Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some clarifying back-and-forth

This started with a comment reply I posted in a closed group on FaceBook. The thread had some very vicious back-and-forth about the displayed intelligence of Bobama versus the stereotyped perception of George W.’s smarts.

I jumped in with “Can you say corpseman?” regarding a thrice-repeated faux pas by Bobama, who is regarded as a “brilliant intellectual” by his acolytes, but apparently can’t read a teleprompter, or as Commander in Chief, doesn’t know how to pronounce “Marine Corps.” I ended with the following:

“Bobama has almost undone almost 50 years of anti-racist thinking that was counter-intuitive to my upbringing. When a casual conversation with a near-stranger the other day erupted into an amazing outpouring of invective about ‘this is what happens when you let niggers run something!’ all I could do was nod numbly. Al Gore said ‘we won that conversation,’ but watching a geezer older than me explode with rage left me speechless.

“Incompetence is not a racial attribute, and I ain’t playing that card, but hearing that diatribe in the moment left me unable to even shake my head in denial. Shortly thereafter, I realized that my reaction to those remarks about Bobama was a result of unraveling principles that I thought were ironclad. I couldn’t formulate a moderate response, because there is no middle ground left.

“Like a kid telling a dirty joke, I take some amusement away from somebody else’s observation that after Bobama leaves the White House, the only black people who will be allowed inside for the next hundred years will be the janitorial staff.”

I speak and write very cryptically at times, in the mistaken assumption that people are reading my mind, reading between the lines, and somehow mystically know what’s in my heart.

This time, I was out of my element. I was called a racist, and told that “generations need to die before racism becomes a thing of the past.” This was my reply:

“I can't deny who I am, or my upbringing during the worst days of the 1950s & '60s South. I can't deny my grandmother slapping my face for drinking out of the "colored" water fountain in City Hall and setting me to wondering about the status quo, any more than I can deny the black teammate who saved my life in Nam. I can't deny the War I veteran named Dozier who was a sharecropper on my grandparents' farm and taught me about horses and agriculture, nor can I deny hearing the grown-ups quietly saying "Dojah's a good nigger." I can't deny asking the only black girl in the Cherokee High School marching band to the homecoming sock hop, nor can I deny the vandalism to my car that we discovered when we left the dance. I can't deny the explosive hallway fight that erupted the following Monday when a redneck bully came on with taunts of "nigger lover!"

“If you're not old enough to have lived through these times, take my word for it; they tore people apart internally. Children knew there was something inherently wrong, but the adults behaved as though everything was perfectly normal; Ozzie & Harriet as it should be.

“I was raised to be a racist, hence my use of the words ‘counter-intuitive’ in the initial comment above. That defining slap at the water fountain at age 8 was the beginning of my judgment of right and wrong, and I knew the ‘colored’ sign was wrong for reasons I couldn't define as a child. ‘Rosie’ hauling me away from a regiment of NVA 14 years later was the apotheosis of that gut instinct. We called him ‘Rosie’ because he was a dead-ringer for Roosevelt Greer, who you might recall cradled a dying Bobby Kennedy's head that awful day.

“I've been called everything from ‘redneck’ to ‘white trash’ to ‘Grand Dragon,’ and as we say down here, it don't make no nevermind. I've also been called ‘nigger lover’ and ‘race traitor.’ That don't make no nevermind, neither. My three college degrees don't hang on walls in my house, but my membership certificate in Sons of Confederate Veterans does. My family never owned slaves, and were pioneers in instituting the sharecropper system in antebellum South Carolina, which was a dangerous stance to take at the time. I am a product of my upbringing, but no amount of familial or cultural indoctrination has ever affected my ability to think rationally.

“My family has fought in every war from the Revolution—with Francis Marion—through the Civil War with John S. Mosby—through the world wars and every ‘police action’ in between. My war wasn't much, but it was all we had; a nasty piece of work initiated by corrupt politicians for inscrutable ends. [Sound familiar?]

“When that geezer unloaded on Bobama recently, I flinched inwardly. I tried to rationalize that what he was spouting was just another way of expressing disgust with incompetence, idiocy, and hidebound ideology. Normally, I try to chill folks like that out, and change the subject. This time, I just nodded, and realized in the aftermath that my own principles of equality were becoming unraveled because of my personal loathing for the failure of leadership that this—coincidentally—black man has brought to the highest office of the country that generations of my ancestors fought and died for.

