremental tinkering with Obamacare and the private insurance system; Bernie says just take it to the next stage, single payer. (Sanders has the economic advantage; Hillary’s shovels money down the pharmaceutical and insurance gullets, but dodges another civil war between the healthcare cartel and the government – which usually puts up a show of resistance, but they know what Citizens United says. And Hillary wants to make college more affordable; Bernie proposes for free for public colleges.
Obamacare made a crack in the protective wall around the corporate medical establishment, but any scheme that plays into the profit nets of drug, insurance and medical care cartel is doomed to perpetual conflict and ultimate failure. The only country left in industrial/post industrial civilization that does not have “single payer,” national health or full national insurance is We the People/Left Behind, not because we outsmarted them, but because American corporations were more vicious and aggressive in beating back democracy and populism with bribery, force and its allies in government – and We the People chickened out.
Alan Grayson, always worth listening to, said this weekend – I’m paraphrasing – “The essence of the Democratic Party is Progressivism, and the essence of Progressivism is progress. Hillary Clinton’s message of just bumping along, continuing the Obama trajectory instead of going for decisive progress is just not an inspiring message.” Sounds right to me. Tells us who the right guy is. Unfortunately, when the Clinton polls reflect this and her team gets up the courage to tell her why, we can expect her once more to snatch Sanders’ positions, claiming she had always adhered to these principles and in fact thought them up herself.
(Today, Paul Krugman, a Clinton type, said you have to be realistic. Half a loaf is better than none. Robert Reich quickly responded, The loaf you are trying to get has be a goal worth trying to get, so half of it is progress.)
One of the screeching harpies of Fox News implied that the Dems were unpatriotic for not mentioning ISIS in the first hour of the debate. ISIS is playing Satan in Fox’s national religion service. They may settle down now, with Sarah Palin performing Redneck Rap on Trump’s stage, promising to kick ISIS’s ass. With one of her Family Values getting arrested the same day for smacking his girlfriend around and flashing weapons while drunk, Tina Fey may be cancelling her appointments.
The yahoos of Fox remind us of two meta-principles of politics, inclusiveness and exclusiveness. Inclusion and exclusion, shutting people out or bringing them in. But lets hold out that for when NOLAscape loops back to our own cracked streets.
The pictures up top: Fascism does not need a strutting clown like Mussolini or Trump, but it accelerates the degeneration to have one. Fascism needs a lockstep alliance of corporations, government and the military, with a scapegoat or two so we all know who to blame for everything. The US corporatocracy is tooled up to provide that anyway. Trump is trying out a few scapegoats for popular appeal. The other candidates are trying to figure out whether to try to pass him in assholery, or oppose him. It looks increasingly like they are going to nominate either the urban oligarch Fascist or the religious Fascist from Texas. Any candidate who can pretend to be a sane person in the normal range should be able to beat either one of them, so discounting (which is not realistic) all the weird factors like race, religion and all the strange cultural irrelevances Americans can throw into the sausage grinder, you get to choose between a progressive who wants to make things better for the 99% and the bank-supported candidate who wants eight years to kick the can gently down the road.
But don’t give up, Trumpeters (I nicked a Palinism.) Keep cheering and jeering while your hero threatens people, instructs bouncers to sling people out of rallies and says Americans earn too much. You know you are going to be ashamed in the morning, but you can’t get off the roller coaster, right? And it all pushes the envelope – someday you will get to elect a real Fascist, who will develop a new special salute for solidarity. Against them.
I guess I can understand how some cynical people are attracted to the Trump show, but Cruz is amazing. A guy of no warmth, universally disliked, with a face and expression in the line of succession of Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon, who openly derides separation of church and state and would cheerfully turn America into an end-times Dominionist theocracy – are there really people crazy enough to support that?
Robert Scheer, a great journalist with a fine memory and excellent debunking instincts can tell you more: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/hillary_blames_bernie_for_an_old_clintonite_hustle_rotten_shame_20160119
All right – next time, let’s see if we can’t find even worse people right here.
© Bob Freilich January 2016