Friday, September 19, 2014

Black (fools) gold

Oil.

It’s pretty much the answer to any question you have about what’s going on in the Middle East. We remain mired in that desolate, sandy patch of planet not because we care about the freedom or welfare of the Iraqis or Pakistanis or Iranians, but because we are still highly dependent on oil and the products that require oil. Unfortunately for us, the oil is in the ground under countries that either a) hate us, or b) are ruled by weak American tools or puppets.

Think about it. If the U.S. had put the billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars we’ve spent waging an unwinnable war against terrorism over the past half-century (as a cover for our ultimate goal of controlling oil fields) into creating sustainable forms of energy, we would be energy independent right now. Short-sighted, industry owned Republicans and Democrats are to blame, but you have to give a special shout-out to Dick Cheney and the neocons for at least being honest and clearly stating their intent to grab Middle East oil fields in their 2000 report Project for a New America.

By increasing our military involvement in the ISIS situation, we are once again falling into a trap that will cost more billions of dollars and probably American lives. We are like Charlie Brown who always falls for Lucy’s football trick. Our greed and unwillingness to change course has us behaving like idiots doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It also puts us right where the terrorists want us.

Our country’s priorities have become seriously skewed over the years by wealthy elites who put profits over people and wealth over the welfare of America.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Palin for President? Think of the possibilities.

So Sarah Palin’s clan was involved in a brawl at a house party a few nights ago, with her eldest daughter Bristol going all UFC on the host. Got me thinking. Hey, America is going to hell in a hand basket as it is, why not have some fun along the way?

Can you imagine the entertainment value of a Palin presidency? Jimmy Carter’s beer guzzling brother Billy was worth a few laughs, but a whole White House full of white trash would be beyond epic. We’d be treated to scandals and brouhahas and guns going off and ATVs tearing up the Rose Garden and insanely inappropriate quotes…enough material for five blogs.

Heck, if Bill Maher is going to vote for Rand Paul, I just might write in Sarah Palin. Her presidency would be a lot more fun to watch.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If the polls are right, something is definitely wrong

According to a very recent Washington Post poll, 72 percent of registered voters do not approve of the way Republicans in congress are doing their job. A mere 21 percent give them a “Meh.” I don’t understand how this squares with weekly headlines claiming Republicans are predicted to make gains in the House and may take the majority in the Senate in the upcoming election. How is it that people consistently complain about a do-nothing Congress and then vote more obstructionist Republicans into office?

The disconnect between what polls tell us and what people actually do in the privacy of their voting booths is inexplicable to me. Democrats should be enjoying a landslide victory this November, instead we’ll get more do nothing, know nothing conservatives whose only goal in life is to keep Obama from getting what he wants as President. I know, I know…gerrymandering, Citizens United, the Koch brothers, Obama hatred…all of this keeps red states red and threatens Dems in blue states. Still, I’m flummoxed by the situation. We are getting a government the majority of Americans don’t want, despite our efforts. It’s a government that serves the one percent, thanks to the Supreme Court and Republican controlled state houses, and, unfortunately, regular Republicans who have been brainwashed into voting against their best interests.

How long will we allow the elites to thwart the will of the majority of Americans?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Brennan tells Senators, “You’re not the boss of me.”

The Senate is continuing to investigate the CIA’s admitted role in hacking into the Senate Intelligence Committee computers during an investigation into the CIA. In a particularly interesting development, CIA director John Brennan refused to tell Senators who ordered the eavesdropping on the committee. This incensed a number of Senators, as it should have, because the Senate Intelligence Committee is charged with oversight of the CIA, theoretically. 

Brennan’s refusal to accept the Committee’s authority reveals a lot about the attitude of the CIA and NSA toward oversight in general. They ain’t buying into it. Even more interesting will be the Senate’s reaction to this high-level “fuck you.” Our spy agencies have clearly grown too large and too powerful to be reigned in by a bunch of whining Senators. They see their work as beyond criticism or control and can keep a lid on anything by simply calling it a secret for national security reasons. And lord knows Obama won’t step in to help. He’s as cowed by the CIA as anyone in Washington, DC.

