Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Ex GOP semper nihil

Posting light, what with Thanksgiving and the new crewman here in the Fire Direction Center:

The little fellow there on Missy's hand is Spots Pecker Violet, or "Spots", for short. My bride was with the Girl when she picked out the baby budgie and claims she tried to steer young Miss into something more...conventional, like Polly or Mister Crackers, but no luck.

Regardless of things pecker, the Girl is a very good and devoted bird mama. Hopefully the little guy thrives on her attention.

I have also been to see the kid counselor.

The Boy has been having some real problem with his mother.

He has been picking fights with her over, well...pretty much everything.

He picks on his sister mercilessly, the Girl screams out of pure frustration, Mom tries to break things up and the Boy flat out refuses to listen to her. He is alternatively sulky and defiant, and she has called me several times over the past month or so completely driven to distraction.

Unfortunately, that tends to trigger my reflex, the one that was developed in the process of buying a brown flat-brimmed hat, and I show up bringing the heat. The Boy is physically cowed but internally furious, and when I am next away he turns it on his mother and sister.

Jean, the kid counselor, recommended that I dial back the fury. And so I have.

That has been something of a double-edged weapon.

The Boy does seem to be happier, and pleasanter to his mother and sister. He has been fairly decent about listening to her, and me, but...in the absence of the paternal roar getting him to do almost anything - from homework to chores to simple hygiene - is like water wearing down a redheaded stone; a constant steady drip-drip of reminders. Peep, your clothes? Peep, did you pu your clothes in the hamper? Peep, I was in the bathroom and your clothes are still on the floor. Peep...

He detests that and so do I, frankly, but the alternative is kid clothes littered all about and kid-toys heaped every which-where.

I have to say; much as the drip-drip is sort of crazy making I prefer it over the fear-up, too. Not nice having your kid fear you. Makes for those Daddy Dearest sort of post-puberty tell-all books.

Also researching the December 1914 actions in the North Sea collectively known as the "Scarborough Raid" for the Battles series; pure indulgence on my part, but I hope it will be worth reading; a little-remembered action that is one of history's great "what-ifs".

And, speaking of what-ifs...

I've been pondering since October a subject that came up - again - over at the MilPub. To wit; is there something peculiarly toxic, something unprecedented and awful, about U.S. politics circa 2013 - that "something" being the reactionary nihilism of the teabaggers.

My friend seydlitz, strategic thinker that he is, says yes; that the primary reason for the current and recent run of domestic and foreign misadventures (from sequesters to invasions and back) is the result of this pathogen invading the body politic.

My thought on this has always been that the U.S. has seen this before; that it has been sickened by, and then recovered from, similar Know-Nothingism and tribal greed whether in the form of lynch mobs, whiskey rebellions or treason in defense of slavery.

But I was thinking about that this morning as I waited for my drill crew to finish clean-up, and something occurred to me that hadn't before, and inclined me more towards seydlitz's position that there may be something uniquely toxic to American politics about the teatards.

The thing is, yes, we have seen this sort of thumb-sucking idiot before. Time and time again, in fact. They are a feature of human societies, not a bug; the greedy, stupid, shortsighted man-sized infant.

Every society - every human group - has one or two at least. They're the selfish ones, the grabby ones. Like infants, they want all the common goods but don't want to share any of their own.

And, like infants, they think that things magically appear because they want them to - not because of things like good government, regulations, and standards. They think that railways and overpasses and sewage treatment just happen and that somehow "private enterprise" would do just as well at all those public services, from heating houses (the evidence of Enron be damned) or fighting wars (the evidence of Blackwater to the contrary) or treating sick and injured (the ridiculous cost-benefit ratio of the fee-for-service healthcare "system" notwithstanding).

Fundamentally they don't believe in "the common good". They live by my father-in-law's rule; everybody's out to screw ya so watch your back. If they've got theirs, fine - everybody else can just fuck off and die.

Okay, so far, so bad, so much bushwah that we've seen before.

Assholes don't share, are assholes, believe government is bad when it tells them they have to share and not be such enormous assholes - so they don't really believe in government at all outside the occasional aircraft carrier or three.

But here's the thing that got me thinking.

Even back in the dark days before the Civil War the people who were trying to wreck the U.S. government were trying to wreck the U.S. government because they wanted a DIFFERENT government.

Not because they fundamentally didn't believe in any government at all.

And that's really what's happened to the current GOP; it is either run by - or runs in terror from - people who don't believe in government at all.

