Someone Explain This—I Think I’m Crazy



Okay, when did Romney start running? Two years ago, maybe? And, at that time, his being a Mormon and a Republican and a Wall Street playah, etc. –was nothing compared to his fellow GOP hopefuls’ bags of bananas. So all this time the Media is focused on who is ahead in the GOP primary race: Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Jindal, et. al.—their party’s race started out with about ten of them, whittled it down to two or three, and finally, as if forced to swallow cod liver oil, they settle on the only candidate NOT provably crazy, stupid, or scandalous—Mitt.

Republicans were a little embarrassed about Mitt’s Massachusetts gubernatorial health care legislation—purportedly the model for what would become ‘Obama-Care’. And the hyper-evangelicals were not too crazy about his new-fangled Christianity (in spite of the LDS being the only major faith engendered by our great nation, rather than being imported from the Old World).

The Republican party was even more embarrassed by their last president, who left our armed forces mired overseas in multiple theaters of battle; who left our economy going into toxic shock—thus proving right the Democrats whose dire warnings about de-regulation and overdone tax-cuts for the First Estate had, ‘til then, been laughed off; and who left behind ‘No Child Left Behind” Policies that had managed to leave all our kids ‘behind’ (‘except for the rich’—that eternal GOP refrain).

So then, after the primaries, Obama and Mitt go head-to-head in a series of debates. I’m skipping over all the lies and misdirection employed by Mitt’s campaign—it’ll suffice to say that while being accused of being a ‘softy’, Obama had brought down Bin Laden and successfully surged into Afghanistan; while being accused of destroying the economy, Obama had made good headway (better than any of us had a right to expect) on lowering unemployment, preserving and creating jobs, and putting our national commerce back onto an upward incline, out of its free-fall begun under Bush; and while being accused of idleness, Obama had ended DADT, signed the Ledbetter Act, the Dream Act, and restored our reputation and our image in the big world outside of Washington DC. And he sings!—not a politician’s groan (see YouTube videos of Mitt attempting to match this—hilarious) but an actually fine singing voice.

So, having disproved all of Mitt’s and the GOP’s charges against him, Obama went to the first debate. Wasn’t he surprised to hear Mitt try to say that Obama’s policies were ruinous—while simultaneously avowing an administration almost identical to Obama’s (just without Obama—apparently the only thing that is really wrong about our present administration). The fact-checking added by the Media indicated that Mitt hadn’t said a word that wasn’t perpendicular to every word he had said publicly up until the debate. The Media also pointed out that while Mitt definitely ‘won’ the debate—he did it by mostly telling lies.

I understand that ‘massaging’ the truth is part and parcel of modern campaigning—I’m not even saying that the Democratic ticket is above giving back as good as they get. But the President’s party is different from the GOP in one very important way—it is the ‘intellectual’ party. The Democrats scruple at telling bald-faced lies because they know their constituency won’t put up with the kind of ignorance the GOP inspires—so they are far more limited in the amount of bull-puckey they can get away with slinging. A Democratic voter is the kind of person who would still vote for a candidate who admitted to atheism, or polio, or having an African father.

The GOP never falters at embracing the zealously Christian, the greedy Rich, the misogynistic, and the bullies, commercial or ethical. Their campaign doesn’t even deserve the name—it has been a treasonous rally, begun on the day of Obama’s inauguration and continued for the full length of Obama’s first term. It has been a flood of scandal-mongering, legislative stonewalling, and thinly veiled bigotry.

So the question I’m troubled by, what totally stumps me, is—why would Mitt Romney be so eager to take the presidency away from a man who has performed so valiantly, so effectively, and so in the spirit of what America means to the vast majority of us? Why would he take on the daunting task of a presidential campaign, when he clearly has no better ideas to offer us than Obama’s ideas? How could he imagine that the Presidency of the United States would be something he’d be comfortable with? He hasn’t the smarts. He hasn’t the charisma. He doesn’t have the ability to truly relate with average Americans. In spite of his claims to the contrary, I think this country could not be in greater danger than it is in right now.

I believe that because Mitt says he ‘knows business’. He says he knows how to help his country with its financial woes in a business-like way, rather than in the way of the former community organizer with no business experience. Well, I have two comments on that score—first, our country has given Obama a four-year intensive course in governmental finance—and, so far, he has aced his tests in nearly every category.

