Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

Live together or die alone

May 1, 2021

Work song

April 29, 2021

We almost skipped Sleepy Joe’s address to Congress Lite last night.

Our “Northern Exposure” DVD collection has been getting a workout — you’d be surprised how well that series holds up after 30 years — and I already had a pretty good idea of how “The Joe Show” was gonna go. I’ve seen that one before, too.

But we watched ol’ Joe spin his tale, and I’m glad we did.

It was light on chest-thumping and finger-pointing. It felt less like theater and more like a routine business meeting.

“We all know the drill here, ladies and gents. The Old Home Place is in a helluva state. But we can fix it, if we all pitch in and get our hands dirty, and here’s where I think we should start.” Etc.

I particularly liked his attempt to take back “We the people” from the knuckleheads. I’ve said this for years. We are the government. “L’etat, c’est nous.” If it’s a trainwreck, well, we let it go off the rails, didn’t we? Sat there and watched and pitched a bitch because nobody gave us free marshmallows to toast in the subsequent three-alarm fire.

So here comes Sleepy Joe and he sez to ’em he sez: “Fuck me, what a mess. Let’s put out that fire, get this thing back on the rails, and see where we can go with it. Now I think of it, these rails could use a little work. And is that a road or a gravel quarry? Jesus. Call up the pavers. Whaddaya mean you haven’t got any bars on your phone? Well, shit, add that to the list.

“And quit picking on the kid. Who cares what bathroom s/he uses? We don’t do something about the pipes we’re all gonna be shitting behind the bushes before much longer. And the bushes are gonna be on fire because climate change! Hel-lo! Make another note, Kamala. I’ll bet you wish you hadn’t answered your phone when I called you up and asked you to join the ticket, hey?”

Joe knows he has a teeny-tiny window of opportunity here. From what I’ve read, the Richie Riches and Corporate America don’t mind paying a smidge more in taxes at this moment in history because they know it’s tough to do bidness in a burning building while hanging from the rafters in a stylish suit of tar and feathers and the customers are engaged in running gun battles outside, too broke to pay their bills but not broke enough to pawn their guns.

Too, odds are he loses the House in the midterms thanks to all the three-card Monte that took place at our local carnivals while we were focused on The Big Top. He might be a one-termer whether he likes it or not.

So, yeah. That was quite a laundry list of chores he laid out last night. But he wasn’t a dick about it, and you can’t deny the Old Home Place needs a little work. Deferred maintenance has a way of piling up like turds behind bushes. Or in the House of Representatives.

The org chart

April 21, 2021

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were not Black, yet they had a working familiarity with the arbitrary traffic stop. © and all praise to Gilbert Shelton

Well, that’s one killer cop down, and … let’s see if he stays down before we all start dancing in the end zone.

I won’t presume to speak for Black people in this matter or any other. Shit, I don’t even know what or if honkies are thinking and I am one.

That said, I will propose that all of us devote at least as much attention to what’s going on at home as we do the national performance art in DeeCee. Governors, legislatures, mayors, city councils, county commissions, police and sheriffs, judiciary, school boards, etc. All of these affect the quality of your lives, regardless of race, creed, color, or religion.

You want smart, caring, hard-working people running the shop, handling the hiring, oversight, discipline, and firing as warranted. Even when you’re satisfied you’ve got the right people in place, keep one eye on ’em while you go about your own business. You get an asshole at the top of the org chart, before you know it you’ve got assholes all the way down.

And some of them have badges.

Assholes with badges don’t always tase you, shoot you, or kneel on your neck. Sometimes they just roust you for not wearing a helmet when cycling. Or pull you over for hanging an air freshener from the rear view mirror, having a broken taillight, sporting an unfashionable hue for the ’hood, or demonstrating a unique personal style (see Phineas Freek, above). These are what we call “fishing expeditions.”

“Are you a dope fiend, sir? Mind if I root around in your trunk, see if you have any hogtied White children, bales of marijuana, or rocket launchers in there? Let’s see your license, registration, and MAGA hat. But keep those hands on the wheel where I can see them.” Etc.

With the right management in place, cops like this become ex-cops. Let them fish full time, for food.

• Obligatory disclaimer: Yes, I have had positive interactions with law enforcement since I quit being a hippie. It’s probably not so easy to quit being Black.

Oh, eat me

April 20, 2021

“No one wants to work anymore.” And yet somebody posted this sign at a place of business. ’Ees a puzzlement, to be sure.

