Thursday, May 21, 2015

The GOP Debates: An Embarrassment of Riches

Washington, DC. While many nations around the world are dealing with painful shortages in resources, our great country has an abundance — even a surplus — in one crucial resource: people who want to be the Republican nominee for president. And while this is of course something to celebrate, it does present some problems, especially when it comes to the twelve (yes, 12) Republican debates that will take place between August and March.

As of now, there are about 36 potential candidates, some declared, some still testing the waters. But even though that list will be eventually whittled down, it will still be in the double digits, making the debate structure unwieldy. Organizers cannot count on looming indictments to reduce the field sufficiently.

Several suggestions arose to reduce the number, like flying all the candidates to a remote and unpopulated island where their survival skills would determine who continues to the debates. However, as some are known cannibals, it was felt that they would have an unfair advantage.

Musical chairs was also briefly considered as a means of thinning the herd, but was deemed too complicated for the rhythm-challenged predominantly white group of candidates.

Also ruled out were a talent contest, an MMA-style cage fight, a round of Truth or Dare, who's mate is more popular than Bill Clinton as well as Governor Christie's suggestion of a hotdog eating contest.

Fortunately, Fox News came up with a plan, for at least the first debate, that being that only announced candidates can participate and all must place in the top 10 of an average of the five most recent polls, as recognized by Fox News (whatever that means). This scheme will of course be immediately shitcanned if Carly Fiorina doesn't make the cut because there absolutely must be a woman on the stage at all times. Ditto for Dr. Ben Carson and your choice of Latino.
 

Yet even with these rules in place, it is likely that there will be more than ten debaters on the stage. And that could likely include the high-polling Donald Trump and that thing that lives on his head.
 

CNN came up with a different plan, splitting their September debate into two parts: the 10 highest polling candidates, and "candidates who meet the minimum threshold of 1 percent in public polling but are ranked outside the top 10." This is very clever, and considerate, as legitimate candidates will not be forced to stand in puddles of drool or inhale the smoke from burning hair while explaining how Obama is responsible for the Iraq War.
 

While there are certainly reasons to grumble in this great country of ours, lack of Republican candidates willing to lie repeatedly in public and on video is definitely not one of them. Never before have so many stepped forward to take us several steps backwards. The GOP debates are an embarrassment of riches. Okay, make that just an embarrassment.
 

©2015 Kona Lowell

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Republican Budget: Because F*ck You

Washington, DC. With the wind at their backs, the Republican-controlled 114th Congress is wasting no time in proving that the previous Congress, renowned for its historic obstruction, record number of filibusters, minimal legislation, extraordinary disrespect for the president and an utter lack of feck, was not an aberration.

Two months into their majority, two Republican congressmen (Grimm and Schock) have resigned in disgrace, three of their presidential hopefuls (Christie, Perry and Walker) are facing possible criminal charges, they've held funding for HSA hostage over immigration, held up confirmation for AG nominee Loretta Lynch in the hopes that they could insert anti-choice language into a human trafficking bill, invited a foreign head of state (in sneering contempt of protocol) to address the august body and undermine the President amid delicate nuclear arms talks and became traitorous, lovesick correspondents with the Ayatollah Khamenei, who rebuffed their schoolboy advances.

Legislatively, they've pushed the Keystone XL Pipeline, tried to repeal Obamacare for the 59th time and reluctantly pulled their own anti-abortion bill when Republican women legislators deemed it too medieval, even for them.

One would imagine they would need to catch their breath. But no.

To absolutely no one's surprise, House Republicans dropped trou, squatted down on the Capitol steps and dumped their budget plan. The 10-year blueprint for how to totally destroy every positive step made by the present administration is basically the same one Representative Paul Ryan has peddled four times previously, the one ridiculed by every major economist and denounced by nuns for being too much like something Satan might come up with.

I won't bore you with too many details, because you can close your eyes and imagine it right now, especially if you're a fan of The Walking Dead, but in a nutshell, it cuts spending by 5.5 trillion dollars over its ten years, in a sort of political/economic version of the Black Death.  Of course you know who will feel those spending cuts: the poor and the middle class.

And of course it cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations who never pay taxes anyway, because fuck you.

And it cuts Medicaid funding by 913 billion dollars over ten years and relegates the program to the states in the form of block grants, because fuck you.

And it cuts billions from SNAP, known as Food Stamps, because fuck you.

And of course it repeals Obamacare, and with the Medicaid cuts, would knock an estimated 37 million Americans off the rolls of the insured, because fuck you.

But don't worry. It increases military spending, because fuck you.

Of course this budget will be widely touted by all Republicans, young and old, male and female, far right and farther right, on the Sunday morning shows, the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal and that place where truth goes to die, Fox News. Most of the media will tell us that this proposed budget is courageous and unavoidable, like all of our glorious wars, because fuck you.

There is, however, a way to prevent this budget from ever becoming reality. It's called voting. Yes, there's an alternative to that: bloody revolution, which I readily admit would be cathartic and possibly thrilling in a horrible sort of way, but at my age, I'll opt for voting. Because, Republicans, fuck you.

©2015 Kona Lowell

Monday, March 2, 2015

CPAC, Republican Hate Rodeo

National Harbor, MD. If you turned on the TV a few days ago and were somewhat surprised to see Jeb Bush addressing a Klan rally, your misconception is certainly understandable. You were in fact witnessing his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference or CPAC, where conservative Christians go once a year to embarrass Jesus.

