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Clearing The Air For 2009

Friday, December 26, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Like passengers on the Titanic scrambling for the last life vest Republicans have been grasping at the Blogojevich scandal hoping, praying, floundering, gulping salt water and sobbing sad little prayers to their big-haired Crystal Cathedral deity, hoping against hope that somehow the Blagojoshit would rub off on Obama.

Remember how solemnly Republicans talked about the need to reconstitute, reinvent, rethink their party? Remember all the post-election chin-stroking? Oh, there were definitely some white-guy chins being stroked. Brows were furrowed. There was nodding. Sage nodding. Thoughtful, sage, furrowed nodding of middle-aged, balding heads.

But then, salvation! Blago! Yay!

And while the People of the United States of America rattled with fear of unemployment and recession and maybe even depression and loss of health insurance and contemplated the question of whether hobos could have cell phones, Republicans leapt! Airborne! They hurtled through the sky like supermen! And grabbed greedily at Blago's hair and wrapped it around them, a shaggy, helmetish armor and cried, "Thank You, Jesus-uh, for verily we no longer need to go forth into the wilderness-uh and we can return to our homes in talk radio (-uh) and verily shall we issue slanders and lies and implications and wild speculations and . . ."

And thus, in our Nation's hour of need we will earn the people's trust by telling them that what really matters is not their job, not their health care, not their taxes, not their children's education, not their future, not them at all really. Because, let's be honest: fuck the people. What matters to the GOP, what MATTERS is that we have an excuse to distract and divide and obscure and that, my fellow Americans, THAT is why you should elect us, The Republicans. Because only the GOP can completely ignore the fact that your life has been hopelessly, terrifyingly fucked up. By . . .

Well, um . . . by liberals.

Liberals like George W. Bush. And his cabinet. And his vice president. His chairman of the SEC. His ideology. Which, until, oh, about six months ago we loudly claimed was our sacred and perfected conservative ideology but which is now revealed (hallelujah!) to have been liberalism. Cleverly disguised as conservatism by the fact that every liberal hated it and every conservative loved it. Loudly.

So, allow us to summarize the case for the Republican Party: In the last eight years we have so thoroughly screwed the country that Jesus Christ floating down from heaven scattering 20 trillion (with a "T") dollars in small bills couldn't save it.

But wait, there's more! After seven years we Republicans have absolutely failed to catch or kill Osama Bin Laden! Now what would you pay? Despite the fact that under the GOP the United States of America has become a nation that tortures. Torture and trashing of major portions of the Constitution and yet (I blame liberals) the men who flew airplanes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center are still laughing at us from their homes in our Good Friend And Ally Pakistan.

Amazingly not even gay-bashing, luddite attacks on science and dog-whistle racism have brought our enemies to heel. Hmmm. Rumsfeld and Gonzales are gone and Cheney and Bush are on their way out, and yet, guess who the fuck is still right where he was seven years ago? Tall guy? Beard? Enjoys watching Americans leaping to their deaths from flaming skyscrapers?

Yes, my fellow Americans, we in the GOP have ass-fucked the economy, bent this country over without so much us a reach-around, reamed this country and bankrupted your children yea unto the seventh generation, and tortured, and failed to destroy our enemies, and failed to exact vengeance for 9/11, and failed to maintain our alliances, and failed to deal with Social Security and Medicare and infrastructure and energy -- and as a bonus, if you act now, we'll do a flyover of a drowning American city -- but that's not the point. None of that is the point. The point is that Governor Hair is a scumbag.

Oh, and fags want to get married. Can you believe that shit? And what of Terri Schiavo?

So, as you can see, you should forget the fact that we Republicans are the party of such staggering, demonstrated, incontrovertible incompetence that in a fair and just world we'd be tarred and feathered (and not figuratively), and rolled off a fucking cliff (also not figuratively), forget the sickening fear you feel, forget the nagging night-and-day stress that eats you alive when you think of what will happen if one of your kids gets sick and how the hell you're going to hold onto your underwater mortgage if you lose your job, and focus instead on the fact that millionaire loudmouths on the radio have implied that both Blagojevich and Obama are (gasp!) from Illinois.

The party of Lincoln, ladies and gentlemen. The Grand Old Party. Here to save you from Rod Blagojevich and homos. And that's what you need. Right?

The Republican party has driven this country into a ditch and now they want to sit on the side of the road cheap-shotting the guys sweating and straining to haul us the fuck out. We have a new definition of chutzpah.

Now. We will get through this. We will. Because we are the Americans. We are the greatest people on earth. We are the heros of the modern world. And even our corrupt, imbecilic politicians can't defeat us. But let's remember, okay? Let's remember what the Republican party did, and what they are doing now. Remember who was driving the car when it went into the ditch, and who broke their backs to tow us back out.

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Stuck In My Brain

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Uno dos one two tres quatro.

Day man. Ah ah ah. Fighter of the night man. Ah ah ah. Champion of the sun.

Na na na na na na na, I want to start a fight.

I don’t go anywhere without my switchblade.

He’s a cat (meow) flushing a toilet.

I want to rock and roll all night.

