“If I Were King”, 2013 edition.

NEW SLAUGHTERThe King apologizes for being out of court for the past fortnight. Official business in the distant reaches of his vast realm required his attention. But now, upon his return, he sees that the usual assortment of mulish knavery, imbecilism and jowl-flapping pedantry is still afflicting his people … and he is not pleased. Then again, he’s built an empire on never being pleased about anything, except for perhaps the swift and cruel humiliations of his enemies, like in the most recent election. (Although he would have been happier had it been far swifter.)

So, as he brushes dust from his raiment and rests his road-weary crown on its velour pouffe, The King summons his sullen scribes with this year’s list of changes deemed necessary to restore peace and harmony to his lands.

Here, here and herewith:

1:  The King has had it up to his royal migraine with fools with guns. And while a fresh series of decrees will be helpful, few things will cut to the core of the gun “problem” like a strategy for extracting the misguided notions of bravery, masculinity and exceptional expertise from what is plainly an juvenile, emotional cry for relevance. As a Catholic-in-name-only The King finds shame to be particularly useful in reducing a pretense of courage to its essential silliness. Therefore …

1 (a) The royal populace will be routinely informed — by its media — of how low the actual violent crime rate is, the ridiculous odds against being a victim of a violent home invasion in most of the kingdom’s neighborhoods, the number of innocent people killed or wounded by terrified homeowners opening fire simply because they were “patriotic” enough to buy a gun and the utter ludicrousness of Constitutional illiterates thinking their basement arsenal is going to keep the CIA and ATF at bay when Big Gummint comes to take away their “freedoms”.

1(b) Not only will the name and address of every gun owner be placed in a kingdom-wide data base, for all to see, especially all those hardened criminals plotting to break in and kill them for their flat screen TVs, but every individual gun owned by that individual will be listed, as well as every purchase of ammunition … and that individual’s criminal history, be it for tax fraud, reckless driving or restraining orders by old girlfriends. Criminals … and cops coming through the door … have a right to know what they’re dealing with.

1(c) The kingdom’s entertainment industry, its jesters and dramatists, will cease trading in revenge fantasies involving gunfire. If aging macho men like Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis require mass amounts of ammo to shore up their manly bona fides the kingdom’s taxing authority will assess a per bullet fee for every shot fired. At a rate of say $50,000/bullet sound effect, producers will quickly reevaluate the cost of producing brain-numbing dreck appealing mainly to emotionally unevolved males and so many “overseas action markets”.

1(d) Likewise, the kingdom’s video game industry, financially linked to the gun manufacturing industry, will be subject to the same bullet assessment, plus another for body count. The King has ordered his court minions to come up with a scale of quantifiable video game “storyline” stupidity for additional assessing, but is still awaiting their decision.

1(e)  The kingdom’s gun lobby, so fearful a presence in the careers of elected noblemen and women, will NOT be granted “a place at the table” in conversations about getting rid of this form of homegrown terrorism. The liquor industry isn’t routinely invited to AA meetings, so why should the NRA, a paid bitch of the gun manufacturers, be granted a voice in dealing with the mayhem caused by their products?

1(f)  The King hereby orders immediate repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005. The act prevents lawsuits against gun manufacturers in state and federal court. Last time The King checked, drug manufacturers can still be sued if their products kill people. By lifting the PLCA Act the gun manufacturing industry can bravely, courageously and patriotically face the same kind of legal liability as everyone else in the large and happy kingdom.

And on other matters …

2. No money handler in the kingdom caught defrauding citizens through fraudulent loan modifications, “robo-signing” foreclosure documents or any other such 48th floor knavery will be able to settle complaints “without admitting guilt”. In other words, like a street punk caught smoking a joint behind a royal stable, anything Bank of America, AIG or Goldman Sachs says can and will be held against them in a court of law … even after the kingdom accepts a pennies on the dollar settlement for flagrant fraud.