CPAC is like an annual Republican hate rodeo, with the competitors comprising a vast slate of far right extremists (and a handful of escapees from the local hospital for the criminally insane) with a combined zero percent chance of ever being elected President of the United States. But that's not the point. The objective is to hurl as much slander, lies, hate and big chunks of raw, bloody meat to the rabidly slavering, cheering audience as one can before the bell rings.

This year's contestants did not disappoint, although many of them seemed to mistakenly believe that President Obama is running for a third term. However, some of the smarter ones sensed that it would be instead Hillary Clinton they would be vying against and so reserved their venom-infused spittle for her.

The prolonged event was not lacking in highlights, with racism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant fear and loathing, Obama-bashing and exuberant warmongering setting the tone. There were also several flat moments, from the ever frothy Rick Santorum's failed birther stand-up routine to Governor Chris Christie's increasing inability to appear to be anything but a turd in a suit. But there were many stand-out moments. Here's some that caught our attention.

Governor Scott Walker impressed the white, Christian audience with his pledge to launch another crusade to wipe the last infidels from the face of the earth. Aside from this plan to end unions once and for all, he also wants to kill as many Muslims as possible.

Governor Bobby Jindal echoed Walker's desire to kill a whole lot of brown-skinned people (himself excluded, of course) and vowed to fuck the poor in his desperately poor and unhealthy state even harder by repealing Obamacare.

Senator Ted Cruz did a remarkable Senator Ted Cruz impersonation and talked about liberty, while desperately trying to conceal a growing woody.

Dr. Ben Carson, who is this election season's Herman Cain, delighted white Republicans with talk of "real freedom." Carson, every bit the quisling as 9-9-9-Cain, is a standout in the party for being as batshit crazy as the former pizza magnate, but with a degree of gravitas that comes from having the title of "Doctor" instead of "Uncle" in front of his name. Note: Carson should not be confused with those little round coin-like objects one inserts in a subway turnstile.

Phil Robertson, the only person in the room who would actually look up if someone screamed "Duck!", blamed all sexually-transmitted diseases on people that used to look exactly like he looks now: hippies.

Governor Jeb Bush, who bused in his own cheering section, discovered to his dismay that simply inserting people into the audience wearing "George who?" t-shirts would not save him from a wing of the party that sees any sign, however minute, of something akin to humanity as equal to demanding they turn in their guns and marry the guy sitting next to them.

It was, however, Senator Rand Paul who won the day, and his third consecutive, much-coveted and completely irrelevant straw poll. Paul pushed all the right buttons, calling President Obama a girly-man, droning on about freedom, making sweet, sweet love to the Constitution and blaming Hillary Clinton for Benghazi. He did everything but sing the Star-Spangled Banner while dry-humping the Liberty Bell.

So now we know. It will be Rand vs. Hillary in 2016. Just kidding. Jeb will get the nomination. Those t-shirts are the nuts.

©2015 Kona Lowell

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Obama, the Un-American President

Washington, DC. Aside from weathering a paralyzing snow storm, representatives in our nation's capitol have been battling a whirling shit storm, thanks to statements made by former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani. The remarks, delivered at a fundraising event for dead fish impersonator and Koch brothers' favorite sex toy, Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker, hinted that President Obama may be just a tad lukewarm in his affection for the country he leads. Said the former mayor:

“I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

Okay, that's more than a hint. But Giuliani, who has descended from "America's Mayor" to America's crazy fucking racist uncle banging on the attic floor, was not done. Holding forth at Fox News, the convicted leg-breaker's son doubled and tripled down on his belief that President Obama basically hates everything America stands for. So there.

What brought this all about, of course, is Obama's ongoing refusal to call ISIS thugs and other terrorists of Muslim origin "Islamic terrorists." The President holds that this appellation (preferred by anti-Islam bigots, Islamophobes and harpies named Pam Geller by a margin of 10 to 1) gives these criminals legitimacy they do not warrant. It is for precisely the same reason the president does not refer to Republicans as "treasonous, reality-denying shitheads." It's more than they deserve.

But as much as we effete liberals would like to deny it, the increasingly irrelevant former mobster's son does have a point: Barack Obama was not brought up in a stereotypical Italian crime family and is stunningly, undeniably not white.

President Obama demonstrates this by regularly appearing in public as a Black man. He showed his sneering disdain for white women everywhere by marrying one Michelle Robinson and shortly thereafter producing two chocolate-toned children that will never be mistaken for Italians. He displays an elitist contempt for NASCAR and is unable to distinguish Dale Earnhardt, Jr. from Jimmie Johnson, and further, could not give a fuck. He would instead prefer to watch tall Black, athletic men fly through the air and slam basket balls than watch white guys drive around in a circle. He doesn't bowl. His iPod is tellingly bare of country music and he never starts a speech with, "Like Charlie Daniels says...." Even worse, he vacations in the communist state of Hawaii instead of Branson, Missouri. He refuses to man-up and be a Real American by slaughtering God's creatures for sport and idle amusement while shit-faced drunk. He doesn't go 4-wheeling, preferring to preserve Nature as opposed to digging tire tracks into her. And most damningly obvious of all, he seems to prefer ending and preventing wars than starting them for no fucking reason.

Rudy Giuliani is right. Barack H. Obama is no George W. Bush. And for that, we can all be grateful.

Next week, Obama hates Israel because he refuses to convert from Islam to Judaism.

©2015 Kona Lowell