October 16, 2013
Dos cero to… de nada

USA kicks Mexico back into World Cup 2014 contention.

The sounds:

The translation:

"GOOOOAAAAAAL The US of A PUTS us in the playoff!!!!!" USA!

"It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff …BECAUSE OF THEM , NOT DUE TO YOU..NOT ANY OF YOU in the green shirts ….IT WAS THEM!!.NOT YOU!..THEY DID IT!!!!!NOT YOU! remember this forever….. KEEP THIS CLEARLY IN MIND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! You do NOTHING for the shirt, you do NOT put the effort, you have NOT placed us in the playoffs , you HAVE NOT placed us in the WORLD CUP ..YOU WOULD NOT HAVE KEPT US ALIVE….IT WAS ESTADOS UNIDOS, NOT YOU.! .NOT YOU AND YOUR ARROGANCE/CONCEIT…..NOT YOU AND YOUR INFAMY….NOT YOU AND YOUR MORONS/PUNKS….
….
"IT IS A FAILURE…..and UNDESERVED -to go through to the playoff- WE HAD NO ARGUMENTS to earn the playoffs, THE USA, WITH SUBS , WITH MANY SUBS as the visiting team shows us once again what the USA is all about ….how to play the game with dignity, how to approach the sport..MExico is a horror, just terrible….A FAILURE….
……
THE USA HAS SURPASSED US ..They are better than Mexico in SOCCER ….THEY EVEN HAVE THE LUXURY OF PLAYING THEIR SUBS and KEEPING US ALIVE…. I hope our coach wears the pants and resigns..He has failed as coach….”

September 12, 2013
He Came, We Saw Him Conquered

By The Likely Lad (with Bill Shakespeare)

Friends, Fireman, countrymen, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Mark Sanchez, not to praise him.

The contract extensions that men do live after them;

The good is oft interred with their past playoff performances;

So let it be with Sanchez. The noble Ray Lucas

Hath told you Sanchez was CRAP:

If it is so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Sanchez answer’d it.

Here, under leave of Lucas and Steve Young and Rich Cimini and the rest—

For Lucas is an honourable man;

So are they all, all honourable men, except Cimini—

Come I to speak in Sanchez’s Jets funeral.

He was my quarterback, poised, at once, and just to me:

But Lucas says he was CRAP;

And Lucas is an honourable man.

He hath brought 2 AFC Championship Game appearances

Whose ransoms did our dark, fan-hearts fill:

Did this in Sanchez seem CRAP?

When that the offensive line hath vanished and running game broken, Sanchez hath been picked

Quarterbacks should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Lucas says he was CRAP;

And Lucas is an honourable man.

You all did see that at Foxborough on Jan. 16, 2011

He twice threw us close to a kingly crown

Which his teammates did twice refuse: was this CRAP?

Yet Lucas says he is CRAP;

And, sure, he is an honourable man.

I amend not to disprove what Lucas spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love Mark Sanchez once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?

O judgment! O talking heads! thou art fled to brutish beasts, like Adam Schein

And puttering pundits have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Sanchez,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

February 12, 2013
YET ANOTHER #SOTU NIGHT DRINKING* GAME

So you’ve decided to watch the State of the Union.

More than 18 months of primary and general election shenanigans were just the appetizer, as President Obama acknowledged by cooking up an Inauguration Day feast that screamed for still more courses, more rhetorical treats. Right on cue, it’s State of the Union Day. And here you are. Love it, hate it, whatever, you cannot help but crave more of it. One subtweet of your political bête noir is too many. A thousand? Never enough. Much like that other gauzy pastime.

Here then are the guidelines for your 2013 #SOTU Drinking* Game.

(*Note-Disclaimer: Better off not attempting any of the things listed below, as it is not, in fact, the guideline to any sort of game. But do keep on reading!)

1. “The state of our union is strong-getting stronger.”

Don’t drink. Or do, but don’t pretend you’re doing so in the context of playing this game. Lush.

2. In the 10 to 15 sentences after President Obama’s declaration of the Union’s strength, how many examples does he give to directly contradict this point?

One hearty gulp of foreign brew per. Maybe an English bitter? Anything, really, with the whiff of “declining empire.”

3. First tweet (if you are in the company of other sentient beings — the cat does not count — a “comment” can be substituted) about Vice President Joe Biden’s facial expressions AND/OR House Speaker John Boehner’s skin tone AND/OR suggestion that one or both is under the influence of something, legal or not:

Dampen your tumbler with something dark. No ice. Have a taste. Light a cigarette. Ash it in your lap. Back to watching.

