Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why I Think My Wife May Be a conservative Republican

Oh, my wife talks a good game all right. Oh yes,she claims to be ‘for the people’ and a champion of the little guy. She claims she’s never voted for a conservative Republican in her life.  But, now I’m not too sure. In fact, after today I now have a strong suspicion she might actually BE one. A conservative Republican that is.

Why do I think this?  Well, it’s pretty simple really. It’s like this: Last December someone gave my wife a nice bird feeder for Christmas. If you’ll recall, Christmas last year came shortly after the entire country got a nice present in the election of a genuine people person in the form of Barrack Obama. Are you following so far?

OK. Then early this year my wife nagged me to hang the bird feeder. Sort of like the Republicans started right in making heavy demands on Obama. You know, demands like, “Well, when are you going to start fixing things?” and, “What’s all that hopey, changy stuff you’re talking about?”. Never mind that they were responsible for most of the things needing fixing to begin with and the main reason so many people voted for ‘hope and change’. So, I was sort of in the same position Obama was in at that time. I inherited a responsibility not my own, and was expected by the other side to act on it - to ‘fix it’  - immediately.  The big difference was Obama asked for it and I did not.

So, I hung that consarned bird feeder - in consultation with my wife of course, as to where and how high. I hung it from a tree limb in the back yard.  High enough to be out of the way, but low enough to reach to fill it. The birds loved it and flocked to it all Winter and early Spring. We both enjoyed watching the little critters flitting around and competing for the bird seeds. Somehow, it was also became my responsibility to buy the bird seed and to replenish the feeder as needed. No problem, I enjoyed that. As the weather warmed and natural feed became available I ceased adding seed to the feeder, but left it hanging from its limb.

As the weather warmed our lawn grass began growing again. My wife asked me to buy and distribute lawn fertilizer, which I did. I didn’t mind. In fact I have absolutely no complaints about the lawn at all. That’s because my wife is very jealous of how it looks, and is secretly competitive with our neighbors all around us.  She doesn’t even allow me to cut the grass and other than my paying for things, she does it all, except only occasionally for grunge work like distributing fertilizer. I bought her a fancy riding lawn tractor with all the bells and whistles and  at least once a week she’s out on that thing keeping the grass mown just so.  She’s almost OCD about it in fact. For example, she went away for a few days late last year and I decided to cut the grass while she was away. And that’s the very first thing she noticed when she got home, only the way she expressed it was, “Oh my God! Just look at that!  You’ve just ruined all my work!  You’ve scalped the lawn!  Oh! I could just cry!”  and, “Don’t you ever, under any circumstances, for any reason, ever, ever cut my grass again!”

Whew! You’d have thought I’d have farted at her sister’s wedding or something. I mean she was hostile! But no problem, really, except for the temporary hostile reaction. I was happy to abdicate the lawn care to her. All of it. You see, I’ve never enjoyed anything to do with lawn care work. In fact, if were left to me, I’d pave the goddamned lot and paint it green. So, I’m perfectly happy for my wife to cut our grass while I sit inside having a nice rum toddy. Um, um, good!

So, my wife ALWAYS cuts the grass and I’m not allowed to. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, not quite as it turns out. Today, I arrived home from somewhere to find my wife in our driveway with a stern glare. Like all husbands, stern glares from the wife are always met with some trepidation. So, I asked tentatively, “What’s wrong Sweetheart?”

“Your @#$%&*$@# bird feeder almost killed me, that’s what! I was zipping around the yard on the mower and didn’t see it. Your #$%&@# bird thingy almost knocked me off the tractor! I was lucky I didn’t black out and fall off and get run over! ”

“MY bird feeder!” exclaimed. “Last I knew that thing was a Christmas present to YOU!”

“I don’t care!” she shouted angrily. “You HUNG the goddamned thing!  And you hung it too low!”

“Too low?” I said. “It was right there where you told me to hang it, and right there in plain sight where you knew it was - couldn’t you see it?”

“Oh, Hell No!  I had my sun hat on and didn't see it and just ran right into it. And, it’s all your goddamned fault!”

It did not matter the bird feeder was hers, and I had tried to help her by hanging it for her.  It did not matter one bit my wife had already mowed several times this year with no problem, and knew exactly right where the feeder hung.  The only thing that did matter was that I had had my hands on it, on her behalf and had 'fixed it' as per her instructions and input, and that she had driven into it herself.  Therefore, it was all my goddamned fault!

And that right there was when I began to suspect my wife at her core, might actually be a conservative Republican. She sure has a lot of the earmarks today all right.

