Must. Have. Wal. Mart.

walmart-evilPoking around teh intertubes when I should be in bed, and I came across one of my favorite bloggers from waaay back in the early days of eschaton, in a comment thread over at GMD. I think I had totally forgotten that Ntodd Pritsky was running for public office in Franklin County. Good for him, he’s got a sound outlook on life and is a devoted dad — isn’t that more than you can say about 99 percent of the current crop of politicans? I hope his amazing grassroots run as an independent is hugely successful.

So, poking a little further, I checked out the competition Ntodd is up against, and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I found the current Representative, Lynn Dickinson (nope, sorry Lynn, no linkie for you) – she’s apparently trying hard to be the Sarah Palin of Vermont, and her platform seems to consist largely of supply-side platitudes, contradictory nonsense and a loud, almost primal cry of desperation: Give Me Wal-Mart Or Give Me Death. Seriously, how the hell can one of your four key issues be “Bringing Wal-Mart to St. Albans”? That’s like running on a platform of “More Blue M&Ms in the 2 Pound Bags” or “Why Should The Gulf Have All The Fun: Let’s get BP up here to spill some oil in Lake Champlain.”

Actually, Lynn’s pretty little head is evidently completely free of any cognitive dissonance when she lists the four pillars of her political platform:

  • Bringing jobs and prosperity to our area
  • Bringing Wal-Mart to St. Albans
  • Supporting small businesses, farms and families
  • Keeping our communities healthy and strong

I mean, bringing Wal-Mart to St. Albans will a) remove jobs from the area and lower the level of prosperity (unless you count Wal-Mart’s profits as “prosperity” — but that money ends up in Arkansas, not Vermont), b) kill off small business, farms and further marginalize families in the area, and c) will sicken and weaken an otherwise vibrant community by killing off small businesses, reducing the town center to a shell of itself, and leaving the town at the mercy of the ruthless marketing managers in Bentonville.

Somehow Lynn’s platitudes and simplistic non-approach to effectively dealing with the issues affecting the voters in Franklin County must have worked, since she’s currently one of the two incumbents. I hope that changes in November — she really, really needs to get out more and come to realize that there’s more to life than a Wal-Mart up the street..

Shoot The Messenger. Dead,

dianne_feinsteinWikileaks, of course, rules. Forcing self-righteous hypocrites like Diane Feinstein (D – Sellout) to squirm uncomfortably on her throne is a great public service that should be richly rewarded. At the very least, you’d think it would force Congress to take a moment away from the cocktails and the bloviating to sincerely reflect upon and respond to the unassailable facts in the recent document dump indicating just how sucky Obama’s pet war is going.

But, no. The collective rage-gasm on the Hill is apparently reserved for Wikileaks. How Dare They?!? We had the whole thing so nicely wrapped up in veils of secrecy and well-crafted propaganda plied to the gullible people via a willing mainstream media, and the whole thing was propped up by Preznit Smiley “this-is-not-my-Vietnam” Obama’s assurances to the world that he knew what the fuck he was doing by over-extending the US forces in a land war in Asia. Oh, we had an endless flow of taxpayer dollars going to the well-healed contractors with their friendly lobbyists, because nary a single elected official had the testicular fortitude to stand up and call the administration to account for the lavish spending on destroying things thousands of miles away at a time when we can barely afford to fix our roads at home.

And then that little pipsquak Assange comes along and ruins it all with his info-anarchism. Openness. Hah! Transparency. Feh. That was a sound bite for the election campaign, not something we actually wanted. Idiot. Off with his head!

It’s really sad. Just look at this little nugget:

The Senate last week rejected $22.8 billion in domestic spending that the House added to the Senate‚Äôs $58.8 billion war-funding bill for fiscal year 2010. The House measure, including $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs in the fall, failed even to win a majority in the Senate […]

So, while we’re firing teachers wholesale in the US (it’s not like we could use some more resources on deck in the realm of education, right?) we’re happily looking to spend almost $60bn on assorted wars. Mind you, that’s above and beyond the regular DOD budget — even though they’re primarily in the business of conducting war, this whole thing has gotten so out of hand that they actually get a separate budget line to go kill other people’s kids in addition to their regular budget line for cool toys and starched uniforms. It’s as if I send my clients a bill for hours worked and then send them another bill for the resulting product. Nice racket…

And how does this army of ours account for its cash? Not. At. All. It basically has no fucking clue what it’s doing with money in its care. This report is almost farcical if it wasn’t money that could have been better spent on, well, almost anything else:

The U.S. Defense Department is unable to properly account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war ravaged nation

But when the little boy points his finger at the emperor and discloses how the smoke and mirrors of “homeland security” and “the war on terror” is really a monumental clusterfuck moving us inexorably closer to the edge of bankruptcy and disaster, the knee-jerk reaction from the powerful is to slap his hand and ask him to mind his manners. It’s rude — heck, it’s criminal — to point out our failings, our lies, our deceipt of the taxpayers who are paying for this, it’s wrong to question our motives, our strategies, our objectives and our tactics. It’s all wrong, don’t you see. We’re always right, the government is never wrong, we know what’s best for you and you just need to STFU and play along and pay.

It’s really a large-scale version of what is happening with the police: as more and more people document the atrocities committed by officers with their tasers and delusions of grandure, the reaction is not to reassess the balance of power between law enforcement and the population they’re meant to serve, the reaction is to clamp down on photography of cops in action. So, instead of dealing with the problem (cops with anger issues), or even the symptoms of the problem (cops tasering little old ladies in wheel chairs), the powers that be come down like a ton of bricks on those who dare point it all out (the random stranger with the video camera who catches Chief Wiggums tasering a 9-year old boy who is having an epileptic seizure).