4. President Obama touts economic recovery but hastens to add that there “still more work to do.”

Check bank account. Is a third party (not your parents or you via the unemployment office) making consistent deposits? Either way, you’ve come this far. Step out to the corner store and procure yourself a 6-to-12 pack of lager beer. It’s good value and patriotic.

5. Subtract number of times the pool camera cuts to Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio from the number of minutes President Obama spends speaking about immigration reform.

Do the math, then drink that number of glasses of Champagne. This will likely result in your not drinking much Champagne. All the better, really; don’t you want to be sober for the opening salvos of the 2016 Republican Primary showdown between Rubio (“GOP Rebuttal”) and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (“Tea Party Response”)?

6. President Obama says that “the American people want (new law or policy initiative here).”

Raise glass in hand in unison with everyone you know, because unanimity in drinking poses is much like the will of a country of more than 300 million people: Easy to articulate and activate.

7. Hey, do you remember when Rep. Michele Bachmann delivered the first-ever “Tea Party Response” to President Obama’s 2011 address? And how she was looking at the wrong camera the whole time? That was fucking wild.

Once some reference to this occasion begins to trend on twitter (probably during Sen. Rand Paul’s “response,” eat a corn dog and wash it down with savory— spiked– Southern sweet tea.)

8. President Obama mentions the drone program or targeted killing program.

Seek out that suspicious-looking neighbor and, if you have any reason to believe this individual capable of doing you harm in the future, quietly walk up from behind and glass him in the face with an empty beer bottle. Threat… eliminated! Just watch out for his friends in the weeks, months, and years to follow. They are likely to hold a grudge, especially if your target was actually just taking out his trash or enjoying a quiet evening walk.

9. President George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” – from his 2002 SOTU – was an attention grabber that has shaped perceptions about U.S. foreign policy priorities for the better part of a decade. It echoes, still. What’s Obama got? In this, his first primetime speech since being sworn in for a second term, the president must be hoping to drop a memorable line or two.

For every obviously pre-canned line or phrase, the kind meant to be repeated and recalled down the years, open a new can of  domestic beer and drink half. Leave the rest of it out to warm, flatten, and eventually start to smell like a frat house basement. It should remain there for years, a none-too-subtle reminder of what you used to drink and how poorly it’s aged.

10. What’s a night of political theater without volumes of wordplay? When the president pushes for “investment” in the future, he means “spending,” as Republicans will be sure to note. Conversely, when those Republicans rebut and respond to President Obama, demanding fiscal “responsibility” and “restraint,” they really just mean “lower taxes” and “less spending.”

If at any point you sense an elected official or pundit is using a focus group-approved euphemism in place of a fairly simple phrase or idea, put away the cheap stuff and crack open the craft beer. Let people know who you are. (If you’re alone, as you most certainly are, post video of this process using your new Vine app.)

11. “…the middle class…”

Do not drink. Drink the whole rest of the speech, if you like, but please stop on these lines. You, as an alive person not taking fluids intravenously — will thank us in the morning.

April 10, 2012
"Well-informed sources in Miami announced the imminent fall of Fidel Castro, it was only a matter of hours."

 -Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow

December 6, 2011
Candidate Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and The Rising Tide of Justice

The bright young Democratic presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, delivered a thrilling call to arms today in Osawatomie, Kansas, where for almost an hour on stage he cut with fevered precision at the fiber of America’s Neofeudal insurgency.

The bullish upstart is cannonading forth — and up in the polls — on the strength of his searing rhetoric and a compelling record of work rebuilding downtrodden communities on Chicago’s meanest streets.

This afternoon, before a frothing crowd of young Trustbusters and “Occupy” warriors, the candidate made a thrilling call to arms — All Americans must pay their “fair share,” he blared, and no Americans, he declaimed, no matter how rich, could have achieved their fortune without the faith and favor of their fellow citizens blowing happily beneath their wings.

Obama said:

It will require American business leaders to understand that their obligations don’t just end with their shareholders. Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel put it best: “There’s another obligation I feel personally,” he said, “given that everything I’ve achieved in my career and a lot of what Intel has achieved…were made possible by a climate of democracy, an economic climate and investment climate provided by…the United States.”

This broader obligation can take different forms. At a time when the cost of hiring workers in China is rising rapidly, it should mean more CEOs deciding that it’s time to bring jobs back to the United States – not just because it’s good for business, but because it’s good for the country that made their business and their personal success possible.

Republicans will call it class warfare, surely, and the moneyed interested from Wall Street to K Street have already begun to bay their protest. But there seems to be little in the form of corrupting power or money that can cool this Obama’s Rooseveltian flames.

One purrs at the thought of an Obama presidency. His arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., though still a far-off dream, a lived-in theory for so many of our trod-upon countrymen, could only mean a fundamental renovation of the halls of American political power.

