A sum total of nothing

I just read my worst nightmare in The Huffington Post: Sarah Palin is about to announce her candidacy for President.

Just a few months ago I thought that reality had intruded enough that this would never happen.  I guess I need constant reminders that we in the U.S. are being forced to deal with an alternate reality day after day in this era, the one that says that Sarah and the Teabaggers have a point and purpose.

What brought this home was what happened during a visit with friends a few months back, in which these otherwise intelligent — but, both of them, government-subsidy-dependent at this point in their lives — told me with serious faces that “Sarah Palin has more qualifications to be President than does Barack Obama.”  I told them “no, the only thing she has is whiter skin than Obama.”  They did not disagree. They don’t turn down their unemployment/disability checks either, and they don’t seem to realize that Sarah is against any such aid.  There’s just a total blind spot here caused by Sarah’s white skin.

Therein lies the basis for this alternate reality.  There is nothing else.

I’m a little short on time today, but sometime this weekend I’ll write a list of Sarah’s “accomplishments” and qualifications for high office.  It may be quite short or it may be quite long; either way, it will be full of shit — because it can’t be full of anything else.

See you later.

The Sound of Bubbles Bursting

First of all, a note to those of us in a certain section of northeastern IL: Brock Merck is real.  Bad news is that he is a politician.  He was a Green Party candidate for some county office, but oddly enough, among his Facebook likes are the NRA and a few other associations I really don’t much care for in politicians.

Why do I mention this?  Because for the past year or so, mysterious “handwritten” cardboard signs have been appearing on front lawns and on roadsides proclaiming: “Who is Brock Merck?”  Save Us, Brock Merck!” and finally “Vote for Brock Merck!”

Like just about everyone else, I thought Hollywood had gone to a new way or promoting upcoming movies, or at least some video-game vendor had thought up a bizarre new way of promoting a game.  So I refused to mention it or even Google the name for a long time, until Monday.  It was then that I found out that Brock Merck does exist, and that he’s some kind of political wannabe — like I said, running for the Green Party, but with odd associations for someone of that ilk.  To put it mildly, I’d say he likes his tea green.

It’s no matter.  He lost big time, and I’m now waiting for a sign I’m sure we will never see: “Bye-Bye Brockie.”  Or how about this: “Brock Merck: It Didn’t Work.”

Anyway…

I’m sure everyone’s hanging their heads over the fact that the Republicans won the House, wringing their hands over the “fact” that Obama is sooooo unpopular that he lost the Democrats this election, and blah, blah, blah.  But let me tell you this — remember my offer yesterday to turn this blog into a faux right-wing blabberplace if enough teabaggers won their elections?  Ain’t gonna happen, at least not yet.  Here’s why:

(1) After merrily waving goodbye to many (but not all) of the Craziest of the Crazy, such as Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, I sorta wish there had been a teabagger sweep of Capitol Hill.  Why?  Because it would have GUARANTEED Obama a second term as President.  Why am I saying such a thing?  Because nothing worse could happen to a teabagger than being elected.  Think about it.

(2) Haven’t the teabaggers fixed the economy yet?  I mean, it’s been a whole 17 hours since the polls closed.  We can ride them on that one for the next 2 years!

(3) Yet once more I was forced to listen in on a teabagger radio show the day before election day.  Let me tell you, host and callers were positively giddy about the prospect of taking over Washington.  They didn’t.  So today I’m betting the talk is all about the election was stolen and various nefarious schemes on the part of the Democrats to do just that.  I did hear tell of one asshole in New York who was threatening his victorious Democratic opponent with…get this…a baseball bat. Charming.

(4) Have the teabaggers gutted healthcare reform yet?  We’re waiting, ‘cuz let me tell you: the moment they do, it will be the end of them.

(5) Finally, just a thought for any teabagger who’s still feeling giddy in spite of it all: the results of this election were pretty standard for midterm elections, and perhaps below expectations (for the teabaggers, that is) for a midterm election in the midst of a lousy economy. There was no grand sweep of a broom, just a noticeable nudge. 

That’s reality.  Get over it.

The Stupid Makes Your Head Hurt, Part II

All you need to do is watch this:

Stoopalaooza

These are interviews with a few of the attendees of Beck’s Weepfest (a.k.a. Stoopapaloosa) last Saturday.

