Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top Ten Predictions For The Future

The following articles was originally published in the November issue of Bazooka Magazine.

Rand Paul is Kentucky’s new Senator, and throughout his campaign he’s made a lot of vague promises about smaller government, lower taxes, and letting the magical invisible unicorn hoof of the free market fix all of society’s ills. Of course, Rand Paul is just one man, and even though the GOP won the House, the Democrats still (barely) control the Senate and Obama has veto power, so it seems likely that our government will spend the next two (or more) years so divided that only the most moderate new laws will make it through the gridlock. But let’s be honest: With the possible exceptions of Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, pretty much everybody in Washington is owned by the same group of corporations and lobbyists, they’re all more concerned with winning elections than improving the lives of average Americans, and the American people are easily swayed by catchy slogans, even when they contradict verifiable facts. This will allow some of the Tea Party’s unfocused anger to be channeled into actual public policy.

In order to determine what the Tea Party’s recent electoral success will mean for Kentucky and the United States, I’ve consulted the Zodiac, several lost volumes of predictions by Nostradamus, Aqua Buddha, the ghost of Thomas Jefferson, and TV’s Adam Carolla. The following predictions are absolutely, 100% guaranteed to come true.*

10. President Obama’s Health Care Reform will remain in effect. Sorry, teabaggers. There’s just no way the Health Care industry’s going to let that kind of easy money slip through its fingers. The House may waste countless hours (probably during the next election cycle) making a big show of trying to repeal “Obamacare,” but any actual legislation will be narrowly defeated in the House, killed in the Senate, or vetoed by President Obama. It will make for some great political theater, though.

9. In order to combat air pollution, Wal-Mart will be given trillions in government subsidies in exchange for locating all new stores within walking distance of a trailer park.

8. If you were planning to visit one of our nation’s beaches next summer and you’re not a tarball collector or wildlife suffering enthusiast, you should probably make other plans.

7. The social safety network will be completely eliminated, but new “voluntary charity contracts” designed to allow the wealthy to “help the less fortunate” will make it legal to essentially own a poor person.

6. In one of the Tea Party’s more controversial moves, the United States Army will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton.

5. You know how a bunch of state Attorney Generals tried to sue the federal government after Health Care Reform passed? Jack Conway’s going to remember that shit when Rand Paul starts passing crazy-ass laws.

4. April 20th will become “National Aqua Buddha Day.”

3. With the Department of Education de-funded, local schools will have to turn to corporate sponsorship in order to stay afloat. In sports news, the Tilghman Bloomin’ Onions (Paducah) will defeat the Tates Creek Submarinos (Lexington) in the state football championship by over 50 points.

2. With the Daily Show and Colbert Report writers unable to recap all of each day’s crazy in a single hour, Viacom will spin the shows off into the world’s first 24-hour fake news network. Shortly after the new network is announced, will release video of Jon Stewart softly weeping to himself.

1. The Tea Party will lose the 2012 elections by a landslide. With Medicare dismantled (and Medicare scooters a thing of the past) the people who voted them in this year just won’t be able to drag their old, fat asses to the polls in order to vote.

*Predictions not really guaranteed to come true.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Agony of Victory

Earlier today, the House of Representatives held a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts only to those making less than a quarter of a million dollars a year. All but 3 Republicans voted against the measure because the tax cuts did not extend to the wealthiest Americans. Cheerleaders for what passes for the left in this country are calling this a victory. By voting to raise everyone's taxes if the rich don't also keep their cut, they say, the GOP is showing their true colors. Their base, who voted them in based on promises of lower taxes, is bound to take notice.

Call me a cynic, but I don't think this is the victory some people believe it to be because, let's face it, the GOP base is not swayed by reality. Soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner (who, for the record, said during the recent elections that he would vote for this exact measure if he had no other choice) has already called the vote "chicken crap," and there's a good chance that will be enough to convince the right that House Republicans made a wise, brave decision. If the GOP base happens to demand some reason for why their elected representatives voted in direct opposition to the purported party line, Fox and friends will drag out trickle-down economics and talk about how they really voted against raising taxes for "job creators."

The Republicans know this, which is why progressives should look on today's vote as a defeat, not a victory. If anything, today's vote is proof that the GOP knows it can do whatever is necessary to enrich the wealthy without fear of losing votes when the next election comes around. As long as the GOP spin machine keeps rolling, the bases will continue to vote against their own self-interest, no matter how blatantly the GOP screws them over.

To the liberals who are calling this a victory, I think the words of Winston Wolf are appropriate here: "let's not start sucking each others' dicks quite yet."