Second, the United States is not a business—it is a great experiment, a 200-year-old dream of humanity’s fulfillment—and the last thing it (or We) need right now is a Gordon Gecko having a fire sale on our social services—in the name of ‘small government’, no less—and a wheeler-dealer trying to lead us into a prosperous future (well, maybe not ALL of us).

And let me just say this about ‘small government’. Are you stupid, or just ignorant?! The USA is the richest, most powerful nation on Earth. The USA is home to over 300-million people. The USA is comprised of fifty sovereign states and a few territories. The USA leads the world in invention, research, space exploration, higher educational systems, and lots of other stuff. It’s huge, it’s important, it’s constantly under threat from terrorists and megalomaniacs, and let’s not forget—it is the year 2012—you know, the 21st century? Any idiot that suggests we run it all using town hall meetings and flyers and sunbeams of goodness—well, they will be disappointed, that’s all I’m saying.

What drives the Republican party? Well, my parents voted Democratic until they made their first million—then they started voting Republican. Its reputation for protecting the wealthy from taxes is its biggest draw in metropolitan areas. Its cozening up to evangelicals is its biggest draw in the rural areas. So, basically, it’s about greed and religious extremism—a strange choice for a Mormon—the LDS has a history of being driven away from our entire Eastern Seaboard, all the way to Utah, by God-fearing Christians.

And how can my fellow voters think a businessman is going to improve their country, or their living conditions? Corporate deregulation and runaway spending made the financial swamp we’ve been mired in this last decade-and-a-half. Raising our kids the best we can—that is bad business. After all, it’s all expense, with no revenue—of course we want to cut education during the lean years! But wait—maybe it’s bad for business, but we still want a good education for our kids. Hmmm. I wonder if that may also be true of medicine? –of law-enforcement?

Maybe running this country like a business is a bad idea. Maybe a president that understands the importance of both business and social services would be a better pick. Who knows, right? Being President is a big job—you know, I’m almost as scared for Mitt, should he win the election, as I am for myself and everybody else.

My Baby’s Sick –And That Debate Just Now Isn’t Helping


Tuesday, October 23, 2012              2:18 AM

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Our sweet petunia, Jessy, came up on the Harlem North train tonight with her dog, Tuesday (the Wonder Dog). She came and asked for heartburn remedies, of which I have several. But she was in intense abdominal pain and she wanted a hug. So I gave her my best daddy-hug, but it didn’t work. Claire just called from Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco. They say ‘appendicitis’ and she’ll call me back when she knows whether the surgery will be tonight or later this morning.

 I know I’m not supposed to be worried about a little appendicitis operation, but it is surgery, minor or otherwise, plus I’ve been getting pessimistic lately and I could really use one in my win column—if only to convince me that there are two sides to luck, and not just the s**t end of it, which is all I’ve been getting lately. And our baby is so fragile. I couldn’t stand it if anything went wrong.

 Just to give you an example of how things have been going lately: Jessy’s emergency surgery in the next few hours will require us to cancel the surgery scheduled for Tuesday later today—the reason Jessy came up to our house in the first place! I should be grateful—if she had stayed in the city, who knows what might have happened. Now she’s with Claire, up here in Westchester—and I’m watching Tuesday until they get back. And Tuesday’s surgery can wait—she’s just getting something removed, in case it’s cancerous. Maybe I should talk to my doctor about adding a third anti-depressant prescription….

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And that debate tonight—I nearly gag every time that nut-job tries to criticize Obama while saying that his policies won’t be any different. It’s times like these that I really wish the USA had a higher standard of education—if Obama doesn’t get his ‘four more’, I’m just going to stop talking to people. If the people in this country have already forgotten what eight years of GOP admin has done to us, we have nothing to talk about.

Besides, it seems like the stupid people are always winning elections these days—those tea-party whack jobs got voted in in 2010, pretending they were a new, improved conservative agenda—they’re new, alright—we haven’t had such narrow-minded, fear-based elected officials since the Salem Witch Trials—who woulda thunk any group could out-stupid Geo. W. Bush!

 But it will all happen the way it happens. I’ll be thrilled if we voters get the better man—but, if it’s Romney, that will only indicate that our days as an ‘empire’ are fading. And that’s something I’ve been hoping isn’t true for decades now, while suspecting that it already was. Making sense and having patience—stuff like that has never been the American way—hell, it’s never been the way of the world at large. Nor can I claim any great sense or patience in the way I lived my own life, so how can I complain?

