Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Canadians Have More Balls Than Americans

It’s a few short days before the 2006 mid-term elections and my mind is reeling trying to decide what to write in the all-important First Post on my Brand New Blog.

Red states. Blue states. Red states. Altered States. I’m so confused I can’t even remember whether the Blues are the right wing or whether the Reds are right. Or is it the Blues are right and the Reds are simply wrong? Or, have I got that bass ackwards again?

No matter how you slice it, I have the Blues. It seems to be my natural state after the death of my mother. Does that make me a Blue State?

What has made me so Blue other than planting my Mom? America. Well…actually, not America herself. What gives me The Blues are Americans, not to put too fine a point on it. It’s a shame America is so full of them and they are so full of it.

Seriously. I spent the past 35 years to the country to the north of this one. How many of you Americans can name it? Should I be teaching to the test?

I always seem to be in a state of befuddlement since my return to the United Snakes. I always feel out of step. I have odd conversations with Americans, filled with oblique misunderstandings that puzzle me, like this one:

Rushing into a gas station with a full bladder, I ask the clerk, “Can I use the washroom?”

She looks at me like I am from another planet. “Huh?”

“Can I use the washroom?”

“The what?”

“The washroom!!!”

“You need to wash?”

“No! I need to piss!” I must sound frantic by now since my need was great before this little speed bump.

“Oh! The restroom!”

As I dash to where she’s pointed, I realize that I don’t have to rest either.

I simply can’t seem to find the rhythm of life here. It feels like I’m moving to Reggae and all around me people are waltzing to Lawrence Welk. In fact, that’s exactly what’s happening because I’m living with my Dad in his retirement community. Suffice to say my days are full of misunderstandings, some compounded by the hard of hearing. Others are compounded by Americans whose myopic world view is only matched by their unblinking jingoism. Where is The All-American Value System™ I was taught in my Civics class?

Nothing illustrates this lack of –let’s just call it civility, shall we?—as the run-up to a vote in America. These days debating issues during an election season seems to be quaint and old-fashioned, much like the bun in which I often wear my hair. “It’s so last century, Aunty Em,” my niece Victoria says about my hair style and my election issues. [If not for Vickie, bless her 14-year old heart, I couldn’t legitimately be called “Aunty.”]

I can’t imagine what Vix’s generation is learning about political discourse from her elders. To her and her peeps, as the kids saying, elections must look like some kind of sleazy Leisure Suit Larry computer game played on YouTube, where the highest bidder buys all the influence and all dialogue is reduced to the level of a Jerry Springer episode. It has become lowest-common-denominator, at-the-top-of-one’s-lungs, shoot-the-messenger-and-forget-the-message electioneering. This is guaranteed to produce an end product not dissimilar to President George W. Bush.

When I asked Vickie “Whatever happened to political discourse?” she snorted, “Doncha mean ‘political intercourse,’ Aunty Em? Because we’re the one’s getting fucked.”

My brother allows her to talk that way. But, she’s right. Otherwise I might have said something.

I did ask her to elaborate and here’s my translation, with all the Vix patois removed: “Issues may have been good enough for my parents, and even my parents’ parents, but there’s no time for that in the new millennium. Just throw it all out there: conjecture, suspicion, speculation, conspiracy theories, lies, half-truths and, of course, ad hominem attacks. All of it drowns out the truth, which is the point. What sticks becomes truth, whether there’s any reality to it or not. If opinion polls suggest Americans believe that WMDs were found in Iraq or that Saddam and Osama lunched at Nathan’s every Wednesday, then that’s all that really matters, Right?”

And my reply? “No! That’s not all that matters!! Facts matter!!! I sure wish I had a Swift Boat Captain to back me up on this one.”

Nevermind. It’s clear that Blue States are just plain dumb. Or is that Red States?

Red. Blue. Donkeys. Elephants. Democrats. Republicans. What’s the fucking difference anymore? This entire sideshow is designed to keep us from seeing the bigger picture.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

What is this bigger picture of which I speak? Let’s talk about the mainstream media [MSM] for a minute. The Right Wing of America crows that the MSM is so far to the left of Mao, they only eat tofu and rice. Conversely, the Leftoids shout the MSM is concentrated in the hands of too few rich, white guys, all who lean starboard, as opposed to port.

I’ll admit my liberal bias upfront. I believe those rich white Right guys like the current sitch-eee-ay-shun and government just fine. In fact, they wouldn’t mind government stepping back even further for even less regulation, leading to even higher concentrations. But that’s another argument for another time.

It’s also an argument designed to keep us from following the bouncing ball.

FOLLOWING THE BOUNCING BALL
IN THE BIGGER PICTURE

What is the bouncing ball that the redbluedonkeyelephantRepublicanDemocrat hopes you cannot, or simply will not, follow? Who is bouncing the ball? What colour is the ball? Is anyone there to catch the ball? These are all very important questions. But the sad truth is that no one is bouncing the ball. That’s because this is more like a juggling act, to juggle the analogy on you one more time. The real trick, as anyone who ever watched Ed Sullivan knows, is for the juggler is to keep all those balls in the air at the same time.

