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The Morning After

10:21 am in Uncategorized by Kate Flannery

Although I believe these elections are a sham and a not very humorous joke – I will admit that I went to bed last night feeling rather sickened at the possibility of waking up to a President Romney this morning. 

 

There’s really only a hair’s width of difference between Mitt and Barack on most major policy issues – although there is a larger fissure on social ones – which are very important to me.  Besides, much as I retain a feeling of contempt for both men, Obama as a human being is far less repugnant to me than Romney.  I’m not sure why exactly, but it’s how I react viscerally.  And so, on seeing the election results this morning, I was marginally relieved.

 

This in turn got me to thinking of gratitude.  And as this stupid, obscenely expensive, duplicitous and shallow exercise in democracy comes to a close – these are the things I am grateful for:

 

—-  I don’t have to stomach the repulsiveness of watching Republicans gloat.  I don’t know what it is about these sexually repressed, pasty-faced, white people that so repels me – but I’m always cheered when they’re unhappy.  It’s reflexive, like breathing.  Besides, Mitt and Anne’s smiling faces are scary enough – I’d hate to see their gloating ones.

 

—-  I no longer (Please god!) have to hear the news hosts on MSNBC refer toRockefellerCenteras –DemocracyPlaza.  How they are able to say this without gagging shows the depths of their complete corporate sell-out.

 

—-  That Elizabeth Warren – a true liberal (rarer than a dinosaur these days) was elected Senator fromMassachusetts.

 

—-  Robo Calls!  Last Saturday I went toMassachusettsfor the night.  When I got home on Sunday, there were 8 messages on my answering machine – an unprecedented phenomenon.  For a moment I felt really popular.  Then I played them, and they were all political messages. 

 

—-  No longer will I have to read or hear well-intentioned, but essentially gullible people enthusiastically ordering me to vote.  Not asking me, or suggesting it, mind you – but more like an imperative.  They are the cheerleaders extraordinaire – put on this earth to inspire the lazy, the apathetic, the uninformed, that they MUST vote.  There’s something slightly bordering on the lunatic about it all to me.  Do that many people really need this kind of persistent encouragement?  I don’t even seriously mind those who have a more balanced approach to the whole thing – who are clear-eyed about politics and Obama and the Democrats, but might still feel it’s important for me to cast my ballot for Obama.  But those people are the minority.  The majority are doe-eyed and nearly worshipful.  And that gets under my skin.  Yeah…yeah…yeah…  I know – there was voter suppression and a lot of issues like women’s and gay rights – and a couple of other reasons that would suggest voting might be especially vital (once again).  But this kind of screeching about it?  I don’t know…maybe it’s just me, but I find it annoying – and I’m so grateful it’s over.

 

—-  I don’t have to see celebrities coming out for Obama and telling us why we need to vote for him again.  A lot of these musicians and actors are people whose work I love.  But there’s something about it all that rubs me the wrong way.  Obama and the famous, hugging each other – just one big happy club of money, privilege and success, telling all us working folk what we need to do.  This has always bugged me a bit – even in 2008 when I was more hopefully on the Obama bandwagon.  But to be clear, it may do some good for the lesser of two evils side, and that’s all fine and dandy.  Nevertheless, it irritates me, so I’m happy they’re off the campaign stump.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to find anything to be positive about in the mire of our corporately controlled country and the corrupt government that they purchase.  But – if you try hard enough, as I obviously do – there’s always a ray of sunshine somewhere – you just have to open your eyes and look.

Latter-Day Debate Observations

12:38 pm in Uncategorized by Kate Flannery

Before the Presidential debate last Wednesday, I had jokingly commented on another blog that my husband and I might do a drinking game during it.  We could take a shot every time someone lied – and that we’d probably be drunk within ten minutes.  If we’d opened a bottle of vodka instead of eating ice-cream, I might still be hung over.

