Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the Eve of Destruction

As 9-11 + 9 years approaches, we're whirling about in a tempest in a teapot caused by a small Florida church and the response by a 4-star general... all of which, if you used it as a plot device in a satirical movie, would be denounced as too wildly improbable to even make good satire. And yet there it is – along with President Obama's repeated claims that his policies are good for both the middle class and small business (even though they are designed to destroy both)... and that it's selfish of people to want their taxes lowered below a confiscatory rate that would cause revolutions in most countries... and that government-run health care will be cheaper than that mean-spirited old private-sector stuff... and so on. In any case, it's very clever how he's stealing the thunder of so many Republicans and/or “conservatives” on so many issues... and the issues that remain are ones that the Republicans and/or “conservatives” won't come anywhere near – like the twin wars, which they seem to have forgotten even exist. They've gone down the memory hole, kind of like the homeless always do whenever a Democrat is elected president. Suddenly, the homeless disappear from sight (or at least from the sight of the media), and don't reappear until a Republican takes over... and then we find out that they were there all along, but somehow, magically, invisible. Well, as long as Obama is in office, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be invisible to the Republicans – i.e., they will continue to be supported but they will somehow be completely separated from the administration in people's minds. As far as the Republicans are concerned, when it comes to the wars, Bush is still president -- and, in a way, they're right.

Maybe the true talent of both Republicans and Democrats is that they can make problems appear and disappear at will... which is perfectly justifiable considering that the vast majority of what are called “problems” or “issues” in our society are ones that the average citizen has never experienced – at least not directly – and, if the media didn't tell him they were problems, he wouldn't even know they existed. They are like some rare disease that only comes to one's attention when you see a collection can on the counter at the 7-11 -- “Help support little Timmy Slackowicki's brave fight against fractial luminosis” -- whatever on earth that is. It's probably just a fancier term for plantar warts. And so it is with government programs – they exist to solve “problems” that are barely on radar for most people, or that may not exist at all. Think of all the new mystery diseases and “epidemics” that are constantly bubbling up, then forgotten within a few months. And all the “threats to the environment” -- which, if they were all real, would have dealt the environment a death blow decades ago. And how about the “economic crisis” and all of its marvelous, ever-evolving facets? And then Obama gets offended when the average citizen retreats to his basement with an armful of freeze-dried food and curls up on the floor in a fetal position; that's exactly what the “State of Fear” is designed to accomplish! -- a citizenry that is petrified... afraid of its own shadow. Not panic-stricken, mind you – that's much too messy, too hard to control. No one wants middle-class riots (as if!) -- I mean, the “tea parties” and Glenn Beck rallies have the establishment freaked out as it is. No, the administration can't spend every waking hour sounding the tocsin and waving the white flag of despair and capitulation, then get offended when people take it seriously. Either there's hope or there isn't; don't expect people to fall for all the “nuance” that Obama represents, when the sum total of his public pronouncements on any given day leaves the average citizen uncertain as to whether to open a bottle of champagne or jump off a cliff. If you want to keep people off balance and perpetually stressed out, then you should be ready to accept the consequences – if not, then move over and let someone else take command for a while.

But in the midst of it all, there is hope – not for things improving, but at least for some things to remain amusing enough to distract us from the rest. Out of a luxurious selection, I offer the following:

0 Hillary Clinton is now calling the drug wars in Mexico an “insurgency” -- which implies that the drug lords are trying to take over the Mexican government. This is patently not the case; for one thing, why would they want to take that drastic a pay cut? And it's much better to keep the current government in place, but get free rein through the usual means of bribery, threats, intimidation, and blackmail. I mean... that's how a lot of things get done up here; why can't Mexico follow our lead? But actually, I suspect that Hillary's stylings are a way to get us involved militarily down there – I mean, after all, we hate insurgency wherever and whenever it takes place, right? Especially when it's against a government that, basically, exists to do our bidding (or vice versa). Yeah... it's gonna be the Opium Wars all over again, except in reverse. And we'll be propping up a government most of which is on the take from the other side. The good news is that we can transplant our Afghanistan strategy intact into Mexico; we won't have to change a thing.

o On the other hand, knowing Hillary, I'll bet she could fight the insurgency single-handed, Wonder Woman-style. Or at the very least, with Janet Reno as her sidekick. Now that would be TV worth watching!

o Among the many things I'm glad I lived long enough to see, toward the top of the list is Fidel Castro's recent admission that the Cuban economic system no longer works. (He remains silent as to whether it ever did.) Hey, you know – regrets delayed are better than no regrets at all. Who knew that sanity might set in at his advanced age? But what it means is that we have entered a strange new through-the-looking-glass era where many American politicians and academicians are now to the political left of Fidel Castro. They're the ones who still believe that communism would have worked out just fine if only “we” had given it a chance. But actually, we did give it a chance; we fought World War II to make the world safe for communism – at least that's how it turned out. And in the process, we gave the Soviet Union the boost it needed to last another 45 years. And then we helped China turn communist. And it still didn't work! I guess they should have known better than to ask for our help.

o And speaking of Cuba – the AP article points out that “the state controls well more than 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen's food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.” Sound familiar? Why, it's none other than Obama's long-term economic plan for America – for you and me. But now here's Fidel saying it doesn't work. Maybe now Obama knows how Trotsky felt...

o And what's this about Rahm Emanuel wanting to be mayor of Chicago? Well, I must say, they deserve each other... and Chicago can hardly be worse off. What amazes me is that a place that's that corrupt can remain so productive and energetic. Someone needs to look into this – it might yield up a model we can export to Iraq and Afghanistan.

o This is rich. The Department of Transportation “doesn’t have the authority to change in-flight peanut policies” out of consideration for those with peanut allergies. Now, let's see... the government can take over banks, investment firms, auto companies, and mortgage companies... it can take over the health-care system... but it can't regulate peanuts on airplanes? I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry...

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