The Watering Hole, Wednesday, February 8, 2012


We don’t have a democracy, or a democratic republic. We have a Machine. A Machine oiled by money and lubricated with the blood of oppressed workers.

If you are lucky enough to be born into wealth, you get to run The Machine. Everyone else, well, you are The Machine. You are a part. If you break or get worn out, you are replaced. The Machine keeps going. Day and night, ’round the clock, The Machine keeps going. You work, so that The Machine keeps running. You spend your life serving The Rich, while The Rich tell you to blame the Poor for your predicament. You work, they don’t. (Rich or Poor) But the Poor are the bottom feeders. They take, because they have nothing to give. They are the leaches. Despise them. Hate them. Make them go away. Away with their begging. Away with their grocery carts filled to the brim with their sole possessions. Away with them.

You work. You support the job creators. The Rich. If it weren’t for The Rich, you wouldn’t have a job. Then you, too, would be Poor. Despised. Cast out. So you do what The Rich tell you to do. You believe what The Rich tell you to believe. You love what The Rich tell you to love and hate what The Rich tell you to hate. Liberals, Progressives, Atheists, Socialists, Muslims, Blacks, Homosexuals, any one different, any one who tells you life could be better. Because The Rich tell you life can be better. You are the “Soon to be Rich”. So was your father. So was your grandfather, and his grandfather, and his grandfather. Soon to be Rich. Just work hard enough. You’ll be Rich, too. Someday.


The Machine is lubricated and running. You will live and die serving The Machine. So will your children, and their children, and their children’s children. Work until you are worn out. Work until you break. Work until The Rich decide they don’t need you any more. As long as The Machine keeps going. It doesn’t matter who works The Machine, whether here, or some distant land. All that matters is that The Machine keeps running. Keeps serving them.

The Dream is gone. Your life will not be as good as your parents. Your children will face greater deprivations than you. Only The Rich are, and will continue to be, better off. They run The Machine, and The Machine serves them. Serves them well. They are better off than their fathers, and their children will be better off than they.

Until the day someone breaks The Machine.

This is our Open Thread. Comments welcome.

111 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Wednesday, February 8, 2012

      • I should really see Metropolis someday…

        I just finished the Time Machine ….. an interesting extrapolation of what was then the First Gilded Age (1895)

        I think I am always reminded of Douglas Adams and a metaphor for the Gilded Age in ‘Life the Universe and Everything’:

        “The longest and most destructive party ever held is now into its fourth generation, and still no one shows any signs of leaving. Somebody did once look at his watch, but that was eleven years ago, and there has been no follow-up. The mess is extraordinary, and has to be seen to be believed, but if you don’t have any particular need to believe it, then don’t go and look, because you won’t enjoy it. There have recently been some bangs and flashes up in the clouds, and there is one theory that this is a battle being fought between the fleets of several rival carpet-cleaning companies who are hovering over the thing like vultures, but you shouldn’t believe anything you hear at parties, and particularly not anything you hear at this one.

        One of the problems, and it’s one which is obviously going to get worse, is that all the people at the party are either the children or the grandchildren or the great-grandchildren of the people who wouldn’t leave in the first place, and because of all the business about selective breeding and regressive genes and so on, it means that all the people now at the party are either absolutely fanatical partygoers, or gibbering idiots, or, more and more frequently, both. Either way, it means that, genetically speaking, each succeeding generation is now less likely to leave than the preceding one. So other factors come into operation, like when the drink is going to run out. Now, because of certain things which have happened which seemed like a good idea at the time (and one of the problems with a party which never stops is that all the things which only seem like a good idea at parties continue to seem like good ideas), that point seems still to be a long way off.

        One of the things which seemed like a good idea at the time was that the party should fly – not in the normal sense that parties are meant to fly, but literally. One night, long ago, a band of drunken astro-engineers of the first generation clambered round the building digging this, fixing that, banging very hard on the other and when the sun rose the following morning, it was startled to find itself shining on a building full of happy drunken people which was now floating like a young and uncertain bird over the treetops. Not only that, but the flying party had also managed to arm itself rather heavily. If they were going to get involved in any petty arguments with wine merchants, they wanted to make sure they had might on their side.”

