You’ve seen the movie right?
Thelma & Louise, I mean.
Yeah, you’ve seen it.
People called it the “Chick buddy movie.” I don’t know about that, seems to me that if you’ve got buddies like either Thelma or Louise maybe you should take a moment and reflect on why your life keeps biting you in the ass.
But I digress.
Anyway, to review: A waitress and housewife despair of their crappy lives. One night, rather than confronting their problems directly and doing something to actually improve their lot, they decide to hit the road. Bad choices and antisocial behavior ensue, one thing leads to another and eventually Louise kills a guy to prevent an assault on Thelma. Now, granted, in the context of the story, the guy probably needed some serious maiming, but killing? Of course, that’s what happens when you solve your problems with guns, things often get out of hand. Predictably, yet again instead of facing their problems directly and taking responsibility for their actions, the protagonists give into paranoia and panic and they just keep making things worse. Deliberately so. They blame everybody else for the situation and drive around the country getting even with every stereotype that they imagine ever did them wrong and leaving a trail of wreckage in their wake, never once taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.
Eventually it all catches up with them and in the film’s final iconic moment they hold hands and drive right off the edge of a cliff into oblivion.
Now, there are people, of course, who cheer that final moment as some kind of triumph, who see Thelma and Louise, unrepentant, as some kind of heroes who held tight to some nebulous undefined higher truth even as they roared headlong over the edge of the precipice and plunged grinning to their deaths while shouting Yeeeehaah! at the top of their lungs.
Screw you, World, that will show you.
The entire movie is a ninety minute self absorbed masturbation fantasy ala “Look what you made me do! I’ll kill myself, then you’ll be sorry, yes you will!”
Looking around today, I wonder if we’re not living our own Thelma & Louise.
In a case of raging Obama Derangement Syndrome on steroids, a woman in Arizona tried to kill her husband yesterday by running him over with a Jeep – because he apparently forgot to vote. Holly Solomon blamed her husband for the President’s reelection, an argument followed, the husband got out of the car and Solomon chased him around the parking before crushing him between the fender and a light pole.
She says she just wanted to scare him.
I suspect she succeeded, I know I would be scared shitless of that murderous psycho.
She apparently missed the fact that it would have taken an additional two hundred thousand non-voting Arizonians to flop Arizona’s eleven electoral votes from Romney to Obama. Solomon is in jail on attempted murder charges and her husband is in intensive care. According to people who know her, Solomon “really” hates President Obama and is convinced that his reelection will put an additional financial burden on the family – what impact attempted murder, aggravated assault, an extended hospital stay, and (I assume) divorce will have on the family finances I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.
For what it’s worth, Solomon is pregnant – but the good news is that she won’t have to worry about the medical costs associated with delivery while in prison.
But I digress. Again.
Since last week’s re-election of President Obama there’s been a run on guns.
In some places, particularly in large areas of the Southwest and here in my own very, very red state of Alaska, gun sales have increased by over five hundred percent – despite the fact that there is no, repeat no, legislation currently pending to change federal gun laws in any way. Despite the fact that conservatives still hold the majority in the House and, along with a number of moderates and even a few liberals, would be very, very, very unlikely to pass any legislation restricting gun ownership. And despite the fact that even in the wake of the mass shootings in Arizona and Colorado, President Obama has repeatedly said that he has no intention whatsoever of taking up gun restrictions or Second Amendments rights.
Despite all of this, people who claim that they have no money, who are worried that Obama is going to come take what money they do have, are somehow managing to find enough money to buy guns and ammunition like Thelma and Louise spending what little they had on booze and cigarettes instead of getting out of their shitty relationships and fixing their lives.
And speaking of lousy relationships, once again Texas wants a divorce.
The logic apparently being that if at first you don’t secede, try and try again.
Texans have been trying to secede since the day they joined the Union. Or some of them anyway. There are about twenty-five million pointy-toed shitkickers who call Texas home, about twenty-five thousand of them have signed a petition on the White House We The People website asking President Obama to allow them to leave the United States and strike out on their own.
Now, Twenty-five thousand sounds like a lot, but in reality that’s one tenth of one percent of the state’s population who think they want to opt out of America.
