Eli's Observations

Month: September, 2012

10 Ways To Win The White House: Confidential Memo From Karl Stovepipe

As the presidential race winds down, fanatic Tea Party types are zeroing in on congressional races. This memo, found by our intrepid investigator Sheldon Seamus, was probably written by an old time GOP strategist. It was found in the trash after a recent T.P. rally.

1.) Start a huge war in the Middle East, based on lies. This will erode public confidence in government as soon as the lies are revealed. This is good, because government is bad.

2.) During the war, use lots of expensive equipment and materiél, but don’t pay for any of it. Blow up the materiél as soon as possible. (Use that word materiél a lot. It makes you sound smart.)

3.) Claim the war is going very well and will pay for itself through oil revenues from the invaded (oops, liberated) country.

4.) Start telling the public you’re very concerned about the growing budget deficit. Keep spending money. Send more troops to other countries. Don’t pay for them, either.

5.) Suggest big cuts in federal entitlements. Don’t get specific. Just say we need more troops to reach victory. Use words like “generals on the ground” and “surge.” This makes you sound military. Don’t pay for the surge.

6.) Lower taxes on very rich people again. Give them more loopholes. If any poor people write in whining about it, explain that the money will trickle down to them. Someday. Express grave concern about the federal deficit. Blame it on wild spending by your opponents.

7.) When the sunshine soliders protest about thousands of Americans killed and maimed in these wars, accuse them of not supporting our troops and send them one of those red, white and blue ribbon things for the back of their car. If they raise the question of the financial cost of expanding these wars, point out that most of these critics don’t even wear flag pins in their lapels. Need I say more?

8.) Elect people to congress who are enraged but don’t know why and are as ignorant as the rear end of a hog. Teach them to say “no!” repeatedly. To everything. Promise them you’ll keep “God” on our currency, including coins. Maybe we’ll even throw in a couple of Dios to appeal to the Latinos. But don’t promise that yet. Comprende? Imply that there will be a new coat of arms on the $100 bill employing the AK-47, but don’t commit yourself to that.

9.) Announce that the eight-year-long federal deficit has suddenly become an imminent threat to America’s survival. (Use that word imminent a lot! It’s a gravitas kind of thing.) Propose another tax cut for the job creators.

10.) Find an empty “suit” (good hair essential) to run for president. Teach him to say “tax cuts” and “pro-life.” If he loses, blame the moderates. But we’ll need some RINOS. If we can’t find any moderate republicans, maybe we could hire some. I hear a lot of people are unemployed. Ha ha.

My Israel Problem

When I started this article, I was calling it “My Israel Problem.” Benjamin Netanyahu had recently made one of his periodic attempts to blackmail our government. He implied that Israel might make a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities unless we join in drawing a ‘red line’ over which the Iranians dare not step.

Netanyahu had the gall to try hijacking our foreign policy during a neck-and-neck presidential contest, probably assuming he could rely on his usual accomplices in congress. I began to think the United States had a real Israel problem on its hands, seemingly because of Israeli intransigence. I decided to discuss it with an older and wiser friend, Mordecai Stern.

“The way a lot of Americans see it, Israel should just cool it. We’ve got your back! Your enemies would have to be crazy to come after you with us standing behind you.”

I saw Mordecai begin to give one of his sad smiles, so I hastened to add the words ‘standing right behind you all the way!!’

“Well, cowboy, I don’t doubt your sincerity, but I seem to recall we were standing right behind South Vietnam in just the same way until –” Mordecai whirled his fingers and made a helicopter sound. “–until that last marine chopper left the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon — adios, South Vietnam. Hello Hanoi.”

“I know! It was very bad.” Eli nodded. “We never should have gone into Vietnam in the first place! Right?”

Mordecai said he wasn’t sure about that. If America had turned its back what might the Soviets have done? And the Chinese? Would there even be a South Korea?

“You’re making me crazy, Mordecai. You can’t have it both ways. Or are you buying into that George W. bull about us being the ‘indispensable nation?’ Because that line has put us at the poor house door!”

Mordecai seldom laughed, but he came close, saying some things were just too complex for our little brains to figure out. Sometimes, having it both ways is the best we can do.

“Maybe tomorrow,” Mordecai suggested, “maybe we’ll make some progress in the Middle East. That’s what I like about Obama. He thinks a while before he talks.”

“The Republicans call that leading from the rear, Mordecai — ”

“That’s better than talking from your rear. Remember Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Deception? Or Condi Rice’s mushroom souffle cloud?”

“No red line then?” Eli asked. “But what about the Iranians?”

They’ll need watching, Mordecai agreed. And the Pakistanis and the Saudis and the Chinese. And every two-bit dictator and religious nut on the planet. But who did the most harm to us, Mordecai wondered, Bin Laden or Dick Cheney?

” … okay,” Eli agreed, “so who’s more dangerous to us now? Netanyahu or Romney?”

” … well, cowboy, I’d say Romney. Netanhayu’s just another clever demagogue. But our boy Mittsy is worse. He combines chutzpah and ignorance about the world around us. That’s a dangerous combination.”

“So we don’t have an Israeli problem right now. We have a Romney problem –”

Mordecai’s expression brightened abruptly.

“No. Not if we don’t elect him!”

A Tale Of Two Cities

The Republican Convention in Tampa was about as exciting as frozen orange juice. No lumps. No surprises. But the convention did reflect a kind of America straight out of the early 1950s: it was very white, suspicious of ‘otherness,’ of women who didn’t know their place, of ‘homo-sex-uals,’ and of all non-Christians. Did I mention it was very white?

