Friday, July 08, 2011

Twilight's True Blood

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for July 8, 2011

The U.S. seems a country hell-bent on its own failure
                         Clive Crook, editor, The Atlantic

Heeeees Heeeeere . . .

Grover Norquist, the President of “Americans for Tax Reform,” has even surfaced on the front page of our little local newspaper. “Anti-tax diehard looms large in showdown,” says the headlines. The Tribune is several years too late. Grover had already infected Sam Blakeslee, our previously moderate, sensible, pragmatic, reasonable, compromising git-‘r-done, Republican State Assemblyman.

It was a creepy and horrifying thing to witness. In a cynical, politically expedient move to get the official blessing from the Republican Central Committee for his run for State Senator, Sam sidled up to offer Grover his neck while signing on to the No Taxes Ever Blood Oath. One bite and suddenly our sweet sane Sam was lost forever into Grover’s weird vampire world of extreme right-wing looniness. In place of his oath to support the constitution of the state of California, Sam was now bound in darkness to Grover and instead of voting for some reasonable tax increases to keep the state from imploding during our recent budget battles, Sam’s message was clear: California and all my constituents can fall into the sea for all I care. I am a Norquistian now.

True, Sam’s Norquistianism got him publicly lambasted, but it worked to get him elected to the State Senate and even though he then declared that he wouldn’t take any more blood oaths, heh-heh, it was too late. Grover’s bite was utterly transformative and permanent. So when the budget crunch came, Sam voted to cut the poor and sick and little school kids to the bone rather than agree to keep even a small tax on yacht sales. Constituents be damned. Unless they own yachts, that is.

And so it goes. Across the country Grover’s Twilight presence has Republicans enraptured and shoving forth their necks for his fatal bite, a wet-dream swoon over his vision of starving government to the point of being able to strangle it in a bathtub.

That and the fact that the True Blood rush also garners lots of guaranteed campaign boodle from corporations who never met a government regulation or a tax they would tolerate, ever, so a weakened government drowning in a bathtub and unable to stop or hinder their predation, is night music to their wolfish ears.

Which is why Washington is now heading for a debt ceiling/default crisis: It’s not enough that True Blood extremist Republicans in thrall to Grover are willing to see America default and thereby plunge the world into an economic disaster, they are now threatening the few moderate Republicans left in that august body into sitting by while the country falls into the sea. It’s all True Blood gore and creepy dripping teeth in the hallways of Congress now, and here come the werewolves!

Or maybe not. According to the AP story, a handful of sane Republicans are finally finding a spine and are pushing back. Says Senator Tom Coburn, (R, Okla,, a guy nobody could claim is anywhere near “moderate”), “ ‘You’ve got 34 Republicans that say they’re willing to end this, regardless of what Grover says. That’s 34 Republicans that say this is more important than a signed pledge’ to Norquists’ group.”

Adds Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, “It’s a disservice to our nation for someone to be allowed to set a standard which really could threaten our economy.”

Poor Durbin doesn’t understand. With extremist Norquistian Republicans and Norquistian wannabes, service to nation has nothing to do with it. That Blood Oath is political love at first bite – Unlimited Campaign Money from the Koch Brothers! Continued “carried interest” tax breaks for Republican peeps -- a handful of Wall Street Hedge Fund Bazillionaires! A Winning Bumper-sticker Campaign Slogan! Perpetual Employment on the Tax-payer-funded Government Teat! What’s not to love about that true blood bond?

All supported by the American voters who repeatedly put these infected guys into government precisely so they could drown it in a bathtub. Until the voters find out that their Medicare and their Social Security will be the first things to be found floating face down in that tub. But by then it’ll be too late to even grab the garlic.


Patrick O'Hannigan said...

I love the way you carried the vampire metaphor all the way through, Ann. Nice job!

Anne R. Allen said...

I noticed that the day the Trib carried the Norquist story on page one, there was a story on page two that showed a horrific photo of a half-dead, starving Somalian child.

Since Somalia is Norquist's ideal government-free paradise, this illustrated exactly what the Republicans are aiming for: the slow, gruesome murder of every child in the US who is not born to jet-owning billionaires.

Adding to the insanity, what Norquist calls "raising taxes" is actually the reduction of the reverse-Robin Hood taxes we already have in place that take from working people to subsidize foreign oil company CEOs.

I'm really disappointed in Sam B, too. Although I think the vampire analogy is very apt, zombies might be even closer. These brain-dead festering monsters are feasting on the flesh of our children.

Billy Dunne said...

