Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don’t You Know That You Can Count Me Out (In)

The primary purveyor of violent revolution on local mainstream radio is the putrid Vicki McKenna on WISN. McKenna – who phones in her shtick from Madison, where she has been a thorn in the side of Truth and Common Sense for years – fancies herself a leader of the Tea Baggers. She even manages to get herself on the podium at their dog-and-pony shows, opening for such brilliant orators as Not-Joe the Not-Plumber and Michelle Malkin.

As the loopy right lost its collective mind over the passage of moderate health insurance regulation last week, McKenna was right out there with them, baying at the moon and pretending the People would soon extract Vengeance for this Tyrannical attack on Liberty. Or some such nonsense. McKenna offers up her two hours of free radio time every weekday morning to provide remarkably free advertising for all things Tea and GOP (same thing). Any staged astro-turf “rally” is promoted for weeks on her show. Republican politicians have a free pass to visit McKenna by phone or in studio any time to blather about their latest campaigns or ludicrous legislation. It has gotten to the point that she and Scott Walker should just, well, get a room.

And McKenna had a special message last week for anyone stupid enough to take her seriously, post-health insurance reform. In her standard “come on, people” mode, McKenna said, yeah, we gotta win Congress back in 2010; gotta take back the White House in 2012, gotta repeal and (hah) repair the health insurance legislation. But if she and her band of (now and future) losers can’t win at the ballot box...I mean, obviously, democracy be damned. Early last week, McKenna was forced to try to talk one of her dimmer listeners out of taking a gun to Washington -- for now, anyway. But McKenna’s only problem with that was timing. If we don’t win Congress back; if we don’t take the presidency back; if those elected to office don’t do what we say, well, then....

Then – what, exactly? The right-wing talking-point of alluding and winking at violent revolution throughout its echo-chamber got me to thinking – exactly what would that look like? When a supposed military guy like Owen Robinson says that violent revolution in the United States is inevitable, he must have some idea how that might happen as a practical matter (and some idea which side he would be on). I’m no military strategist, but it seems to me the following options are available when the unspontaneous combustion of the astro-prairie fire takes place:

  • Luxury Tanks and Jet Stream Air Force – I imagine there are still training camps in northern Wisconsin used by the long, lost Posse Comitatus willing to provide space to train the silver-spooned would-be revolutionaries. (The racist Posse guys  and the other loopy McVeigh-wannabees are all at the Tea Party, anyway). After a couple weeks of hi-balls and paying the poor slobs who buy their crap to do their push-ups for them, the whole group will load into luxury coaches and private jets to head off to take their rightful place at the seat of power. The first problem will come at the Illinois border, where unanticipated toll booths will slow down the Charge of the Light-Headed Brigade significantly.
  • Join Us! – In their fevered imagination, the Tea Baggers think all they have to do is grab their torches and pitchforks at the anointed time, head out the door and have the oppressed populace follow them out into the streets to storm the barricades of Washington. I’d like to see them try it. Out in the street, the Paul Revere in their heads pounding like a bad migraine, they will look back and see – nobody. Nobody is going to follow these arrogant clowns into the street, least of all to take away the new stability of their health care coverage. They will see only each other, at the designated place, seeing only the same red-necks who were at the meeting where they planned this fiasco in the first place. Welcome to the revolution. Now, who wants to go for beers
  • Military Coup – The wet-dream of every political military man like Owen Robinson is to have the military commit treasonous mutiny and overthrow the inconvenient civilian government. Otherwise, how do they expect to overcome the finest military in the world that, if not co-opted would surely defend the government from the violent revolution they imagine? Such an expectation is an insult to the men and women who pledge the support the nation and – most importantly – its Constitution. The fine men and women who serve are not going to risk their reputation, honor and liberty for a bunch of greedheads who only want a change in health care policy to benefit their corporate benefactors.
  • Terrorism – In the end, since the other types of violent revolution above are doomed to fail, this is really what the Tea Baggers are hoping for – a violent campaign of terror that will cause the sensible among us to crumble under their favorite tactic: FEAR. You could see it already last week in the campaign to break windows of non-pliant Congressmen, in the hateful voicemails, the white powder mailed in envelopes. Pretty funny coming from those who have been the first to wave the red flag of foreign terrorist Fear every time they wanted to curtail a civil liberty or elect a doofus like Junior Bush. But, in the end, it’s the only violent revolution they will have. Terrorism, after all, is the last refuge of the powerless, and the unelectable Tea Baggers are and will remain as powerless as they come.
So, bring it on, would-be violent revolutionaries. As President Obama said about Republicans repealing his moderate health insurance reform, “let them try”. Let’s get this phony specter of violent revolution out of the way by them trying and failing miserably. We shouldn’t even bother locking them up. Just pat them on the head and send them home. Come on back when you get a clue, losers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You Say You Want a Revolution? Really?

