Thursday, June 30, 2011


Another July 4th is upon us, where we celebrate our breaking away from English rule and establishing a democracy by eating nitrate-filled hot dogs, watching the All-Star game, and blowing up shit in the air, which makes noises and pretty colors. Somehow, like a kid who took dad's car on a road trip and wrecked it, we've made a shambles of the democracy our too-often-quoted Founding Fathers fought to establish. 

We've taken the declaration that "anyone in the United States" can grow up to be President -- a testament to our endless opportunities and open society -- and turned it into an "Any schmuck can apply -- No intelligence required" cluster fuck, epitomized by shrieking harpies who brag about our history but are too dumb or lazy to study it, disgustingly wealthy hypocrites, and random pizza guys.  

Our elections are swayed by vast media blitzes spouting jingoistic, pseudo-patriotic claptrap about "our freedoms," against a backdrop of waving flags and patriotic dirges, financed by super rich business types guarding their investments. And the vast number of Americans are too stupid to dissect the manipulation inside the message. And it's all been sanctioned by the highest court in the land, declaring that corporations are people, too. 

Culturally, we exist on a steady diet of intellectual junk food, as we devour the egomaniacal ravings of housewives, ho's, goombas, and fame whores, along with whatever might be the scandal du jour. Whether it's the comings and goings of some politician's dick, or the latest celebrity or dumb girl murder trial. We flit from one diversion to the next like hummingbirds sucking a flower dry then zipping off to sample another. 

We worship heroes, then revel in their fall from grace, only to stand up again and cheer at their redemption. 

We claim to value education, yet mistrust intelligence. 

We fancy ourselves as rebels, renegades and mavericks yet mistrust independent thought to the point of branding it as treasonous. 

We claim to cherish religion, yet can be easily lead to the notion that compassion for those less fortunate is somehow not only un-American but, remarkably, un-Christian. 

Our mainstream media is mostly toothless, mistaking softball questions of politicians for in-depth interviews, while allowing them to spout the party line without ever having to face the dreaded follow-up question, or an interviewer with enough command of the facts to put the lie to a talking point and call a politician on his or her bullshit. Though, frankly, there's little time for going into depth, as the producer is shouting in the on-camera person's ears that it's time to wrap it up and do the intro to the YouTube video of the waterskiing squirrel or the cat chasing the laser pointer up the wall. 

We fought for independence, but we're now like a child who ran away from home because he didn't want to go into the family business and found himself living on the street, hooked on meth and begging for spare change. We claim to cherish our freedom but clearly have no idea what to do with it. The people who fought for democracy two centuries ago were inspired by Athenian democracy and grounded in ethics, and philosophy. These were patriots. Now a patriot is some MILF who proudly mangles her historical facts, or a wacko musician with a soul patch who dresses in fatigues and runs around in the forest with a bow and arrow shooting bunny rabbits. 

Applied to our times, The Sprit of '76 poster depicting soldiers returning from the Revolutionary War would now depict a young kid drumming on the street for spare change 'cause the music program in his school has been cut, an army band drummer with PTSD who was dropped by his insurance company, and can't go to college 'cause there's no more GI bill, and a flute player with a head wound who can't afford medical care. 

And we think all this behavior has been sanctioned by a bearded super daddy in the clouds who created the entire universe but clearly loves us best. 

So, please, it's been over two-hundred years. Let us come home. We'll behave. No more revolts. We'll adopt the parliamentary system and take the universal health care. We'll make a fuss about the queen and totally lose our shit when some royals get married. We'll ditch baseball and football and go full-time soccer. We'll even call it football. We already know how to riot whether our team wins or loses, so we'll fit right in. We'll take English lessons and learn to speak it proper. Uh, properly. We'll drink the warm beer. We'll ditch our Fridays restaurants and rename them Hounds and Frogs, or Shields and Hamsters, or whatever you call them. And as a real gesture, we'll even give up the guns. And you know how much we love our guns. Without them, we'd have a much tougher time shooting each other over parking spaces. 

Sure, we know you've got your own problems. But you're a struggling adult, and we're just a flailing, out-of-control child. We need help. Guidance. We've been given too much freedom so we just run amok, eating ice cream all day, watching violent cartoons, getting morbidly obese, and then having a tantrum at bedtime 'cause we're all hopped up on sugar. We're fat, sloppy, lazy, and stupid. But we have a lot of land. And good dentists. Let us come home. We promise we'll be good this time. Take us home... Pleeeeeze...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Michelle Bachmann is a moron and totally batshit crazy. That's a given. Like her spiritual sister-wife, Sarah Palin, she thinks a magic man in the sky has anointed her to run for President. There are 7 billion people on the planet; yet, the magic man in the sky is so smitten with this little gal that he sent her a divine message to give it a shot. Because, as we know, God is a social, and anti-tax fiscal conservative.

Yes, it's fun to dismiss Bachmann as a one-woman gaffemobile: The founding fathers ending slavery. The shot heard round the world from Concord, N.H. It's surprising her teeth are so white considering the amount of time she spends with her foot in her mouth. But stupidity for the Tea Party is not a hindrance; it's a job requirement. To paraphrase Alfonso Bodoya: "Facts? She don't need no stinking facts." In fact, the mistakes play well with their crowd as the snide remarks and criticism simply amount to left-wing media bias and play to their anti-intellectualism.

