Cutting Through The Crap

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mixed Messages

I'm so confused. Just when I was beginning to believe the "biblical" flooding in North Carolina is because of the gay, as Pat Robertson has told us, it turns out it's because of the Israel. And this comes directer from God because it's via Michele Bachmann, who recently quit Congress to spend more time with the voices in her head:
With parts of North and South the Carolina experiencing devastating floods, former Rep. Michele Bachmann is weighing in by suggesting that the flooding is a sign of God’s wrath for President Obama’s foreign policy. “US turns its back on Israel, disasters following,” she wrote on Twitter.
But, but, what about Pat?
... Pat Robertson said on his podcast Monday morning that he has an alternate theory for why the flooding has occurred in the Palmetto State so hard, and it has to do with “the gays getting married.”
Well, damned if that quote wasn't from a satire site of which I hadn't heard. And yet, who can tell the difference? It's not as if we haven't already been warned about gay-based flooding.

So which is it? And how can we tell? And why flood South Carolina, where gay marriage is greeted as warmly as President Obama (by some, anyway) in Roseburg? Why not flood just a church that's performing a same-sex marriage? And not by busted pipes in the basement. Zap it with lightning, too. Maybe a bunch of them all at once, from clouds appearing only over them, on a really sunny day? Write it in the sky while it's happening, or rumble the words like thunder: "Take that, other-fuckers." Give us a little help, here, okay? Some things require precision clarity.

And how do you get from foreign policy to floods in South Carolina? Wouldn't opening the earth and swallowing the State Department be less ambiguous? We're not geniuses around here, big guy.

I mean, how are we supposed to decipher messages delivered in such a scatter-shot manner, and with America's most holy folk providing such differing revelations about them?

Besides, floods are so old-school. And messy. It's like if your kid talked back to you so you went to his school and set off the fire alarms. Take away the TV for a week. Geez. Who's gonna know your point? How about this: when a gay wedding is happening, heat up all the iPhones taking videos, so hot they burn a cross into the hands of each holder. This is century twenty-one, after all. It's all about social media. What the hell is going on up there, anyway? Haven't they heard?

[Image source]

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Home To Roost

This pretty much says it all, Republican spending-cut-wise:
..."Let's just get through this thing, and whatever it costs, it costs," Graham told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" on Monday of the devastating floods in his home state. 
Graham was among the Republican senators who opposed a federal aid package in January 2013 to assist states hit by Hurricane Sandy, but now he doesn't remember why."I'm all for helping the people in New Jersey. I don't really remember me voting that way," Graham said. 
Pressed further, he said: "Anyway, I don't really recall that, but I'd be glad to look and tell you why I did vote no, if I did."...
Yeah, as if he doesn't know why he voted no. It's because the only spending he, and his Republican cohorts, and the voters who send them to D.C. like is that which is spent on themselves.

[Image source

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Carly's Their Patsy

The Koch brothers' search for a suitably pliable and clueless candidate had a little setback with the demise of bought-and-paid-for Scott Walker's candidacy. In a case of perfect timing, however, Carly Fiorina rose to the surface on the bubbles of her willingness to lie through her teeth and/or to show her credulity, to say what she thinks they'd like to hear, on such matters as Planned Parenthood, torture, and military spending, among so many others. Tax cuts for the wealthy, of course, go without saying. Perfect, in other words, for would-be puppet masters:
NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Carly Fiorina has emerged as the Republican candidate of the moment in conservative fundraising circles, drawing the notice of the billionaire Koch brothers and other wealthy donors who could instantly remake her shoestring presidential campaign. 
Fiorina's show-stealing performance in a Republican presidential debate last month, and her subsequent surge in the polls, has prompted industrialists Charles and David Koch to take a "serious look" at the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, according to three sources close to the brothers...
How blatant does it have to get before people take notice? When will so-called "conservatives" wake up and smell the cacophony?

[Image source]

Monday, October 5, 2015

Plutocracy In All Its Glory

This is the perfect metaphor for the reach the Koch brothers have across the political process in the US; and not just at the national level. And it's an example of how, even when the need for spending is obvious, people's selfishness can be manipulated:
This much everyone can agree on: The streets of this large city on the Rocky Mountain Front Range are a wreck. Sixty percent are in disrepair, cracked and rutted; driving on them is often a game of vehicular Minesweeper. One local TV news channel runs a segment called "Pothole Patrol." 
But when this city's newly elected conservative mayor urged voters to approve an increase in the sales to pay to improve the roads, he drew fire from an unexpected source: a branch of Americans for Prosperity, a powerful conservative advocacy group backed by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. 
The group's involvement in a municipal infrastructure issue spotlights how it is seizing on local issues around the country as it works to build a permanent grass-roots army...
Why should they care if potholes get fixed in Colorado Springs? I guess because all taxes are bad; because any willingness to increase taxes, no matter the need, raises the possibility that it could lead to the Koch brothers having to pay more. Or, maybe, gas taxes, which might lead to people seeking alternative fuels for their cars.