Of course, one cannot marshal such a charge without smart and dedicated lieutenants at his flanks. In Elizabeth Warren, another newcomer to the national political scene, Obama has just that. Here is Warren, weeks ago but clearly speaking in the language of the party vanguard:

"You built a factory out there? Good for you… But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did."

"Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

Yes, the revolution is now rising and breaking like angry waves on the polluted beach of our oppressors. Inspired by Obama, the Occupy movement — so often heard chanting his name — has laid down markers from Modesto to Madrid.

After decades of deception and almost four years of emergency-style rule, finally, a leader with two hands free to rally The People, The Youth… The Future of the nation. And when a hundred years from now the spell remains unbroken let our children’s children turn to their own brood and say, “Your forebears were there and they lifted up the great Obama, ‘taller far than a tall man,’ and Osawatomie, Kansas, shall be forever known as our Finland Station.”

Amen.

-GJK

October 17, 2011
An Occupation In Full: Tough Questions For a Growing Movement

There is nothing left on Wall Street. The machines that process and propel the world financial markets are whirring away seven miles west in a warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey. The New York Stock Exchange building is home to little more than a high-functioning Potemkin village. Randolph and Mortimer Duke would laugh at the scene on the floor: a few day traders kicking around the crumbs, and the day’s chosen rubes ringing that infernal bell.

On October 5th, over the course of six unseasonably warm hours, more than ten thousand protesters snaked their way up Broadway, flanked by unsmiling police the entire way, from Zuccotti Park to Foley Square (just a half mile to the north) and back again. By a little after 6 p.m. the sun had passed by Lower Manhattan. Inside and around the park, in and out of the shadows, “occupiers” were mingling with teachers and transit workers and Teamsters while network news reporters piled into their cars and satellite crews bundled up their vans for the ride back uptown. With the afternoon’s tension gone from their faces, the police did their best to direct tired demonstrators to the nearest subway stops.

Then came a voice—then five, ten more in quick succession—from the southeast corner of the park: “We’re going to Wall Street. March on Wall Street!”

The thread had been cut. There was no plan in place for protesters to actually go the two blocks down Broadway for a meeting with Wall Street proper. The entire scene came to a halt, as if the director had yelled “cut!” and the extras were left behind without instruction. In reality, the congregation was… deciding.
 
Not that the cops were going to wait around for the verdict. Commanders immediately directed their charges toward the cobblestone corridor that had, for nearly three weeks, been off limits to everyone from “occupiers” in Guy Fawkes masks to your local bug-eyed wanderer. The officers at the very top of the intersection were unspooling their absurd, orange kettling nets. At Wall Street’s mouth, a phalanx of riot police equipped with Billy clubs was squatted, ready to beat back any attempted incursion. The NYPD’s “White Shirt” commanders barked out orders from the rear. Mere feet away, the protesters were preparing too.
 
“If you’re willing to be arrested, move to the front!” one yelled into the crowd, which was by now swelling at the iconic intersection. Most held their positions, neither charging the line nor retreating. Cries of “pepper spray!”—in addition to actual pepper spray, the perennially effective deterrent—had created some space and so it appeared, when the first group of young men and women began their dash, that they were running through a World War I-esque no man’s land.
 
The first surge of protestors drove a waiting column of barricades back into the police line. The next catapulted itself over the resulting mess of aluminum and flesh like NFL tailbacks trampling their own blockers at the line of scrimmage. For the half-dozen protesters who made it through to Wall Street, what followed was brief and painful. One “White Shirt” could be seen beating his baton down onto a young man like a hammer into a balky nail, each stroke shorter and more frenzied than the last.
 
The whole world was now, in fact, watching. And that changes everything. 

                                                    ***

After three mostly anonymous weeks in an echo chamber of its own construction, Occupy Wall Street had been set loose on the country. Opinions, prescriptions, denunciations, and (at last) affirmations were beginning to fill both mainstream op-ed pages and partisan blogs. Cable news crawls provided the minute-by-minute updates. Pundits and politicians, whether referring sympathetically to the movement as a reasonable expression of "frustration" or slandering it as some kind of fifth column’s plot to pit "Americans against Americans," all lined up to say their piece.

The time had come for choosing sides. For opposition political movements, there’s rarely too much trouble in identifying the enemy. Bonus-hording bankers; the corporate tax code; financial institutions that mix commercial and investment dealings in a bid to become “too big to fail”; the bought politicians that keep the wheels and gears turning under the guise of either “restoration” or “progress”—these are Occupy Wall Street’s foes.
 
But who are its friends?
 
