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April 26, 2017


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In lieu of a living wage we will give you...wait for it...a tax cut!

It will not help you much, if at all, but it sounds good.

And besides, think of all the wealth that will trickle down to you from our beneficent billionaire class....right?

Gore Vidal called our poor benighted land "the United States of Amnesia" with good reason.

We do not remember, we do not learn, we do not question.

We work, we consume as much as we can, and then we die.

George Carlin had it right:

"There's a reason for this, there's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It's never going to get any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got... because the owners of this country don’t want that. I'm talking about the real owners now... the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right."

And this:
"They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin’ years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later 'cause they own this fuckin' place. It’s a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club. ...The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. ...And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes every day, because the owners of this country know the truth. It’s called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it."

The truth in those rants applies to our Governor.

The scams are out in the open, brazen, and incredible.

Yet the rubes keeps electing the R party.

I guess this is today's question for our Trump voters: are you tired of all the winning yet?

Trump "won" the election the old-fashioned way. He promised a lot of bullshit that would never happen, the most transparent of which was the wall on the southern border Mexico would pay for. But repealing and replacing Obamacare with "something terrific" was even more outlandish in its way since real people would die if Republicans succeeded here. Some of those people would even be white, which is where Trump voters become conflicted. Some of them thought it wasn't Obamacare but something called the Affordable Care Act keeping death at bay. Fox News didn't help, of course, but who do you trust to tell you the truth? Liberal media with their "details" or Bill O'Reilly stroking your id?

The good news is that this "plan" will never happen because Donald J Trump is the most monumentally unfit person ever to be elected president of our Benighted States of America. The bad news is that we'll continue to shoot ourselves in our collective feet out of misplaced racial and cultural animus. Republicans (and Cal) will continue to remind us that the real demons are Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Bernie will do his part by getting hipsters to believe it's all a matter of pure motives and beautiful souls.

We are a nation of raging children only halfway through our ritual tantrums in the check-out line at Target.

Democracy is not a panacea. It only works if people have a baseline position in reality itself. But if your sense of reality derives from cable TV, talk radio, and chain e-mails, you're not a citizen so much as a mark. You're going to make America great again? No. At best, you'll keep your corporate overlords content as they continue to narcotize you with endless entertainment. At worst, you'll eventually die so nothing matters anyway. It's all about YOU! Republicans figured that out a long time ago.

Great article. Plus George Carlin is one of my favorite persons even in death.
I forwarded Jon's article to many of the Repulicans I know. And already some have got back to me and they liked the article.

Soleri, it was you that brought up Pelosi, Hillary and Bernie, I just mentioned Zombies. What would you suggest Bernie do, retire, move to Uruguay, maybe commit suicide?

If U All are out of patience with my retarded comments here just let me know and I will self deport. The campfire boys that speak in slow short deliberate and direct sentences and drink their whiskey straight ,no ice, always welcome me to warm my hands even though they think I am a flaming liberal Mexican lover.

Whenever I had a problem in business,I looked for another company that was doing it right and tried to copy their ideas to my way of doing business.It always worked and I said there was very few new ideas but the solutions were there if you just looked for them.
So the last time we had a balanced budget and actually paid down some debt was the Clinton/Republican plan of the 90's.So why don't we just go back to the tax policies of the late 90's and see if that works.It not a new idea but it worked.That is what is important,and it would not take a genius or high paid consultants to figure it out.
P.S. Cal-don't go away.I appreciate an old Mexican lover who drinks his whiskey straight.

I always loved Carlin,the hippy dippy weatherman and saw him live in Phx during the seventies.After he lost his wife he became very bitter and said many things that were taken as anti-govt and anti wealth.Then he realized he was wealthy and his mood seemed to change.That is our elected official's problem.They get elected thinking the legislature is a sewer and after being feted and fawned over,they begin to think it's a hot tub.IMHO which is what all these posts are.

Cal, I'm not in censoring anyone, so I hope you can appreciate my pushback even if it's sounds a bit imperious.

The politicians I like are the ones who keep doors and conversations open. It's not easy making the process work and nothing shuts it down faster than the idea that some people are impure and cannot be trusted. Please: this nation is not a nunnery. I can even forgive the occasionally graft if it means stuff getting done. The Tea Party (right and left) could use a little whiskey in a smoke-filled room from time to time. It's not a lack of piety that spoils everything. In fact, it may be the opposite.

I wanted to say this in the last thread, but I might as well state it now. Here are a few modern myths which I would love to see die.

1) Term limits. You want ideological zealots instead of horse traders in positions of power? Look no further than the Arizona State Legislature where experience has been devalued in favor of culture warriors and Randian full mooners.

2) Election of judges. I know this one goes back a long way (to Arizona, 1912), but this one is really bad. We are not qualified to judge! I remember when Phillip Marquardt was busted on a pot charge coming back from a ski trip to Aspen. Guess what? Several months later he was retained!

