Archive for the ‘Deep political thought’ Category

‘Insects don’t have politics’

January 2, 2019

Dude bugs me.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall (or in the hair) as Darth Cheeto meets with the Rebel Alliance this afternoon. I bet the SS is frisking everyone for audio recorders, ’cause you just know dude is gonna say something makes Carrot Top look like Stephen fuckin’ Hawking.

Better to be on the wall, though. God only knows what’s in that hair. Whatever it is, it can’t be good for you.

 

King Holly, King Oak

December 21, 2018

It’s a maple, not an oak, but it will have to do for now.

“You were just starting to get into your groove,” the dog-walker said apologetically as I yielded the trail, interrupting the run I had just begun.

More of a rut than a groove, I thought. I run this trail pretty much every Monday and Wednesday, and then lift weights afterward. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, I ride. On Fridays, I brood. Especially when the Friday in question happens to be the shortest day of the year, followed by the longest night.

If I ever actually found a groove and was getting into it, I mused, it would probably be something like the groove on an old vinyl LP, spiraling in at 33 1/3 rpm toward the black hole in the center. Stairway to heaven? More like highway to Hell.

Now ruts I know. I had been in an actual rut the day before I encountered the dog-walker, climbing Trail 341 counterclockwise on my second-best Steelman.

Anyone who saw me lurching upward in the 36×28 might have thought me a lost, loopy roadie, Trail 341 being a narrow, serpentine climb, sometimes featuring actual serpents; rocky where it isn’t loose, fenced with cane cholla, with a couple-three blind corners, no passing lanes, and the occasional rut just to keep things interesting.

But I was in the best mental health I could summon in December, especially this December, and as I said, it was my second-best Steelman. Plus I was climbing, not descending, which lets me ease into trouble rather than diving in headlong.

I had been descending Trail 341 when one of these ruts caught me unawares back in July 2017. I was aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, which with its plump Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Roads is ordinarily more than a match for this short, not particularly technical descent.

But my mind had wandered, as it will, and it didn’t wander back until after I had bitten the dust, grabbing a handful of cholla as I went down.

“What the hell are you doing?” my mind asked.

“Oh, shut up,” I replied, yanking spines from my left hand. “This is your fault.”

“What, I told you to yardsale in a rut?” my mind chortled. “I was just trying to get a little work done while you were dicking around. Jeez, I can’t leave you alone for a minute.”

Ever since taking that little digger I’ve ridden Trail 341 as a climb instead of a descent, though the neighborhood Singletrack Sanitation Service has ironed out a few of its nastier wrinkles. It leaves me in something of a metaphorical rut, true, but it’s a problem I don’t need to solve; a nettle I don’t care to grasp.

Especially in December, when there’s never enough sun to really warm your bones, and what there is of it hangs low in the sky, either blinding you to the path or cloaking it in shadows.

My rides and temper shorten with the days. I get up in the dark and by the time I‘ve gotten a handle on current events — what has the Arsehole-in-Chief managed to shit on today? — it’s dark again and time to go back to bed. This makes for unsettling dreams.

Dreams. The ancient Celts saw the solstices as battles between twin kings, Oak vs. Holly, warmth and light pitted against cold and dark.

Neither king is ever truly vanquished. The Holly King is ascendant as the old year wanes, but as the new year approaches the Oak King reclaims the throne.

It was a murky morning as this year’s winter solstice came to Newgrange, and the Oak King did not make an appearance. But this doesn’t mean that the Holly King has finally triumphed. The struggle continues.

And I recall another Irish legend, who once said: “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”

Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle. Grasp the nettle.

• Editor’s note: I had planned to make this an episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, but various ruts kept tripping me up. At least you can give a listen to the music I had in mind for the background — “King Holly, King Oak,” from Johnny Cunningham via “Celtic Christmas,” a Windham Hill sampler I’d forgotten I owned. And happy solstice to you.

Stinky Zinke hits the silk

December 15, 2018

Cowboy up.

The pimp who has been whoring out the Interior Department has Caddy’d off into the sunset, and good riddance.

Sez The Washington Post:

During his nearly two years in office Zinke came under at least 15 investigations, including inquiries into his connection to a real estate deal involving a company that Interior regulates, whether he bent government rules to allow his wife to ride in government vehicles and allowing a security detail to travel with him on a vacation to Turkey at considerable cost.

I guess Turkey was too far a trot on horseback, alone, like Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name (in this case, more like a Man With No Shame). And now there’s one less horse’s ass in this criminal clusterfuck. Two, if you count the horse.

But before we cheer too loudly, consider this, from The New York Times:

Rather than an end to Mr. Zinke’s pro-fossil fuel policies, the resignation quite likely signals a passing of the playbook. Mr. Zinke’s deputy, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, is expected to step in as acting head of the department.

