#124 We Called Them "Freaks" (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

In the early 1970s, the worst of the drug abusers from the 60s often completely lost touch with reality and "turned to Christ."  Real hippies called the ex-zombie-doper-burnouts "Jesus freaks."  In a culture where anything went and almost any damn idiot idea found some level of acceptance, the "born again" and the "saved" were considered crazy-beyond-redemption.  Even Scientologists, those freaky Dianetics self-helpers who still chant "he's not dead yet" whenever a book critic has the gumption to suggest that L. Ronnie Hubbard may not have actually written the latest piece of SF trash bearing his name, got more respect than Jesus freaks.  Even Young Republicans, an oxymoron if I ever wrote one, sat further up the credibility totem pole. 

Today, Jesus freaks rule the country.  The rest of us are scared shitless of the crazies and that's good enough for Jesus and his daddy, according to the current herd of spokesmen and the rare spokeswoman.  Like their 1930's German counterparts, the neo-con Jesus freaks can't discriminate fear from respect and don't care to waste time making the distinction.  In fact, they'd probably rather generate fear, because respect is something they can't possibly earn with their unusually small intellects and amazing fear-of-everything timidity.

How did Jesus freaks move to the top of the food chain?  I think it's because of the down-breeding that occurred during the 1960s and has continued from then till today.  The social welfare programs and the extended time of peace of the 1950s allowed far too much cannon fodder to reproduce.  Dumbasses who should have died in pointless infantry charges against overwhelming firepower survived the 1950s and bred like rats, producing the dumbest bunch of children ever to populate the planet .  In the 1970s and 80s, these stupid-beyond-belief quasi-humans came out of the womb ready to accept nonsense and fantasy as fact. 

It didn't help that the country had grown so large that the once-small federal government became Big Mommy and the majority of the citizens accepted and even begged for "help" from the most incompetent civil serpents since the Soviet Union built its governmental monument to human foolishness.  It's possible that these idiot children could have been educated, but the federal and state governments had their brainless hands deep into the education system by 1970 and "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic" turned into "baby-sitting, semi-pro sports, and sadistic sensory deprivation experiments."

Without good genes or competent educations, a generation of morons grew into superstitious, timid quasi-adults who desperately yearn for the warmth of Mommy and Daddy's comforting, if deluded, care.  They run to churches for fantastic myths of life-after-wasted-life and to politicians for even more fantastic fables of nationalistic or racial superiority.  The 70's piss-ants are the most gutless, moronic generation ever to fake being young. 

An unusual number of kids who were born from the genetic mistakes of the 1950s came out of the womb conservative.  While there were a few Young Republicans in my generation, most of the conservative freaks were non-political rednecks.  That's pretty bad, but what came next was really bad.  Their kids were really strange abominations, born dumb and political.  250 years after the Age of Reason inspired the founders of this country to firmly and clearly separate government and religion, the fools and the fools bred by fools took 10,000 steps backwards and elected Ronald Reagan, the anti-Washington, President of the United States.  Downhill the country traveled, after Reagan, until the idiots search the country for the dumbest, least capable, least ethical person in the entire nation and made him our fearful, incompetent leader.  What happens next is anyone's worst guess, but I fully expect the least from the majority of my fellow citizens and I don't expect to be disappointed.  P.T. Barnum once said that no one ever went broke under-estimating the intelligence of the American public.  Lots of people been elected, however, doing just that. 


#123 Look out Canada! (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

Today, December 1st, 2004, G.W. Bush scared the crap out of Canada.  He did it under the mask of pretending to thank Canadians for their selfless concern and care of thousands of Americans who were re-routed to a safe country, Canada, after Georgie and CRAP managed to screw up American civil defense on September 11, 2001 and turn the nation's runways into random target delivery systems.  For the last 200 years, whenever US citizens need to run to a safe place, the closest place has always been Canada.  You'd think it's about time that someone from our insanely dangerous government would thank Canada for years of sanity and security.  Why did it have to be the scariest person on the planet?

