Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Existential Nightmare Of....Existence

A long, long time ago....

This country used to work, more or less. Oh, folks had their differences. Folks will always have their differences.

And things were far from perfect. We've had some crooks in charge, I'm thinking of you Dick Nixon; and some figureheads, hello Ronnie Reagan, hello W.; several outright racists; and more than a few cyphers, Ford, Harding, Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan, Fillmore--well, yes, it is a longer list than you'd expect from the Greatest Country There Ever Was Or Ever Could Be.

But setting aside the Civil War period, which I know is impossible for some of our Southern cousins, the people who claimed to govern us would not dream of actively working to destroy the nation.

They understood that compromise was a necessary component of a functioning democracy. Hell, there wouldn't be a United States without compromise. The Constitutional Convention was nothing but a series of compromises--some good, some bad. The Founding Fathers, all of whom were human, by the way, and therefore flawed, understood that that was the only way to preserve our tenuous union.

Somehow we muddled along.

And up until, oh, 20 years ago or so, there was still the possibility of moving the country forward through a process of give and take.

But, like I said, that was a long, long time ago.

Certainly before the black guy became President.

Now, everything is a fight. Every single thing. Complex or relatively simple, it doesn't matter. And the question of whether or not something is good for the country is lost in all of the noise.

This may be because we all seem to be living in different versions of America. The commons and the idea of a common good have been shattered and all that is left is whatever each of us imagines the United States to be. Or to have been...

And that isn't any way to run a country.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Hall Of Fame Of Arizona's Recent Republican Governors

Since some out of state folks, and we'll probably never learn who, thought it was worthwhile to buy the governorship of Arizona for the Republican candidate, as a public service let me refresh your memory about the last few Republican governors of Arizona:

Ev Mecham, the man who tried to re-popularize the word pickaninny. Ol Ev was, naturally, a successful businessman--well, he sold Pontiacs back when people still bought Pontiacs, I guess that counts--and he was so successful as Arizona's governor that he was called "an ethical pygmy" and then impeached by a legislature controlled by his own party! But not before he rescinded the MLK Jr. holiday and cost the state its first shot at hosting a Super Bowl. Go Ev!

J. Fife Symington. J. Fife was, you guessed it, a successful businessman, many of whose projects somehow went bankrupt, and who, through no fault of his own, of course, was convicted of fraud! A popular bumpersticker of the time read "Honk if Fife owes you money!" Fife's defense boiled down to "they should have known I was lying" (on his financial statements). If not for a Presidential pardon, Fife would have spent some quality time in prison.

Jane D. Hull. You can list Jane D's lifetime achievements on one side of a very small post-it and still have room for a fairly detailed grocery list. But she wasn't impeached or indicted, and in this field that makes her our champion!

Jan Brewer. Not terribly bright is perhaps the kindest description of Jan Brewer. Famous for wagging a boney finger in the face of President Obama, championing SB1070, and having the verbal dexterity of a brain damaged non-English speaker trying to improvise Shakespearean dialogue, Jan was, of course, beloved by all not terribly bright Arizonans, which fortunately for her was and is a majority!

Which brings us to the newly elected Doug "Cup or Waffle Cone?" Ducey, who is, wonder of wonders, a successful Republican businessman!

What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Billionaire Beggars

Being a mostly red blooded American male I should be all excited by the football season.

I mean, really, what else matters in life?

And here in sad sad Arizona, "our" Cardinals are doing very well.

That's supposed to compensate for the low wages, crappy schools, hillbilly politics, racist sheriffs, brain dead populace, suburban sprawl, cultural wasteland, and all the rest of the ongoing river o' shit that is life in Arizona. Did I mention we have championship golf, too?

Bread and circuses, baby. Bread and circuses.

Unfortunately, I just can't bring myself to root root root for the home team.

Nothing against the players or the coaches. I'm sure they're a fine bunch of guys, with just the right mix of wife, and/or girlfriend, and/or child, and/or drug, abusers mixed in.