What will the incensed Senator’s do? Challenge the all-mighty surveillance state? Doubtful. Brennan and his buddies know too much.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Civility = STFU

“Civility” is the buzzword of the day. Is it a necessary requirement for free and open discussion or a subterfuge? The spark that ignited the current civility debate was when a tenured professor at the University of Illinois had his appointment withdrawn by the president over his vocal criticism of Israel’s recent actions. Several other university presidents have joined the chorus calling for civil discourse and courtesy among all sides of an argument. In his article, Civility is for suckers: Campus hypocrisy and the “polite behavior” lie, Salon’s David Palumbo-Liu does a good job of arguing that calls for civility are actually the elite’s way of tamping down descent. It is, after all, only their definition of civility that counts.

It seems to me that the call for “civility” also moves the notion of debate into the realm of false equivalencies, where all sides of an argument are considered of equal value. Global warming is a perfect example. Even though the debate among scientists as to whether human activity is responsible for global warming was settled years ago, the American media has consistently given global warming deniers a platform to air their clearly unscientific, corporate-backed theories. So, does civility mean that we must seriously engage arguments that the earth is hollow or that the Holocaust didn’t happen? How can we even define reality if all beliefs are given equal weight?

And then there’s the question of what to do when civil debate accomplishes nothing and action is required. Our revolutionary forefathers clearly reached a point where they decided negotiating with the British was useless and it was time to fight for their rights. From the British perspective, however, the colonial rabble were clearly being uncivil about the whole thing. I doubt that you will find any American history books arguing that the revolutionaries should have been more conciliatory and open to debate. Would the leaders of the Civil Rights movement of the fifties and sixties have accomplished anything by sitting around a table calmly discussing their grievances with a bunch of white supremacists?

It’s clear that the current calls for civility are really elite code for, “Don’t rock the boat.” Real change is messy and disruptive and might delay my tee time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bill Maher says he might vote for Rand Paul. Huh?

HBO host Bill Maher doesn’t like Hillary Clinton. Okay. I’m not a big fan of hers either. In an interview with The Hill, Maher went on to say that he might consider voting for a Republican in 2016. Come again, Bill? He thinks Rand Paul is an interesting candidate.

Bill, Bill, Bill.

For a person who pretends to be politically savvy and informed, this is a spectacularly idiotic pronouncement (unless it was a bit of satirical theatre, but I doubt that). With the exception of his isolationist tendencies, Paul is a conservative’s conservative, the kind that Bill Maher routinely mocks on his show. Bill, if you’re reading this, here are some of Paul’s far right-wing creds for you to absorb:

Abortion: Pro-life. Abortion regulation should be left up to the states.

Education: Advocate of home schooling. Doesn’t want the federal government to regulate home schooling in any way.

Energy and the environment: Doesn’t believe in man-made global warming and opposes the EPA efforts to enforce greenhouse emissions.

Health care: Opposes Obamacare and universal healthcare. Despite the facts, he doesn’t believe there are significant numbers of Americans unable to access healthcare.

Social Security: Advocates privatizing Social Security.

Second Amendment: Strong supporter of the right to bear arms. Lifelong member of the NRA.

Economy: Believes it’s a myth that government can create jobs.

Immigration: Does not believe in amnesty for illegal immigrants and wants the government to strictly enforcement immigration laws.

Rand Paul? Seriously?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Things on my mind today

How do you know you haven’t been hypnotized and you’re actually a member of an ISIS sleeper cell?

Donald Trump says he’s a human being, but isn’t that exactly what a shape-shifting alien would say?

Who actually has the key to the highway?

What did the first human to ever laugh find funny?

They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but there aren’t any foxes either.

If you are reincarnated, but you don’t have any idea who you were in your past lives, what difference does it make?

The NSA should create a lost & found hotline:

“I can’t find my keys.”
“They’re in the pocket of your gray denim pants that you threw in the dirty laundry last night after you got home from Janine’s party.”
“Gee, thanks NSA.”
“Glad to help.”