Image: Donkey Hotey / Flickr

Not to be too petty … ah hell … why not?  When the President began his response to the first question, he said that he had many important points to make – but that none was more important than giving a shout-out to his “Sweetie,” Michelle.  He then went on for a long bit about her and their anniversary.  My first thought as I groaned aloud was, “Come on!  Give me a break!  You really need to do this in front of 60 million people?  Could you get any faker?”  And then, the democratic-socialist-liberal that I am thought about the people out there watching – unemployed, foreclosed upon, sick without health insurance, crushed and ruined by student loan debt – and I thought, “There really is nothing else more important than your proclamations of love for your wife?  You can’t keep that between the two of you and focus first on the business of the people?”  Well…I said it was petty of me.  Actually though, as it turned out, that was probably the most vigorous thing he said all night.

Anyway, after this wet dishrag of a debate, I read tons of blogs, newspapers and other articles that dissected the candidates, their demeanors and proposals.  People spoke of Mitzy’s energy and dynamic passion.  To my mind, that might have played better if it had been modulated.  What I saw instead was an unrelenting manic romp.  He looked and behaved like someone wrenched off his bipolar meds.  And then when he came up for air – he stood there gazing at Obama with this weird, half-crazed grin.  It wasn’t even a grin exactly – more a kind of death rictus.  This is what people found presidential and self-possessed?

The main thing that stood out to me though – and that only a few people wrote about – was that although Mitzy lied like it was going out of style, Obama couldn’t really counter any of  his attacks because their policies were basically the same.  They both love corporations, big business and Wall Street.  Obama even admitted they agreed on Social Security cuts.  They both can’t wait to sign more trade deals, like NAFTA.  As for the environment, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard Obama mention that lovely phrase, “clean coal.”  And naturally, Romney wants to rip the landscape apart digging for more of that pristine energy source.

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Hitting the Ceiling

1:10 pm in Uncategorized by Kate Flannery

Finally the latest Washington D.C. budget conflagration has died down into simmering embers.   The smoldering wood chips I smell are the recently revealed bipartisan cuts in the deal – programs that help the poor, sick, old, disenfranchised and polluted.  Despite all this cutting going on, I have a sneaking suspicion that little happens in D.C. these days without someone making some money – only it isn’t ordinary folk, that’s for sure.  But anyway, that was just last year’s budget – now things are really going to heat up – or so that’s what our corporate media and politicians would lead us to believe. 

Yes, not only is Congress and the White House supposed to be coming up with a budget for next year, they’re also supposed to be dealing with raising the federal debt ceiling by next month.  The Republicans are threatening not to do so – which would basically blow up the entire country economically.  All the country’s massive debt and its credit rating would be in harm’s way – and even our military can’t save them from that.  The reason the GOP are talking about holding the debt limit hostage is because they want more cuts in spending – but not for the Pentagon, wealthy people or corporations.  With the last budget we received a new open season on killing wolves out west – this next go-round on the debt ceiling will probably be directed at a more human target – like Grandma.

I swear, it’s just one antic after another down there in the nation’s capital.  But for those work-a-day Americans who are having trouble sleeping because of fears that the U.S. debt ceiling won’t be raised – I promise – it will – and I never break a promise because I don’t make them lightly.  The Republicans know their threats are just bluster.  The Democrats know it.  Obama knows it.  All God’s children know it.  Even those unpredictable scamps in the Tea Party know it.  No one is actually playing a game of dare with the “full, faith and credit of the United States” on the line.  Well, maybe they are, but they’re playing it with us – not with each other. 

It’s as plain as the nose on my face.  If anyone of these “leaders” seriously decided to go down that road and not raise that damn ceiling – those most egregiously impacted would be the rich people, financial industries, Wall Street and all of corporate America.  And that is just never going to happen, not on these jokers watch. The stock market would undoubtedly quiver and quake – and no politician would cause this willingly.  Au contraire, they will do everything in their power to prevent even the slightest tremble – for they are owned lock, stock and NRA barrel by corporate interests.

