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.