Waiting On The Trickle Down

Clem stared at the copper tube winding down from the top of the still. The tip rested on  a porcelain jug that sat on an upturned crate. He was quietly mumbling to himself as he had done every night for the last seven years. “Dang God of the still have mercy, lemme see a trickle down of your blessed juice.” The stool he sat on creaked as his knees knocked together. A fat spider scrambled underneath the copper pot where the fire should have been. The kerosene lamp sputtered. Clem got up and turned the wick up a bit. “Damn” he muttered “seven years and not a drop”.

Just then he heard a rustle in the dirt behind him. He turned around and with a jaundiced eye saw his neighbor Billie standing in the door of the ramshackle shed. “Clem you have plum lost your foolish mind,” proclaimed Billie. “For seven damn years you’ve been huddled over this stinkin’ still every night waiting for a trickle from that cold pot. I told you once I told you a thousand times welladay you got to light a fire for that damn thing to work.” Clem stood up and spat out a chunk of tobacco he’d been roiling in his mouth. “Shaddup Billie. Just shaddup. You know this here is a magic still. I got it from the old still god Ronnie Reagan. He said there is no way it wont work afore he dropped dead.” Billie shook his head. He took off his hat and held it like a preacher. “Clem old pal, every day you work for that mean old straw boss Willard. You give him and his people all your best corn. You shovel out his stables. You done break your back every day working at Rove Farm. Not once have they ever done a thing for you. A man like you oughtta wake up and smell the coffee!”

“Aw hell” Clem grumbled. Billie turned and ceremoniously replaced his hat on his head and walked away into the night. “Plum foolish old coot, be dead afore he sees a trickle.” As Billie got further away his words echoed in Clem’s head. Clem thought to himself what he had been told. If he did what the straw boss Willard told him to do everyday. If he kept the Rove farm clean and free of undesirables. If he gave all his best corn up to them. The magic Reagan still was supposed to trickle down. He imagined in his head hundreds of full jugs of the sweet elixer. He remembered that Reagan once told him that: “Facts are stupid things.” In his mind he agreed. He was glad Billie had gone. He sat back down on the stool, his knees knocked together. He grabbed another wad of tobacco and took up his mumbling. “Dang God of the still have mercy, lemme see a trickle down of your blessed juice.”

“Facts are stupid things.” — Ronald Reagan

“Money doesn’t talk it swears.” — Bob Dylan from the song: It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Save the Dinosaur in the Senate

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Recently a very serious situation has developed in the Senate and one of our dearest and most ancient demagogues has become seriously endangered. Senator Addison Mitchell (Mitch) McConnell Jr. is now facing a heated battle being opposed by Alison Lundergan Grimes the crackerjack, feisty Secretary of State of Kentucky. Fortunately Mitch has a crack team of garbage digging cohorts who are scrambling to insure his survival, albeit for the time being, by slinging dirt and generally being the most unwelcoming of opponents possible.

To cap off our dear dinosaur’s dilemma he’s facing opposition from a member of his own party in the primaries, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hating champion of the illustrious Glenn Beck himself, Matthew Griswold Bevin. This man is a certifiable Teanderthal with credentials coming from the rightest and tightest but not so brightest Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions. He’s already infamous for being against the bank bailout of 2008 that helped save his business thus earning him the affectionate moniker of: Bailout Bevin!

You may recall that Mitch had suffered an apparent ‘Nixonian bugging’ of his office. This happens when you receive a small Nixon doll in the mail, place it on your bookshelf, and the next thing you know Mother Jones is hawking stories about how very evil you actually are with an honest recording of your thugs plotting against anyone who dared to thwart your despotic behavior. Yes Mitch was ‘tricky Dicked’! Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken over. Taxpayer money at work doing the important things like protecting our venal elected despots and preserving their right to preserve their particular special interest group unfettered by ethical behavior and such trifles.
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Maybe fellow libertarian/republican junior Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul and ‘Ole Mitch’ can hole up together! They can collect guns, swig whiskey, swap wives and trade stories about shootin’ those yonder revenooers! The Nixon doll will have to go of course. They might be happier with an Ayn Rand doll and maybe a Raggedie Ronnie Reagan. Pull the string on Ayn and she says: “The question isn’t  who is going to let me it’s who is going to stop me!”. Ronnie exhorts when you drop him on his head: “Facts are stupid things!”. Why they can amuse themselves in lockstep together as they contemplate how to hold democracy hostage for their own selfish desires. That is of course after they do something important like blocking any common sense bill on gun control or the possibility of raising the minimum wage etc. etc. etc!

