Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

Lemons and lemonade

June 12, 2022

Looks like another scorcher out there today.

El Presidente made it to Fanta Se OK, so I guess nobody stole his car during his brief sojourn in The Duck! City.

It must ease the mind to have a coterie of swole dudes with earpieces riding shotgun on your road trips. Oh, they’re not as heavily armed as our typical teenage tosspot swerving a stolen Honda Civic through The Big I, one hand on the horn and the other out the window, its extended middle digit expressing his fervent desire that all who see it enjoy a ride of a different sort altogether.

But these are trying times. One must make do. When life delivers lemons, one asks one’s SS compañero in the back seat, “Fuck I want with these lemons? Pass me that rocket launcher, Slick, I want to clear a lane.”

I bet José was rocking the A/C all the way, too. Sure, it kills the gas mileage, which must drop that big black presidential pimpmobile down to meters per gallon from miles. But hey, it’s not like he’s whipping out his Visa card between gunfights at the Maverik station.

“This tank’s on my boy the Mad Dog. Sure, he’s on the dole, but his old lady makes fat stacks helping Strangelove find the owner’s manual for the Doomsday Machine and whatnot. Trust me, they can afford it.”

There are a lot of federal paws in the old Dog’s pocket these days as José tries to piss out actual and metaphorical fires from Canoncito to Kyiv. And for his troubles people from right and lift smirk that he’s a senile old fool who should be wetting himself in a Home somewhere, his greatest ambition to cop a feel of a plump caregiver.

Lemonade from lemons, folks. José’s finest quality may be that he is not Adolf Twitler. Just think about that pendejo, completely off the leash in a second term, doing whatever struck his fancy between inhaling Happy Meals and cheating at golf.

Herself and I were talking about José, Adolf, and the Hilldebeast just last night, and my old Pueblo Chipseal colleague Milan Simonich must’ve been reading our minds when he wrote this “Ringside Seat” column for The New Mexican:

To date, Biden’s greatest accomplishment is saving a nation from another four years of Trump, who somehow maintained a political base after kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That sad part for America and for Biden is that he didn’t run for president in 2016. He would have trounced Trump in that election. In turn, Trump’s corruption would have been restricted to his business deals.

The Democrats, bound to blind faith and political dynasties, nominated Hillary Clinton in 2016. She had just as many negatives as Trump.

Clinton was the wrong choice for the Democratic Party but the right matchup for Trump.

Clinton became the first Democratic presidential nominee to lose Michigan and Pennsylvania since 1988. Those two states were key in providing Trump with his victory in the Electoral College. Clinton won the popular vote, which became a meaningless statistic.

Biden probably became president four years too late to do his best work. He’s not as quick or convincing as he once was.

He’s also not Trump. That’s reason for hope in a fiery season of discontent.

Sure, we can do better. We can always do better, and should. But we’re gonna have to work at it.

“Grab an oar, Skeeter, and put your back into it. We cain’t all of us be philosopher-kings, and this Ship of State don’t row itself.”

Paging the White House gardener

June 10, 2022

Adolf Twitler couldn’t even get his own veep hanged. Sad!

OK, just for the hell of it, let’s say Adolf Twitler’s putsch was successful. Kept his fat ass blistering the Oval Office furniture with angry Mickey D’s farts, on the rare occasion when he was actually in town instead of slinging divots and bullshit at one of his comic-opera palaces.

Let’s also say that a group of angry socialists, Blacks, women, gays, gun-controllers and pro-choicers unhappy with this outcome marched upon the U.S. Capitol and started a “dustup,” as a DeeCee feetsball knuckle-dragger recently described the Jan. 6 insurrection.

And while we’re at it, let’s envision the GOP response to a House committee investigating the second “dustup.” Would its work be dismissed by Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and other pustules on the American body politic as “illegitimate” and “a sham?”

Hee, and also haw. There would be no such committee. The Proud Boys hired to replace the Capitol Police would have machine-gunned every one of those terrorists while Mike Pence’s dead eyes gazed blindly down upon them from his gibbet. Congress would be too busy wondering who’s next to look into anything more substantial than airfare to Costa Rica.

Only white fascists get to water the Tree of Liberty in this country.

Memorial Day menu

May 30, 2022

Lt. Harold J. O’Grady, formerly with Brooks-Scanlon Corp. of Foley, Florida.

Occasionally the mundane overwhelms.

Too hot to sleep. Whoops, almost forgot to set out the garbage and recycling. The last avocado’s gone bad; no guacamole for the morning toast. Do we have anything Herself the Elder will eat when we bring her over this afternoon? Or do I need to go to the grocery on Memorial Day?

“Boy, you sure get offered some shitty choices,” a Marine once said to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn’t get offered any at all. Specifically, he was just talking about a couple of C-ration cans, “dinner,” but considering his young life you couldn’t blame him for thinking that if he knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no one anywhere who cared less about what he wanted. There wasn’t anybody he wanted to thank for his food, but he was grateful that he was still alive to eat it, that the motherfucker hadn’t scarfed him up first. He hadn’t been anything but tired and scared for six months and he’d lost a lot, mostly people, and seen far too much, but he was breathing in and breathing out, some kind of choice all by itself.

