Sunday, July 31, 2011

Congress searching for it's next made-up crisis

"I can't believe it's almost over.

A wistful Mitch McConnell wipes a tear from his ample cheek as he mourns the approaching end of the debt ceiling debate.

"This was our finest hour. Or 2,000 hours, as the case may be. I am so proud of what we've done here. We managed to take a meaningless procedural vote on the debt ceiling and turn it into the crisis of the new millenium. That's impressive. I'm just not sure we can top ourselves. And that makes me kind of sad."

McConnell sniffles and takes a sip of chamomile tea. We are joined by Speaker Boehner, who is surprisingly tear-free.

"I've got some ideas. I'm not willing to accept that this is our finest hour. Sure, it's been an awesome ride. It's not often you get to fuck with American lives and get a huge spike in media coverage at the same time. That's kind of the holy grail for us legislators. Doesn't happen every day. But I refuse to believe our best days are nearly behind us. We are a resilient bunch. We'll find a way to screw people over and get the proper amount of media buzz yet again."

A barely perceptible smile appears on McConnell's face.

"You really think so, Johnny?"

Boehner throws down a quick shot of Jameson and continues.

"I don't think so, Mitch, I know so. I've never been more confident in our ability to act completely against the interests of the American people. Shit, we barely broke a sweat on this debt ceiling nonsense. Sure, Obama hurled a few insults our way, calling us babies, whah, whah, whah. Whatever, that shit just stoked the media fires even more. Bring it Barry, tell us to eat our peas! That was a good one. Gotta hand it to that guy, he's got a way with words."

McConnell is now visibly excited, his jowls starting to jiggle.

"Ha ha, Johnny. You know the funniest part? I already like peas! Stupid president."

Boehner chuckles.

"Now you're getting it, Mitchy. We've got this guy by the balls now. We can come up with any kind of crazy crap we want and he'll go along. I'm thinking of having a Republicans-only pool built in the backyard of the White House. We can float out there on our inflatable easy-chairs, eating peas and chugging margaritas all day long. I can just hear Obama now, 'John, you can have your pool, but no diving board.' Ha! Okay, Mr. President, you win!"

McConnell stiffens a bit.

"Margaritas? Ain't they Mexican drinks?"

Boehner smiles.

"Damn right. I'm thinking our next big 'crisis' will be immigration reform. Might as well figure out what makes those little fuckers tick before we start deporting their asses."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

We did this

It's so easy to blame the tea party for the shitstorm currently blanketing our country.

As a group, they are ignorant beyond belief. They are woefully misinformed about our history. And they have mistakenly managed to equate liberty with their obsessively self-centered ideology.

Yet they have managed to bully their way into the mainstream of US politics.

But you know who I blame for that? Liberals.

All it took was a few moderate proposals from Obama (healthcare, the continuation of TARP) to get the tea parties knickers in a twist.

Meanwhile, we have seen them spend the last two years spewing their self-absorbed, racially-tinged, extreme anti-government nonsense and we haven't done shit in response.

Where's the outrage? Where are the impromptu rallies and fired-up town hall meetings? Why aren't Democrats in congress as afraid of us as their Republican colleagues are of the tea baggers?

When the Democratic head of the Senate feels comfortable proposing a debt reduction plan that Ronald Reagan would have called extreme, that's our fault.

When liberals in the house can't get a single mainstream media outlet to talk about their more progressive debt plan, that's our fault.

And when the president allows his opponents to completely dominate the debate and shift attention away from the issues that really matter like jobs and excessive corporate influence, that, once again, is completely our fault.

The tea party claims that our nation's values are under attack. They are right. They just don't realize they are the ones doing the attacking.

Why aren't we fighting back?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

President, congress debate whether to kick or punch us in the crotch

"I tell ya, I've always been a fan of a good old fashioned punch.

A cheerful president Obama flashes his winning smile and takes a sip from his light beer as he looks across the table at Congressman Boehner.

"It just feels good ya know?"

Boehner surveys the golf course as he sips his gimlet. Life has never been better. For months now, he and the president have been playing their own unique game of chess. And it has been a blast.