The only questions I have is how long this charade will play out, and in the end what will be the price that poor people and the working-class will have to pay as we’re dragged along on the funhouse ride through the ceiling.  What will Obama “concede” to the Republicans?  Not that it would really be a concession of any kind.  It would more likely be something he himself wants to do, but can’t, what with reelection coming any minute. 

Obama:

“I just gave a pretty good speech on the economy and budget where I defended Social Security and Medicare – I did my minimalist FDR schtick and the base and independents are pretty content.  So anyway, I can’t just slash these things out of existence on my own, not if I want to get reelected.  But I really do love our wild free-market, rugged, every-millionaire-for himself capitalism that we’ve honed to a fine point in this country.  And you know that Jamie Dimon, he’s one savvy businessman.  Also, I’m trying to load up on a billion for my reelection, and I need these corporate guys and gals real bad.  Yeah, so John…Mitch…you demand these slashes at knife point, okay?  You’ll get whatever it is you want to cut…we can wipe out anything except the military and corporate subsidies obviously – but give me a couple of minority and women’s programs that I can dramatically “save” from your scissors and that ought to serve me well when my campaign really gets rolling.”

Yeah, just sort of a Devil’s agreement among bipartisan bedfellows. 

So, sleep well…no need for Ambien or Sominex or anything else.  The debt ceiling will be raised, so we can all sleep like babies.  Just ignore all that bad drama going on in D.C. and the media.  The ceiling will be raised.  It will not fall.  Although, I do fear after all is said and done between both parties in Washington, that Chicken Little might have had it right – the sky is indeed falling.

Gotham City

10:05 am in Uncategorized by Kate Flannery

That Gotham feeling

That Gotham feeling by Thorsten Becker, on Flickr

There’s been a lot going on recently in our nation’s capital.  A real on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller – or at least the corporate media and the politicians they serve think so – over the funding for the rest of the budget for this year.  It came down to the wire, something like an hour and a half before a partial government meltdown took place.  Oh, I knew it would never happen – I had seen the spoiler long before the movie even opened.  It was just another Die Hard sequel to distract people from the real corporate facts that underline the deficit debate.  It was chock full of action-packed political posing intended to accumulate political points.  So yes, all these dancing bears, flailing around, looking oh-so-serious would have made me laugh if it wasn’t so tragic and pathetic and if it didn’t have real-life detrimental consequences for people.

One of the many sub-plots was that the GOP was apparently attempting to stop funding for Planned Parenthood.  Even the GOP women were trotted out to show that it wasn’t only the men who were against women’s health, but some women didn’t care much about it either.  Another was a GOP plan to basically do away with any attempt at minimizing air pollution.  The more smog, the merrier – maybe that should be a new campaign slogan – it might appeal to their voters.

And then at the other end of the political spectrum, there was Donald Trump – possibly running for president, but definitely spouting Birther conspiracies as if he were born to them.  And although he’s being criticized for this nonsense, he isn’t being laughed or pushed off the stage either.  The corporate media really wants to know – “Are you running for president, Mr. Trump?”  No, people like Trump, Palin and Bachmann are the new normal when it comes to running for President of the United States.  Want to be President?  Sure, why not?

In the international arena, we not only have a third war in Libya, but also the United States lecturing China on their human rights policies while we keep Guantanamo open and torture Bradley Manning.  Talk about cognitive dissonance.

And when the “Budget Showdown” was dramatically over, there was Obama giving his remarks after an agreement was reached with the Republicans.  Positively aglow he was, bathed in the resplendence of bipartisan budget cutting – all one big happy family of domestic program cutters.  And of course, he worked in his robotic homage to “Winning the future” – as the de rigueur advertising slogan it has quickly become.  With great personal satisfaction, he also heralded his part – a few months ago – in extending the Bush Tax Cuts for millionaires and billionaires – as if we’d already forgotten.  I for one, have a memory like an elephant, and I’ll remember that nugget for a long time to come.
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