KEEPING THE BALLS IN THE AIR

Here’s the main point I’m trying to make, and please stick with me until the very end (if you’ve stayed this long, dear reader): Look again at our Bigger Picture, which is the MSM. I mentioned a bouncing ball. Let’s also label it MSM. Our recently introduced juggler, working frantically to keep all the balls in the air, is also named MSM. And, still, none of that matters because behind the juggler, is the heretofore unmentioned Magician, also named MSM.

THE MAGICIAN BEHIND THE JUGGLER

After you’ve memorized your card, put it back into the deck. At no time, ladies and gentlemen, did my hands ever leave my wrists.

See? It’s all about deflection. Presto Chango! Just a wee bit of legerdemain. Some Hocus Pocus to smoke us. A spell-weaving incantation of words and images creating the sleight of hand necessary to distract from the Bad Mojo we have already witnessed with its own eyes!! Abracadabra!!! Now you see it. Now you don’t. This incantatory black art turns America’s much-heralded Democracy into an alchemical soup of dross and Willie Horton gotcha political advertisements.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. That’s just Jack Abramoff. But I digress.

Which is exactly what the MSM does: digress, digress, and digress. Especially the 24-hour news channels, and most especially Fox News Channel (yet another topic for another day). While you’re distracted trying to find the magician (Bush or Congress or Activist Judges, choose your poison) operating behind the juggler (the Left/Right divide, raised security threats, trans fat, it never really matters), who in turn is keeping the balls in the air (Foley, Iraq, Cut & Run), you can’t ask the magician to answer the really important question: Does the MSM even have any balls, both literally and figuratively?

It’s a fair question. If the MSM weren’t a neutered lap dog, how else to explain it keeping these facts from The American Public™:
1). Both the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen and those holding high office are not entitled to their monogrammed cufflinks.

2). In both elections huge groups of minority voters were systematically and illegally prevented from voting, in numbers greater than ever occurred during the bad old days in the bad old south before the Voter Acts of 1965.

As I say, these are documented facts. In my mind these are the biggest scandals since Watergate and may even eclipse that “third rate burglary.” It may very well be that Nixon isn’t the biggest Republican crook to order young men and women into combat.

Then, why haven’t most Americans heard of them? Simple. Our attention was deflected by the MSM. In the 2000 election the sideshow was about all those pregnant chads in Florida. That suited the Florida Governor and soon-to-be-First Brother, Jeb Bush, just fine because swinging chads kept people from asking about the tens of thousands of Democrats illegally—and intentionally so—denied the right to vote in his state. In the 2004 vote everyone’s eyes were on the dramatic photofinish in Ohio. Consequently, it didn’t become common knowledge that some voting machines, and vote-counting machines, in minority districts were deliberately set to reject spoiled ballots. You’d think that was a good thing until you learn that similar machines in predominantly prosperous (read: white) districts were set to kick the ballot back to the voter so they could fix any deficiencies and vote all over again. They’d even get a clean ballot if they needed it. Since minorities tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic this little bit of technical prestidigitation created the photofinish that had so transfixed the MSN in the first place.

And, fate help us all when they replace all voting machines with those touch-screen monstrosities that do not provide a paper trail. Something else the MSM won’t tell you: the companies that manufacture, program, and promote these Democracy ATMs™ are big contributors to the Republican coffers. Democrats would get righteously indignant about that if they weren’t also lining their pockets from the same sources, just not as deep.

And so, dear reader, we have finally arrived at my main point –REALLY!—which is that the MSM is supposed to keep its collective eyes on all those balls on our behalf. The MSM media has—dare I say it?—dropped the ball. I find this ironic because if the MSM was in the grips of one ideology or another, they would have been all over this story like white on the Senate after reconstruction. However, the American MSM ignored these stories, even tho’ the facts were known and reputable journalists were trying to get the MSM to report on them—and while there was still time to have done something about it!

Something else you don’t hear from the MSM is how Ken Lay, the House of Saud, Enron, Manuel Noriega, Halliburton, the Contras, Saddam, Scooter Libby, the CIA, Vice President Cheney, George Bush the First, Rumsfeld, The Carlysle Group, Iran, Osama bin Laden’s family, and ObL himself, have been in business together at one time or another. Did I leave anyone out?

Before you come back to debate me on the last several paragraphs, I suggest you read Greg Palast’s two fine books: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf?, The Best Legal Whorehouse in Texas, No Child's Behind Left and Other Tales of Class Combat in a Dying Regime. I read them at the behest of Victoria, so maybe there’s some hope for Generation Huh after all. Palast has all the citations and documentation and I will be happy to debate his facts. However, if you attempt to vilify Mr. Palast, I won’t listen. Not that he’s a friend. In fact, I don’t even know him. He may be the biggest asshole on the planet. This debate is not about him.

Let’s try something novel instead. Let’s debate the thesis of his books.