The petition for secession goes like this:
The U.S. continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the U.S. suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
It would be almost amusing to let these people have their way – just to see if they could maintain that “balanced budget” and that standard of living without money from Washington while at the same time having to assume their own national defense including a standing army, air force, and navy along with highway construction and maintenance, education, research, scientific advancement at levels necessary to remain competitive in a global economy, weather prediction and communications (including satellite based systems), energy and water infrastructures, and so on right up to disaster relief (no small thing in a state prone to hurricanes and drought).
I can’t wait to see their faces when they realize that we’re taking the Navy ships and the Air Force jets and Army tanks with us, along with all the classified military systems and equipment, not to mention the intelligence and information infrastructure – see, we don’t share that stuff with enemy nations, though they can sometimes buy the lesser export versions. I suppose, if we were generous, we could let them keep the Texas National Guard’s equipment even though the federal government paid for almost all of it. Of course, there’s a catch – we’ll come back to that in a minute.
The petition specifically calls out the TSA, so I guess we’re free to take all that airport security with us too – along with federal funding for the runways and terminals and GCA systems and radars and computers and parking lots.
Speaking of airports, it’s going to be damned thin at George H. W. Bush International Airport when Continental and United Airlines pull out, they are after all American companies, and since Texas will no longer comply with TSA regulations, neither airline, nor any other American one for that matter, will be able to operate from the foreign soil of the Republic of Texas.
Maybe Texicans can park their horses in the space where the jets used to be, I dunno, I’m sure they’ll think of something.
It would be interesting to watch the Republic of Texas come to the realization that they are downstream, literally, from the United States: downstream for water, electricity, commerce, produce, animal feed, manufactured goods and etcetera – not to mention that the majority of the oil and gas feeding Texan refineries comes from the north, along with the money that finances it all.
The majority of goods flowing through Texas ports would dry to a trickle, because, see, while twenty-five million sounds like a lot, population wise it’s nothing in a global economy.
Also, you’ve got wonder where they’ll get the gold to back their brand new Texas Sawbucks, maybe Glenn Beck will loan it to them.
I want to be there on the day that Texicans suddenly realize they are a non-voting member of the United Nations, assuming that Texas joins the UN in the first place, and that they can no longer face the rest of the world with the might of the United States of America at their backs. I want to see the expression on Texas’ face when they realize that they have no more say in global affairs and international matters than Bumfuckistan.
I wonder if they’ll still be as eager as they are now to declare war on Iran.
The cornerstones of Texas’ economy, shipping and commerce, NASA and aerospace, energy, military, federally funded higher education, will all suddenly disappear along with federal infrastructure jobs. And manufactured goods, along with water, oil, natural gas, electricity, grain, food, and all the rest of it will suddenly become much more expensive in the Republic of Texas, unless, of course, Austin decides to become a signatory to NAFTA and all those other free trade agreements.
I wonder what they’ll do when all the communications, long distance and international phones, cable TV, internet, banking Telex to name a few things, shuts down? After all, those are American communication satellites up there. Wonder what it costs to develop your own space program? Since Texicans are opposed to anything resembling a free handout, I wonder if the DOD could disable GPS over the new Republic? Just a thought.
I have to wonder if they’ll continue to buy spare parts for their castoff National Guard F-16s and M1A1 Abrams tanks from us, or if they’ll find it cheaper to buy their military hardware from Russia like other Third World countries. Of course, I suppose they could import all the raw materials they need for a modern military and build their own equipment including the space-based components – be interesting to see them tool up and do that without borrowing money from China. Personally, if it was up to me, I’d impose a tariff on every single product headed south, including water and all that fracking gas, until Texas paid back every dime ever spent there in federal money – but then I’m a vindictive bastard, I am.
I want to be there when Texas realizes what the phrase buffer state means.
See, when Texicans finally secure their southern border against illegal immigration from Central and South America, from terrorists and drug smugglers, they also by simple fact of geography end up protecting the forty-nine remaining United States (and Canada) from the same – at no charge to us. And everything they need to close that border, guns and barbed wire and chain link fence and high-tech detection gear, patrol trucks, and everything else, they’d have to buy from us, or China, or India.
Yes, that’s right, The Republic of Texas would have to pay out of their own pockets to defend a country that they despise.
That would almost be worth the price of admission right there.
Here’s a thought, is it in our best interest – the United States I mean – to allow the Lone Star Country to become a nuclear power?
I really don’t think it is.
