- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by Bruce Patterson, March 16, 2016
“Someone’s found the way to give
These rotting dead the will to live
Go on and never die”
— It’s Good News Week, a ’60s protest song
We need politicians willing to put politicians in prison. Take Mitch McConnell, Kentucky’s Senior Southern Senator and the Senate’s Majority Leader. He was on TV the other day proclaiming that while the President of these United States may have the Constitutional Right to nominate somebody to replace Judge Anton “the Meat Cleaver” Scalia on the US Supreme Court, old Mitch, along with his fifty-three Republican Party colleagues lined up all shoulder-to-shoulder and grinning from ear-to-ear like half-starved field slaves waiting on old Boss McConnell to come and roll out the pork barrel—they have the right to reply: “No, Sir, Mr. President. Not for you, not under any circumstances.”
And I took a good long gander at this ancient, floppy-eyed, silver-toothed sea turtle addled by advanced spiritual syphilis plotting out my children’s future and I realized this guy should be in prison. Not so much for his serial High Crimes and Misdemeanors against the Bible, the Constitution, the People and God’s Green Earth, but to keep him from scaring the little children and giving them lifelong nightmares. It’s like after spending his whole life servicing King Coal and her ladyship Ms. Fossil Fuels, the Dame of Wall Street, the Lesser Wackos and the Cayman Islands, old Mitch he thinks that makes him a Christian, a Patriot and a little Caesar delivering pizzas to the poor and the downtrodden. And while it’s impossible for a true Christian to be a moneygrubber and a warmonger, or for a true American Patriot to be a war profiteer, international gunrunner and militarist, we the people of the white-skinned persuasion, especially those of us with Southern sympathies, have shown seemingly infinite patience and indulgence for our legions of autocratic impostors like old Mitch and the lobbyists who keep his kind eternally inflated.
Even though in 1860 most of the better people living in the Commonwealth of Kentucky owned slaves, the Bluegrass was also fertile soil for Abolitionists. When South Carolina started the Civil War, most Kentuckians followed the lead of their duly-elected government and refused to succeed from the Union. But don’t ever tell that to old Mitch and his mint julip-sipping good old boys in the plantation’s club house. True, at the start of the war, a good part of the Kentucky state militia did desert to join the Confederates in armed insurrection. But they had to ride a good ways south into Tennessee and Alabama to do so. Over the next three and a half years (on April 6th, 1862, the Battle of Shiloh gave them a taste of what they were in for) they came to call themselves, and to become famous as, the Orphan Brigade. Not many of the original Volunteers ever again laid eyes on the green hills of home, and most those that did, thanks to the munificence of the victorious Yankees, arrived with only an about-worn-out horse, a saddle and bridal—no guns, no money, no grub.
Disgusted by endless senseless wars and their blood-smeared legions of clueless cheerleaders, some mid-20th Century cynic wrote that “When a dog barks at a stranger, it is patriotism. When a dog barks at the moon, it’s religion.”
Think of the great masses of us American voters as a chained junkyard dog that’s about the only critter in the world the junkman puts any faith in. Now, as everybody knows, it’s a Law of Nature that the larger the herd, the stupider the individual critter. I mean, in a big city movie house, try causing a stampede by yelling “Fire!!!” when there’s only a half dozen customers in the seats, and four of them are munching popcorn and squeezing Big Gulps between their legs. In real life, herding fifty free range steers is easy. But try herding just one. If you’re on foot and you’ve rubbed him right, he just might knock the shit out of you.
Now educating the children is supposed to be the cure for the base superstitions that bring out the worst of humankind’s herd instincts. But to work it’s got to be the right kind of education and, for that to happen, civilized and enlightened people must do the work (does anybody remember the PTA?). If we let the Corporate State/State Corporation take over education, then it’s going to be an assembly line education mass producing children mighty sympathetic to that old double-barrowed junkman and his trusty dog.