We're not heading toward plutocracy. Facilitated by the love of the largesse they spread within one political party only, we're already there.

[Image source]

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Thoughts And Prayers

Good for President Obama for saying "Thoughts and prayers aren't enough." And good for Mike Huckabee for not disappointing, speaking for all the teabagging nutjobs out there in suggesting the president was "exploiting" the tragedy in saying it.

After that mass murder in the state of my birth, politicians rallied to the cause. By tweeting. Prayers. Thoughts, even. But pledges to act? No, not that. Because freedom.

And, since this is Sunday, let me ask yet again: what, exactly, do those who are "sending" their prayers think those prayers will accomplish? They're asking something from god, evidently; but on what basis would one think that the god that allowed/caused the mass murder would be moved by prayer, ex-post facto, to do.... what? Raise the dead? Been there done that. So, maybe, bring "peace" to the families and loved ones of the dead? Really? All it takes is a prayer? To that guy? No, what it's about is pretending you care. Or, in the case of the sincere, it's tacit acknowledgment that there's really nothing anyone can do. Except, maybe, vote out the NRA cow-towers.

It's doubtful that most of those, especially the tweeting politicians, who say their "thoughts and prayers" go out somewhere or other actually spent any time praying. Less likely is any of them taking any sort of action, legislatively, to address the issue of gun violence in the US. Not the same group that just, yet again, blocked funding for research on the subject. Because knowledge.

Praying is easy. Saying you're praying is easier still. Who cares if it makes no sense, theologically, and is entirely ineffective except as a smokescreen? But it's not like they're doing a damn thing otherwise. So why the heck not?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pennies From Heaven

"The smart Bush," as he was once described, turns out to be the tone-deaf, clueless one. Speaketh the guy who wouldn't recognize a bootstrap of the sort up by which many people have pulled themselves if you stuck it up his nose:
"Our message is one of hope and aspiration," Mr. Bush said. "It isn't one of division and get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success."
Which, naturally, leads to eliminating the estate tax
HARWOOD: How does eliminating the estate tax helps anybody's right to rise? That tax only applies to people who have made it big time—they've risen. 
BUSH: Well, they're dead. If they've lived a good life, outside the money they've made, they're up in heaven looking down on us...
Good answer, Jeb. So, yeah. The smart one, after all.

[Image source]

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Seems Like A Good Deal, If I Understand Correctly

An offer received from Groupon or one of those places:

Celebrity Deluxe Waist Trainer Corset with Boning

  • $18.99
  • $59.99 value

Jeb (!) Couldn't Give Less Of A Shit

This is not only unsurprising but approaches criminal ignorance. Jeb (!) has released his energy plan (while praising Jesus -- not kidding) and it's entirely about deregulating the oil and gas industries, and increasing drilling and, why not, fracking. There is zero -- ZERO!!! -- mention of renewable energy anywhere within miles of the zone of destruction that is his "plan." Not one fucking word.

It's looking increasingly unlikely that "the smart one" will get the nomination, but I doubt any forthcoming plans from his competitors on that side of the spectrum will be much different. Because if climate change isn't happening, then why even bother, right?

Swear to FSM, these people are beyond horrible. They're terrifyingly ignorant, deliberate and exclusive panderers to the most damaging aspects of our capitalist democracy. They're destroyers, literally; and they don't give the slightest of shits. I don't care how important it is to you that gays don't have the right to marry, or that women can't control their own health care decisions, or, more likely, that you want what you want without paying a penny more in taxes; unless you have equal don't-give-a-shitness for the future of your kids and grandkids, voting for any of them is equivalent to murdering them.

Seriously. It is. As long as their oily benefactors get their $$, they don't care whether the planet dies; as to the people on it, well, when have they ever? Other than zygotes.