Conservative David Brooks hit the nail on the head the other day when he wrote in the NY Times the Repubs are no longer a normal party. Their willingness to default rather than deal with the democrats is indicative of how the inmates are now running that asylum. It is what it is. Good for them. I have absolutely no illusions about who those people are. But what is truly frustrating to me is not the behavior of the right, like I said, that is what it is, but rather Obama’s stubborn insistence to refuse to draw a line in the sand when dealing with these cretins. And I’m sure his ineffective and milquetoast leadership fuels the Repubs hard line approach to the debt ceiling. I’m sure of it. They’re like sharks circling blood in the water. Obama behaves like the “great compromiser,” only he seems to be clueless that the only one who is compromising constantly is he.

From his failure to back the public option, to his cave in on the Bush tax cuts, to the new reports of his willingness to cut into social security (while only getting in return “tax hikes are off the table” and with it, again, absolutely no means to generate revenue) has grown wearisome to me. I understand that one must govern from the middle blah blah blah, and campaigning for re-election begins the day after you win an election blah blah blah, but Obama’s penchant to surrender before the fight even starts has now become embarrassing. And his delusional belief that he can find consensus with people who are pathologically opposed to EVERYTHING he does is equally laughable.

Until we get a viable progressive third party in this country, I’m afraid this is all we will ever get. I had high hopes for Obama. Now I’m not sure in good conscience I can give him my vote again next year. But what then? And I’m once again left wondering, what is this guy afraid of? Why can’t this guy fight the good fight, and fight hard? Sigh.

Churadogs said...

1. Obama was portrayed as a flaming liberal/commie/socialist/radical/progressive barnburner. Wrong. Obama always was and still is a "Community Organizer." Community Organizers are consensus builders/compromisers/git 'r done-ers. That's who he is, that's what he does; hears out what the community wants and works to get everyone focused on getting it done -- whatever "it" is.
2. And there's the problem. Rhetoric doesn't write laws. Polls don't write laws. Legislators do and The American People, the voters, have elected people to go to that community meeting and what a good chunk of them want to do is to burn the place down, so a good Community Organizer says, "Well, since you represent 60% of the community, we'll work with you to see you can burn down 60% of the place, but you'll have to accomodate what the other 40% want."
The American voter not only elected a substantial majority of republicans during the mid-term,(to send to our national Community Meeting) they doubled down and elected a critical number of extremists who want to blow the place up entirely.

That's the reality of who Obama has to work with, so if you want to get disgusted at anybody, Americans need to go home and look in the mirror. They're about to get exactly what they voted for: Dismantling of the safety net, even more suffering of the poor, working and middle class, with even MO' money heading up to the already rich oligarchs. That's what the voters wanted. That's what they'll get. As a Community Organizer, Obama's job is to see best how to give them what they asked for.

Billy: David Brooks final comment, that these extremist Republicans are not fit to rule, says it all. But, those extremists are what the voters voted for.

Patrick. Thank you. Coming from a most excellent wordpharmer, that's high praise indeed.

Billy Dunne said...

Ann, I couldn't agree more about the American voter. That's my mantra: you get what you voted for, you get what you deserve. The American voting public can be ignorant, capricious, mean-spirited, ignorant, lemming-like, myopic, ignorant, distracted, and ignorant. And I surely never confused Obama with Huey Newton. But I don't recall ever hearing Obama say on the stump "If elected I will eliminate the Bush tax cuts, unless the Republicans have a majority in the House." or "If elected I will close Guantanamo Bay, unless some people start complaining about that." I understand consensus. I also understand conviction. Obama frustratingly seems to be long on one and woefully short on the other.

I've always heard you don't bargain with terrorists. To me, that's exactly who these people are, terrorists. From those who want to continue to reward the rich while punishing the poor to the birthers and conspirators, to the bigoted and those bent on eradicating the middle class, to those who so proudly proclaim their love for their country but who fight to the death to avoid paying their fair share to help it prosper, fire must be met with fire. And no one knows this better than the newly co-opted republican party. The extremists are the tail wagging that dog now, and they are very very good at creating chaos and misdirection, no doubt. (see last year's health care town hall meetings) But passively sitting by looking for consensus from these dopes is ludicrous.

But then again, it seems finding consensus even within the Democatic party is difficult if not impossible, which takes me full circle back to my comments about a viable progressive 3rd party in this country.

Churadogs said...

Billy, I certainly agree. The problem with Congress and Obama is he has two choices, given what the voters have given him: 1) get nothing done, after all, Republicans and Tea Partiers are now the Corporate Terrorist Party of NO! 2)compromise with the idea that half a loaf is better than none, and in the hopes that if you live to fight another day, you can go back and fix and improve the compromise that's in place. IF, for example, the voters in 2012 vote in enough progressives, Congress can go back and amend the health care bill and add a Medicare For All type "public option," if they wish -- the basic structure is in place. Ditto with the budget.Ditto with a lot of problems that still need solving.

On the other hand, Obama has a pattern of giving away the farm even BEFORE the buyers show up to make an offer, so that's never good.