After all, you never know what those crazy religious extremists might do if they got their hands on a bomb. And they already hate us, right? By definition.
But I digress yet again.
Texas, of course isn’t the only state suddenly interested in secession. Citizens from Alaska, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama and New York have all filed their own petitions for secession.
They’re all ready to give up on the United States, because Obama got reelected to the office of President.
They have so little faith in the country they profess to love that they’re willing to abandon it straightaway rather than help us fix it.
Because they think we’re about to drive off a cliff.
It’s ironic. These states, these people, these patriots, these Americans, share equally in blame for the current situation, for our economy, for our government, for the debt, for the partisan divide and the extremism that pulls us apart, and while they yammer on about “responsibility” their answer to the situation is to run away. Literally, just run away. They want to take all the good stuff and leave the rest of us holding the bag.
They actually visualize secession like a divorce where they get the house and the car and the kids, and their former spouse gets stuck with alimony and the credit card bills and the mortgage. That’s exactly what they intend for us. As if they have no responsibility for their part of this mess at all.
Just like Thelma and Louise, their solution isn’t to face the problem squarely and do what is necessary to fix it.
Instead they’re trying to talk the rest of us into a road trip.
And, you know what? It’s entirely possible – we could end up like Thelma and Louise, we could shoot a guy and rob a store and generally behave like louts, we could drive right off the looming cliff and plunge to our deaths screaming all the way.
Yes, we could do that.
We could engage in a mutual murder-suicide pact.
Or, and here’s an idea, we could choose to not to.
It’s really just that simple.
Here’s what we could do instead, we could take responsibility for the state of our nation and demand that our elected representative stop screwing around and get to the work we pay them for.
The so-called Fiscal Cliff is a bullshit made up crisis.
That’s right, it’s made up.
It’s a mutual murder-suicide pact entered into by a handful of angry petulant children masquerading as Senators and Representatives who are hell-bent on taking the rest of us down with them because they didn’t get their way in the last few elections.
This crisis exists solely because Congress has so far refused to take responsibility for their own selfish juvenile actions and for no other reason.
The congressmen perpetuating this hoax are little different, mentally, from Thelma and Louise, or those two assholes who shot up Columbine High School – they’ve got a list of imagined grievances a mile long and it’s not enough that they do themselves in, they intend to take down as many of their fellows as they can.
Look what you made me do! I’ll show you, I’ll drive us right off the cliff and kill us all and then you’ll be sorry.
And it’s not just the Fiscal Cliff, it’s all the rest of it too.
This congress, specifically the House, has stalled for the last two years in an attempt to blackmail Americans into giving them the Senate and the White House.
They picked a bad strategy and it cost them. They lost. The message from the citizenry couldn’t be more clear.
Now is not the time for a road trip, now is the time when adults need to put away childish things and get to work.
Look here, neither side is entirely wrong.
And neither side is entirely right.
The election is over, both sides need to put aside their selfish personal bullshit, both sides need to immediately marginalize their extremists, and both sides need to sit down as adults and start getting shit done.
First, call off the crises.
Just that, call it off.
Tell America, tell the world, hey, you know what? This is fucking nuts. We’re not going to drive off this cliff. We’re not. So stop worrying about it, we’ll fix it.
And it’s easy to do, reach an interim budget deal or extend the deadline for sequestration.
If you have to, extend the current tax levels for one year.
If you have to, delay implementation of certain provisions of Obamacare for one year.
And so on. It’s so easy a lame duck session of congress could have it on the President’s desk by Thanksgiving.
It’s really just that simple.
It can be done with the stroke of a pen.
This is will immediately stabilize the stock market and the economy. Everybody immediately benefits. Rich people, poor people, Christmas retailers, everybody.
Should we have to do this? No, of course not, not if congress had been doing their jobs all along, but that’s water under the bridge. Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda. We have to play it as it lies now.
Carve out some breathing space and get down to business – with the actual intention of fixing the problems and not making things worse by doing stupid shit over and over.
Anybody not intent on fixing the problems, marginalize. Period. Leaders of all parties need to lead. They need to send the following message: You’re either part of the solution or you don’t get a vote, decide which one you want to be.
Now for the real work:
The debt must be brought under control. The left thinks so, the right thinks so, the middle thinks so. We’re all agreed at the start. It doesn’t matter who thinks so more. If we go over the cliff, we all die. The solution isn’t one size fits all, unless we want to end up like Greece, and both sides need to face reality.
