Friday, November 28, 2014

It Isn't Easy Being White

Ferguson, MO. Today Konajournal is on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. It has been mostly peaceful so far, but a lot of people are still out here making their feelings known, carrying signs, holding their hands in the air and spontaneously singing protests songs from time to time. Let's talk to someone if we can. Here's one.

"Hello, sir. I'm with Konajournal. I've just arrived here in Missouri from the Aloha State, Hawaii. May I ask you a few questions?"

"It's Missour-uh. So you come from Hawaiiuh? That's a far piece."

"It's Hawaii, or Ha-VAI-ii, and yes it is. I noticed your sign: DARREN WILSON FOR PRESIDENT. Obviously you do not share the view of most of the protesters that he should be held accountable for Michael Brown's death."

"They oughta give that boy a medal the size of a dinner plate! No tellin' what that colored boy was gonna do next. Ya know he was seven foot tall and 400 pounds. Eyes like a damn cat. I seen him before. He couldn't even feel them bullets! Scary sumbitch."

"He was a large kid, yes. But Officer Wilson is retiring. He's received over a million dollars in donations."

"Damn right. We minorities stick together."


"Hell yes. We white folks is the minority right here. We gotta look after one another."

"Well the police and the town government and the courts seem to be predominantly white."

"Well sure. That's how we look after one another. See, us white folks is getting squeezed out. First they git Black History Month. Then Martin Luther King Day. Then they git that sumbitch, Obama, all the way from Africa to be the damn President. Now they git Black Friday. What do we git?"


"They even git Black Entertainment Television! Why don't we git White Entertainment Television?"

"Because most television IS white entertainment?"

"Naw, that ain't it. I'll tell you what, too. You seen any white folks riotin' after O. J. got let off? Nope!"

"Well, that's not really the same thing. But it is true that the cops planted evidence and lied in that case, too."

"Had to! Now looky here, how come there's so many colored folks in prison? I'll tell ya. Crime comes natural to 'em. Can't help it. Just the way they are."

"So you think that if Michael Brown had been white Officer Wilson would have shot him?"

"Hell no! He woulda had a talk with that boy's daddy. Yes sir. You seen Michael Brown's daddy? He's 8 feet tall, close ta 500 pounds! Eyes like a damn bat!"

"Well, thank you, sir. You've made my trip to Missouri a success."

"It's Missour-UH. You headin' back to Hawaaiuh?"

"It's Hawai-EE And I'll pronounce it Missour-UH when you start spelling it that way."

"We do."

©2014 Kona Lowell

Go here for an audio version of this blog

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Republicans Working for YOU, the Little Guy

Washington, DC. With the people having spoken — well, one third of those registered to vote any way — the Republicans now have the wind at their backs and the self confidence that comes from knowing that they are doing the will of the American people. And now that they are set to control both houses of Congress, they can get down to making life better for all of us. I know this is the plan, because they said so. I'm still a bit unclear on why when they win, it's the will of the American people and when we win it's in spite of the will of the American people, but never mind.

So to help you, the little guy, the Republicans are going to create gazillions of jobs and make the economy grow like a gigantic, indestructible dandelion. I know, because they said so. But how to do this?

Well, first you repeal Obamacare. I know, I know, this isn't exactly what everyone had in mind, especially the ten million Americans who now have health coverage and would have to go back to frequenting the ER and, well, dying, but you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Besides, Obamacare is a "job killer." I know, because they said so. So if all these people lose their health coverage, we will be literally drowning in unfilled, good paying jobs quicker than you can say "pre-existing condition." And, by the way, omelets are very tasty.

Next, build the Keystone XL pipeline. And gut the EPA, because you can't give with one hand and take away with the other. The benefits of this bold move will be twofold: first, tens of hundreds of temporary jobs will be created building the pipeline, but many more are sure to become available in future ecological disasters. And with the job-killing EPA neutered, titans of industry will be free to recreate the glory days of the industrial revolution. Everybody had a job back then, even children. And who knows? Before long, all of us may be driving hybrid cars! Half gas, half coal. Any way, climate change is a hoax. I know, because they said so. Clean air and water are so 1970.

