Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Current Comedy, 9/29/08:The Pack of Lies We Are Expected to Agree To

As I predicted in last week’s laugh-fest, the administration has begun the cracking heads of those guilty of the crime of being all too visibly poor. The first of the NWO’s new century Hoovervilles to be attacked was homeless settlement in Seattle, Washington known as Nickleville. Following the government thrashing, the homeless residents fled to a nearby parking lot to await their next beating. Just like the rest of us.
Also, as predicted but not written about before, having had a week to digest the predigested news they are force-fed, the rightwing would-be wonkettes who hang out at my workplace watercooler have begun to regurgitate neo-con pundit pap like: “As much as I hate it, you’ve got to bail out Wall Street, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna give MY money to help out some knucklehead down the street who wouldn’t make his house payments.” (I swear, actual quote.) Of course these are the same people who are still feeling obligated to go ga-ga over how funny and smart Sarah Palin is.
As I type (evening, 9/29/08), led by the recurring unholy alliance of Denis Kucinich and the House GOP with their ever predictable Blue Dog tagalongs, Congress has turned down round one of the Bush Bailout. In response, the Market dropped an inconceivable one point two TRILLION dollars in worth today alone. That translates out to about twice what we’ve spent thus far on the Iraq War. Imagine: Iraq Times Two. And it didn’t really kill our country even once. Yet.
Though to listen to the Bush line, all loyal Americans should have died last week of anaphylactic shock when Congress failed to pass his conveniently timed bailout bill on Friday 9/26/08. Yet somehow even when Congress again failed with the slightly refined version of the bill on Monday 9/29/08, the TV kept selling me cars, movies and hemorrhoid creams.
To hear Kucinich tell it, the Bush Administration’s recent harassment of banks might’ve been the final precipitating agent in the hot new fashion of bank collapse. Interviewed Monday morning by Democracy Now just prior to the House discussion and ultimate down vote on the bill, Kucinich noted, “A former head of the FDIC [told] a group of congressmen yesterday that the Bush administration has been going around the last few weeks, actually, so tightening up on the practices of banks that they were forcing them to have bigger reserves, which …would … create the kind of tight money policies that we’re saying we’re trying to alleviate with this bill…. There’s a possibility that this crisis has a little bit of manufacture to it.”
Imagine that: like the Iraq War, sold with phony urgencies and covert provocations. Paulson wonders why Americans were outraged over his demand for zero oversight and accountability. Why don’t we trust “Good Ol’ Hankie-Wankie”? I’ve got just four letters for you Mr. Bush Cabinet member: WMDs. From that point on, even the most loyal American had the right to challenge the pronouncements of this administration. Not just the right, but the obligation; that is if they were loyal Americans in the first place.
And who should we trust, among these players? Perhaps Padre Paulson, of late of Goldman-Sachs, who first helped create the collapse from both ends (both Wall Street and the Whitehouse) and now will benefit from the aid he is attempting to empower himself to bestow? Maybe we should trust Nancy Pelosi, who has so much riding on the rest of us saving her stock at AIG. How about Bush? Should we trust him? Ok, just kidding, after all, this is a comedy column. According to Paul Begala on The Daily Show Bush is up to an 82% disapproval rating, which puts him right up there with anal injection of habenero paste.
I say don’t trust any of them. None of them are talking holding folks accountable, like George “The Uniter” Bush who succeeded in throwing us all into debt back in 2001 when he pressured the mortgage industry to target minority and low-income buyers; or John “The Great Deregulator” (his own moniker) McCain who in 1999 basically undid oodles of the Roosevelt era protections that were made so Americans would never have to find ourselves in this predicament again. Thanks fellas!
Nobody, not even my neo-con water cooler workmates, is talking about the evil financial instrument that has undone so many Americans over the last few years and is the citizen’s side of this mortgage-financial crisis: the ARM, the Adjustable Rate Mortgage. People sign-on on a loan at one rate and in a couple of years, the rate changes whether they can pay it or not. Also a true story--I lost some friends not long ago who had to move to a new town after having lost their home. He’s a fireman, she’s a teacher, supposedly American bedrock professions, but the house they purchased at a manageable $1000 per month ballooned to $1600 a month after two years and they were screwed. I guarantee you the ARM is the biggest villain in this psychodrama, which is so not about Wall Street investment bankers taking a giant soaking and losing 90% of their wealth, leaving them with mere hundreds of millions, like poor Hank Paulson.
And that is the biggest ugliest truth in this week’s situation comedy that nobody is acknowledging: the fact we the people have let our leaders tie the fate of our country of hundreds of millions to the gambles made by the few to joist with each other with levels of unimaginable money such as the rest of us will never see--except incrementally as it leaves our pockets in taxes to subsidize their gamesmanship.
And don’t give me that nonsense about the Stock market isn’t some sinister plutocracy, but instead it’s the millions of us Americans who have our money tied into the market through various retirement accounts and what all. We’re for the most part just mindless sheep that have been told to trust and did so. This is how we’re rewarded for believing in our country.
We’re not the ones who created half a quadrillion dollars worth of derivatives so hedge fund managers could gamble with the whole world’s life savings the way the Dutch once gambled away Europe’s wealth in the Great Tulip Mania of the 1630s. Nor did we dream up predatory lenders, nor are we the ones trying to give away our country to them. This is just another case in a long series of occasions where the rich decide to collapse the market to see how much more dough they can shake loose.
But they aren’t the ones winding up in the Hooverville, nor the ones who will get their heads cracked when they’re stay poor becomes to annoying for the people in power. Please, if we really have 700 billion available to help the economy, let's spend it on the people and invest our energies, instead of our dollars, on re-regulating the markets, eliminating ARMs, and prosecuting Wall Street billionaires for so defrauding our public. Then let's also look into the efforts of the Bush admin to precipitate this crisis and Paulson should be at the top of the list. That is Wall Street reform that would do Americans some good.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Current Comedy, 9/22/08: Every Conspiracy Theorist’s Worst Nightmare: US

