August 2010

Republican Values – Bad For Life.

Ah, sweet ironies of life. With a tip of the hat to Alanis Morisette, let’s all sing, “Isn’t it ironic . . . that the party of life . . . isn’t.” Again. I can’t hear you!

Republican values? What exactly are Republican values? Let’s rip off a few, shall we. (1.) Always wrap yourself in the flag. This is a “Core Republican Approved Premise.” (CRAP). (2.) Some of “us,” aren’t. (Think brown-skinned Americans. CRAP). (3.) Eliminate welfare, except for corporations (CRAP). (4.) Subsidize war, not humanity (CRAP). (5.) Green is our money, not Mother Earth (CRAP). (6.) Life is sacred but humans are expendable. (CRAP) (7.) We’re all equal but the rich are more valuable (CRAP).

Recent news clearly demonstrates the dichotomy, nay, the hypocrisy of Republican doublespeak. Republicans are so egregious in their misrepresentation(s) of reality that I am reminded of George Orwell’s “1984.” In that seminal work, Orwell wrote, “War is Peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” These could be today’s Republican Party talking points. See also above list of Republican CRAP.

One of life’s richest ironies is that the non-regulation Republicans are known as the Party of Life. Here’s what gives me the giggles. “What! Regulate business!?! Neveh! But go ahead, muzzle that woman.” Free business. Enslave women.

You legitimately ask, “What do you mean, Jepson, shackle women?”

If you restrict a woman’s right to own and determine for herself the use of her body, you are abridging no more fundamental a human right. Republicans, however, assert that from the time your daughter experiences menses to some 40 or so years later, when she experiences menopause, the Republicans believe government retains “some” rights to her body. That for some reason, that because “SHE” is female she is, from time to time, incapable of managing her own body. That is the bottom line issue concerning reproductive choice.

Now for the irony. But Jepson, some suggest, “LIFE” trumps its vessel. As if the vessel itself is not sacrosanct. So non-regulatory Republicans, the Party of life, will regulate your daughters’ freedoms (her body) because life trumps everything else. They claim that it’s all about life being born. Yet . . .

The Party of Life is, in part, responsible for the lowest birthrate in 100 years in America. That’s right. Republican economic values (See above certified CRAP) are responsible for less life being born in America. Years of Republican mismanagement of the U.S. economy created the recession we are in. It’s the worst in generations. As a result, America’s women are not having babies – a personal, economic decision based directly on the anti-baby making policies of the Republican Party (tax cuts for the wealthy, see above Crap #7, grossly unbalanced budgets & deregulation of markets).

The Republican Recession/Depression equals fewer babies born (lowest birthrate in 100 years). We’ve arrived at this national juncture as a result of Republican greed and years of economic mismanagement.

Republican Values – Bad For Life.

Democrats need to stiffen their spines, their resolve these next 70 campaign days. Calling the Party of Life—the Orwellian deceit it is—needs to ring forth over America, as a clarion call to fight, to oppose Limbaugh/Beck/Republican perfidy.

Pass this fact on.

On Committing National Suicide.

It’s a toss-up. Who is dumber? We, the electorate or the candidates? The Democrats or the Republicans? I know it’s impolite to suggest the electorate is dumber than a box of rocks. We sanctimoniously praise our system of governance as the best imaginable but that is hubris, ignorance and an illusion.

Yes, I know Winston Churchill’s thoughts on the subject, “that democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried.” Regardless of that sentiment there is no cosmic reason to expect America will prevail against the historical inevitability of decline and marginality. In what respect is America different from any other imperialistic nation that has ever risen, ruled and retreated? Imperial Athens? Imperial Rome? France? Spain? Britain?

Look no further for proof of America’s decline than this year’s level of discussion/debate surrounding our elections. And who exactly is at fault for that? President Kennedy astutely summed up the challenge, “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” Now, multiply that number by millions and you have the monumental test confronting our nation. Whole legions of rock stupid voters. Organized into political parties. Republicans. Democrats.

In too many respects, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between America’s political parties. Oh, we like to pretend there is but not really. And the electorate is duped into thinking “we” are in control. Too funny. James Bovard, author of “Attention Deficit Democracy,” asserts “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” We’re what’s for dinner! Bon Appetit!

Yo! My fellow Democrat dupes, what did you think you were getting when electing Barack Obama? A different foreign or economic policy? Did’ja now? I did. He doubled-down on Afghanistan and his economic team, post economic meltdown, is little more than the Recycled, Revolving-Door Republican Re-Runs of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase executives. We were inspired by a vision of a New Day in America, of a nation moving on from its racist past, led by an intelligent, independent, visionary black man.

