Friday Homestead Dispatch

Serpentine Jocular Grommet

1.
I ran across Bouwe Brouwer’s photo work in the Guardian this week. I’m a sucker for B&W street photography, especially if it’s quirky with a sense of humor. What little I could find on the guy (his website no longer functions) his main gig is as a primary school teacher working at a refuge camp. He lives in The Netherlands and started shooting in 2013.

In an interview in 2018, he said, “I prefer the extraordinary in the ordinary. Just like haiku they are tiny moments in time captured. In that sense it’s a form of poetry to me. When one reads a haiku the image reveals itself. I feel the same when I look at a good photograph. Every time I look, the poetry is there. Another part is the fun of sharing your photograph with the outside world. How people can respond to what you saw. Going as far as them wanting to have a print of it.”

2.
On the subject of the Afghanistan pull-out shit-storm being dumped on Biden, Elizabeth Warren chimed in while grilling a couple top generals. “It's hard to look at Afghanistan without viewing the 20 years that led up to them. People say the last four months was a failure but before that was great clearly have not been paying attention. In 2020, they conquered their first province since 1971. By 2018, the Afghan government controlled 54% of the 77 districts, and by May of 2020, the Afghan government controlled less than a third of the 77 districts. We poured support and air cover and the Afghan government continued to fail. By 2021, it was clear that 2,500 troops could not successfully prop up a government that had been losing ground and support to the Taliban for years.”

As Charlie Pierce states, “As the Afghanistan Papers demonstrate, these simple facts were kept from the American public, and by administrations of both parties. It’s always busiest in Congress when the chickens come home to roost.”

3.
I just finished reading Heather Cox Richardson’s book “How the South Won the Civil War.” I bookmarked so many pages with eye-opening passages but the gist of the book is how, even though the northerners ‘won’ the war, the south has taken hold as the Republican party, and have been using the same tactics of persuasion to retain power since the 1860s. The strategies used by the southern plantation owners of that time are not really indistinguishable from the current GOP, which is to turn our democracy into an oligarchy. Hell, maybe they’ve already succeeded.

“From the beginning in the 1950s, Movement Conservative leaders had recognized that they could not win over the voters with policy, for the active state they opposed was quite popular. So they shaped their message around vignettes that made a compelling story. In the 1980s, as it became clear to most voters that they were falling behind under the Republican program, leaders stayed in power by deliberately crafting a narrative that harked back to western individualism. The hardworking individual–the cowboy–was endangered by a behemoth state. To protect him, they invoked the corollary to the American paradox, arguing that equality for women and people of color would destroy the freedom that lay at the heart of democracy. Then they sought to spread that narrative as widely as they could. The story they told of an America under siege by “takers” was not based in fact. Rather, it followed a formula that rewrote history in order to divide voters and win election by turning their supporters against minority and women. In this narrative, the popular policies of the liberal consensus were just what the Reconstruction years had been in this telling: To sell to voters a program that hurt most of them, the new Republicans deliberately shaped popular culture to bolster their ideology.

4.
Yes, Kyrsten Sinema, the bought and paid for ‘moderate’ democrat, is an Arizona Senator. I will do all I can to help remove her from office when the time comes. She has received more than $750,000 in donations from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. And then she announced her opposition to a Democratic plan to lower prescription drug costs, which she repeatedly vowed to lower on the campaign trail.

Lee Papa has come through once again saying, “Senator Kyrsten Sinema, ostensible Democrat from Arizona, has never given a single fucking reason for why she's refusing to vote for the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill, other than ‘I don't like the cost’ and not offering a goddamned alternative. The outline of the bill contains a transformative amount of spending on social programs, finally undoing some of the damage that Republicans have done since Reagan gutted the government's role in making people's lives better back in 1981. 

And it's also gonna do some good in slowing down the out-of-control train that is climate change. Shit, Arizona faces becoming an unlivable wasteland within 30 years if things don't turn around really fuckin' quickly. Being from, you know, Arizona, you'd think that Sinema might give a fuck about her state turning into a dried up hellhole. But Sinema is too busy sucking down wine (no, really) while gobbling truckloads of corporate donor cash. Those fuckin' quirky-ass outfits aren't gonna buy themselves. Meanwhile, she's met four times with President Biden at the White House and issued a simpering, self-serving statement that essentially says nothing, moving the needle on the bill not a fucking inch.”

My buddy Michael P. sent this to me from the Kyle Kulinski Show which sums up both Sinema and Manchin, with a bit of Meghan McCain tossed in for good measure.

And, by the way, marvel at the cluster that is the Republican Party, representing 41.5 million LESS people than the 50 Democrats do, who continue to bluster and argue about rules of the Senate whilst Rome burns. Get a rope. Several ropes.

5.
The Wall Street Journal published an article on Wednesday about Saule Omarova, Biden’s pick for Comptroller of the Currency. This was penned by “The Editorial Board.” Hmmm…the slant was that since Omarova graduated from Moscow State University on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship that she wants U.S. banking to be remade in the Gosbank’s image.

From my experience with banks, why the fuck not? We all hate banks, right? Private banks, that is. The most crooked and legal interest rate schemes ever devised by man are controlled by the private banking industry. Funny this article doesn’t discuss public banking as the option she prefers. I posted an extensive article on September 20th about this very subject.

The Wall Street Journal actually has some tough reporting but this editorial is oozing directly out of the pockets of Wall Street and the private banking system. Peeeuuuuuu.

6.
And this damn debt ceiling fracas…my pearls are broken from the frantic clutching. Jim Wright is on the money when he says, “If McConnell and his Republican pals succeed in crashing the US economy again and defaulting on America's loans, people are going to die. These son of a bitches are no different than any America-hating Al Qaida terrorist motivated by miserable politics and hate-filled religion to hurt just as many of us as they can in the name of their fanatical ideology.”

Republicans were saying on the TeeVee last week that this is all about now and future spending but it’s actually about money already borrowed, you know, like when the orange monster needed that wall built and a trade war with China. Wright goes on to say, “Trump and Republicans cut taxes on the wealthiest of America, the billionaires and multi-millionaires,. They slashed taxes on massive corporations that rake in billions every year. Trump looked you right in the eye and lied, he told you that profits and income taxes on new jobs would not only pay for it but make it so America would be awash in cash. You know what happened? Predictably those billionaires pocketed the money and those corporations bought back their stock and they all took their profits and stashed them overseas and Trump just fucked us all yet again. And now that bill is due.

But when it comes to the things that would most directly improve the quality of every American's life and put the country on a path to a decent constantly improving future, things like infrastructure, healthcare, energy, the environment, transportation, technology, education, good jobs and a living wage,  social programs, etc, then suddenly they're all about crashing the economy and holding us all hostage.”

The debt ceiling did get raised yesterday and all is well in la-dee-da land.

Now for the serious stuff…