[Image source]

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Carson The Confused

Here's my latest newspaper column:
You know what they say: running for president isn’t brain surgery. And now a renowned neurosurgeon is demonstrating that getting through medical school must not be, either. (I made it, after all.) But how is it that he, plus every Republican doctor in Congress, manages to be so uninformed about science, and so much else? And yet I’d bet they’ve all prescribed antibiotics. Rote learning gets a bad rap, evidently. 
Ben “Let’s end divisiveness” Carson made his Tea Party bones when he called Affordable Care the worst thing since slavery. Upping his “let’s be nice” ante, he compared homosexuality to bestiality; then, approaching apogee, come-together-wise, diagnosed President Obama as a psychopath, later confirming he meant it literally. Taking tea to the boil, he fears cancelled elections, considers evolution a plot foisted on Charles Darwin by Satan, and calls the big bang a fairly tale. “Political correctness,” his new favorite term, is how he deflects criticism. That’s some mighty fine undivisiveness right there. 
But he was just getting warmed up. Admired for dismissing prejudice as an excuse, Dr. Carson demonstrated what he meant by stating he wouldn’t want a Muslim president. Islam, he says, is inconsistent with the Constitution, and for once, he’s right. Because in America the same applies to all religions, especially the version of Christianity embraced by most Republican contenders, including Carson and Holy Mike Huckabee, who has revealed that God’s law takes precedence over our constitution. Specifically, he preaches ignoring decisions of the Supreme Court when they’re not “right,” where, presumably, “right” is defined by any person’s particular choice of the various interpretations of the various translations of various versions of the Bible. As a Christian it’s your call when the Constitution applies, sermonizes Messianic Mike. That’s about as incompatible as it gets. I assume he’d leave out the “preserve, protect and defend” part of the presidential oath. 
Kindly Doc Carson speaks of respecting the law, declaring Islamic constitutional incompatibility, while ignoring Article Six, which proscribes religious tests for office. But, again, he’s right, if unintentionally. Any religion becomes incompatible with the presidency when it’s pumped from the heart to the body politic. When Carson proposes replacing the tax code with the Bible, there’s a compatibility problem. When he claims this is a “Judeo-Christian nation,” there’s a compatibility problem even though most of his party followers agree with him. Even Saint Ronnie understood the wrongness of such thinking, as did Barry Goldwater, the founder of what was once considered, unironically, “modern conservatism." 
Nowadays if you don’t blast your Christianity like a bazooka, forget about the Republican nomination. Donald Trump, not entirely dumb, has begun lugging around a Bible after letting it slip that he’s never sought God’s forgiveness. (There’s a Jewish contender for the Democratic nomination; he doesn’t honk that Shofar, though, because he considers it, as he should, irrelevant. Not so those other guys, testifying nonstop, to the delight of their enraptured voters.) 
Is stoning your disobedient son compatible with the Constitution? Do “war presidents” follow Jesus’ call to turn the other cheek? How many Republican candidates subscribe to His views on charity? In a rare Biblical reference to Christian government, Acts 2:44-45 bespeaks communism, not capitalism. 
There’s one Muslim in Congress. Far as I know, he’s never offered a bill based on Sharia law, while Christian legislators who’ve proposed Bible-based legislation are legion, and not just in Congress. A city council in Arizona wants only Christian prayer at their meetings. Several red states have proposed making the Bible their state book. Constitutional incompatibility? Not to “values voters,” who, when it comes to their – and only their -- religion, consider the document irrelevant. 
People who don’t understand how separation of church and state protects both won’t change. Most Republicans consider this exclusively a Christian nation while, for religious reasons, rejecting the science of climate change, evolution, sexual orientation, and more. The thought of a president with a mind closed that tight, Christian or otherwise, scares me to death; I’d vote a hundred times for Kareem Abdul Jabbar before I’d vote once for Carson, who, emulating Palinesque down-dumbing, sneers at those “highfalutin scientists.” I would, that is, if it weren’t unconstitutional.
[Image source]

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What's Up With Carly?

Carly Fiorina is a strange person, and not just because while ruining Hewlett-Packard she got them to ship her yacht across the county. Maybe she's a literal example of a pathological liar. Whatever the reason, it seems that pretty much everything she says is false; so the only question is whether she's a deliberate liar, inexplicably poorly-informed and incurious, or if she actually is able to ignore reality even when it stares her in the face and thinks she's telling the truth.

I suppose it doesn't matter, in that there's no explanation that excupates her or makes her qualified to be president of the US.