If civilization doesn’t simply collapse under its own weight, it will only be due to a sea-change in the global paradigm. Unless the entrenched powers-that-be are overrun by angry mobs, nothing of significance will change quickly enough to stop our totally uncontrolled explosion of digital tech, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the abuse of natural resources that threaten the world’s ability to sustain life of any kind.

 And that angry mob will have to be a global one—so, imagine Syria, then multiply that times the whole world. Not a pretty picture—yet, still the only alternative to allowing the stuffed shirts to guard their own precious quality-of-life until it is too late to reverse the damage. Am I advocating violence? No, I am not. But I would appreciate it if someone else can tell me what the hell else can change civilization’s inertia from self-destruction to self-awareness? And in just a few decades—because, while our ecological policies remain as is, the damage they cause accelerates constantly—and now we have all of China (and other just-now developing nations) well on their way to matching, even exceeding the pollution that we Americans produce.

I’m just saying.

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Pre-Town-Hall Jitters


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( or “How Stupid Are We?”)

 

My wife and I just had an argument. I think we were arguing over her being disappointed with Obama’s loss in the first debate and my being understanding of that loss. Her point was that Obama should have called Romney out for lying throughout the debate, for reversing what few commitments he had made during the primary race, and while stumping afterwards, right up to the day of the first debate. My feeling was that Obama may have given us too much credit as an audience.

 

If I were to debate to an opponent who lied straight through the event, start to finish, would I choose to speak about the reality of the subject or would I spend the whole time accusing my opponent of being a liar? Should I assume that the audience knew better than to fall for a bunch of what Biden calls ‘malarkey’, or would I waste the entire evening ripping up every lie my opponent uttered? That’s not an easy call to make–especially in the USA, where the audience may shock you with its depth of ignorance and weakness of reasoning power.

 

Even the so-called ‘pundits’ and talking heads described the debate as a Romney ‘win’, with the caveat that he lied over and over, reversing his public views on everything. Is this a fair statement? Do I actual live in a country where liars are considered the winners of a debate, simply because they took some Ritalin® before the curtain went up? Is the president a loser simply because he overlooked all the lies of his opponent, opting instead to address the issues in an honest, substantive way?

 

According to the polls, yes, indeed! That’s exactly the type of country I live in. The USA has jumped the shark of free speech and gone for assessing ignorance as a respectable argument–merely another point of view, rather than a poor joke as compared to knowledgeable speakers’ statements. And this strategy may win the election for Mitt because, according to all those deep-thinking ‘undecided’s out there, Mitt CAN have it both ways.

 

He has warned the public for years now (as has his entire party) that Obama’s policies are destroying our country, our economy, and our way of life–and that our President must be replaced with a Republican before America goes completely to wrack and ruin. Then, at the first debate, he claimed that his policies were indistinguishable from Obama’s–with just a tweak here and there!

 

Can he have it both ways? Is impudence a debate ‘win’? Should we remove the President that turned around our economic landslide, and replace him with a Republican (the people that started the landslide)? Should Obama’s pro-active hunting down of global terrorism and piracy be replaced by a businessman who knows how to convert those evils into cold cash for the corporations, without unduly restricting said ‘evils’?

 

Tonight’s Town Hall debate should provide the answer–but I won’t be watching the two debaters–I’ll be watching the ‘towns-folk’. If the audience echoes the false memes of the GOP, accusing the President of false faults and lacks, and accepts Mitt Romney’s character as suitable for supreme leadership, then we live in a Wonderland as ludicrous as Alice’s. If they press Romney for substantive, specific answers, and accept some basic truths about the President (for example, that he has done a Herculean job of reversing our economic woes), then I shall watch the debate with great interest. But I’ll still remain more concerned over my fellow Americans’ powers of reason than the, to my eye, obvious differences between our two choices.

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I Can’t Calm Down (Which Is Bad For My Health)


I’m having trouble backing away from my mind’s fomenting of angry thoughts over the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old girl, in Karachi, Pakistan. Armed men pulled over the school bus by waving their guns at the bus driver (one terrorist rode a bicycle). They boarded the bus asking for Malala and, recognizing her, shot her in the head and neck. Fucking bastards—I want them to die slowly and painfully. Perhaps that is what will win the war on terrorism—when their insane behavior finally produces not Terror, but Rage (as it always ought to have done).

