Friday, November 01, 2013

Nimble Fingers

Calhoun's Cannons for Nov 1, 2013
It's getting difficult to walk through the living room now because of the dizziness caused by the eye rolling. When I turn on the TV or radio or open a newspaper, it begins to flood the brain like fuzzy snow as the cascade of idiocy pours out.  In an instant, they're everywhere. Makes it hard to move. 

I refer, of course, to "air quotes."  You know, when you're referencing something that's so blatantly phony you put your hands up in front of your face and make little quotation marks in the air with your fingers? Then roll your eyes?

When I'm alone I don't make the physical gesture to myself, except for the eye roll.  I can't seem to stop that, but there they are inside my head like an annoying tic, all those little hands and little fingers twitching out little punctuation marks.  Pick, up a paper, read anything to do with Congress or politics, or almost anything at all where somebody is weaseling, and suddenly it's one big flickering blur of air quotes.

The Select Committee to air quote Investigate air quote Benghazi?  Or air quote investigate the Affordable Care Act's roll out?  Investigate?  Really?  These Committees aren't interested in air quote investigating anything.  Folks on those committees are only interested in bloviating and preening, and playing political gotcha during their three minute tap dances upon the national stage. Except Darrell (I'm-ready-for-my-close-up-Mr. DeMille) Issa.  If he gets less than three minutes face time with the TV cameras rolling, he'll form another pointless committee to air quote investigate something else.

And what's so astonishing about all these airquote investigations is what they reveal: What a collection of dunces are running this country. I heard one technical expert commenting on the computer bungles of the ACA roll-out express astonishment at how technologically ignorant the air quote investigating Committee members were about how computer networks actually work.  Indeed, he considered them to be dangerous fools. An apt judgment since these are the people responsible for crafting laws and policies about which they know less than nothing. After which they form committees to air quote investigate why the policies and programs they know nothing about went kerflooey? 

Where in God's name did we get these people?  I mean, Louie Gomert?  Really?  Is that the best Texas can do? And Darrell Issa?  California should put The Paper Bag of Shame on its head. Or people like the air quote right honorable Congressman who personally raked in $3.5 million in taxpayer financed air quote farm subsidies, then voted to cut food stamp programs that keep hungry children fed, all in the name of air quote saving taxpayers money? Same guy who quotes scripture and runs on a platform of air quote family values?

It's endless.  You can't turn around without bumping into air quotes. Name any issue facing this country:  Air quote National Security.  Air quote National Debt.  Air quote Reforming Medicare.  Air quote Saving Social Security. Air quote Climate Change.  Air quote Income Disparity. Air quote Child Poverty.  Roll eyes.

None of these serious issues mean anything any more.  Not really.  Thanks to the corruption of our political speech (Pace, Frank Luntz, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Faux Noise, et al) everything has become "so-called," the alternative version of the air quote.  And it's all slipped down the rabbit hole into Alice in WonderlandVille where Humpty Dumpty rules:  "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less." 

And in a country where science, technology, facts, honesty, clarity, even practical, grown-up common sense is ignored in favor of hypocritical morality, dishonest ideology, scientific illiteracy and technological Ludditism, a country where everything is transformed into a so-called, air quote fake, how can serious people govern themselves?

Yes.  I know.  Roll eyes. Then head for cover.   


Anonymous said...

i feel your pain.



Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Exactly. Perfectly said Ann.

I feel embarrassed to think that these silly and pointless gestures might be aired on TV around the globe. I can see China licking its chops.

I am reading a book right now called "That Used To Be Us" by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. It is quite depressing as I am in the "How America fell behind in the world it invented" and have not yet gotten to "and how we can come back" part.

With idiots like this in congress though, we are not going to come back. It is frightening to think about who elected these people.

Nixon of all people created the EPA! And the Department of Natural Resources! He pushed congress to pass the Clean Air Act! What happened to sanity and just plain practical and critical thinking in the Republican Party?

Alon Perlman said...

Well written, I remember back in the day when the morning walk included picking up a copy of the Bay News to look for the Canons (Not to disparage the efforts of the crime report, soused scofflaws abound, and the reportage of Jack Beardwood).
Yep, we are in the part of the spiraling slippy slide where the best we can pray for is a broken ankle. And tricky Dick normalized China (toons again), we can get free energy though! We just have to tap into William F. Buckleys spinning body (I forgot his name- A google search for “Erudite conservative commentator” resurrected him).
But Game theory does not put value judgment on the activities. And the behavior that our publicly paid monkeys display , is still taken because it is rewarded. We can only blame the fellow public. We the people, in our collective need for simple comforts, get the government we deserve.
Even the hogwash whitewater paid off, so why would they stop. Even if it looks like a bunch of Monkeys failing potty training it still functions as a “Game of Thrones”.

Yep, I have them rolled back so far I’m staring at my cerebellum right now.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Great post Alon!

Churadogs said...

Maybe the Tea Baggers were right: We should have turned off all the lights on Congress, walked out the door, and left those dangerous fools sitting there in the dark, babbling.

Anonymous said...

You are correct Ann, both Republicans and Democrats, in Congress and the White House should have had the lights turned out.

They should all have resigned without government salaries, pensions and health care. They should have to live with the same government entitlements and restrictions as the common person has to endure.

It is time for real government reform, from halting the huge campaign contributions to term limits and to all the special benefits.

There are way to many extremist activists in both parties generating too much polarization of congress and this nation.

TCG said...

