Friday, July 29, 2016

Madness I Ends; Madness II begins

One sort of madness has ended (not a moment too soon!) but another, possibly worse,  sort begins.

In Amerika we call this the political party conventions, followed by the presidential election campaign.  The framers of the Geneva conventions would probably have called it torture of civilians. Nevertheless, it’s the Merkin way.

Everyone knows the presidential candidates are the two most disliked individuals ever to pursue the highest office in the land.  Everyone is trying to get to know the vice presidential candidates, who were introduced to us during the period of madness that ended last night.

Tim Kaine seems like a friendly enough Joe and, as he demonstrated the other night, he does a pretty good impression of Ernest Borgnine. Having “Marty” as vice president isn’t the worst thing that could happen.  Rather than risk his inadvertently pissing off some important ally, we could send him down to the corner drugstore every day to watch girls go by. Mike Pence is a born-again Christian who hates queers and Planned Parenthood. His attorney general said that the young people (including my granddaughter) protesting for civil treatment of civil servants in Wisconsin should have been thrown in  jail.  Pence thought that would be too lenient.  I invited both of them to come to my front door and say these things to me.  Of course the friggin’ cowards didn’t show up. Pence is a gap-filler for his running mate:  everyone Trump doesn't want you to fear and hate, Pence wants you to fear and hate. Both would-be veeps have sons in the Marine Corps. Both were lower level office holders before becoming governors.

Just about everyone seems to agree that the Democrats put on the better TV show.  They have all the good public speakers.  (Some might say that Donald Trump is very entertaining when he tries to be a public speaker, but others say that good Christian mothers listening in would want to wash his mouth out with soap.) Whether poetically or prosaically, the Democratic orators took credit for every good thing that has happened anywhere in the world in the last eight years, exposed the bad things that need to be corrected and offered ringing, plausible ways to make them right.  The problem is, as Barack Obama has proved over and over,  that these tintinabulations of truth never translate into noble deeds.  At Democratic conventions the rafters ring with the sound of music, but afterward the promise of affordable health care for all, for example,  gets lost in discordant deals with the pharmaceutical profiteers, the greedy insurers and the Republican congressmen who yell “Boo!”  So when Hillary Clinton, who when I was a kid would have been considered a  Republican, made her Democratic promises while accepting her party’s nomination for the presidency last night, we who have been around the block a few times took them with many grains of salt.

Speaker after speaker, including a four-star Marine ex-general, assured us that we wouldn’t want the nuclear codes in the hands of a reckless fool like Donald Trump.  But do we want them in the hands of a ruthless regime-changer whose closest advisors like Victoria Nuland can’t stand the sight of no blood?

She told us she has been on the side of working people all her life.  But she gets a quarter of a million dollars to give a speech to Wall Street banksters and won’t let us read the text.  Does she want us to think she stood before those greedy bastards and read Chugga Chugga Choo Choo?

The Democrats did not try to hide the facts about bad things that have been happening even with a Democratic president.  Black mothers of slain sons and families of police officers killed in the line of duty were trotted out on the stage in Philadelphia to acknowledge one of the worst festering sores in our national conscience.  “Love Trumps Hate,” they told us.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, told us the week before, in Cleveland, that being born rich and becoming even richer makes him the best qualified candidate to be president.  He also made other loud noises that resembled speech.  Recognizable words tumbled out of his moth, and the mouths of his endorsers, but few of them came together as coherent sentences.  Once such sentence, repeated ad nauseam, was, “Only I can . ."   whatever.

Trump calls himself a great deal-maker and a great businessman but refuses to release his tax returns -- an established tradition for those who would be our president. 

David Cay Johnson, a superb journalist with whose work I am personally well acquainted, has spent the last 30 years researching and reporting on the career of Mr. Trump.  His new book, The Making of Donald Trump,  will be available Aug. 2.  Trump’s “Only I . . .” won’t resonate once that book is out.