Sadly, third parties never seem to work in this country, except to drain votes away from whatever party they're a splinter of thereby giving the win to the very party the splinter was formed to combat.

Until the American voter wakes up and starts connecting dots, they're gonna keep getting corporate, oligarchic crap spoon fed to them while they slowly slip into poverty and decay. And I daily open the paper and don't know whether to laugh or cry.

As for Guantanomo, Oy! one of the problems there is Bush's "enhanced interrogations" forever doomed any chance of civilly trying some of these folks, ditto with those held in detention waaaayyyyy past anything resembling "due process." If you try to bring any of them into court now, either military or civil, the law would likely kick them free immediately or you'd have so much illegally obtained evidence that you might only end up with lesser charges and/or the accused would walk. And considering some of these dudes are major dangerous players, that's not a good idea. But what are you gonna do. Not to mention the whole thing has cynically become a political posturing issue.

Bush made the fatal error of calling this a "war" which makes terrorists "soldiers" (enemy combatants instead of "criminals" and "mass murderers") in that "war." Hence "due process" was muddied, constitutional guarantees were muddied, Geneva Conventions and international laws concerning "soldiers" were muddied, toss in "enhanced interrogation" and "renditions" and there's a lot of people held in Guantanamo whose cases will get kicked out of any court they're brought into. And a lot of these dudes are so dangerous you don't want them out walking around anywhere in the world. So, what do you do with them since any hope of prosecuting them was compromised from day one?

Other countries have managed to capture, try and imprison their terrorists. Somehow, in Bush and America's macho "I Am Jack Bauer" thinking, the normal legal process has been all screwed up and will be very hard now to unwind. Sigh.

Billy Dunne said...

As the republicans are busy signing more pledges (the latest something called "The Marriage Vow--A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family" How many pledges can these dopes come up with?!)while evidently refusing any more talk on debt ceiling compromise, it's time for some Bill Maher, who hits the nail squarely on it's pathetically ignorant head:

Churadogs said...

I love these "marriage vow" thingees. Anybody get Newt Gingrich to sign one. Bwa-hahahahah.I fear that most of America and most members of congress have all taken Stupid Pills.

Billy Dunne said...

The best part of "The Marriage Vow--A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family" is that it contained the following provision:

"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President."

Of course, once this became public Bachmann and Santorum, who gleefully signed the vow, walked it waaaaaaaay back and claim they only support the "candidate vow" portion of the document. And the provision has mysteriously been removed from the new and "improved" version.

Good lord have bigger and more offensive dopes ever existed than those who aspire to represent this republican party?

Churadogs said...

Yup, must be them Stupid Pills.

Alon Perlman said...

A nice exchange you have going on Billy and Chura.

Born into the reign of Obama? What about those babies born in the first 9 months of the Obama presidency? They were conceived under the Republican administration of George Bush.

Does this Party not get the difference between conception and birth?
Oh. I forgot, they don’t.
BTW Bristol Palin turns 35 in 2025, qualifying her for the Presidency.

Spectator said...

Hey comrades!

“Let me see if I have this right.
We have a far left radical, street hustler from the South Side of Chicago, who made his bones running with ACORN, teaching Saul Alinsky workshops, and seeking out the Marxist professors when he got to school, going to a Black Liberation Theology Church, run by a racist, anti-semitic, America hating Pastor - Jeremiah Wright - for 20 Years, started his political career in the living room of unrepentant DOMESTIC TERRORISTS - Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn - and has surrounded himself with Communists and Socialists and Marxists and Maoists, and we can't understand why THE ECONOMY SUCKS?
Is that what we're saying, here?
What did you THINK was gonna happen?”

Billy Dunne said...

Every major publication and economic forecaster places the start of this messy recession at December, 2007.

But I'm sure you'd tell us the economy was peachy when Obama took office. Kinda like when you told us you have proof of the existence of "an authentic long form birth certificate for Barack Hussein Obama 2 born in Mombassa Kenya" Still waiting to see it as promised my friend. Still waiting.

Churadogs said...

Ah, yes. Jon's info on Obama is as accurate as his info on the "authentic long form birth certificate." Like I said. Stupid pills.

Spectator said...

To Ann and Billy Dunne:

There is plenty of information on the web by experts on the Obama long form birth certificate released by the White House and also on his multiple SS numbers. There is also documentation on a Kenyan birth certificate. There is also supporting testimony that Obama was born in Kenya from his relatives. All you have to do is spend some time and look up the proof. Unfortunately this takes time and an open mind. Time, I am sure you have, an open mind is another story.

But it really makes no difference: Obama will be out this next election. Enough is enough.

I WILL take "stupid pills" every day to dumb me down from progressive/socialist people who take "smart pills". I need to sleep at night.