Yes, it's a joke that she's running for President. But consider this: Bachmann isn't running for President. She's running for Vice President. Much like Palin would have if she'd gained any traction. But the GOP knows they can't take the White House with either bagger queen. But with a Romney type in the top slot promoting alleged fiscal responsibility and the nutbag in the veep slot dragging along the tea baggers, she can hit the hot button issues: intelligent design, traditional family, low taxes, a struggling economy. She can whip up her flock with crowd-pleasing cries like: PRESIDENT.... OBAMA....WILL BE A... ONE...TERM....PRESIDENT! She'll smile. They'll cheer. Meanwhile, her handlers will keep her away from the legit media just as Palin's have. Let the Ken doll take the tougher questions on the Sunday Talkers, while Barbie seduces the hometown crowds and tries to win over independents. If the economy hasn't recovered in any way that's promotable for the president, those people could get antsy. She can gaffe her way through the entire election. We elected W. twice. We're capable of immense stupidity, particularly when it's motivated by fear and ignorance.

The biggest fault that can be laid at the feet of the present administration is that they have let the Republicans define the narrative from day one. The birther nonsense. Obamacare. The town-hall protesters. Keeping the Bush tax rates. The present deficit ceiling fight. Each time, the GOP has drawn their line in the sand and the Democrats have accepted it as a given, instead of as an opening gambit in a negotiation. If the President doesn't take the upper hand and define the paying field, while simultaneously putting the lie to every Republican idea as a return to the very policies that nearly destroyed the economy, and in the harshest, most direct language, he may find that a number of disaffected folks on the left may join enough disaffected folks in the middle and that could be a national disaster.

This is a battle for the soul of America. Bachmann's war cry heralds a virtual return to the Middle Ages. Creationism taught in schools. No health care reform. No financial reform. Fighting gay marriage. Fighting any effort to combat climate change. Gutting Social Security and Medicare. And, finally, consider this: with eight years under her belt as a Vice President, she would be poised to make a somewhat legitimate run for the Presidency in 2020. We could be staring down the barrel of a 16-year W. flashback.

Thursday, June 2, 2011



Riding what they've called the "Mitt Mobile," 96 white Romneys have invaded Iowa armed with a big, white family portrait. And that scares me.

First, let's get rid of the white elephant in the room. An extended family of look-alike white people from Massachusetts, many of whom went to Harvard, who play touch football and have almost identical twilight's last gleaming white smiles? Ring any familiar bells? The Mormon Kennedys? The political Osmonds? Of course there are no war vets to hang the campaign around, no profiles in courage, 'cause according to dad, the five fightin' Romneys are saving themselves for Mitt's campaign. Somehow, electing dad to the White House has become the equivalent of military service. Now, who figured out that equation? But that's not the scary part.

It's the goodness. That perfect, wholesome white goodness. Bible and scripture on Sunday. More scripture on Monday. Touch football. Staff tennis tournament with the championship played on the family court. Now before I'm branded some sort of racist, let me be clear: I'm white. It's nothing I'm proud of. In fact, white people embarrass me. More often than not, I find them clueless, clumsy, soulless, insincere, patronizing, reeking of privilege, occasionally bordering on rude and, quite often, fat. Not just that slightly overweight fat but the take-over-the-buffet-line-with-your-doublewide-ass kind of fat. And all that fat is often accompanied by massive stupidity. That good, old-fashioned "America's a great country 'cause we've got freedom of speech, so shut your mouth and stop criticizing the government" kind of stupidity. But even that's not the scary part.

I'll admit there are some good white people. I've worked with some. I live around them. Hell, my sister even married one. And I guess they've done some good things. But I was sort of hoping that the whiter-than-white perfect family portrait as campaign poster was something we'd transcended here in the 21st century, as some diversity entered presidential politics. Not just with race, and gender, but with every other aspect of life. Multiple marriages. Family problems. A little drinking. Drug problems. Maybe the occasional DUI. Imperfect candidates seem more human. And I want a candidate who's human. A dad who's gotten a call at 8 am to bail their kid out. Someone who's gone through the hell of divorce and climbed out the other side. A mom who's maybe had a drink or two after a hard day. It makes them compassionate. Like they understand the problems regular people have and might like to solve them.

So when I see this 60's Tide commercial photograph, I'll be honest--it scares the shit out of me. Because somehow the notion of the "I'm all-white, you're all-white" candidate is still lurking out there in the minds of campaign managers, which means it's still out there in the minds of Americans. Now, it's not Mitt's fault he's white. It's not his fault he's got religion. While, personally, I think believing that, some 18 centuries after his death, Jesus reappeared in upstate New York is a litmus test for insanity, if that belief gets you through the night, then go with god. And it's sort of nice he's got a big old family. But that big old family picture looks like a throwback to an older, Wonder Bread America, and sticking it out there as a campaign poster of the perfect, Bible-reading, touch football-playing family, as if it's a reason for people to vote for you is scary. Because it doesn't make you look like a man of the people. It just makes you look like a man of the white people.