By the time you finish watching it, you should be terrified.  It’s apparent that even though these critters are far from a majority, we still have far too many people in this country who are out of contact with reality because they have been brainwashed by Fox News.  Note that none of these people could coherently answer questions about their beliefs.  None of them.  Not even if they wrote the answers on their hands (which none of them did, but you catch my drift).  Most speak as if they have been force-fed platitudes and when prodded, the platitudes just spill out of their mouths in no particular order, kind of like parrots sitting in cages muttering gibberish.

Now I remember why I usually never watch this stuff: this literally made my head hurt.  But I do believe more than ever that Fox News needs to be investigated, for whatever reason can be found.  They are tearing this country apart, idiot by idiot.  And we have too many idiots for them to be allowed to do that.

I have a nightmare!

An independent estimate is now in: instead of the 100,000-300,000 estimated to have been at Beck’s Weepfest, a.k.a. Stupapalooza, there were perhaps only about 87,000.

I assume those are the ones who can still afford cable.

Of course, the right-wing mouthpiece blogs and “news outlets” are chortling that this low estimate is “ridiculous,” but you gotta stop to consider that even the high estimate of 300,000 is far short of the estimated 1.5 million who apparently flooded the streets of D.C. for Obama’s inauguration, and who definitely weren’t shipped there in busses funded by some shadowy Teabagger millionaire.

Anyway, this Weepfest managed none of the promised miracles or history, but instead just a display of Who the Lunatics Are.  Sarah Palin (this was not a political event, mind you) shamefully hid behind the uniform on her eldest child — one that apparently got there “or else” after he was caught vandalizing a fleet of school busses…or so the story goes; as with everything shady involving the Palins, this one’s impossible to verify.

Instead of verbalizing a dream for the U.S., Beck shamefully wrapped Jesus in the U.S. flag and presented that sorry spectacle as a cure for all that is wrong with the (according to him) nightmarish U.S.  Yes, just about everything is wrong, starting with that black man in the White House, so sayeth The Beck.  Yet no tangible solutions were offered; possibly because no actual problems were addressed outside of several imaginary ones floating about in one bloated head.  No one even seemed really clear on what the rally was about, for crying out loud.

This is, folks, what No Hope and No Change looks like.  Lovely, ain’t it?  More accurately, this is an example of corporate event-creation.  You know, sort of like those fake fads they try to manufacture before a kiddie or teen blockbuster movie comes out.  Fox News has turned Beck’s megalomania into a side business.

One of the King family showed up, I assume, for the money.  If you believe Beck’s claim that he didn’t realize that August 28 was the anniversary of Dr. King’s historic speech, there was no other reason for her to be there.  There were lots of other black people on the stage, and I’m sure there were grumblings of dismay in the audience.  Beck’s gotta be careful with those whom he is courting as he may just manage to get on their wrong side yet in a big way.  He already did, in fact, when he told them to stop going to churches that spoke in liberal code — you know, “social justice” and all that crap like the stuff Dr. King constantly spoke about.  But the outrage didn’t last.

This is what I’m hoping: that he will eventually find a way to show his true self in a manner that even the Teabaggers can’t deny.  That is to say, he will show himself to be just another corporate-funded shill with a massive ego, who is costing them money.  Because that’s all he is.

An Interview with President-Elect Palin

Author’s note: this never happened.  God willing, it will never happen.  And before anyone gets furious, look up the word p-a-r-o-d-y.  This is what you are seeing here.

ME: During the campaign we heard very little about your energy policy.  Can you bring us up to speed?

PALIN: Well all I’m gonna say is that in this great country we have lots of natural resources for drillin and stuff.  We know we don’t need to worry about oil spills because Obama causes them and anyway there’s all those microby things that eat the oil for you so why do we worry?  It’s because of the liberal media.  I say drill baby drill, and spill baby spill!

ME: So we just drill and spill and that will solve all our energy problems?

PALIN: You betcha!  You gotta keep those little microbe thingies fed so a spill is no problem.  You know, this is what they say in South America, you know, in Texas, that this is good for free market and jobs and stuff.  No more need for those Middle-Eastern guys!

ME:  Um…okay.  Let’s talk about the economy.