In the meantime, Charles P. Pierce uses his weekly newsletter to call for the impeachment process to start, today. Sez Chazbo:

If the House doesn’t begin its own inquiry, and very soon, then the impeachment power in the Constitution is what Jefferson called it — a scarecrow. … The Founders made it a point in the Constitution that it would be the House, the half of the national legislature thought to be closest to the people, that would possess “the sole power of impeachment.” The exercise of that power begins with the power to investigate independently—independently, not only of other investigations, but also independently of political calculation and institutional timidity.

You can sign up to support Mr. Pierce and his newsletter over to Esquire.

Voodoo economics

December 3, 2018

The first “real” snow of this not-quite-winter.

We got what I’d call our first real snow yesterday, probably because I had to drive Herself to the airport (the Universe is always on the lookout for ways to snatch a knot in my ass).

As real snows go it was fairly unreal, and the New Mexican sun was already dealing with it as I dropped her off and headed for home.

Elsewhere, Charles P. Pierce was occupied bringing light, heat and a metric shit-ton of knot-snatching to the legacy of George H.W. Bush.

I’d been trying to decide whether I had anything worthwhile to say about Poppy’s passing. There was no shortage of hagiography from the usual suspects, who seemed relieved to yap about something other than Il Douche shitting the national bed.

But all I could think of was “voodoo economics,” the one-two punch Bush v1.0 laid on Dutch Reagan’s fiscal acumen, such as it was.

When he transitioned smoothly from delivering that pop in the chops to joining the Gipper’s team as veep, I thought, “Fuck this guy.” And it seems ol’ Chazbo was thinking along similar lines. He summed up Bush v1.0’s political career as an extended exercise in “cheap theatrics … the pragmatic insincerity, the subcontracting of the hatchet job to a hired hand, the willingness to play a role, no matter how clumsily, in order to keep and maintain power.”

Quoth Charlie:

You will recall that, in 1980, he’d said the last sensible thing any Republican has said about the snake-oil that is supply-side economics. He called them “voodoo economics,” and he was dead-right. But he signed on as Reagan’s vice president anyway and, by 1988, he was getting up at the Republican National Convention and butching himself up by borrowing an idiotic line from an Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Read my lips. No new taxes!

As an authentic American patriot who did his bit during The Big One, Bush v1.0 didn’t need to descend to this sort of back-alley play-acting. Furthermore, as an authentic American patriot who did his bit during The Big One, he had a duty to call his party out on its descent into theocracy, willful ignorance, and fascism, but he never even cleared his throat, much less spoke up. Perhaps staff was unable to dredge up a suitable bon mot from the popular cinema, or he was all worn out from signing pardons for anyone who could rack him up like a second-hand suit over the Iran-contra scandal.

If you think that’s unkind, you should revisit Hunter S. Thompson’s thoughts on Bush v1.0, as I’ve been doing the past couple of days. In “The Scum of the Earth,” from his book “Generation of Swine,” HST wrote:

He has the instincts of a dung beetle. No living politician can match his talent for soiling himself in public. Bush will seek out filth wherever it lives — going without sleep for days at a time, if necessary — and when he finds a new heap he will fall down and wallow crazily in it, making snorting sounds out of his nose and rolling over on his back and kicking his legs up in the air like a wild hog come to water.

That the current occupant of the Oval Office makes Poppy look like a combination of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Pliny the Elder is no excuse for the ongoing failure of national memory. Props to Charlie Pierce for continuing to serve the Republic as that voice crying in the wilderness.

Fiddling while Rome burns

November 24, 2018

Nero didn’t get it either and cashed out the hard way.

OK, let’s see if I’ve got this right:

“A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.”

In response, the courtiers attending His Most Pissant Majesty, King Donald the Short-fingered, Terror of Twitter, are focused like the proverbial laser beam on whether trans folk may serve in the Empire’s armed forces.

Got it. Makes perfect sense. See, if they’re not camping in camo’ down by The Wall*, or using the wrong latrines in Afghanistan, they’ll be available to fight fire and flood elsewhere, p’raps in more fashionable neighborhoods, in order that the gentry may be both protected and entertained.

* Wall not pictured. Or even built.

A friendly gesture

November 22, 2018
Shut up, kid.

Shut up, kid.

There’s a chain across this dump and a big sign that says “Closed on Thanksgiving.”

Here’s hoping that you’re all having a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. Don’t forget to pick up the garbage. Look out for Officer Obie, the judge, and the seeing-eye dog.

And if the “Alice’s Restaurant Back By Popular Demand Tour” comes around on the guitar, well, remember — if you want to end war and stuff you gotta sing loud.

Winning: a meditation on the midterms

November 9, 2018

Remember how it feels to lose?

We ought to keep that in mind when we win.

The only people who should be dancing in the end zone are the cheerleaders. And they’d best be full of Gatorade, ’cause this game is only at halftime.

Yes, yes, yes, it’s another Friday Afternoon Club(bing) from Radio Free Dogpatch. But you won’t need the performance-enhancing drugs to get through this one. You’ve probably stayed clean through longer political ads.

“Democrats eat babies.” This one features a heavily Photoshopped image of a smiling Nancy Pelosi with a platter full of tiny arms and legs, a hammer-and-sickle bib, and barbecue sauce smeared over her lips.

