Saturday, October 12, 2013
Another 72 Hours of Anarchy in the USA: Too Pig to Flail
Preexisting conditions are dead. It was born as a Reagan Era thing. But the national insurance model, instituted in Massachusetts, in 2006, is all online and glitchy as a roll out. A lot of people who couldn't get insurance between then and now also are dead. They are speaking. One word: nevermore. The winds of change are blowing in many directions. Anarchy is howling in those winds. A brave new world is born.
However, we still are in the midst of the government shutdown, and one result has been Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and the radical Republican legislature withholding unemployment checks for thousands of residents. So while the Coconino County Ranger District's parking lot is stately and quiet with their law enforcement wing parked in front, with a lot of people parked in the lot but nobody to be seen, all kinds of trails and sites for the district are closed.
By the ninth day of the Republican-led government shut down, the situation with the regular guys and gals on the street more than just jittery. It's just absurd. Unreal. Terrifying at the very moment you open your eyes each morning to wake. Civility, shaky at best after a near decade of incapacitating paralysis for a zombified nation walking around in a state of shock as it was, now is facing a gut level overload challenging the very concept of what is sane, what is civilization and what is total anarchy. Behavior in public places is tentative and unreal. For example, the situation as your friendly neighborhood corporate grocery store is as panicky as the hen house sensing a fox circling the yard, with people stocking up on as much food as they can pack up, overloading store electronic systems creating long lines and angst reflective of the same psychological disorders and divisions played out in Washington thousands of miles away.
Meanwhile, back at ground zero, within the Washington D.C. beltway, the atmosphere is described by one resident this way: "A bubble of delusion surrounds the Capitol. There are a lot of furloughed government workers walking around with signs." All Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) could say is he's "ashamed, embarrassed." He has urged the powers that be to re-open Grand Canyon National Park, where 2,200 residents live, high and dry, on the Kaibab Plateau, on a spot of civilization called Grand Canyon Village, where St. Mary's food bank has gathered enough force to drive up supplies for a short term from its base in Phoenix. Let's not even go into what the situation might be for government researchers in Antarctica, or how one northern Arizona wing-nut politician is comparing Obama to Hitler because over such issues as gun control (Didn't he arm his entire population with guns and point it toward the four corners of all Europe?), or China and Japan officials telling the U.S. to get its act together (Isn't Japan still reeling from a devastating tsunami and nuclear meltdown).
"Act" is the key word. As in actor. As in the passion play, the artifice of performance. All Americans only able to see themselves on the mirrors of their own imaginary movie screens.
"A pretty dangerous path," Boehner says, having paved the little yellow brick it party paved for itself.
There are reports from Salon.com some congressmen are drinking on the job, and one is left to wonder if these folks, drunk on power and desensitized with bottles and bottles of bourbon (and we thought it was a Tea Party), should be pulled over by some United Nations cop driving a reasonably sized squadron on tanks and fully loaded armor personnel carriers.
Rush Limbaugh, "coming with urgency," where "every day is hurry, hurry," is amazed the Daily Show is deemed more newsworthy than FOX News.
"Prisoners of the inside the Beltway narrative," he says. "The government totally incapable and incompetent."
Kathleen Sebelius, "totally incompetent," playing a Daily Show sound byte, playing to what he calls the "low information crowd." Even the crazy people, speaking profound truths from time to time, points out Steward saying, out of context, "maybe she's just lying to me." Limbaugh notes it as the start of some kind of paradigm shift in the way Tea Party types and conservatives are viewed during the shutdown.
Of course, whichever side is winning is the important thing. Limbaugh was once the public relations man for the Kansas City Royals. He made sure everyone realized Stewart's actual last name is Liebowitz: as in, Jewish.
"I'm not trying the start anything here," he says. Seductive. The snake. He called Stewart a "liberal flunkie." Young people, he says, are "low information people." Limbaugh sounds plugged up, well fed. As the guffaws and bellows blow, he says young people are all about "fairness" while apparently they don't like corporations and don't watch FOX News, the "fair and balanced" voice of the right. A station that gave America Glenn Beck, who deified the deists of the American Revolution as patriots sanctified by God, like prophets. Limbaugh, decrying the "low information" audience he apparently doesn't reach as well as the Daily Show, apparently can't remember the web site for the national health care plan he's railing about, the relatively simple, www.healthcare.gov.
National Public Radio also is featuring how, in the cult of personality debate, Obama can come out the winner. Everything is a game, something to do with a red line, and who is going to stand up, previews a statement from the President over the "conversation." White House "calculation." Gridlocked congress and the White House impervious to polling about the "the pressures" and how "Republicans are taking the biggest hits." National brands. Campaigns. The president's approval rating "ticking up."
The president is about going on but NPR suddenly goes out just as Obama is about to speak, and music comes on, with a robotic, soothing announcer saying occasionally in the spring and fall, sunspots interrupt satellite communications. It is 11:15 a.m., October 8, 2013, and weird less-is-more instrumentals continue to play. "We are rendered deaf by the sun as it passes by," the recorded announcement from KNAU-FM repeats. The music is worse than what you hear when you call government hotlines for unemployment and get put on hold for hours and hours to call.
Now Obama is back. "Let's stop the excuses and end the shutdown now ... as soon as Congress votes to re-open the government." He goes on about how the "Republicans flirted with default" a couple of years ago. He talks about it being like dropping an "nuclear bomb" on the economy. He paints an apocalyptic scenario perpetrated by a "handful of radicals in Congress."