I say that because I know well in advance that some people are going to say things about Greg Palast and ignore his facts. Just as I know that some people are going to say things about Aunty Em. I know my patriotism and/or parentage will be questioned. I know that EVENTUALLY I’ll be told, “If you don’t like it here, you can go back where you came from.” I also know that I will be accused of not supporting the troops, even tho’ my heart goes out to every one of those brave men and women. [Really, they’re mostly just boys and girls.] I hope they all get home safely.

What I can’t figure out is what the hell they are doing over there in the first place. Still another topic for another day. There’s no shortage of what to write about, is there?

How can an opinion be unpatriotic?

What I am trying to say, in my long-winded Aunty Em way, is that the 1st Amendment is barely operative these days. However, in all fairness to the MSM, I guess a Free Press is also free to ignore news. And, as for Free Speech? It seems to be more “Freedom of Speech Provided You Agree With Me, Otherwise Shut The Fuck Up” because as soon as someone starts to colour outside the lines, the Right Wing –are they Blue or Red?—begins a search and destroy mission.

We’ve seen it time and time again. The Right Wing Echo Chamber Orchestra (featuring the Karl Rove Chorale) sets out vilify anyone whose worst crime is having independent thought of mind. Or: the stupidity to express it in public. Those Shoot the Messenger tactics finally –FINALLY!—backfired last week when Rush Limbaugh went too far and attacked a Fox. That would be the actor Michael J. and not the unfair and possibly imbalanced Fox News Channel.

Showing a total lack of class, empathy, and common sense the pill-popping, pontificating, erection-challenged blowhard went after both Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly in one felled swoop. In the bargain, he also made fun of a man’s infirmity, fer crise sakes. As America gasped as one, there was barely enough air left to breath. It’s a wonderful irony that The American Public™ gasped as one and sided with Michael J. Fox, the foreigner. They found his wholesome, polite, Canadian values in stark contrast to Limbaugh’s Big Bully—the personification of The Ugly American.

The reason this is a bittersweet irony for me is that I find myself missing those simple Canadian values more, the longer I am in Amerikkka. In Canada I found a polite society that, for the most part, reflected the deep-seated goodness I learned in Civics class. I was taught that every vote mattered. I learned about the Civil Rights Movement and Jim Crow laws. I was told that all of us are created equal. I came to believe that it’s important for all of us to look out for one another. I left America too soon after those Civic classes and never had a chance to see how America operated in practice. I just knew how it should operate in theory.

I now realize I was not just wearing rose-tinted glasses, but I was decked out in fun-house mirrored shades, which distorted a picture that didn’t exist at all and probably never had. I simply had no idea how cruel and mean America had become. Or was it always like this? While the country tries to remove the teaching of Natural Selection in the school systems, society has developed along Darwinian lines. In America it’s all about survival of the fittest, equating to wealthiest. Health care, anyone? You guessed it: Another topic for another time.

Now that I have traveled upriver into the heart of darkness, I’m shocked at how selfish and spiteful Americans can be. Where is Conrad when we really need him?

And, nothing has opened my eyes about Kurtz more than this current election cycle.

Let’s face it: It’s nothing but invective. The MSM reports who’s leading, but not what the platforms may be. They tell us what the candidates say, but not whether it’s the truth. Is tit-for-tat-news, when the MSM simply parrots what both sides say, supposed to stand-in for informative reportage? The 24-hour tee vee news channels have gone one step better. They deliver their nothingness in a rat-tat-tat tit-for-tat™, in which diametrically opposed factoids defy physics by trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Someone has to be right and someone has to be wrong, but do you think the Punditocracy™ is going to tell us?

The MSM simply doesn’t have the gonads to delve any more than scrotum-deep into the news, because that might lead to actual journalism. Actual journalism might lead to actual work. It’s just easier to shove a mic in front of a talking head than to do some research. Man, that research stuff takes time. I spent literally hours reading those books by Mr. Palast and I’m sure Katie Couric doesn’t have that kind of time on her hands.

Meanwhile, I cannot wait to read Greg Palast’s next series of missives about how the 2006 mid-term elections were stolen and which group of voters was disenfranchised this time around.

One last irony: A lot of what I read in Greg Palast’s books I already knew the broad outlines of because it had been reported in the various media in Canada. It would appear that Canadians care more about American elections than Americans themselves. Or maybe Canadians just have more balls.

With all my love,

Aunty Em

7 comments:

Elron said...

Nice one, especially for a first attempt. Welcome to the blogosphere, lol.

aaronft said...

To quote a different blog (Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame) -

> Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a 100% chance that the voting machines will get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?

http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/
Oct. 31.

aaronft said...

ps. If a voting machine doesn't like your vote, it may change it to the candidate it _does_ like.

Fark.com, Oct. 30th.

http://go.fark.com/cgi/fark/go.pl?
i=2382898&l=http://www.rawstory.com/
showoutarticle.php%3Fsrc%3Dhttp%3
A%2F%2Fwww.miami.com%2Fmld%2F
miamiherald%2Fnews%2Fbreaking_news
%2F15869924.htm
or
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/
news/breaking_news/15869924.htm

I find it ironic that on the same page is "U.S. digs for vote-machine links to Hugo Chávez". If the machines are safe, why does it matter who makes them?

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