John Lewis, the celebrated Civil Rights leader and current US representative from Georgia’s 5th district, is as good a candidate as any. But when he visited the Occupy Atlanta group to deliver a personal message, the audience refused him the pulpit. After a rather convoluted (and absurd) debate and vote, it was decided that the congressman would have to wait. Lewis, without pride or anger, quietly excused himself.

Solidarity is not given from up on high. It must be earned. Friendship is a commitment forged during the lean times. Lewis turned up just as the news cycle was turning in the group’s favor. In that moment, he was not the Freedom Rider who led the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; not the man who in Selma and Montgomery was beaten like a dog by Alabama’s racist police; not the living legend. Rather, Lewis was simply a representative, opportunistic perhaps, of a government that has for so long rubber-stamped policies that effectively separate working people from the wealth they create. 
 
He is a politician and the Occupy movement is wary of them all, even the ones they like.

                                                   ***

Who can be trusted?

It is the question that plagues every revolution. And make no mistake, despite preaching (and mostly practicing) non-violent resistance, Occupy Wall Street sees itself as revolutionary in nature. After all, one doesn’t spend a month sleeping in a rolled up tarp for a laugh. These are no weekend warriors. They began in Zuccotti Park alone with nothing but a few core principles, a basic Anarchist-based organizing guideline—that’s not an oxymoron; real Anarchy is actually quite organized—and a megaphone. The police quickly confiscated the latter.

Since then, hundreds have come and gone and come back again. Thousands more have visited for an evening, or joined in one march or another, meaning that the first phase has been a remarkable success. Trust is growing. Wall Street—or that park a few blocks up—has been occupied. The protesters have made space. They have created a “situation” which would please Guy Debord, one with demands all its own. But the time has come to make the space bigger. Occupy Wall Street must expand its ranks. It must leave its parks and promenades and enter American life.
 
Accepting and celebrating union support was a start. Labors leaders, perhaps cynically, see the “occupations” as their last best chance to reclaim their place as real players in the national political process, while the rank and file saw, at least on October 5th, that the protesters were not just burnt out college kids and lazy, unemployed street urchins. Rather, they were smart, educated young adults with big debts and little hope of finding jobs commensurate to their talents; middle managers cut out of the game by “streamlining” corporations; decent people who just cannot bear another year with the proverbial ax hanging over their heads. Coached for so long to distrust one another, the two groups found their best selves on common ground.

Like so much else in this country, we find the blessing and the curse baked into the same smoldering pie.

                                                    ***

“Those who lack imagination, cannot imagine what is lacking.”

For all the talk of Tahrir Square, Occupy Wall Street takes more from the Paris uprising of May, 1968. As such, it would be wise to consider the above warning (originally imparted in the form of Parisian graffiti). The Arab Spring may have inspired thousands of Americans into the streets, but it offered no wise guideline about what to do next. The best lesson from Tahrir is that a social movement should not become preoccupied with one narrow, largely symbolic enemy. It needs imagination.

In Cairo, they bayed for Mubarak’s ouster, all the while embracing the play-acting soldiers who mostly shielded them from the dictator’s vicious police. When Mubarak finally did leave for Sharm al-Sheik, the majority of the demonstrators went home, while “serious” international reporters celebrated like soccer fans with the people in the street.
 
Mubarak has been gone for months now but little has changed. The military, that ran the game from the start, have brought back “emergency rule.” Egypt, like the Prussia described by Friedrich von Schrotter, is “a country with an army, but an army with a country,” and given that, it’s clear the army will not be defeated by a crowd in a square. 
 
For Americans, there is no dictator to kick out of his palace. There is no singular face to put on a placard. Some thoughtful (but misguided) people have expressed regret about this, while others accuse the movement of subscribing to a false equivalency. But Zuccotti is not Tahrir, and it won’t be unless protesters fall into the same simplistic trap. The questions here are more complicated because the Occupy movement has created the space and time for them to be asked in full. The answers are still unknown, but there is finally a coherent group determined to find them.

So let the police and the bankers have Wall Street. There are bigger barriers up ahead.

October 4, 2011
THIS IS HAPPENING!: CHRISTIE’S AURAL FIXATION… BEWARE THE BULLS ON WALL STREET

image

Sometimes it’s not what you say, but for how long you keep saying it.

Chris Christie took 49 minutes this afternoon to fill out the meaning of his particular refusal, proving once again that while he might not be the ideal candidate for the 2012 GOP, he is unrivaled when it comes to endurance in oral activities.

"New Jersey, whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me," intoned the state’s most prominently bloated form, just after making an impressively earnest reference to his gut and the feelings it was sending to the rest of his body. "Now is not my time," he added, before going on to mention "it does not feel right to me." To be clear, "the answer was never anything but no," the governor told distraught reporters, many of whom had not even had time for lunch.