3) Balanced budgets. Nothing says hypocrisy better than Republican insistence that families are forced to live within their means, therefore, so should governments. Gag. Of course, Republicans aren't really sincere here since as Trump's tax cut plan shows they're more than willing to go the Full John Maynard here if it helps the plutocrats. Deficits schmeficits! As always, IOKIYAR.

4) Government would be more efficient if it were run like a business and businessmen should be our leaders. One word: Trump. If you're still hanging onto this one, please stop voting.

The voters chose good and hard, and good and hard is what they will get. Make America great again.

Wanta read about Make America Great again, get a copy of Bill Mauldins 1947 book
Back Home.

Books are for losers. A man of action doesn't have time to waste.

CK. keep acting, I'll read

Interesting that one of the Donalds illegitimate kids has decided to post here.
No room in the castle for U?
I did read a book about a, on purpose homeless dude that lived without money.

Carl Sagan said,
"“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”

Despite Michelle Obama's 68 percent approval rating she will not run for office.


At Slate, Jamelle Bouie explains once again why the semi-mythical white working class keeps voting for the economic interests of the rich:

And Paul Krugman scores an excellent meme in explaining the bizarre control Trump exerts over some people via a memorable pop-culture artifact: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/opinion/living-in-the-trump-zone.html?ref=opinion

I want to note in passing a bit of the right's defense here involves scorning the idea of "white privilege", which is alienating to the Republican base. I no longer take bubble baths in the raw sewage pond of Fox News, but apparently this is the go-to rationale for hating liberals and voting for the rich. I don't like the left's rhetoric anymore than Sean Hannity does because it reeks of its own special pleading. Jargon doesn't enhance the conversation so much as weaponize language for political ends.

I'm naturally sympathetic to underdogs but I draw the line at victim rhetoric. Still, the right is eager to justify its own cruelty by obsessively citing a few hotheads in academia. What's behind this phenomenon? Tribalism. The academic left has its jargon and dogma just as the right has theirs. Tribalism, unfortunately, is not going away, so we'll have to tough this one out. I would simply state that it's one thing to have your feelings hurt by sanctimonious liberals and something else entirely to have your health care taken away or the nation's wealth tilted dramatically in favor the rich. The right's critique is justifiably irritating but the left's is substantively devastating.

Good post Soleri.
However I have decided that it's a matter of " conscience as against compromise, just that, nothing else".
So on 9 July, bring your choice of weapons (a pen) to Tombstone, for High Noon.
Your Pal, Coop.

Soleri always nails it, and he doesn't need endless words.

Cal, I'll be in Chicago July 9, so I'll miss the shoot-out (or piss-off). It's a comfort to me knowing that I don't have to be right about politics and people since my little protests have ultimately no measurable impact at all. There are several billion bees in the bonnet of opinion. Mine is the one buzzing about the hive mind itself.

Mary, thank you for your kind words. I worry about being too prolix or too boring, but they're obviously not exclusive qualities (one word: Emil). There are no final answers, just endless questions.

So now we continue to break down our education system, and the really funny part is that the upper end is getting the college treatment, now with a $5k debit card to help "finance" a quality private education. I imagine that Basis will convert to private shortly so as to fully enable charging their high end aspirational parent base about $15k per year- with the state paying $5k of the above.

It is utterly hilarious to watch the top end raped by their own political allies.

Watch and see if my predictions don't come true.

The other way to get to the scam is to have a special payment for the gifted to further enable the grifters.

Whatever. Apres moi, le deluge.

Oh yeah, de poorz get a crap education, as always, in crowded and dangerous schools.

Soleri, have a great trip, By bicycle?
If by AMTRACK I hope the psycho Trump has not shut it down.
Even if i dont agree with you i value your opinions. You know I like your writing. It's poetic rythum reminds me somewhat of Bowden. I do not find it overly wordy but I do think Cormac McCarthy is even more prolix than James Lee Burke. I tried reading All the Pretty Horses and it didn't work, just to much for my head. So for 3 bucks I bought the movie. My reading skills have diminished, I just can't focus on the complicated stuff. Now days I read very little fiction and prefer re reading stories that like The Thin Man and gruff stuff by Raymond Chandler and better yet Mapstone Mysteries. i just finished re reading Jon's first two novels. Have a safe trip. If You need a contact my Pal Drummer Pete Magadini just moved to Chicago from Downtown San Francisco.

This idea of a "tax cut" that will magically get the economy moving is really no different in its misconception than the idea that we can simply buy cheap foreign made goods without economic consequences.

When we buy those foreign-made goods, we not only surrender a tiny bit of our economic power--we also acknowledge that the country we bought them from does something BETTER than America.

We need to translate THAT acknowledgment into recognizing that every other nation is our equal in being respected as a sovereign nation--and treating those nations, like North Korea, China, Mexico, and Canada as equals in foreign relations and negotiating. THAT would go a long way toward America NOT being defined as a bully nation by many countries around the world.