“As a Georgia native who refuses to be uprooted, I'll carry both the pride and ‘shame’ of my heritage. I refuse all guilt others may assign for either, and I think my ambivalence on racial issues has earned me the right to make a racial comment once in a while. As a culturally-indoctrinated racist, I saw some smirking humor in the comment about Bobama and the White House janitorial staff; as a rationally functioning human being, I also saw a wider truth in it. Whatever institutional racism still exists in America is going to blow back on every future black candidate who might present for the presidency, regardless of party affiliation or intellectual orientation. Failure is its own reward.”

The individual who called me “a racist” indicated he “liked” that remark. I take that to mean I made myself adequately understood about the fear and loathing I harbor for the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Racial politics aren’t in play here, but the worst failure of leadership in American history certainly is.

And, the social network is simply marvelous!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A fearless stand by a Fearless Leader

Taking time off from his golfing holiday in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts today, President Obama donned his “Rolling Plunder” campaign uniform and took a firm stance on the Atlantic beach, facing south where Hurricane Irene threatens the entire BosWash from DC to Manhattan.

“I simply will not allow this storm, caused by the failure of my predecessor to sign the Kyoto Protocols, to take place,” the Supreme Leader announced. “This is yet one more event of bad luck that threatens the economic recovery of our country, and I cannot allow this next step in the terrorist conspiracy of conservatism to take place. With the help of a few of my friends, I have a plan that will counter this reversal of fortune, and bring hope and change to America. The plan will be revealed shortly after Labor Day, when we celebrate the triumph of collectivist unions over the evil, greedy capitalist pigs who have too long monopolized the wealth and resources accumulated by generations of hard working and wisely investing Americans. This storm has the potential to create thousands of 'shovel-ready' jobs, and I'm prepared to halt that debacle in its tracks!”

Elaborating on the president’s remarks, White House Minister of Information Hellish Pelican added: “Our Supreme Leader will fight on the beach, in the air, and wherever else he needs to go to defeat this attempt to hold our greatest metropolises hostage to the whims of mere weather. He will not allow the terrorism of weather to threaten a single foreclosed home, unemployed proletarian, or restricted beach. One blast of his mighty breath will unleash a torrent of hot air great enough to unravel the wind-speed and reverse the direction of this oncoming storm. However, should events prove too stressful, we have the world's finest corporate jet standing by to transport him to safety at a moment's notice. His family will follow sometime thereafter.”

[United Possums International stands by for further updates on the progress of Hurricane Irene.]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The death of "The Manchurian Candidate"

As long as I’m backpedaling on things I’ve said here, I may as well flirt with my “I told ya so!” moment regarding the current presidency. That exact moment when I’ll officially say it hasn’t arrived quite yet, but it’s drawing closer with every golfing vacation our Supreme Leader takes when crisis threatens.

I'm retracting everything I ever said about Bobama being some kind of sinister Muslim sleeper agent, or a Hitlerian megalomaniac. He doesn't have the chops to be either. He's a cheap "Huggy Bear" pimp wannabe who is so incompetent he couldn't seduce a 14-year-old runaway in a bus station. I will no longer refer to him as "The Manchurian Candidate," because the Muslims wouldn't have any use for anyone as inept as he is. He wouldn't know a conspiracy if it bit him in the ass; much less have the wherewithal to be a party to one. He is even more intractable than Hitler when it comes to hidebound ideology and idiotic ideas, and his grandiose notions are pretty much limited to flying around on the world's finest "corporate jet", indulging in rock-star “Rolling Plunder” bus tours—disguising campaign speeches on the taxpayer’s dime as empathetic photo-ops with “the little people”—and hanging out in “De Big House” with the rich white folks and the celebrities of the moment. He's a reality-TV star-in-the-making, with a record of achievement less than that of Ozzy Osbourne, Anna Nichole, or Snooki. He's "The Situation" without the six-pack abs. (I almost puked the other day when some party hack called him a "brilliant Constitutional scholar." If he ever read it in high school, his policies indicate a total lack of recall or a willful disregard that borders on impeachable conduct.)

