Category Archives: election

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I love my Dad.  He’s a great guy, he does good works, and he is committed to doing the right thing.

He’s also a minister by schooling and training and a self-taught computer techie and administrator later.  Now he’s crashed on my couch and taking the T into the convention center everyday for political planning going on down there.  Like I said, I love him, but he has an idealist streak a mile wide and I’m sure that it’s gonna get him in trouble.

Gil hasn’t been involved in any kind of politics above the city level since the the SDC went belly-up in the sixties — he once confided in me that he felt guilty for ‘selling out’ and not continuing on with the Weathermen like some of his compatriots.

Well, now he’s a representative of what we can best call the old-Hippie Party.  These veterans of yesteryear’s culture wars are intent on seeing that the New England central government conforms to their more egalitarian hopes.  

And it’s driving me nuts.

Gil is spending all his time in committees trying to get a ‘right to employment’, trying to define a national minimum wage over $10/hour, trying to make all education funding come from regional income taxes instead of property taxes.  When I try and point out that there are more important issues to get defined – common defense, appeals courts, foreign policy, election policy  – he gets strident saying that we have to make sure that the foundations of New England don’t repeat the mistakes that made the USA so systematically corrupt.  My retort was that then he should be working to avoid a unitary executive, unless he liked the idea of living under General Carlson’s guns for the foreseeable future.

Gil thinks that if the people all get a fair shake, everything will turn out OK.  I don’t.  There’s always a opportunity somewhere for someone to grab power — they will always try to make that grab.  The best way to prevent that is to make it in someone else’s interest to grab their arm first.  Politics of divisiveness Gil calls it.

My father is so optimistic, so positive…I’m gonna kill him.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holy mother fuck.

I don’t know how they could block the transmissions, but I’m willing to bet that they are doing it. So I’m going to tell you what’s going on here in Boston. This is going to be half-assed as hell, because I’m getting my information through Radio Free Boston and some TV news. We’re currently holed up in the basement, but I’m having to sit on Paul to stop him from running out with a shotgun to help.

We don’t have a shotgun. Thank God.

The Children of Liberty have Declared Independence. They have taken the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony every Fourth of July and they are … reading the Declaration of Independence from the balcony. With one or two very tiny modifications — replacing King George with George Bush, replacing “Great Britain” with “illegal Bush White House”. And, of course, they are calling it “The United New England States of America.”

What’s terrifying is just how the list of grievances seems to have been written just for this particular tyrant, not for one two and a half centuries ago. Paul sprinted upstairs to get a copy of the text and he’s reading alongside, getting very angry.

(He has taken a moment from his ranting to point out, in very lawyerly fashion, that they’ve abbreviated the list of grievances and added a few new ones. But the original ones still remain remarkably relevant.)

There are fire fights as the Thugs try to get to the State House. But apparently, according to the radio anyway, the National Guard is holding them off. The uniformed soldiers are on our side. I’m hearing reports of a general who has come out of retirement, assumed command of the local troops and is directing things at a regional… should I say national? … level.

The Children of Liberty have just declared war. Holy shit.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I was talking about the price of gas and the spiraling food costs over some (herbal) tea with a friend of mine last night and said something to the effect of, “America is getting what we deserve.”

She got kinda pissed at me about that. “No one could have predicted this!”

Au contraire, I replied. It’s been predicted over and over again over the past fifty years. Anyone willing to think a little ahead could have predicted what’s happening right this second. Oil is a finite resource. If you build all your infrastructure around cheap and plentiful oil, eventually you’re going to have problems when oil runs out.

Ergo, anyone building their lives around this fragile system made a stupid choice.

Now, everyone was doing it and it was really hard not to. But it was still a choice. We’ve arrived at the point we’re at through the accumulation of a million-billion-trillion stupid choices by a whole lotta people. Many of those choices made sense — in the short run, for an individual. But as a collective whole, looking at the long term, they were purely stupid.

What’s more — lots and lots of people predicted this.

M. King Hubbert used the “peak oil” theory in 1956 to predict when U.S. oil would peak. Accurately, as it turned out.

Admiral Hyman Rickover warned against dependence on fossil fuels in a speech in 1957.

Certainly Michael Pollan had a good grip on the coming food crisis in Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006). But I know that the theory has been around a lot longer. The amazing and irascible Joel Salatin certain has seen it coming. The folks at Mother Earth News have seen it coming. The foodie folks in Berkley have been talking up the loca-vore stuff for twenty odd years. It was mentioned in West Wing episode for the love of God.

But what really struck me were the parallells between this situation and the political situation. A lot of what the Bushies are doing was utterly predictable. The administration wasn’t even subtle about its steady erosion of our rights. But the hue and cry was desultory at best and nonexistent at worst. Even in Cambridge the “Impeach Bush” signs were mocked a little, even through the PATRIOT act, the FISA thing, the habeus corpus thing, all of the warning signs were there. We just ignored them and bought iPods.

The problem with government for the people is that the people get the government that they deserve. And we deserve this, I think.