***

Meantime, another day another win for the uncleaned masses in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti née Liberty Park: They have Mark Ruffalo on their side now. 

In other news, tomorrow will be their biggest action yet, thanks in large part to new labor union partners. “Momentum” aside, it’s hard not to worry — 99 percenters — that getting in league with the unions might ultimately amount to a tasty sip from a poisoned chalice.

Like their proto-Tea Party frienemies, “Occupy Wall Street” is now firmly in the mainstream political discussion. So there’s at least one “demand” satisfied. More coverage. More page and face time. Still, for a group rooted in “horizontal” leadership, acting with some success according to old-as-Orwell Anarchist strategies, the arrival of Big Labor and Big Media threatens to steal their thunder and replace it with more highly-charged partisan lightning bolts. We can understand if the meta-narrative here seems a bit, well, annoying to the people who’ve spent the past 20-odd days sleeping on brick, subject to intermittent whackings by N.Y.’s Finest. But organizers would be wise to inspect this gift horse’s teeth. There’s no such thing as “free love,” history reminds.

***

This is the most sensible thing we’ve found when it comes to understanding the whys and whats of “Occupy Wall Street.” Not entirely sure how they meant to align Situationist concepts with Tahrir-esque direct demands, but all the same, have a look, be smarter.

***

One late note from The Electathon trail. John Huntsman has revealed(!) he will deliver his vision for the future of American foreign policy next week in New Hampshire. In similarly important as goes things-that-will-have-a-bearing-on-your-life news, The Dark Fields will unveil its taco order a few minutes after it is delivered tonight, via phone, to the good (and, as it turns out, Japanese-American) people at Taco Today.

***

Winners: The Dark Fields! Our first prediction has been fulfilled. Christie demurs.

Losers: The Dark Fields… which now runs the risk of starting to believe its own boo-shit.

-GJK

###

September 28, 2011
Elizabeth Warren already reaping benefits of TDF endorsement

On Friday, we swung Our Considerable Weight behind Comrade Elizabeth Warren’s US Senate bid. Today, the whip of the lash fell on now former rival Setti Warren, the current something from somewhere in Massachusetts. He/She dropped out of the race late this afternoon after being "eclipsed" by the TDF-backed candidate.

The first of many, we’re sure.

-GJK

###

September 27, 2011
THIS IS HAPPENING!: The Jogging Man

Touch gloves!

When most guys want to see a dick, they have to unbuckle their pants, shimmy out of their underwear, put chin to chest and… behold. For Chris Christie, it’s much easier. He just looks in the mirror. Alas, that’s probably the only knob the N.J. governor has seen in the last decade or three, not counting those he’s encountered on his computer monitor during what the mainstream press will soon describe as “marathon rounds of self abuse and ham-swallowing.” (You know, when that all comes out.)

It’s hard to tell at this point who’s pushing hardest for a Christie campaign: The GOP Money Men who have apparently been hounding him for weeks, all but planting Bruce Springsteen’s severed head in the governor’s bed; The GOP Righty Brain Trust, the same group that signed off on Sarah Palin after munching her cheeks during some kind of super-queer Conservative columnists’ cruise back in 2007; Or, of course, The GOP Debatathon Circuit, which needs new flesh (withholding pun.. gahh…) to fuel its almost impossible-to-keep pace of public humiliations.

While it’s TDF’s policy to lay these tough questions off to future generations of pundits — something in the vein of George W. Bush’s Who Knows Or Cares We’ll All Be Dead By Then Anyway Corollary — we though it might be a bit of fun to make one small exception. Tonight, we are going On The Record with our predictions. May the Lord help you all if even one of these things listed below actually happens.

1) Chris Christie will not run for president. Too fat. Knows it. How’s that for calculating calculus?

2) Rick Perry will have a “good” next debate and solidify himself as The Guy Who’s Not Romney.

3) Perry will poleaxe Romney (it doesn’t matter where the rest of the idiots finish, none are winning NY or California or Florida or Pennsylvania, etc., and the GOP primary is winner-take-all, so there’s no opportunity for Bachmann or Cain to nip votes off the Texas governor) in Iowa.

4) Romney will finally win something, though not by the margin he’s alleged to need, in New Hampshire. The Responsible Right (David Brooks and The Bow-Tied C*nt from the baseball documentaries) will golf-clap and start scribbling pieces about Barry Goldwater for after…

5) …the South Carolina primary. Whoa, doggies! Rick Perry marches on Charleston, again hammering Romney and setting off a full-on panic in the Republican ranks. Romney floats something about looking at Marco Rubio as a running mate and…

6) Never loses another GOP vote of any consequence. He does eventually take on the Cuban as his potential Veep and together, so very awkwardly that you instinctively close an eye and defensively grab at your testicles/vagina, they embrace on stage waving and pointing through the confetti mist.

