Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (But Not Really) (And Santa's Dead)
Hooray! After close to a decade, our long national cakewalk is finally over. We went into Iraq in 2003 with four simple goals: blow a bunch of shit up, kill lots of people, funnel tons of money to shady private contractors, and electrocute our soldiers in showers. And we succeeded at all of them! U S A! U S A!
But alas, even the most successful of wars must come to an end. And so the Iraq War draws to a “close,” because President Obama worked tirelessly to keep his promise to end this pointless debacle Iraq would not give U.S. soldiers carte blanche to kill and rape with impunity. But don’t worry, “withdrawing from Iraq” doesn’t actually mean leaving it. What are you, stupid? It means leaving some troops there to continue training Iraqi forces, plus a barely noticeable 16,000 State Department personnel, which includes a shit-ton of those kooky private mercenaries the Iraqi people have come to know and get shot by over the years. And there’s also this, via AP:
In getting out of Iraq, Obama emphasized that “our strong presence in the Middle East endures”
Phew! For a minute there I thought we might stop raining death down on the good people of the various countries of the Middle East. And then what would we be? A bunch of pussies, that’s what! But not to worry, the foreign policy doctrine that is generally known as “neoconservatism” — but that I like to call “Uncle Clusterfuck’s Shit-Storm of Hubris!!!” — is still alive and well. Covert and/or overt wars continue on unabated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Iran, and more. It’s a Christmas miracle!
And now, for some reason, we’re also supposed to take seriously a push by the same war-crazy, deeply stupid fucknuts who talked us into the Iraq war to launch a full-on hot war with Iran. (This would be akin to a guy talking you into sticking your dick in a beehive, and then two minutes later letting that same guy talk you into sticking your dick in a garbage disposal.) Seriously, these motherfuckers won’t be satisfied until we get WW3 going and start letting those nukes — which are just sitting there, collecting dust — fly every which way, and we all die in a fiery hellstorm. (This would be that guy then talking you into having sex with Courtney Love.)
Honestly, why would any sane person listen to the people who brought us the Iraq war? If you’ll remember, that war did not go very well. But apparently we’re supposed to forget all about that and now be very upset at Iran for shooting down one of our drones. (Because, after all, America considers nothing a more provocative act of war than attacking the U.S. soldiers and/or robots that are invading your country.) And also because supposedly Iran’s elite spy force tapped a mentally unstable, alcoholic used car salesman to hire a Mexican drug cartel to shoot some Saudi Ambassador, a story which is the very essence of the word “plausible.” (And also, who cares anyway?) War with Iran would be a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, but because of the warped, hysterical state of American foreign policy, we’re pretty much just one Toby Keith song away from it becoming a reality.
So yes, Virginia, there will be Endless War for the rest of your miserable life. Wait, what’s that? Is that the sound of jolly old St. Nick gliding across the night sky in his bright red sleigh? Oh, wait, no, it’s a predator drone. LOOK OUT!!!
President Obama, who, as the result of an experiment gone horribly wrong in David Axelrod’s laboratory, requires the sweet, life-sustaining juices of liberal disappointment to stave off death, was growing weak yesterday. He had done something that liberals, even many who are very dissatisfied with him (myself included), actually liked. His speech in Osawatomie, Kansas previewed a 2012 in which his reelection campaign would take an unapologetically populist tack, speaking out about economic injustice, defending the social contract, and taking a fight to corporate interests.
So he needed to do something quick to seriously bum out progressives, lest his skin start peeling off in chunks and his appendages begin to fall from his body, just like in Death Becomes Her. (Remember Death Becomes Her?) Luckily, there was any easy solution at hand. The FDA was ready to approve Plan B for over-the-counter sales with no age restrictions, because of course, and logic. Obama was quick to order HHS head Kathleen Sebelius to overrule the FDA and keep the drug unavailable to girls 16 and under without a prescription.
Obama defended this decision by calling it “common sense,” presumably because he misunderstands what those words mean. The AP story describes some of his further justifications:
'Obama said that as he understood it, Sebelius was wary of a 10-year-old or 11-year-old going into a drugstore and buying a medication — one on the shelves next to “the bubble gum and batteries” — that could be harmful if not used properly.'
See, the Obama administration just wants to keep kids from having access to things that “could be harmful if not used properly”! That’s why they subsequently announced that they’ll also be removing anti-freeze, sharp-pointed scissors and trans fat-laden baked goods from shelves as well, putting them all behind a giant wall protected by benevolent, fatherly pharmacists who will toil day and night to protect this generation of clumsy, slutty 10-year-olds from themselves.
I suppose this is all due to some sort of election-eyeing political calculation, but it seems like it’s a fool’s errand. The members of the hysterical “every zygote is sacred’ crowd are never gonna vote for Obama, even if he were to declare eminent domain over all uteruses and order drone strikes on Planned Parenthood clinics. He might just as well try teaming up with Orly Taitz to see if he can attract some of that sweet Birther vote. In (unfortunately) classic Obama fashion, it’s a perfect storm of bad policy, bad politics, and pointlessness. Oh well, enjoy raising those babies, teenage girls!