So I guess I have to admit; I was wrong. and my country is in much more danger than I ever imagined.

Because the barbarians aren't at the gates.

The barbarians are inside the walls and controlling one of the two political parties we've permitted ourselves.

We Are So, So, So, SO Fucked.


Barry said...

"Even back in the dark days before the Civil War the people who were trying to wreck the U.S. government were trying to wreck the U.S. government because they wanted a DIFFERENT government.

Not because they fundamentally didn't believe in any government at all.

And that's really what's happened to the current GOP; it is either run by - or runs in terror from - people who don't believe in government at all."

I'd disagree; the current Tea Party loves themselves government rules, regulations, and sweeet, savory pork. They just want the rules and regulations to help them and f*ck others, and want all of the pork for themselves.

Podunk Paul said...

Seems to me the separatist movement bears watching, especially if it gets big money behind it.

FDChief said...

Barry: That's not "government", though, in the sense of "government of the People, by the People, for the People" - that's just a tribal warband, snatching up whatever they can grab and shitting on what they can't. It's the infantile version of government - "what's mine is mine and what's yours is also mine".

And that's my point, and the reason that I'm coming around to seydlitz's point of view. Yes, we've seen these greedy, venal, shortsighted barbarian tribes before in American politics. But 1) they were nearly always "outsiders", marginal elements on the fringes of politics and either scorned or shunned (or both) by the "insiders", and 2) often even they believed in "government" in the sense that you mean it - as a way of legally shiking other Americans out of what they wanted. They agreed that "government" was a legitimate part of human society - they just wanted "their" form of government...

But look at the reaction to the recent shutdown amongst the 'baggers. They LOVED it. They genuinely LOVED the idea that the U.S. government - a government that is as responsive to "we the people" as any form of government in history - was out of business (except for the warfighting business...).

If you told these people that they are anarchists they'd flip. But that is essentially what they are. And they are in control of one of the two U.S. political parties AND the one with the greatest access to money and through that power.


Paul: Secession? I dunno. Possibly, but IMO there's nothing there for the mainstream 'baggers - they'd have to tax THEMSELVES or live in actual anarchy. But they're also pretty goddamn stupid; there might be enough of them fooled by their own fooling to go for it.

Either way, though, they're sure fucking things up for the rest of us...

Podunk Paul said...

Nothing may come of it, but notion is in the air. Separatist movements have sprung up from Vermont to Texas, where the governor has given support to the idea. Eleven countries in Colorado made national news by voting to succeed from the state. In the tea-party lexicon, the central government is the enemy.

FDChief said...

"In the tea-party lexicon, the central government is the enemy."

Y'know what? I kinda wish we could let these fucktoons go their own way. Most of them live in the tax-sucking portions of the country, the ones that get way more federal dollars than they contribute. Let these idiots live in their Galtian paradise where the Magical Job Creator Fairy makes the roads repair themselves and the power grid renew itself like Aphrodite's virginity at bathtime. See how much they enjoy the 16th Century.

Sadly, however, we appear to be stuck with them - trying to drag us ALL back to 1555...

Syrbal/Labrys said...

Yes, Virulent Viral Stupidity with a side order of Selfishness. I would doubtless be succumbing to an altered version of the same disease if I made comparisons to rabid dogs, I suppose. But still, I live with the constant feeling of slimed teeth in my ass...

Brian said...

FDChief, I wish I had some solid advice to give you about your boy.
Anger and frustration over being told what to do, especially something you don't want to do, by people bigger and stronger than you is part of life and this is part of his learning to deal with that, I hope.
But he also needs to learn that dealing with it does not involve turning on someone smaller and weaker than him.
I found that discipline on the spot beats "wait till your father gets home" every time (which, when it was pulled on me as a kid, just produced more fear nad loathing - and when it was pulled on me as a father, only made the job a lot harder). It's unfortunate that his mother has been driven to distraction over this.
"They all" say that kids respond to consistency above all else, and do well with realistic expectations. Perhaps identify the issues that are causing trouble (dropped clothes, toys left out, TV programs) and enforce (via both parents) some expectations and rules, with consistent rewards and punishments.
Parenting is tough, you never know if you are doing it right.
My son just turned 19 and I will never be sure if I always did the right thing.

Meanwhile, I also don't have any advice on how to deal with your tricorner-hat-wearing man-children down there....

FDChief said...