I feel positively prescient these days. First, my obsession with "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" paid off, when I learned that Kathryn "Hurt Locker" Bigelow is directing some action/adventure propaganda flick that will open in October of next year, just before the election. So, we’ll all be reminded that Bobama did one presidential thing in four years; giving the okey-doke to trained professionals to kill the most loathed man of the 21st century. Then, last week, a stench started to arise when my speculation was confirmed that the Pakis let the Chinese reverse-engineer whatever was left of that stealthy Blackhawk helicopter SEAL Team 6 had to ditch at "the compound" where Osama bin Laden was allegedly killed. (I won’t believe it until I see a death photo; far as I’m concerned, he’s playing backgammon in Area 51 with Elvis and the Roswell aliens.) Now, some people are having a come-to-Jesus moment about Jughead’s birth certificate and what I told them; the CIA has the best forgers in the world. Convince me it was a coincidence that DCI Panetta got a bump upstairs almost the same day the mysterious "long-form" document miraculously appeared. Can you say "quid pro quo"?

Honest to God, I should rent a cheap storefront in town, buy a deck of Tarot cards, some bleached chicken bones with runes engraved on them, and start telling fortunes. As it is, I'm just a broken-down nobody who's turned into an online crackpot with wild predictions, crazy notions, and juvenile cynicism. But, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. I'm not going to scan my i.d. cards into HAL-9000 and publish them online to establish bona fides, but if I tell you a frog can pull a boxcar, you only have to ask "How far?"

I retired in 2004, but the bizarre institutional intuition that carried me through 30 years of insubordinate hijinks hasn't stopped working.

There are plenty of rational, good-hearted people in this country who only desire the freedom to be left alone to make their own decisions about how best to live their lives. If asked directly whether they would prefer an authoritarian regime that dictates every aspect of their lives, or an un-intrusive government that provides minimal oversight for obvious predations, the overwhelming majority would vote for a government that—as we say in the South—hides and watches. As Gerald Ford said: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have.” (He might’ve been somewhat clumsy, but he wasn’t so dumb after all, was he?)

What was it P.T. Barnum said about fooling some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time?

I said it when the bad pony I now call “Jughead” charged out of the gate in 2009: You—the people—have been hoodwinked. Does anyone still believe the rhetoric, empty promises, and childish blame-casting of the most failed president in American history?

(I keep hearing The Who echoing in what’s left of my mind: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” and “We won’t get fooled again…”)

To be fair, we owe Bobama a small debt of gratitude. He is the catalyst for a second American revolution; one that is long overdue. He isn't the root or sole source of the problems that beset us today, but he is the culmination of one hundred years of their formation. As the capstone of incompetence and failure of leadership in the United States, he may galvanize enough of the apathetic that some kind of radical change will take place next year. Adding to my "I told ya so!" remonstrations, Congress is where the laws are made, not in the star chambers of the King of America. If we rid ourselves of those careerist, do-nothing, power-mongering legislators whose only concern is re-election, we might get a return to a basic Constitutional government where the CEO in the White House is only a part of the equation, not the be-all-end-all of the national concept. The Tea Party's a good start, and if my dire predictions about class warfare, chaos and anarchy in the streets come true, then maybe those apathetic souls drowning in hopeless despair will rise and reclaim the principles this country was founded on.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Coming attractions:

For those of you with access to Turner Classic Movies on cable or satellite, tomorrow night [Saturday, 13 August, 8:00 EDT] they will be airing "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" as part of their "Essentials" series. I urge you to watch it, as it will explain why I obsessively cited it after Osama bin Laden got his comeuppance.

Oscar™ winning director Kathryn Bigelow—“The Hurt Locker”—is currently working on the remake, featuring Barack Obama in the Jimmy Stewart role, and SEAL Team 6 as John Wayne. Her production company is being given unprecedented access to one of the most highly-classified missions in modern American history, and the movie is scheduled to open in October 2012, just before the November presidential elections.

Did I not tell you this was going to happen?