 

She’s still in hospital, in critical condition as of this writing, but the bullets have been removed from her head and neck. The Taliban were quick to take ‘credit’ for this atrocity, promising to try again if she survives. So, perhaps they aren’t effective girl-slaughterers, but dogged ones? Can you imagine the psychotic viewpoint of the creature who wrote up that public statement? I can’t—I’m too caught up in rage and disgust.

 

Large-scale gatherings have been a hallmark of the Arab Spring phenomenon these last few years—if I lived in Karachi, I’d be thinking pretty hard about getting together and stringing those bastards from the lampposts. Not that further lawlessness is any remedy for their situation, long term—but maybe this calls for a brief recess for civility, while they drag these madmen into the street and beat them to death. (I’m sorry!—Did I just say that?)

 

As you can see, I’m just seething about this. It is probably because I have a daughter of my own, though she is grown now (with a college degree) but I can only imagine the feelings of the family of Malala Yousafzai—and every daughter’s father in Pakistan.

 

I felt, and still feel, a great protectiveness towards my beloved daughter. Male chauvinism notwithstanding, I can’t help thinking that the fathers of the Swat Valley feel the same way. If the Taliban organizing there are not in fear for their lives, than there’s a lot more wrong with Pakistan than anyone ever imagined.

Open Letter To Pakistan


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Thursday, October 11, 2012            6:03 PM

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

The USA has subjugated women in the past. In many ways, some or all of us still do today. But our society is against it, in an ethical sense—that is, in public places right-thinking folks will shout down any voice favoring male chauvinism; in private, the police can be called to jail a husband who physically abuses either his wife or their children. Honestly, many American men of misogynist outlook still feel that it is the ‘natural order’ of things to subjugate women as inferiors. But they are by and large forced to do it secretly or risk losing their own freedom. The majority of our people face the truth implicit in the following questions: How can we be superior to our mothers; how do we deserve better than our sisters; and how can we withhold humanity from our daughters?

We feel that we cannot. Our collective conscience won’t allow us. We see a difference between ‘difference’ and ‘hierarchy’—surely the two genders have many differences—but the females are only different, not less than the males.

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We do not accept scriptural citations that suggest this is immoral—not in context of the overall message that commands us to love and respect each other. We see such aberrations as a product of the cultures and times of the setting down of our holy books. We see their citation as deliberately self-serving, since men are the chief ‘officers’ of these interpretations. There are many women who accept this as truth, as well, only because they have been taught these ‘truths’ from the day of their birth—and because they are denied literacy, cutting off any input beyond the men who subjugate them and the Imams who persecute them.

We Americans are called by some “The Great Satan”. Is not this title itself sinful? Are Pakistanis immune from Evil because they despise a far-off country? I believe all men and women are equally vulnerable to Evil and equally capable of Love. If there is much to hate about my nation, so be it. If Pakistan wants to pluck out the mote from America’s eye, it will still need to remove the beam in its own.

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Don’t we want our children to learn more about the world made by their Creator? Don’t we do better when everyone shares ideas and questions? Only religious zealots ever answer those questions in the negative—because secrets and sacrifice are part of their stock in trade. Humbler believers take responsibility for their own knowledge and their own actions—they don’t presume as much on their Supreme Being because they respect that they themselves are responsible for what happens.

Only with religious zealotry are we shamed by the persecution of a brave little girl such as Malala Yousafzai. Only with the conviction of our own beliefs can we overpower the insanity of religious extremism.

Nothing Worse Than Art


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There ain’t Nothing worse than Art

Cause Art’ll break your Heart

Even if you’ve Never Fallen

Deeply down in Love

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An unpaid Actor plays a Part

Interrupted by a Fart

Just before Sweet words have Fallen

Sneezer gives’em a Shove

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A Starving painter forms a Tart

Of Colors rich, Of Dawn’s first Start

But all the Beauty painter’s Drawn

Is repossessed Ungently of

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The Keepers of the Shops and Carts

Who, without Coin, will ne’er Part

With Tools or stuff of Inspiration

Naye Food or comfort’s Cove.

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