Bush started well, you have to give his speech writers that.  "For days after Sept. 11, Canadians came to the aid of men and women and children who were worried and confused and had nowhere to sleep . . . You opened your homes and your churches to strangers, you brought food, you set up clinics, you arranged for calls to their loved ones, and you asked for nothing in return."  If he'd have quit there, Canadians might still be sleeping comfortably.

He went further, still without delivering veiled threats or ominous symbolism with what should have been a final note, "Thank you for your kindness to America in an hour of need."  But Bush isn't about making people feel good about themselves or safe in their homes.  Bush is one Charlie Chaplin mustache away from being the craziest and unpredictable person ever to head a nation.  Being a neighbor to a nutcase has never been a comforting situation. 

The words Bush ended his in-person thank you speech put the fear into intuitive and intellectual Canadians, "Beyond the words of politicians and the natural disagreements that nations will have, our two peoples are one family and always will be." 

Knowing how likely GeeWiz is to take a liking to whatever you have that he wants, Canadians have to be wondering exactly how Georgie sees this "one family."  He used similar words in describing his motivation for invading Iraq.  Canada has some oil.  Canada has lots of natural resources that the whacky-cons could chop up and sell to China and Japan.  Canada has a particularly functional democracy that makes our dysfunctional and corrupt non-representational system look terrible in comparison.  Canada has managed to protect its boarders and cities, which are a lot more complicated than ours from illegal immigration, terrorism, and unbalanced trade. 

There is nothing worse than having the ugliest house and lawn in the neighborhood and living next door to the perfect neighbor.  The simple solution is to toss a Molotov cocktail into the perfect neighbor's window and burn their perfect house to the ground.  I suspect some Canadians are staying awake nights watching for any light from the south.  "One if by land, two if by air?"  Or something like that.

Canada is the 21st Century's Austria, living next door to 1938 Germany and wondering how long their powerful, insane neighbor will tolerate a peaceful, democratic nation so close to the boarders of the exact opposite conditions.  The Bushies, on the other hand, must be worried that a free nation directly across an unprotected boarder might attract citizens not wanting to be the "last Jews across the boarder." 


#122 A "Supreme" Court Decision? (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

The UP recently headlined an article with the title "Wary Court Considers Medical Marijuana."  The "wary court" is our timid and brain-dead US Supreme Court.  The article said that "The Supreme Court appeared hesitant Monday to endorse medical marijuana for patients who have a doctor's recommendation."  Even funnier, the case is called "Ashcroft v. Raich, 03-1454."  Even when the evil bastard has quit and run to lower ground, Ashcroft is cursing the country with his existence.

It's pretty funny stuff, Pat Clement, Bush's big deal lawyer, pretends that he's concerned that people with terminal diseases, using pot to relieve the symptoms of their godawful therapies or the end stages of their diseases might be exposing themselves to "health dangers."  What the hell could be more unhealthy than chemotherapy or dying of cancer? 

There hasn't been a lick of evidence that the Bush Administration contains a single person with one iota of concern for the health, safety, or comfort of their fellow citizens.  So, let's not fool ourselves into imagining that the government's opposition to legalizing marijuana is about concern for public health.  The Bushies have wiped out environmental protections, health care protections, and workplace protections without a moment's concern for the consequences. 

The Bushies argue that "Congress has found no accepted medical use of marijuana."  Isn't that a laugh?  Just when did Congress stock its membership with medical experts.  Or any kind of experts in any sort of intellectual endeavor?  The Bushies are also arguing that they need to hang on to all of their irrational drug laws to be able to "eradicate drug trafficking and its social harms." 

Let's talk about social harms.  How about putting more citizens in prison than any other "civilized" nation on the planet?  How does warehousing citizens for victimless crimes provide some social good?  How does employing thousands of government workers as guards for American citizens who have done no harm to anyone other than themselves, in the rare occasion that they have harmed themselves.  Which seems incredibly unlikely in the case of the thousands of citizens who have been imprisoned for marijuana use.  At the worst, those people have done almost as much harm to themselves as the average cigarette smoker.  Of course, the Bushies love cigarette smokers.

