Posts Tagged 'Deficit'

Napalm in the morning…

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

That was Robert Duvall’s famous line from Apocalypse Now.  We laughed nervously at Lt. Colonel Kilgore’s morbid craziness while we also stared at the wild, crazy eyes of Marlon Brando, playing Colonel Kurtz, a berserk officer living in a cave, who had gone over the deep end in the same movie.

I was somehow reminded of that movie as I watched and listened to John Boehner this morning as he tried to explain why he couldn’t successfully arm wrestle enough members of his own party into voting for his Plan B.  A plan devised by folks who apparently had skipped arithmetic in first grade.  A plan that offered to microscopically increase taxes on folks making over a million dollars while, maybe inadvertently, also raise taxes on a few million poor folks.  Such a deal.

Eric Cantor, majority leader and Boehner’s Sancho Panza, stood next to the Speaker and, when his turn in the barrel came, told us how the Republicans had fought hard to maintain fiscal sanity while the Democrats simply didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation.  Then he quickly stepped aside, exited stage left, and went home for the holidays.

Speaker Boehner, looking like he needed some emergency time in the tanning booth, then took questions from the press.  “Mr. Speaker, now that you weren’t able to corral enough of your own party to pass your own Plan B, and since all of your members are headed for the airport, what are you going to do next to keep us from going off the fiscal cliff?”

Rising majestically to his full political height, a smile appeared on his face not unlike that of a kid who has no way out other than to tell the truth, and said “God only knows.”  For the first time ever, I actually almost believed him.

The Speaker knows the solution but can’t bring himself to say it.  To say it means that he will have failed to satisfy the Colonel Kilgores and Colonel Kurtzes of the Republican party.  The crazies who have hijacked the party and are holding it hostage until he and we agree to their every demand.  Holding a gun to their own heads like Cleavon Little did in Blazing Saddles.  The crazies who, like the NRA’s gun-toting national icon Charlton Heston, will never let a tax hike be pried from their cold, dead hands.

The same crazies worship Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, who earlier had promised to provide constructive suggestions that would stem the mass killings of first graders.  In satisfaction of that pledge he offered these remarks at today’s NRA news conference…

America has left its school children utterly defenseless.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Put an armed police officer in every school.

Laws that declare school zones as “Gun Free” actually entice killers to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

He criticized Congress for not having established a national data base of the mentally ill (he did not, however, offer to be first on its list.)

How does one deal with crazies?  First, you convince the vast majority of our citizens that the crazies are indeed crazy.  We’ve already done that, in spades.

Second, you refuse to deal with the crazies on their terms.  We’re doing that.

Third, you replace the crazies.  We’ve done some of that but another opportunity will come up in 2014.

Yes, the fiscal cliff is ten days away.  As the venerable George W. Bush once said “bring ’em on.”  If we do that, here’s what will happen.

Sane folks, including a bunch of Republicans, will realize that the sake of the country is more important than Grover Norquist, The Tea Party, and Wayne LaPierre.  They will band together with enough votes to pass legislation that will lead to fiscal sanity and put a severe dent in mass murders.

Until then, get used to the smell of napalm in the morning.

Robert Duvall

Muscle bound

Dick Shawn, who died on-stage in 1987, was one of my favorite actors and comedians.  His role in The Producers as the flower-power-hippie cast as the lead in Springtime for Hitler was classic.

Perhaps less well-known was Dick’s stand-up routine as a muscle-bound weight lifter.  Proud of his bigger than life physique, he was asked by his mother “So what good are big muscles?”  Stumped for an answer, he stumbled around giving inane responses to this simple question.

I was reminded of Dick’s routine as I watched the debate last night.  The first question posed by a young college student was “So, how are you going to create more jobs?”  Smiling as he stared into the young man’s eyes, Mitt attempted to lay out the specifics of his job creation plan.  Only there were none.  Dick Shawn had risen.

Next came a question from a motherly middle-aged woman.  “I understand that you want to simplify the tax code and give everyone a 20% tax cut.  And that you want to balance that cut by limiting deductions.  How will your plan impact my home mortgage deduction, charitable contributions and the deduction for  my kids’ college tuition.”  Mitt smiled and flexed his big muscles.  Dick Shawn was having a hell of a night.