Humility would go a long way toward cooperation in a cynical world environment contributed hugely to by America's economically cynical attitude toward nations and markets.

The companion part to my last comment is when a population is woefully undereducated in world affairs, it will be more compliant and unquestioning of what authority says.

Nowhere is this more apparent with Trump--who is less than a neophyte in foreign affairs--continually crying "fake news," his toady Kellyanne Conway spouting "alternative facts," and their lockstep storm-trooper base of "ugly Americans" seig heiling their every move.

American arrogance in their supposed "superiority" is willful ignorance toward the rest of the world's opinions. Stupid is as stupid does.

Cal, I'm sorry you couldn't get your footing in All The Pretty Horses. I think it's McCarthy's greatest novel although Blood Meridian has a fair number of champions. It's a classic coming-of-age story and its setting in Mexico would hold great appeal to you. I sympathize with your complaint about a brain that is no longer as supple as it once was. I have the same complaint, and there are probably any number of books I'm not reading now for that reason. At a certain age, you become comfortable with your own "not knowing". Content is less important than simply the freedom to be as you are.

Non-fiction is usually a more manageable challenge. I'm currently reading Mikal Gilmore's Shot In The Heart, another kind of story that would appeal to your sense of America's mad-sad culture. Our primal experience is going global now, and it's either a brave evolutionary leap mankind is making or a looming crack-up on a cosmic scale. I don't want to dismiss out of hand the Trump voters who think it's the latter. They may well be right but slamming on the brakes can be every bit as hazardous as speeding in a pitch-dark night.

Where we disagree politically is not a matter of values so much as expedience. Will splitting the progressive coalition purify our project or, as I believe, continue to help Republicans win elections? We've lost two major elections to an increasingly radical party that is incoherent on policy and hostile to reality itself. That said, we're just a couple of old guys talking. We won't change the outcome regardless if one is right and the other wrong. That outcome doesn't depend on our viewpoints. I'm mildly curious about it but not enough to overextend my brief tenure in our collective exile that is this world.

As I type this, I finish breakfast as I turn the pages of the non fiction book "High Noon" by Glenn Frankel. A good read.
I never cared for Marion Morrison or life guard Ronnie, a Class B actor at his best, and now I know why even more. They and their ilk destroyed a lot of good folks lives.
Their kind has now returned and are even more dangerous not just to the USA but the planet.

After Donald Ducks first 100 days I irrationally hallucinate that his election was more about never Hillary than all the other reasons. Rationally I suppose I am wrong and I try not to lapse into a daydream.

Trump and North Korea.
"According to a Gallup poll in 1951, half of the respondents believed the Korean conflict represented the beginning of an atomically charged World War III."
Dave Kerr film curator for MOMA

One thing most people don't realize is that a state of war still exists between North Korea and South Korea--and, by extension, the United States. The end of active hostilities was achieved in 1953 with a truce--and not by any formal surrender or treaty.

It is under this "state of war" that North Korea has been operating since 1953. While that might seem a bit absurd to Americans, the North Koreans have always been deadly serious about this--and their aim to conquer the South. They see America as both impeding their "entitlement" to Korea below the 38th parallel--and, being paranoid, also see America as wanting to make North Korea capitalist. This definition of America as an existentialist threat informs their nuclear wish list.

While Rex Tillerson has declared that "regime change" is not America's aim for North Korea, it may need to be codified in a treaty proposal for the rest of the world to see just HOW colonializing North Korea is.

I'm at half price books looking at Cormac McCathy stuff and I have read The Road and it was a hard road to read.

What those woefully undereducated rubes seduced by the "tax cut" mantra have never realized is this: Taxes are what one pays to have an orderly and safe society. An unwillingness to pay appropriate taxes only invites societal chaos and potential unrest.

From good roads to quality schools; competent first responders to functioning government; and a safe environment to a strong military; a consistent and responsible monetary stream from taxes is necessary.

But what do I know? I'm just a lowly truck driver...but I'll tell you this, I think I have a whole lot more "good sense" than those running this country.

I think you nailed it Cal: "The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media..."

I find 'the media' as a very interesting institution indeed. I had on a national morning show last Saturday and they did one of their brief snippets on how citizens perceive the media (related to the WHCD story) and, rather than diving deeper into the topic, the host almost couldn't cut away from the chart quickly enough in order to remind me that, after these commercials, they'd show me the trending viral videos on social media!

It's a challenging market indeed but, for decades, the lines between editorial and reporting became blurred such that, when a news organization does try to snap back and remind readers that investigative reporting matters, it seems a little hypocritical considering the amount of time that major networks spend on celebrity sightings or (my favorite) 'reporting' on their own network's reality tv show results.

I think we're far enough down the road that blaming anything other than money in politics is attacking the symptom but I still find it interesting that news outlets still market themselves as Bernstein and Woodward when their product is more in line with Buzzfeed or TMZ.

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