7) Romney vs. Obama. This, friends, is happening!

8) Or it won’t. Who the hell knows?

-GJK

###

September 23, 2011
THIS IS HAPPENING!: Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Real World’ Problems

image

THIS, TIMES A THOUSAND!

You think you know a guy. After about a month of people screaming at us that A) Rick Perry is a monster, B) Rick Perry is going to be the next president, the Texas governor’s Spider-from-Goodfellas-esque performance at last night Debatathon has effectively ended his campaign. Seriously, it’s over. It’s done. Quit! The election cycle is spinning in overdrive this year* and despite the early acclaim, it’s looking more like Candidate Perry will soon be retired to the lint trap of national political history. Not that it’s all bad news for Republicans, who like their men blustery and willing to brow-beat fat cat social studies teachers: There’s still Chris Christie.. and he’s got the Bill Kristol stamp of approval.

Next. Man. Up!

*That’s actually not really true at all. It’s just something we say to make you think what’s happening now is somehow different than in the past and so more demanding of your attention. In reality, the cycle is “spinning” at about the same rate as 2000 and 2004 and 2008. It’s just that GOP field is so hilariously awful that it requires a semi-weekly injection of new flesh to prevent the narrative’s stalling — one can only write about how terrible these people are in so many ways on so many days of the week. For instance, this.

***

The Dark Fields would like to report its first ever endorsement: All of Our Considerable Weight has been thrown, by us, behind the Communist from Massachusetts, Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

“It sounds like she wants to lead a proletarian revolution,” an operative for her potential opponent, Scott Brown, told The WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, who took a break from tweeting about the intersection of our inner and outer worlds to credulously transcribe this next sentence: 

“Her radical views on wealth redistribution may sound good in the classroom, but they fall flat in the real world.”

Ah yes, the real world: Where seven strangers are picked to be put up in a multi-million dollar house in the middle of a major urban center and fed gallons of liquor so that television producers can record the idiocy that ensues when they stop being polite and start night-vision-humping bar groupies.

We have to agree with the Scott Brown Hack, Elizabeth Warren would totally fall, flatly, in that place. But luckily for the former head of TARP’s consumer oversight panel, she is not pushing for any real world position. Ms. Warren simply wants to be a U.S. senator.

And in her pursuit, she has our full support.

-GJK

###

September 23, 2011
Reading the Tea Leaves on Wall Street

For a group initially dismissed as fair-weather warriors, the September 17 “occupiers” of Wall Street are now set to spend a sixth soggy night in the Financial District’s Zuccotti Park. And while this particular action is riddled with flaws — the call to “End Corporate Personhood” is noble, but obtuse — it would be a mistake to dismiss the durability of their cause.

Like the Tea Party — of course! — the aspiring provocateurs in lower Manhattan have been met with a voluble doubt, albeit from different ends of the political spectrum, and a general expectation that the initial fervor will wither with the early autumn sun. Much the same was said of the party of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann in its early days. But even now, beaten down by labels assigned to it by both Republicans — who want to stand at the vanguard, baying for “restoration” of this or that — and Democrats — who are quick to denounce its reactionary elements — it is the sustained strength of the Tea Party that points to a big future for the September 17 gang.

Borne of economic crisis (and succored by short-sighted corporate interests), the Tea Party represents a intriguing turn in modern class politics. Make no mistake, this is not the simple progeny of Nixon’s Southern Strategy. While both marinate in old cultural divides and in some cases race-hate, the Tea Party is driven by economics; a similar brand to which fills the square at Wall Street. Together, they bring to bear a striking development: The celebrated American bourgeoisie has turned on the institutions that once guaranteed its survival.

That the Tea Party’s mass rallies and now “candidates” are sponsored by right wing klepto-capitalists is important in the context of the coming elections (no small thing, given that a Republican sweep in 2012 would surely usher in an unprecedented era of American Austerity), but perhaps less so in considering the longer range implications. For that, we must look away from whom the Tea Partiers are traveling to see and instead consider what exactly they’re so eager to hear.

The events begin like most other GOP gatherings: with a rousing round of partisan talking points. But what follows isn’t always so facile — and the implications that follow paint a remarkable picture of the movement’s future.

Leading a rally in Iowa, Sept. 2, Palin introduced a new line of attacks, calling out “the permanent political class” and unleashing a cry of “Crony Capitalism”—a neat alliterative shorthand that has quickly become a staple of her routine.

