Some loose odds and ends to address:
Item the First: Laziness, like water, always seeks the lowest level. So it is with modern political journalism. As we behold another scenario that allows the stenographers who pass for reporters in our mainstream “news” media to staple the words “Clinton” and “scandal” together, one could almost hear their gleeful “Squee!” of delight.
Make no mistake: I am not a defender, or even a vague fan, of Hillary Clinton. This State Department e-mail thing notwithstanding – I will never cease to be amazed by the Clinton Clan’s unswerving instinct for “Hey, is that my foot?” BLAM “Ow, my foot!” behavior – the fact of the matter is that she has been on the wrong side of every signal issue over the course of this century.
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She voted for the PATRIOT Act, she voted for the Iraq War resolution, she got the Keystone XL pipeline ball rolling while at State, and she is cozied up tight with the Wall Street brigands who tore the economy apart and then offshored the profits to avoid paying taxes. Personal freedom, unjust war, climate change, economic justice … and she got it wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. This is not exactly a resume that inspires confidence, or even mild interest.
All that being said, it has been both astonishing and entirely predictable to watch the “news” media’s reaction to the e-mail issue. In the course of a week, they have gone from “Look, Another Clinton Scandal!” to “Remember the Other Clinton Scandals?” to “The Media Is Back In Clinton-Scandal Mode!” They have, in essence, downshifted so as to report on their own behavior: “Wow, Look How We Do What We Do!” It’s the easiest gig in the world, and now they get to do it until a year from November.
It is possible that a cat sleeping in a ray of sunlight is lazier than these laggards, but I doubt it.
Item the Second: The new GOP-controlled congress has gotten off to a whiz-bang start, hasn’t it? The first two acts of this addled passion play made the Three Stooges look like an Alvin Ailey dance production. We started with House Speaker Boehner – who, as a leader, is indistinguishable from a cardboard cutout of House Speaker Boehner – failing comprehensively to corral enough Republican votes to pass a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security. There are acres of irony to be found here, given that Terrorism And Terrorists And We’re All Gonna Die You Guys has been the GOP’s hood ornament for fourteen years now. It takes a very special form of flaccid to lead that horse to that water and fail to make it drink.
Not to be outdone, some 47 GOP Senators drafted, signed and sent a letter to Iran stating, basically, that any diplomacy taking place between the Iranian government and the Obama administration was null and void because they hate the president just a little bit more than they hate the Ayatollah, so go ahead and make your nukes, fellas, we won’t stop you. Undermining ongoing negotiations on, say, possible nuclear proliferation by a so-called “rogue state” should be labeled as treason. These days, however, it’s “just politics.”
This particular ball of Fail got rolling thanks to Tom Cotton, freshman GOP Senator from Arkansas, who deployed his little missive and then scooted off to address – off the record, of course – the National Defense Industrial Association, a collective of weapons contractors that would profit wildly from a war with Iran.
Eisenhower was right.
Item the Third: There is an argument to be made that the United States has been in a perpetual state of war since Appomattox, or since World War I, or since Pearl Harbor, or since Vietnam, depending on where you choose to lay your marker. For sure and certain, this nation has been at war in Iraq, in one form or another, for almost 25 years. Whatever else this war has been – and it has been many things over the course of the quarter-century we’ve been shooting and bombing and invading – it has been perhaps the most extraordinarily efficient wealth-extraction machine in the history of the country. A few people have become rich beyond the dreams of Midas, millions upon millions have gotten badly screwed in the process, and untold thousands have died face-down in the mud and the blood of a staggered empire.
On Saturday, March 21, a rally and march will take place in Washington DC to commemorate the anniversary of the most recent iteration of this ongoing disaster, and to demand that further escalations of violence be immediately ceased.
Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up.
– Robert Francis, “Summons”
Maybe you should be there.
Item the Fourth: In the interest of mental hygiene, and in favor of the argument that all is not darkness even in the dark, I invite you to watch this master of his craft do his incredible thing. The words “This Machine Kills Fascists” are tattooed in black block letters across the flat of my back, but seldom in your life will you see anyone own a machine the way that man owns his acoustic guitar. I recommend volume up, friends. Up, up, up.