If you're too skeptical, or cheap, to rent a DVD of "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," then catch it for free on TCM tomorrow night. Keep in mind my comparison with the Bobama/bin Laden situation, and it'll scare the hell out of you.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Money where mouth is

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

I think it was a place called “college”, where very few things were related to the real universe, teachers of philosophy tried to explain how “perception is reality”, and young pups with unscarred bodies and unformed minds listened eagerly to the pronouncements of academicians with un-callused hands and perfectly groomed hair…

Someone tried to teach me the concept of a “zero-sum game.”

The prime example used was tic-tac-toe, where it doesn’t much matter where you place your first X or O; if you play often enough and fast enough, your win-loss ratio will even out, kind of like karma or flipping a coin. You’ve gained nothing in the end, and you’ve lost nothing because there was nothing there to lose in the first place.

I’m pretty sure I learned this from my mentor, a genius who should have been teaching advanced math theories at Stanford, but stuck it out in the trenches with us lesser lights who couldn’t balance a checkbook. Then, again, I might’ve heard this concept over one beer too many at an off-campus, high-stakes poker game. (Sorry, “A-Rod,” you learn a lot more about the real world by hanging out with grad students than you do by dating Madonna.)

I don’t remember much about college—I was too preoccupied with getting high or getting laid—but the notion of a zero-sum game came roaring back the other night when I heard two diverse facts that fell into place like a roulette ball hitting “00” and giving the odds to the house.

#1: The national debt has now equaled the Gross National Product for the first time since 1947, when we were struggling to pay off War II. If I understand this correctly, if we shut down the entire nation for a year, and taxed everything at 100%, we’d almost pay off what America owes. I think it’s $14.8 T debt versus $14.3 T productivity, but that’s increasing by $126,000 per second as you read this. [The Ts are for trillions; I’ll break my keyboard trying to enter so many zeroes.] That's a "zero-sum."

#2: With the stock market dive that celebrated the president’s birthday yesterday, every meager gain since the economic meltdown of ’08 was wiped out in a single day. That's a "zero-sum."

(I have a Constant Reader who is a big-money type. Feel free to jump in at any point if I'm wrong about this.)

Okay, my mind is blown. A third disturbing fact that someone ran past me recently is that if you tax the “richest ten percent”—who already pay 70% of the tax “revenues” in this country—at 100%—in other words, confiscating everything they possess, there still wouldn’t be enough money in the federal coffers to pay what we owe.

The evil, greedy rich have no confidence in the future of America. The Asian markets are tanking as I write this. Communist China is lecturing us on economics. Italy is poised to follow France and Greece down the rabbit-hole of entitlement protests. There is a trillion dollars of uninvested capital sitting offshore in foreign banks, earning interest for other people while American businessmen stare askance at the socialist nightmare the US has become. There is an old lady in Gum Log, Georgia gasping for air because her electric bronchial oxygen pump and the ceiling fans in her house were disconnected by the EMC because she couldn’t pay her bill, run 41% higher than last year by EPA regulation of coal-fired electricity plants.

Meanwhile, Fearless Leader celebrates his 50th birthday with yet another fundraiser for re-election, while one of his hacks bitches that he canceled ten fundraisers because he had to stay in De Cesspool and pretend to offer leadership during the “debt crisis” wrangling.

When I graduated college, and eventually enrolled in AA to recover from the experience, I learned another definition of a “zero-sum” game: “Insanity is repeating the same action again and again, expecting a different outcome.”

(I fell out of AA because of this; a lot of us try to drink ourselves to death because we don’t like what we’ve become, and telling people they’re inherently insane doesn’t help matters. I got sober by changing my life, becoming comfortable with who and what I am, and quit listening to gurus and “spiritual advisors.” I’m a nasty, insensitive man, and if godless bastards like Bill Mahr want to bet against me on God’s existence, I’ll take the wager with nothing to lose.)

Got to get a bottom line going here: WE ARE PLAYING A ZERO-SUM GAME.

Capitalism is based on growth. We are not growing; we are shrinking in power and prestige. The government doesn’t create jobs, the evil, greedy rich do, when they re-invest their ill-gotten gains in their exploitative industries. [Sarcasm mode off, but it’s true. Thank God for the evil, greedy rich…they provide jobs.]