The Republican Congressional dirtbags are chanting their favorite psychobabble in begging the court to imagine that the 20,000 people who supposedly die from drug abuse are in some way connected to medical marijuana use.  Even the dumbest conservative has to wonder exactly how someone could die of medical marijuana use, especially when that person is already dying of cancer?  One of the beauties of being a conservative, especially one of the religious right, is that reality, common sense, and justice have no effect on your decisions.  Delusions of competence, and Viagra, are what make these folks get up in the morning. 

Personally, I'd be less offended at the conservative outrage if they were simply honest about their concerns.  Of which there are two: pride and money.  Way back in the 1930s, the mob traded Congress legal alcohol for illegal drugs, especially cocaine and marijuana.  That allowed the federal government to be drunk and to tax drunks while the mob got to hang on to its monopoly of the rest of the recreational drug market.  Changing the rules now would be admitting that the rules have been asinine for the last seventy years.  They have been, get over it. 

Even more important to Congress and the federal and state bureaucracies is the money they will be giving up if they let go of their anti-drug pretense.  Cops, from the CIA to local police departments, have been raking in the cash from "the War on Drugs" for seventy years, but they became especially enamored of the phony battle during the Reagan years when they were given special gifts of power and corruption over the average citizen.  The feds and state hacks have been hauling in billions of taxpayer dollars to toss into the black hole of prisons, prison guards, and the giant and ineffective apparatus with which they have constructed to play their paintball war on "crime" and they don't want to kill this golden goose. 

If they didn't have drugs to pretend to regulate, we might expect them to fight real criminals, especially the super dangerous ones wearing suits and heading the international corporations that do the most damage to the nation's communities and security.  Imagine a justice system that actually chased real criminals, instead of inventing crimes and criminals?  Nah, not in this country.  No money in it.


#121 A World of Funny Stuff (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

Comedians have to feel specially blessed these days.  We have Colon Powell claiming that he has "evidence" of yet another oil-rich country possessing dangerous WMDs (wimpy male dandruff?).  Citizens in the Ukraine are protesting their rigged Presidential election and the Bushies are babbling about "preserving democracy (for everyplace except America)."  Finally, every other newspaper ad is for some sort of male erection enhancement dope or a male pattern baldness treatment.  You don't have to be a professional comedian to see the humor in the daily newspaper.

From the perspective of the rest of the world, or any rational human being, let's try to read something into an American newspaper.  Starting from the top, literally, what's with the "thinning hair blues" paranoia?  Men get bald.  Hell, even women lose their hair as they get old.  In fact, old, fat, white, bald men have been an object of terror for as long as I have been alive and a lot longer, if you can imagine that.  Suddenly, these folks what to moderate their scary image by painting the tops of their heads black?  I guess there is some sense in that.  They've been trying to convince the rest of us that the scariest people in the country are black men, so maybe they are enhancing their own powerful image by partially painting themselves the color of their favorite demons. 

The really cool combination of a comb-over and a painted-black skull is pretty scary, I have to admit.  Anyone that intent on disguising himself has to have something serious to hide; murder, robbery, child-abuse, and/or being a member of the NRA or the Republican Party.  All truly terrifying character flaws.  Even scarier, the ads tell us that the disguised men and women "feel 10 years younger" after painting their heads.  There is nothing scarier than young feeling Republicans. 

"Boost your stamina and performance" with one of the many recreational drugs now on the potency market, that's the subject of about 90% of today's television ads.  My favorite ad is the one for the non-prescription dope, Endurex for Men.  They never picture middle aged, fat, bald, white men as their typical customer.  Apparently, Endurex is for young twenty-something men who are getting it one with even younger, beautiful women.  I'm not bragging here, but when I was twenty-something married to a beautiful 20-something woman, I did not need any sort of endurance or performance dope.  If anything, I needed something to take the edge off of my permanent state of horniness.  Apparently, twenty years of eating hormone-stuffed beef hasn't been good for the American male.  We're going limp much earlier than in any previous generation. 