Still trying to wake from my own posting slump, I had a little fun yesterday in the comment section of Owen Robinson’s Boots & Sabers blog. Robinson, with the help of fellow-traveler Charlie Sykes and others, has somehow developed a side-career as Wisconsin’s premier nut-right blogger. This, even though (when he’s not trying to purify the West Bend school board) his blog consists primarily of pasting-in commentary and news from others with nothing but a pithy “heh” or “wow” comment of his own. His position as the go-to guy for what passes for right-wing “thought” shows how weak the competition is for that dubious honor.

This week, Robinson decided to stretch a bit and expound on the possibility – no, probability – of violent revolution in the United States, now that the democratic process has had the temerity to produce a Democratic president and Congress that has actually managed to accomplish something with health insurance reform. Taking power in our glorious republic by force is apparently something the right-wingers discuss seriously while cleaning their guns over a few beers in Robinson’s garage. Robinson comes down squarely on the “just a matter of time” side, speculating that the Wing-Nut Revolution would come “around 2035 or 2040". This would put it somewhere around Malia Obama’s first term or the Rapture, whichever comes first.

Why then? “That’s when the crushing weight of what we are doing will no longer be able to be sustained and it will only take a small spark to ignite a conflagration,” writes Robinson. Oh. And why is the violent overthrow of American constitutional government necessary again? “We are headed down a path with exploding entitlements funded by taxation and the prospects of a less robust - or declining - economy and a demographic shift. Fewer and fewer people paying more and more to support out of control entitlements that are tweaked at the whims of politicians. It’s a powder keg.”

Well, obviously. I mean, a little entitlement here, a little taxation there...these are the kinds of things that have always sparked violent revolution, like in...ummm...well, nowhere, but who says we can’t be original? It will be the first revolution of the over-taxed landed gentry. To arms! You have nothing to lose but your shrubbery!

I joke, but this is serious stuff for the tyranny-and-liberty crowd. They are so worked up into a lather about the uppity Negro in the White House, they can barely contain themselves. Egged on by the right-wing media into thinking that the Constitution is being subverted by the entirely legal actions of their legally elected representatives, the Tea Baggers stand on the astro-turf of their phony, well-paid grassroots and bark at the moon. Soaking up the unearned attention and legitimacy bestowed on them by pliant real and fake (Fox) news outlets, they hurl racial slurs and spit towards black lawmakers who, like the president, would dare to exercise their well-earned political franchise. Wrapping themselves up in the flag and perverted, self-serving definitions of words like “freedom” and “liberty”, they are the ultimate anti-Americans – unable to win elections and unwilling to accept the results of the democratic process when they lose.

I’d worry about this more if the right-wing wind-bags were more of a threat than they are. As it is, they have painted themselves into a political and social corner, talking only to each other in a language only they understand, constructing arguments based on facts only they believe. Still, I wish they would try to start a violent revolution, just for the sheer entertainment value of their guaranteed failure. “How far do you think a couple hundred of your fellow nutballs will get on the way to Washington?” I asked in Robinson’s comment section. “I’m guessing you get turned around about, oh, Nashville. The Feds aren’t even going to bother to arrest your treasonous asses—just pat you on the head and tell you to come back when you get a clue.”

The whole notion of a violent revolution simply because the American political system is just too much for you is arrogance at its worst. They know better, you see, and if you don’t agree, they will make their point and achieve their selective notion of “liberty” at the point of a gun. Or, as I wrote in comment 30:

“Your problem isn’t that there is no democracy; it’s that your crackpot ideas can’t win in a democracy. So you grab your racist signs and your little toy guns and you try to intimidate us into submission by threatening violence. Typical bully tactics by people who know they are wrong.

And I’ll do what I’ve always done with bullies: Laugh at them. Because you guys are funny. Truly amusing. Especially when you lose. I haven’t watched anything but Fox “News” for a week. You can’t make up comedy like this.”