Michael Herr, author of “Dispatches,” met that particular grunt in Vietnam. But he has brothers and sisters everywhere getting offered some shitty choices, mostly by us; our scrapings from the bottom of the ballot box, a real shit sandwich, one that eats you if you’re not careful, or simply unlucky. Just another kid snatched out of a small-town sawmill and shipped off to a picnic in someone else’s woods. One thing’s for sure — he won’t be “board” there!

Sometimes I think Memorial Day should be expanded to honor lives lost to lip service as well as national service. But there aren’t enough hours in the day. It could wind up bleeding all the way over into the Fourth of July.

Flower, child

March 26, 2022

A little bit of sunshine against the back wall.

Wowsah. One minute it’s icicles on the wisteria, the next it’s SPF 70 on the arms and legs.

Yesterday was my first outing sans arm and knee warmers this spring. Didn’t even bother to bring ’em along. As a consequence this morning I am a slightly darker shade of pale. In selected PG locations, anyway.

Chihuahua.

Elsewhere, the weather remains unsettled. Finding Ukraine unwilling to roll over and play dead, Voldemort Poutaine, the old commie spook whose military education apparently began and ended with World War II, may be inclined to declare victory and settle for trying to choke down a smaller bite of the country that he’s been chewing on for a while now.

Then again, his purse dogs keep yapping about Dropping the Big One to See What Happens. So, let’s not start dancing the Hopak just yet.

Meanwhile, the less said about the Ketanji Brown Jackson job interview, the better. Jesus H., etc. How Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley can take three steps in public without getting kicked in the nuts remains a mystery to me.

No wonder everyone wants legal weed these days. The whiskey isn’t doing the job.

Oh, well. Today we’re looking at a high of 76° (!), so I can apply another layer of color to my carcass. But if Pat O’B ventures out today he’s gonna need a space suit. Tucson hit 90° about five days early this year and it’s only gonna get hotter.

‘Like a hell-broth boil and bubble’

March 4, 2022

Hellbroth? Nah. Just an interesting sunrise.

Well, it seems Europe’s largest nuclear power plant didn’t become Satan’s Hot Tub overnight. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

According to The New York Times:

International monitors said early Friday that there was no immediate sign that radiation had leaked from the Zaporizhzhia plant. The Ukrainian emergency services agency said the fire had been contained to a training facility on the perimeter of the complex.

Oh, good. But wait, there’s more:

The company that oversees the complex, Energoatom, warned that any statements being made by workers from the time of the [Russian] takeover could be being made under duress. The company also warned against trusting statements from local officials.

Clearly we are in for many more interesting early mornings pre-coffee as Voldemort Putin continues doing the bidding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Voices in his head.

Our collective ignorance about this fellow, his notions, motivations, and base of support, is maddening. Noting the attack on the Zaporizhzhia complex last night I kept my big yap shut, crossing my fingers and hoping that Europe would not find itself suffering the sort of steep decline in tourism that comes with your basic nuclear disaster.

Because what is there to say? Beyond “We don’t know what the fuck he’s up to” and “There isn’t much we can do about it,” that is?

Over at The Atlantic Tom Nichols makes the case for staying calm.

The day may come, and sooner than we expect, when we have to fight in Europe, with all the risks that entails. If we are to plunge into a global war between the Russians and the West, however, it needs to be based on a better calculus than pure rage.

Sanctions and military assistance short of actual war with Russia will not save Kyiv, he concedes. But neither will letting this smirking Cossack goad the West into giving him anything that will cause the Russian people to back him up instead of knocking him over.

Russians seem to have an endless capacity for enduring suffering. But every pot bubbles over sooner or later if the fire gets too hot for too long.

Will some hero let off a little steam by busting a cap between this devil’s horns? Stay tuned.

Out in the woods

March 2, 2022

After my chores I spent a couple hours exploring on the Voodoo Nakisi.

“Hello?”

Joe Biden woke me up this morning. Either him or Fred Willard, I can’t be sure.

It was a dream, of course. We watched both of them last night — first Fred in “Best in Show,” and then Joe in “The State of the Union.”

Fred killed, and Joe had to follow him, which is bad news for any headliner, especially when that headliner is Joe.

The poor sonofabitch. He finally grabs what he thinks is the brass ring and it turns out to be Voldemort Putin’s man-tanned-and-waxed, KGB-issued butthole. In a rebooted DC Universe edition of Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Crazy Years,” just to give it an edge like Oddjob’s bowler.

Out in the woods.

And then, after a year that must have felt like the first hot lap in the Lake of Fire Criterium, he gets trotted out to recite the Laundry List of Shit That Will Never Happen for the political equivalent of Principal Poop’s pep rally from The Firesign Theatre’s “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.”

Over my lifetime the State of the Union has devolved from a simple constitutional requirement — see Article II, Section 3 — into a low-rent show-and-tell for a politically insane kindergarten. An excuse for eejits to dress badly and act worse while popping up and down like prairie dogs crazed on ketamine.

We were streaming this mess via PBS, which looked like CCTV from a Topeka nursing home. That outfit needs new blood worse than Dracula.