"Punchin's great, don't get me wrong, but there's something visceral about a strong kick. When you feel that crotch meat envelop your toes, man, it's just the coolest thing."

Obama pops a few beer nuts in his mouth before opening up about his relationship with the House Speaker.

"Listen, we may have our differences, but there's one thing we can both agree on--the American people are hurting right now. Folks are out of work, families are losing their homes. I get it. Times are tough. But here's what they don't understand. There's no chance in hell me or Johnny here are gonna do anything to help. Helping average Americans doesn't exactly pay the bills, ya know what I'm sayin'?"

He and Boehner explode into laughter. High fives are exchanged. Boehner wipes his fingers on his tie and chimes in.

"Plus, it's just not fun. I didn't come to Washington to be bored outta my mind. I'm came to party. And there ain't no party like crotch kicking party cause a crotch kicking party don't stop."

Obama shakes his head.

"A crotch punching party is even better, John."

"C'mon Barry, You know you like crotch kicking the best."

"Ah hell J-Bo, you're right. I do like me some crotch kicking."

Boehner slides his chair back and starts to rise.

"Good meeting O-bombs, I gotta run over to Tantastic for a quick spray down, but we'll pick this up next week. And you're buying."

"Okay, but you take care of the tip."

Boehner shrugs into his blazer and grabs an olive off Obama's plate.

"Not a chance."

Obama smiles, yet again.

"Sounds good. See you soon."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Down with America!

If Al Qaeda threatened to bring down the entire US economy, it would surely be called a terrorist act.

So how come it's not when Republicans do the same thing?

Congressional Repubs, led by the Tea Party dipshits, are trying to cram their extreme anti-government agenda down the nation's throat by gleefully holding out the threat of a federal government default as the alternative.

The most extreme house members seem to relish the idea of a mortally wounded Uncle Sam. Not only are they unfazed by the prospect of a total economic collapse that will almost surely lead us into a depression, they are actually rooting for for it. "That'll teach those commies to mess with us!"

Someone needs to call these so-called patriots what they really are--terrorists. Any politician who even hints at the notion that they would be willing to let our government default on it's debts should be immediately arrested and charged with treason.

This is not a fucking joke. Lives are at stake here. People will actually die if we go into a depression. Children will starve. Old people will be denied medical care.

But hey, it makes for great political theater, so who cares if a few thousand folks have to perish in the process?

God bless America.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why are you listening to us?

18% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim.

33% of Americans believe in ghosts.

24% believe the moon landing was faked.

18% think the sun revolves around the earth.

51% believe in creationism.

49% think Fox News is trustworthy.

50% think Christianity predates Judaism.

37% are afraid of haunted houses.

20% believe aliens have abducted someone they know.

21% believe in witches.

41% believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Most of us clearly don't know what the fuck we are talking about. So why would politicians give a crap that a majority of Americans don't want the debt ceiling raised?

You were elected to make intelligent decisions on our behalf. Stop listening and start leading.

I've got a Jewish alien witch in my backyard. I don't have time for this shit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Motives matter, but results matter more

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, the opposite can be true as well. Bad intentions can often lead to good results. Especially when it comes to politics.

You may think that all politicians are corrupt assholes with no real concern for the average citizen.

Maybe. Maybe not. But does it really matter? What really matters is the policy. And how it impacts all of us.

Take healthcare. You could argue that the plan pushed by Obama is a cynical giveaway to the pharma and insurance companies, as both stand to benefit from many of the new laws.

But if most Americans also stand to benefit in the form of expanded coverage, no pre-existing condition clauses, more affordable coverage and better health outcomes overall, then who really gives a shit if the idea was concocted to please some big-time corporate campaign donors?

Same goes for the deficit. Some would argue that the only reason Democrats are pushing for higher taxes on the wealthy is so they can win votes from the elderly who think these taxes will help ensure that Medicare and Social Security remain intact. And you'd probably be right.

But again, who really cares? If the overall outcome is what you would want anyway, why get upset about impure motives?