Once they presented two governors “of color” (Indian descent) and the inscrutable Condoleeza Rice marched off-stage, they had pretty well exhausted their ‘important Republicans of color’ (Man-Tan Boehner doesn’t count.)

As for GOP women, Mrs. Romney gave a very nice speech followed by a string of nice women who told us they’d been helped by Mr. Romney, praising the nice non-Bain Mitt Romney for his kindnesses. It almost seemed like Romney was running for Deputy Mayor of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Surrogates for Romney, especially ‘Mr. Sincere,’ aka Paul Ryan, were grim-visaged as usual, in their warnings of the looming doom of deficits (most of which they created with un-funded wars.) Uh Oh! That word ‘war’ was never spoken in Tampa. But Romney did threaten China with a Major Frown of Disapproval if they didn’t shape up. Take that, People’s Republic!

Except for the sparkling wit of Clint Eastwood and his chair, the GOP convention was mostly a humor-free zone, and what humor there was looked like an out-take from the movie Grumpy Old Men.

Unlike those Godless Dems, Republicans practically wore out the word ‘God.’ As for separation of church and state, some critics advised the GOP to simply drop the P, slip in a D, and come out of God’s closet.

Oh yes — before the convention was over, Mitt Romney made a nice, nice speech promising to fix everything that was wrong — by using tax cuts — for the rich.

In Charlotte, we watched a very different America march onto the stage in the Democratic Convention. We saw many men and women of many colors and ethnicities. The cheering in the hall was almost constant and exuberant. No buttoned-up, flag pin types here, lots of red, white and blue costumes and crazy hats were everywhere. No tight-lipped ideologues here. Even when Romney’s name was spoken, it never provoked anything like the hatred you heard simmering in Tampa whenever the GOP audience heard the President’s name.

Even when Democrats attacked Romney’s policies, or lack of them, there was none of the vulgar, nasty name-calling in the Limbaugh-Ann Coulter vein.

Yes, women are leaning democratic. You saw it on the stage as our beautiful First Lady was so eloquent that she started a Michelle boomlet for the 2016 election. The Lady says no thanks.

Watching all this from overseas, as her husband demolished the Republicans, was the formidable Hillary Clinton. That lady might say yes in 2016. Who knows.

Elizabeth Warren was smart and feisty. After listening to Dr. Jill Biden speak from the heart about education, you could see why Joe kept on proposing (five times) until she said yes.

There were plenty of democratic men in evidence, too. They made the Republican prospects look like last month’s goulash. There was Joe Biden himself, John Kerry being funny, the two young brothers Castro form Texas, Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., Governors Strickland and Patrick Duval, and several promising prospects who seemed to have the same last name: Kennedy.

Does this mean the Democrats will win the 2012 election in spite of a sluggish economic recovery? Will Americans vote for statistics or for character and principle? I don’t know. But I have seen the future and it didn’t look Republican. So pull up a rocking chair, Clint, and watch the world pass you by.

Smoke And Mirrors

We thought the trivialization of the electoral process had gone as far as it could until the GOP opened its shoddy bag of tricks in Tampa. We quickly learned that this election won’t be about the economy, no matter how many times ‘Mr. Sincerity’ (Paul Ryan) promises to tell us some hard truths. To quote a movie character played by Jack Nicholson: “You can’t handle the truth!”

Truth #1: ‘Job Creators’ don’t exist. Markets can create jobs but they generally destroy more jobs — in the United States, at least — than they create. Global markets paying workers a few dollars a week can quickly wipe out any U.S. job gains.

Education, if highly focused and heavily subsidized, could create jobs in the hi-tech, creative industries but they’d be competing with the constant robotization of the workplace. Beyond that, we are already way behind many of our global competitors in education. Way behind.

We have an investing class sitting on lots of money and asking for tax breaks but it won’t take any risks and doesn’t care about innovating. The only thing they invest in is buying congresspeople.

Then we have a group of voters who think they already pay too many taxes. They don’t. We have retirees who believe they’re just getting back what they put into Social Security. They aren’t. Most of them drained that well long ago.

These are the voters who have been lied to so skillfully by the advertising/industrial complex and many of them believe that they can “have it all.” They can’t. This is the kind of dishonest, stupid economics which leads to stupid voting. Which leads us back to this year’s political conventions. Welcome to a ‘Truth-Free Zone.’

The once-familiar chants of ‘USA! USA! We’re Number One! We’re Number One!’ may be muted this year. Most people don’t like to chant ‘We’re Number Twenty-Three.’ But the self-congratulatory speeches about American particularism are repeated endlessly by our only successful jobs program: journalism.

After hours of waiting endlessly for the song and dance act to be over it will suddenly be time for the roll call to begin. This will be the chance for some brave delegate to call for a new stand by the GOP on something important. It won’t happen.

A woman no one had ever seen or heard of will begin calling the names of our 50 anachronisms, er — states.

“Madam Secretary, Alabama, the Diddly-Squat State — home of canned cling peaches and nude gopher-hunting is proud to cast its votes — ”

“–Indiana, home of the synchronized shuffleboard conference and the ‘Hoosier Daddy?’ Championship Team — cast all of its votes –”

State after state will rise to bravely strike a blow for democratic process and principle, better known as drivel.

The next time we continue our great national discussion will be in Charlotte, N.C., unless this week’s television ratings are really bad, in which case, we can expect re-runs such as ‘Great 20th Century Elections’ hosted by Tony (“The Fixer”) Scalia. Stay tuned.