The Long Hard Climb to Change

I just read a troubling article that puts the chances of Republicans winning the Senate at 60%.  The Democrats, for whatever problems you might have with them, are still a party interested in actually governing.  The current GOP is not your grandfather’s Republican party, or even your father’s.  They are a bunch of extremists whose only principle seems to be use the US government as a trough for corporations.  Anything that doesn’t benefit corporations such environmental regulations, higher wages for workers, a safety net for the unfortunate, and on and on, is to be dismantled.  It is an unholy alliance of big money and the fundamentalist right.  Even those Republicans that dare compromise are often challenged and disavowed by a large amount of their own party. 

You’ve probably heard this rant a million times by now, but that makes it no less true.  I’ve talked about this before, but those of you that are conservative from a religious standpoint should watch the movie There Will Be Blood.  In the movie the main character, played by Daniel Day Lewis, who represents big business, makes an uncomfortable alliance with a preacher.  However, once he has everything he needs he beats the preacher to death with a bowling pin.  Once big business has everything it needs, once it has used up all of our resources, has people working for as little as possible, and no longer needs religion as a Trojan horse for its agenda, it will beat it to death and be done with it too. 

The Supreme Court just decided that there should be no limits on campaign contributions.  That to do so would be to limit free speech.  If you think you dislike politicians now, wait till you see what might be coming down the road!  The era of the middle manager is upon us.  We will be overwhelmed with dull minds that don’t question things as long as the money keeps rolling in. 

If you care at all about this country and where we are headed, then contribute in some way.  You should give money, even if it is a little, volunteer, talk to your friends, write or create something that points to what is going on, etc. 

And to all of you that think all politicians are the same:  You are fucking crazy!  Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz are light years apart.  Sure the system can at times occasionally grind even the best politicians down to mere shadows of themselves, but there is a difference.  If you don’t vote you are just accepting defeat. This is no time for apathy.  I am no fan of Obama’s drone policy, but if McCain had won we would probably be knee deep in at least a couple of other wars by now! 

There is still reason to hope though.  Look at the advances that have been made in the last few years with how we treat gay people.  Although the battle is not over many people have woken up to the fact that they are people too and deserve to be treated with dignity.  Bringing about positive change can be a long hard climb, but once you reach the summit it is amazing how quickly the whole world can look different. 

You’ve Got to Have Hope

The above video is a long speech by author and activist Rebecca Solnit on the topic of hope.  It’s easy in this day and age to want to throw your hands up in defeat.  With climate change, reality TV, endless war, the military industrial complex, overpopulation, banal music on the radio, the increasing gap between rich and poor, people in power like Ted Cruz and Rick Perry, or any number of other things, it can be hard to wake up each day with a can do attitude.  On this blog I often point to a lot that is wrong in this world.  The reason for that is simply that a lot is wrong.  However, if I didn’t think things could be better I would simply quit writing, go buy a ton of drugs, and enter my own private fantasy land.  I always loved Flannery O’Connor’s quote that if a writer writes about dirt it is because the writer despises dirt, not because they love it.  (Paraphrased)  Hope doesn’t mean looking at the world through rose tinted glasses.  It just means realizing that the potential for positive change is there if it is worked towards.  Even someone like Hunter Thompson, famous for writing things like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, believed in fighting the good fight for a better future.  There is nothing more noble in human beings, in the face of an ever growing storm, than small acts of defiance like hope.

Beating Ted Cruz

A Texas friend of mine said the following after seeing Ted Cruz’s picture on the cover of Texas Monthly:  “Even if Ted Cruz was awesome and believed in all the right things, wouldn’t just the site of him make you want to beat the piss out of him?”  Alas, I agree.  He just looks smarmy, like he just climbed out of the primordial ooze with the intent of stealing your grandmother’s pension.

Santorum Compares Obamacare to Apartheid

http://gawker.com/rick-santorum-thinks-obamacare-is-the-21st-century-apar-1477946884

When I read the article above in my head a long fuuuuuccckkk was uttered.  Kind of like Goofy’s “yahoo”, but a swear word. (You can hear Goofy’s sound at: http://www.hark.com/clips/kmfzpwvtjk-goofy) And then the image of a mushroom cloud crossed my mind.

Add that to an article I read yesterday where Ted Cruz praised The American Legislative Exchange council and I completely understand the Smith’s line, “It takes strength to be gentle and kind.”

Who is still following these people?  Who nods their head in agreement when such ignorance is let loose?  Are the people that speak this nonsense cynics playing to the peanut gallery or true believers of the most senseless kind?  Are they just saying these things to kill someone like me off with an aneurism?