I like the post of Anonymous (7:49). It is a sad state of affairs when we must now assume that our President is misleading us whenever he comments on any important event. I do not like the thought of living the rest of my life in such cynicism.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

The Tea Partiyers, in shutting down the government, hurt a lot of regular working people. According to Standard & Poor's $24 billion was lost to the economy in that 16 day shutdown. Change how things are being done, but not by hurting the regular guys.

Too be fair, the extremists live mostly as a subset in the Republican Party. They are getting all the press.

Extremist Dems are pretty low profile and don't exert nearly the power the TPs do. They are not the tail wagging the dog.

Bob from San Luis said...

Does anyone believe for a second that the disaffected, low information voter (not the kind Rush babbles on about, I'm talking about those that would rather pay attention to some sort of professional sports or who is dancing with whom or who is cooking what, all on T.V.) was not planned for all along? Part of what the air quote Reagan revolution un-air quote was about was reducing the number of educated middle class voter that could stay focused on what our political system is up to; by having people have to work harder and longer just to stay afloat, many less people actually pay attention to politics unless there is an election coming up since they are bombarded with T.V. commercials. "In chaos, stealing unnoticed is much easier"- one of the unspoken tenants of the Bush war doctrine that allowed so much theft to happen in Iraq. Same thing in D.C.; with endless, pointless, ineffective hearings taking up air time on T.V., the good 'ole boys and women who are corrupt can keep on taking and taking with little chance of a spotlight being focused on them.
The only way to fight this is to get the big money out of politics via "Move to Amend" that will force the government to NOT recognize corporations having the same rights as individuals and that money is not the same thing as speech. It can happen, we just have to keep paying attention and not let the b.s. take us off point.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I recall Reagan's attack on education by dumping college loans. I had to leave the school I was in for a cheaper version as I couldn't afford the one that would have resulted in a job in the field I wanted to work in. Hah, having Reagan back now would be a relief though.

We need a change on the Supreme Court to take back the ruinous decision that corporations are people. People will note that unions are part of that, but who is the loud voice these days, the really loud voice, corporations or the gutted unions?

The key is education for the masses. You can't get a good job without one. Unless you are some sort of superstar entrepreneur, and how many fit that description? So dumping money for college students has its purpose all right.

I remember scraping by with three jobs to make ends meet. When I fell into bed at night, politics was the last thing on my mind.

Churadogs said...

Compared with many other countries, this country has always had a pretty low voter turn out. And, yes, we've been pretty sadly dumbed down, although historically, we've always been pretty dumb and proud of it, suspicious of "book larnin'" and pointy headed intellectuals and xenophobic and proud of that also.

As for "both sides" being to blame, I'd disagree. We really don't have a balance between "left" and "right." What we have now is center left, right, extreme right. Progressive lefties are like the dodo bird. Extinct. And that's not good because you end up too far off center. (The same thing happened in reverse in the '60's and Reagan was the corrective. Sadly, he (and (Congress) set in motion things that weren't checked in time and set us up for our present car wreck.)

As for Corporations being people, there's several cases in the appeals court that may end up with the Supremes involving the religion of the owners of a company -- can they dictate hiring practices based on their religion, i.e. If corporations are "persons" who can give unlimited political donations,can they also have religious "rights" that they can impose on their employees? Wait 'till that hits the airwaves.

As for politicians lying. Presidents and Pols have to lie about certain things, i.e. national security. (Though too much is stamped "top secret" that doesn't have to be.) But, here's the interesting thing about our present situation: Because the ONE and only agenda item for the Republicans was to basically destroy Obama, make him a one term president, any time the administration ran into any problems or screw ups, they were slammed. Every normal, run of the mill screw up became a DISASTER! THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO THIS COUNTRY, EVER!!! And "investigative" hearings" (Air quotes, air quotes!) were held for nothing but as a whole series of televised Political Gotchas!

It is that kind of poisonous atmosphere that fosters and encourages "fudging" and shading and weaseling and unnecessary lying. Imagine, for a change, an administration (either party) who screws up, says up front, We screwed up, and pols and the pundits say, Yeah, that happens, let's look at why that happened and fix it and don't do it again. You know, like grownups?

Imagine, also, a populace of adults who are able to listen to the truth without coming unglued or sulking like children. Like, O.K. America, If you're unhappy with your high health care costs, then stop eating crap food, lose weight, get more exercise. Or, Your children are dying of diabetes, so no more sodas and crap food in public schools. Period. Grow up. Stop blubbering. Eat your damned broccoli.

Instead of adults behavior on serious issues, if you watched what happened in the media when Michelle mildly encouraged kids to exercise and eat better, fresh food, Oh, my God. The caterwalling about blew us all off our feet. Sic Semper Tyranus! THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING FOR OUR BIG GULPS! GET YER AK-47S!

Ridiculous. We've become a ridiculous people running a ridiculous country into the ground.

And the only cure is that I suspect we'll get better government when be become better people. You know, grow up. But I see little evidence of that. Sigh.

We're in a mess, that's for sure. The upcoming mid-term elections will give us hope that we're on the mend. Or not.

Alon Perlman said...

Bu-buh-but Benghazi?!

(I wish I was the originator on that one, or rather the original lampooner)

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's all be grown ups and sue because we didn't get our personal way. Be sure to ask Ann how to do that.

Churadogs said...

Alon: Interesting late note on Benghazi. 60 Minutes came forward and said the "witness" they interviewed on that story recanted and fessed up to not actually being there. To date, Darrel (I'm Ready For My Close-up Mr. DeMille) Issa hasn't re-opened his "investigation" and publicly acknowledged that false ino which was surely part of his ongoing faux outrage at the Obama Administration. Well, why bother with facts when a fantasy gets you so much face time before the cameras?