Bad Timing


New “think” piece by me at The Chiseler, where I tentatively weigh in on the problems of a society I have experienced mainly from a safe distance, if such a distance can be said to exist when discussing the USA… Be merciful, it’s almost Christmas.

Also, more creepy Christmas limericks for you.

29 Responses to “Bad Timing”

  1. Lester is absolutely right about “Greatest Country in The World!” propaganda. It’s what’s made all our “postwar” wars possible — but ideologically unsustainable. The Powers That Be have NEVER gotten over the anti-Vietnam War movement, and have spent millions creating “Think Tanks” to prevent anything similar emerging ever again. But they have failed.. The Republican Party is teetering on the dge of Total Collapse and were it not for the amazing likeability of President Obama so would the Democrats.

    On a much happier note, Here’s My Xmas FaBlog

  2. Growing up and living in America I have come to feel like a stranger in my own land. Statements by the president to the contrary, more and more we are becoming two Americas. After the latest school shooting, my attempts in conversation to find common ground over gun control have met with sadly predictable NRA talking points from what I can only call inflexible fanatics.

  3. A few days ago a post of mine on facebook of a photo of Jules Dassin on his birthday drew the following comment. It’s as if the cold war never ended:

    “Jules Dassin was an American film director, with Jewish-Russian origins.” ~Wikipedia

    He joined the Communist Party in 1930 (but left after the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1939 – no national socialism for Jules; only international socialism, without compromise).

    Hollywood wisely blacklisted him, so he moved to France, and among the cheese-eating surrender monkeys he revived his career.

    Some of his movies made money.

  4. Hilary, that person’s certainly in a minority: not for his views, but for applying them to a subject he has no business being interested in. (He’s obviously not THAT interested, though.)

    I’d say that my anti-gun philosophy is as entrenched as the pro-gun lobby’s opposite views, except that I do like to think I’m open to reason. Time and again I’ve seen FaceBook discussions where some wingnut’s arguments are comprehensively blitzed, and he circles round to reusing them as if they hadn’t just been dismantled and stomped on, using logic and facts. (“Well, you can prove ANYTHING with facts.”)

    Lester has admitted to basically hating America, his birthplace, admitting the irony that American money paid nearly for all his films. As a movie buff, I feel I have to love the place, and I don’t think it’s really more psychotic than any other human society: just differently psychotic and more heavily armed.

  5. And we all know wat follows that, don’t we?

  6. Or: “You finally did it — you blew it all up! God damn you all to hell!”

  7. I’ve been feeling quite good about the US since the election. I was expecting Obama to win, but to see the whole right-wing politico-media complex exposed buck-naked with its delusions hanging out, right there live on Fox News — oh my. And the fact that the 100s of millions spent under Citizens United turned out to be WASTED. We’re just not as dumb as they need us to be. In fact, it’s the American right which is now trapped in the Axis of Stupid, a self-crippling feedback loop of trickle down/trickle up ignorance. As in, its dumb lies raised a dumb progeny which is too dumb to even lie effectively.

    And here’s a response to Wayne LaPierre’s speech yesterday, from two tabloids that are by no means liberal — in fact, the Post is a Murdoch property:

    Moreover, I think the humiliation of right-wing media post-election and the crumbling of Gun Corp’s facade post-Newtown are parts of the same process. Something’s shaking loose.

    Just one Yankette’s opinion, but keep in mind that I’m always right about everything.

  8. But of course!

    I just wish that the president was a left-leaning liberal who could take advantage of the right’s collapse to push through some real progressive policies. As personable as he is, I don’t get the impression that Mr Obama quite fits the bill. But he beats the (only offered) alternative.

  9. The real beauty of the “You finally did it — you blew it all up! God damn you all to hell!” quote, and the Planet of the Apes movies really, is how the films build off of each other. Heston’s character is appalled by the destruction of “his” world, but at the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes he has no problem helping blow his new world “all up”, giving the earlier lines an even more bitter twist.

    Regarding your distanced chiseling, I would only add that the rigid hierarchical structure of most schools likely lends itself to some experiencing their school years as traumatic as they find themselves without benefit of some favor they see granted on others. I can’t help but believe this isn’t a significant problem given how frequently schools are targeted as places for mass slaughter by those with inchoate grudges against society, not just in the US but throughout the world. This, to me, points not only towards limits on possibilities for mass casualties through regulation, but to a need for more proactive mental health care for those who cannot fit in to the process of social shepherding schooling entails.

  10. One of the more annoying tropes of the 2008 campaign was the notion that Obama was the “progressive” candidate versus Hillary the DLC corporatist. In fact Obama ran to Hillary’s right (at least on domestic issues). But I’m old enough to remember when left-leaning Americans thought Bill Clinton would be our first hippie president, so our capacity for self-delusion is well-tested.

    I think both Obama’s weaknesses and his strengths in the current situation don’t have much to do with his ideological orientation, though. He’s a lone wolf — unlike (Bill) Clinton, he’s not a product of the Democratic Party; he just used it as a vehicle. So on the one hand he doesn’t seem to use the Dems in Congress as allies or weapons and instead sometimes works at cross-purposes with them. On the other hand, he has an apparent contempt for political precedent and convention that makes him occasionally run ahead of the pack in game-changing ways. (His support for same-sex marriage is an example.)

  11. The fact that he’s a centerist has destroyed the Republican Party. They’re so committed to their propaganda, turning him into a cartoon leftist radical, that they can’t get rid of it. We’re they in any way logical or reasonable they could get many things done that would please them. But they’re utterly irrational and as a result hoisted on their own petard.

  12. I just worry that Obama hasn’t done your civil liberties any good (apart from keeping them out of the hands of the Repugs). In fact, he’s tended to advance on the greater powers claimed by Bush to intrude and persecute (though at least he’s scaled back the torture).

