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Picture 2Please, forgive The Pink Flamingo for getting a little crazed.  I know I’m mixing metaphors, so to speak, but there are times when being a little crazed helps to look at things in a logical, rational manner, right?

Is it possible that dabbling with Ayn Rand is leading the far right into the Dark Side of the Force?  Could Rand be compared to Chancellor Palpatine, the root of evil within the Republic? Granted, The Pink Flamingo usually deals with Star Trek, but considering the fact there is this strange convergence of both galaxies, thanks to J. J. Abrams, I think that it is acceptable for a Trekkie to delve into Yoda.

“…The Dark Side is representative of how masses of people, and how the individual in society, can surrender their moral compass and sense of decency in favor of cruel and inhumane actions. Lucas has said, “On the personal level it was how does a good person turn into a bad person and part of the observation of that is that most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons”.

The temptations of the dark side, and the seemingly effortless ways Anakin Skywalker often adopts them, can be seen as representative of how an advanced nation based upon laws can slide into a dictatorship, as Germany did in the 1930s. In Christopher Browning’s book Ordinary Men, he argues that members of the Nazi party were not uniquely evil, but were typical members of the working and lower middle classes. Yet, they engaged in acts of extreme violence and murder against innocent members of the Jewish and other communities. This whim, a surrendering to the worst extremes of human nature, is conveyed when Anakin kills the young Jedi Knights, the most obscene act of violence, in Episode 3.

Michael Burleigh wrote in his book The Third Reich: A New History that the rise of Nazism was a consequence of “masses of ordinary people [choosing to] abdicate their critical faculties in favor of a politics based on faith, hope, hatred and collective self-regard for their own race and nation”, with the consequence being “an almost total, moral collapse of an advanced industrial society in the heart of Europe, many of whose citizens had abandoned the burden of thinking for themselves.” Lucas shows this as the large numbers of people aboard the Death Star mindlessly follow Darth Vader’s orders, and how Vader himself unthinkingly follows his ‘master’ Darth Sidious.

Lucas suggests, like Burleigh, that “paths to the dark side”, or barbarism, are subtle and not clear-cut, that the distinction between good and evil is not a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’; but rather a battle within ourselves, reflecting the frailty of human nature and our own competing (and equally compelling) internal impulses towards kindness on the one hand, and cruelty on the other….”

Live long and prosper!

Think Progress

Think Progress

We have a very real mess with sequestration and the military.  Once upon a time the GOP was the party of national security.  Now, though, they would rather screw with the country’s security and do their little Randian thing, even if it gets good people killed.

“...National Guard members nationwide — especially military technicians — could be affected by the Defense Department’s furlough without pay of civilian employees that could begin in late April unless Congress overrides a “sequestration” provision in budget law that would mandate deep spending cuts beginning March 1.

Many of the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees perform critical functions such as maintenance, intelligence, logistics, contracting and health care. Officials have expressed concern that furloughs would substantially harm the Defense Department’s ability to reset and restore the force’s full-spectrum combat capability after more than a decade of hard fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The unpaid furloughs likely would be one day per week for the last 22 weeks of the fiscal year, from late April through September — effectively a 20 percent pay cut for Defense Department civilians that would yield an expected $5 billion in spending reduction.

More than half of the National Guard’s full-time members may be furloughed, resulting in maintenance backlogs for all states and curtailment of critical training, especially aviation crew training, that potentially cripples one of the essential 10 capabilities that governors and first responders rely upon in disaster situations, National Guard officials said.

Readiness of nearly 13,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen who mitigate the effects of chemical, biological and nuclear terrorist attacks or industrial accidents in the United States would see exercises and training either delayed or canceled by reductions in operations and maintenance funding, officials said.

The furlough is just one of the potential impacts of a looming sequestration deadline now less than 10 days away, and officials also have expressed concern over the prospect of the government operating under a yearlong continuing resolution in lieu of a budget…”

This is all insane.  It is stupid.  It is the stuff that really bad fiction is made of, and then is cut by the publisher.  It is stuck on stupid.  Right now, the GOP doesn’t appear to want to be the party of the grown-ups.

Anyone who doesn’t think that we don’t need budget cuts is in denial.  We need cuts.  There is so darn much to cut, but no one wants to act like an adult, neither party.  Tom Coburn has identified billions of dollars in duplication of servicesWhy not start there?   These things are not liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican – they are a Congressional problem.  Anyone who says that only  Democrats are wasteful spenders is delusional.  If the GOP is not willing to start eliminating duplicate programs, agencies, and other spending debacles, then they really don’t have much wriggle room when it comes to sequestration.

There are billions that can be trimmed from the Pentagon and we would never miss it. There are so many problems with social programs that could be repaired, and have more money go to helping others – yet save money.  There is no wisdom or logic within the House and Senate – on either side.  The libertarians and the tea parties have only made matters worse.  They are the most foolish, ignorant bunch of individuals who have invaded Washington – maybe forever.

I blame both the right and the left.  No one wants to seek viable solutions to real world problems.  Take Meals on Wheels as an example. John Boehner wants to eliminate the program.  It is a vital program for dealing with seniors who have no one and are isolated, trying to live on their own, with a little bit of dignity.  Libertarians condemn these individuals, demanding their families take over, calling them Takers who never prepared for the future.  Many of the individuals who are involved in Meals on Wheels literally have no one.  They don’t need to be in a nursing home, just waiting to die.  They are vital human beings who can offer something to society.  It’s like the senior centers we have in New Mexico.  They are financed via the state, and run locally.  Meals on Wheels needs federal financing, but it needs to be run, entirely, locally. The people who are involved in the program are dedicated men and women who truly care about their clients.

Quit making fun of people on Food Stamps!  There are millions of families who are only surviving this way.  Forcing a family to use a food bank is demeaning.  But, that’s what it is all about, right?  Punishing those who are having problems.

Want to lower medical costs?  Deal with out of control malpractice insurance.  But – they can’t do that.  The average person in DC is owned by insurance companies.  Make sure hospitals no longer charge a fortune for aspirin.  Where is the common sense?

There is so much waste in the Pentagon it isn’t even funny.

Want to make real savings?  Change the purchasing requirements so that the low ball bid is not necessarily as acceptable as a real world bid where a contractor provides real world value for services rendered.

If you were to make real world, logical spending cuts that are not punitive, but rational, and force the extreme right to pay the same tax percentage rate as small businesses, with only limited loopholes and deductions, Congress could make real progress.

Nah, don’t expect it to happen.  It has dawned on The Pink Flamingo, that we’re really not dealing with the Force, but Spaceballs. The real problem is that the reality of Mel Brooks is funnier on screen than on Capital Hill.  In a way, the final scene from the movie says it all – about Congress.

Or – Beam Me Up Scotty – There’s No Intelligent Life On The Hill!

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  • jose maria

    I just read a list of the 27 senators who voted for Sequestration. McCain signed the bill, but Graham did not. I don’t know about the house, but more democrats than republicans had to ratify the bill in the senate to pass it and the President signed it into law. Both parties have no intention of working with each other. They want to promote their own agendas. Senator Corbin is always introducing bills to get rid of duplication, but the democrats always vote them down. If the President had had doubts about it, he should have vetoed the bill. The other day he appeared on television with first responders claiming that they will lose their jobs. I talked to our police chief at church yesterday. He said that sequestration will only affect those who receive federal money and down here they are few. He doesn’t think anybody will lose their jobs. He said they conducted a consulting study last year and that they actually recommended some cuts, but right now they are not going to do that. They could do away with some of the loopholes and deductions. Right now, gamblers can deduct their losses from winnings at the casinos. There are many deductions they could eliminate, but they suggest cutting deductions for charitable contributions.

  • jose maria

    PS- 27 GOP senators and 174 republicans in the House voted for sequestration.

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