The list of her prevarications is long; the Planned Parenthood video lie, if Reaganesque in its confusion between memory and reality, is beyond bizarre: it seems the video she claims to have seen does indeed exist, sort of. However it shows only part of what she claims (not the "harvesting" b.s.), was from spontaneous abortion, not an induced one (chalk another infanticide up to God, the greatest abortionist of all time), and the woman whose premature birth it was has acknowledged what is and isn't, but has allowed the video to be used anyway, because she's "pro-life," so why not? Will the time come when Ms Fiorina gets it and/or acknowledges it? Will her supporters?

Meanwhile, her latest might be even worse: she likes torture, she says, because, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, it kept us safe. So, is that a blatant pander to the Foxified, a deliberate lie, or a reflection of unwillingness or inability to assess information? Whatever. But she does it with a glibness that's really disturbing. Sarah Palin screeches her lies and is nothing more than a grifter. Plenty of people take her seriously, but she is not a serious person. Same with Michelle Bachmann, who just came up with a whopper about that drowned Syrian child. Fiorina, on the other hand, seems to want to be taken seriously, and she aspires to seriousness with her lies. There's something weirdly unique about that among women Republican politicians. No less scary; but unique.

[Image source]

Monday, September 28, 2015

But, But, In The Movies...

Good guy with gun
Houston police say that an armed man’s attempt to stop a carjacking went terribly wrong on Saturday night when he shot the vehicle’s owner in the head, then fled the scene. 
According to KHOU Channel 11 News, the shooting took place around 11:15 p.m. at a Valero gas station in north Houston. 
Police officials say that two men jumped the owner of a Chevrolet pickup truck and absconded with his vehicle. 
As the men struggled with the car-owner, a passerby produced a gun and fired multiple shots, missing the thieves but striking the victim in the head. 
The shooter quickly gathered up his shell casings from the pavement and fled the scene...
Donald Trump, kissing the ass of the NRA (that would be Wayne LaPierre, I guess), proposes universal concealed-carry and an end to gun laws. Because what could go wrong. Because this is the USA, where, acccording to "conservatives," the solution to gun violence is more guns. Because there's no other idea that makes sense.

[Image source]

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ladies And Gentlemen, The Next President Of The United States

Coherence? We don't need no stinkin' coherence. Besides, it's all about me. And my book. It's always about me. And my book. And me.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Anyone remember when, after Rs took control of the House, they said "The adults are in charge now"? When they asked us to watch how well they can govern?

Yeah, me too. Not only were they able to do not much more than produce about fifty flaccid votes to repeal the ACA, demonstrating to all who chose to look (which excludes the Foxified, of course) that they're pulling from an empty quiver, they've now taken it down to the next level of destructiveness. Boehner is gone, or will be, he says, soon. The lunatics are now in charge, if not in control.

In a world where all people could see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and think with their brains, this would foretell the end of their majority, in both houses, because their recalitrant idiocy would be obvious and undeniable. Not that it hasn't been from the beginning; but maybe now even the averager Republican voter would be able to see it.

But this isn't that world. In the halls of the hateful, there'll be nothing but rejoicing, as they see the opportunity to grind everything to a halt, pending the rapture.

Update: And, by golly...

[Image source

Monday, September 21, 2015

Scotty Slides South

In ordinary circumstances, i.e. in a world that made any sense at all, the following would be considered excellent and hopeful news:
Scott Walker is said to be quitting presidential race
Monday, September 21, 2015 4:08 PM EDT
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has concluded he no longer has a path to the Republican presidential nomination and plans to drop out of the 2016 campaign, according to three Republicans familiar with his decision, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mr. Walker called a news conference in Madison at 6 p.m. Eastern time.
Mr. Walker’s intended withdrawal is a humiliating climb down for a Republican governor once seen as all but politically invincible...
After all, the man in whose administration are many currently or formerly under indictment, and who soon may be himself, is also the one who's taken his state ever more deeply into the dumpster. His claim to infamy, and the reason for his love affair with teabaggers, is that he "broke" the teachers' union. On that basis, mystifyingly, he got reelected a couple of times, despite increasing budget deficits, drastic cuts to all things important, breathtaking job losses, and, of course, the sword of justice ever dangling over his head. That, and the tons of money the Koch brothers paid for his services as their midwest lapdog.

So, good news. The increasingly insane R party, the party of denialists, neglecters of those in need, of reanimators of the corpse of Reaganomics no matter how many times it's failed, has finally, possibly even before it's too late, reversed course.