I'm sure gonna be keeping a closer eye on her now.  I've already started hearing about how 'my' fertilizer was making the weeds grow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Tell If You May Be a Tea Party Whacko

Lately I’ve been troubled about how to define the Tea Party people.  They seem to come from all over the map. It is claimed some are Democrats (Polls show 5%).  A very many are conservative Republicans, and Libertarians to be sure, and many seem to come from radicalized fringe groups like militias and white supremacists.

From the hodgepodge of misspelled and mis-punctuated signs they like to wave about, it is fairly obvious many Tea Partiers are borderline illiterates.  Some seem to be way over the border in fact. And, many Tea Partiers seem to be otherwise normal people who have been mobilized from the complacent, self-satisfied comfort of their sofas and arm chairs to attend the meetings.   There they worship their intellectually challenged heros like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin who are the ones who mobilized them in the first place.

After a good bit of though I have discerned many commonalities which help describe the disparate group of people who call themselves Tea Partiers.   It was simply a matter of sitting down and giving the issue sufficient thought.  I am sharing my conclusions with everyone in the hopes it will help those who may suspect they may be whackos themselves to draw their own conclusions.  Shown below is my ‘calculator’ which will help you decide.  Simply enter an ‘X’ or checkmark in the boxes for the characteristics which describe you, then total the number of marks you make.  A convenient scoring index at the bottom will help you decide for sure:

(Double-click on the chart below to expand)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

*A Modern American Tea Party

John McCain called me last night.  “There’s gonna be a Tea Party tomorrow.  Six O’Clock.” he said.  “And by the way, I don’t know how everyone got the idea, but I AM NOT ANY DAMNED MAVERICK!  Just because I wrote that damned book with the sub-title, The Education of an American Maverick doesn’t mean I am one!  Who’d a ever thunk?”.

“But never mind all that.  The party is at Newt Gingrich’s place over on Denial Road.  Newt is going as March Hare, bless his old, retrograde soul. I need to warn you too, Glenn Beck will be there, and he’s mad as a hatter.  He even calls himself ‘the Hatter’ like he’s proud of it, and goes around bragging about his ‘tea partying’.   When he’s not crying that is. On the other hand the White Queen Sarah Palin will be there too, which should make up for the Hatter, even it gets pretty tiring hearing all her bragging about how she really IS a maverick.  God, what an impossible woman!”

But hard as I tried, I still got to the party two hours late.

“Oh, no matter,” said the Hatter at the door.  “It’s six o’clock here on Denial Road.”

I looked at the clock over the mantel and sure enough it read six o’clock.  “How ever can that be?” I wondered out loud. 

“Oh, me’n old Newt, and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Pat Robertson and a whole bunch of other red necks keep trying to turn the clock back.” said Hatter. “Turns out that’s really hard and unconstitutional and all, but we have managed to stop the damned thing.  Would you like some tea?”

He held out a cup, but the moment I reached for it he threw it over his left shoulder and laughed like a banshee.

“You can’t sit there!” he screamed as I nervously moved towards a chair. “That’s a true patriot’s chair!  And you’re not a true patriot even if you did serve our country and I never did. I had good, compelling, patriotic reasons and decided to serve in other ways.  Besides, it paid one helluva lots better.  But, not to change the subject, answer me this. “Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

Bewildered, and beginning to feel a bit uneasy, I said, “Well, I’m sure I don’t know. . . . because Poe wrote on both?”

“I didn’t think you’d know!” he cried as he broke into large, wet tears and slobber ran freely down his chin.  “Please God! Anybody got any Oxycotin?  Hard liquor? Oh, God,  I didn’t think so!  That socialist Obama is going to have a death panel decapitate me!  I have it on indisputable authority! And his health care plan is going to save so much money it will wreck the economy!  Look how many insurance company CEO’s it will put on the street.  Oh woe is us, oh woe is us!”

“But, you’re not in the insurance business.” I felt I should point out.

“Not so!  Not so!” he screamed.  “I’m on the payroll of over 27 insurance companies.  Not officially of course, but like they take really good care of real and true patriots like me.”

I started to ease towards the door, but the White Queen appeared on the scene before I could get through.  Hatter screamed in ecstasy.  “Sarah!  Sarah!  Thank God you’re here to stand up for patriotic Americans! You’re the only thing standing between us and the Russians!”

“Praise the Lord,  and lock and load, you betcha!” smiled Sarah.  “Anybody seen my lipstick?  Gotta reload you know.”

I noticed the Queen’s crown was a little crooked and gently mentioned it to her.

“Not a problem.  When you’ve got the Lord on your side, nothing is ever really out of kilter.’ she said.  “But, even if it is you can pray it away.  You can pretty much do as you like.  Rational doesn’t matter.  In fact, reality doesn’t even need to compute for a true Christian like me, praise the Lord!”