Pretending to be potent is almost as popular among the Whacky Right as pretending to give a damn about democracy every where in the world except in the United States.  You have to applaud the Ukrainians for being so brave in the face of the Russian military's attempt to subvert their first democratic election in zillions of years.  But what does it say about us when Bush can pretend to be part of "building a democracy" in Asia after he worked so hard to destroy an existing semi-democracy in his own country?  It says that we don't know democratic institutions when we are losing them.  Fair elections in this country ceased to exist with Bush's first abduction of the federal government.  The 2004 "election" cemented the fascists' control of our federal government and moved this country out of the democratic column into the corporate communist column for the foreseeable future.   We have as much business telling other countries how to manage their democracies as Donald Trump has in writing a humane business management textbook.  This would be a lot funnier subject if it wasn't so disastrous for the rest of the world. 

It's an odd fact that even imperialist wars haven't done much for our testosterone levels.  And that's sad because Bush has his favorite poodle, Colon Powell, parading more "evidence of WMDs" to the world as a demonstration of how far Cheney has his hand stuffed up Powell's ass.  Powell seems to be a little miffed at the world's reaction, "More magical PowerPoint slides, Generalissimo?  We can hardly wait."  Yes, the leaders of the civilized world are on edge waiting for Mr. Powell to demonstrate the latest piece of evidence that Powell is offering as an excuse to take over a few more square miles of the world's richest oil fields.  Whoops, do I sound a little cynical?  Gosh, why wouldn't I expect Powell and the rest of CRAP to be just as honest in their presentation of evidence as they have been for the last four years?  I guess if my vote actually counted, I might be more inclined to consider even a candidate that I voted against to be a legitimate representative of my country.  Since I'm living in the New Soviet Union (thanks for "winning" that war, Mr. Reagan), I'm more interested in regime change than nation building.

Our five-foot-two, Alfred E. Newman look-alike, soft-shouldered, hunchbacked by an oversized-wireless prompter, booze-and-dope-dappled, inbred rich kid, picture-of-impotence President isn't exactly creating an image of power and vitality to the rest of the world.  If anything empowers terrorists to believe that we're a nation of helpless wimps, it's our head wimp.  The boy looks like a walking advertisement for skull paint and impotency drugs.  At least we don't have to worry about GeeWiz getting it on with sexy interns.  Bush couldn't get it up with a lifetime supply of Viagra and this year's Playboy pin-ups spread across the White House lawn.  What we do have to worry about is terrorists believing that we're all as helpless and cowardly as Bush and his whining neo-cons.  The fact is, at least half of the country is made up of exactly those character traits.  The fact is, we are weak, spineless, and inclined toward irrational behavior under stress.  Osama can blow up a chunk of New York and we'll run away from him and attack a nearly defenseless Iraq.  If Iraq fights back, we'll run away and go after Iran.  If Iran looks dangerous, maybe Grenada will need another whipping.  Cuba seems to be a likely, defenseless, third-world target.  Eventually, we'll find a country we can whip and they'll stay whipped long enough for us to declare "a lasting victory" before we're mired down in hand-to-hand-combat in hospitals and nursery schools.  Hopefully, Bush won't mistake Canada's generally passive attitude toward our un-neighborly behavior as a sign of "easy pickins'."  A nation that can tolerate 10 months of winter would kick our girly-man asses. 


#120 The Top Ten Things I Don't Understand (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

When I originally began writing Rat Rants, I called the articles "Things I Don't Understand."  That title lasted one article, when a friend reminded me that the list of things I don't understand is infinite while the list of understandables is microscopically short.  I was cowed into renaming the website The Rat's Eye View and that's what it's been ever since.  But every once in a while I'm forced to return to my original roots and this column is my short list (more or less in order, from least to most incomprehensible) of Ten Things I Really Don't Understand:

  1. Country Western Music.  There are far more country fans than there are country folks.  No, being a suburban commuter is not in any way similar to being a country folk.  Country singers wail their misery in historic, nasal accents that would repel most city folks, but in song the sound appears to be, somehow, compelling.  I don't get it.  My local city storm siren and almost any country song will set my dog to howling as if he's got a sharp pin stuck in one ear.  It affects me the same way.