It works on the conservative side as well. Republicans may be holding a rigid line on taxes because they've signed their political independence away to a radically libertarian kingmaker. But if you truly believe we will benefit from draconian spending cuts that disproportionately affect the lower class, then it's all good.

Politics will always be messy. Corruption will always play a huge role. And we should continue to be vigilant against it.

But the presence of corruption shouldn't be an excuse for a disengaged citizenry. If anything, it should push us towards greater involvement. Because we need to be fighting two battles at the same time. One against the forces that corrupt and another for those outcomes that will ultimately be better for our country.

Fighting two wars at the same time? It doesn't get any more American than that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What happened to ideas?

We are a country founded an idea. A simple idea that human beings have an inalienable right to freedom and to pursue that which makes them happy.

This was a bold idea at the time. And we followed it up with countless more bold ideas over the subsequent 230 years or so.

But it seems we may be tapped out.

On Friday, we witnessed the launch of the final space shuttle mission. It's amazing how far we've come (or, more accurately, fallen) since the dawn of our space program back in the 50s. Once upon a time, we dreamed big, setting our sights on the moon at a time when we were just getting used to the idea of transcontinental flight.

Doesn't anybody dream anymore?

Where are the big plans? The bold ideas? The crazy, brazen statements like Kennedy's 'we'll put a man on the moon by the end of the decade' speech back in 1961? Or MLK's "I have a dream" speech in 1963?

It seems we are so afraid of failure these days that we do not even want to take a chance on success. The Great Recession has sucked the life out of all of us, including our greatest thinkers.

And this is incredibly sad.

The only thing that stands to pull us out of this horrible place is courage. We need to dream bigger than our current reality. We need to see things that seem unthinkable. We need to imagine things that seem impossible.

People can throw around all of the economic theories they want, but if we don't have something that truly energizes our nation, we will slide further and further away from the simple idea that launched this country to greatness.

But how do we encourage this type of thinking? How do we get people, especially our best and brightest, out of their woe-is-us funk?

I'm not sure. But I feel the solution probably lies outside of Washington. As much as I champion the role of government in areas such as healthcare, job creation and environmental protection, there is only so much they can do to encourage bolder, bigger thinking. The feds can play a part, but ultimately we need the push to come from the private sector.

And this is where social media comes into play. Companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have access to an incredible amount of brain power and imagination. Wouldn't it be amazing if they could harness it all in a way that propels us into the next great movement?

We've seen hints of this type of action. Google is actively involved in big projects like wind power and self-driving cars. Facebook has played a major role in some great ideas like the Pepsi Refresh Project. And Twitter has mobilized people across the globe to rise up against tyranny and abuse.

But we need to take things a step further here at home and actively engage the nation in a way we haven't seen in a generation. We need our next 'man on the moon' moment.

I'm ready to do my part. Are you?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

No jobs for us, no job for you

While congress and the president have tea, deciding whether or not they want to drive our economy off a cliff or stick it with a knife a thousand times, there are roughly 300 million of us actual people who stand to be fucked either way.

The only people who won't be fucked? The politicians. Because even if the economy completely crashes, most of them are assured of a job for as long as they want it.

But wait, won't they get voted out of office if they screw up?

Not likely. Incumbents in congress tend to get reelected no matter what happens. And George W. Bush proved in 2004 that no matter how badly you fuck up your fist term, there's a good chance we'll invite you back to screw things up some more.

So perhaps we need to give the guys in office a little extra incentive to actually do their jobs.

I say, if the unemployment rate is above 8% at any election cycle, every single federal politician gets the fuck out. That's right. Every last one of you. Take a time out, stand in the corner for a couple of years and think about what you didn't do.

Listen, 8% isn't that tough. We've spent most of history well under that number. But when we get above that number? Shit tends to suck really hard. And as far as I'm concerned, it means whatever we're doing isn't working. So bring on some new blood.

