Last year at Xmas, i thought i had written what would be my last column. It was good enough, a great place to stop. As i whip around the sins and the syntax searching for some laughs on a semi-recurring basis, after twenty years it seemed i had about written about all i could stand about the relentless Republican onslaught on America. I was plumb "Repuglied -out." You talk about disaster fatigue, what with all these earthquakes, typhoons, and floods, wars and rumors of wars and other natural and manmade disasters which fill the new news hole each day? From my hillside, so high above the left coast of Arizona, it looks like the worst messes we've got going these days are the ones made by elephants and like a herd of stampeding elephants, they never seem to stop. I'm now over 50, they've been doing the dirty as far back as i can remember. I personally have been raging against the GOP BS machine since i was 9 years old ... for all the good it's done me.
I remember how this whole thing started. It was election eve, 1968. Each new day of the Vietnam atrocity widened the credibility gap. The Olympics were in Mexico and Black men raised black fists and were called traitors even as they won honors for our country. In theaters, the movie that haunted me was "Destroy All Monsters," wherein Japanese radiation sponge rubber mutants were conquering the cardboard city world, well, more rightly, accidentally trashing it--in schlocky smoke swirled slow-motion--while the monsters jockeyed for position among themselves. And on TV my heroes were dying.
As far as my young mind could tell the world was at a tremendously important crossroads and i needed to make my mark and have my voice be heard. So i went down to that tremendously important crossroads to shout out at the public. Of course, in my case, the crossroads in question turned out to be the street corner in front of my childhood home, 1st and Fox, Raymondville, TX. And on that election eve, i brought home chalk and, eyeing the traffic warily, over the course of a dozen stops and starts, scrawled: "Humphrey-Muskie is our man" on the pavement. And at the time, i recall feverishly debating taking the poetic license to abuse the grammar in this way for the sound of the rhyme for the purpose of base electioneering, but did it anyway.The second line read, "Nixon Belongs in the Garbage Can!" As i recall, after due consideration of my masterpiece, i believe i did go back out with the tiny nub that remained and added the exclamation point.
As you may recall, America didn't listen. Voted for the Republican = Cambodia bombing, Co-Intel-Pro, the health insurance industry, Watergate, Bebe Rebozo, and growing up with a president unaffectionately, but accurately, known as "Tricky Dick." Come on, i was nine flippin' years old and even i knew better than to vote for a guy that everybody knew was a dick. But the American people bought it and it's gone that way every since.
Having just watched the latest ludicrous bipartisan farce, they like to call the government shutdown showdown, i'm ready to raise my fist at both parties. The Ds again made asses of themselves, by failing to take the floor and letting Tea Party disinformation shape the agenda. Obama again, as if on cue, jumped to work responding to the GOP threats by gutted social programs, further turning his back on the his base to pander to the Simon Legrees of the world. With their bevy of policy riders, the Tea Party has made clear they not only intend to impoverish the American public for their masters, but reserve the right to lash us as well. Funny that a party that claims to be all about freedom, works so hard to restrict and punish it.
Those GOP-Tea Party policy riders on the stop-gap budget should make clear for anyone who still claimed to doubt it, that the Tea Party was never anything more than another way to market the same old same old GOP social repression, masking it as fiscal conservatism. It's not really because they don't want to spend the money. It really is because they don't want you to have the services in the first place. So far we the people are being told the budget compromise is a victory for us an Obama because we only have to suffer through 38.5 billion more in cuts to social services, instead of the 60 billion they were aiming for. They may've failed in their efforts to gut NPR, Planned Parenthood this round (even though Jon Kyl got caught trying to lie to make it happen); but rest assured this is just round one. This monster will return.
They are already talking about the upcoming debt ceiling drama and the epic kabuki theater expected over that. As always expect evermore cuts in education, cuts in health care and then a whole host of punitive policy mandates, sold as "accountability."
And sometimes, it just gets so wearing.
The litany of outrages America endures in any given week at the hands of Republicans is enough to wear out the jaw of Amy Goodman. You could fill up page after page of outrage, year after year and still face a fear of fresh BS to battle through each time you touch a TV. Back in December, when i started the project of creating a reasonably euphonious list of "American Scandals in Semi-Chronological Order," i had no idea how heartbreaking a task i was taking on. It really is an litany of outrages. Time and again our government or business interests, generally while draped in bunting have raped and plundered the rights and needs of the people. We gotten so habituated to our abuse because it is our status quo. Like the bumper sticker used to say, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." And when you are talking about outrages on that scale, it is hard to believe i can chase it away with my little nub of chalk.
But let's give it a shot anyway. 'Tis the season to do articles about tax cheats, falla-lalla-la-la-la, etc. Here, have a little outrage on me and supposedly we'll both feel better.
I don't know about you, but i pay taxes all the time and rarely give it much notice, in much the same way as i also intake air and water and expel such as well throughout the course of every day. Yet there are those who can elucidate for you all statute and verse of each of the umpteen different taxes one incurs in the course of an American lifetime as if it were an outrage. To me, that scofflaw shirker's attitude they foist as patriotism is the real outrage.
The mess is about more than money. It's about a toxic attitude that infiltrates and poisons the very air we breathe: it is about the desire to make your life worse just for the power trip of it all. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the steady spewing of poisons into the air are causing our country to mutate, the way the fish around the coast of Japan are sure to soon mutate. We've become blind eyed, half hearted, ill-willed, and lame-brained.