  2. Urban planners.  First, the title is an oxymoron.  Anyone who was actually "planning" would do everything possible to avoid creating an urban environment.  The definition of "urban" is "characteristic of the city or city life."  Why the hell would anyone plan the "characteristics of the city?"  Is there a plug-in for violence, isolation, over-crowding, traffic and housing congestion, and and noise pollution?  I'd think that real urban planners would be folks whose job it is to alienate as many prospective new citizens to keep the quality of city life from falling much lower than it is currently.

  3. Corporate Vice Presidents.  We have one, really nasty, super-powerful Vice President of the United States.  Why do piddly-assed corporations have dozens of that useless species? 

  4. House Plants.  If I'd wanted plants in my house, I wouldn't have bothered to cover the dirt under my roof.  Why do women think that plants belong indoors?  Between the mold, the the litter of dead leaves, and the creepy feel of plants dangling over my shoulder in the bathtub, I've learned to dislike anything green that lives indoors.

  5. Oldies Radio Stations.  When I was a kid, my parents listened to radio stations that played the music of Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Welk, Henry Mancini, Tony Bennett, and Duke Ellington.  Those stations weren't playing 1940s hits, though, they were playing the latest releases of those artists.  Today, even though Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John, Todd Rundgren, and almost every other artist who survived the 60s is still cranking out new music, the only place they exist on the airwaves is on oldies stations who are still playing the same song list they used in 1971.  Who wants to hear "Journey to Heaven" for the 17,549th time? 

  6. Foreign students subsidized by public universities.  I only sort of don't understand this phenomena.  Universities are mismanaged by the greediest, laziest folks ever to push a pencil.  Every year they demand higher salaries, fewer hours, more perks, and bigger pensions.  Every year, their in-state student populations decline.  The only way they can justify their existence and expense is with a growing student population, regardless of where it comes from.  Hence, the concentration on attracting students from other states and countries.  Out-of-state tuition is far higher, more profitable, as long the in-state suckers foot the overhead bill.  What I don't understand is why the in-state suckers don't ban all state aid to the schools for out-of-state student expenses. 

  7. Immigration Policies.  The only countries who need immigrants are countries no one wants to immigrate to.  The rest of the world ought to be doing its level best to restrict immigration to folks who bring skills and valuable technology to the country.  The last thing the US, for example, needs is more leaf blower operators. 

  8. Legal drugs and illegal drugs. If you were to look at the list of possible harmful side-effects for legal vs. illegal drugs, you'd be hard-pressed to tell one from the other.  Yet, Paxil is being prescribed to children, even when it's well known that this dangerous, harmful drug is likely to create a lifetime physical and psychological addiction that is often incredibly harmful.  The old white guy recreational drugs, Viagra and Dr. Porkinheimer's Boner Juice, are about as "safe" as meth, but they are legal and prescribed by "doctors" and advertised on television as if they were the ultimate "happy drug."  What's with that?  Alcohol is another dope that is well known to be physically and psychologically addicting, but the ads would make you think getting drunk is the short way to Nirvana (not the band, the mythical fantasyland).

  9. Popular Elections. The "most popular elections" are those guessing games we attempt to solve for federal jobs.  I'm still waiting to see my first actually popular person make it past the primaries.  So far, the winner of every election I've been allowed to select on a national ballot has been about as far from "popular" as Rush Limbaugh.  I think these farces should be named, but I can't think of an alternative that doesn't require an expletive that would have to be deleted. 

  10. Lower-middle and middle-middle class folks who vote Republican.  What's with that economic and social suicide?  The Republican Party HATES the middle class, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder.  They always have, they always will.  The only humans the Republican Party recognizes have incomes (or trust funds) of more $1,000,000 annually.  If you can't contribute at least $10,000 for the opportunity to hear G.W. Bush babble about loving "his base," you aren't on their radar.  The Democrats are no great improvement, but at least they acknowledge their union base and a few of those folks actually work for a living.