PALIN: Well you know that the Democrats just wrecked it with all that socialism.

*pause*

ME: Yes?

PALIN: It’s oblivious that we have to do what is good for jobs and helping corporations and heathcare, which is good for the economy, and not this socialist stuff.  We have to make people freer to carry guns and, you know, get hospital care when they get shot.  Nobody telling you what to do!  You can carry a gun anywhere.  A free market lets us do that.  With socialism they tell you that you can’t have guns.

ME: Why are guns so important?

PALIN: They take them to Afghanistan, you know, our soldiers do, so they can shoot people because they get so out of line there and they don’t like us because we’re better militarily and we have strong family values.  That’s what keeps a nation together.  We need guns to keep us free from the government.

ME:  So you need a gun to protect you from yourself?

PALIN: (just stares)

ME: Let’s talk about your education.

PALIN: (flaring) Well I HAVE one.  These liberals are so STUPID.  They think I don’t have an education.  I studied journalism.

ME: Do you have a degree?

PALIN: Well of course I took college courses and I read stuff.

ME:  Okay…um…okay…let’s talk about the environment.

PALIN: What about it?

ME: What do you intend to do about pollution and global warming?

PALIN: We have to do what is best for our free market and or economy.  Global warming…well I’m not too understanding of it, you know?  I think most people are.  I don’t think there’s global warming or anything.  It’s cold up there in Alaska!  We’d know it if it wasn’t cold.

ME: Well, let’s change the subject entirely.  There is some concern that you may resign from your Presidency halfway through…

PALIN: (interrupting) That’s nonsense.  I intend to stay from my coronation day until I get crowned…I mean my crowning achievement.

ME: Your crowning achievement?

PALIN: To lead all the real Americans out of this terrible mess that Obama created with all the sinnin’ and Muslim stuff.  You know, the wars and the economy and all that.  You know us Mama Grizzlies are so worried about the future of my 4 children.

ME:  Real Americans?  Who are they?

PALIN:  MY Americans.  Not those other people who live in cities and the liberal media and want healthcare and environmental stuff.  I have a map of the Washington D.C. rail system that tells me what line not to take so I won’t have to look at those other people.  My kids will have Secret Service guys with them so they won’t be around those other people.

ME: You got that from Glenn Beck, right?

PALIN: Well, Glenn Beck’s a great American and he’s like the Statue of Liberty and you know, it was just parody.  I’m gonna have the Law Department get him out of jail for that gold-fraud thingie.  That was just some liberals who didn’t like him so they made up all these stories.  You know, that socialist-commie healthcare stuff: he made lots of money so they have to do mean stuff to him.  It’s the free market!  Don’t you want freedom?

ME: What?

PALIN: Oh, you know!  Now that I’m President I forgot what I was saying.

ME: (deliberates for a second) Wait a minute, a while back you said you have FOUR children?

PALIN:  Yeah, (counts on fingers)…oh I forgot.

ME: So anyway, you’re only the President of a minority of Americans?

PALIN: Oh, I’m the President of ALL Americans, you know, the people in small towns who have real values and work hard and don’t want to pay taxes that go to who-knows-what like education.

ME: Well, that’s obvious.  Let’s talk about your inauguration again…you called it a coronation?

PALIN: um..inauguration?  I thought I got a crown from the Supreme Court judge guys.  That’s a coronation!  I know that because I was in beauty pageants.

ME: It’s called an inauguration and you don’t get a crown, but you do get to swear on a Bible.

PALIN: Oh I do that all the time! (winks)

ME: Can I ask about the 24 gowns you ordered for the Inaugural Ball?

PALIN: That’s ridiculous!  I only ordered one.  The other 24 are for if the first one breaks.  It was all paid for by donations and the liberal lamestream media has such an agenda and can’t stop talking about things, you know, like they keep violating my freedom of speech that’s in the Constitution.

ME: (shakes head and sighs) You do know that it was designed by a French designer — Jean Paul Gaultier.  And it’s made out of white bread.

PALIN: (laughs)  Well I had to go to the East Coast, you know, because the West Coast illeftists are too racy for a President-type look.  Didn’t wanna be all plastic-surgery-ee and boob jobby.  Do like the 4-inch heels though!

