Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Pause That Refreshes

Well, that was interesting.

I really did take a month off and let me tell you, it was fabulous. I read. I wrote. I read some more, and I wrote some more. I rested. I walked, and I ran. And I cooked. I took a trip to New York City, and basically enjoyed life for a month.

And I unplugged from our political discourse, as much as it is possible in this day and age to do such a thing. I kept abreast of the basic news but politics no longer consumed my life. I was a much happier camper as a result.

I’ve said this before, like a thousand gazillion times, and my hiatus hasn’t changed my mind: 99.9% of the bullshit that happens in our discourse is totally unimportant. The latest Sarah Palin Face-Tweet, the newest intolerant Glenn Beck rant, the thing that has Ed Schultz’s boxers in a twist or put the Great Orange Satan in a tizzy does not, in the grand scheme of things, matter one iota. It’s noise and diversion. It’s manipulation, and unhooking from the madness is a wonderful thing.

We’ve been here before. Nothing is new, and yet everything is different. Our traditional news media has failed us, following rabbit trails like the "TSA outrage” story that wasn’t. Can I tell you people how disappointed I was not to get groped by the TSA when I flew to New York over Thanksgiving? The body-scanner machines at the Nashville airport weren’t even in use when we traveled. There were no lines, no scenes, no outraged travelers waving copies of the Constitution.

Ah well, it’s not the first time the media has failed us. William Randolph Hearst is the antecedent to Rupert Murdoch, after all. “Remember The Maine” foreshadowed Saddam’s WMDs. How interesting that Chandra Levy’s real killer was convicted in the same month we had another phony media-created story. Gary Condit’s career was ruined by the same yellow journalism hungry for blood which has always reared its ugly head. And yet, justice for Chandra was served, the media be damned.

Time marches on. The media pathetically clings to its outdated “cyber-Monday” narrative, useless as a reflection of modern buying habits but very useful for online retailers. With my inbox flooded with dozens of cyber-Monday discount offers, I asked that eternal question: is the news media in service to commerce, or is it the other way around? I still haven’t a clue. Regardless, it’s money which drives our narrative, not politics. It’s not that the media it too liberal or too conservative, it’s that it’s too profit-oriented. Same as it ever was.

It’s all so much nonsense. Every president since George Washington has been accused of doing outrageous things, undermining the Republic, threatening our way of life. And yet we’re still here.

It’s true that every utterance is amplified to the hundred-millionth degree by the megaphone that is the modern media. But we have a choice. You can choose not to listen to talk radio, watch cable news, surf the blogs or believe the bullshit e-mail someone forwarded to you.

I’m so old I remember when Eisenhower was considered to be a tight-assed right-winger, yet liberals today quote his 1961 warnings about the military-industrial complex as if they were the words of Noam Chomsky. We can get riled up at the thought of BP-apologizer Rep. Joe Barton chairing the House Energy & Commerce committee but that won’t stop the juggernaut that is green energy investment. Fox News bobbleheads can spread the seeds of doubt about climate change all they want, News Corp. still has a corporate carbon-neutral initiative that would make the American Petroleum Institute’s head explode. So really, none of this shit matters. What will happen is gonna happen.

I’m not entirely back yet. I started on a project in November which I want to finish. I'm enjoying life outside of blogging. I may check back with y’all later, though.

Happy Holidays.

Only In New York:
Santas Dancing In Midtown Manhattan

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Housekeeping Note

It's only been a week but NaNoWriMo 2010 has been a bit of a bust for me so far as I've been sick as a dog all week. I'm going to have to hit it hard for the remaining few weeks to make up for lost time and expected time off for Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations.

So that means I'm temporarily suspending comments. I can't untie these blog apron strings if I have to keep coming back here to approve comments. On the up-side, this might deter some of the amazing comment spam I've been getting. Two of my favorites:
I think, that you are not right. I am assured. Write to me in PM, we will talk.
By Anonymous on Mixed Message on 10/21/10


Hello, I think your blog is epic. Congrats. Funny Online Games
By Anonymous on Your Modern Conservative Inferiority Complex on 10/21/10


In the meantime, I have a final post up over at The Swash Zone.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We’re All Scott DesJarlais Now


Just as planned! Huzzah!
Sinclair Posts 16% Revenue Gain

Political higher than expected, national ad revenue up 30%

Sinclair Broadcast Group reported net broadcast revenues in the third quarter of $158.8 million, a 16.4% increase over the same quarter a year ago. Political revenue was nearly $10 million. Local broadcast revenues were up almost 12%, and national ad revenues up 30%.

"Political advertising came in higher than expected and that trend has continued in the fourth quarter where we expect $26.8 million in political revenues," commented Sinclair President/CEO David Smith. "For the year, political revenues are expected to be approximately $41.9 million, a record amount for us. This would represent a 34.7% increase over 2006's $31.1 million in political revenues and a 1.9% increase over the 2008 presidential year's $41.1 million."

This is where your campaign donations go, peeps.


"Blue Dog Coalition Crushed”:

According to an analysis by The Huffington Post, 22 of the 46 Blue Dogs up for re-election went down on Tuesday. Notable losses included Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-S.D.), the coalition's co-chair for administration, and Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), the co-chair for policy. Two members were running for higher office (both lost), four were retiring and three races were still too close to call.


Loudly breaking with Obama on health care was not a winner, either. "Of the 34 Democrats who voted against the health care bill in March - 24 of them were Blue Dogs - only 12 won reelection," notes reporter Jon Ward.

Yes clearly Democrats were too liberal. Not.

