Weird Times in Mudville
This really has been a week for the history books - so much going down, it's difficult if not impossible to find the proper context in which to put everything. One thing is beyond any hint of a doubt, though: Two-and-a-half-weeks ago, the long-predicted deregulatory shit finally hit the economic fan. The people who bear most of the responsibility for this catastrophic meltdown (and we are in catastrophe mode here, folks - let's stop kidding ourselves) are stepping up to the video cameras and microphones - faces as straight as a two-by-four, I swear! - and are saying that no one could have foreseen this. Gee, I hate to keep tooting my own horn here. I did this exactly a week ago today but I've got to do it again - I'M SORRY BUT I JUST CAN'T HELP MYSELF! I promise you, this will be the very last time I ever bring this up. So help me Herbert Hoover!
From "The Rant" by Tom Degan, June 8, 2008:
At no other time since 1932 has the need to go in a radically new direction been as obvious as it is in this year. If we foolishly reject the Democratic candidate, we will deserve everything that happens to us. So desperate is the Bush Mob to forestall the catastrophic economic collapse that is months - if not weeks away - they have resorted to sending checks in the amount of several hundred dollars to every taxpayer in the United States. Their intention is to keep the economy barely sustained just long enough to be able to get out of town while the getting is good and blame the coming, unavoidable meltdown on the next administration - an administration they have some reason to believe will be a Democratic one. What they are in the process of doing may very well serve as a temporary fix, but it will eventually only further deplete our already decimated national treasure. Seriously, has it dawned on you yet how utterly contemptible these people are? I was just wondering.
Well their little scheme backfired on them. This afternoon the First Fool made a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House. Referring to the bail out of Wall Street as a "recovery plan" (where are you, George Orwell?) he informed his dying nation that he would sign the bill into law when it reached his desk early next week.
It was a curious and uncomfortable sight. At one point during the statement (which barely lasted three minutes - if that) his voice seemed to crack. For a moment, just one brief, shining moment, mind you, I started to feel a real degree of sympathy for the homicidal little thug. It was painfully obvious that the pressures of the job, and the certain realization that he will be remembered as the worst president in American history, were weighing in on his psyche in a very profound and disturbing way. I actually caught myself saying out loud, "The poor son-of-a-bitch". We're talking major pathos here, people.
My moment of sympathy for Bush ended in a flash. I started to think about the hundreds of millions of people who have suffered because of the greed and stupidity of this foolish, mediocre man. I started to think about the dead in Iraq, possibly a million or more men, women and little children; mostly innocent victims who were slaughtered in the name of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney's perverted lust for oil. The only reason for invading Iraq was so they could loot that country - much in the same way they have looted this one. The Bush Mob's only motivation was to seize the second or third largest oil reserves on the planet earth. I thought about the children of America, the living and generations yet unborn, who will never know the standard of living their antecedents knew - for no other reason than the fact that this generation of Americans never bothered to do their duties as citizens of this doomed country and study the positions and policies of the candidates for public office. A huge segment of them actually believed that sending this half-witted frat boy to the White House was a good idea.
In 2000, Al Gore was seen by the electorate as a know-it-all, policy wonk, smarty pants. George W. Bush was just your run-of-the-mill idiot that most of us would rather have a beer with. I think that it is almost touching that so huge a segment of the people would identify with him.
Think about that for a minute or two, will you? This generation inherited from their parents the strongest, most prosperous nation the world has ever known. And what will our heirs inherit from us? A social and ideological cesspool.
Go shopping, America.
In the meantime, the silliness on the campaign trail just keeps getting funnier by the minute. Last night's vice-presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis was quite the spectacle to be sure. Although poll after poll has declared that the people thought Joe Biden won the debate, the right wing media immediately proclaimed that Sarah Palin cleaned Senator Biden's clock. Their reasoning, I'm sure, has nothing to do with the fact that she scored zero on matters of substance and everything to do with the fact that she managed to get through the ninety minute event without saying anything monumentally stupid. The bar was set so low, all she had to do for a victory to be claimed was to walk away from the podium relatively unscathed. Style is everything with these people - substance be damned.
I don't know about you, but when I choose someone I want breaking tie votes in the senate (which is all, really, a vice-president is constitutionally required to do), there are certain, substantive qualities that I'm looking for. Call me a grouch but "cute 'n' perky" doesn't really cut the mustard with me. I don't know, I'm kind of old fashioned that way.
The biggest disappointment of the evening was moderator Gwen Ifill. In the hours leading up to the debate, it was reported that she has a upcoming book on the triumph of African American politicians in general and Barack Obama in particular, which is scheduled to be released on Inauguration Day. The Republican propaganda machine went apoplectic on learning this. So eager was Ms. Ifill to prove that she could be a fair and objective moderator, she allowed Sarah Palin to get away with murder. She was successfully coerced by the right wing. She should have excused herself.
At this moment in time, it is apparent that the McCain campaign is in a free fall. As I predicted on this site over two years ago (There I go again!) the people would eventually wake up from the right wing coma they've been slumbering under since that day in 1980 when they foolishly sent a feeble-minded, failed "B" movie actor named Ronald Reagan to the White House. We were warned for decades that the orgy of deregulation and "trickle down", "voodoo economics" would eventually come back to haunt us. Well, come back it has - with a vengeance too horrible to even contemplate.
As horrible as the last eighteen days have been, they were not without a small handful of significant blessings. Here's one of them: Ronald Wilson Reagan died on September 15, 2008. I realize full well that the dirty old dingbat physically shuffled off this mortal coil on June 5, 2005, but the so-called revolution which bares his name, is now deader than the Gipper himself. Good and grand riddance.
"Government isn't the answer to our problem. Government is the Problem."
January 20, 1981
The events of the last two an-a-half weeks have proven, for all time and eternity, the utter fallacy of that statement. There will be times when government is the only answer.
It must never be forgotten that George W. Bush merely harvested the crop of America's economic suicide. It was Reagan who planted the seeds. Don't ever forget that. It's mourning in America. The coming years of hardship (which I fear will last a decade, possibly longer - possibly much longer) will be Ronald Reagan's biggest and longest lasting legacy.
To quote the great comic/philosopher, Stan Freberg, "Wake up Cratchett. It's later than you think!" Wake up, America.
The GOP have found themselves in an untenable situation. They are light years from the point when they could win a national election based upon the merits of their ideas. Think Dwight D. Eisenhower. Their only option at this stage in the game is fear. The next month will make the campaigns of 2000 and 2004 look like a freshman civics lecture. They have no other choice but to resort to the Karl Rove tactics that served them so well in those contests: Distract, Distort and Divide.
The McCain/Palin camp are going to go into the gutter from this point on. The only chance they'll have to win this thing in four weeks will be by scaring the hell out of middle America against voting for a black man. The irony here is that Bush was only able to win in 2000 because fifty-seven thousand African Americans were taken off of the list of registered voters in the state of Florida due to the illegal machinations of brother Jeb and Katherine Harris (Whatever happened to her anyway?) The campaign of 2008 will undoubtedly be remembered as the dirtiest in American history. Count on it.
This is going to get ugly, campers. Really, really ugly. Keep your fingers crossed and your hands folded.
Okay, just one more time (this is irresistible!) From "The Rant" by Tom Degan, December 30, 2007:
"2008 will be remembered as the year our entire economy collapsed. You can take that to the bank (so to speak)".
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Weapons of Mass Distraction
A film by Danny Schechter, "The News Dissector"