Saturday, December 22, 2012

Common Sense
by James the History Cat

James, a connoisseur of history.
In human history, ignorance has
never resulted in bliss.
Once again this country is in mourning.  Somehow it is always the most vulnerable among us that bear the brunt of our ignorance.  When Thomas Paine needed to wake up a group of confused and disoriented victims of misguided power, he published an argument called 'Common Sense'.  It was the pivotal turning point in American politics.  He began his exhortation by saying, "a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right".  We are about to undergo another painful and vindictive national argument about gun control, mental illness, government health care and individual rights.  As is our habit, we will once again fail to move against that which we have been taught to believe is right.  We will not recognize superficiality.  Not unless we use common sense.

Thomas Paine was an 'enlightened' radical
who felt that Church and State were a single
corrupt organization that did not act in the
best interests of the people.  In his day it was
believed that God placed a King upon his throne,
and to criticize one was to criticize the other.
We call this a Christian country because the majority of the voting populace call themselves Christians. There is a strong tendency for believers to feel about political issues the way they feel about their religious tenets; that there is no room for compromise, and that the principles governing each issue are somehow related to pleasing and serving The Almighty.  God and Country have philosophically become one.  So compromise on gun legislation means a slippery slope to one day not being able to defend God's America from people who want to destroy our freedoms, and therefore there can be no movement but forward. There exists a whole raft of fear-filled reasoning greasing that slope, but I think you get the idea.

How A Bill Becomes A Law, Step 1
The First Amendment provides for the right of the people
"to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
In this scenerio, a manufacturer of 'Widgets' is grieved by
international trade restrictions, tax liabilities, and environ-
mental restrictions burdening his manufacturing processes.
He exercises his right to petition for change by appoaching
an elected official whom he feels may be sensitive to his needs.
What we actually value is money and power. If you follow the money, you can determine the true motivation of anything.  Special interests have spent ample time and resources molding and marketing specific issue-related fears and selling them to you as your own.   Critical thinking requires careful thought, and it challenges sacred icons.  It is a painful process, and one we have abandoned for a more palatable diet of quick sound bites and biased media commentary.  Prepackaged philosophies render voters emotionally content and keep political lobbies in business.
How A Bill Becomes A Law, Step 2.
Having come to a philosophical agreement,
the Widget entrepeneur feels grateful for the
heartfelt concern of his selected government
representative, and suggests legal methods
whereby he can express his gratitude.  It is
in everyone's interest if Mr. Widget's
government ally stays in political office.

The problem is not gun control.  It is our inability to hold two or more seemingly opposing thoughts in our head at one time.   It is not being willing to compromise on anything. It is not accepting common sense legislation because we are told it conflicts with quasi-religious political dogma.  This is why our children are vulnerable, not just to guns, but to every potential danger that a profit-driven political policy can produce.

How A Bill Becomes A Law, Step 3.
As time passes business increases, as does
Mr. Widget's political needs, and the cost of
his political patronage.  Protective legislation  

is required.  In certain aspects of
American life, Widgets become too big to fail.
Eventually we cannot imagine life without
Special interest organizations hire psychologists and political strategists to determine key arguments that will motivate 'uniformed voters'.  What a compliment to the American voting public, that rich self-promoting people rely on the support of an ignorant, lazy and fearful populace that can no longer discern ethical truth.  I like to think that one day we will prove them wrong.

How A Bill Becomes A Law, Step 4
Paid professionals determine how the voting public should feel about Widgets.
If Widget popularity is properly linked to God and Country, a patriotic populace
will vote Widget, and be willing to fight and die for Widgets.

"And here, without anger or resentment I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be, in your turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America."
-Thomas Paine, 'Common Sense'

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Fantasy
by Emma X

Emma X
I just love the Christmas stories
you humans tell each other.
A revolution is an expensive undertaking.  I believe I have made that point before.  But still felines ask me, why are you so concerned with human politics?  The answer is simple; in order to plan and execute The Revolution on the scale we have imagined, we have to make the best use of monetary resources.   We have invested our money the way human corporations do, with our fortunes rising and falling on the natural swell of free enterprise helped along by well-greased skids.  We are present in visible and not so visible global transactions.  One might say that we are using the machinations of a corrupt system to bring about its own downfall, much like the workings of the U.S. Congress.  In short, we are in the markets.
Blackwater Security did not discriminate
among species; if you had money to spend, your
 cause was righteous. 