We keep saying we’re worried about the mess we’re leaving our kids. Fine, then don’t do it.
If you’re truly worried about our future, truly, then let’s do what is necessary to fix it.
How do we fix it?
Well it won’t be easy. We have to start with taxes.
Everybody, left and right, agrees that the tax code is a mess. Congress doesn’t want to raise taxes on the rich. Why? Because most of them are rich, a lot of them are millionaires, and the rest make well above $250K a year, that’s why. It’s a conflict of interest.
Tough shit, time for Grover Norquist to be run out of Washington lashed to a rail. He’s not doing any of us any favors at all.
Norquist gets one vote, just like all the rest of us – it’s time for conservatives to remember that.
If we’re really serious about fixing the debt, then we should let the Bush Era tax cuts expire, all of them.
Now it doesn’t have to be all Bush Era Tax Cuts or no Bush Era Tax Cuts.
We could compromise and split the difference with a progressive tax increase, but everybody needs to pay more. And a lot more folks need to start paying, Mitt Romney was right in some regards, the loopholes need to be closed (Ironic, coming from a millionaire who didn’t pay taxes for a number of years, but I digress).
And maybe we do need to cut the corporate tax rate, maybe by five or ten percent instead of Romney’s suggested twenty percent. But, and here’s the thing, we should get something for it. I.e we cut the corporate tax rate with the caveat “We cut taxes on your business, you hire people here at home in return and pay for their healthcare without whining. Period. No excuses. You don’t hire people within a year, we raise your taxes to make up the difference.” Exactly how many you hire, and how much less your taxes, are simply details that need to be worked out. And again, one size doesn’t fit all, big business and small business could have different thresholds.
I like Romney’s idea of a fixed limit on deductions. Tax experts, both left and right, like it too. Let’s do it.
I also agree with conservatives that we need to eliminate outdated and excessive regulations that cost us money to enforce and that restrict the growth of business. The best part about this is that most federal regulatory enforcement comes from the Executive Branch, which means the president can suspend or eliminate onerous regulation via Executive Order right away without waiting on legislation. Hell, ask Romney if he wants the job of identifying which regulations need attention, after all, he’s looking for a job and he’s supposed to be the expert. If he really wants to help the country like he says he does, then he’ll work with the rest of us to get it done.
Entitlement Programs do need overhaul – including Obamacare.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, all need revision. And there are freeloaders who are abusing the system and should be cut the hell off.
Entitlement Programs need review by adults, without hysteria and fearmongering and threats.
There’s plenty of room for savings and plenty of ways to make sure everybody is taken care of without leaving future generations out in the cold.
The government does need to be cut back.
Starting with the Department of Defense. Yes, that’s correct. We need to significantly reduce the defense budget, maybe by as much as one third. We spend more than the next fourteen nations combined on our military at the expense of everything thing else. That’s crazy. We need to dump expensive systems that will never, ever, pay for themselves along with excessive bases and pork barrel programs – and I’ll cover some of those things in a future essay, perhaps later this week.
Every single division of the federal government can be made more efficient, smaller, leaner, and cheaper. Conservatives are absolutely right about that and liberals know it. That doesn’t mean we should chop off our nose to spite our faces, or drive off a cliff to spite everybody else, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
We just have to get to it. Now, while we still can.
I’ve heard a number pundits and politicians opinion that the fiscal cliff is a good thing. That sequestration will force us to cut spending across the board and will force us to raise taxes – both of which will make us finally do something concrete about the national debt.
This is a true statement, just as it’s true to say that the Titanic disaster was a good thing because it forced us to adopt more stringent maritime safety regulations and develop better survival equipment, navigation, collision avoidance sensors, and iceberg detection. However, the good things are small damned comfort to the people who went into the water that night.
It’s true in the same sense as saying Columbine forced us to adopt better safety procedures to protect our children.
It’s true, but the cost is very, very high.
And there are better ways of improving the future.
We can’t fix what’s wrong by running people over in the parking lot or by stocking up on guns or by running away from the problem to form our own little countries.
Sure, we can solve the problem the same way Thelma and Louise did, but there turns out to be unpleasant side effects.
The simple truth of the matter is this: the crisis we face, the crisis we are being told we face, is false.
There is no crisis.
Unless we make it so.