Tuesday, March 29, 2011

12 Step America

The First Meeting is the Hardest

"Hi, I'm America and I'm addicted to superpower status and its application through military might."

"Hi, America", my fellow attendees chimed in unison.

"I want to come clean right up front. I'm still using."

Collective gasps and tsk tsk noises.

"I know, I know. But, seriously, I figured I'd get off ground zero by trying to wrap my head around step one. You can imagine my horror when I wasn't able to get past the first sentence before running into the word powerless."

Chuckles and eye rolls from the other twelve steppers.

"Aw, c'mon, guys. I'm trying here. I'm thinking if I could start with something like, I feel a bit  less powerful than I did for the last century or so, and I"m OK with that."

This remark is met with disdain bordering on pity.

"Hey, man, how about a lil slack for the only super-power in the room? Give me a U, give me an S…awww hell, whadya want from me? Yeah, yeah, I know but- try and imagine this, for all intents and purposes, I was a 'higher power'"!!

**To be continued...

How far will Newt-the-toot** go for support?

All the way, of course.

On Sunday, Gingrich was the keynote speaker at Cornerstone Church, a San Antonio megachurch headed up by Pastor John Hagee, who offered John McCain a crucial endorsement during the '08 campaign. But McCain later disavowed that support after several controversial comments Hagee had made.

Note: This Hagee is the same one who claimed the New Orleans had suffered the Judgment of God (via Hurricane Katrina) because of its level of sin. He also suggested that Hitler had been doing God's will by targeting Jews. He has made other ignorant statements but do we really need to know anymore?

**I call him Newt-the-toot because it is difficult to discern his flatulence from his speeches. It all has that aroma like someone left the coleslaw out in the sun.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Advent of the Powerless Giant

After one sieves the President's remarks, it seems clear to this observer that America has entered a new phase. It is clearly no longer feasible to proceed on the basis that America can 'kick the ass' of any and every problem on our own shores or elsewhere in the world. That nineteenth or early twentieth century thinking is outdated. Apparently we can't quite bring ourselves to say it out loud. For now the plan appears to be, dance around it, sound tough, sound decisive, hope for the best.

The facts are not difficult to find or understand. America is still involved in two wars. Though for the record, the President only referenced the war in Afghanistan in his remarks this morning. I suppose we are meant to believe that the whole deal in Iraq, because it has slowed in recent months, should be considered finished. In regard to the wars (I feel comfortable to use the plural), we have soldiers who are on their fourth or fifth rotation. We have equipment that has been battered by years of use. We are in a recession and will be for years to come. We are heavily in debt. There are any number of emergencies in the world right now that America has done nothing or had a role insufficient to change the situation. I don't intend to suggest that America or Americans don't care. My assertion is that we have a large discrepancy between caring and action. This is not intended as judgment. Just the facts.

Here's a thought. What if many of the long-time world powers felt similarly? Not in the future. Now.
I submit that this is the real state of things. Why should we bother to think about where we really are? What if making policy for the future depends on basing ones actions on the extant facts?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh, it's a tea party. Red queen, mad hatter and all...

I concede that I am largely cynical about Americans lifting their heads to recognize their corporate overlords, never mind rising from their knees to oppose them. Today, I am less certain of the outcome. Is it possible that, at long last, right-wing overreach will shake us from our torpor?

My note of caution. Remember 9/11. By this I mean, not so much the awful day, but the fear, loathing, and general bad behavior that resulted. I know this is akin to sacrilege. We prefer to memorialize our fallen citizens by accentuating the positive. We tend to dwell reverently on the heroic actions of fire fighters and other first responders. And rightly so. The problem is that we tend to do this to the exclusion of some rather heinous events that shortly followed those tragic days.

I suggest that we also recall the power grab that ensued with things like the so-called Patriot Act, the invasion of Iraq, and on and on. Americans are really quite good at coalescing in a determined manner following a tragedy. They are, arguably, less good at identifying those at whom they should direct their efforts.

What is our 9/11 for 2011? The fallout from the economic crisis coupled with the Republican/Tea Party sweep in recent elections. Now we have folks who, as often as not, believe their agendas are sanctified by a higher power from the outset. Just to make things more dicey, the elections have armed them with legislative majorities and gubernatorial  seats across the country.

In short, the workers and middle class of this country need to stand on their hind legs and demand fair treatment. However, each one should keep his wits about him. Don't underestimate the extent to which righteous idealogues will go if their long sought goals begin to slip away. Keep in mind that even when they are the majority and control almost everything, they are able to perceive themselves as an oppressed beleaguered minority. With this mindset, these same people who blather on about the 'rules' and 'personal responsibility' will chuck that baggage in a New-York-Minute if it serves to secure their aims.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

At times like these...

Yes, most of us can agree that, people who picket the funerals of gay people are despicable. 
However, it behooves us all to remember:
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for
people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
-- Noam Chomsky