        The transition from full-time cocktail party to part-time raiding party came with ease, and did much to add that extra bit of zest and swing to the whole affair which was badly needed at this point because of the enormous number of times that the band had already played all the numbers it knew over the years. They looted, they raided, they held whole cities for ransom for fresh supplies of cheese crackers, avocado dip, spare ribs and wine and spirits, which would now get piped aboard from floating tankers. The problem of when the drink is going to run out is, however, going to have to be faced one day. The planet over which they are floating is no longer the planet it was when they first started floating over it. It is in bad shape. The party had attacked and raided an awful lot of it, and no one has ever succeeded in hitting it back because of the erratic and unpredictable way in which it lurches round the sky. It is one hell of a party.

  1. Posted this over on my site, but I’ll repost here (save you the bother of going over to my site):

    Who’s Winning? (You’ll Be Sorry You Asked)

    So Santorum sweeps the February 7th primary/caucus states. Interesting. According to this NY Times chart Romney still leads the delegate count by a comfortable margin. He has 91, Santorum 44, Gingrich 29, Paul 8, and Huntsman 2.

    They give the state-by-state details as well. As you can see some states are all-or-nothing in assigning the delegates, and others are proportional; Florida being a huge all-or-nothing state. If this race were proportional, it would be a lot closer.

    What’s interesting is that Missouri’s numbers are not in this total and they list a March date for Missouri getting its delegates assigned? WTF? Google, help me. So I found this reference in an LA Times article. “Missouri’s primary has no connection to delegate selection”

    I just did a Lewis Black head shake when I read that. Then what the fuck is going on in Missouri? Well according to a site called The Green Papers (which looks kind of interesting in a wonkish sort of way), they say that yesterday that the primary is non-binding, and the caucuses in March will determine delegate selection.

    A non-binding election? Isn’t that what dictators have? This is confusing. But, this is party politics at it’s finest.

    So in checking information from the NY Times chart, and The Green Papers site, the plot thickens. Let’s take Minnesota as an example.

    So the NY Times shows Santorum as getting 13 of 40 delegates in Minnesota, with the other 27 being uncommitted. It turns out that even the 13 aren’t necessarily committed yet. Following a link on the NYT chart, we get to more information about the Minnesota Caucus:

    None of Minnesota’s 40 delegates will be bound to any candidate as a result of the Feb. 7 precinct caucuses. The election of 24 delegates will take place at Congressional district conventions in mid-April. The state convention, which takes place May 4-5, may vote to bind 13 At Large delegates. The state’s three Republican National Committee members remaining as unpledged to any candidate.

    Apparently, it must be tradition to award the 13 At-Large to the winner of the caucus. That’s mighty big of them.

    Then of course we get into the discussion of hard/soft delegates, pledged/unpledged delegates. Again, I do a Lewis Black head shake in a combination of disgust/confusion. And some pledged delegates are bound, but some are not. Then we go to the state nominating conventions where really delegate selection matters, and the delegates for the national convention are selected. Rinse. Repeat.

    To be fair, the Democratic party process is equally as confusing.

    So who’s winning right now? Hard to say. Counting is pointless. Only in America. And other third-world countries.

  2. Reference to ‘The Machine’ reminded me of a very old rhyming ditty that I first heard (and recited often) when I was in grade school. It was, of course, for boys only because it had a naughty word in it, but that was, of course, the essence of its charm.

    Gene, Gene, made a machine
    Joe, Joe, made it go
    Frank, Frank, turned the crank
    Art, Art, let a fart
    And blew it all apart.

    In today’s parlance, what is ‘The Machine’ really? Is it what FDR referred to in a 1933 letter to Army Colonel E.M.House when he wrote, “‘The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson”? Or might it refer to Winston Churchill’s pre-WWII statement, “I fear that ill winds and The High Cabal shall determine our fate” in the sense that it’s more global than local? Was it the master puppeteer that wrote the script, set the stage, and pulled the strings in the assassination of JFK? Or is it imaginary, merely an outcome as dictated by the reality that, since the founding of this Republic and the emergence of the derivative era, acquisition of money equals acquisition of power, and that any proposed “machine” conspiracy has no roots beyond that simple fact, that it’s simply a continuing and continuous operational reality?

    And in any case, the lingering question always remains the same: Where is Art, today, when we really need him?

  3. Nicely stated BnF. I am just finishing up The Black Rose Conspiracies, by our friend FrugalChariot. Both state the same premise, well spake.
    Muck the Fachine!

  4. Everyone waited for Someone,
    To do what had to be done.
    But Noone came,
    To Everyone’s shame,
    And things have stayed the same.