I can’t manage to get myself all that worked up over the GOP’s obstruction of the payroll tax cut extension. There’s certainly nothing surprising about it. Republicans, after all, are required upon launching their campaigns to attend a Cosanostra-style ceremony in Grover Norquist’s basement where they swear a blood oath to never ever ever raise taxes on anyone (except maybe poor people, who, we can all agree, are totally gross.) This is because the current seemingly arbitrary tax rates are in actuality the ones that Jesus decreed to be right and just when he rode his Luck Dragon down to America to help George Washington chop down that cherry tree. So how can I get mad at the GOP for doing something utterly hypocritical, detrimental to the economy, and downright cruel to working men and women? Would you get mad at a lion for devouring a gazelle, or a dilophosaur for spitting toxic saliva in that guy who played Newman on Seinfeld’s face? It’s what they do.
But whereas the GOP has lost their ability to surprise me, they still manage to annoy me more than ever. Mostly in the area of rhetoric, and specifically, their liberal use of the terms “job creators” and “job-killing.” Repulicans use the term “job creator” to mean “anyone who happens to be a millionaire.” This offends me as someone who understands words. The current inhabitants of that one percent tier, with it’s average 1.2 million dollar income, aren’t creating many jobs these days, despite doing better for themselves than ever. (And paying lower income taxes than they have in over two decades.)
The companion rhetoric of “job creator” is “job-killing.” The GOP puts the words “job-killing” in front of any revenue increase they may be discussing. It seems to be almost involuntary at this point, like a kind of anti-Keynesian Tourette’s. Again, all empirical evidence demonstrates that there is absolutely no correlation between tax increases on the wealthy and decreased employment. And yet Republicans keep using these Frank Luntz-sanctioned terms, willing them to be true, or at least to seem true to their more dim-witted constituents.
But here’s the thing, Republicans: Words - even rigorously focus-grouped words -cannot cause things that are untrue to become real. Saying the term “job-killing” before a thing does not cause that thing to actually be job-killing. Because if that were the case, I would simply start referring to mowing the lawn as blowjob-facilitating yard care. I mean, boy, do I hate mowing the lawn. What a boring, thankless chore! But if through the power of my magic words I could suddenly summon into existence a mob of beautiful, fellatio-crazed women so turned on by the sound of a John Deere push-mower chopping through a thicket of overgrown blue grass that they work themselves into a libidinous frenzy that can only be sated with some vigorous blowjobbing, then the world would instantly be a better place, with many more perennially well-manicured lawns to boot.
But alas, this is not the case. GOPers have been abusing these words for far too long, so this is what I propose: a “job-killing”-killing tax on use of the term “job-killing” (and “job creator” too.) Every time a Republican uses one of these terms, they have to pay 3.2 gazillion dollars to the federal government. This way, I will stop having to hear these offensively stupid terms all the time, and the deficit will disappear overnight. See, who said this shit has to be difficult?
Adam Carolla, who you may remember as the Flava Flav to Dr. Drew’s Chuck D, is a pretty big wheel in the podcasting business. The biggest, as a matter of fact, having the most downloaded podcast in the world, because people enjoy boredom, apparently. Well, recently he used said podcast to launch into a searing diatribe about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and has subsequently become a folk hero to angry early-middle-age conservatives everywhere. He apparently has managed to articulate the thoughts of people who are super-pissed at all those dirty tent-lovin’ hippies in a way that they themselves have so far been unable to. He’s like the Elizabeth Warren of bitter white jerks! Well, I listened to his “epic rant” and found some flaws in his logic.
First, he cites a statistic he heard somewhere that the top one percent pay fifty percent of the taxes in California. I’m not sure about the accuracy of this specific claim, but statistics about the top however much percent providing a huge share of the tax revenue in this country are common, so let’s take it as correct. Here’s the thing, this phenomenon is a result of the very situation the economic justice movement is protesting. Of course the top one percent pay a disproportionate amount of the taxes in this country, because they control such a fucking mind-blowingly disproportionate amount of the wealth. I personally would love to see a day when they’re not paying that big a portion of the revenue pie, because they don’t gobble up so goddamn much of the income.
Still, Adam angrily demands “How much is enough?” As if these poor one percenters are being robbed blind and left with barely enough money to get their monocles polished. Well, how about this? It’ll start to be close to “enough” when corporations like Citigroup, which made billions and billions in profits last year, pay a bit more than the zero dollars in taxes that they did. And when the investment bankers that nearly destroyed the entire world economy with their stupidity, criminality, and greed have to pay more than the 15% they do on their “capital gains,” which makes up a substantial if not majority portion of their incomes.