Current Comedy, 9/22/08: Every Conspiracy Theorist’s Worst Nightmare: US

Greetings from So-Hi.
Out below, in my front horizon, is a stretch of highway 68 known as Union Pass. It is the straight line across the horseshoe bend on I-40 at the western Arizona border. Over the Black Mountains, where trains couldn’t go and so Route 66 didn’t follow, from Kingman the route runs west 27 miles and in the last 12 falls 3000 feet to Bullhead City, the fabled Colorado and the casinos of Laughlin Nevada, or, a hundred miles farther up the road, the casinos of Las Vegas.
At night, the stars trail down out of the mountains to crawl across Golden Valley below. It’s quite a sight, endless. These days 68 flows through here day and night. It is the alternative route for points East to Vegas and the only one for trucks and heavy vehicles, a detour around the Hoover Dam, every since the terrorists won back in ’01.
I see my share of traffic up close as well.
I drive that pass to work and often watch the trucks along the way, noting the armored vehicles being hauled west. I spot them more often than I’d like. Flat bed trailers, not always military rigs towing them, weaponry lunging like roped animals with each highway jostle, cannons strapped to the deck tugging at their tether. Machine gun barrels ropes in place, windows taped over. Bradleys, Humvees, trucks, incomprehensible wheeled vehicles with arms and levers, and the tanks, at least a tank a month that I see, driven through this route, west. Where do they go, you can’t help but wonder.
This week, 9/22/08, I hope I didn’t get an answer. But it appears this election round’s October Surprise may be a little livelier than I’d been expecting, having hoped for cupcakes. It looks like the Bush Admin Homeland Security is preparing for the next front in the War on Terror right here at home: terrorizing Americans so we’ll shut up about impeaching and or arresting Bush or any other crowd sized reaction to the disasters he’s created for us.
Army Times reported it, Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman echoed it, and now everyone’s message board from Ron Paul to Nine Inch Nails is buzzing with the fact that a unit from our forces in Iraq, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, is being deployed to … the US.
That’s right, now the enemy is us.
Somebody page Alex Jones and let him know his padded cell at the Denver Detention Center is ready. If there really are Bilderbergs, this looks like an EndGame. The article goes on to say that the unit is being prepared if “called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control. The soldiers are learning to use so-called non-lethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.”
Flaunting the once sacrosanct Posse Comitatus Act prohibiting the use of US soldiers against US citizens, the Bush move is the first time an actual active army fighting force has been designated to a strategic planning military group known as the US Army North. That’s right from the Northern Command, every conspiracy theorist’s worst nightmare, the same folk who bring you the martial law drills every year. They would also be the same ones back about seven years ago who created those hijack plane drills that happened to take place on the exact same day real planes were crashed into the Twin Towers—the ominous mystery men in films like Dylan Avery’s Loose Change and Zeitgeist. The first line of defense in a case of national emergency or martial law.
Perhaps the soldiers are in actuality preparing for something that will never take place and we leftwing discredited are panicking over nothing. The government is just being prepared, providing for a common defense. Hey, there will probably be a peaceful transfer of power come January and no one will object in the slightest to any of Bush’s actions between now and then and any election results between now and then. Maybe I’m just nuts. OK, we know I’m nuts, but maybe I’m nuts and wrong. Maybe the Neo-cons are the nice people they always say they are and they have no need to fear they will ever be held accountable for the rape-fest they’ve been having with Lady Liberty these last eight years.
But maybe Bushco is scared. I know I would be. The house of greed Repub “Free Market” policies built, in part led by good old John McCain’s deregulation efforts in the late 90s, have opened the door for the greatest economic disaster/swindle in history, a national economic disaster to the tune of 700 billion dollars, even topping Brother Neil Bush and company’s half a trillion dollar S&L scandal in the 80s. It is another case where everyone’s money will be going to the richest 1%--another case where the very people who claim to detest class warfare fire the first shot.
First Bushco gives energy companies the license to pillage then gives social program money to war profiteers with a phony war he knows is unwinnable while neglecting the war in Afghanistan and the misery we still manage to create there and all the while managing to find the spare time to screw over both the environment and lobbyist bought hookers, or least that’s how the ballers’ roll in the Denver offices of Dept. of Interior these days. And now, giving what ever is left Wall Street, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG for screwing up by being too greedy. America can no longer afford her people, the rich need their money.
And the millions of mortgages that have been held by those companies, will now be owned by your favorite uncle, Big Brother Bush. No need for elections when this kind of class warfare turns to shooting warfare. Call in the army and open the cages. This could make Hoover’s Bonus Army debacle look like an Easter Egg roll.
Now I know where all those tanks and trucks and weapons of mass destruction are headed: home to roost.
--mikel weisser writes from the west coast of AZ.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Your Right to Remain Silent