Here’s an interesting story. Not “interesting” in the sense that it was solidly reported, written, and edited, which it was not. Interesting in that it calls into question the business model of the fast-food industry.

The story — headlined “We’re competing with unemployment” — focuses on the hiring problems that outfits like Fresquez Companies, Twisters, and Sonic-Inspire Brands are having locally in Year Two of The Plague®.

Back in the day, when newspapers still had copy desks, a cynical old rim rat might have wondered at some volume whether the corporate types quoted in the piece had coordinated their tales of woe.

Says one: “Why would anybody want to, I guess, start at a minimum-wage job when they can be earning more money … on unemployment?”

Adds another: “People are making a lot more money being unemployed than employed, and the world is coming back to dine-in and eat-in a little bit at a time, so the stimulus really paused people applying to jobs.”

And a third: “I think it’s pretty easy to connect … unemployment benefits to it. I think a lot of us feel like a lot of people have chosen not to go back to work yet, because they’re still receiving the benefits.”

Well, shucks. It makes a man’s eyes damp, for sure.

My first question was, “How many of these struggling companies have received SBA Paycheck Protection Program funds or some other form of governmental assistance to make ends meet in these troubled times?” The story doesn’t say.

Nor does the reporter speak with any current, former, or potential employees. The one nod to working people came in a quote from OLÉ Education Fund executive director Matthew Henderson, who said: “Essential workers have risked their lives to keep New Mexico running during the pandemic. Some have decided, however, that the risk to their family’s health is not worth the poverty wages and lack of benefits that many employers offer. Don’t fault workers for refusing to be exploited.”

When I was young and even dumber than I am now, I briefly dated a single mom who availed herself of the various forms of governmental assistance to be had at the time. She was always strapped for cash, and since I was young and dumb, I asked her why she didn’t just get a job.

She explained patiently that the kind of job she would be able to get wouldn’t begin to pay the bills, much less the cost of child care while she worked. So she chose to keep jumping through the hoops of public assistance and raising her child. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

How many potential recruits for the Paper Hat Platoon have decided to stay home, collect assistance, and help their kids navigate remote learning with the goal of giving them a future that doesn’t involve pitching greaseburgers through windows at the Duke City’s drive-thrus? I mean, you don’t need a Ph.D in Google Search to find horror stories about the life and times of the fast-food worker.

I suspect this story may have had its roots in the photo above, posted on Twitter by a local TV reporter. Snapped at a local Sonic, it shows a sign reading: “We are short staffed. Please be patient with the staff that did show up. No one wants to work anymore.”

Wrong, pendejo. They just don’t want to work for you.

Hustling the East

April 14, 2021

One disabled vet’s recollection of his tour in Afghanistan.

In his piece on the latest proposed withdrawal from Afghanistan, Charlie Pierce recalls a wounded veteran’s bitter assessment of his time in-country.

The disabled vet was Dr. John H. Watson, soon to be introduced to Sherlock Holmes, speaking in “A Study in Scarlet.” The tale was published in 1887.

The Holmes stories, which I first read in the 1960s, may have served as my introduction to warfare in Afghanistan. Later, there was Rudyard Kipling and his “epitaph drear.” The Soviet debacle I observed from a series of newspaper copy desks. Our own I read about courtesy of journalists like C.J. Chivers. A time or two I spoke with American vets about their own experiences.

Very little of what I read or heard inspired confidence in the ability of the American military-industrial complex to effect change — “Peace through superior firepower,” as the old joke goes — in a place where so many armies had had their asses handed to them. Nobody seemed to really want Afghanistan except the Afghans, and only a few of them wanted it badly enough to fight for it.

So here we are, nearly 20 years later, with 2,400 U.S. service members in their graves and $2 trillion pounded down various ratholes. And for what? Another epitaph drear.

Will we ever get the message that no matter how hard we sell it, “democracy” will never be America’s biggest export? When it hits the doorstep it often looks a lot more like vengeance.

God is said to have made us in His image. If so, He likewise has been compelled by circumstances to live with disappointment in His creations.

Profiles in … something

March 4, 2021

House party. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bullets).

Well. I see the U.S. House has adjourned to Captain Horatio Huffenpuff’s Hiding Box because some Q pootbutt sent them a mash note.

Apparently the Pancake House Patriots could only afford one night at the Motel 6 in Dumfries, Va. Either that or their ace sapper really has to drop a deuce after two months in a broom closet washing down expired MREs with his own pee and waiting on the “go” code.