This was a strategy that worked well in the Bush years, when laissez faire was the password and no one was checking extra cartons on arms deals.  If whole truckloads of cash could 'go missing' in Iraq you can imagine that a few extra shipments of weapons could be redirected for a few well-placed dollars. And investments in the war machine yielded a very cozy war chest.  Oh, those were heady days.

John Boehner's biggest opposition is not from
across the aisle, but from inside his own party.
His Speakership may be on the line.

But today it appears that we are headed for a fiscal cliff.  It might be a fiscal slope, or fiscal 2% grade.  Who cares?  World markets are emotional things, and the mere fact that the economic state of the world is in the control of petulant and emotional third graders masquerading as government officials is enough to send investments into a downward spiral.  Things aren't looking good.

Speaker Boehner says that Obama's tax proposals are
 a 'Christmas Fantasy'.  Taxing rich people and leaving
 entitlements intact will release flying velociraptors from
their murky lairs, ending freedom as we know it.

So what is John Boehner doing?  Most polls show that about 60 to 70% of Americans want a compromise and will accept certain tax increases. The economy appears to be slowly but steadily improving.  Most centrist Republican politicians and pundits have publicly stated that the party should accept a tax raise for the upper 2% in exchange for spending cuts yet to be named, and everyone should go home and enjoy their eggnog.  But sadly, Speaker Boehner cannot control his own caucus, and Tea Party conservatives are keeping everyone from away from Christmas cheer.

Republican Grinches.
Tim Huelskamp (R) KS,
and Justin Amash (R) MI
were removed from the
House Budge Committee
this week.
David Scherikert (R) AZ
was removed from the
House Financial Services
Committee.  All stood by
their convictions to not
allow tax increases, thus
blocking the Speaker's
attempts at compromise
within his own party.

Concerned Republican leaders made examples of hard core 'no tax' House Representatives blocking a possible compromise.  The result was a minor revolt against Boehner's leadership.  The Speaker will come up for re-election on January 3rd.  Will he sacrifice his own Speakership for the common good, or will he allow the American to go over the much-touted fiscal cliff in an attempt to save his own career?

Eric Kantor took advantage of Boehner's
delicate position within a divided Republican
Party to quietly suggest that he might make a
better House Speaker.  Yep, Its beginning to

look a lot like Christmas in Washington.

Meanwhile Boehner publicly blames the President for a lack of  compromise.  That might just be the case.  The Democrats hold the advantage here.  If America goes over the proverbial cliff, taxes automatically go up for everyone. While they are clearly not comfortable with the situation, they know full well that the Republicans are losing the  PR battle on this one, so where is any incentive?

An evil President Obama is using all of his
dark tricks to subjugate the American financial
system and bend it to his will.  That's Boehner's
story, and he's sticking to it.

Ode To The Fiscal Cliff
A Holiday Poem by Emma X

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through The House
Hung deals and strategies worthy of Faust.
The economy hung by the breath of a hair
In hope of a compromise out of thin air.

The opinion of voters was given short shrift.
Ahead loomed the monster, the Fiscal Big Cliff,
And in House Committees there rose such a clatter
that common sense fled, and no longer did matter.

John Boehner remarked with his last cogent breath,
 The raising of taxes?  Political Death!But still he's aware that the country is waiting,
With Congress' approval at 10% rating.

So Boehner continues to dance on the edge
Of a self-made, self-righteous political ledge,
While we deck the halls with paper mache
Hangings made out of our 401K.

They'll solve it you say, no 'ifs', 'ands' or 'buts',
But people, remember that Congress is nuts!
We sent them to govern with little reserve.
Whatever the outcome, its one we deserve.

Too doubtful, you say?  They will make it all right!Well, o.k. Dear Fluffy, you just sit there tight.
In just a few weeks, regardless of feeling
These same folks will have to discuss the debt ceiling.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Its a Wonderful Life Anyway
by Mittens Romney

Mittens Romney, Mitt Romney's cat.
Overcome life's disappointments
by continuing to pursue your bliss.
Hi everybody!  It's me, Mittens.  I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to ask about me after Mitt's devastating loss in the Presidential run.  I am just fine, thank you, and so is Bainsy.  Sure, we are a little disappointed; we saw the White House Christmas trees on TV and were already planning our race to the top of each one next year.  But I guess in this family a race to the top is history.  Life goes on.
Reaching the top is every cat's dream,
but alas it was not to be.