By that time, the campaigns will be at full steam.  As speaker after speaker implored last night in Philadelphia, god save us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Pieces Are Falling into Place

The incalculably rich Dark Powers that own both parties and their candidates have got things back to just about where they want them.

The Bernie Sanders revolution has been put down.  The Democrats tossed him a few orts from the big table and in return he endorsed Hillary Clinton.  Now the media whores are touting those orts as if they were caviar, promoting the meaningless party platform as the most progressive in history.  Holy Thoughts and Prayers, Batman, it’s healing time again!  Lock up the good silver!

Big name Republicans are lining up — some of them poutily, but good soldiering nonetheless — behind Donald Trump’s candidacy.  Bob Knight, surely the slimiest insect ever to infest college sports, is going to speak on behalf of the Man With the Orange Otter at the party’s national convention.  If ever two slimeballs deserved one another . . . Speaker Ryan”s going to speak for Trump, too.  I bet they’ll even dust off old Dubyuh in another few days.  After all, we have nothing like the Chilcot commission to shed light on his war criminality the way the Brits did on his lapdog, Tony Blair.  Sarah Palin will be there, too, no doubt.   All told, expect enough intellectual firepower to ignite a bulb in a flea’s navel.

My so-called liberal friends tell me it’s time to bite my tongue and vote for the lesser of two evils.  I tell them to bite my arse.

This country has been going downhill ever since it elected a corporate-owned B-movie actor to be its front man as the cold war before this one was winding down. I used to invoke the rubber ball theory — the notion that our government, like a rubber ball, could fall only so far before hitting the floor and bouncing back up.  But with the nomination of the two most disliked individuals ever to seek the presidency, I have come to realize that we have an unlimited supply of mendacious mediocrities waiting in the wings to preside over the decline and fall of our empire. And we have rigged the system to assure that no candidates of merit will ever again have a chance to win the White House, because such people tell the truth — the last thing American voters want to hear.

The party conventions are just around the corner.  Listen up, Americans.  Listen up and lap it up.  It’s your kind of bovine excrement.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Make 'Em Buy Gun Insurance

The insurance industry is the perfect conglomeration of greedy thieves to provide a capitalistic solution to the problem of gun violence in the United States, which has reached epic proportions in the last week.

All we need is a simple law requiring that every gun owner must purchase  liability insurance, the way auto owners must purchase liability insurance. Let the market set the rates.  

A so-called hunting rifle, after all, can cause at least as much damage as, say, a Ford Focus. Just ask the families and friends of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling or the five police officers shot to death in Dallas.

We’ve tried “thoughts and prayers” to no avail.  The senseless killings persist . . .Columbine to Orlando. NRA whores in Congress  won’t even permit votes on the meekest efforts at controlling gun sales.

So let the Second Amendment bullshitters have all the damned guns they want — shotguns, rifles, machine guns, assault rifles, semi-automatic handguns, bazookas, howitzers, gatlings —any bloody kind of gun they want.  Just make sure they buy insurance before they walk out the door with them.

Liability insurance premiums for law enforcement weapons would be paid by the government agencies issuing them. If you want your cops carrying the weapons of war, use some of your tax money to buy insurance for the damage they cause, including loss of lives (especially black lives).

Yep, the gun insurance premiums would be expensive, very expensive.  But, hey, that’s the American way.  Insurance is a business, and businesses are entitled to profit. In many cases of mass murder, the killers were found to have stockpiled arsenals of weapons and ammunition.  Could they have amassed so many guns if they had had to buy insurance, too?  Maybe, maybe not.  

Perhaps having to buy gun insurance would not deter would-be killers from getting their guns.  At least there would be a pool of money to compensate victims’ families, to pay the medical bills of the wounded.

Wouldn’t it be difficult to enforce a gun insurance requirement, especially on the millions of weapons already in circulation?  For a while.  But with all this new profit to be made, the insurance industry would find a way.

You have an uninsured gun in your house, and the insurance companies find out about it, they just might send in a bomb robot.

Is an AR-15 worth the risk?