The mind drifts as Obama goes on about moving forward with the national health care plan, the whole thing now sounding like a campaign speech. New jobs. Deficits. "I don't believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas." Monopoly also is a game. "Ransom," Congress damaging "our credibility."
"Let's pass a budget. Let's end a government shutdown."
Associated Press reporter gets the first question. "I will talk about anything," Obama answers. "The only thing Democracy cannot afford is for someone to say ... I will not pay my bills ... We are not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills."
Big gusts are hitting Flagstaff and the entire Coconino Plateau, further carving the region's rock and blowing leaves off trees. Dust swirls in the street with gusts anywhere from 25 to 45 miles per hour. The weather is wet as hell on the East Coast. A few days before, six inches of rain flooded Louisville, Kentucky, while many feet of snow resulted from an early blizzard in South Dakota. Syria is on fire with war and bloodshed and millions of refugees are on the run. Egypt is falling apart. Obama has passed up an important meeting with leaders in Southeast Asia. The Grand Canyon is shutdown, but Kaibab Plateau continues to push up the canyon as it gets deeper, and the high winds are presumably blowing the coal fire smoke on co2 from the Navajo Generating Station in Page very much more rapidly to the east.
"It makes me nervous," Obama says. "The American people are nervous."
Obama gets another questions about politics. And he goes on about "millionaires and billionaires" and the "American people being shut out of the process ... idealogical extremists can entirely skew the process."
The press conference has gone on for some time now, almost a full hour, and nothing, well, very little, has been asked about serious issues facing the globe, short of the meeting the president cancelled in Southeast Asia. The press is all about the politics, the drama.
"Americans expect civility, common sense," Obama says as you can hear the sound of cameras click over the radio. At noon, the news announcement is "The president will not negotiate with Republicans," the broadcast actually interrupting the press conference. Then, Obama is back ... "democrats give in on negotiations and the Republicans don't give in on anything."
Now the news is back on again. The medium isn't the message, it's a clusterfuck caught on fire.
On another station, the Democratic big-necked blowhard, big Ed Schultz, is yelling into the mic, also interrupting the press conference, about subsidies to "Big Oil."
"Tell me how the Republicans are your friend, Mr. Trucker," Schultz says. "My lord you people are freaking stupid!"
Workers. Regulations. Ways to identify right wingers, something about a march on Washington.
"The vote ... The vote!," he says.
While Schultz rolled on about the truckers like a thunderstorm into a commercial, it's unknown how long the president's press conference went on, the falcon being unable to hear the falconer. Meanwile, FOXnews now features two dark condors of grim conservativism as commentators, both Brit Hume and George Will, completing the set. On the radio, Will sounds like a stodgy old heartless buzzard indeed. Once during the era of George W. Bush, in 2006, Will made an appearance at a swanky luncheon for business writers in Phoenix. The private-home location was very close to the top of Moon Mountain in Paradise Valley, a flint-rock covered edifice, the entire event put together by one of the town mavens of the well-we've-got-ours-why-should-we-have-to-pay-for-that elite. What Will said that day is hard to remember. If you needed to sit still, take notes and write a story about what he said that day that made any cohesive sense, it would be a lie. It went something like hum, hum, hum ... hum, hum, hummer ... but on the radio on this particular week he was just a perfect cold slice of pizza, offering up the chestnut of wisdom, spoken from the deep piggy of the soul, that government is supposed to work like a glacier preventing change.
O, sure, it's supposed to work each day like it's about to crash from the weight of its own density and crash the whole world into the pit of economic hell because of its power, arrogance and extravagent pride.
In the nutty bubble of Washington D.C. there is a lot of talk, but no action. By the weekend the government remains, a default on the feds paying their debts looms. The whole world watches as the good ship lolly pop Americana heads toward of the edge of the known economic world. The stock market was rising on Friday, Oct. 11, but the GNP (gone nuts planet) is the only thing you can trust. All of the experts on the world money god can do is find different way to say "insanity."
Politicians only play the blame storm game of Whose Default Is It? The polling numbers blame the gridlock on political polarization and paralysis begun by the radical wing of the GOP, the Tea Party, year-round-tan-man Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is the speaker of the house, but gridlocked within his own party, and is caught in the eddy of the cosmic whirlpool of the unbelievable. Says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), "He needs to be more concerned about his country than losing his job." However, if he loses his speaker post, he still would be a congressman. What would cause Boehner to be toppled from the position? Short of some kind of revelation due to some personal life misstep due to a NSA surveillance revelation made public, it's hard to imagine just what, exactly, is required to be dethroned if five years of national gridlock and do-nothingness in Congress has done the job already.
But setting all cult-of-personality issues aside, everyone seems to be in trouble. The world watches as the U.S. government is too big to fail. But by the morning of Oct. 12, 2013, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is opened to tourists, with doubtlessly the same kind of make-it-happen niceties of civic like that tend to keep the tourism industries spinning, the world in motion, and the band playing on ... Arizona paying the federal government $650,000 to keep the park open for seven days ... Meanwhile, the Democrats and Republicans exchange blocks of overtures and bids to make it all better, unable to come up with that baseball-style exchange known as the trade that helps both teams.