ME: Um….isn’t it customary for most First Ladies and Presidents to wear clothes by U.S. designers as often as possible?

PALIN: Isn’t he American?  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

ME: Right.  On to other things.  What is your concept of governance?

PALIN: Excuse me?

ME: Um…let’s just ask what you think the President’s role is?

PALIN: Well to look over stuff and make sure things are done, like telling the Senate and Congress to stop being so liberally and goofy and the Department of Law to stop making things up just because they feel like it.  They shouldn’t be in government.  And I’ll outlaw abortion and get them to stop legislating morality.  You can’t make people be nice to people!  And I’ll make the media stop being mean to me.  And we can’t have taxes for anything.  There are too many taxes and Obama made more taxes.

ME: If we don’t have taxes, who pays your salary and who will pay for all those Secret Service guys for your children?

PALIN: (long silence)  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

ME:  What’s the Department of Law?

PALIN: You know, lawyers and stuff who judge things.

ME: (big sigh)  Let’s change the subject.  What are you going to do about the war in Afghanistan?

PALIN: Well I’ll have to get back to you on that one.  I think we can’t rule out bombing Pakistan and Iran and Iraq, and the country of Africa, you know, we have to do that too.

ME:  Do what?

PALIN: Well those people, you know, they have wars and stuff and then we have Putin rearing his head all over the place like I saw in Alaska and we just have to shoo the Russians out of our front yards and stuff, and then there’s the Chinese who are there, and all my kids doing stuff.  It’s a mess.

ME: (sighing) Let’s talk about the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Would you abolish it?

PALIN: Well no, because we can’t let states success out of the union!

ME: No, this was an agreement with Mexico and Canada.

PALIN: Well there you have it, two states that want to success the union and we can’t let them.

ME: Okay, let’s change the subject…some people say you left your position as Governor of Alaska because of looming scandals.  Are you concerned that this may become an issue during your Presidency?

PALIN: No.  The Department of Law will get rid of it for me so I can do the important things like being Mama Grizzly to the country, you know, the pit bull with lipstick.  We need a strong tough hockey mom who knows right from left and doesn’t think about anything.

ME: How do you see the United States in four years?

PALIN: Well we’ll be right and God fearing and God will give us money and the terrorists, we’ll be safe from them and we’ll be a shining beckon to the world except the terrorist guys.

ME: Okay…let’s talk about shorter-term plans.  You’re meeting with the Queen of England next month.  What are your plans for that visit?

PALIN: Well I think we’ll compare crowns.  (laughs)  And we’ll probably go shopping or something, you know, just girl stuff.

ME:  (taking a big deep breath) Let’s talk about your Vice President.

PALIN: Oh, my good friend Michelle!  She’s having the White House fumigated, you know, because those people just moved out.

ME: Yes.  Some people are concerned about her sanity.

PALIN: Well that’s just the liberal media again.  I mean, how did that hopey changey thing work for them?  It didn’t work better than no hopey changey.  So they’re all mad and calling poor Michelle crazy.  Well, I’ll show you crazy!

ME:  I’ll bet you will.  Thank you, Ms. President.

PALIN: That’s Mrs., you betcha!  (winks)

She Said What?

“Dr. Laura:don’t retreat…reload!” etc. etc.

Of course, this is the wisdom of the Wasilla Windbag, if you hadn’t already guessed, or read it somewhere else. The rest of Windbag’s Tweet was something I’d never guess a woman in her mid-40’s would write.  It looked a little more like a tweet from a tweener whining to her friends about a mean teacher in school.

The thing that’s being missed by most people is that Dr. Laura was long overdue for retirement anyway, and no one’s violating her “Constitutional rights” unless you want to consider that perhaps Helen Thomas’s rights may also have been violated when she was forced into (massively overdue) retirement after making an unpopular statement about Israel. I never heard about the Windbag tweeting supportively in reference to Thomas’s unfortunate remarks.  Instead, I reckon she probably hinted that Thomas’s statements proved that Obama is a secret Muslim.  Odd, isn’t it.

Whatever Dr. Laura’s point was…and I still can’t quite figure that out…she violated civility.  The Constitution doesn’t take that issue on, but living in a society reasonably and peacefully does. The two issues, in my mind, are not related.