As disappointed as I am in how the Democrats have governed I am stunned by the apparent rise of Republican fortunes, if polls are to be believed. Just exactly how dumb are Americans? Staggeringly dumb. With an economy in shambles, with tragic, ill-conceived wars in Muslimland, voters will conceivably elect members from the very same crew (the Republicans) who drove the car straight off the cliff? As if what America has experienced the past nine years isn’t bad enough, let’s give Republicans yet another crack at what Bill Maher laughingly describes as the nation’s reality, “What Democratic congressman do to their women staffers, Republican congressman do to the country.”

H. L. Mencken said it more crisply, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve it good and hard.”

Speaking of which. It’s been five years since Hurricane Katrina so clearly demonstrated how quickly America can devolve into third-world conditions and governance. I understand why the electorate is disappointed with Democrats but that doesn’t mean you vote Republican.

Dumb is one thing. National suicide quite another.

Zombies, Republicans and Other FRightwing Plagues of the Night

I can’t yet determine whether Florida Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott is Dr. Frankenstein or the monster he created. Put a doctor’s smock on him and the guy is downright ghoulish. Little Willy-Billy McCollum could play his go-fer/yes-sir flack of an assistant. “It lives! It lives,” scream both candidates! Of their political campaigns.

Before I dissect the dead, I’ve a Hot Arts Tip #3625. Run to your computer and order “MINGUS AH UM” by Charles Mingus. Recorded on Columbia Records in 1959, this jazz album will blow you away. From beginning to end this music does not disappoint. It rocks. It’s soulful. It’s toe-tapping melodic. It’s a must hear. As is WUCF, 89.9 FM. Best Jazz station in America and it’s right here in ol’ O-Town! Get Mingus. Get 89.9!

Now back to the living dead. I once talked with a woman at a parteee who owned-up to voting for George W. Bush. Twice. It was the twice part that stopped the conversation. Everyone looked at her as if she had just soiled her pants. The “stank” was staggering. It’s the type of situation where, out of embarrassment for the person, you politely look away.

Not me! I said, “Hmmm? I’m a forgiving person. While I’d sooner have voted for a dead dog as George Bush, I’ll give-ya one mistake. What was it about his first term, however, that had you giving him another crack at it?”

This gal should have been able to read the tea-leaves of the room. But she was one of those big-haired, self-righteous Republican women (so very popular in Texas and Floreeeda. Southern belles, don’t-cha see.) who troth their devotion to gawd in the same breath as trashing the grubby poor. You know, those godless, abortion-spouting, mind-your-own-business pacifists, those tree-hugging leftists who see a legitimate role for government.

She fluttered her mascara-ladened lashes just as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. She stuttered out some incomprehensible gibberish (simplistic rightwing banality) and abruptly excused herself to find her hubby. I was tempted to follow her just to see what kind of a man marries such an unthinking airbiscuit. But I already knew what kind.

Primarily, aging white-boys. Soft around the middle, thus matching their brains. Not the Tea-Party kind of daftness. HEAVENS NO! Those unwashed masses!! Hoi polloi! No, the plaid-panted, country-club Republican chap who is torn between voting for Ricky Frankenstein or his doppelganger of an assistant, Little Willy McCollum.

Conflicted. If only, if only we had lower taxes and less government regulation, Florida might then rival the economic miracle known as Mississippi or Bangladesh. If only. It’s those treacherous brown-skinned aliens. They’re destroying America. They’re stealing our jobs! Card check’um! I expect any day now that one of the Republican gubernatorial dynamic-duo to call for mandatory rectal exams for all of Floreeeda’s little brown people! Why not? Can we be toooo safe? What are “you” hiding?

And as Frankenstein snaps on his rubber gloves, Little Willy tells the cowering immigrant, “This von’t hurt ze bit. Ve vant to know if you are von of us.”

This is not an election to sit out. Darkness approaches.

A Cheap Whore

I’ve been working on a novel (isn’t everyone) and was recently asked some particulars about the plot and characters. I offered that one character was going to represent my viewpoint entirely and I summed-up his predicament (in the book) as one of compromise, of being a cheap whore.

Ah, what one does for money. I’m reminded of the joke about the gentlemen crying at the bar and being asked what grieved him so? He went on and on and with tears streaming down his cheeks and in between sobs exclaimed, “They met my price.” Oh, lordy, I hate it when that happens.