Now, I’ve had a soft spot for Joe ever since he strangled Paul Ryan in his crib during their 2012 vice-presidential debate. And I think he’s doing his level best with both hands and one leg tied behind his back.

But still, god damn, etc. After he and/or Fred woke me up this morning the song playing in my head was an old Leon Russell number, from the appropriately titled album “Carny,” called “Out in the Woods.”

GFYS

February 25, 2022

The managing editor would like a word.

As a rootless former newspaperman turned blogger I have the unfortunate habit of doomscrolling the Innertubes as though I were still slumped at a copy desk, trolling for eye-grabbers to dump onto the front page.

This was bad enough when the choices were limited to The Associated Press, a smattering of lesser wire services, and the local sots slobbering into their keyboards after an early dinner of budget lager with a side of Marlboro.

Today the well is bottomless, and anyone with a cheap phone can haul up a bucket of something better left unseen and unremarked upon.

But now and then something of another quality entirely turns up, and the search proves worthwhile.

Case in point: At The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum writes that Ukrainians, like the Irish, have long been the subjects of other empires and have evolved something of a go-fuck-yourself attitude as regards authority, duly constituted or otherwise.

And according to The Guardian, that’s exactly what a baker’s dozen of border guards on Snake Island told the Russian navy when it came calling and ordered their surrender.

They died for their impertinence. But man, what a way to go.

Luna. See?

February 24, 2022

Banana moon shining in the sky (h/t Tom Waits).

I arose in the dark of the morning to see a dusting of snow on the yard and the blinking lights of an aircraft as it traversed a slice of moon.

“Hell’s goin’ on around here?” I inquired of Herself, as is my practice.

“Fuckin’ Russians,” she grumbled.

“What are they doing?”

“Dominating the news cycle.”

And so they are.

I loathe the smell of fascism in the morning, whether it’s ours or theirs, and especially when it arrives before coffee. The overactive imagination screens a clip of some brass hat in the Pentagon going full George C. Scott (Buck Turgidson or George Patton, take your pick).

But as options go, our menu seems as limited as the bill of fare at a soup kitchen.

Sure, do what you can to choke off Russia’s income — Stoli sales will slump, theatrically, if only because we’ll need the money for gasoline. Africa is going to find itself short of grain. Lots of little people living in various valleys await the shit monsoon from above.

But I don’t expect the oligarchs are sweating much, unless they’re in the sauna.

Oh, they might not be able to strut their stuff on the Riviera for a while, but there’s always the Crimea. Plenty Krugerrands in the lockbox. Shop online from the dacha. Na zdorovye!

Chicken Kyiv

February 22, 2022

A Red Dawn behind the Tree of Liberty?
Nah. Just sunrise behind a cottonwood.

Early on, as a retired pinko turned journo, I was something of an amateur Kremlinologist. Read a lot of George Kennan and Adam Ulam; subscribed to Foreign Policy magazine. Never did get what you might call a handle on the folks who caused me to spend a portion of my childhood crouched under various schoolroom desks.

The Soviet leadership invariably seemed avaricious, belligerent, paranoid, and treacherous (do unto others before they do unto you). Their people, meanwhile, seemed to possess a limitless capacity for suffering.

It’s more or less a straight line from Stalin’s “Socialism in One Country” of 1925, which made Moscow the Vatican City of Communism, a palace of never-ending intrigues, to Khrushchev’s “We will bury you!” of 1956.

But the ol’ shoe-banger couldn’t even bury Stalinism.

Khrushchev — who made his Red bones early on as a Stalinist henchman and later as the Soviet Union’s top man in (wait for it) Ukraine — eventually came to realize that if the Marxist-Leninist family were to prosper, Mother Russia would have to acknowledge a few red-headed stepchildren.

But once he started talking about International Communism being a sort of stern Baskin-Robbins with a flavor for everyone, that was his ass. Uncle Joe cast a real long shadow.

Khrushchev’s successors, among them Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, tried to rattle-can a new coat of paint on the old red Zil, kept it chugging along for a while. But it finally wound up in the ditch, and gangs of roving oligarchs stripped it for parts.

Now we’ve got this former KGB spook behind the wheel. Clearly a man with a fondness for the classics, Putin wants to put the band back together. Those Ukraine girls must really knock him out.

Gimme shelter.

Not exactly a mission from God. More like a mission from Stalin.

Jesus H. Christ. Can’t somebody get a permanent hammer-and-sickle-lock on this guy? I’m getting too old to keep crawling under my desk. And anyway, the cat beat me to it.

Joe-wee

October 27, 2021

I wonder what we could get for this pee tape?

OK, so we chain Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to the bottom of an empty Olympic-size pool. We charge average Americans $5 a go to pee in the pool, and sell the “streaming” rights to the highest bidder.

All proceeds go toward eliminating the debt and deficit, minus a small cash prize to whoever finally puts the two of them under water.

There will be some who say this won’t eliminate the debt or the deficit, or even shove Sleepy Joe’s Incredible Shrinking Build Back Better bill through the legislative sausage grinder. And they’re absolutely right.

But let’s do it anyway.