3. The King is also very bored with these episodes of repeated obstruction. The King recognizes the opposing feudal barons, also known as the Republicans, have no actual legislative plan of their own, much less any control over the 50 to 70 manifest morons identified as “their base”. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to suffer for the sins and lack of discipline in that house of fools. Therefore, The King will be exercising the 14th amendment over the debt ceiling stupidity and every other executive order he can grab at to blow past these idiots and get a few things done around here. And so what if they howl about violations of their precious “Constitutional freedoms”? They scream that when you’re standing still waiting for them to pull their thumbs out of their butts, so what is The King afraid of?

3(a). Ditto the Senate “filibuster”. Take it out behind the petit palais, borrow a bullet from the NRA and be done with it.

Finally, 4. The King fears few things more than intrusion of movie musicals into discussions of art. Musicals are twaddle for a generation still clinging to Lerner and Loewe. The King has faced many fearsome opponents on the field of battle. Hideous goons with broken teeth, sallow eyes and hot, diseased breath. (Oh, sorry, those were agents of the American Legislative Exchange Council “instructing” salaried court knaves on proper decree-writing.) But nothing is as terrifying as The Queen forcing him to attend “Les Mis” and listen to Russell Crowe sing.

God save the kingdom!

Let the Pirates Stand Up and Filibuster

Senator Joe Lieberman threatens a filibuster to fend off the dreaded Public Option. It’s a serious threat — who would want to listen to Lieberman blither and dribble for hours on end?lieberman2

Why are the Democrats so afraid of a filibuster — other than the reasonable concern that there wouldn’t be enough air-sickness bags to go around?

What better view for Americans of what’s going on in Washington? What a perfect symbol. Let the Party of No stand up and stop progress by talking endlessly. What a perfect way to focus the media on the stakes in the health-care reform struggle. While the Republicans — and Senator Joe — blather on, the media will be hijacked. Reporters and TV hosts will have to talk about issues such as insurance companies not insuring you if you’re already sick, not insuring you when you get really sick, the rising cost of coverage, the number of bankruptcies due to medical expenses, and so on. Democrats can say “America, we want to bring you less-expensive, more-effective health care coverage that you’ll always have and that will always cover you, and here, standing and talking, are the people keeping you from better health.”

Bring it on. Let John Ensign or Sam Brownback or Thad Cochran or Orrin Hatch or James Inhofe show us what giants they are by trying to better Strom Thurmond’s filibuster record of talking for 24 hours and 18 minutes straight — mouthing the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington’s Farewell Address (only Strom himself didn’t leave for almost another half century) — trying to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1957. strom1

The filibusters by Southern Democrats let the country clearly see who was standing in the way of Civil Rights for black Americans.

When Southerners were planning another anti-Civil Rights filibuster in 1960, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson was ready. According to Robert Mann in The Walls of Jericho,, “If Southerners wanted to prevent a vote, he would force them to wage a full-fledged filibuster — not the gentlemanly nine-to-five variety that had been the rule in recent years.” LBJ said, “I think all members should be on notice that their presence may be demanded at any time during any evening, or in the early morning hours of the morning, all night around the clock, every night next week or the following week, until a vote is obtained.”

“Filibuster” comes from the Dutch word for “Freebooter” — which means pirate. Let’s let the country clearly see who the pirates are. Let the pirates stand up, let us see them standing in the way.

Bring it on. It’s a symbol that will clarify the battle over health-care reform.

— Bruce Benidt

Election Night Prep: Senate Curtain Raiser

While the Minnesota Senate race has generated a fair amount of visibility, Senate races overall have been mostly ignored across the nation as the presidential contest has sucked up nearly all of the oxygen in the room.  That’s too bad, because there’s an interesting macro story there as well as a number of fascinating local races worth watching.  As you settle in for a long evening of election viewing next Tuesday, here’s a quick snapshot of what to look for in these races and an overall story that will unfold all across the nation and may make it worth waiting up to see what happens in far-flung Alaska.

The Big Picture: The Democrats currently have a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.  That majority is about as thin as possible because it is achieved through the support of Joe Lieberman, Independent (and McCain supporter) of Connecticut, and Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont.

Continue reading “Election Night Prep: Senate Curtain Raiser”