  5. Great job BnF. But now I’m so depressed. The haves let us have just enough to shut us up. Now though they don’t even want us to have that much. Some of them believe by letting us have too much it went to our heads and we started protesting wars and asking for civil rights so they’d make us less comfortable. Shrink the middle class and we’ll be better puppets. Ideally they would have starved us enough to mobilize us. Unfortunately there are too many who believe the propaganda and fight against their own best interests.

    • I’m not depressed, just pissed. I keep my rage and frustration under control, but have specific targets that I can take out my frustration on…BofA is now almost out of my life…I regularly pester the shit out of my elected representatives, again not expecting much, just letting them know my issues and that I’m NOT GOING AWAY!

  6. QOTD:

    “[Killing bin Laden] wouldn’t have happened if [Obama] had his way, and that can be proven, as well, on tape,” – Sean Hannity, clearly floundering under the GOP choices he has.

  7. BuzzFeed reports that Hannity has “proof” that the President didn’t want to kill OBL. And, no, I didn’t listen to him braying on tape. The first comment made me want to scream:

    I love how a president that does nothing but fuck over the military, tries to take full credit for something he was never part of except for saying “go ahead and do it”.

    First of all, Obama doesn’t take any credit at all and what, pray tell, has he done to fuck over the military? I’m amazed that someone so stupid could manage to bang on his keyboard long enough to write an entire sentence.

    • Unfortunately, Obama has done nothing at all to ‘fuck over the military,’ which is, as far as I’m concerned, one of his MAJOR shortcomings. If ’twere my choice, I’d slash the goddamn “defense” and “intelligence” budgets by AT LEAST a half-trillion $$ per year and put the money to use in areas where giving a woody to a faux and hae-brained belligerent (Sean Hannity, e.g., or li’l Dick Cheney) is NOT part of the equation. And even after such a massive cut we’d STILL be spending more on that sort of bullshit than Russia and China combined.

      The love of violence and warmongering seems to be characteristic of a fairly steady percentage of human males. Genetic? Probably. Maybe if we spent a half trillion per year on genome research and alteration we could find the means to weed out that sort of idiocy once and for all. There’d be no argument from me, that’s for sure. I mean, imagine a world with no Sean Hannitys, no more Cheneys, Bushs, Hitlers, Stalins, no more need for generals and corporals or anything in between. Wouldn’t even need any more guns or bombs.

      I think I might like a world like that.

        • Not necessarily, although it would probably be a step up. Mainly I’d just prefer a world where there was no urge for war. I suppose that would also mean no more urge to pee on bushes and fire hydrants, but oh well.

          Wolf pack society is a reasonable model, actually. The alpha pair mates and the female births the pups; the rest of the pack helps care for them and raise them. The entire pack works together for the betterment of their society, ‘the pack,’ but all are free to head off and start their own pack if they get the urge. And packs don’t ‘war’ — they get along reasonably. Probably because they have no religion. Hmmm.

          In any case, humans are definitely inferior. As Twain noted, “The Descent of Man From the Higher Animals” is the basis for human biology. He also pointed out that if a human was crossed with a cat, it would improve humans and harm cats. I think he was spot-on (as usual).

    • “I’m amazed that someone so stupid could manage to bang on his keyboard long enough to write an entire sentence.”

      Well when there are no more Cheetos in your momma’s basement and she has to go to the 7-11 to get you more…. how else are you going to pass the time?

    • Ssshhhh gummitch, don’t get a heart attack. No one in his right mind can take this idiotic remarks serious. A lot that we are hearing right now is acute panic and they don’t get better under pressure, obviously. The whole house of cards they built around this right wing machinery is falling. Imagine four more years of Obama and the effects of his policies kick in. People can go to doctors without facing bankruptcy, jobs picking up, economy picking up, some more dictators ousted or dead… Zawahiri gone.. Imagine that. They know people will never be as willing as they are now to make “sacrifices”. There won’t be many listenng to the economic Desaster preachers if the Obamadesasterpolitics induced Armageddon actually feels good.

    • Oh my, today is crazy bitch day, obviously. I read that, having never heard of her before, and I can’t believe anyone can be that stupid and survive. Where’s Darwin when you need him?