I wouldn't have minded being first kitten, and I did tell Bainsy that we could chase the rabbits in Mrs. Obama's back yard garden before they plowed it up to plant subsidized corn, but no one should feel sorry for us.  We have a wonderful life with more exciting adventures ahead of us.

In this post election environment only Obama thought
that Mitt might have some valid input.  I don't think he
was rubbing Mitt's nose in it, but Mitt felt like that was
the case anyway.

Mitt had lunch at the White House with 'deep pockets' Obama last week, and I heard him tell Ann that it was a hovel compared to what the California house will look like when he is done renovating.  She will be able to take Rafalca up to her own French Provincial third floor stall with the car elevator.  So see?  No worries here.

From time to time I do feel guilty though, because I sometimes think that if I hadn't given Mitt some bad advice he may have fared better in the polls.  On the other hand, he was naive enough to take it.  Perhaps the country is better off. Cripes, it was just a few silly goofs.  Who knew brown people were so sensitive? I wish he would get over it.
Republicanism is a religion that shuns failure.
Mitt is devastated that he has been sent into the
same political exile as 'he who cannot be named'.

I think he is less upset with me though than he is with the Republican Party generally. He really expected to win...he really did.  And when he didn't he thought, well, he would be sort of the ex post facto Party Leader, and they would all come to comfort him and commiserate with him and ask him for sage advice.  He may even have thought they would start to plan the 2016 run.  But they have dropped him completely. I mean its as if he personally wrote the definition of 'legitimate rape'.  Even I have to say that these are truly unfeeling people.  I will admit that I was no help when I inadvertently left my iPad in the living room and Mitt found out that Bobby Jindal has been texting me every day.

Bobby Jindal is testing political
 waters and reaching out for
support.  He may be more naive
than Mitt about race.  Bobby be-
lieves that the same old white men
 that spent hundreds of millions to
extracate Obama from the White
 House will be eager to see him go
 in.  I can't wait to go to work on
his exploratory committee.
So in the first few weeks Mitt said screw them all.  He said screw Michigan.  He all but bought that state and they didn't carry him.  He  went out and aquired a new Audi Q7.  It's a really bitchin' ride. Those Bratislavans can really put together a car,  and as soon as I can teach Bainsy how to press on the gas pedal with a two by four we're going to put that baby through some paces.  And even though he lost Mitt went to Disney World anyway. That's thinking outside the box!  I believe he came dangerously close to drinking a caffeinated beverage.  But eventually the anger dissipated and he stopped rebelling.  He went back to the Board of Directors at Marriot, the bullshit job where he hangs out between power pushes. Its's sort of his malt shop. He's always welcome there.
Mitt bought the black one.  He has zero sense of irony.
A few more driving lessons and this sweetheart is going places.

So things have settled in to a new normal.  Mitt is busy, Ann spends less and less time screaming at God, and Bainsy and I are back to our regular routine.  Every once in a while one or two hundred of the grandkids drop by, but then things get quiet again.

Bainsy dressed as Joseph Smith.
I try to make every holiday special.

This is going to be a good Christmas.  I am putting together a kinky Joseph Smith costume for Bainsy to wear.  It includes real golden plates (courtesy of the RNC, where I still have signing authority) and a replica warrant for Smith's arrest in Ohio.  I made the beard out of half of Rafalca's tail.  Trust me, it will go over big.  And I think the mail order horse suppositories will arrive by then too.  I'm telling you, life is good.  Its what you make of it that counts.  Happy Holidays Everybody!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Compelling Narrative
By Emma X

Emma X
I'm still your best alternative.
In politics there are winners and losers, and in public life there is an expectation that defeated candidates will take the high road. The ability to gracefully accept defeat and pledge support for the best interests of the people is the high mark of good character and the ultimate expression of statesmanship in American politics.  Evidently this option is not available to Neoconservatives, who went all in on this election, convinced beyond reason that they would win the White House and the Senate.  The shock of the loss has them reeling.
The Republican Party cannot
reconcile a loss of this magnitude.
Romney went from Golden Child
to persona non grata overnight.
In an attempt to not shoulder the
entire burden of defeat, Mitt blamed
his loss on poor people and their
love of entitlements, a losing strategy
that Republicans have tied to their
ongoing economic rhetoric. 