Of course the key to real, lasting prosperity is privatization. I know, because they said so. And where better to start than that white elephant the founding fathers burdened us with, that costly anachronism known as the United States Post Office. I mean, letters? Who writes letters? Okay, so the USPS doesn't get any tax money to operate and thousands of employees would lose their jobs, but it's the principle of the thing. After that we can privatize the police. And the Fire Department. That means none of your tax dollars being wasted doing what the free market can cheerfully do. It'll be just like paying for cable, with similar service.

Finally, the economy will get its biggest jump start by impeaching the Job-Killer in Chief, President Obama, for the high crime of issuing an executive order to deal with the immigration crisis while being tauntingly Black. Then they'll shut down the government. How this will actually improve the economy or create jobs is a bit unclear, but I know it will because they said so. I think it's like severely wounding a fruit tree to make it produce. Or something.

The American people have spoken, and now it's up to the Republican Party to reward us for our trust. I know they won't let us down, because they said so. Now just relax, this won't hurt a bit.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio.

Friday, November 7, 2014

WTF Happened? The 2014 Post-Mortem

Washington, DC. Fingers are already being pointed and blame assigned as Democrats attempt to determine exactly why they had their butts handed to them like perfectly broiled filet mignons on 500 degree sizzling plates. What was supposed to be just a bad election night proved to be an embarrassing rout and portends nothing but more obstruction, inevitable caving, endless investigations and possible impeachment for the final two years of President Obama's term. Why did this happen?

1. Messaging. Yes, it's true that the Democrats are god-awful at trumpeting their accomplishments and that the Republicans are wizards at lying through their teeth about those accomplishments. Unemployment is down to 5.8 %, 10 million jobs have been created, the deficit has been cut in half, the stock market is at record levels, more than 10 million Americans have health insurance that never had it before and the cost of medical care has risen at the lowest rate in 50 years. Things are looking better every day, yet more than 70% of the country thinks that nothing has changed and that the Republicans know best how to turn the economy around. Yes, Americans believe that the very people who caused this mess, the party that historically tanks the economy every fucking time they're in charge, will do better than the party that actually fixed it.

So certainly the Democratic message has failed to reach people. Factor in Fox News' 24-7 propaganda machine, as well as right-wing talk radio and a craven mainstream media, and it takes a gargantuan megaphone to counter that endless barrage of lies and misinformation. But it can be done and the message must be very simple, because we obviously live a pathetically stupid country. I suggest that Democrats in the future emulate Tarzan's grade-level of speech. Like this:

"We save economy. You get food. Not die. Republicans try kill you. Take job. We give you job. Give you big medicine. You friend. We help. We friend."

But this isn't why we lost.

2. Cowardice. Yes, watching Democrats distance themselves — no, make that run like scalded cats — from the President and his policies so they could hopefully gain the votes of ignorant fucking rednecks was cringe-inducing. Even worse, it didn't work because you're still dealing with ignorant fucking rednecks. Ever notice that people show up for Obama rallies? Like, in droves? And you punted on that? You're not just a coward, you're a fucking idiot. In a pink tutu.

So next time, remember that only trying to appeal to card-carrying members of the Sons of the Confederacy tends to alienate your base that isn't white, stupid and nearing extinction.

But this isn't why we lost.

3: Republican Dirty Tricks. Sure, the Republicans are lying, cheating, scum-sucking pigs. Everyone knows that. From voter-suppression laws to gerrymandering to patently false TV ads, there is no bottom to their barrel. They have no morals, no empathy, only an eternal, gnawing lust for power. And not for power to actually govern, just power.

But this isn't why we lost.