This was actually published elsewhere about a week ago:

Usually around this time in the election cycle, I find myself daydreaming about the inevitability of the upcoming last minute political revelations which can cause a candidate to sink or swim on the turn of a phrase. The term for these drama-fests was originally coined by Gary Sick when discussing an alleged conspiracy among the 1980 Reagan campaign to use George H. W. Bush to stall the Iran Hostages’ release until after the election. Ever since then, the news scandal which erupts in everyone’s face just in time to change the course of elections (so voting machine programmers don’t have to) has been known as the “October Surprise.”
For a good while now, the Repubs have fought some of the dirtiest campaigns this side of gonorrhea. Most every Dem lost election in recent times has had an October Surprise: Dukakis going down over Willie Horton, Gore and the bogus Internet claim, Kerry and the litany of ways he was Swiftboated. Somehow it seemed this go-round however; the GOP was playing the typical Dem role of the hapless losers, making every wrong step possible.
Depending on how far you want to go back there’ve been numerous opportunities to chronicle the buffoonery of the GOP campaign including my favorite: McCain not knowing a Shiite from Shinola back in the spring. Then there’s the way it was revealed that McCain, who once crowed of himself as anti-lobbyist, has now built his campaign staff almost exclusively out of lobbyists and the Neo-Con think tank crowd. That led to the public embarrassment and possible treason when Randy Scheunemann himself, of the Project for the New American Century fame, McCain’s go-to guy on foreign affairs, was revealed to be a paid lobbyist for the former Soviet republic of Georgia (currently of the fabled UniCal Caspian pipeline fame) at the same time McCain starts calling for US intervention in the Georgia/Russia standoff.
And of course there is that figure the Dems are already walloping McCain with daily: his 90% plus voting record of siding with the increasingly unpopular George W Bush through many of Bush’s worst decisions. In a fair election, just being that associated with the Suharto-like Bush would be enough to discredit McCain, if not get him investigated for indictment on his own rights, like fellow AZ GOP member Rick Renzi.
And then, like an over-ripe Christmas plum, the McCain campaign offers up Sarah Palin as a vice presidential choice. If that is the face and the voice of the new Republican Womanhood, no wonder so many male GOP leaders support “Abstinence Only Education.” If the Dems only exploited one scandal a day on this woman they could be discrediting her clear up until Obama’s Inauguration. Suddenly I find myself wondering if the good guys are actually going to win this round and if this year’s inevitable October Surprise isn’t going to come down on the GOP. Maybe after years of effort to stitch all the pieces in place John Conyers Judiciary Committee will actually come out with the goods when Congress resumes and initiate Impeachment Proceedings. And everyday the hearings are on the media could plaster McCain with Bush just like he so richly deserves.
But then I think wait, I’m living in America and that kind of justice is hard to come by. It’s usually bought or sold. Perhaps our October Surprise will be that in light of the successful suppression of free speech and free press activists at this year’s Republican National Convention, the Bush administration in the interest of public safety and public awareness will soon be releasing an amending Bill of Rights. Since so few Americans have expressed concerns over the steady erosion of those rights, Bush & Co. have rationalized that given sufficient personal freedoms and creature comforts we could be persuaded to ignore the loss of our civil rights.
“Here is the summary version of your new Bill of Sale: the right to remain silent.” Anything you say can and will be used against you. Perhaps in staying silent for so long we Americans will find we’ve traded away our ability to speak in exchange for a fuller bowl of porridge and a warmer bathroom.
Either way this is definitely a time to watch for the next shoe to drop. Who will be surprising whom? That depends on who is actually dealing the cards and I think we’re going to find out soon.