We aren’t breaking even; we’re losing. The shenanigans of July weren’t even a start to solving our problems. We have passed the tipping point; the return no longer justifies the investment. As the Brits said, "the game isn't worth the candle." As we say in America, "it ain't worth the batteries in the flashlight to read under the blanket any longer." Say good-bye to the "American century;" it's over and done thanks to the looters and parasites of wealth redistribution. You cannot legislate 2+2=4; no amount of political posturing, rhetoric, or vague promises is going to dig us out the hole we have dug for the past 100 years.

What we are offered is the AA definition of insanity: keep doing the same things, and hope for a different outcome.

(I tried that for two decades, and it only resulted in puking, car crashes, pissing in inappropriate places, divorces, and going to jail repeatedly. Good thing I wasn’t on drugs…)

The salt shaker has spilled onto the tabletop, and no amount of throwing it over our shoulder and inveighing the economic gods is going to change our luck, or the results of the game. When I woke this morning, thinking of what I might write for my handful of readers, I thought of a quote from a Doors song, where Jim Morrison begins with “When I was back there in seminary school, a man put forth the proposition that you can petition the Lord with prayer.”

That’s not really appropriate to anything, I just heard that great lost voice echoing this morning when Bobama wrapped up his latest round of propaganda with “God bless America” before returning to the White House to unfurl his rug in the closet and face Mecca.

There is no solution to a zero-sum game except to quit playing. By its very implication, the inherent nature of the game says you cannot win. It doesn’t matter where the partisan Xs and Os go on the board, the same crap will happen over and over again in infinite variation, with the outcome ultimately the same. That’s a zero-sum game, which the national economy has become. Nothing is going to change, because of inaction on both sides of the issue.

Change begins with catharsis, which my worn dictionary essentially defines as “purging, especially of the digestive tract.” I also recall a quote that “I will spew you out of my mouth, because you are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm.” I think that means you’ll either stand for something or fall for anything.

By its nature, “compromise” is the abandonment of principles in favor of expediency. This country was not founded on compromise; it is founded on revolution, which that same worn dictionary defines as “A sudden political overthrow brought about from within a given system.”

The American colonists did not negotiate with King George III. They endured defeat, disease, vilification, partisan treason by Tories clinging to the status quo, and signed away their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the principles of an untried system of government that has proven to be the best in history. Some died in poverty and obscurity, but they died free. They stood for a principle, not for some mushy ideological party line. They thought before they acted; then they acted decisively. They didn’t play a zero-sum game; they played for mortal stakes.

The picture heading this post states my principles: it is a wager on the common sense of the American people. That scrap of government Monopoly™ money is worth about $20 by today’s standards, but it’s still even up as a bet on next year’s election. It’s a real picture of a real bill that’s been on my gnarly desktop since the last century. I haven’t lost yet, and my liberal friends won’t bet against me.

I’m betting the farm that the American people will not tolerate the failure of leadership that they so blithely fell for in 2008. (Well, you don’t get the castle on Scorpion Hill, but you might get the gummint marker.) Yeah, Bobama’s an historical president, the first African-American, blah-blah… He has a built in voting bloc for that, and the ill-informed who fall for Goebbel’s [look him up!] Big Lie who will show up as mindless “motor-voters”, but I’m betting that anyone with two brain cells to rub together will catch the spark and realize what a disaster our leadership has become. I don’t care if Bobama’s purple…it ain’t about race, it’s about competence. The “racist” label failed with liberals when black Tea Party spokesmen started turning up, so now the ad homs are reduced to “hobbits” and “terrorists.”

I used to carry on about some sinister aspect to Bobama’s presidency. I’ve since downgraded him from “The Manchurian Candidate” to a level below the misguided idiocy of Jimmy Carter. Bobama doesn’t have the wherewithal to be a “Doctor Evil” or a Muslim sleeper-agent. He’s a fool on a fool’s errand, and a wrecker tied to an ideology that wouldn’t fly in my 1960s high-school civics classes.

“Power to the people” doesn’t mean what it used to, but it still means something. My money’s on the table. I’ll bet God against Bill Mahr, and I’ll bet cash on the American people.