You’re a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

Matty told Hatty, about a thing she saw.

He’s a cat (meow) flushing a toilet.

And party every day.

I don’t go anywhere without my crew.

Let’s not be L 7, come and learn to dance.

She left me for Jesus, and that just ain’t fair.

And while I hope I’m not like them, I’m not so sure.

Woolly bully.

Said I can take you home, where we can be alone.

He’s a cat flushing a toilet.

I think my dad’s gone crazy.

So what, I’m still a rock star.

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Still Not a Crazy Idea

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 by Michael Reynolds

Rescued from my former blog, March 2006.

Out there somewhere, the avian flu virus is stalking the human race. It’s not alone: other bacteria and viruses are busily mutating, not plotting our destruction, but blundering nevertheless toward the extermination of large numbers of homo sapiens. Out there somewhere, evil men are plotting to get their hands on nukes or bacteria or viruses capable of killing millions. Out there in space, hurtling past, are thousands of rocks that could intersect our orbit and smack us all into a Mad Max movie. And the byproducts of industrialization my be slowly bringing on global warming.

All around the world, at the Taiwan strait, in the Persian Gulf, along the Korean DMZ, in Kashmir and a dozen other places, the human race sits poised, ready for war — serious war.

All of these things reach us in America. A disease incubating in a Chinese village, an angry cleric raging in some Pakistani camp, an unpaid Russian scientist with a launch code, a murderer here, a madman there, a smart kid with a computer sitting in his bedroom in Singapore.

Distance is an illusion. Borders are an illusion. Our economy is inextricably linked to the world. Our health is bound up with the health of villagers in the Congo. Our ability to travel and communicate is held hostage by people in Malaysia and Columbia and Timbuktu.

Only governments can cause, and only government can stop, genocide. Only governments can cause, and only government can stop famine. Governments restrict free trade and plunge millions into unecessary poverty. Only government can reverse that fatal protectionism. Only government can stop global warming. Only government can respond when a new disease erupts. Only governments can cause, and only government can stop, war.

The modern American capitalist affectation, the pretense that government can accomplish nothing, and only free markets can be trusted, evaporates in the face of disaster. Wal-Mart will not stop the economic disaster that would come from a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel. The Ford Motor Company will not plot the trajectories of every dangerous asteroid and respond if disaster looms. Verizon will not rush to the scene of a mutant Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Microsoft cannot put a leash on Korea’s L’il Kim.

The time has come, in this interconnected, and vulnerable world, for the civilized nations to consider some form of world government.

The objections are obvious. Exhibit A: the UN. How in God’s name are we to include the Iranian Ayatollahs in a government with liberal Swedish socialists and Indian capitalists? How could we have a functional democracy in a world where China and India could out-vote the rest of the world? How would we keep the world’s poor from using a world government to confiscate the wealth of North America, Europe and Japan?

The European Union may be the experiment that points the way. The EU has its difficulties, but so far the direst scenarios have not come to pass. The EU admits only those countries which meet certain standards on human rights and economic responsibility. Today the Muslim nation of Turkey is straining to hit those marks and get onto the waiting list for EU membership.

True to their natures, the Europeans have made the Brussels government something of a laughingstock. It is absurdly bureacratic, for example. Nevertheless, you can drive from Berlin to Paris to Milan to Dublin to Warsaw to Madrid to Rotterdam to Lisbon and never stop at a border, never change currency, never be deprived of medical care, never be outside the shelter of law. People used to say this would never happen. And now it has happened.

The American experience in Iraq has demonstrated that we need the “international community.” We’ve tried to be the world’s policeman, and we’ve screwed it up pretty well. And yet, the world needs a policeman. The world needs someone to fight the viruses, and the terrorists, and the famines and genocides, the environmental threats, and to stop wars from starting. The world needs government, and that government cannot be the government of the United States. The world needs a cop, and it can’t just be us.

As it is now, we give the civilized world a free pass. We jump into the fray and leave the Europeans, Japanese, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, South Koreans, Indians, all sitting on the sidelines offering snide commentary on our performance. We call this leadership. But how is it wise for us to carry the only badge and gun? How does that help us?

A world government would be limited to established democracies. Just as Europe has done, we would carve out large areas of national independence — we wouldn’t stop being the United States. Just as Europe has done, we would set standards for those nations hoping to join that world government. Rogue nations would be ever more isolated. The power of the world government would grow as it gained members. The momentum would become almost irresistable.

This is not idealism run wild. Quite the opposite. The United States cannot and should not try to manage the world alone — that is idealism. When something awful happens in the world, every head should not turn to look at us for salvation. We should begin to form a government uniting North America, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, Israel, South Africa, stable South American democracies, and Europe. If Russia can reverse its slide into autocracy, they can join. If China can throw off its Communist dead weight, they will be members, too. Every nation that sees three peaceful democratic political successions, controls corruption, and subscribes to standards of human rights and the rule of law, would be eligible.

It wouldn’t be utopia. Even if everything went perfectly, it wouldn’t be utopia. But avian flu or errant comet, nuclear war or localized genocide, there would be someone to call. Someone that was not just us.

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