Friday, October 03, 2008

Poverty: Now Playing at a Theatre of War Near You

I tried to watch the Vice-Presidential debate last night but I quickly lost interest and soon found myself on my hands and knees, spinning coins on the floor for my cat’s amusement. I read the transcript today and I don't feel like I missed anything that could have changed my mind regarding the election.

I did see bits of it. It struck me that moderator Gwen Ifill was doing a surprisingly lackluster job of making the candidates answer the actual questions. I think the following string of words from Sarah Palin was what triggered my apathy attack- Ifill had just asked Palin if she would like to comment on Biden’s remarks about McCain’s healthcare plan, and this was Palin’s response:

Palin: I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.

Not to be overly picky, but how can we expect “straight talk” from a person who refuses to answer the questions that we want to [ask] and who seems incapable of constructing a complete English sentence?
And also you betcha, dontcha know? Darn right! *wink*

Holy fuck. I actually saw a candidate for the second-highest office in the land *wink* during a debate. So proud, I am.

I expected Gwen Ifill to interject, saying something along the lines of: “Governor , this is a formal, structured debate and, as the moderator, I am compelled to inform you that you and your opponent are both expected to respect the rules and format as previously agreed.”

But she didn’t.
A few minutes after Palin’s defiant non-answer, I was dipping into the catnip.


-Does anyone in the current Congress have even a cursory knowledge of American History? It's not exactly classified info- it's actually on the Internet and in books and stuff. Does anyone see a parallel between current events and this description of the economic precursors to the Great Depression?

[In]1929 the top 0.1 percent of American families had a total income equal to that of the bottom 42 percent. This meant that many people who were willing to listen to the advertisers and purchase new products did not have enough money to do so. To get around this difficulty, the 1920s produced another innovation— credit- an attractive name for consumer debt. People were allowed to “buy now, pay later.” But this only put off the day when consumers accumulated so much debt that they could not keep buying up all the products coming off assembly lines.

President Herbert Hoover was certain that the economy was fundamentally strong and that bailing out the banks and lenders would allow the markets to self-correct and solve this problem. He was wrong.

Of course, things are different now. There's nothing wrong with America that can't be solved by throwing money away. The more,the better.

I'm kidding. I am not an economist or an academic but I do like to read about history and I've read enough to notice that events tend to repeat themselves in slightly different but still recognizable ways. Eggheads and bookworms would refer to these repetitions as "patterns" and "cycles", but really, it's just the same-old-shit, over and over again.

Take Empires, for instance. Pick an Empire from history -any Empire- and you'll see the same cycle of influence and expansion, a peak and a plateau followed by decay, corruption, collapse, dissolution and defeat.
There is always war involved.

But that could never happen here. God loves us too much.

Plus, that bail-out bill that just passed is gonna restore prosperity any second all we need is another Hawley-Smoot Act and we are good as gold, right as rain!


I'd hardly call Pakistan an 'Empire', but they do have nuclear weapons and they do happen to be engaged in a full-scale Civil War with the Taliban inside their own country. Most Americans probably aren't even aware of this, secure as we are in our delusion that the Mission is Accomplished...I mean, didn't we beat the Taliban? Didn't we?

Not since Pakistan forged an alliance with the United States after 9/11 has the Pakistani Army fought its own people on such a scale and at such close quarters to a major city. After years of relative passivity, the army is now engaged in heavy fighting with the militants on at least three fronts.

The sudden engagement of the Pakistani Army comes after months in which the United States has heaped criticism, behind the scenes and in public, on Pakistan for not doing enough to take on the militants, and increasingly took action into its own hands with drone strikes and even a raid by Special Operations forces in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

But the army campaign has also unfolded as the Taliban have encroached deeper into Pakistan proper and carried out far bolder terrorist attacks, like the Marriott Hotel bombing on Sept. 20, which have generated fears among the political, business and diplomatic elite that the country is teetering.

Personally, I'm a little alarmed at the idea of the Taliban picking a nuke out of the rubble of Pakistan's crumbled government. I know, as an American, I am supposed to have little or no concern for events in foreign countries, but I just can't help thinking that there is absolutely no context in which the phrase "Pakistani civil war" should carry less weight than the phrase "lipstick on a pig".

I seem to be at odds with the American media on this.


I'm glad I can cook and that I know how to make meals out of raw ingredients. When the next generation of soup kitchens open, I'll be the guy holding the ladle, muttering "this is better than no job" to himself.

See you in line. Not on-line. In line.


yellowdog granny said...

glad i missed it..with my blood pressure i'd probably had a stroke...going back to bed...

Donn Coppens said...

This is my humble report:

Grade B-
The 'Human Gaffe Machine' managed to somehow control his piehole and not orate ad infinitum and put us all into a somnambulistic stupor.. Joe was very poised and statesmanly.

He did not mention his remark that FDR went on TV back in '29 to calm the Nation's nerves...
which is fortunate since FDR hadn't been elected yet and TV wasn't invented.

REPUBLICAN Tina Fey..I mean Palin
Grade C+
Caribou Barbie brought her colloquiallistic charm offensive and didn't mention being able to see Russia from her house but she still comes across like your Grade One Teacher...
and she probably was your favorite.

She had way more at stake and proved that she would make a fine Minister of the Interior once they killed off all of those pesky wolves so that the Oil Workers could start drilling.
But President, Hell, oops I mean Heck NO!

I read that most Pakistani soldiers would like to forget about the Taliban and refocus on destroying India...what a world?

NYD said...

Sorry I missed the debate there was a new Japanese porn flick that was released and it waas a whole helluvalot more relevant to my world than Palin's wink.

NYD said...

Oh by the way. I am really impressed that at least one person realizes that the great depression was a worldwide event and not just an American experience with Tom Joad on the road.
Simply put: we are all well fucked

Allan said...

JS- Get well soon!

Donn- I don't think Palin is qualified to babysit her own children, much less run the country.

IMO, Biden, of the four, would be the best President, gaffe or no.

NYD- Ooo! There's Japanese porn? Maybe I can find it on the web...

Yep.And isn't it odd how so many dictatorships came into being during that time period? And, like there was war all over the place and stuff?

Susannity said...

There are a couple reasons Ifill didn't push back more imo. 1. The McCain/Palin ticket set as a precondition to the debate that there be no follow up on questions. With how bad Palin has done with actual questions, they needed her to just deliver her sound bytes with a wink and leave it at that. 2. The McCain/Palin campaign had been smearing Ifill for the week prior saying she wouldn't be fair to Palin because of her book, so they essentially bound and gag her prior.

The SNL skit where they had Biden at the close saying he wanted so bad to call Palin a dummy but he showed such restraint was the reality of it. If they had allowed her to look as stupid as she is, then the pity vote would have come out.