I want a bumper sticker that says, "REAL PATRIOTS PAY THEIR TAXES." Just like real parents raise their kids. You can't claim to love your country then refuse to maintain it. The reality of this seems so simple, but unfortunately the brand-recognition of patriotism has been appropriated by the herd of tax cheats, being led, or should i say misled, by those still trying to drown the federal government in a bathtub.
I once contended they were driven by quest for personal wealth, but now i am beginning to believe it is everyone else's impoverishment that is the true GOP goal. They like to claim that they will grow the economy by firing government workers by the hundreds of thousands and by diminishing the public's individual buying power by cutting wages and pensions. They like to tell you that America will be a happier better place, when we have more sick old people, more unwanted children born and a larger, less educated lower class.
Meanwhile like termites gnawing at the foundations of our society, the GOP continue to nibble away at the structures that uphold our very lives. Both Arizona and New York can be seen working up plans for restructuring taxes to raise the amount that the poor pay, while cutting the top earners' rates. Speaking of top rates not paying taxes, thanks to a spate of articles on AlterNet, we recently learned that G.E., the world's largest corporation paid no taxes last year, and neither did a full 2/3s of US corporations. Even Time and Newsweek gave notice. As Allison Kilkenny's article for The Nation noted, " Bank of America hasn’t paid a nickel in federal income taxes for the past two years, and in fact raked in an additional $1 billion in tax “benefits.” The bank is enjoying these profits after accepting $45 billion from taxpayers, which the company then got to count as a deduction when they paid back the money."
And that's just the outrage in two articles. A steady diet of AlterNet could alter your consciousness. With even CNN pimping for the anti-tax as well as the anti-Islam crowds with their recent specials; it is important to remember the beauty part of the relentless GOP calls for ever more dire tax cuts, is that they get sold as appeals to the public's basest of instincts: greed--the greedier among us want to keep their taxes as low as unreasonably possible and are just looking for reasons to justify their impulse. They are more than willing to train the rest of us to believe that selfish attitude is the American Way.
The chairman of Caterpillar, for example, is griping that IL raised corporate taxes two percent to 7%, even though the state was in the hole by billions. Murdoch's News Corp once again skips out on taxes and gets away with it. Meanwhile the US House GOP are floating a bill that includes cutting the public assistance of any family if a family member goes on strike. In Georgia they're cutting corporate taxes, even for foreign corporations and raising taxes on food, even Girl Scout Cookies. Speaking of sweets, in Colorado, outraged that the liberals in the US Dept. of Ag have been linking soda to obesity, the state GOP is making a special exemption for soda just to be spiteful. That's right they are providing economic incentive to the wave of high fructose corn syrup related obesity statistics in the state of Colorado just to spite liberals because they've had the audacity to notice our national waistline.
And last but not least, last month the GOP outrage of the month had to be Missouri's move to rewrite child labor laws; but this month the state of Maine, the same state that recently stripped the labor mural from their own state department of labor hallways because it was too, ah, pro-labor, or something, has come up with a move to lower the minimum wage for youth and extend their work hours. That's right, they want your kids to become their slaves too and they don't even want to pay them for the privilege.
How much further will the plutocrats expect us to sacrifice for the good of the economy? Are we to give up our federal system for a feudal one? Is that their point? If so i think they are mistaken about the will of the people. If we must impoverish ourselves for the good of our financial sector driven economy, just so the wealthy can give themselves better bonuses, why should we care if their economy is working or not? How much longer should we work for them to aid their quest for our destruction?
It's a question a lot of folks are beginning to wonder about. Michael Ruppert, of Collapse Net fame, who has been charting our national suicide for more than 30 years due to systemic corruption and depleting resources has recently gave the international economy less than 6 months till collapse. Evangelicals are currently touring America promoting the idea that the rapture is set to take place May 11th, 2011, less than one month from the night i typed this article. And then there's 12/21/2012, which is already the most overwrought set of digits since Y2K. I say i don't know. If we make through to December of '12 without this whole mess blowing up further, i will be surprised.
As of 4/12/11, the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the first shot of the US Civil War, the country of Japan has acknowledged after a month of disinformation, that the radiation contamination from the Daiichi nuclear power plant is much worse than they had previously been willing to mention. Worse, in fact than Chernobyl. Once again corporate cost cutting and negligence and a government paid to ignore corporate mischief have created an, as of yet, incalculable threat to mankind's very existence.
Last time Japan was so devastated with radiation, a metaphorical set of phony monsters were unleashed as a parable on the destructiveness of men's folly. Now as the radiation pours, by the gallon, into the Pacific and is thus woven into the very fabric of our steadily more precarious existence, as the acknowledged contamination ring expands and the harm level rises, as a third of the world's economic engine crumbles in the after-shocks, one wonders which monsters will be the metaphors that savage our cardboard world--fire-breathing dragons, men in sponge-rubber suits or raging elephants?
What good is my little nub of chalk? I can only write this:
We are at the cross roads. The monsters are real and they are here.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.
NOTE: Unlike the self-acknowledged unreliable remarks of Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, all assertions in this article are to be taken as factual.