Carolla goes on to cite “envy” as the root cause of the growing Occupy movement. He should be proud to find out that this puts him in the intellectual company of Herman “Which one was Libya?” Cain. Yes, all the people who have spent months living in tents and staring down militarized police forces are doing so because they’re jealous of all the Patrick Bateman wannabes and their shiny baubles. It couldn’t possibly be because they themselves have been victimized by predatory financial institutions, or are sickened by what’s become of a country that’s been bought wholesale by amoral greed monsters, or fear for their children’s future.
But the problem goes deeper than this, according to Carolla. It’s rooted, of course, in our having given out too many “Most Improved” ribbons these last few decades, leaving a generation that feels entitled, doesn’t understand the value of a hard day’s work, lacks gumption, sitck-to-it-iveness, and elbow grease, and won’t stay the fuck off Adam Carolla’s lawn.
It’s here that Carolla veers into the (unintentionally) funniest and most revealing portion of his rant, when he busts out some good old fashion, Reagenesque, morning-in-America style fetishism, lamenting an imagined golden past wherein Carolla conjures the image of a man and his son who walk down Main Street and see a rich man drive by in his Rolls Royce. In these long lost halcyon days of American greatness, the father says to his son: “That’s Mr. Jenkins. He’s a great man. Work hard and you can be like him.”
So I guess the lesson hear is that if, say, you’re a recently laid off factory worker and repugnant, remorseless, shit-bag criminal great man Lloyd Blankfein were to ever step into whatever luxury sedan he owns and for some reason drive through your devastated, dilapidated main street (he won’t) you shouldn’t shake your fist at him for eviscerating your 401k and leaving you destitute, but rather should tell your son he’s the model of what a man should strive to be.
But I think what’s most salient about Carolla’s hissy fit is not his specious logic, his ignorance of history, his knee-jerk reverence for power and disdain for dissent, or his stupid metaphors, but rather his anger. You can hear a palpable rage in his voice as he inveighs against these (in the parlance of Rick Santelli, Carolla’s intellectual brother) “losers.” There’s an inchoate, free-floating anger driving the modern, right-wing, white male. And years of main-lining the movement conservative Kool-Aid means that directing that anger at the institutions that deserve it is off the table, so the only option left is to unleash all ire upon those victimized and marginalized people who finally dare to stand up, assert their strength in numbers and challenge the powers that be. And that’s exactly what Carolla has done here. And his avalanche of rage-filled brain diarrhea has unsurprisingly found many fans among other scared, not-so-bright right-wingers who will never see the irony in the fact that they’re siding with the motherfuckers who work day and night to screw them out of every last dime over the people who are on their side.
I read an interview recently where Adam Carolla said something about wanting to be a “blue-collar comedian” but a “smart” one. Well, Adam, mission accomplished, I guess, because you are still smarter than Larry the Cable Guy. Congratulations?
'After watching the video, Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant, said he observed at least two cases of “active resistance” from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques. “What I'm looking at is fairly standard police procedure,” said Kelly.'
A third letter from UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi
Dear Member of the UC Davis Community,
I am writing to you a third time because I’m afraid my earlier letters did not convey just how deeply felt is my contempt for your intelligence. I would also like to engage in a little more blatant hypocrisy, try to cover my ass some more, and maybe get in a few more vague threats.
I am deeply saddened that a number of students chose to draw pepper spray into their eyes and mouths from a canister being held by one of our heroic campus police offers. Furthermore, it pains me to see the video of our brave men in uniform being savagely threatened by belligerent acts of ground-sitting, as well as by an angry throng brandishing Apple products as weapons.
In light of these events, I feel I owe you an explanation. I have been supportive of and even encouraged our students engaging in admirable acts of protest and dissent. Acts such as: staying inside, eating at the cafeteria, and not bothering me. But this week the protests took a dark turn. Tents got involved. In order to protect the health and safety of our community from these tents, the protestors were alerted that they would have to remove them. I even sent them a letter — a LETTER! — and am of course therefore blameless for all subsequent events. (‘Cause of the letter.)
Even still, yesterday’s events are disturbing. None of us can be proud of them. Therefore, I’ve formed an investigative panel comprised of students, faculty, and pepper spray manufacturers. This panel shall convene immediately, and then, in sixteen years’ time, report its findings to me (or my successor if I manage to find a better position by then.) It should be noted that if I do not like the panel’s findings, the panel will be pepper sprayed.
As I am clearly a fascist hack who does not possess the awareness to know that I should be embarrassed to call myself an educator, I lack an understanding of irony. That is why I will draw to a close by professing how concerned I am for the safety of students even after being responsible for unprovoked brutality against them that sent at least one of them to the hospital. And finally, I’d like to end with a thinly veiled threat. Something that hypocritically touts a respect for free speech and basic rights but implies that if you keep trying to protest we’ll just come down on you like a fucking hammer again, like, while the university has the responsibility to develop the appropriate environments that ensure the practice of basic freedoms, by no means should we allow a repeated violation of rules as an expression of personal freedom. Yeah, let’s just go with that.
See ya later, alligators! (And yes, this should be take as a threat that I will release hungry alligators on protestors.)