It will be interesting to see where the ‘Dark Money’ takes the ensuing campaign. One thing is for certain and that is the people of Kentucky need to be aware of the facts. They need to show they won’t be boondoggled by a media blitz of lies, lies, lies which is sure to be paid for by a Super PAC of nebulous money which ultimately originates from the Koch brothers and their minions.

Watch Bill Moyers and Company expose ‘Dark Money’ here!

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Wanted: Independent Leaders for the Republican Party

The Republican party of the United States is in dire need of a complete overhaul. Somehow they have gone seriously off course. By pandering to the far right of extremism and embracing such monolithic mouthpieces as Limbaugh, Trump and Fox News the party has become lost in a morass of discord and hatred. At least Mitt Romney had the tact to admit defeat graciously in spite of the fact that he led a devious campaign filled with distortions of reality. Now Fox News has the crazy people in their glorious team of social miscreants accusing the other side of playing dirty to win the election! Of course the blow hard Trump and Limbaugh are quick to join in this cacophony of blithering idiocy. Whoa to the Republican party if it continues to let these mental midgets define who they are!

The Republican party is in dire need of some person to step above this fray. Someone with the will and fortitude to stand up to and put to rest this creed of lobbyist Grover Norquist. A free thinker who can put the former Scranton weatherman Bill O’Reilly in his place when O’Reilly suggests that the Republican party failed because the majority of people in The United States of America have declining moral values. Stop making excuses that have no basis in reality! The American people are wising up to the Republicans distortions of reality and very bad math. Put forth a free thinker who without condescension can tell the truth to America and argue for a wiser form of government. If not the Republican party will continue to disintegrate into a party that relies on hatred, lies, distortions and name calling if they have any hope of further deceiving the general population and that is not a path to lasting success.

Unfortunately for now there seems to be no such person on the horizon for the Republicans. Any rising star they have quickly becomes part of the military industrial complex and puts on the jack boots of their party members. Even the so called mavericks of the party have been stilted. The tea party has turned into the fossil fuel party. Maybe a camping trip to Greenland in the summer time is in order to prove to the last of the nay sayers that carbon dioxide is indeed heating the atmosphere and something needs to be done quickly and completely to avert worse disaster. Republicans need to embrace science and stop pretending it is something made up to bewilder them and call their faith into question. The sooner the party realizes that it can’t bully its way out of every problem the sooner they might produce a capable and courageous candidate who will not only earn the respect of the American people they will deserve it.

“Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.” — George Will

“I have a very large Twitter.” — Donald Trump

“The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them.” — Rush Limbaugh

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Note: This was originally posted on November 7th 2012. It seems particularly relevant today as the Nation came precariously close to defaulting on its’ loans due to some delusional Republicans who had forgotten who won the Presidency. The message is the same.

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China and The Reign of Error

We should look to China as a harsh and toxic example of what can happen in a society where industrialization is left unchecked. “Man must conquer nature” was a popular slogan of Chairman Mao and the carryover of such an attitude and the consequences of such values are quite evident today. The air in the country is so polluted that in many cities it is unwise to go outside without some form of respirator on to clean the air you breathe. Recent photographs of China are tinted in a strange yellowish haze attesting to the huge amounts of particulate matter that is in the atmosphere there as a direct result of coal fired generators powering their factories. Eventually the dust of all the extensive heavy industry settles and now much of the rice in China is tainted with very dangerous amounts of heavy metals. One metal in particular, cadmium, is quite toxic to the liver and kidneys as well as being a carcinogen that is also proven to weaken bones. The government, as is typical in China, is of course denying there is any problem but the public result has been for consumers to switch to rice grown in Thailand when available.

Quality control in China suffers as well as is evident in the proliferation of failing solar panels. Today the New York Times reported on such defective panels that are failing after only two years of operation when their reported durability is twenty five years. It was several years ago that they flooded the market with cheap panels and drove many of their competitors, particularly those based in the United States out of business. One can only conjecture if those panels had a higher trade tariff imposed and perhaps were not subsidized by the Chinese government that a better quality, made in the U.S.A. product would have emerged as a longer lasting reliable product! This is what happens when corners are cut and deregulation runs rampant. It is also a clear illustration of ways that government can impose safety regulations and minimum production standards in a manner that is beneficial to the environment and the consumer as well. Cheaper is almost never better in the long run!

Now a Chinese company,  Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. has made a bid on a United States company for the acquisition of Smithfield Foods Inc. for 4.7 billion dollars. This deal, the largest purchase to date of a U.S. company would take the worlds largest pork producer private. Let’s hope that the food contamination issues as well as the incredible lack of quality control issues that are mentioned above don’t carry over to taint the food supply in the United States. At this point in the purchase it is up to the regulators to examine this deal and make sure that the food supply remains safe. As consumers we should look at this deal with a skeptical eye. We have seen what happens when regulations are overlooked and business is allowed to run rampant. Suddenly that ham on rye doesn’t sound so appetizing!

“Approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let’s not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources.” — Ronald Reagan

“Ronald Reagan really said that. No wonder he is the figure head of the Republican Party. Remarks like that are quite frightening and damn ignorant in their lack of scientific fact.” — Jake Shween

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Save the Dinosaur in the Senate; Don’t Get ‘Tricky Dicked’

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Recently a very serious situation has developed in the senate and one of our dearest and most ancient demagogues has become endangered. Senator Addison Mitchell (Mitch) McConnell Jr. had been facing a possible run by one Ashley Judd an entertainer known more for her acting abilities than her political views. Fortunately Mitchy had a crack team of scum digging cohorts who were able to insure his survival, albeit for the time being, by digging up dirt on Ashley Judd whom apparently had still not made up her mind and announced any official run for the senate seat of the endangered species of lummox who has been holding up justice and progress for far too long.

Poor Mitchy had suffered an apparent ‘Nixonian bugging’ of his office. This happens when you receive a small Nixon doll in the mail, place it on your bookshelf, and the next thing you know Mother Jones is hawking stories about how very evil you actually are with an honest recording of your thugs plotting against anyone who dared to thwart your despotic behavior. Yes Mitchy was ‘tricky Dicked’! Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken over. Taxpayer money at work doing the important things like protecting our venal elected despots and preserving their right to preserve their particular special interest group unfettered by ethical behavior and such trifles.
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Maybe Rand Paul and ‘Old Mitchy’ can hole up together! They can collect guns, swig whiskey, swap wives and trade stories about shootin’ those yonder revenooers! The Nixon doll will have to go of course. They might be happier with an Ayn Rand doll and maybe a Raggedie Ronnie. Pull the string on Ayn and she says: “The question isn’t  who is going to let me it’s who is going to stop me!”. Ronnie exhorts when you drop him on his head: “Facts are stupid things!”. Why they can amuse themselves in lockstep together as they contemplate how to hold democracy hostage for their own selfish desires. That is of course after they do something important like blocking any overdue debate or common sense bill on gun control!

“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.” — Lao Tzu

“If you want beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together.” — Richard M. Nixon

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Wanted: Independent Leaders for the Republican Party

The Republican party of the United States is in dire need of a complete overhaul. Somehow they have gone seriously off course. By pandering to the far right of extremism and embracing such monolithic mouthpieces as Limbaugh, Trump and Fox News the party has become lost in a morass of discord and hatred. At least Mitt Romney had the chops to admit defeat graciously in spite of the fact that he led a devious campaign filled with distortions of reality. Now Fox News has the crazy people in their glorious team of social miscreants accusing the other side of playing dirty to win the election! Of course the blow hard Trump and Limbaugh are quick to join in this cacophony of blithering idiocy. Whoa to the Republican party if it continues to let these mental midgets define who they are!

The Republican party is in dire need of some person to step above this fray. Someone with the will and fortitude to stand up to and put to rest this creed of lobbyist Grover Norquist. A free thinker who can put the former Scranton weatherman Bill O’Reilly in his place when O’Reilly suggests that the Republican party failed because the majority of people in The United States of America have declining moral values. Stop making excuses that have no basis in reality! The American people are wising up to the Republicans distortions of reality and very bad math. Put forth a free thinker who without condescension can tell the truth to America and argue for a wiser form of government. If not the Republican party will continue to disintegrate into a party that relies on hatred, lies, distortions and name calling if they have any hope of further deceiving the general population and that is not a path to lasting success.

Unfortunately for now there seems to be no such person on the horizon for the Republicans. Any rising star they have quickly becomes part of the military industrial complex and puts on the jack boots of their party members. Even the so called mavericks of the party have been stilted. The tea party has turned into the fossil fuel party. Maybe a camping trip to Greenland in the summer time is in order to prove to the last of the nay sayers that carbon dioxide is indeed heating the atmosphere and something needs to be done quickly and completely to avert worse disaster. Republicans need to embrace science and stop pretending it is something made up to bewilder them and call their faith into question. The sooner the party realizes that it can’t bully its way out of every problem the sooner they might produce a capable and courageous candidate who will not only earn the respect of the American people they will deserve it.

“Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.” — George Will

“I have a very large Twitter.” — Donald Trump

“The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them.” — Rush Limbaugh

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Letter From God

Dear Humanity,

We use that term to be civil. “Dear” meaning in this case: precious. “Humanity” meaning in this case: the human race. The latter term has been disappointing of late as some of those who claim to be human choose to show the basest characteristics of this species which is ironic since many of you have the audacity to claim to be descended from our form or image. In any case, we digress,  back to the letter. Please refrain from bothering us any more as we simply can’t help any of you. It is up to all of you to come together and start taking care of the earth. We thought the instructions were simple enough but apparently not for all of you.

Please stop blaming us in any way shape or form for your shortcomings. These include your ever popular crimes of murder and rape. We have nothing to do with these wicked and heinous things that you do. You have free will. Please refer to your original contracts and note the disclaimer therein. Do not involve us in your political squabbles and stupid rivalries. Stop arguing as to which of our representatives you like, dislike, love or hate the most as these feelings and emotions will avail you nothing. If your team wins the game don’t even thank us because frankly we couldn’t care less either way. Stop screaming our names and perpetuating the myth that somehow we could have prevented or caused your misery.

The path for your mutual happiness lies in your ability to help each other. You must learn to share your gifts with each other. There is nothing to be gained from gathering the most to yourself. The earth, like your humanity, is fragile and easily damaged and destroyed. The sooner you learn how to cooperate on an international level the closer you will be to the heaven that you seem to crave and dream about.

Why, you might ask do we refer to ourselves as we? It is because we exist on all the different levels of time and space and the continuum. We possess the mindset of both the male and female principles. We wear the mask of eternity. Consciousness is simply one aspect of knowledge. To know all one must understand the reality of absolute nothing. That cannot, on this three dimensional plane, be shared …….

“Names can be named but not the Eternal Name.” —- Lao Tzu

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” — Groucho Marx

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Elitism; the Snobbery of Riches; the Delusions of Faith

Don’t you just love those people who truly believe that they are better than every body else? Those chosen few who mark themselves above the masses. They look down on the poor folk who need help. Those pitiful masses tired and poor, yearning to breath free will find no quarter amongst the elite snobs. All they crave is a  hand out any way. Why should a country that is a haven for the rich provide for such miscreants? How can we care about such fools that won’t even take responsibility for their very own lives? Why none of them have even heard of our illustrious God who has so thoroughly blessed us.

What a country we have created. We have a daring and old book that proclaims that those we disagree with we should smite. Rule upon tenet is laid out and every sin imaginable is covered if you have the gift of discernment. Gather around and your sins will be forgiven. There is enough delusion here that we can rule the world and smash in the heads of any society that would disdain and doubt our ancient and bloodthirsty God. Let us scream his name every Sunday and rally our delusional masses to do our murderous bidding. Never mind! We are better than they! Our God tells us so! No need for the Necromancer! We have a rich prophet. He is rich and he is on television and he claims he cares for us and he claims he speaks the truth so isn’t that enough?

Oh no, wait a minute! You mean that rich bastard is a liar? He doesn’t really care for us at all? He has faith in a God, our God he claims as his own? Strange, cruel and ancient religion —show us that it isn’t so. It cannot be. Our God never lies and He is so damn pure! What’s that you say? He was married? That’s a lie! Our God was never married. He was too busy smiting our enemies. Now we’re confused. Better turn on Fox News. They’ll set us straight. They never lie to us. Look who owns them, Rupert Murdoch! Why as pure a man never walked the earth! Damn this reality, change the channel. Put on: Who Wants to be a Millionaire and restore our faith in the American Dream. There there now that’s better.

“Sandwiches were invented by the Earl of Sandwich, popcorn was invented by the Earl of Popcorn, and salad dressing by the Oil of Vinegar.” — Tom Robbins from Still Life With Woodpecker

“So nowadays hard-minded men with hard muscles and hard hats are relieved from their jobs on Sundays because of an archetypal psychological response to menstruation.” — Tom Robbins from Still Life With Woodpecker

New Colossus by Emma Lazarus from the Statue of Liberty:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The Case for Truth and Reality

The stage exploded tonight at the Democratic National Convention. The truth has been explained and put on the table. How much longer do the Republicans expect the American people to believe in their blatant lies and fantastical stories of wealth that trickles down? The Republican party has become the party of the oligarchy. Sure there are Corporate Democrats but they are outnumbered by the slash and burn Republicans on the other side of the aisle. The obstinate behavior, the unwillingness to cooperate is now squarely on the shoulders of the foolish senators and congressmen who refused to come across the aisle and do what was right for the country.

Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor and John Boehner your lying days are over. Certainly your K Street friends will snap you up for their lobbying assignments. You need to get out of the way of progress and out of the way of providence. Your obstinance and evil are increasingly evident and exposed. People are becoming wise to the preposterous realities that Fox News dares to propose as being real. Even members of your own party are starting to cut their losses and run from the extreme right and its’ crippling hatred. The three of you have done nothing but blocked President Obama at every turn. McConnell you stood in front of a microphone and admitted such childish behavior! Cantor you stormed out of the room when Boehner even suggested a concession to the Obama administration. If you were all back in kindergarten you would be called out for antisocial behavior. It’s quite an outrage that you were elected to serve the public.

Changes are coming. The truth is now on the table for everyone to see. The channels of communication are open. The young people are listening. They need education to compete in an increasingly technical world with reliance on engineering and science. Education will help this country to compete and succeed in what will be an exciting and challenging future. Health care and education should be fundamental rights that are affordable to every American. If government is broken and not working it is the right of the people in a democracy to change it. McConnell, Cantor and Boehner like three intractable louts, you need to get out of the way.

“The keystone of successful business is cooperation. Friction retards progress.”— James Cash Penney

“If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.”— Mitch McConnell

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween
Here’s a pic from Charlotte today and DNC protesters

Corporations are NOT people!

Crashing Heaven’s Gate

Rabbi Moshe Rabinowitz looked over the sea of heads and sighed. “Oy vey,” he thought to himself, “another hard days night at heaven’s gate.” Looking up he saw a large overweight man still holding the chicken sandwich that he had apparently choked to death on. “Name?” said the Rabbi. “Samuel,” said the bald fat man. “Oh here you are,” replied Moshe as he looked through a tome of considerable size. “So tell me what happened?” Bald fat Samuel seemed offended. “Where is Saint Peter?” he demanded. Moshe rolled his eyes and thought to himself another meshugana schlepp. Moshe sighed. “Peter hasn’t worked here since the eighties. He was a union employee and was fired when Reagan deregulated everything.” Samuel looked confused. He took another bite of his chicken sandwich and started choking again. Moshe suddenly knew what happened. “Oh I’m sorry, you’ve choked to death on your sandwich I see. A Chick Fil A sandwich no less. Okay right this way please.” Moshe pointed to a queue of people that led around a white pillar. Samuel begrudgingly went where he was told.

“Next” cried Moshe. An elderly man with a stately air walked slowly towards the podium. Moshe recognized him right away. “Why you’re that shmuck Gore Vidal,” Moshe cried. “Indeed I am,” said Mr. Vidal. “I have no idea what I am doing here, I thought I was going to be on Real Time with Bill Maher but I started coughing and ended up here.” Moshe stroked his beard. “I am sorry Mr. Vidal but this is the end of this act for you. If you please step straight ahead.” Moshe pointed behind him to a path by a stream that seemed to disappear into a cloud. “Where the hell does that go?” demanded Gore Vidal. “Why it’s heaven the land of peace and quiet!” exclaimed the Rabbi. “Horseshit,” repiled Gore. “Peace and quiet is not my style. Where is that bastard Buckley?” Moshe turned a bit pale. “Not here he didn’t quite make the cut. But since he was Catholic we were able to arrange a vacation in Purgatory for him for an indefinite amount of time.” “Well don’t waste my time send me there I am not done with that pusillanimous bastard yet!” growled Gore Vidal. Now Moshe was quite good at arranging things. He pointed to the left where an escalator was going down, down, down. “I’m on my way, thank you Rabbi.” Mr. Vidal embarked downward.

Now Samuel had waited quite some time and as he got closer he could see clearly why there was such a delay. It seemed at the end of the line, the entrance-way as it was, was a single white door and when it opened would admit only one person at a time. Finally it was Samuel’s turn to enter. The door opened wide and he walked into a white room. The door closed behind him. When the door had closed it disappeared. The room was seamless and starkly featureless. He was now in a bland white room forever. No colors, no sounds, no wind. Just whiteness which he seemed to fade into. An eternal prison of nothing.

The escalator went on and on. Pretty soon Gore could smell bus exhaust. Through the clouds the tops of buildings began to appear. The next thing you know there he was on Fifth Avenue in midtown looking at the Museum of Modern Art. Fancy this he thought to himself as he began to walk about headed towards Broadway. The city seemed its normal self with horns beeping and people bustling. He got to Broadway and rubbed his eyes. The marquis above the theater read: Tonight and Forever: Buckley Debates Vidal. Can you believe it he thought. The bastard has been waiting for me!

The writer would like to express his sincere condolences to the family of Gore Vidal. The world has lost a great literary lion whom can never be replaced. His writings and wisdom will live on as a testimony to his sharp wit and his keen sense of humanity. — Jake Shween

Get off the cell phone and drive! — Jake Shween