4. Voter Turnout. Midterm elections have notoriously bad voter turnout. This one was no exception, with two thirds of registered voters deciding they had better things to do than have a say in their own future. Millions of single women decided that the loss of the right to an abortion or even birth control wasn't worth the effort involved in actually voting. Millions of Blacks decided they could live with Jim Crow laws and more Fergusons. Millions of union workers who sat there with their thumbs up their asses decided that being plain old "workers" maybe wasn't so bad after all. Millions of young people who sat on the sidelines figured a drive to the school cafeteria was more hassle than $100,000 in student loan debt. Millions of Latinos who couldn't get motivated said adios to the Dream Act. Millions of gays who couldn't be bothered decided to trust that Republicans really just adore marriage equality. And millions of of people with first-time health coverage just couldn't get up off the couch to cast a ballot to keep it.

One could blame this appalling apathy on the above excuses: bad messaging, cowardly candidates and Republican dirty tricks. Or one could simply blame the hundreds of millions of lazy, stupid Americans, the vast majority of whom are directly benefiting from Democratic policies, who stayed home and let other people, people who want to destroy those policies, decide their future and the future of this nation.

I'll go with that.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Konajournal's Handy Guide for Undecided Voters

With the midterm elections just four days away, we at Konajournal have assembled a short questionnaire to assist undecided voters in making an informed choice in this most crucial vote. We believe that all citizens, whatever their race, economic status, gender or age have the right to have their voices heard at the ballot box and indeed the responsibility to make them heard.

Circle the numbers that best describe you. We will tally results at the conclusion.

1. You believe that voter fraud is rampant and that the only way to guarantee the integrity of the vote is to disenfranchise as many Blacks, Latinos, young people, seniors, women and habitual Democratic voters as is humanly possible. You also disagree with the opening paragraph.

2. When George W. Bush took office in 2001, he immediately eliminated the budget surplus President Clinton had left him, tanked the economy, presided over the loss of millions of jobs, started two unfunded wars that cost over 2 trillion dollars and left hundreds of thousands dead while alienating almost the entire world. You refer to this era of American history as "the good old days."

3. You see war as an international football game with guided missiles and enjoy rooting for your team from a safe distance. You also believe that the American military, like a football team, gets rusty during a bye week and therefore should be eternally at war with somebody. Anybody. Plus it's more exciting than NASCAR.

4. You are a devout Christian and believe that the Bible is the error-free word of God, except for the mistranslation in the gospel of Matthew that has Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem instead of a triceratops. And all the verses about helping the poor and sick.

5. You think that science is overrated, and are willing to take Sarah Palin's word for it that the climate change hoax is just an effete liberal plot designed to take away your muscle car.

6. Corporations are people. And Mitt Romney is not an animatronic replica of a human being designed to accumulate vast sums of wealth by any means necessary, but an actual human being. And that's his real laugh.

7. Providing health care coverage for 10,000,000 Americans who never had it before will only encourage them to live longer.

8. To protect the weaker sex, all abortion and birth control must be illegal. Abstinence is the only legitimate means of preventing pregnancy, unless you're at the Republican National Convention.

9. There is no such thing as too many guns. And they make great stocking stuffers.

10. God created Black people to entertain us, not govern us.

11. The Koch brothers are selfless, patriotic Americans who spend gazillions to improve the lives of the little guys.

12. You use the "n" word when referring to President Obama but are definitely not a racist. It's a Southern term of endearment, like "bubba."

13. You think your state should secede from the Union and this time it will not result in a humiliating, pathetic ass-kicking because you have an extra pair of shoes.

14. You like the cut of Mitch McConnell's jib.

15. You are Black, Latino, a union worker, a woman, gay, middle class, a student, make under $150,000 per year and are not an asshole.

If statements 1 through 14 describe you, you should vote Republican. If statement 15 best describes you, you should vote Democratic.