--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.

“Middle Class Thugs for Bush” Part 2

This last weekend I went to the Mohave County Fair in Kingman and, while standing near the Democrat booth, I cringes at the disgusted retorts made by some of the passers-by who were enjoying their afternoon at the fair by sharing racist and other hateful remarks with family and friends. It reminded me that eight years ago, during Illinois State Fair time, I wrote about an experience of being verbally and physically harassed at an early Bush campaign rally in Springfield, Illinois.
My editor, at the liberal A&E weekly I frequently wrote for, ran the piece with the title, “Middle Class Thugs for Bush.” Within a week I had been fired from the better paying conservative glossy monthly local magazine I also wrote for. Which started the series of events that led me to Arizona, where I get to annoy you fine people.
Anyone reading this piece in that certain conservative daily Western AZ paper where I occasionally publish might note you are, by far, not the first to call for my economic ruin because you disagreed with some words I wrote.
Imagine wanting to have the power financially destroy another person because you were offended by the way they thought. You imagine it. I can’t.
Because, actually, those of you who would want that kind of power, disagree with letting people you disagree with have such freedoms in the first place. You in fact are the same middle class thugs my editor was talking about way back then. And that’s the problem with George Bush: he represents the middle class thugs then and he does now.
He was wrong then, just as John McCain is now, by striving to be the hero of those giving in to the worst aspects of the American spirit. That is unfortunately a part of our history as indelible as our calls of freedom, justice and prosperity. That’s right, some Americans have always acted as if their right to disagree with someone extended to a right to have them destroyed. When little kids act this way we tell them to grow up and some parents even call them stupid. What should we call these parents?
All too often they are the same Americans that try to act like our country is not capable of ever doing anything wrong. The victims of the Tuskegee experiment, Japanese Internment, Iran-Contra, and Operation COINTELPRO are likely to disagree. And they’re giving into the same impulse that makes some want to support our country’s efforts when it says it intends to destroy another country even though we know it’s wrong because all those anti-war protestors are just pissing you off.
Truth is, America has always been the voice of dissent and the tyrants among us, whether in our fairgrounds, or in our Oval Office, have always tried to prevent that voice from being heard. Like Wilson’s Sedition Acts during WWI, which once famously imprisoned a movie producer for making a movie about the American Revolution, because Wilson had made it against the law to portray the British, our then-allies, in a bad light.
Like last month when the Minnesota RNC police security arrested 40, count ‘em 40 journalists trying to report on police brutality out at the protests, while inside the coliseum the polo shirt crowd crows to each other about their love of county. Whose country? Is it “We the people,” or is it “Us and Them”?
Wrong then, just as it’s been wrong any of the countless times American force overwhelms American fairness. Whatever other thing this country is legendarily supposed to be about, it is touted as the Land of Free, who should also be free from the pettiness of those who call themselves brave.
Here is an excerpt from that piece back in August, 2000: “These people weren’t some drunks, punk kids, or ruthless thugs. They were what passes for upstanding citizens, well dressed adults carrying slick signs and wearing their candidates’ pins. They were proud to be mean and felt it their right.”
This probably why the thugs among us support aggressor warrior candidates like Bush then and McCain now. Bush proved willing to go so far as to build a war out of weapons of mass deception, as has been irrefutably proven. How little will it take to push the famously hotheaded McCain over the edge so he can prove his inner thug-ness also with some more of our sons and daughters?
--mikel weisser writes from the Left Coast of Arizona.