Except, no. They're turned their love lights onto a narcissist whose ideas are an inch wide and a millimeter deep but who hits all the notes for white male sorta-Christian xenophobes; a doctor who earns love by calling our president a psychopath and by comparing homosexuality to bestiality and who claims Planned Parenthood is deliberately committing genocide on blacks (while, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, calling for an end to divisiveness) and who'll use the Bible for his tax code while saying Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution; and a woman who all but destroyed a major corporation and got fired for her troubles, and who, like Ronald Reagan, can't seem to sort out the viewing of film within the reality of her world.

I guess, though, that as the field gets winnowed there'll be less noise through which the inquisitive voter (of which, it seems, there are none on that side of the political spectrum) has to wade to see the idiocy of the rock-bottom remainders. (No offense to these guys.)

So there's that.

[Image source]

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Constitutionally Clueless

So Ben "Let's end divisiveness" Carson thinks Islam is inconsistent with the US Constitution:
Carson, who placed third in the CNN/ORC poll of the Republican presidential field released Sunday, said a president's faith would matter to him depending on what that faith is. 
"If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter," he said. "If it fits within the realm of America and is consistent with the Constitution, I have no problem." 
He said that Islam, as a religion, is incompatible with the Constitution. 
"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that," he said. 
Donald "I don't need God's help" Trump, who never met a conspiracy theory he didn't think was fabulous, trumped that:
When asked by Todd whether he'd support a Muslim president, Trump evaded the question. 
"Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now," he said. "Some people have said it already happened." 
Guess what? I agree with Carson. But I'd say the same about Christianity. In fact, several would-be presidents and their myriad supporters have said the same damn thing: God's law is supreme and takes precedence over Supreme Court rulings, they say, seditiously. Moreover, according to Mike "God loves me more than He loves you and I don't love you at all" Huckabee, to name just one such claimant, each individual gets to decide which court decisions are "right" enough with his/her faith to be followed. That's about as Constitution-free as it gets.

Religion -- any religion -- is consistent with our Constitution only to the extent that its believers among our political leaders keep it entirely to themselves. We have one Muslim in Congress; far as I know he's never proposed legislation intended to implement the dreaded Sharia law. The number of Christian legislators, however, who've tried to legislate based on their selective view of their selected version of the much-translated Bible is beyond measure.

Unsurprisingly, our "liberal" media chose not to ask a follow-up question.

[Image source

Friday, September 18, 2015


Good Point

It's not original with me, but it's a point I haven't seen made very widely, with regard to the kid in Texas who made a clock, got cuffed and hauled to jail because "they" thought it was a bomb.

They didn't think it was a bomb. They knew it wasn't a bomb. Else they would have evacuated the school. Else they would have called the bomb squad. Else they would have taken the kid and his clock somewhere other than the principal's office with four cops in it.

So, why, I wonder, did they do what they did? Whatever else is true, we know it had nothing to do with the kid's skin color, or ethnicity, or religion, because this was Texas and they like nothing so much as religion in schools. Plus, down there there's no racism. There's no racism in America at all, which is why it's okay the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.

And we know this, too: when our president invited the kid to the White House with all those colored folks in it, he was being divisive. We know this because a Palin has told us so, and they almost lived there themselves.

So I guess it's just one of those things...

[Image source]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nobody Home

Trudging through comments on various websites following last night's "Republican" "debate," I found myself wondering what it would take (if it's even conceivable that it'd ever happen) for R voters to demand substance; and, when what passes for substance passes out the orifi of the effluxer, when they might look below the surface to see if anything's there. So far, it ain't happening, as the comments of adoration and adulation make clear. Case in point: Carly Fiorina's tough-guy approach to Putin (when did he stop being a hero of the right wing screamers, anyway?):

What I would do, immediately, is begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would conduct regular, aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states. I'd probably send a few thousand more troops into Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message.
Because, here's the thing (from the same source):
Her answer on Russia, for instance, was bizarre.
The Sixth Fleet is already huge, and it's hard to say why adding to its capabilities would intimidate Putin — after all, America has enough nuclear weapons pointed at Russia to level the country thousands of times over. Her proposal for more military exercises in the Baltics seemed odd in light of the fact that President Obama is already conducting military exercises in the Baltics. And the US already has around 40,000 troops stationed in Germany, so it's hard to say what good "a few thousand" more would do. And pushing on a missile defense system in Poland is a very long-term solution to a very current problem. In total, Fiorina's laundry list of proposals sure sounded like a plan, but on inspection, it's hard to see why any of them would convince Putin to change course.
Carly Fiorina is so glib in her lying and nothing-there-but-words polices that she sounds -- especially compared to Trump, et al, like there's a brain at work. Mid-brain, maybe.