And I'm fine with all that. No, really, I am. I guess it's the libertarian in me.

What I can't abide are the team's billionaire beggar owners, the lovely Bidwill family.

Look in the dictionary under institutionalized mediocrity and there's a picture of Bidwill pere et fils.

4 winning seasons in 26 years in Arizona. This in the NFL, a league that does everything it can to insure parity. Wow. Because Arizona is the land of eternal optimism, after just one winning season the Cardinals were rewarded with a shiny new stadium at tax payer expense. This new bauble increased the value of the team enough to make the Bidwill's billionaires. Shouldn't that be enough for one lifetime?

But it's not enough. No, it's never enough.

Hardly a month goes by without young Michael Bidwill whining about the Cardinals not getting their fair share of something. Parking or signage or whatever. Their "partners", the City of Glendale, may crash and burn financially, but until Mikey's happy with his cut, nothing else matters.

Of course, they are not alone in this. Every major city in America has been, or will be, held hostage by some billionaire scum who owns the local team and wants something--usually a tax payer funded new stadium to replace the tax payer funded old stadium. Because, well, you know, old stuff's creepy.

Not nearly as creepy as a bunch of old white men with too much money and power and an overwhelming sense of entitlement...

Go Team!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How Much For Arizona?

So a lot of Dark Money flowed into Arizona for the recent election...

Millions and millions and millions of dollars!!

Almost all of it went to Republican candidates.


Trust me, there isn't anything in Arizona worth all the money that was spent here.

No oil, no shale, not much water to privatize, and the mines are already spoken for.

Unless they think they can get their hands on the Grand Canyon...hmmm?

Millions and millions to get Doug Ducey elected governor? Doug Ducey? Please.

No, on the face of it, it doesn't make much sense.

Until you remember how the Germans used the Spanish Civil War to work out the kinks in their tactics. Field test the Stuka's and Panzers. They didn't really care much about Franco or Spain, they were just practicing for something more important...finding out what worked, and what didn't work.

I think that's what we just saw in Arizona and some of the other unimportant states. A field test. How often do you have to repeat a lie before people start to believe it? Daily? Hourly? On every station? What does that cost per vote? Crunch the numbers.

Got to get ready for the next Blitzkrieg.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Nation Of Imbeciles

What does it say about a political party that can only consistently win elections when they lie and cheat?

What does it say about the future of a country that there are large numbers of people willing to vote for the liars and cheaters?

What does it say about the mainstream media of a country that bends over backward to find ways around reporting about the lying and cheating?

What does it say about a nation's highest court that equates money with speech and therefore allows the out of state money of a few billionaires to overwhelm the money of an entire state's citizens in local elections?

When I was younger, and I guess more compassionate, I probably would have said about all those coal miners who vote Republican, "well, you know, they're afraid about their jobs and not well educated, and that's all they know, so..." But I'm older, and I don't have as much patience, so what I say now is "fuck you. I hope you die of black lung, without any healthcare--which is what you voted for after all--in a sad little shack. Maybe the coal company will send a nice floral arrangement to your funeral. Won't you ever understand that you are completely expendable?"

And to all those old people, dependent on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, who consistently vote against the party that gave them Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, "please do us all a favor and die soon."

And to those Latino-Americans who don't bother to vote at all, "I hope you get stopped by the cops every time you leave the house and asked for I.D. And that your kids always go to substandard schools, too. That's what comes from not voting."

And to those young people who also don't bother to vote, "enjoy paying off your student debt at a minimum wage job. That is, if there still is a minimum wage. But hey, maybe the Republicans can reinstate the draft, so you won't have to worry about that debt after all! Have a nice time in Syria, or Iraq, or Iran, or the Ukraine, or wherever. Oh, and thank you for your service."

In some alternative universe I suppose it makes perfect sense that the majority party of a Congress with an approval rating of 13% gets rewarded with more seats.

That's where we are now.

In a democracy you get the kind of government you deserve.

And therefore it logically follows that a nation of imbeciles deserves to be governed by imbeciles.