"This," she said, "is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest, to the little guys."

A damning indictment from the Tea Party’s beloved orator, and not something that would sound out of place in a tweet from the September 17 team or a speech from, say, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., president of the Teamsters — a man who days later would declare that "workers" faced a "war" to protect their interests.

"And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war," Hoffa said, full of bombast on Labor Day. "The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war."

Hoffa’s martial metaphor caused a bit of stir in the news cycle while Palin’s channeling of Eugene Debs passed by with hardly any comment. Not difficult to see why: Hoffa had played to headline type, but Palin, in substituting “little guys” for “workers,” had side-stepped the known language of class warfare while making, if anything, a more compellingly leftist case than the best known Labor leader in the country.

She had also laid bare the essential paradox of the Tea Party-as-rascally-Fascist narrative; namely, that the call for a break in the unholy relationship between government and business (in particular, the financial industry) is not a pro-capitalist argument at all. By definition, the strength of big business is tied to the guarantees made by the government. And it is only the government — which those running for the GOP nomination seek, at one time, to both lead and defame — that can extract itself from those bonds; an act that in practice would be, in simplest terms, “revolutionary.”

As Orwell put it, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” and given the inherent lack of introspection in most political discourse, there’s no reason to believe that these foundational contradictions are likely to expose themselves in the current cycle. The Tea Party proper is a group more interested in reinforcing old cultural wedge issues. And so, while it is likely to suffer a bit with the passing of Election Day 2012 (and thus, its electoral utility), the organization also promises to carry on as a well-funded galvanizing tool for the Republican right.

But at some point, perhaps after a couple more terms of a Tea Party-led Congress or another few years of job stagnation, the lawn chairs in Iowa and the tarp-tents in lower Manhattan might find themselves sharing space on the same patch of unruly grass. Set free of the swaddles of cultural disdain, focused on a system that tramples on middle managers and baristas alike, and trained to organize by the same powers they’ll be joining forces to oppose, that song they sing about “the people united” may at last register a more menacing tone.

September 19, 2011

September 14, 2011
THIS IS HAPPENING!: I’m sorry I’m not sorry for being so baldly ‘sorry’

The campaign is beginning to take its toll on Gov. Perry

One of the great pleasures of any campaign, though especially delightful in Big Vote years, comes from watching Proud Men and Women in the pathetic act of refudiating* their proudest achievements.

You could about the see the last puddles of Mitt Romney’s soul drying up during the California debate as he broke into his well-honed number on the “lessons learned” from his “failed experiment” in health care reform as Massachusetts governor. The poor guy couldn’t help but slip in a few reminders of how brilliant the whole damn thing was, but he’s getting better at this stuff, and so just as quickly pivoted into that other routine about issuing “Obamacare” waivers. You know, if elected.

But then something else happened, something… odd. Having run through his usual talking points, the candidate seemed to sigh, and for a moment looked almost queasy. Was it Regret? The dumbstruck realization that Willard Mitt Romney would have to give up something more, something final, if he was going to reach up and grasp presidential Nirvana? Perhaps… but in fairness it also might’ve been the sight of Perry, who just feet away but off-camera was sticking his tongue between his middle and index fingers, which were held up to his mouth in the shape of a ‘V’.

Obscene gestures aside, Perry too has been busy Taking It Back as both Romney and Bachmann clobber him on Social Security and HPV vaccines, respectively. The Dark Fields took a broken-hearted whack at the inoculation issue yesterday, so we’ll leave that alone for now. (Though not entirely: Seriously, who’s to say we’re “crazy” for buying a new pair of underwear each afternoon, ya know, instead of doing the laundry, when the man-who-could-feasibly-be-president feels he must stand up in front of his fellow partisans and express heartfelt regret for having millions of schoolchildren immunized against a particularly dreadful form of cancer? There’s nothing crazy about wanting a pair of clean underwear, people.)

But as far as political parlor games go, the Social Security as Ponzi Scheme business is way more fun. If we may slip into Punditese for a moment, one might say, “America has seen ‘Perry the candidate’ being forced to confront ‘Perry the Texas governor’s’ ‘extremist views’ and in doing so ‘double-down’ on his choice to grab the ‘third rail’ of presidential politics, but then, with the Senior vote in the balance deciding to ‘walk it back’ and promise — Slam Dunk! — that the government wouldn’t touch their benefits, the selfish whores.” (We might’ve taken a left turn there at the end, but anyway…)

This, of course, led to the most satisfying exchange of the whole rotten week. Romney, not letting up, demanded Perry actually answer and attach his name to a real position on the, “Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme? Issue.” Perry, playing a slightly less principled John Proctor, gave in, all but crying, “I have given you my soul; leave me my name,” the torment of a presidential campaign finally penetrating his steel undercarriage. But Romney showed no mercy. “We’re talking about it right now, Governor,” he said, and once again pressed for an answer.

