Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

On the whole, the plot was perhaps too fanciful for me to entirely suspend disbelief.  But the symbolism was deep, wide and dead on!  Gone Baby Gone is simply one of the best chronicles to date of America's current predicaments: War, Greed, Poverty and Class.

My wife and I had a HUGE argument regarding the basic moral dilemma over baby Amanda McCready's fictional future.  Like the film's protagonist, Patrick Kenzie, I too was compelled to defend a life lived as closely as possible to "the rules" of Church and of State over the alternative, where "the end justifies the means".

In short, my argument was that: Each time any of us willingly places a thumb on the scale of justice, to bend or break the basic code (evolving, egalitarian, democratic rule of law) establishing the moral framework, however flawed, for our complex society in a world of competing motives, then we are all damned.

When President Bush chose to invade Iraq because America needs oil or because Saddam Hussein was evil;  when banks risked collapsing our financial system, lending trillions to borrowers unable to repay, because the transaction fees were lucrative;  when radicals bomb clinics because abortion is murder in their eyes -- then we are all damned.

In other words, just where should my choice to "play God" begin or end?  With this riveting film noir, director Ben Affleck contends that no matter where it begins, it always ends badly!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Matt Taibbi and John McCain's "Gimmick"

Maybe it's homo-erotic, but I love Matt Taibbi.  I just don't see any media figure (maybe Bill Marr or Bill Moyers, albeit from different venues and to different audiences) swinging for the bleachers the way he does.

Thus I am waiting like a child for Christmas to hear and read Taibbi weigh-in on McCain's cynical, Nth-degree-focus-group, secure-the-base-at-all-cost, gimmick VP Sarah Palin. 

To that end, these are MoveOn's  Sarah Palin talking points, fresh from my inbox:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

And having just now spent an hour or two coursing YouTube for Taibbi snippets, poring over reviews of The Great Derangement, and rereading his Rolling Stone blogs, I find myself, at least momentarily, spiritually renewed by Mr. Taibbi's humanity, authenticity and integrity in documenting the current plight of average Americans.

I may be wrong, but I like to think that, like me, a switch flipped inside Taibbi with the 2004 Bush reelection.  At least that's when I really started paying attention to American polity, compelled to know what has gone so terribly wrong with my country.  And after Iraq, after the Bush reelection, after Katrina, suddenly there they were: Taibbi, Krugman, Maher, Oberman, Moyers, et al. -- new heroes for a New Left for a new Me.

I see now that Taibbi's Derangement thesis is essentially correct!  To quote Elton John lyrics, "We've all gone crazy lately..."  Like millions of Americans, I have become disillusioned, disenfranchised, anxiety-ridden -- basically crazy -- just like America's far left (911 was an inside job) or its extreme right (blindly supporting Israel in preparation for Biblical Armageddon).  In short, the status quo proves that any singular perspective, no matter how seemingly righteous or inspired, is best not taken to extremes.  After reading Taibbi, I struggle with basic questions like:  How much change can anyone really effect calling Americans idiots?  Or if 911 was an inside job, why couldn't our neocon puppet masters keep Katrina off the front page?

So where to go from here?  All I know is that, today, this is my credo:

  • War and murder are synonymous.  I would defend myself, my family, perhaps even this country -- if forced.  But I would never choose a war.
  • Economic profit and loss are mostly synonymous with luck.  And good luck, good ideas and good will are best shared within any healthy society.
  • Unregulated corporatism and crony capitalism has given rise to a corrupt socio-political-economic aristocracy that has unjustly profited at the expense of 98 or 99 percent of the world's population by suppressing wages and restricting upward mobility through narrow social, political and academic pedigree.

Obama understands the predicament better than McCain.  Obama is less, or at least more recently, a member of the corrupt class.  I will vote for Obama and for all matter of egalitarian change in general. Sources:

1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

An open letter to David Brooks

FYI... Satire works best when you're poking the stick in your own eye, David.

So where's your sense of humor when it comes to the 72-year-old, cancerous, swollen-gland (yech!), pus-bag your own party has nominated? 

Better yet, in honor of your newly minted GOP VP candidate Sarah, "Palin and Tall", how about a snarky piece on non-disjunction?  I'm thinking maybe something titled "SARAH PALIN: RETARDS NEED OIL TOO!"

BTW, Maureen Dowd cuts us (liberals) better anyway! "I wonder if she'll [Michelle Obama] fist-bump the Queen?" -- now that's funny!

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Arc of the Moral Universe

Unlike most ideologues, I admit I could be wrong … but we won’t know for several years, if ever, that “Obamanomics” makes things worse.

At least Mr. Hutchinson correctly identifies the main culprits for our current predicament: “It is here that one can most ferociously blame Messrs Greenspan and Bernanke and their decade of irresponsibly cheap money. By distorting price signals throughout the economy, and producing burst bubble after burst bubble without significant improvement in living standards except at the very top, they have enabled the left to claim that capitalism “doesn’t work” [at least not fairly] so we must bring in government and the unfortunate taxpayer to solve economic problems.” 