Monday, March 15, 2010


Join me and a few old friends for the 28th (!) reunion of the Milwaukee Musician's Co-op at the Coffeehouse.  I'll play for 20 minutes sometime after 8.  Come early -- stay late.  Great people, great music.  See you there!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Long Time, No Post

The statistics that still come to me once a week from some cyber-place I signed up for years ago tell an ugly tale.  The number of people still checking this site every day for something -- anything -- new from me has whittled down to a hardy average of 23 soul survivors.  In this site's hay-day -- somewhere between Gov. Doyle's trouncing of Mark Green and the racist Gableman campaign against the far-superior Louis Butler -- I had as many as 250 people checking in every day.  My posts were discussed on Charlie Sykes' wing-nut radio program.  I was a featured blogger on Wisopinion.  Gov. Doyle saw at my nametag at a fundraiser once, looked up and said "Hey, I like your blog!"

How times have changed.  My output has gone kaput for months now, slowing to a trickle before I found myself looking up at a situation -- now -- where, after managing something every couple of weeks or so, I haven't posted anything for a month-and-a-half.  I find those friends and family who used to ask me once in a while when my next post was coming just pass me in the halls of the Courthouse and other places in my life with a silent shrug, quietly mourning what they assume is the end of my attempts to comment on local and national politics and media in an amusing, informative way. 

Well, I have to admit, the political demise of the dangerously hapless Junior Bush entourage and the arrival of Barack Obama in the White House did do a lot to take the edge off of the outrage that spurred much of the writing here.   In the months after the election and the first several months of the Obama era, the members of the right-wing echo chamber were completely flummoxed by the new president's thumping of McCain and (hah) Palin and his popularity.  The highly-scripted wing-nuts on radio and Fox Noise reverted to their tiresome anti-Clinton mode, trying to impose the death of a thousand cuts on a popular president they could not defeat in a fair election.  Absurd allegations recycled from the campaign, like the supposed Messiah complex, socialism...please. 

All of this would have fallen on deaf ears outside of talk-radio's targeted demographic (Stupid People, 34 -51) if not for the Great Recession created by unchecked capitalist greed and the indifference and deregulation of the reckless regime fronted by Junior Bush.  With the powerful banks soaking up and spitting out TARP funds and refusing to extend credit, it could have been predicted that the stimulus would fail to accomplish anything that anyone would recognize over the 24/7 screeching of the lunatic right.  "It Would Have Been Worse" hardly works as a political bragging-point, even if true.  The Republicans in both house of Congress threw up an amazingly united front, voting unanimously against anything -- anything -- that would have given Obama and the Democrats credit for governing.

Then came the phony Tea Baggers.  Driven by a collection of well-paid right-wing functionaries, promoted non-stop by Fox Noise and the vast network of wingnut mainstream radio stations and always featuring manufactured celebrities like Not-Joe the Not-Plumber and the putrid Michelle Malkin, the gathering of several hundred fearful and infirm Stupid People with racist and otherwise insane signs and sentiments has been held out as proof of the "outrage" of average Americans.  Seems to me there have been people gathering in the streets for years -- most recently, in opposition to Bush's Stupid War in Iraq -- in much greater numbers without being given credit for speaking for anyone but themselves.  Let people like that get out there, and the right-wing portrays them as a bunch of unemployed, loser troublemakers.  On the other hand, they make wild claims about a vast consensus of America based on whatever restless crackers respond to weeks of talk-radio promotion and manage to get off their Lazy Boys for a chance to listen to clowns like Vicki McKenna live in person.

Which brings us to Glen Beck.

Beck is the most nakedly insincere demagogue in the history of demagoguery.  His contempt for his audience of stupid rednecks is barely concealed under his dripping smirk, as he twists history and logic in knots on a distracting chalkboard of lies and distortion.  His guests, when he has them, are universally admiring fellow-travellers, there only to prop him up as an intellectual healer of the nation's wounds and sins.  Can't you see what he can see?  What's the matter with you?

But Beck and his handlers made a big mistake by inviting a liberal Democrat, Eric Massa, onto the show after he resigned from Congress on Tuesday, a classic hour of political comedy that has to be seen to be believed.  Fox Noise booked him because they wanted him on to tell tales about "corruption" and such in the Democratic leadership.  But Massa, who has been making all kinds or conflicting irresponsible statements since he announced he was going to resign last week, did not follow the Beck script.  Beck response was to sit in stunned silence for most of the hour, ultimately apologizing to his audience of slack-jawed simpletons who are used to having their pablum served in more predictable fashion.  "I think I've wasted your time," said the greatest time-waster on the planet. "I think this is the first time I have wasted an hour of your time."  Cue the howls of laughter on that one.

...But I digress.  I'll try to post more, OK?