It's an interesting phenomenon: You have a tiny shard of the U.S. population holding itself, and the world, hostage via the Shutdown-Blowdown-Blowup fever dreams of a handful of boneheads who dress up like Constitutional preservationists and protectionists -- while those same boneheads betray the very document they themselves claim to be supporting and providing safe harbor, all while using that same document as a handy club on all who dare disagree with them.
It's interesting, all right -- and in the same twisted, horrific, hold-your-breath-way that it's interesting to consider what happens, say, when a freight train filled with 13 million gallons of molasses and Super Glue piles into an oncoming train loaded down with 42 tons of high grit sandpaper and radioactive goose feathers .
But, then, such confusing Constitutional antics are in keeping with all the other hypocrisies of Tea Party nitwits, so there's no real surprise that their train of thought has once more leapt the tracks and pulled up outside a station named "Tri-Cornered Logic" -- if you'll pardon the oxymoron.
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Who are these enormously self-important pissants holding our country, and the world, hostage? Who are these alleged people who hold the world on the financial tenterhooks of a forced scorched-earth policy? Who on earth are the unfeeling automatons at the bow of the ship of humanity who are bellowing at us all, insisting that it be full speed ahead -- damn the torpedoes and the two-mile plunge below! -- right over the roaring waterfall ahead?
Why, they are Republicans. Please meet Dunceus Unmistakablis Zombius Unpatrioticus, aka Mywayus Orthe Hiwayus Grandstandus.
They've also been called the "suicide caucus" in The New Yorker. Estimates say about 80 people in all are holding the planet hostage. Most figure we're really talking 30 to 40 members of Congress, tops, come crunch time.
How in the hell could such a thing happen, that so few boneheads could corral such enormous, and potentially species-threatening power?
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The Constitution, meanwhile -- remember that piece of vigorously defended parchment? -- specifies the United States government may not, can not, and will not default on its debts. Period. (And it is a very large, very final and ultimate piece of punctuation, at that.)
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Whenever I'm disappointed, I double-check and, yup, there they are: My expectations are lolling around in the gutter, apparently gut-shot or all hunched up with a seriously nasty norovirus. But then, I have to remind myself that we are a species just barely outside our fur-bearing years, so anything can happen.
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Polls confirm the obvious from time to time. One out now shows that Americans want representatives who will stick to their guns, no matter what, and to hell with any namby-pamby, wishy-washy compromising. Even if politics is -- or used to be -- defined as the art of compromise.
You might say that constituents, jammed into a severe and ultra-concentrated right-wing tilt of the political playing field since 9/11, have elected a passel of semi-psychotic, take-no-guff-appearing, hardball-playing people to office -- those who will stubbornly stand on their principles, no matter what.
Which also means: No matter how wrong they are.
That's how in hell such a thing could happen.
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About this small "suicide caucus" as they have been called -- a stray thought bubbles up: Is there a "Suicide PAC," too, -- I mean, aside from the GOP national organization itself?
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By the way: Am I allowed to ask why it is, exactly, that in a post-9/11 world so concerned about terrorism, that these Tea Party terrorists are not all in jail awaiting trial on a number of charges, including treason? Yeah, I didn't think so. Not out loud, anyway.
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The Republican brain, if I may be again forgiven an oxymoron, is a masterwork in fearfulness, lock-stepping with the cause, and remaining as immovable and stone-headed as possible. If there was ever a tribe to say, and truly mean, "I've already made up my mind -- don't try to confuse me with the facts," then it is this bunch.
How can we expect change -- or a reasonable dialogue -- from a group whose governing style for almost six entire years has been to fold their arms, say "no" in a terrible-twos voice to every operational overture, and threaten to hold their breath until they explode?
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Besides the Constitution removing all possibility of doubt that the United States is not allowed to default on its obligations, there are a number of other little formalities here, called laws and legalities.
Can it be that these recalcitrant hostage-takers are breaking the law in their actions and inactions? Can it be that the most recent incarnation of a perpetual Republican temper-tantrum is not only toxic to all life, but illegal to boot? Can it be that Republicans are taking the tact of "We don't need no stinking badges"?
Well, in a word: Yes.
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At this point, I'd like to interrupt my finger-waggling tirade, take a breath, and introduce you to one of the country's most intelligent, humorous, satirical, and witty songsters, Roy Zimmerman. He has put together a fun, enlightening, and short, three-minute piece specifying just how misguided and illegal are the activities of the Tea Party in general, and the "suicide caucus" in particular.
It's based on the "School House Rock" show you might remember from years back. Roy calls his piece, "School the House Rock."
Take a breather from the monetary meltdown and melee. Have a listen:
As amusing as Roy's piece is, it is also educational. We can hope members of the "suicide caucus" will become educated about their jobs, and about that darn old U.S. Constitution (that won't let them stay up late) very soon -- and stop trying to kick out all the global financial pillars in a supreme snit over not liking how U.S. laws have worked out... and stop trying to end run the very same Constitution that they so often quote and hope to protect through their own illegal -- ! -- activities.