    • I noticed that two of her three anti-Muslim congressional compatriots were Trent Franks and John Shaddegg from Arizona. Shaddegg was “my” congressman, one for whom I NEVER voted, and his (autistic) son was one of Debbie’s students (7th grade) back in the late nineties. She had the “honor” of sitting down with the congressman at school functions on a couple of occasions, said he came across as a toothy smile and not much else. Franks is, well, a conservative Mor(m)on, so ’nuff said. It’s been almost four years since we moved out of AZ and I have to say I miss everything about it. Except for the vast majority of the people that live there.

  8. I think I’ll draft a letter to Mr. Boner. As Speaker, Boner has pledged to overturn the Obama Administration ruling that religious entities, other than churches, must include contraception in their health insurance coverage. His argument is that this rule impinges on HIS religious freedom. He is making the argument that other people are not allowed to do something that HE doesn’t want to do. Well?

    Sending children to church is against MY religious beliefs. I think it’s a violation of the 1st Amendment to force a child, any child, to practice a religion. I think I’ll begin my letter with…

    “Mr Speaker. The 1st Amendment has been violated since the day of it’s ratification and it’s time to stop this travesty. Children, who are not allowed to make informed decisions of their own, are being forced into slavery by their parents. We must stop the indoctrination of innocent children who haven’t the skills to tell the difference between shit and shinola.”

    • Rudepundit summed it up thusly:

      “The Rude Pundit’s brain can’t get beyond this: if the government carves out religious exceptions for laws, isn’t that essentially establishing religion, especially if that exception affects large numbers of people who do not belong to that religion? Hmm.”

    • When my daughter was in her early teens, she made a point to thank me. “Thanks, dad,” she said, “for never making me go to church!” She also wondered why she never had to when so many of her friends were still forced to do so, and I told her that we didn’t see any reason to force church on anyone, that if/when she might ever happen to get interested, it would be her own choice, that all religious decisions she might ever care to make would be her own. Period. She said “Thanks!” a second time.

      • Frugal, strangely my parents weren’t churchgoers either and I turned out to be the only one who went to church regularly. I felt like it. I liked rosary praying best. So soothing. I was really good in religious studies in school and occasionally in recent years I had visits from a very nice woman, she was a Jehova’s witness, and we had tea and discussed religion. She gave up on proselytizing after I showed I had a better grasp of some bible related fact than she had and I was a believer in science as well. We still occasionally talk a little when we meet.

        Somehow my catholicism morphed into a more general idea of ethics, but still, to me all protestants are heretics.

        • I’ve usually taken to responding that I’m

          a) a devil worshipper and the goat-shagging in the back garden is at 4pm today, if they’d like to join in, we need a side and some beer – and velcro gloves if they have any
          b) a Wiccamist and would they like to see my woad-coloured privates?
          c) I’ve chosen to go to Hell because all the people I’d like to meet are there already
          d) I set the dog on them

          • On two occasions I’ve asked them for their home address because I’m pressed for time but would love to visit them at home and talk about atheism.

            I was also recently asked by a young fundy if I was “worried that I’m wasting my life” after I told her I was an atheist. I told her that my demon masters wouldn’t allow me to waste my life. She turned about nine shades of green but didn’t have a verbal reply.

          • I once had a fundy ask me if I wasn’t afraid of being left behind when the Rapture happened. I asked him what would happen to me and he said that I would die and I told him that I was going to die anyway. He stopped yapping about his religion after that.

      • That was my thought!
        The gathering crowd would be stupid enough to use credit cards a/o register for the classes (such as

        in-depth class on Avoiding and Defeating IRS Criminal Charges,


    • OMG, fucking “sovereign citizens!”

      Idaho is crawling with those morons. When I worked in the county treasurer’s office after I first moved to Idaho, I must have directed at least one straggly-bearded, crusty-nosed, bubba per day to the auditor’s office. All of them proudly having declared that they were there to renounce their American citizenship.

      The thing about living in a small town is that you get to know who’s collecting welfare, SS, or disability payments. Most of the time, the crusty-nosed bubba was on one government program or another.

      When I was walking one of them to the auditor’s office (that was the treasurer’s policy, we didn’t point people in a direction, we walked them where they needed to go), I asked him if he was going to renounce his Social Security. He was horrified at the thought, saying “Well how would I live?” I said, “Well, you’re the one who wants to stop being an American citizen.”

      • How many of them thought that far ahead, Zooey? Did most of them understand what they were giving up by renouncing their American citizenship? Would they instantly become “illegal immigrants”, or did they have time to apply for Green Cards? Or did they just move to Canada and beg off of their government?