When the debate took on the issue of women in the workplace, the two contenders tried their best to become the champion of the fairer sex.  Obama cited his signature support for the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay for equal work legislation and for Planned Parenthood’s myriad of services.  Mitt muted his promise to de-fund Planned Parenthood and chose to ignore his running mate’s vote against the Ledbetter legislation.  He instead cited his search for qualified women while Governor of Massachusetts.

When his closest advisers were incapable of identifying women for his cabinet, he said “Well, gosh, can’t we find some women that are also qualified?”  He was then presented with “whole binders full of women.”  With big muscles, I’m sure.

Another questioner asked “How will Mr. Romney’s presidency differ from that of George W. Bush?”  Mitt lamented Mr. Bush’s budget busting wars, crossed his heart and promised never to do that again.  Obama noting that in spite of his other failings Mr. Bush had never proposed Medicare vouchers, proceeded to chastise Mitt’s vaporous health plan, a scheme that according to a new study by the Kaiser Foundation would cause six in ten Medicare recipients to pay higher premiums.

And so it went.  In the end we were treated to interviews with ten undecided voters who had been gathered together in the studio to observe the debate.  The moderator asked  “So, now that you’ve seen the debate, which of you will be voting for Mr. Romney?”  One hand went up.  “And which of you will be voting for Mr. Obama?”  One hand went up.

The other eight were obviously living in some alternative universe.  Maybe looking for some guy with bigger muscles.

What a Bunch of Bozos We Are

I see where the Congressional Supercommittee that was punted the job of deficit reduction is, big surprise, at a loss about what to do about it.  Duh.

I also note that the disparity between the haves and have-nots is greater than it was when Dickens wrote Oliver Twist.  At least we had soup kitchens and comfy debtors’ prisons back then.  Now all we get is the pronouncement from Herr Herman that poor folks got into trouble because they were too lazy or too stupid to do anything about it.  In his scholarly opinion they, like he, should simply grope their way to the top (or to the bottom depending on your point of view.)

Additionally, I congratulate the Republicans for doing a masterful job rewriting history.  Obliterated, after little more than two years, are the memories of how we got into this mess.  Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars, wildly imaginative regulation dismantling and an unpaid-for-grab-bag drug program for old folks are but ancient myths vaguely remembered only by those who are presently protesting by sitting in front of Goldman Sachs, the Bank of America and Libbey Bowl.   Most of the rest of us are positive that this whole thing is Obama’s fault along with the sinking of the Titanic.  Short term memory impairment run amok.

As if that weren’t enough, our priorities also seem to be a bit skewed.  A New York congressman gets booted from public life for taking photos of his dick while Republicans are ready to anoint a masher who wants to enshrine his wanger on the ten-dollar bill.  Or maybe a $9 bill to go along with his remarkable Alice in Wonderland tax proposal.

But let’s not pick on Herr Herman.  He’s in excellent company along with Social Security privatizers, let-the-old-folks-eat-cake Medicare demolishers, child vaccines will kill you advocates, global warming naysayers, debt default or die lunatics, and God will save us crazies.  Even Mitt Romney, once the voice of a modicum of moderation, has donned the one-size-fits-all mantle of “Hey, I’m as nutty as they are…so vote for me.”  No statement is too ludicrous and no act too perverse for this group of Keystone Kops.  The end justifies the means.  Assaulting and capturing the Oval Office like Kamikaze pilots requires sacrifice, even if it’s our sacrifice not theirs.

So back to the Congressional Supercommittee.  Democrats, being the fools that they are, assumed that Republicans, being the crazies they are, would come to their senses.  The Party of No would become the Party of Maybe.  Laughing all the way to the bank, the Republicans could point to the twelve bazillion dollars in entitlement cuts they grabbed in return for twelve cents of tax increases reluctantly imposed on the 1% of the population owning 50% of the country.  But no, the Party of No never met a tax increase they liked.  All or nothing.  Never ones to learn from history, the Dems would repeat it and fold.  Business as usual.

As for me, I’m going to switch parties and vote for Herman in the primary.  I’ve always wanted to see a sitting President carted off to jail right after his inauguration for groping Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Then we can get the President we really deserve.  Sarah Palin.


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