I heard a loud ‘amen’ from Pat Robertson across the room.  But the White Queen whispered, “Pay him no mind.  No matter what he claims, I know he hasn’t been perfected yet.  I’ve had the demons cast out of me, and he never has.”

“But, aren’t you two on the same page?” I asked.

“Oh yes, we both do the Lord’s work.” she replied. “And so far it’s been paying pretty well for both of us.  But, Pat’s in the actual God business, and I only get him to help me out when I need him.  The Lord’s mighty helpful in politics these days you know.  Anyway, Pat is a has been.  I’m the here and now.  In fact, I’m the future! But, enough about me.  Who are you anyway?”

I looked at the floor for a moment and said,  “I'm just your average, normal everyday American.”

“Oh, you mean like Joe Six-Pack and Joe the Plumber?” she smiled.

“Not exactly.” I said. “Actually, I read and pay attention to things around me.  Also, I speak pretty good English and and can spell actual words and really respect education, sobriety, calmness, deliberation, thoughtfulness and common sense.”

The Queen sniffed.  “Oh, those things!  Not that important.  Just look at me!  Guys like Joe Six-pack are just the salt of the earth, or at least the salt of the good old US of A.  Those guys are the ‘real America’.  And, they’re so, so easy to control.  They’re the heart of the Tea Party movement you know.  They believe absolutely everything we feed them - especially if I wiggle my ass a little and give ‘em a cutesy smile, silly putzes!  You can’t go wrong with a gun either.  They eat that crap up.  That’s why I love those words like ‘reload’ and ‘don’t tread on me’.  Keeps me in the public eye you know, and that’s the main thing.”

The party didn’t last long and there weren’t that many there altogether.  I said my good byes as politely as I could and eased away.  I don’t think I will go to another one.

*This is an imaginary, spoof story, with all kinds of intended resemblance to the real thing.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Fascism in America

What do Fascists and Neo-conservatives have in common?  A great deal it turns out.  Most of us were not around during the 1920’s and 1930’s, but a quick reading of history provides some disturbing similarities.  What first got me thinking on this subject was how closely our current Tea Party hysteria and neo-conservative activism seems to resemble the fascist and NAZI hysterias of back then.  So, I looked into it a little more.  I wanted to see how many similarities there were:
(Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism)
WHEW!  What in Hell is going on here?  Yes, there are some dissimilarities too, but the overwhelming sense is we have a huge, Fascist component in our society today - and potentially growing.  They strenuously deny this of course, and even like to claim their opposition are Fascist.  But, the facts say completely differently as shown above.

Robert Paxton defines fascism in “The Anatomy of Fascism” as:

    “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion . . .”

History provides an example in Italy’s Benito Mussolini, often considered the father of Fascism, who deliberately tried to hide the true nature of his doctrine in ambiguity to attract more followers, saying fascists can be "aristocrats or democrats, revolutionaries and reactionaries, proletarians, and anti-proletarians, pacifists and anti-pacifists”.

At first people loved and admired  ‘Il Duce’ - after all, he ‘made the trains run on time’!  A decade later, the same phenomenon occurred when Adolph Hitler modeled Germany’s fascism on Mussolini’s and admired the success of the ancient Roman Empire.

We all know what happened over the next fifteen or twenty years. . . .

Our own country has had many examples of fascism, beginning with the Ku Klux Klan, which shares many, if not all, of the similarities in the chart above.   A close reading of fascism in the United States is alarming.  It has happened here.

Many well-known Americans were fascists, in deed, if not in name, people like Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Tom Watson of IBM, and of course, Joseph McCarthy .  American fascism is almost always supported by corporate America, many who wield more power than nations.

Prior to WWII, our own ‘Fifth Column’ in people like newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, openly supported German fascism.  Hearst, much like Rupert Murdock’s Fox News of today, fiercely campaigned in print against Roosevelt’s New Deal, with media statements like, “Is our free country piling up deficits, bleeding its citizens white with confiscatory taxation, rushing headlong into national bankruptcy, shoveling out our wealth abroad . . . “.  Sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it?

Many large American companies actively cooperated with Axis nations prior to the war.  IBM built punch-card census databases to identify Jews, and in doing so, heavily contributed to the horrors of the holocaust.  That was for cynical corporate profit only.  Ford, GM, Coca-Cola, Standard Oil, DuPont and many others all had numerous facilities throughout Italy and Germany which operated on behalf of the Axis powers, and further,  had their companies declared as ‘American Property’ not to be bombed or damaged by our forces.  Incredibly, after the war they qualified to collect for damages to their properties.

We seem to have a reincarnation of the same cancer among us today . . .