Once, decades ago, I was reduced to selling road service for a gasoline credit card. I worked in a large room with perhaps 100 other telemarketers. You were to be on the phone at the stroke of the clock and you worked off a canned speech that the “bosses” wanted you to recite verbatim. They’d listen in on your presentation and then pimp you on your performance. I quickly tossed the presentation, actually listened to the person on the other end of the phone and was within hours surpassing established sales “goals.”

I chap at supervision and I do not like cookie-cutter approaches to problems or objectives. I have to give credit to the phone room managers though, they left me alone. They had to, I was making book times seven.

I’d walk in minutes late (to the glare of ze bosses) and yell across the packed phone room, “Push Approvals! Push Approvals!) All my colleagues would knowingly laugh because that was absolutely verboten! In telemarketing you want the sale then and there, with no time later to think about it and cancel the order. I’d chat with my fellow workers between calls, again to the frown of ze bosses! Pick up the phone, make the next call. Sometimes I simply wouldn’t. I did this work for a month, maybe six weeks. It’s hard. It’s grueling. It’s what you do when you “really” need money. It’s one of those life experiences that opens your eyes to how hard some people work for so little.

I left just as I was being offered a “big” promotion. I was going to fundraise for a church outreach program. It was a new test marketing promotion for this particular telemarketing company. And management particularly liked my “chat’um up” abilities. In hindsight, I wish I had been on the phones for a few days hawking this form of salvation. It would be fodder for my book. I’ve a feeling it would have been like shooting fish in a barrel.

I’ve had subsequent work that wasn’t nearly so “rewarding” as my telemarketing experience. And that is where the concept of being “a cheap whore” enters in.

“Some” of us have at sometime in their lives performed work that, regardless of how remunerative the financial incentive, has, after time, reduced us to being little more than cheap whores for money.

Yet, a cheap whore in this economy is infinitely better than not being a working whore at all.

And that is exactly where my character finds himself. Ah, life.

A glass of lemonade, perhaps?

Let God Sort It Out.

Uncle Curtis introduced me to the expression, “Kill’um all and let God sort it out.” I was aghast at such a suggestion but I’m beginning to see the simplicity, the straightforwardness of such a solution. And, might I add, from 40,000 feet.

I love America. I love our enthusiasm. I love our can-do spirit. I love the freedom I have to say what I want to whomever I want. I love that if things “ain’t” working out here, well, screw-it, I’ll go someplace else and give it a go. I love that individuals can change their lives through creativity and work, through reinventing themselves. I love that my daughter (your daughter) today can be, can do whatever she imagines. I love America.

What I do not love, what I do not admire or respect is our collective hubris, our simplistic bravado, our “my way or the highway” approach to problems. I do not like it when my nation is stupid, when we think “send in the troops” is the answer, when America’s corporate/militaristic agendas trump national interests. I do not love an America with its troops all over the planet.

President Obama doubled-down on Afghanistan and it is a tragic mistake for the nation. He’s upped the ante, he’s set the nation up for a failure of monumental proportions. Let me elaborate.

Pick up the August 9, 2010 edition of “Time Magazine.” On the cover is an 18-year-old Afghan woman with her nose and ears cut off. That’s right, Time placed an otherwise beautiful Islamic woman looking right at you with her nose cut-off. It’s wrenchingly horrible. The headline reads “What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan.” The implication being that unless America stays, women will have their faces/bodies mutilated.

Why would an Afghan Islamic woman have her nose brutally cut-off? Who would commit such an atrocity? Well, her brother-in-law held her down while her husband chopped off her ears and nose. Why? Because she was being abused by her husband’s family, treated like a slave and she had the temerity to return home. The Taliban said honor required that this punishment be administered. They left her for dead.

America’s soldiers are going to die so Afghan women won’t have their noses cut off by their husbands? By their husbands!!!

I inwardly weep for Islamic women. In theocratic Saudia Arabia in 2002, they let 15 women burn to death rather than, gasp, horrors, let them out “improperly” clothed.

Folks we need to get out of Muslimland. It’s primitive beyond imagination. The men mutilate the women. Physically and mentally. And, it’s accepted practice.

There’s no “victory” for America in 14th century Afghanistan. No winning there. No celebratory parades.

Obama needs to announce, “Any Afghan woman who wants to leave that misogynistic country can leave with America’s troops who are leaving next Tuesday.

No American troops in Muslimland! Never again.

Yet, what if we still have Islamic terrorist attacks in America?

Open the bomb bay doors, HAL, from 40,000 feet.

Let God sort it out.