Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shutdown and Shut Up

I think a very telling aspect of this “partial” shutdown of government is that all those wonderful folks in Congress are still getting paid. The 800,000 people who are not, apparently, don’t matter. The Tea Party folks call themselves “patriots.” I wonder if they know what that means. They are extorting the American people, they say, for our own good. The health care reform act was passed by both houses and signed into law. Now, guys like Ted Cruz are attempting to hold it hostage because they don’t like it. I’m not sure I like it either, but if I follow their example, I can pick and choose the laws I want to obey.

Well, I kind of do that already, so who am I to talk?

I’m not a Democrat and I’m not a Republican. I think both parties have damaged themselves with this gamesmanship. We (the American people) are mostly annoyed by the situation. This is kind of dangerous and can give rise to other interests gaining listeners (and votes). While that might be a breath of healthy clean air, it also bears watching very closely. People should study the politics of Europe in the late Twenties and Thirties of the last century. Peoples’ disenchantment with the regimes in power had disastrous results.

The only good thing, I think, to come out of this congressional ineptitude is that it is providing a rich, albeit squirmy, wealth of material for cartoonists and humorists. I really wish Mark Twain were alive and writing and Molly Ivins would be having a ball skewering Mr. Cruz.

It would be interesting to discover who the big insurance lobby is supporting during this whacko situation.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Follow the Money

Our illustrious government is trying have have it both ways. What I mean by that is in the 1980s, the Reagan administration knew full well that Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons, not only on the Iranian army, but also on his own people, the Kurds. This is not conjecture, this is fact. It is also true that the Reagan administration was selling components to the Iraqis that were being used in the manufacture of mustard gas weapons. Recently declassified Pentagon documents confirm that we (and I use that term loosely) also knew about that. The United States condemned the use of chemical weapons, but imposed no sanctions and kept the pipeline of components open and provided battlefield intelligence about how and where to use the weapons against the Iranians.

So. Now we are outraged at the inhumanity of the Syrian regime using sarin on their own people? We are suddenly taking the moral high ground? We have been utterly complicit in a regime’s use of chemical weapons and now we want to attack an idiot because he used chemical weapons and, probably, got the strength of the mixture wrong? Why weren't we outraged when Iraq was the culprit? This dichotomy is how the rest of the world sees us. It's no wonder we might be just a tad unpopular.

I am seriously confused. It really makes me wonder what our government’s true motivations are. My cynicism tells me to take a step back and try to follow the money. All wars are about money, ever since the weapons were fists and stones. Who stands to gain if we launch a bevy of Tomahawks at Syria? I do not know the answer to that question. As far as I can see, everybody loses. Everybody. Well, except the few who won’t. I wonder who they are because they’re calling the shots in this ridiculous and egregious bullshit. I do understand that, should we attack Assad’s regime, the people of Syria will just be in the way and that we will just be adding to the unbelievable body count. And not one, not a single one, of those civilians deserved to die.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Personal Transport

Yesterday, January 29, marked the anniversary of Robert Frost passing from this world. He died in 1963. I was a couple months shy of thirteen. His passing was emotional for me because I loved what he did. His poetry was accessible to me. It was also way beyond me, but the stories he told were right THERE. The depth of his thoughts and vision wouldn't strike me for years, but I suspected something there. I just didn't have enough of a world view to find it. Besides, the world was all about me in those days. Sometimes, it still is and I miss things that I shouldn't miss. In this poem to honor Mr. Frost I've tried to emulate some of that for which he was famous and of which he was the master craftsman. I have no such pretensions. Hope it rings something in you.

Personal Transport

A steaming sip of fragrant tea
rouses mornings wrapped in fog,

walking beside the plumed dog
across a plain of memories,

calling the names of old
acquaintances, some deceased,

somehow puts my heart at ease
and draws me back into the fold.

The dog tugs freely at his leash,
reminding me gently of his need,

so I slow and pay him heed,
and wear the streetlamp halo I’m beneath.

The fog is silver, cold, and mute,
while I am upright, mulling there

adrift inside the familiar where
I cannot recognize my own wet boots

through my vague cosseted history
that ebbs and flows in this swirling fog,

yet dances like a happy dog
against the leash of mystery.