        • I would suppose that those neurones are now going to fire inside the underpowered craniums of these neanderthals….

        • No, they just hung around Idaho, making their own driver’s licenses and car registrations in arts and crafts class, and generally being a drain on the legal system, because as the woman said in the video on C&L, “The laws don’t apply to them.”

          When I worked in the treasurer’s office, I also worked in my dad’s law office, and he was the city prosecutor for several of the small towns in the area. Those people were/are a real pain the ass.

  9. By far the best response I’ve seen to the Reich-wing outrage over the Superbowl Chrysler ad.

    Author by ScienceBuff

    Situation: 82 year old man signs a questionable refinance agreement on his home, eventually causing him to lose that home.
    Conservative response: “He’s an adult. He should have known what he was signing. Rules to protect senior citizens from predatory lenders is unnecessary tampering with the free market.”

    Situation: Clint Eastwood narrates an upbeat commercial for Chrysler promoting their recovery in a way that reflects favorably the Obama administration.
    Conservative response: “He’s an old man. They preyed on his confusion and senility to trick him into narrating that ad.”

    • Clint Eastwood is confused and senile? Oh, that would explain why he hasn’t been able to direct films for years. Wait. What?

      Please let me see one of these morons say that to his face.

  10. QOTD II:

    “If you remember with the McCarthy era, in the 50s and they were trying to hunt down communist sympathizers and not let them work and put them. What is the difference between McCarthy era communist blacklist in the 50s and the Million Moms saying, ‘Hey, JC Penney and all you other stores, don’t you hire any gay people, don’t you dare.’ What is the difference?” – Bill O’Reilly, on the far-right group trying to get Ellen DeGeneres fired as a JC Penney spokesperson. (Unfortunately, Bill-O missed the boat on the Prop 8 decision).

  11. Chris Jones reconstructs the events surrounding last fall’s Zanesville Zoo “incident,” when dozens of exotic animals were killed after being released by their owner, Terry Thompson. Thompson killed himself after letting the animals loose:

    “Thompson had booby-trapped his house with something other than animals: a dead man’s line tied to a door knob, explosives wired to a light switch. The screaming of the monkeys followed [Sargeant Steve Blake] everywhere, breaking his concentration. “Those monkeys, raising hell,” he says, shaking his head. “It was just unreal.” Room by room he and [volunteer caretaker John] Moore searched the rest of the house. They came up empty. They returned to the car and Blake once again headed down the driveway. “Stop!” Moore shouted from the backseat, looking out the window to his right. “I think Terry’s down there.”

    They got out of the cruiser, and they both saw Terry Thompson, down a short embankment, bloody and lying flat on his back. There was a pistol on the grass; Blake didn’t see the blue bolt cutters that were lying about ten feet away. A tiger — a white tiger, a genetic mutant — was gnawing at Thompson’s head. Most of the top of his head was missing; other parts of him had also been eaten. Now the white tiger dragged Thompson around, puncturing his throat with its teeth.”

    • I have seen no better reason why private owners should not be allowed to keep exotic wild animals, especially big dangerous ones, as pets. I support captive breeding programs by qualified zoos but it ends there. I even struggle with myself over keeping reef fish but, except for my Scooter Blennies, I only keep tank reared fish and I’m trying to rear said blennies. I also don’t have to worry about them eating the neighbors or establishing breeding populations in the wild like the pythons in the Everglades.

  12. This is , to use a gross understatement, very bad news. I am not categorically opposed to all nuclear energy but I am against reactors that depend on pressurized water and steam inside the nuclear containment vessel. A natural disaster, a power outage, a leaking joint, even a pinhole could cause a meltdown in any currently operating commercial reactor. They are not designed to “fail safe”. When they fail? They fail catastrophically. It’s madness.

    This madness has caused an ongoing disaster that may not, will not, end in our lifetimes and could become the worst ecological disaster ever caused by humans. It could be worse than global warming and, as reactors age, it could be repeated again and again and…

    It’s a terrifying prospect. Puddles of melted fuel scattered around the globe boring into the earth’s crust. Vaporizing pockets of volatile elements to cause secondary explosions of superheated radioactive steam. Denying ground water for human use. Seeping into the oceans and exploding into the atmosphere. And the worst part is that there’s no mechanism known to man that can stop it once it starts.

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