Meanwhile, the rest of yis are commanded to show up for duty as per usual. That is all. Dis-miss.

Piles of blues against the door

February 18, 2021

There’s a strong whiff of the dumbass coming out of Texas lately. The directions are printed right there on the soles of the damn’ boots, yet nobody in authority can pour the piss out of them.

Maybe it’s frozen.

But not everyone in the Lone Star State is all hat and no cattle. For instance, there’s Steve Earle, and there’s also Steve Earle talking about the literary qualities of Willie Nelson, which is even better.

And finally, there’s Texas Monthly, with “13 Curses to Mutter Against Ted Cruz While You Boil Snow to Drink.”

Java jive

February 15, 2021

I love the java jive and it loves me.

Presidents Day, hey? Well, given the events of the weekend, the less said about that, the better, perhaps.

At least he’s an ex. Now all the until-death-do-you-part types know what the other folks are going on about when they talk about “the ex.” Lots of hollering, property damage, relationships shattered, neighbors appalled, cops called, lawyers engaged, and tons of money pounded down the rathole.

Then, if you wind up on the wrong side of the judgment, you try to assemble some sort of new life out of the wreckage as the asshole struts around talking shit.

The sun peeks over the Sandias.

But hey, at least we’re all freezing our asses off, right? It’s still February. Ten degrees when I arose and tottered to the kitchen to make the first of three authoritative Americanos with my old friend Mr. Krups.

I have been blessed over the decades to have an early riser for a wife. She made the coffee, and all I had to do was show up and drink it. Until Mr. Coffee went Maoist on me.

“From each according to his ability to each according to his needs?” sneered this two-bit Chicom barista-bot. “What you need is a cup of lukewarm bilge, comrade.”

I beg your pardon?

Mr. Coffee was informed in no uncertain terms that his services were no longer required, and now Mr. Krups and I spend a few brief, enchanting moments together each day, in the bleak frosty darkness of a Duke City morning.

At some point I’m going to have to go outside and shift a little snow around. But not just yet. Mr. Krups has just had a marvelous idea — another cuppa.

Point of ordure

February 13, 2021

Senators at work. For a change.

One thing you do not want to do on a brisk February morning is consider the rampant jackoffery taking place in the U.S. Senate while your spouse tells you how Uncle Sammy plans to hoist you by your ankles for a vigorous shakedown come April 15.

Jesus H., etc. Every one of these posturing poltroons who came into this process focused on rubbing one out while waiting to acquit Impeachy the Clown has betrayed his or her oath to the Constitution and should be run out of town via rail (not the Amtrak variety, but rather the splintery numbers without sleepers or a dining car).

Once delivered to Flyover Country the chickenshits should be issued orange jumpsuits, either too large or too small, equipped with masks crafted from the unlaundered undergarments of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson, and compelled to pick up roadside refuse, distribute vaccine, and build houses for the homeless.

You got time to doodle, read the paper, and put your feet up while doing the people’s business, you got time to pick up discarded diapers, broken bottles, and used rubbers.

How’s that for justice? The trash picking up the garbage.

An Unhappy Meal for Impeachy the Clown

February 10, 2021

We’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

Well, I see the SS boys couldn’t keep Impeachy the Clown away from the TV all day yesterday, not even with hourly delivery of Happy Meals soaked in Thorazine.

No, he got word that his Name was being taken in vain, and he clenched his tiny fists and screeched like a gassy toddler, ordering aides to paint iguanas with the names “Raskin,” “Neguse,” and “Castor,” then biting off their heads. The iguanas, not the aides.

The House managers made Impeachy’s second-string legal team look like a couple of drunks pulled randomly from stools at Mar-a-Lago’s 19th hole. Their arguments for not going to trial were basically:

He didn’t do it.

Free speech! He was just sayin’, y’know?

Missed him, missed him, now you gotta kiss him!

Partisan Democrats!

Etc.

The Democrats said: “Let’s go to the tape!” Of which there was plenty.

Jesus H., etc. The writers at “SNL” can take this week off. They can just run with the transcript on this one. Maybe get Horny the Organic Shaman to do the cold open.

I know, I know; Impeachy’s tools could go full-on Clarence Darrow or just sit there and mumble “Fuck you” to everything the House managers say. The outcome is preordained.

But if they ever want to get honest work Castor and Schoen are going to need some more time at the practice tee. And they’ll get it, too. Impeachy is going to stiff them for this shit, and they’re gonna have to sue his fat ass for nonpayment, like everybody else.