Monday, March 16, 2008

Yesterday morning we went to brunch at Drumlin Farm — it’s a Mass Audubon Sanctuary out in Lincoln where we go with April often. It’s got goats and cows and chicken and sheep and fields and greenhouses and birds (naturally, Audubon). And, in mid-March every year, they have a big maple syrup breakfast to help raise money.
It’s great — all these moms and dads and grandparents and kids bundled up in the cool morning, crowding into the main hall with an enormous fireplace. There are piles of pancakes and sausage (the sausage is Drumlin Farm’s own — they raise pigs, too) and you get to see the sap dripping from Grandmother Maple and watch it boiling away in the evaporator. Last year was a great syrup year because of the prolonged cool spring. This year’s warm spring, however, meant that our dinky bottle of Drumlin Farm Maple Syrup ran us $10.

But that wasn’t the price everyone was talking about.

Despite the fact that every table had more kids than adults, the main topic of conversation wasn’t the latest cold or school policies or even Dora the Explorer. It was the price of gas. How people were not driving their minivans anymore. How they had canceled April vacation plans because it’s too damned expensive to fly with the “fuel surcharge” now. How they had to send money to their folks in Florida — where you have to drive — because, of course, Social Security can’t cover this and no one planned on these prices when they retired.

And there was a lot of talk about how the clusterfuck over in Iran is going to make matters worse. And how Bush was going to exploit this. One man at the table next to ours got so angry, spitting and spluttering, that his wife made him leave. He was going on and on about the elections and how this whole thing in Iran was just to distract us from the fact that the elections were totally rigged. Normally, this kind of behavior in public gets uncomfortable stares and pursed-lip silences — especially around kids. And there were some. But, as his wife was dragging him out, he got a lot of high-fives and “Right on!” (damned hippies need to update their lingo.)

There’s a deep unease that’s bordering on violent anger in Boston and its surrounds. It’s making me nervous.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hey you, have you voted yet?

Well go now…I’ll wait.

All set? Good, now you have the right to complain with the rest of us.

Preliminary exit polls are not looking good for the Dems out there. The returns are less disturbing to me than the stories of problems at the poll. Particularly in the cities, it sounds like a much higher percentage of voters are being turned away than anybody would expect. The NPR analysts I listened to all day were surmising that rejection were related to the new unified electronic voter-rolls being used in a lot of states — all part of the big DOJ push to root-out any sign of voter fraud. I just always find it interesting that the GOP only seems to find voter fraud among Democratic-leaning populations.

Yeah, so. Looks like I’m not going to see the great sea-change I was hoping for. But then again, Berlin-Wall moments are not very common. Most change, especially for good, is incremental. Maybe just getting some new faces in Congress will help give them some more backbone.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I wasn’t sure how the whole Bush v. Nagin thing was going to play out, put I didn’t expect it to get this far. When Mayor Nagin said he’d have Mr. Bush arrested if he came to New Orleans, I figured that it was all political posturing. Either Bush wouldn’t come, or if he did, his advance team would complain about the lack or coordination from the NOPD, and that’d be it.

I didn’t expect that Nagin would personally lead a squad of cops to the hotel where Bush was prepping for a rally. I don’t think any body expected the presidential security detail to throw the whole squad in jail. NPR says most of the cops are at Barksdale AFB and are expected to be let out in a few days. Nobody has seen Nagin; rumors say he’s in Ft. Leavenworth.

All I can say folks, is don’t forget to vote tomorrow.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I gotta wonder exactly who the Children of Liberty’s quartermaster is? ‘Cause I want to hire her for running our homeless shelters.

First there was the Valentine’s Day pink marshmallow fluff stunt. Brilliant! Now, giant styrofoam snowballs rolling across the Common on the anniversary of the (first, real) Boston Massacre. If nothing else, I have to admire their logistical genius. Where the hell do you get that many four-foot spheres? Never mind smuggling them into the Common at zero-dark-early hours.

Which is not to diss their PR sense or their politics. You have to admit, the combination of historical parallels and absurdism made it perfect fodder for TV networks struggling to fill in the blanks imposed by Bush’s new “information control” initiative. The fact that there was one snowball for each day Bush has delayed the election made it a pointed protest. Very pointed, indeed.

And apparently that sharp jab hit a nerve. There have been black SUVs with tinted windows all over the city for two days. You can’t go outside without hearing a helicopter hovering overhead. And a bunch of men with crew cuts, all wearing skin-tight brand-new blue jeans, with their polo shirts tucked in, are walking around the city and looking studiously casual. I wanted, desperately, to point out to whomever is doing the FBI’s undercover wardrobe buying that no male in Boston would be caught dead in acid-washed Levis with a bomber jacket on over them. Not since Top Gun was in the theaters, anyway.

Though, now that I think about it, with the 1984-era jeans and jackets, it’s not FBI but that intelligence branch of BackWater Thugs TM. North Carolina ain’t a hot-bed of fashion.

We didn’t write yesterday because Paul was kept at work very late by a variety of “casual” visitors who just happened to “know your dad from back in the day” and wanted to talk about Gil’s current activities, “was he hip to” the Children of Liberty? Their lingo is as out of date as their clothes. Yeah, it’s gota be BackWater Thugs. Even the Feebs are better than that!

The good thing, I guess, is that no one mentioned anything about our blog. At least, we’re still only getting a handful of hits each day, mostly from recognizable sources. Friends, mostly. For the first time, I worry about what’s going to happen if anyone Googles Paul’s name and finds this blog and my rantings. Hi NSA! Loved your work on Purple! Please don’t fire Paul just because I’m a bitch!