Misinformed generations of students counts as a fix: a gaff, an edge, an unfair advantage. “Fixing” a horserace, marking cards or shaving dice doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a winner. Even buying a boxer to take a dive doesn’t guarantee a winner. If you want a guaranteed winner, you’ve gotta buy every player. Either that or own the casino. To lose money on a casino you’ve either gotta be real greedy (skimming too much of mama’s milk) or really stupid.
Once a powerful clique of people like the ones we’ve inherited start thinking about their personal “destiny” and “immorality,” they get so full of themselves they forget that toilet paper doesn’t give a hot-damn about whose ass it sticks to. Corruption and ethical bankruptcy flows from the top on down, and American elections are fixed in more ways than a mob-owned roulette wheel operating in the basement of a private Sanitarian reserved for the independently wealthy and intellectually handicapped.
Not only is there nothing resembling the rule of one person, one vote, or universal participation, or equal opportunity, or equality before the law, open books or honest accountings, our supposedly democratic institutions have been turned against us and our elections “repurposed” into 24/7 media marketing opportunities for whole luxury liners chock full of grifters convinced that greed is good and money—power—is God.
When H.L. Mencken pointed out that a demagogue is “he who tells what he knows to be lies to people he knows to be idiots,” he was talking about poisonous, two-headed snakes like Duh Donald: Scalia’s Scalia. He was talking about Hillary Clinton: Bill’s Bill. Or, if you prefer, grandma’s matinee idol still going and going and going. Mencken was talking about virtually our entire political/corporate class, especially those Born Again, “Armageddon is ah comin, praise dah Lord!” Cuban Bobbsey Twins; the flaming flamingo sidewalk bongo-beaters who think snatching the Anglo’s Presidency will allow them to play soldiers while becoming gloriously rich like the Bushes, the Trumps, the Clintons and the rest of America’s Best Families. For us nowadays the “Race to the White House” is just another reality show to be won by neediest social climber who has already risen far above his or her proper station.
Or how about that Dr. Carson (his Long March to the White House has now, according to his spokesman, passed into a state of “suspended animation”). You know who I’m talking about: the milk chocolate black dude who, like the others in the eternal Octagon of Intellectual Gladiatorial Combat, claims he enlisted in the Party of God so he could better serve us as God’s humble Ambassador. Or, if you will, His Welcome Wagon.
If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that, before he steps behind the podium, my man Carson gets ripped on reds and red Ripple wine. Carson’s the only talking head I’ve ever seen who gets put to sleep by the sound of his own words, his eyelashes sinking lower and lower until, with an upward jerk of his eyebrows, he snaps back awake again. This guy’s supposed to be a brain surgeon? I suppose it’s possible so long as everybody else in the operating room with him has strict orders to keep him from talking.
Ah, the genius of these Republicans. I mean, I didn’t even know they made 1940s-style Negros anymore. You huddled masses yearning to be free want a real Rainbow Coalition? Forget Jess Jackson; come join us Real Americans, sample our diversity and have some Kool-Aid. Sure our single female presidential candidate dropped out the herd this time around but, hell, we hadn’t thought to give her a screen test. How were we supposed to know that on TV she’d look like a hungry weasel eyeballing your hen house? But we’ve got plenty more where she came from so don’t you worry none. Here’s a free tip: keep an eye on old Rheumy-eyed Rupert’s chorus line of Foxy Frothing Follies and, come next presidential cycle, you just might be pleasantly surprised.
Well, to be fairly unbalanced, the good news is that over half the voting adults in this country know Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted. The bad news is that Hillary’s been anointed by the money boys to succeed her husband in leading us deeper into our New Frontier of Global Markets, Global Leadership and Global Policing. Not bad when Hillary’s muse is destiny’s child who slipped through a wormhole and entered into an alternative universe wherein lies are not lies, perjury isn’t a crime, cradle-robbing is a soldier’s well-deserved rest and relaxation, sex isn’t sex and, in the crunch, always women stand by, and behind, their no good men and everything ultimately boils down to what the meaning of the word “is” is.