.... and yes, I do mean that in the “sitting with a gun in our mouths crying like babies” sense.

Before crawling back into my NaNoWriMo hole I did want to reflect on the midterms. Republicans swept into the House of Representatives with some historic wins. Yes, the “tsunami” predictions were correct.

Here in Tennessee I was frankly surprised that Lincoln Davis got spanked so badly -- DesJarlais won handily, with 57% of the vote. I have to think the DCCC’s stupid decision to go negative bringing up DesJarlais’ domestic violence allegations hurt. Don’t you folks know yet that Republicans are rubber, Democrats are glue? For crying out loud, they re-elected David Fucking Vitter. If a Democrat got nabbed in a similar prostitution sting, their career would be over. For Republicans, it’s re-election all the way, bay-beee.

Then again, Digby makes a good point on the “conventional wisdom” surrounding Alan Grayson’s loss, which can easily be applied to Tennessee’s races:

Regarding Grayson,well we have a little controlled experiment. His neighboring first term Democratic congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, in a very similar district, took the opposite approach to Grayson. She ran as hard to the right as she could get away with, never had a controversial thought much less uttered one, was rewarded with big money and support from the DCCC --- and she lost too. This race was bigger than both of them. Florida is turning hard right.

Lincoln Davis certainly was no progressive -- his chief of staff once famously said he “wasn’t sure” if President Obama has terrorist connections. This election was too big for Tennessee’s Blue Dogs, too.

Digby goes on:

As far as the notorious Aqua Buddha goes, Conway was strong armed by the DSCC into running that ad because --- as usual --- they believed that all politicians have to run to the right no matter what the circumstances and they thought Paul was soft with social conservatives. If the ad backfired, you can thank the "professional" hacks not the dirty hippies, for insisting that it was a good idea for Conway to pretend to be something that he isn't. It never works.

Yup. And that holds true in the Lincoln Davis race, too.

In the Tennessee state races, I’m thrilled to see “Democrat” Doug Jackson sent his walking papers. This DINO was the legislator behind Tennessee’s guns in bars bill and a big supporter of SJR 127, our statewide anti-abortion measure that will now surely appear on the 2012 ballot. I’m sure Jackson lost because he wasn’t conservative enough. /snark.

On the Senate side, Tea Party candidates were a big fail. Rand Paul was the lone exception; Sharron Angle lost. Christine O’Donnell was a spectacular flameout. Alaska’s Joe Miller was a fail. Seems to me if it weren’t for the Tea Party, the Republicans would have taken back the Senate, too. (I was actually hoping Harry Reid would lose, because he is a terrible Senate majority leader. But, alas, it was not to be.)

I’m sure the take-away will be Democrats “over-reached,” moved “too far to the left,” and all sorts of other nonsense [That didn’t take long. Hey Evan Bayh: shut the fuck up]. When in fact the take-away should be, “the economy still sucks,” and “the same people who never vote in midterm elections didn’t vote this year either.”

Simply put, the Republican base was motivated. The Democratic base was not. That’s really all you need to know. Whenever Democrats run to the right they lose. When given a choice between a real Republican and a fake one, voters will pick the real one. Democrats need to show they are the alternative, not a paler version of what the other guys are offering. That should be the lesson here, but it won't be.

The bright spot is California, which is returning to sanity. While pot legalization failed, the lesser-known Proposition 25 passed, which to me is a much bigger deal. In essence, California voted against gridlock. Similarly, the spectacular failures of Proposition 23, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman is a staunch rebuke to CEO politics.

So it’s back to business as usual, near as I can tell. We’re hearing all the usual BS from Republicans, about how the American people are “worried about spending,” when during the Bush years they spent like drunken sailors and no one gave a crap. It’s IOKIYAR all over again. Let’s prepare ourselves for the usual Republican rent-boy scandals and bogus investigations into ACORN, the New Black Panthers, birth certificates, George Soros and anything else they can dream up. We’ll have epic gridlock because the Republicans have no interest in governing, just in obtaining power. We'll probably have more war with Iran talk -- David Broder's trial balloon to that effect should have sobered up our media; instead they ignored it. Only a few dirty bloggers bothered to notice.

But it's just two years. In 2012 the same people who showed up to vote for Obama in 2008 will show up to vote for him again. The Democrats have two years to get their shit together. Can they do it? I'm not so sure. I stand by my list of objections to the rigged game which prioritizes corporate greed over the popular voice. I plan to send this list in response to every DSCC and DCCC fundraising request I get. American plutocracy continues; big business was the big winner last night. Our system is still broken, and will remain so, because the Democrats squandered their chance to fix it.

But we've been through this before. We'll get through it again.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Object

I object to a rigged game.

I object to a broken system.

I object to those in power benefitting from keeping our system broken.

I object to a system which expects we the working people to open our wallets on a par with multinational corporations.

I object to institutionalized imbalance.

I object to a media which misinforms and divides, and is rewarded with billions of dollars in election year advertising.

I object to propaganda disguised as news, and money masquerading as speech.

I object to the politics of fear.

I object to the collusion of big business, corporate media and government.

I object to spending $4 billion so we can shout over one another, while kids go hungry and schools crumble.

I object to the freak show.

I object to a system which sees me as an object:

“I, object”: a wallet, a bank account, a credit score.

“I, object”: an opinion to be swayed.

“I, object”: a rabble to be roused.

“I, object”: a vote to be manipulated.

I object to same as it ever was.

I object to the failure to reform.

I object to the lack of leadership.