I'll tell you one thing, you'd see Boehner and Obama spending a lot more time together, trying to figure out our real problems if they knew their asses were really on the line. You'd see people's true colors come through as well. Instead of throwing out theories about what may or may not create jobs, people would go with what they truly believe will work. And they'd be much more aggressive about it too.

Now, I don't even want to wait until something like this could become a formal law. Let's ask every federal politician to sign a pledge. And unlike the bigoted, homophobic nonsense pledge that Michele Bachmann just signed, let's keep this one simple and straightforward.

"If the United States unemployment rate is not below 8% by Election Day 2012, I will step down from office."

You think any one of these fuckers would have the guts to sign it?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Everything is political

Politics is such a drag, right? What's the point and stuff? I mean, like, how does it affect me?

Well, that home you live in? Politics helped determine how much it costs and how well it needed to be built.

The car you drive to work every day? Politics helped determine the safety standards, it's fuel efficiency and it's price.

Those roads you drove on to get to your workplace? Politics helped fund them. Politics set the speed limit. Politics determined the type of blacktop used.

Your job? Politics influenced it's very existence. The right or wrong policy decision can have huge impacts on where and how we work.

The doctor you go to when you get sick and miss work? Politics helped shape his practice. How much time he takes, how he treats you, the diagnostic tools he chooses, the medicine he prescribes. All of it was shaped by the political process.

The foods you eat, the entertainment you enjoy, the trips you take, the beer you drink, the clothes you wear, the water you swim in, the mall you shop at, the babies you choose to have or not have, the person you want to spend your life with. Every last thing you do, right down to the very air you breathe, is influenced by politics.

But, like, hey, you know, politics is just like sooooo boring and stuff. So, whatever.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The American Theater

I've got a great idea for a movie.

It's about a group of rich kids who are largely ignored by their parents. Emboldened by this freedom, the kids wreak havoc all over the place. They party like crazy. Gamble. Fuck everything that moves.

Then, one day, their money runs out. So they run crying back to their parents, who know that their kids will ultimately be the ones taking care of them, so they shower them with more cash.

Back-story: to make sure their kids get as much money as possible, the parents all decide to free up cash by firing their housekeepers, accountants, nannies, drivers, chefs, gardeners, etc.

Fast forward two years. The kids have gone back to their partying, gambling, fuck-everything-that-moves ways. Life is good. The money is flowing faster than they can spend it.

But they're bored. So they decide to go back to their hometown and visit the housekeepers, nannies, accountants, chefs and gardeners that their parents had to fire a few years back. They scour the town to make sure they find each one. Then, they line them up and kick every single one of them in the crotch, repeatedly.

That's it. That's the movie. Whaddya think?

Ooh, I forgot to mention the title. It's called "The American Economy".

The system worked

Get over it.

The prosecution didn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury acquitted. Justice was served.

The end.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What does it mean to love America?

Today is our nation's 235th birthday. All across the land, Americans will be spending time with friends and family to celebrate this grand occasion. Among the celebrators, are those who would say "if you don't love America, you should leave."

I completely agree.

If you don't love America enough to want everyone to share the same kind of opportunity we give to our most wealthy, leave.

If you don't love America enough to believe that all of us deserve the kind of healthcare our elected officials receive, leave.

If you don't love America enough to expect our politicians to consider the value of our soldiers lives before sending them off to battle, leave.

If you don't love America enough to believe we all deserve clean air and clean water, leave.

If you don't love America enough to expect our leaders have at least a basic understanding of science, economics and history, leave.

If you don't love America enough to wish that all of us can enjoy the rights that come with being able to marry the person you love, leave.

If you don't love America enough to want our politicians to care more about the average citizen than they care about their next campaign contribution, leave.

If you don't love America enough to believe that putting our fellow countrymen back to work is more important than keeping taxes at record low levels, leave.

If you don't love America enough to be concerned that the average worker has seen little to no gains over the last 30 years while the wealth of the top 1% has exploded, leave.

And finally, if you don't love America enough to muster up a little energy to actually participate in this democracy you claim to be so thankful for, please, I beg of you, get the fuck out.

Happy 4th everyone.