For my money, I hold that Keynes was correct – i.e. a Free Market economy (see Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, 1962) is simply unlikely to ever truly exist.  One important reason I see is inheritance.  In short, no one can rationally argue that Cindy McCain has “replaced” (or even sustained) the economic “productiveness” of her father – so why should she control the firm he built?  Another reason is that democracies rarely tolerate the violent (see Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, 2007) cycles, alternating between utter suffering and absolute bliss, necessary to attain and maintain Friedman’s theoretically “unencumbered” economy.

Thus government is never the only answer, but neither is plutocracy.  Recent history clearly demonstrates it is both economically unproductive and morally irresponsible to legally sustain, mostly through inheritance, a permanent two-percent ruling class containing unproven and sometimes catastrophically unsuccessful trust-fund-baby leaders like George W. Bush.

Thus some form of balanced compromise must be continuously struck.  And when the vast majority of citizens in any democracy experiences painful, quality-of-life-wrenching economic hardships, then I see no reason not to tip the scale in the opposite direction -- in this case toward increasing wealth redistribution.

Where is America today, for example, without both its Roosevelt Presidents?  Without Lincoln?  Thus, in stark contrast to Friedman and later Reagan dogma, government has a moral role -- even in economics.  As Obama’s seeming favorite quote (see Martin Luther King, Jr.) goes “…the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The time has simply come to favor more, egalitarian balance and opportunity and less George W. Bush and Cindy McCain leadership-as-birth-right.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wave Goodbye to Reagan's Idiot America

Yes.  It’s all a joke.  Only the joke’s on me.  And the joke is on you… 

Because no one can dispute that the top-two-percent has resoundingly succeeded in spreading its gospel of crony (er... laissez-faire) Capitalism (er... Democracy) around this planet.  But in doing so has seemingly missed that it spoiled the joke -- especially for the once proud and the once mighty American Middle Class.  And not surprisingly, this sudden realization -- that decades more Reagan-Bush-style financial profligacy is certain to lower living standards for 98% of us -- is not sitting at all well with the American electorate in an election year.

I liken the present situation to a friend's response years ago when I tried to convince him to watch Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room – “No thanks!  I know how it ends.”

Eventually even Joe America Sixpack wises up.  And the process has a name.  And that name is Populism!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I'm voting Democrat

I’m voting Democrat because having 2% of the human population control >50% of the world’s capital is simply not working!  Because NO ONE is that smart and therefore power (hegemony) should never have been allowed to become so concentrated in so few hands!  Because Iraq, Katrina, the credit crisis, the energy crisis, stagnant wages (for 98% of us) and rising prices have clearly demonstrated the sham inherent in the myth of a 2% ruling class.

I am voting Democrat because history has clearly shown the 2% club cares mostly about itself – and trickle down economics, if it ever worked, has certainly STOPPED working for me as a voting citizen of the United States of America!

I am voting Democrat because I cannot understand that anyone in this country could vote for so long against his/her economic interests (98%) and in favor of theirs (2%) – that is simply beyond my comprehension.  That’s why I’m a liberal – because during the course of my life I have come to appreciate that human existence is neither a sport nor a game – with a small cadre of (lucky) winners and all others (98%) simply losers.  Because the world I see is not simple, not black and white, not a corporate profit and loss statement – despite what Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan and John McCain have said or written. 

I am voting Democrat because the world has too many weapons and not enough food.  Because safety can never be assured through murder.  Because The War on Terror will only be won following the rule of law -- through cooperative, multi-lateral law enforcement, through sharing ideas and ideals, through negotiation -- not through invasion and colonization. 

I am voting Democrat because we all breathe the same air; we all drink the same water.  We are all vastly more the SAME than we are different, and believing otherwise – i.e. believing primarily in the cult of individualism and in personal consumption without impact or consequence -- is the reason this planet is devolving to a giant, steaming pile of SHIT -- where each day the largest happiness any reasonable person can objectively muster is that he/she is one day closer to death -- one day closer to not having to live with competition instead of cooperation, with hatred instead of love or even empathy, with lies, oversimplifications and advertising over the pursuit of science, with worshipping my imperfect, owning, all-too-human (animal) self instead of the whole, perfect, abundant, sharable world.

I'm voting Democrat because, until things really change, it's just about the only hopeful, positive and life affirming thing I can do.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Agent Of Change

Don't denounce the rage, Obama!

Ludacriss is but an inkling, trickling indicator of that rage.

The lying, status-quo pigs and their mass media pundits have destroyed our economy and the lives of millions -- even as they've enriched themselves beyond measure.

Angry Blacks vote!

Exploited Hispanics vote!

And angry, jobless or under-employed and equally hopeless young whites WILL vote too!

Mark my words, a tsunami is coming!  And anyone with eyes can see the pigs are not polling the tsunami.

As banks collapse, foreclosures spiral, new mortgages disappear and the economy implodes under rising un/under-employment and commodity prices, it is possible that 60-70% of Americans under age 50 will vote for Barak Obama.

The Repiglican revolution is OVER!