Now I’m not a part of that vast rightwing conspiracy out to deny Hillary her just reward for a lifetime of Public Service (you’d think achieving her advanced age and accumulating her vast fortune would be enough for her). But, in Hillary World, when over half the people don’t trust you, it makes you imminently qualified to change their minds. Why, you can even become their “Great Unifier.” Her candidacy raises the question: when the Republicans are running a plastic barrow of toy monkeys with hooked arms—Dah Trump is off in his own gated Sky Limousine that is, by the way and if you don’t mind me mentioning, far bigger and much, much better than that loser Kenyon guy’s Air Force One; what’s dah guy’s name again? —is Hillary as good as the Democrats can do? I mean, with all of her “negatives,” don’t they know she could very well lose to one of those exquisitely well-financed Holy Warriors?
Mark Twain surmised that “God made Man because He was disappointed with the monkey.” If that’s true, does our existence prove that God’s a failure? Is that what America’s new Party of God was put down on earth for—to prove God’s a failure? Come on, who could possibly have an incentive to make God look so bad?
Given the tenuous state of humanity’s future (if only our kids could drink our gun smoke, radiation and exhaust fumes), I think it’s too generous to think of God as just another innocent Underachiever. Besides, having a whole society chock full of Underachievers means there’s no profit in creating an All Powerful Underachiever.
Wait. . . I remember now. I learned it as a little kid when I went to Buddy Fox’s mom’s living room Bible School (Buddy got me and the other kids there by promising us ice cream and cake). How could I forget: God gave us Free Will, by golly. He gave us questing minds, social consciences and the freedom to choose between good and evil, courage and cowardice, wisdom and lost lug-nut ignorance.
And that brings me to Bernie. Now I’m not about to believe that, come election day, young people are going to show up in droves to vote for their tottering great grandpa. Nor do I believe that many old people are willing to vote in their children’s interests. Nor do I believe that many white Christian Conservative Southerners would ever vote for a Brooklyn Jew, much less a lifelong Democratic Socialist Independent now living in Godless Co., Vermont. Since most white people across the country have never forgiven Martin Luther King for shaming them into temporarily doing the right thing, and given the fixes the state-level Repugs have put into their new voting eligibility requirements, their fiendish gerrymandering, the closing of precincts and the ancient, carrion-smelling fixes called Party Rules (no pun intended) and the Electoral College, I think getting “the black vote” will hurt Hillary more than help her. I also think it’s why all of our expert “neutral” media horserace handicappers have made sure that everybody in America knows that “the black vote” belongs to Hillary just like another piece of luggage. I know Bernie could swing them his way if he could beat Hillary, but she’s got the loyalty of the machine and the machine never sleeps or stops for hitchhikers.
Bernie is a Yankee Liberal. It doesn’t matter that the Preamble to the American Declaration of Independence and the American Bill of Rights enshrine Liberalism’s founding Ideals. To the Party of God, American Liberalism, like Secular Humanism, Pluralism, Environmentalism, “Isolationism,” birth control, abortion and modern Science are all enemies to be vanquished in the name of God. Even though, before they were privatized and/or militarized, our schools, public hospitals, fire and police departments were exercises in Democratic Socialism, most likely voters (having “likely voters,” especially ones like ours, is another damned fix) have been convinced that serving the Public Interest will cost them money and that’s a crime. I mean, for how many decades has “No New Taxes” been the elderly subsidized suburbanite’s “patriotic” mantra? Most voters have been convinced that the public interest is the public enemy.
Some think it’s Checkmate; the fruit of a protracted and finally victorious Counter-Intelligence operation run out of Madison Ave. with a blank check from the taxpayers. The monopoly media is the biggest fix of all: Wholesome John and Jane Sunshine as their own worst enemies.
FOOTNOTE: You know what the super-rich call themselves? Public Servants. By picking your enemies for you, they prove they are your friends.