Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why I didn't blog for 9/11

There comes a point when you realize that there are some people who are so willfully contemptuous of reality that nothing can be said, and further, at this point everything that could persuade reasonable people HAS been said. If you are still a Republican, and you still support leadership that can say things like the following, the only rational response remaining is a swift kick to the frontal lobes.

And in this sort of Republican, those are located just below the penis.

This is the response House Minority Leader John Boehner had for Wolf Blitzer - a man hardly known for asking loaded questions. If you manage to look stupid by answering a Blitzer question, it's because you are stupid.

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: GOP Minority Leader Says US Casualties in Iraq Are a "Small Price" to Pay:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

BLITZER: How much longer will U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $2 billion a week or $3 billion a week as some now are suggesting the cost is going to endure? The loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment is going to require?
BOEHNER: I think General Petraeus outlined it pretty clearly. We're making success. We need to firm up those successes. We need to continue our effort here because, Wolf, long term, the investment that we're making today will be a small price if we're able to stop al Qaeda here, if we're able to stabilize the Middle East, it's not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids.
To say the obvious - that this is a new definition of "pulling a Boehner" is beside the point. It's almost too obvious to observe that it's difficult to calculate which is worse, the possibility that he is sincere, or the possibility that he thinks he's more credible and convincing than the Iraqi Information Minister.

But the most truly disturbing thing transcends all questions of policy and partisan politics; and that is the question as how he became Minority Leader - and why he remains in that position. It would seem to me that being clearly mad as a hatter would render one ineffective in that role, and at the very least, the Minority Leader should be someone who does not provoke snickers and sighs of pity from the majority.

But then, the majority leadership, while not actually delusional, don't seem to be a great deal more connected with the will of the people or terribly interested in considering what is right over what is momentarily expedient.

9/11 and the response to it has exposed the rotting substructure of our national facade of Liberty, the depth of our commitment as a people to the principles expressed in the Constitution and the commitment of our leaders to communicating honestly with the people, according to their duties and oaths.

And on days like this, when the entire effort of communication with anything short of a large, heavy wrench seems pointless, I can do little other than explain that if my perception becomes general - there will be no United States, nor will any remainder or successor enterain such foolishness - for small nations cannot afford to suffer such fools, gladly or otherwise.

I will confidently predict that whatever the evolution of the next two years - the outcome will not leave those who seek to keep their power in power. In the end, there is more to being in power than just having the will to do what it takes to keep power. Even Stalin had to realize that if there was no Russia and no Russians, his "power" over them was meaningless.

And saner rulers and leaders realize that power is conditional upon meeting the needs and fulfilling the desires of the governed.

I will predict with equal confidence that those particular corporate entities that have profited the most from exploiting 50 years of constant warfare are approaching the end of their reign - though the final days may well be quite profitable!

But in the final frames, those corporations are nothing without their own people - and corporations have come to believe they are separate from both employees and clients - even from shareholders.

It is a fantasy - and it will come crashing down, as people realize that if governments and corporations interests cannot be trusted to take care of their own in return for loyalty and service that that loyalty and service will be withdrawn.

And with the web and other powerful ways for individuals to meet many of the needs that governments and corporations thought their exclusive domain, it's doubtful that anyone will be able to reclaim that which is, even now, being withdrawn.

There is a reason that public approval ratings for Congress are even lower than those of George Bush - we have stopped expecting common sense, much less any respect for the will of the people from Chimpy the Shrub. But we voted to return Grown-Ups to power in congress, expecting them to take some painfully obvious corrective steps to end the war and forestall the painful economic corrections that this drunken spree of debt-fueled misadventures had aimed us toward.

They have not even managed to come to the aid of New Orleans, much less end this disastrous war.

But if the terrified sheep that think they lead us and command our loyalty continue their delusions for many months - or truly, even weeks, much less assent to any of the plans for overthrowing the remaining shreds of our democracy that Bush is clearly contemplating - I, for one, will consider them as one with the Bushites.

Ignorable, insignificant, deserving of no respect, loyalty or attention. And should they insist on commanding my attention, thinking they are entitled to my obedience and that of my fellows, I think they will find themselves in for a rude awakening.

I'm not so much expecting a civil war as I am expecting widespread rude indifference. I expect States and local governments, in the face of federal malfeasance and utter irrelevance to more or less politely go their own way without benefit of any public delcaration of secession. I expect that over the next while, the weight of meaningful authority will gravitate to state and local governments, and that state and local laws will be passed to make it difficult or impossible for the Federal Government to fund it's activities.

For instance, it may come in the form of state laws requiring state court orders for the IRS to garnish wages.

It may be in the form of states chartering their own banks - or even issuing their own currencies. It may come in the form of requiring that all federal agents be first credentialed as agents of the specific State to have authority in that state.

It will certainly come in the form of states increasingly preferring to make their own policy even at the price of sacrificing federal funds - especially in those states where federal policies come at a net loss to the state.

We have come to the point where we must coldly look at our extant federal system and ask ourselves, "who does it benefit?" And I, like many others, am aware that almost nothing it does benefits me more than it costs me, and that of all the good things it does, most could and should be done better and more cost-effectively at the state or local level.

What the Bush Years have made obvious is what various "nut cases" and "conspiracy theorists" have been ranting about for years - that our government is run, not for our interests, but for the limited and even self-destructive visions of a small, inbred, narrow-minded and fairly stupid plutocracy that cannot see beyond the range of a quarterly profit and loss statement.

Well, I suggest to you that it's not even in the interests of the fairly wealthy to permit this to continue, for it is obviously a very silly game that can end only one way, with a cry of "There can be only One!"

To hell with that noise. The only "side" I will chose is my own - within the bounds of conscience and Constitution. And I will selectively choose to donate power where it most effectively empowers me to mind my own business more effectively.

And I, for one, have no desire to replace a stern Daddy State with a disempowering Mommy State, as many committed liberals seem to consider the only possible alternative.

What about the simple idea of empowering people to simply take care of themselves? It may take tools, it may take systems, it may even require money - but what it does not take is being told what to do or jumping through hoops. Most of us are smart enough to do those things for ourselves, and those who are not are mostly able to find the help of someone who is. This leaves a vanishingly small percentage that does not require provisions that intrude upon everyone to ensure the minority have the minimum necessities.

The bottom line is this: Government must be of service to and of use to the people, or the people have every right to replace it with something that serves them better. Should it be so arrogant as to think there is an inherent right of power or position to impose itself on those it thinks weaker or inherently inferior, there will come a time when that assumption is brought to the test.

History tells us that it's best to forestall THAT outcome with a little humility.


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