“Republicans boink babies.” Well, we won’t need the Photoshop for this one.* But still, you get the idea, right?

* Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Comity only goes so far around here.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand. The background music is “Tiny Town” from ZapSplat, and the “National Emblem March” was performed by the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band.

Another day, another dolor? Nope.

November 7, 2018

“He’s done it again! It’s coming up! It’s coming up!”

It’s morning in Albuquerque, if not throughout America.

The Donks took the U.S. House, which means, as Charlie Pierce notes, “for the first time in two years, there is an institution of the government that is neither afraid of, nor controlled by, the president*.”

But the Elefinks held the Senate, even padding their slim edge. So, yeah. The Turtle will be with us for a while yet.

Elsewhere, Wisconsin shitcanned Scott Walker, and Kansas told Kris Kobach they’d had quite enough of him and his racist machinations, thanks all the same. “Carried by prayer,” me bollocks. The Lord works in mysterious ways, shit-for-brains. Back to remedial law school wi’ ye.

Up in Colorado, Mike Coffman finally got his. And my former state elected a gay Jew as governor while keeping Lil’ Dougie Lamborn in the House despite his long record of doing not much beyond running his fat yap and cashing checks. As I said, the Lord works in mysterious ways, when He works at all.

Florida was a trainwreck, because, well, Florida, man. The best thing to come out of that hot mess was SNL’s Pete Davidson observing that Rick Scott “looks like someone tried to whittle Bruce Willis out of a penis.”

Something smells in Georgia, too, and it’s not cherry blossoms. Brian Kemp had his fat white thumb on the scales there, and I’d guess that investigation he ordered in the final days of the election is pointed in the wrong direction.

Speaking of odors, a dead Republican pimp won election to the state Assembly in Nevada. I think he should be seated, if only as a wake-up call to the electorate.

Here in New Mexico the Donks crushed it. The hoped-for blue wave dreamed of nationwide may not have arisen, but we had one here. Props to Herself for working the phones and canvassing the electorate. Thanks in part to her hard work, the former federale Melanie Ann Stansbury ousted longtime incumbent Jimmie Hall in our own little state-House contest.

There’s more out there I haven’t yet managed to absorb along with just one cup of coffee, but I’d have to award a qualified “well done” so far. You don’t want to hand the Donks everything all at once and expect them to do anything with it beyond fucking up.

It’s flat crazy out there

November 5, 2018

Michael “McGet” McGettigan, director and owner of Trophy Bikes in Philly, doesn’t want any pesky punctures to prevent people from pedaling to the polls. | Photo courtesy Michael McGettigan, Trophy Bikes

Record-setting early and absentee voting numbers indicate “a great deal of enthusiasm and interest” among New Mexican voters in this midterm election, says one Duke City pollster.

This reflects what I heard from a poll worker when I threw the bums out the other day. Is it good news? Bad news? We’ll find out tomorrow evening, or Wednesday, depending on how close a thing it is.

Both parties were turning them out, but the Donks have the numbers in the early going, and New Mexico has a lot more registered Donks than Elefinks. You can get down in the Land of Enchantment’s political weeds over at Joe Monahan’s place.

Herself has been working the phones and going door to door, and she reports mostly positive interactions with The People, many of whom seem energized by the antics of Il Douche.

Charlie Pierce, meanwhile, is in Kansas, which he considers a bellwether for whether the ruthless avarice and ignorance that helped steer The Republic up to the hubs into a quagmire of orange sewage has overstayed its welcome.

All will be made known after the polls close tomorrow. Well, maybe not all. But we’ll certainly have a better idea of whether we’re still spinning our wheels or have decided to get out and push.

Oh, fudge

November 3, 2018

Is anyone else having trouble ginning up the requisite hope and enthusiasm for the midterms? Without resorting to actual gin, that is?

Election Day has a bit of a Christmas feel to me, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

We were far from poor, but our parents had known Depression and war, so while Christmas around our house meant you were going to get something, it wouldn’t necessarily be whatever you wanted.

The folks had already seen plenty of surprises by the time we came around, and they were always on the lookout for the next one. So if we were compelled to endure the occasional Christmas-morning stunner as a consequence — jeans that weren’t Levis, some hardware-store bike instead of a Schwinn, and a dearth of official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifles — well, tough shit, kiddo. Welcome to the real world.

Some days, and especially lately, I feel half Ralphie and half his old man. Ginger bullies by day, flat tires by night. Hopes and dreams clash with doubts and despair, overlaid with a soundtrack in which “fudge” is never heard. There’s only “the word. The Big One. The queen mother of dirty words. The f-dash-dash-dash word.”

So, yeah. Go ahead and wish. Pit those hopes and dreams against doubts and despair. Get out and vote, unless you’re a Trumpetista, in which case you should stay home and shoot your eye out.

But keep a bar of soap handy in case you need to wash the fudge out of your mouth come Wednesday morning.