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Canceling my Time Mag subscription... Fly Me Over The Cuckoo's NestBill Annett Salem-News.com
We have the best government money can buy. - Mark Twain
(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) - To the Editor, Time Magazine
Please take me off your mailing list. What you do with my refund, I leave to your imagination.
Don't tell me it's not your fault that this country has gone stark raving bonkers.. If we've developed a sea-to-shining-sea Cuckoo's Nest, you and your ilk have functioned collectively like Nurse Ratchet. Witness the most recent meds you've forced on us - for the second week in a row, you extolled that humble Argentinian godfather in Rome, with an eye, I suppose on your 40% Catholic readership. But that's just one small bilk by your ilk. You lull the most mundane in all of us. You flourish editorial aspirin for the terminally atrocious, and play to our lowest common denominator. Don't take my word for it. The trite nonsense of the print media engulfs us daily.
This nation's political-corporate-economic insanity even outstrips the criminal-because-religious complex for ultimate va-et-retour madness. Seeking relief by quoting Paul Krugman has become a bit overworked and unfashionable, but he's still knocking out the clay pigeons regularly in his NYT column and in his scarcely-read blogs. And he's a little too hefty and unaligned for either the corporate media or the Obama admin, but take a look:
A former subscriber
Prof Krugman said recently that he doesn't write about the "looming chaos" in the government these days as much as he should because "it's hard to give this issue anything like the amount of coverage it deserves on substantive grounds without repeating oneself." So he delimits himself with the conclusion that "the madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time."
But that is so trammeled, so obvious, that it's a bit like R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson's scurrilous hero in "Cuckoo's Nest,") winning matches from the Chronics in a poker game. The Boehner-McConnell-Paul troika is such easy game that dwelling on their drivel detracts attention from the fact that virtually everybody inside the Beltline is like the cast of the original Mad Tea Party (not the vapid imitation), save for the dormouse, obviously a typical Democrat, who is fast asleep.
Still, ol' Paul is fairly succinct in summing up the Washington picture,and though he doesn't tell us much about the Repugs that we didn't already know, he does distill it down to the essential insanity:
"Republican leaders... haven’t had the courage to tell the base that Obamacare is here to stay, that the sequester is in fact intolerable, and that in general they have at least for now lost the war over the shape of American society. As a result, we’re looking at many drama-filled months, with a high probability of government shutdowns and even debt defaults... the point is that one of America’s two major political parties has basically gone off the deep end; policy content aside, a sane party doesn’t hold dozens of votes declaring its intention to repeal a law that everyone knows will stay on the books regardless. And since that party continues to hold substantial blocking power, we are looking at a country that’s increasingly ungovernable."
Nothing really new there. But that's just the beginning. "Human stupidity is destroying the world," opines Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle. I've had a certain respect for that city's insights ever since Oscar Wilde said something to the effect that whenever anyone disappears he tends to show up in San Francisco. Wilde also said that one looks beneath the surface at one's peril. (As far as I'm concerned, those are possibly the only two important things Oscar Wilde ever said.)
Morford goes on to point out that 37% of Americans have no idea what's going on (erring on the low side, I'd say), but the conundrum begs the question: who is dumber, the ignorant or the enlightened who can't acknowledge that there are so many ignorant?
Then there's George Monbiot, quoted in Evergreene Digest, who maintains that politically speaking, the moronic activity - or lack thereof - of the right wing is given credence and made worse by the lefties who are just too damn polite for words, of whom the pack leader, hands down, is everybody's favorite nice guy in the Oval Office. Result - wall-to-wall insanity.
And don't look to the electorate to right this foundering ship of fools, manned as it is by drunken deckhands. Thomas Mann and Norman Orenstein, in the Huffington Post - that hopelessly conventional journal striving to appear nouveau - in attempting to delineate "The Source of American Political Dysfunction," point out that "in never-ending efforts to defeat incumbent officeholders in hard times, the public is perpetuating the source of its discontent, electing a new group of people who are even less inclined to or capable of crafting compromise or solutions to pressing problems."
Witness the 2010 midterm election when - totally pissed off with Washington - the enraged populous rose up in their righteous wrath and swept into office an unprecedented gaggle of alternative idiots.
Malheureusement, dumb constituencies tend to elect dumb candidates. And so ad infinitum. Ask not what is wrong with D.C. Ask what you can do about the numbskulls we keep sending there.
Is it a hopeless exercise that the Congress, now departing for a summer recess totally unearned, has accomplished nothing except a dozen attempts to trash Obamacare, which they admit to be a fool's errand?
There is no lack of essential legislation left dangling as they head for the boondocks. Immigration reform, the self-evident logic of lifting the debt ceiling,(which isn't about expanding debt but rather just paying for what these clowns have already authorized), and continuing at a minimum to keep the government's wheels from falling off. Plus items not even on the current laundry list - like climate change, gun common sense, and that little old bugaboo, untenable unemployment. This House of Representatives has earned the distinction of being the most prominent collection of non-productive jack-asses in history.
All of which seems to endorse the Warren Buffett Solution, voiced recently by the financial home-run king himself. He suggests that our Congressional lockjaw could be solved in five minutes with a single decree: every time Congress fails to act, blocking legislation, filibustering, dithering in committee and politically mouthing opposition to everything across the aisle, they would immediately be docked their pay, their expense accounts, their magnificent healthcare and other exclusive benefits (which they deny us), and pork barrel plums until such time as they got the proverbial lead out.
You would see, according to Warren, the immediate transmogrification of an action-packed House of Representatives, striving to beat each other to the roll call.
Just one problem: who is there to bell the cat, to hang such an alternative on these overcompensated vacationers? Certainly not the constituents, who at this moment are winding up to introduce a new bevy of dummies in 2014.
So ultimately, the chickens, like the cuckoos, come home to roost.
See y'all in September.
Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.
At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.
He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.
Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.
You can write to Bill Annett at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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