If you are still unsure, you're an Independent.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Land of the Free, Home of the Scared Shitless

Washington, DC. Republicans may not have any new ideas or policies that would benefit the middle class. They may not have any candidates that appeal to Blacks, Latinos, the LGBT community, union workers, young people or single women. But yet there they are, poised to take control of the Senate, retain the House and make President Obama's last two years in office an exercise in abject futility, while gleefully euthanizing anything that even smells a bit like progressivism.

What is their secret? Well, besides heavily gerrymandered districts and SCOTUS-backed voter suppression, it's really not a secret and it's nothing new. It is the exact same thing they have enticed voters with for years: unreasoning, slobbering, paralyzing fear.

This is brilliant, because there's always something to be afraid of, and apparently about half of us are ridiculously easy to terrify. In fact, one of the first tenets of conservativism is to be fearful of that scariest monster under the bed of them all: change. Yes, Obama's campaign slogan alone was enough to cause millions of Republicans nationwide to piss in their pants at the same time.

Of course there is nothing scarier for Republicans than a Black president. That is change at its very worst. It smacks of equality and puts the unhealthy notion in the heads of little Black kids everywhere that they, too, might be able to rise above their predetermined station in life and succeed. At anything.

But there's always more than race to send Republicans scurrying under the bed in blind, convulsive terror. Gays are going to ruin marriage, and of course bring about the downfall of Western civilization. Never mind that they helped mightily in building it. Or that Christianity is under siege. I remember one church bombing. It was committed by people who called themselves Christians. Or Obamacare is going to turn us into Socialist Europe. Cool! Do we get wine with breakfast? Or that the Democrats are going to take your guns away. I wish they would. People suffering with delusions and paranoia should not be heavily armed. But they won't.

Then there are those very frightening brown-skinned people way over there in countries most of us can't find on a map that practice the wrong religion and don't seem to appreciate us slaughtering them for no particularly good reason. Republicans are convinced that any one of these barely functioning Western constructs is poised for World Domination and that every petty despot is the second coming of ol' Adolph.

Which is why Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is convinced that ISIS "could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas." Sure. I can just hear al-Baghdadi telling his few thousand irregulars, "Today Little Rock, tomorrow the world!"

Now of course we have the horrifying Ebola virus to complete the nightmare scenario Republicans love to masturbate to. And even though Rush Limbaugh has had more wives than we've had infected patients, Rep. Tom Tillis (R-NC) says that "We've got an Ebola outbreak...we need to seal the border and secure it!"

Note to Border Sealers: The United States shares 5,525 miles of border with Canada. We share 1,989 miles with Mexico. And just for shits and giggles, we have 95,471 miles of coastline. And your plan is?

It doesn't matter. It's all about the fear. It's all about herding their cowardly base to the polls. It doesn't have to make sense. There is no real action required, or any to be taken. It's just about making stupid people believe they'll die if they don't vote for you.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. And fear itself is all the Republicans need.

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Taste of What's to Come

Sarah Palin. Say that name. Let it roll around in your mouth. Savor it like a fine whine. Now swallow. Hmmm. A wonderfully mawkish nose of intolerance, spite and rancor with a distinctive acidity and subtle flavors of moose shit and halibut with an early finish dominated by a slightly cloying note of fresh hundred dollar bills.

Fortunately, we do not need to say this name. Nor do we have to imagine what life would be like with Sarah Palin as Vice President. But we are not out of the woods yet. At present there are dozens of members of Congress and a score of candidates on next month's ballot that make Sarah Palin look like Rachel Maddow's smarter sibling. And the fact that should keep liberals up at night is that a good number of them are going to retain their seats and new ones will win.

Think about it. Joni Ernst of Iowa feels that she is well-suited for the Senate because she knows how to cut the balls off pigs. But considering that she has called President Obama a "dictator," thinks judges should base their decisions on the Bible, believes that states should nullify federal laws they don't approve of, and like all Republicans, wants to repeal Obamacare and thinks climate change is iffy, being a veteran pig-ball remover may be the nicest thing we can say about her.

