Sunday, January 31, 2010

How much danger are we really in?

by Rich Miles

These are parlous times. The fickle American electorate, especially those styling themselves "independents" (or, God forbid, "Teabaggers"), not content with 1 year's worth of progress toward undoing the depredations of the 8 Bush years, threaten to send us back onto our journey to the era and ethos of the Salem witch trials, electing as an early harbinger the telegenic but otherwise pretty much useless Scott Brown to fill the seat formerly occupied by the finest humanist the U.S. government has ever known, Ted Kennedy. Who knows why the same people who elected Kennedy in, most recently, 2006 elected an inexperienced pretty boy who would betray everything Kennedy ever stood for barely three years later? Who knows if his election (Brown's) is the harbinger of Republican re-ascendancy that so many brain-dead, lacking-in-creativity so-called pundits have hailed it as in recent weeks?

One can only hope not. Dear God, please not - not another X years of Talibancy in America. We really might not survive it again. We almost didn't last time. As strong as America can be in its best times, we almost didn't survive 8 years of irresponsible frat-boy pandering to every twitch of the extreme right that was the Bush "administration".

But this is where we're aiming, if cooler heads don't manage somehow to prevail - another indeterminate period of right-wing dictatorship, perhaps actually managing this time to destroy our Constitution and its freedoms as they tried to do last time.

America is strong. Americans make it so. But it is NOT invulnerable. It is most assuredly not invulnerable to its own strengths. We cannot ALL keep calling those who disagree with us un-American. We cannot keep attacking each other's gods, cannot keep making OUR god the ONLY god, and castigating all those who believe otherwise. We cannot simply continue to abandon our strengths in the name of patriotism. Remember the famous Samuel Johnson quote: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel". In fact, don't EVER forget that quote. It could save our country some day.

Let me recommend two works of art for your perusal: first is either the film or the novel "A Tale of Two Cities". I recommend this because, in a recent viewing of the film, it occurred to me to wonder, HOW did France go so unrelentingly mad for so long? After all, there were other countries which had lived under tyranny then escaped it. Why did the French go so guillotine-mad? And what sorts of parallels might there be in America today? Do you think it's impossible that we could some day become such a dictatorship, and then fight our way out from under it, and then murder those who put us there? Do you think this could never happen in America? Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no. Not by a long chalk. The events of the past 9 years show us that - we have been at each others' figurative, and sometimes literal, throats for almost all of that time.

And things like the Bush dictatorship, and the election of Scott Brown and others like him, lead us not TO that place, but in the general direction of it. And as we see in Dickens' masterpiece, sometimes TO the place but not IN it is all it takes for formerly good people to adopt evil ways.

Here is the second recommendation I mentioned above: perhaps not technically a work of art, but information we can use, and should: GOP Hits its Stride, But Faces Rifts over Ideology

The one glimmer of hope in all this, the one thing that remains true throughout all the evils of the Republican Party, is that no matter how much power they get, they will ALWAYS overreach eventually. They learn nothing from their mistakes, because they don't see them as mistakes.

And that is the only way America will be saved. Some day. Some day.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Krugman gets right to the point

by Rich Miles

If I were a woman, I'd try very hard to convince Paul Krugman that I should be the mother of his children.

But I'm not, so all I can do is try to spread the word to the world that Paul Krugman knows what's going on in the world better than almost anyone else on earth. Not just in the realm of economics, his area of special expertise, but in general. In general, he knows how badly things are getting screwed up, and how badly all of us are getting screwed in the process. He realizes that there are larger forces at work in the world. Not conspiracy-theory, tin-hat kind of stuff, but just purely observational stuff about how the wealthy, and the fat cats, and the plutocrats (arguably all three are the same people) are seeking not just to stay rich, but to get ever richer on the backs of the poor and the middle class. Paul Krugman knows this, and tries to tell us about it every chance he gets, because he realizes the danger of it, not only for the poor and the middle class, but for the wealthy as well. They're killing us, but in the process they're killing each other as well. One can only hope they finish each other off before they do us.

Because you see, the world is degenerating into a constant battle between the plutocrats, and the rest of us. The plutes have more resources to bring to bear, but there's a lot more of us poor folks.

Still and yet, the fact that there are people in the world who have waaaay more money and stuff than the average, way more than they really need, but want more and more and more, is very disheartening. I mean, I don't have all I want in the world, but I like to think that the difference between me and the plutes is that I expect to earn whatever more I get, while these plutes I keep talking about expect either to steal it, or have it handed to them. Whut up wid dat?

The world is not as it once was, kiddies. There have always been obnoxiously rich people in the world, but they haven't always been willing to walk over the faces of the rest of us to increase their holdings. There may have been some such people since time immemorial, but generally I think the wealthy didn't find it necessary to drive us poor folks to extinction. At least, that's the way it appears to me as I study history.

But in any case, we're at war these days - with the rich, who don't have the good sense to realize how much they need us peons. And how much they need to pay for the privilege. I don't want ALL of anyone's provender - I just want the part I earn. And I want the rich folks to believe the same way. Whether that will ever happen, I don't know. But I don't want to have to fight a war with anyone for what is mine.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rush Limbaugh is not only an asshole...

...he is the biggest asshole in the whole world!!!

by Rich Miles

Now, why do I say this, you may be wondering? Well, I'm glad you asked me that!

It's because of what he (Limbaugh) said, from his vacation locale no less, about President Obama's pledge of assistance to Haiti since the horrible earthquake that took place there on January 12.

Limbaugh said (are you ready for this?) that the President's rescue effort was - I'm not kidding though I wish I were - TOO QUICK!!

That's right - too quick. After his blow buddy George W. Bush allowed a US city, New Orleans, to founder and drown in filthy waters for arguably YEARS now, ol' Rushster thinks that Obama's pledge to Haiti in less than 24 hours of American assistance, and $100 million in aid, and all the rest, is TOO QUICK. That it's pandering to black voters (which of course makes it clear that Bush's response in New Orleans was a big ol' fuck-you to black voters, can't accuse Georgie of pandering to black voters!)

So that's why I think Rush Limpballs is the biggest asshole in the whole world. Care to offer a more cogent opinion? Or another nominee, perhaps?