I think the difference between her and the rest of the candidates is that they can lie and make it sound like they're telling the truth; she lies and doesn't seem to realize it. Or maybe it's that she's so used to lying to shareholders and board members that she is, in fact, just like the rest of them.

And I'd say the difference between Huckabee and Carson, god-wise, is that Huckabee is as dishonest as they come, a charlatan pitchman for God on the order of any megachurch leader, just not as rich. Yet. But he's trying. Carson, OTOH, is so sure he's got God in his pocket (or that he's in God's pocket) that it doesn't occur to him he could be wrong about anything.

Scratch the surface, teabaggers and those who call themselves Republicans or conservatives. See if, down deep, there really is anything there; anything that makes actual sense; anything that hasn't been tried already and failed; anything that hasn't been claimed and disproved, time and again.

Good luck with that.

[Image source]

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Here's my latest newspaper column (which some might recognize as an updated version of a prior post):

It's easy to recall the horror of 9/11 when it happened, the disbelief, the shock, the realization, as I watched, that people were dying, thousands of them. The sense that things had changed, irrevocably, forever.
I was impressed with George Bush with his megaphone at ground zero, supported the action in Afghanistan, noted how quickly the Taliban were vanquished and hoped it would resonate around the Muslim world.
And then, as 9/11 became an excuse to push a neoconservative agenda, as it became a way to rescue a presidency already foundering after a mere nine months, it all changed. Iraq happened, torture happened, “with us or with the terrorists” happened, Afghanistan was abandoned, 9/11 became a tool for politicization, mongering fear for political advantage. Cheney and Bush turned the potential unity of purpose that nearly emerged after the attacks into divisiveness and hatred among ourselves. (Cheney’s still at it.) If you didn't love the invasion of Iraq, if you didn't love torture and detentions and renditions, if you didn't hate Muslim Americans and their mosques, you hated America. You were “soft on terror.” 
The memory of 9/11 became, like so much else in the right-wing armamentarium, a breeder of disinformation and blatant manipulation
Yes, I remember; and like other memorializations of our history, of sacrifice (actual sacrifice, like those who died, who tried to help, who did help) I am moved. But now, I'm also tired. I'm tired of the hypocrisy, of the delusion that stopping for a moment, for leaving a bouquet somewhere, for welling up and moving on, is actually meaningful. Mostly, I feel a sense of being manipulated. Bludgeoned. Never forget, they say. So we'll do what? Invade another country? Declare another liberal to be an America-hater? Watch another political ad use those images to hide an agenda? Ask us to support our troops while doing nothing to support our troops?
I honor those who died on 9/11, those who did so for no reason at all and those who went to the towers on purpose, to save lives. After the attack, I know that we still need increased security. I wish "sacrifice" meant something other than going shopping, as George Bush urged after the attack. I wish Republicans weren’t still blocking medical funds for those first responders. 
And I wish the smarmy memorials, the florid TV coverage of the anniversary would stop, because I see it as cynical rating-grabs, and, for politicians, as vote-gets. What we need, in response to 9/11, is not slickly produced montages. What we need is to remember what democracy is, to realize that what has kept us strong is our diversity, our invention, our willingness to incorporate differing views, to find compromise, and, when necessary, actually to sacrifice, all of the country, as has happened many times in our history but not for a minute after 9/11, other than by our troops; to do without for a while, to help each other when we can, to heave to a common need. In the aftermath of 9/11, the first real attack on American soil, we've come to do the opposite. And it's been deliberate, a political ploy by the most cynical among us, to divide and conquer, to find scapegoats, to distract from the selfish agenda that's really at the heart of their manipulations. They saw 9/11 as opportunity, and they've taken it. 
There's another aspect of these memorials, too: it sometimes seems that the more we wallow, the more the terrorists can admire their work, remember how much damage they did, how it changed us for the worse. Other than the need to acknowledge those who died, I find myself wondering how it'd be if we stopped the memorials altogether, the endless manipulation of emotion by people who actually couldn't care less for the needs of those they're fooling for political gain. Since 9/11/01, our needs are obvious. How about addressing and resolving them, in the spirit that existed for a moment or two back then, now co-opted and turned into the opposite of itself? 
Me? Cynical? Well, I just listened to Sarah Palin screech her word salad at the rally for war, and to Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, and I feel sick.
[Image source]