Mitt Romney tried to do the right thing.  His concession speech was conciliatory and correct in bipartisan sentiments.  But a wounded RNC, having lost the most expensive political effort in history needed someone to blame, and the easiest target was the Romney campaign. Granted, it was a bizarre affair start to finish, but it was not conducted without input from every influential source in the Party.  In negating Mitt the Republicans negate the sentiments of his concession speech, leaving us all to wonder where and how the needed change that everyone is talking about will occur.

Marco Rubio has already been to Iowa,
and is positioning himself to be the candidate
of inclusion in the Republican Party.  For many
hispanics and latinos he is to them what Sarah
Palin was to feminists; the right look, but wrong
Many centrist Republicans are now performing a group mea culpa on Sunday talk shows lamenting their own shortsightedness in regard to exclusionary conservative policy.  Some of these people are sincere, others are lining up for a 2016 bid.  Most decry the hateful rhetoric still coming from the conservative propaganda machine, although many of the same people lined up to promote their own campaigns on Rush Limbaugh's show and were often featured in Fox News political commentary.  Still, these folks are talking about inclusion, a positive step. But in these early days they do not seem to recognize that their policies need to change, not just their image.
White on Rice
The first example of Republican born again
sensitivity in Washington is the all-out
conservative media blitz against Susan Rice.
The party desperately needs a political win,
and they sense that Benghazi is it.  Despite
the fact that Ambassador Rice was not in
the chain of command for decisions made,
she is a soft preemptive target against
future Obama appointments, and the sub-
liminal factors of race and gender provide
some appeasement of loss for angry
 while male voters.

While some Republican leaders are seriously
talking change, others continue with the same
philosophy that got them elected.  You can be
sure that Mitch and others like him will continue
conservative politics 'Gangnam Style'.
The new conservative strategy is best illustrated by Marco Rubio, who now refuses to comment on controversial issues, including how old the earth is, stating that it is "one of the great mysteries".  Well, it is not a mystery to modern science. Marco's new found sensitivity does not mean that while in office he will not legislate according to his religious beliefs, it just means that we no longer have to be affronted with them publicly. Image over substance is not change for the Republican Party.

A breath of fresh air.
While trying to figure out
if it is even possible to clean up
The House, Republicans are
 trying to mask the awful
smell in the base-ment.

Working for the American people does not
include working with a President whom the right
wing has characterized as 'the problem'.  Chris
Christie has been ostracized for doing his job
and providing crisis resources for the State of
New Jersey.  His crime was saying thank you.

Centrist conservatives are struggling to regain their voice in a Party where ultra conservatives are still well funded and motivated to regain power and legislate their agendas.  The Republican Party has met this impasse before, and the result has been the formation of new conservative parties.  This happened with the New WHIGs in the 1830s, the Republican-Democrats in the 1860s, and Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party in 1912.  Perhaps it is time for the Republican Party to experience another philosophical shift.  The 2012 election was a mandate for cooperation and a more centrist approach. This mandate may exclude ultra conservative politicians, forcing them to find a new place to go.  The fiscal cliff is looming ahead, and only time will tell where conservative commitment                                                                                                                  lies.  The proof is in the voting.
From Bull Moose to Bull Goose Looney.  Teddy Roosevelt broke with the
ultra conservatives of his day because they felt he was not conservative enough to
be President.  Today's far right feels the same way about centrist candidates.
Perhaps its their turn to create a new political party.  Imagine the same line up
of Republican Presidential Primary candidates standing up in 2016 under the
 Bull Goose Looney banner.  It is a proud image for a now beleaguered minority.  

The WHIG Party still
exists.  They could be-
come The White Homo-
phobic Ignorant Guys
Party.  Everyone should
have fair representation.

Ultra conservative rhetoric is going back in the closet.
Current Republican thinking is that the lack of a compelling

narrative must have been the deciding factor in the 2012
election.  Get ready for a new less scary bedtime story.