Brian: Apparently the Boy has told the counselor (and this sounds like him, so I suspect it's 99% of the truth) that 1) he is bored and picks on his sister/acts up with his mom BECAUSE he's bored, and 2) when I hammer him down he backs off because he fears my wrath...but it just makes him angry AND bored AND restive.

We're trying something different; getting him going on something (reading, playing cards or games, homework...) to head off the boredom as well as trying to be less "in your face" with the nagging. Well, it's still nagging, it's just couched in nicer language.

So far the Boy seems to be happier; there's less disrespect and less tormenting the Girl. But it's hard to say how this will work out in the long run.

As you say: parenting is pretty much a lifelong trial-and-error. We're trying a different approach and the results will show us if we've gone wrong or not...

And just when you thought that the goofy tricorn-eers had plumbed every whacky depth, there's this:


In recent days, Rep. Steve Stockman (Tex.), one of the more exotic members of the Republican caucus, has distributed proposed Articles of Impeachment to his colleagues. Last month, 20 House Republicans filed Articles of Impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder. Around that time, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) accused Obama of “impeachable offenses.”

Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.), before his cocaine arrest and guilty plea, invoked the prospect of impeaching Obama over gun policy. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) raised the specter of impeachment over Obama’s threat to bomb Syria without congressional approval. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) said it would be his “dream come true” to write the Articles of Impeachment, and Rep. Bill Flores (R-Tex.) said that if “the House had an impeachment vote it would probably impeach the president.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe said Obama could be impeached over the attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, while fellow Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said in August that Obama was “getting perilously close” to meeting the standard for impeachment (though he called Obama a “personal friend”). Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) thought it would have been an impeachable offense if Obama unilaterally raised the debt ceiling. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) branded Obama “lawless.”

On the House Judiciary panel, impeachment has been floated by GOP Reps. Jason Chaffetz (over Benghazi), Louie Gohmert and King (default on the debt), Darrell Issa (presidential patronage), Trent Franks (Defense of Marriage Act enforcement) and Lamar Smith (who said Obama’s record on immigration comes “awfully close” to violating the oath of office). Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) gets creativity points for proposing the impeachment of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

As my old pal James Struthers used to say: what a fucking fucktoon of a fucking fuckstory.

FDChief said...

Add to political Scylla economic Carybdis. Here's a well-thought out piece by Brad DeLong (warning - wonkish!) talking about the current issues involved in the Great Recession. His bottom line? That perhaps the biggest single difficulty that those of us not born to the economic Trianon have is...those living in the Trianon. That is, the current economy is designed - by a series of political choices made over the past 33 years - to benefit capital over labor and "investment income" over wages. "Financialization" - short term rise in stock price or asset value - is king, and the people who hold sway on both sides of the political aisle (since there is no real "Left" in this country in any sense) have no interest in seeing that change.

So as one of DeLong's commentors notes: "Until there is a turnover in capitalist elites to a different ethos we won't see change. The most interesting aspect of the Great Recession was something that did not occur: the turnover of financial and industrial elites that happened after 1929 has not happened."

Which is something I've marveled and despaired at since 2008. When you look at it the banksters and financial fraudsters (but I repeat myself...) shit the bed as badly in 2008 as they did in 1929. In 1930 the New Dealers more-or-less used that to grind the faces of the 1% in the unpalatable reality that it was give up some of the perks or risk a Russia-in-1917 or Italy-in-1922; i.e. a communist or fascist revolution led by the people you fucked out of their jobs.

Here? Now? Not a peep. The teahadis are shouting at the wrong buildings like the suckers they are and the Occupy movement preferred to be pure and idealistic rather than effective. So the same goddamn grifters and thieves are still there, the same whores and pimps in the media are still there...

Sigh. No wonder I prefer the company of Spots Pecker Violet.

FDChief said...

Forgot the link. Here's DeLong: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/12/the-honest-broker-is-growth-getting-harder-if-so-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it.html#more

Ael said...

There exist interesting comparisons between the Thai protest movement and the tea protest movement.

Lisa said...


I wouldn't rule out Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (O.D.D.)

It strikes more boys than girls, and is characterized by verbalized boredom and is kept in check by "overbearing father". However, (w/ this diagnosis), the offspring is actually seething and often matures into a confrontational - disinterested adult, without proper counseling. By picking on younger or perceivable weaker (=female) family members, some small, temporary gratification/ego boost is gained.

However, I truly hope this is not the diagnosis as it is a tough one to suss out and to treat.