Then there's Zach Dasher who's running for Congress in Louisiana, which should thrill anyone who thinks that Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson should be in charge of the country. See, Zach is Phil's beardless nephew. But don't let that lack of manly facial hair fool you, he's every bit as ignorant and intolerant as his uncle. Zach opines that atheism caused the Sandy Hook massacre, and would like to make his particular brand of Christian fundamentalism the law of the land. And you're worried about ISIS.

As if Wisconsin weren't hemorrhaging enough of the liberal ideas and plain good sense that made it a beacon of progressivism, here comes candidate for Congress, Glenn Grothman, to hopefully drain the last drop. Grothman, besides being another typical fundy nutbar, thinks there's a war on men, that sex ed makes kids gay and that you really don't need a weekend, you lazy punk. Of course this is pretty standard Tea Party doctrine, but Grothman also has a particularly frisky bug up his ass over Kwanzaa. Yes, Kwanzaa.

The evil morons running on the Republican side of the ticket, both new and used, are too numerous to detail here. And it would be laughable, until one considers that about half the people one meets will gladly vote for them. That's why we, the sane, informed people who live here and care whether this nation moves forward for all or backwards for a few, must turn out and vote in greater numbers in this coming mid-term election than the pundits believe possible or likely.

If not, you've had a taste of what's to come. I'd recommend a nice dollop of Cheez Whiz with that particular vintage.

©2014 Kona Lowell 

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The "R" Word

You've really got to hand it to the Republicans. They are masters of the English language. No, not in the way William F. Buckley, Jr. was. He was a habitually wrong Yale-educated intellectual with a working vocabulary that would have made Noah Webster or Peter Roget say, "What the fuck does that mean?" No, I'm talking about the way they are able to pervert it.

Republicans have learned that words are malleable. They also understand that their own base would have no idea what the word "malleable" means. So they keep it simple, as in third grade simple. And as Frank Luntz, the Republicans' favorite political analyst, conservative messaging whore and corrupter of democracy likes to put it, "It's not what you say. It's what people hear."

This is why on Fox you will hear the greedy pigs who have surpassed the fabled Robber Barons of old in deepening the chasm between the haves and have nots referred to as "job creators" and Obamacare casually called "a government takeover of health care." If you are not at this moment personally eyeing the inner workings of you own colon, you are aware that neither of these substitutions are honest.

But that's what Republicans do, and it's working. Of course their greatest achievement of Orwellian word-molestation is in completely dishonoring the word "liberal," a word that for centuries was the very definition of all things virtuous. So damaging has that label now become that many of us have timidly retreated to the comfortable safety of the word "progressive."

We can, however, fight back.

Yesterday I saw a graphic on Facebook with a picture of Rush Limbaugh. It asked the reader to describe him in one word. The results were as one would expect, as this was a Democrat's page: asshole, pig, heartless, misogynist, liar, stupid, racist, cigar-fellating junkie pedophile (which broke the one word rule), etc. I read through all the responses, and while they were certainly apt, there was one word that I felt was the embodiment of all of them: Republican. So I humbly suggest we use this word to our advantage.

For example, let's say you're at a trendy restaurant and you are given a particularly awful meal. The waiter arrives at your table.

"The scallops au gauche are pleasing, no?"

"No. This tastes like Republican!"

Or, your friend backs up into your car.

"Dude, what are you, Republican or something?"

Or your child misbehaves and needs a time out.

"Dakota, that was very Republican of you to hit your little sister like that."

Or your best friend hits on a woman you're talking with at the bar.

"Hey, Jason, stop Republican-blocking me, will ya?" 

The possibilities are limitless. Just replace any negative word or phrase with "Republican." Eventually, people will prefer to be called just about anything else. Maybe even "liberal."

©2014 Kona Lowell

You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio.