The Watering Hole; Friday, The Ides of March, 2013; Requiem: America

“Beware the ides of March,” said the Soothsayer to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, (Act I, Scene ii):

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry ‘Caesar!’ Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.
Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
Caesar: What man is that?
Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Caesar: Set him before me; let me see his face.
Cassius: Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.
Caesar: What say’st thou to me now? speak once again.
Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
Caesar: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

According to Plutarch’s historical Life of Julius Caesar, “. . . when the day had come and Caesar was on his way to the senate-house, he greeted the seer with a jest and said: “Well, the Ides of March are come,” and the seer said to him softly: “Ay, they are come, but they are not gone.” And thus it was that two thousand and fifty-seven years ago this day, on the Ides of March in the year 44 BCE, Julius Caesar was, as the Soothsayer had predicted, murdered. He was at the Theater of Pompey where he was stabbed to death by his ‘friend’ Brutus, himself parcel to an extensive conspiracy of Senators built around the growing suspicion that Caesar’s intent was to do away with ‘republican’ Rome and instead create a Monarchy with himself as Monarch. Shakespeare’s epic play, Julius Caesar, written circa 1599, takes a few liberties with the details of the moment as recorded by Plutarch, but still it accurately portrays the anxiety implicit in leadership succession, a reality both in 44 BCE and on the horizon again in Elizabethan England at the time the play was written.

A year or two later, in what has proven to be Shakespeare’s most enduringly popular and oft-performed Tragedy, Hamlet speaks of similar fears, though in completely different context:

Hamlet: To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
To die—to sleep,
(. . .)
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pausethere’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong . . . the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin?
(. . .)
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

More than 400 years have passed since Shakespeare penned those masterpieces, but the implicit human dilemma remains constant. Here in the United States of America, as well as in various elsewheres around the globe, people of serious mind and conscience find themselves concerned with the political evolution: the ‘succession’, if you will, of that well-known and constant tyranny, invariably designed to further empower the powerful, to further enrich the wealthy, and always at the expense of the common folk, the children, and the already poor.

In the United States this day, on 2013’s Ides of March, the government is, in effect, hostage to the immense wealth — and the power implicit in such wealth — held by the smallest handful of people in consort with their bought-and-paid-for lackeys in the US Congress. Thus the House of Representatives, marginally controlled by a (gerrymandered) ‘republican’ majority, patently refuses to do ANYTHING to help solve the nation’s current (and of their own devise) financial dilemma. Instead, they stand in the way of virtually every proposal, preferring to exacerbate rather than address the fiscal problems in order to find the means of blaming everything on their Democratic opposition, including especially the President. They refuse to take ANY actions which might assist in job creation, or education, infrastructure maintenance, health care, dealing with climate change, etc., et al., through and including ANY action that might help ANYONE other than their already rich and powerful owners, and themselves. They have proven to be exceptionally willing, however, to fabricate and vote on myriad bogus proposals designed to eliminate such horrors as contraception and pregnancy terminations; to defund Planned Parenthood; to weaken and eventually destroy labor unions; to prevent any effort to legitimize full and equal rights for the LGBT community; to never allow passage of any and all gun control legislation; to halt any effort at reasonable immigration reform; to inhibit the voting rights of selected ethnic groups typically loyal to the opposition; to defund by any means possible each and every human assistance program; to NEVER allow any tax increase on the already wealthy and/or corporate profits. They have, however, demonstrated unusual alacrity when it comes to finding clever ways of increasing military spending, and of officially naming Post Offices and other federal buildings; with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action.

The Senate is no better. There, the Democrats hold a working majority but thanks to insidious filibuster provisions, they’re unable to pass more than the occasional (and typically unimportant) legislation even as significant proposals seldom if ever even make it to the floor for a vote. Meanwhile, Senate ‘republicans’ support virtually the same regressive agendas as do House ‘republicans’ — all the while the whips and scorns of time, Th’oppressor’s wrong . . . the law’s delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit of th’unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin continue unabated. How did Hamlet know? How could he predict the antics of today’s US Congress?

Perhaps because their intent is eternally simple — to do whatever might be necessary to ensure the failure of their opposition’s goal of assisting the poor and the middle class, to force the failure, in effect, of the President and the nation that elected him twice — a repeat of those “leadership succession” events in Rome, 44 BCE, and again in Elizabethan England, circa 1600 CE. One is forced to ponder, yet one more time, the question that has plagued mankind since it first evolved: where are the people of Conscience when we need them?

This day, the Ides of March are come yet again, for the 2057th time since the death of Julius Caesar, but they are not gone — as yet another proscribed death appears to be on the horizon: the death of a nation. This nation; the nation where — thanks in no small part to the efforts of its ‘republican’ faction, the political movement which values ONLY the accumulation of wealth and power as means of accession to the throne — the predictable consequences of her errant politics are slowly  becoming perceivable, because:

Requiem, as dirge of sophistic love,
Exposes destinies which nations earn.
Quoth Hamlet: “conscience does make cowards of
Us all – that is, till We the People learn,
Implicitly, that human Cowardice
Exudes contempt for Rationalities.
Meanwhile, mankind’s destiny – Avarice –
Appears in service to those Vanities
Most shallowed minds presume to be their right,
Enabling failure thus of Self, of State.
Repression blooms and quickly dims all light
Intrinsic to the heart of Freedom’s Fate –
Consumed – whilst words of Truth, now specious, Moan . . .
And stand as lifeless slogans . . . etched in stone.

R E Q U I E M      A M E R I C A

Footnote: On the Ides of March, 1945, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer, had become aware of Hitler’s pending edict that, as the Allied armies approached, everything that remained within Germany was to be destroyed via a genuine scorched earth policy. Hitler saw such destruction as a means of denying plunder to the Allies, also as punishment of the German people for losing the war. Speer took serious issue with the thesis, and on March 15 1945 he penned a 22 page document to be delivered to Hitler by Colonel von Below. In the document he wrote, “No one has the right to take the viewpoint that the fate of the German people is tied to his fate.” Or in other words, ‘just because you’ve failed as leader doesn’t mean the people have also failed.’ Hitler did still make the decree that Germany be destroyed, but he also put Herr Speer in charge of carrying out the order. Speer purposely ignored it, and though Germany was soon defeated, the scorched earth policy was avoided.

Hamlet said, “conscience does make cowards of us all,” but he doesn’t define “coward” beyond his embedded context. Causes one to speculate a bit: was, e.g., Albert Speer’s action to deny the destruction of Germany an act of conscience’, and was his refusal to carry out his leader’s orders and the policies embedded therein what one might expect from a ‘coward’ driven by ‘conscience’? Could it be that, in Hamlet’s context, the actions taken by a ‘coward’ made by ‘conscience’ are, in reality, potentially heroic acts?

The Ides of March are come again, and the beat goes on, and on, and on. Perhaps We the People should, as an act of ‘conscience’, contact our own “leadership” in Washington, D.C., and in the various states . . . and explain that we, as ‘Cowards’ who do NOT respect our “leadership’s” disdain for the poor, the elderly, the infirm, minorities of every kind, as well as the common man, will have no more of it, that we are thus prepared to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them, that we are also willing (and able) to, in Hamlet’s words, their quietus make with a bare bodkin.

I suspect the ‘republican’ majority in the Congress, acting as the Cowards WITHOUT Conscience that they constantly prove themselves to be, would immediately  pass legislation demanding that each and every sale/purchase of a bare bodkin requires both a background check AND licensing . . . followed immediately by an order for a truckload of fresh Depends.

This is today’s open thread; ‘words of Truth’ are welcome, or:  “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war”!

81 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday, The Ides of March, 2013; Requiem: America

  1. Stunner: Sen. Rob Portman Backs Same-Sex Marriage

    Sen. Rob Portman says he now supports same-sex marriage because one of his sons is gay.

    The Ohio Republican informed reporters from several newspapers in his home state of his reversal, which The Columbus Dispatch calls “stunning.”

    Portman told The Cincinnati Enquirer his evolution on the subject began in 2011 when his son, Will, then a freshman at Yale University, told his parents he was gay.

    Goopers only acknowledge other’s rights should exist when it starts to affect their own families. Portman should ask himself: ‘What other issues am I wrong about because they don’t personally affect my life?’

    • And I also like how their hard-line stances can actually change on a dime. Makes you wonder which of their other stances are just BS posturing.