But, then, as has already been pointed out to me, any such uptake of actual education on the part of the "suicide caucus" would require them to accurately count all the way from one up to thur-ree.
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We interrupt the latest Republican insults to the Constitution, to our form of self-governance, and to all the American people, as well as the home planet itself, for this instant-replay, slow-mo recap of the players:
These are the same pod people who have been hypocrites since Day One, having had their supposed "grassroots" movement actually founded and funded by wealthy corporate cheerleaders looking to hire a mob to protest on behalf of the wealthy and corporations.
These are the same anti-gummint reactionaries desperately trying to roll back evil gummint -- just so long as you keep your filthy damn hands off their Social Security and Medicare.
Back live again -- or what passes for it anymore. You know, it's been obvious for a very long time that there are three main types of Republicans:
There are The Mainstreamers, who are in some sort of bizarre Rush-and-Fox-bondage situation in which head-bobbing and money-grabbing are sports, and political discussions are still seen as a 1950s-era, Leave It to Beaver proposition involving genteel, lower-level exchanges of uncomplicated, palatable, simplified, straight-ahead, white-wall, Wonder-Bread ideas with others.
Mainstreamers believe in Uncle Sam's bottomless checkbook only for war, during which time no expense is or could ever be too great. Mainstreamers think the country's infrastructure costs nothing, need not be refreshed as it was delivered by Santa Claus, and is currently used only by other people, not themselves.
Then there are the breakaways of the last decade or so. Tea Partiers want no part of government whatsoever -- not counting their monthly checks, sent, presumably, from the Statue of Liberty, which appears on all those checks, which tells them that they're not sent by any government. Just by a big, spiky statue.
Also called 'Baggers, these people run for office as hard as they possible can so that, upon winning and then taking office, they can immediately set out to tear down and completely dismantle and destroy all facets of that same office for which they struggled and strived. 'Baggers have no use for gummint, and want to pull it down as soon as possible -- and to hell with who and what might be in the way of the collapsing rubble, be it here or abroad.
Libertarians, on the other hand, dimly perceive a need for government, but only insofar as it remains small enough, as it's so often said, that it might be held underwater and killed outright in the bathtub, and on a moment's notice. Unlike the 'Baggers, who want to pull everything down to the ground, Libertarians want hyper-limited government.
There is disagreement here on which parts should be kept, and which parts should be pulled down and shoved over with bulldozers. However, for whatever government is left standing after the wrecking ball is done swinging, they all agree somebody else should pay to run it -- not themselves.
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As I say, it's no surprise that this passel o' pinheads hasn't a clue how to defend the U.S. Constitution, or even work within that document's clear and well-defined boundaries.
Of course, there's scarcely any time left over for reading stuff like that old dog-earred thing, let alone studying it intently, what with all the incessant demands of making your own Don't Tread On Me! flags, making up new propaganda-based talking points, and being swamped with the arduous tasks of de-linting your wing-nutty hat and then stapling tea bags all over it.
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You know, maybe the folks over at Carnival Cruise Lines, being used to nightmares, and having had enough of a public relations stain on their name by now, would be willing to let the company name go, and allow the U.S. Congress to rename itself Carnival Congressional Lines.
That name change happens to work well in allusions both to the truthiness of any spoken or written sentence from many members, but to the pure entertainment value the organization offers to the country as well -- when it's not providing free tests for high blood pressure measure and handing our complimentary heart attacks, that is.
Sticklers for naming conventions would still be free, of course, to lobby for the immediate construction and installation of brightly-painted, wood-and-resin horses that are to be ridden on the always-festive Washington money-go-round, and to further roll out the black-and-blue carpet of the midways -- carny barkers, sideshows, snake-handlers, and the whole nine yards -- and get this circus some decent, steam-driven calliope music.
No shortage of hot air, not in Washington, D.C. Should be plenty of places we could plug in a calliope around here...
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You know, on second thought, I think that using the "Carnival" name is more appropriate than ever. Every time I think of the people running our country -- I mean, holding it hostage -- I feel the need to sprint to the porcelain suite, half doubled over by a prolonged, three-legged gastrointestinal illness marked by nausea, sea sickness, and the urgent evacuation of all my bodily organs through all my available orifices.
I'm dubbing this sickness, "The Tri-Corner Trifecta." Its music is strictly acid-country mixed with punk-opera, and its dance steps go, one-two-three... and then run like hell.
You can also find Roy's "School the House Rock" piece here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roy-zimmerman/school-the-house-rock_b_4054253.html
More info on those holding the world hostage:
Why no compromise?
... and, on an interesting theory that continues to explain our life and times: http://www.alternet.org/media/how-fox-news-created-new-culture-idiots