Posts Tagged 'fiscal cliff'

Stick ’em up

When I was nine I lived in a Chicago semi-tenement where my whole world was the one block area surrounding our building.  My closest buddies, Alan and Alfred, joined me daily in hide-and-seek, softball in the alley, setting fire to things, and playing cops and robbers.

In addition to our motley assortment of beat up baseballs, a make shift hand-me-down chemistry set and stubs of colored chalk that occasionally aggravated the neighbors, we had those not-so-real cap guns that looked like they belonged in Gene Autry’s holster.  The cheaper guns required us to laboriously place one paper cap at a time in the little slot just ahead of the firing pin.  The more expensive instruments of mass destruction let you put a whole roll of paper caps in the gun and then hope that it wouldn’t jam as we pointed our gats at each other and said stick-em-up.  We usually blasted each other even if we obeyed that order.  And then we went home for lunch.

I was recently reminded of my childhood cops and robbers as I listened to the contest between those who think Obamacare is worth trying, and those who would sooner turn us into a dead beat creditor than allow the law an even shake.

Republicans, who undoubtedly possess the automated cap guns of my youth, have yelled stick-em-up and waved an array of mind numbing ransom demands.  The Democrats, one-cap-at-a-time users, are standing by waiting for the Republicans to run out of caps before using the one cap left in their arsenal.

Holding the nation hostage while insisting that their demands be met reminds me of Cleavon Little, the black sheriff in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles.  Arriving as the new Sheriff Bart in the wild west town of Rock Ridge, populated by a majority of moronic racists, he is confronted by drawn guns and a less than admiring populace.  Sensing his imminent demise, Cleavon pulls his own six-gun, holds it to his own head, and threatens to kill himself if his adversaries don’t give up.  Confused by the display, the bad guys back off.  I always thought this was pretty funny until I watched Speaker Boehner pull the same stunt just the other day.

Convinced that the Democrats will, as usual, back off and give ground, Boehner has capitulated to the Tea Party crazies who are holding guns to their own heads.  Assured of continued job security through gerrymandered districts and terrified of primary challenges by an even worse right-winged zealot, House Republicans are perfectly content to demand unquestioning fealty to their every demand.  Or, bang you’re dead.

Sensing that the defunding ransom demand may not be quite politically correct, the House has apparently replaced it with a new wish list of unsavory pronouncements, including a one year delay of Obamacare.  That’s just enough time for the Koch brothers to invest a zillion bucks on sadly juvenile ads similar to the recent one sponsored by them showing Uncle Sam (looking a great deal like Donald Trump) leering up the skirts of a young coed who was foolish enough to sign up for Obamacare.  Poor, deluded girl.

It matters not one whit that Obamacare was passed by Congress, was used successfully to defeat its reborn antagonist Mitt Romney, and finally upheld by the Supreme Court.  Better to continue to wage a battle already lost by threatening to shut down the government and default on obligations already committed to.  Better to keep firing caps until the other side hollers ya got me.

Mel Brooks claims that his idea of the scene in Blazing Saddles of cowboys sitting around the campfire and farting came from watching lots of westerns where cowpokes seemed to always be drinking coffee and eating beans.  Mel assumed that this caused great waves of bloated gas that must have been freely expelled as they sat around and mused about life on the open range.

It’s too bad that Mel had to go all the way to Texas when the same kind of farting around happens daily in Washington, D.C.

Cleavon Little

Too little, too late

I love the smell of urine in the morning.

OK, so I’ve mangled Robert Duvall’s famous line in Apocalypse Now. It seemed appropriate given the recent, but thankfully abating, attention focused by CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and the Jewish Daily Forward on that smelly Carnival Cruise Line floating toilet called the Triumph.

You’d have thought that the disabled ship was overrun by zombies devouring guests one by one as they emerged unfulfilled from their attempt to gorge themselves at the midnight buffet. But let’s look at the bright side…at least they were saved from those repetitive, overpriced, dockside shopping sprees in any number of overrated ports of call.

And if your week wasn’t satisfying enough, you were treated to a soliloquy of brain farts emanating from the newest stand-in for our sorely missed Majesty of the Ludicrous, Sarah Palin. Yes, Texas junior Senator Ted Cruz, darling of the musket wielding Tea Party, has cleverly gained the frontrunner position for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination by accusing that poor shlep, Chuck Hagel, of consorting with any number of America’s enemies including the North Koreans, Iranians and others who broadly support Sponge Bob and the Kardashian sisters. For those who yearn for the glory days of Joe McCarthy, your wish has been granted.

But things are now back to normal…nine days before Sequester. The Sequester, another manufactured opportunity for our elected representatives to once more save us from the Fiscal Cliff. An opportunity for them to recklessly do what they’ve had over a year to address in a less maniacal way. Another potential feather in their caps as they save us from a cataclysm manufactured by them and abetted by those of us who elected Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and any number of self-appointed patriots who choose to wave the flag while the rest of us go down with the ship.

I have no idea where the term Sequester came from to describe the ham-handed approach embodied in the legislation that Congress and the President so gleefully adopted more than a year ago. So I looked it up in my now defunct Funk and Wagnalls…to put somebody in an isolated or lonely place away from other people, the pressures of everyday life, or possible disturbances.

Perfect. An apt description of the legislation and of those entrusted with mismanaging our affairs of state. Whodathunk it? When they conjured up the Sequester they laughed all the way to the Capitol cafeteria and said “No one in their right mind would let this go on to its ultimate conclusion. No one could be so crass to think we won’t do our public duty. No one would think we’d risk igniting a new recession. No one would think we’d…or would they?”

Maybe it’s all for the best. Maybe Rand Paul and his look-alikes are right when they say damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead. Slash and burn. Lookee here, they say…”Why it’s what every American family has to do when their income doesn’t meet their outgo. They cut back, don’t they?” Well, Mr. Paul, you’re right. They do cut back. But they sit down around the kitchen table, look at their alternatives and make decisions based on what’s important. They look at the consequences. Then they do what’s in the best interests of their family.

But this time things have reached a zenith of contempt for the public. At least for the 47% despised by Mr. Romney and his cohorts. Republicans will have taken the next big step in dismantling government. They will be praised for the continuing demise of public education. They will be showered with plaudits for their mantra that insists that poor people have no one to blame but themselves. They will be congratulated for protecting the rich at the expense of those whose jobs will be eliminated. They will be praised for their refusal to compromise, for their insistence that even more needs to be done, for their proclamation that sacrificing the parents now saves the children later.

I’m no big fan of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal who will go down in history for his recent plea to his fellow Republicans “let’s stop being the stupid party.” Alas, Bobby. Too little, too late, too many fanatics who thrive on defeat.

To Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal…it’s too late to wake up and smell the roses. If the electorate has half a brain, you’d better get used to urine in the morning.

Sequesterhands


Pages

Recent Comments