Another thing that’s being missed by most people is this: Sarah Palin has said some of the most idiotic things ever and no one ever violates her Constitutional rights as far as free speech is concerned. So what is she, some kind of eternal exception?  No.  She’s just stupid.  And she’s free to be stupid.  People are even free to admire her for being stupid.  But that doesn’t take away the fact that she’s stupid.  While we’re at it, let’s just mention “rude” and “bully” in the bargain.  “Bitch” isn’t out of the question, either. Am I violating her Constitutional rights by saying that?  No.  She’d be violating mine if she objected, according to her own rules.

And that’s all that happened here: Dr. Laura violated rules of civility, even by her own standard.  Sarah Palin has no standards unless her own feeling are being hurt.  Dr. Laura did not hurt Sarah Palin’s feelings; therefore Sarah claims that Dr. Laura is being oppressed by “them” who are violating Dr. Laura’s Constitutional rights.

Nice rules if you can follow them.

An objection

The veils over some Muslim women’s faces present a problem for those on the extreme left.  Somehow the same people who rightfully see oppression of women as a crime don’t see this particular oppression of women as a problem at all.  In fact, according to them, anyone who notices the veils is a flaming racist and is intolerant of religious expression.  Interesting.

The same veils present a problem for those on the extreme right because by objecting to the veils, the wingnuts are effectively striking a blow for women’s rights as much as they are striking a blow against Islam (or a certain form of it).  Yikes!  God forbid!

As usual, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I’ve been told more than once by Muslim women that the veils are indeed a symbol of oppression and have more to do with specific cultures than with the religion itself.  (That makes sense; all religions are nothing more than extensions of cultures.  For example, the Roman Catholic Church is nothing but a latter-day extension of the long-defunct Roman Empire — note their continuing problems coping with the modern world as well as their problems coping with the actual teachings of Jesus.)

The fact is that even if I hadn’t been told that by Muslim women, I have problems with not being able to see people’s faces.  At the very least, veils must make it hard to do simple things like drive a car or eat in a restaurant.  For some, finding employment becomes hard: I once worked with a Muslim woman who became upset with our company because it could not provide an all-female office where she could remove her veil. I don’t know if she went the civil-rights route, but I do know that eventually she left.

Such people have to deal with a simple fact that this is not the norm in the society in which they now reside.  I see this as no different from people who live in this country for decades but refuse to learn English.  By doing that, they are isolating and limiting themselves.  No number of screams of “discrimination!” will change that simple fact.  By remaining on the outside, you remain on the outside.  Period.

What brought this to mind?  I was shopping the other day when I came across a group of women, one of them with her face heavily veiled.  I just glanced at her and then went back to my shopping.  Next thing I knew, she was asking me some question about an item — what I thought about it, I guess.  No doubt she noticed my glance.  The fact is, by making oneself obvious, one becomes keenly aware of the reactions of others.  Being left alone is not an option, particularly if you catch someone looking at you for even a split second.  Think of the teenager with the piercing in her nose, for instance.  It’s not there so no one will notice.

I appreciated this effort to reach through the veil, but could not get over the fact that I was speaking to cloth.  Hidden faces bother us Westerners.  It’s a gut reaction due to tradition that goes way, way back to the Dark Ages: covered faces hint at threat.  In some places in the U.S. one cannot drive with a Halloween mask on — or even a face mask in cold weather.  And if you walk into a shopping mall with some sort of mask on…well try it and see how long you last.

Yes, there have been passing fashions for veils and we have in the fairly recent past veiled our widows; we still veil our brides.  Until about 40 years ago, nuns were mountains of black, brown or white cloth; some still are  — however, they have never covered their faces.  (Please note that I am not referring to head scarves, which are worn not only by Muslims but by devout Jews.   Even the rare Christians, such as the Amish, wear head gear.)

This was a young woman heavily covered in black from head to toe; her face invisible.  To me, it was weird.  I wasn’t rude to her, but was brisk and cool.  Looking at the face of oppression — whether it is felt by the oppressed or not — does that to me.

This sort of garb has no place in the U.S.  Nor will it.  As I’ve said in the past, all attempts to bring the “old country” to the new eventually fail.  As a woman, I’d like to see this one fail fast.