    Mental health care is a valuable thing, but nobody’s proved it would be effective to forestall spree killers, nor is there an informed psychiatric classification for the kind of mental state that leads to such crimes. We assume the killers are insane but we have very little to go on since so few survive their campaigns of violence. Generally, the mentally fragile are more likely to be persecuted by the “healthy” so identifying them and helping them is good but seeing them as a menace is not.

    American High School culture, which I know off only via the media, fills me with horror, but I have to remind myself that my own school days occurred in a climate of bullying, homophobia and years-long campaigns of intimidation. I do think it’s a mistake to allow children and teenagers to run their own micro-societies: Lord of the Flies invented nothing.

  13. You want High School? Here ya go!

  14. I see no crumbling of support for the Republican agenda. The popular vote wasn’t that far apart. And there is a chunk of the populace that is stockpiling weapons for what I’ve heard described as a coming “revolution.” Sounds more like a paranoid bomb shelter mentality, and if there’s a revolution, they’ll be the ones who will be leading it.

  15. They’ll be leading it into their own customized graves.

  16. I believe the popular vote margin was around 51-47, over 3 million votes, which was wider than the 2004 Bush/Kerry margin. This when all the usual metrics dictated that Obama should not have had a chance. Up until fairly recently one could still argue that there was a “natural” GOP majority in national elections. Now one can argue that unless it changes significantly, the GOP is on its way to extinction as a national party. It’s even showing significant slippage in the coastal South, and Texas could become a swing state within the next couple of elections. The GOP is in an existential crisis.

    As for the Tea Party and the gun-hoarding survivalists, they’re nothing new at all. They’re the Birchers, the “Old Right.” They’ve been with us in some fashion since at least the 50s, and one can find plenty of precursors, e.g., the Silver Shirts, self-declared fascist revolutionaries of the 30s (who used to practice military manuevers in the hills near Stanford U). As ever, they’re a bastion of weakness-fueled homicidal rage, harboring fantasies of insurrection that are no more realistic than were those of the Weathermen and the Black Panthers.

  17. So the mistake of the Repugs was to go after those votes and alienate the middle, who migrated to Obama? Sounds reasonable. I’m just waiting for a party of the left to stand against the Democrats, then. But that might be a while coming.

  18. “This when all the usual metrics dictated that Obama should not have had a chance.”

    The “usual metrics” are the creation of the Republican-run “Mainstream Media” — whose propaganda efforts failed massively. Nate Silver, a gay Democrat numbers-cruncher, proved that it was Romney who didn’t have a chance just prior to an election that brought Mittens overwhelming defeat.

  19. Maybe the crazies aren’t new, but isn’t the amount of guns they are stockpiling reaching unprecedented numbers, and isn’t the weaponry more lethal and powerful than ever?

  20. I wouldn’t judge the value of improved mental health awareness and intervention purely on stopping spree killers or in finding the “insane” as that would only be one potential positive outcome for a more serious effort to address the struggles of children within the school system. Mass murder understandably attracts attention and drives the conversation, but is less of a threat overall than the accumulation of suicides, sexual assaults, bullying, depression, and all the other feelings and events that face young people during their school years.

    The system we have for schooling may benefit society as a whole, but it can cause many to suffer or intensify suffering for many who see their time in school as being unbearable and without end. Of course attempting to provide substantive mental health services would cost money while simply enacting bans on certain types of guns or taxing them is easier, though surely doomed to inadequacy as long as the constitution continues to be understood as providing the right to bear arms in the broad sense it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. We might be able to prevent certain types of guns from being sold and/or better regulate the sales of all guns, but that isn’t going to eliminate them and therefore will not end these kinds of events either.

  21. Oh, and to be clear, I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t try to better regulate guns, just that by itself that will not likely be adequate in addressing the larger problems. As a reference point I would merely point to the fact that the Sandy Hook shootings have led to greatly increased gun purchases in many areas of the country as gun advocates worry about the potential for legislation.

  22. As long as it’s left to the public whether to arm or not, lots of people will understandably think the solution is to be more heavily armed than their neighbours. Disarm them all and they won’t be as nervous, since the likelihood of meeting an armed crazy will be massively lower. On the other hand, I would expect a few Waco style sieges if that’s tried.

    Reagan’s policy of kicking the mentally ill onto the streets obviously wasn’t a great success, surprise surprise. Thatcher tried the same thing here, but with a lot more support. There were some very high profile catastrophic failures to this “care in the community” (a strange phrase given that Thatcher denied that society exists) although people with mental handicaps faired well, with sufficient help, and really benefited from wider horizons. The problems there have come from the behaviour of the “healthy”. Unfortunately, we tend to try one-size-fits-all policies instead of having a range of options.

  23. First the Second Amendment must be rescinded.

    Wayne LaPierre is a pathological liar. He blathers about mental health yet he and the criminal cabal he runs are admantly opposed to denying guns to ANYONE — even if they’re mentally ill.

    Do you catch my drift?

    IT’S THE GUNS!!!!!!!!!




  24. The sad thing though is that if we were to somehow start altering the constitution, I’d fear the 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th and 10th amendments might go before the 2nd. I wish that weren’t so but given what I see in society I can’t help but be pessimistic. I hold out more hope for a general and gradual societal shift along the lines of attitudes on smoking than I trust those with power to respond to public welfare before money. But, hey, if we can get there your way I’d be okay with that too.

  25. I think you should zealously protect most of the constitution, and ideally roll back some of the liberties that have been taken with it in the last ten years. But I don’t see anything to lose by surrendering the guns, which are never going to be useful against the state and only facilitate a kind if slomo auto-homeo-genocide.

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