No, it’s not easy being For Real. If you want to hold on to yourself, go stand off to the side with Jon Huntsman, whose queer character from the first debate has morphed into a caricature of a man who quite simply doesn’t want to do this anymore, but is in too deep to go home without officially losing some kind of vote. Until then, terrible jokes, the occasional ugly dig, and a whole lot more skinny tie sandwiches for the Mandarin Candidate.

*Much as the Haters mocked Sarah Palin for her unholy breeding of “refute” and “repudiate” it does, when taken in context, seem to have a place in the language after all. Think of it — when one simultaneously denies the empirical validity and political viability of a certain argument, what have they done? They’ve refudiated, is what. Sarah Palin as Shakespeare.

***

L’Affaire Weiner reached its logical conclusion last night when a Republican candidate won the special election to take his place representing New York’s 9th Congressional District. But you’d have hardly known what Weiner did to lose the seat, or that Republicans, looking to make a tidy “statement,” had played on the narrow-minded fears of the electorate’s disproportionately large amount of Orthodox Jews, from reading today’s accounts.

No, if you’d gone by this morning’s reporting, the election was about one man, Barack Obama. At least that’s what people will say, said the people who say things.

From the AP and NYT:

AP: “GOP novice Bob Turner wins Weiner’s old NY House seat in upset; victory seen as rebuke of Obama policies.”

More AP: “GOP scores upset wun as Turner takes Weiner’s NY House seat, seen as referendum on Obama policies.”

NYT: “Upset victory by Turner, R, in special Cong election will be seen as blow to Obama, analysts say.”

Have a great night, we’ll be seein’ you next Friday.

-GJK

###

September 14, 2011
strangewood:

“I didn’t do anything I’ve never done before, but when the camera moves in on that Bergman face, and she’s saying she loves you, it would make anybody feel romantic.”
- Humphrey Bogart

strangewood:

“I didn’t do anything I’ve never done before, but when the camera moves in on that Bergman face, and she’s saying she loves you, it would make anybody feel romantic.”

- Humphrey Bogart

(via npr)

September 13, 2011
THIS IS HAPPENING!: Another gathering of the ‘garrulous outraged baffled ghosts’

image

As noted in last night’s edition, The Dark Fields made the executive decision to bypass a first-run viewing of the Republicans’ Tea Party-Sponsored Debatathon, opting instead to watch live the more tame exchanges presented by the National Football League. But now having enjoyed all 112 inglorious minutes of this latest showcase, we can only say, in the spirit of Governor Perry’s cross-eyed defense of his HPV vaccine mandate, “If we had to do over again, we’d uh, done it differently.”

Because wow, this one sure did have a little something for everyone — provided “everyone” comprises the Sutpen family, the monstrous Mississippian brood of Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!. It’s only reasonable that one should think of the Bard of Oxford after an event like this, and in particular one pertinent passage from his aforementioned novel on American Decay:

"You knew it all already, had learned, absorbed it already without the medium of speech somehow from having been born and living beside it, with it, as children will and do."

Faulkner, here, paves a certain bedrock of understanding upon which he would go further and build his foremost explanation of Race Hate and its transposition down the generations. He is not, and this is unfortunate for the school girls of today’s Texas, describing how HPV inoculations work.

You see, unlike the antipathies of the Old South, Gardasil is not drifting in the wind for the children to inhale, nor is it a transmutable thing like the voice of an elder, entering the ear in the form of a mechanical wave that will over time sublimate itself into the core of one’s immutable conscience. No, you need to get stuck in the arm for the HPV vaccine to work, and that’s all a bit too primal for the Frontrunner’s emerging bête noire, the congresswoman from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann might not have the most diversiform routine, but no matter, last night she played as Wagner in front of the S.S… err, like Bon Jovi before a crowd of people who like Bon Jovi. Her sense of the audience was the best of all the nudniks on stage and she knew just the cut of language for which they ached to applaud. In defense of the “innocent little girls,” Bachmann defamed their vaccinations with words like “force” and “injection” and “executive order” and “violation.” The intonation was clear: Governor Rick Perry had forced himself on their young pink flesh with his engorged needle.

Pity the children, indeed.

***

Winner: The oncologists of America, who with HPV vaccines now firmly in the place of Political Wedge Issue, should be seeing plenty of new cases trundling through their doors.

Loser: As ever, You.

-GJK

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