Yesterday I was hanging out with a friend when the new version of Let’s Make a Deal came on.  A soul singing Wayne Brady serenaded an older woman while she went down on a cupcake like it was somebody’s dong.  I am convinced people will believe or do anything.  Anything!!!

I try to be hopeful.  I really do.  But then the world intercedes.

Hat tip to my brother for sending the Santorum article my way.  

Ted Cruz Slimes Veterans

I get emails from Ted Cruz because unfortunately he is my Senator, in name only as far as I’m concerned.  Today’s email was one where Senator Cruz asked me to honor veterans.  It was the usual mindless patriotic claptrap without any real explanation or account of the true sacrifices that veterans have made for this country.  In fact, I felt like just putting Ted Cruz’s name in the same sentence as these servicemen and women made them somehow worse off.  It covered them in an ectoplasmic goo far worse than anything the Ghostbusters got slimed with.  Even though I fully realize his email was automated, and that my response would never see the light of day, I decided to have some fun responding just in the small chance it reached some low level staffer somehow, someday.  Here is my email in full:

The best way that Ted Cruz could honor anyone would be to go into hiding for the rest of eternity. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Brown

Dealing With the Dark

I am in love with the world, yet I often hate what we have done with it.  Film, paintings, music, literature, poetry, architecture, and the best art of all, nature; leaves me filling out the hours of my days until they go by like mere blips.  But why do we often seem so hell bent on destruction and stupidity?  There are so many things to fall in love with and get excited about.  I don’t care if one is interested in sports or reading, how can one be bored?

Yet there are greedy people out there that would be happy to see us all wallow in the mud.  We would be nothing but indentured servants if the politics and markets of the corporations would be allowed to be followed out to their furthest conclusion.

This is not to say that markets are not important.  My brain freezes when things are reduced to simple Fox News propositions like the left is anti-market.  Sure there are those on the left that are.  But most people, left and right, are more complicated.  The TV news is no place for complexities and shades of grey.  We need a combination of markets and safety nets for those markets.  Most of my republican friends are reasonable if only talked to.  Most of us on the left are as well.

I watched Colbert and Stewart last night and was dumbfounded at some of the clips that they pulled up.  I only need to think of the recent past and of things like Freedom Fries to remember how ignorance can take over.  Remember after 911 when any kind of antiwar sentiment was seen as aiding and abetting the enemy?

It helps to remember the beauty of the world, because then you know what you are fighting for.  Don’t ever get completely lost down the rabbit hole of cynicism.  One can love and hate without contradicting oneself.  On the very same day that I hear a melody that fills my soul with wonder, I can also hope to see Ted Cruz go down in a flurry of shame and disgrace.  Don’t forget about the light when dealing with the dark.

Silver Unicorns

Today is a day of two firsts.  First of all I never thought in a billion years that I would even partly find myself on the same side as Grover Norquist.  He has been ripping Ted Cruz’s ass in the press today.  Yes, he is doing it because he disagrees with Ted Cruz on policy and not politics, but it is still fun to see.  The other first is that the tax man actually made me laugh.  On the Daily Beast I read that he said that Ted Cruz and his allies were chasing, “silver unicorns.”  I feel like checking my apartment for portals, because I feel like I just stepped into another dimension.  Well whatever world I’m in, it’s good to see Ted Cruz getting shit slam dunked by his buddies.  Couldn’t happen to a better guy.  

Creepshow 2013

Trying to get into the Halloween spirit lately, I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies.  Tonight I happened to watch the movie Creepshow 2.  At the same time I was watching this, I happened to be reading the latest government shutdown news.  With Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, Eric Cantor, and John Boehner, it’s like the goddamn monster squad.  Who can be scared by Hollywood creations when we have this freak pack in our headlines every day?

I’d rather tangle with Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Mummy any old day.  Famous monsters usually have some kind of weakness.  These fools can wreck untold damage and still end up with a five figure salary on Fox News.  They can hang upside down and spout pure gibberish if they want.  The further out they go the more likely they will end up in perpetuity in the conservative media bubble.  Even if at the end of the day they lose politically they still win economically.  How do we rid ourselves of these succubuses of the American system?

It’s October and a perfect month to be inundated with mutants.  I keep thinking of the story The Diamond as Big as the Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Some of the closing lines feel perfect right about now:  “Turn up your coat collar, little girl, the night is full of chill….”

Good News, Bad News

Good news:  Veterans are angry that tea party leaders like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz hijacked what was supposed to be an a political rally to reopen monuments that pay tribute to those who fought.

Bad news:  The last major western power to default was Nazi Germany.  Thanks  baggers.

(News from an early morning Huffpo read)