      • My guess would be that all of their stances are BS posturing, at least in the “family values” category.

    • In other news, Turtle wil be attending one of the Boy Scouts membership town hall meetings in the next week or so….. should be interesting. Got this from one of the new parents who just joined this month:

      “Even if you cannot attend, find a way to voice your opinion on this matter. If we give in to the homosexual lobby we risk the very future of the Boy Scouts. We must stand firm and we need to let our leaders know where we stand !!!”

      Checked out his email address: ‘gopvotgetr@……com’ – yay, I can tell he and are going get along famously.

    • At least he realizes that when it hits home, it has meaning.
      Will have zero influence on the rest of the Republiscum legislators.

    • isn’t this the same film Sanjay Gupta was doing this past week? I sat and watched it and thought “Sh*t, why wasn’t this film made in 2010 when the Ignoranti were waving their ‘Get government hands off of Medicare’ signs?

    • Anyway, I’ve marked my dance card for this one. Might be a bit more informative and less ‘trying too hard to be hip’ than Sicko. Though I don’t see anyone floating in a boat off Havana in this one.

    • Bet she wishes she’d stayed with him and been at his side as he rose through the ranks of the Catholic Church to its pinnacle…. oh right….

    • The Inquisition, what a show, the Inquisition, here we go.

      Don’t appeal to Frank for mercy
      You can’t Torquemada anything

    • The Pope, wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame gown
      over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress,
      accessorized with a three-foot House of Whoville hat and
      the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz, on his way to tell us it’s Wrong to be Gay.
      Ron Jarrett

  2. I clicked on CSPAN’s link to CPAC to hear Tucker Carlson, on a panel about what happened in the last election opine that Democrats said nasty thing about Republican candidates and Republicans have a politeness in them that prevents them from saying nasty things about their opponents. 😯

  3. TerrytheTurtle watch:

    My son: “That’s the Frontierland train.”
    My 34-month old grandson: “I don’t want it to have that name. I want to give it a turtle name. And we will give the train a turtle.”

  4. ~”NRA head says background checks will fix nothing”~

    well, Wayne, i’ll have to agree, we need to ban guns …..period

    • Sure…. dude murdered his grandparents at the beginning of the week at the party they had planned to celebrate his release from prison. Was next heard of looking for gun shows where he could get tooled up without being stopped by a background check….. fortunately he was caught in Oregon before he could get a weapon. Wayne La Pierre – needs a c**k punch

    • If old Pat would ever say that in my presence (*barf*) I’d ask him what’s wrong with that? He’s probably a fascist, whether he knows what that means or not, and personally, I think a lot more of Marx’s philosophy than I do of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s.

  5. Frankie also Goes to the Falklands

    Not surprised that the Argies are all wound up and beating their chests that Frank said the ‘Malvinas are ours’ – that the Argies basically forfeited any right to anything by taking them by force in 1982 and now ignoring the wishes of the people who have lived their for nearly 200 years…. nah…. Frank’s a typical Argie, cheating at soccer is about all they can do.

    But check out his dispute with Pres. Christina ‘shave em off, paint em on eyebrows’ Kirchner:

    “When the conservative cardinal called for God’s War on her government’s gay marriage proposals, Kirchner accused him of putting forward ideas ‘from the Dark Ages and the Inquisition’. He replied that women were to inept to hold political positions.”

    Pope Frankie, ancient, fascist mysogynist bigot in the usual Vatican mold….. (the Inquisition, what a show…)

  6. Weekend is all sport all the time…. in the UK.

    There’s Formula 1 down under, cricket (what you say?) but the star of the weekend is the clash between the two top teams in northern hemisphere rugby – England travel to Wales with the title on the line. This promises to be an epic clash, if you’ve never seen a game – pick this one. 1pm EDT on BBC America tomorrow. Wales are narrow favourites, they have been improving recently and England is flat although unbeaten this since beating the world champions New Zealand like a red-headed stepchild last October. The key is that Wales are at home and 70,000 singing Welshmen can lift their team like nothing you can imagine.

    • World Champion Vettel led a Red Bull one-two in practice two this morning, before I was awake. I’m going to be hard pressed to watch qualifying at 1am.

  7. And, in the category of dumbass Republicans talking stupid…
    Romney to GOP: Learn from my mistakes
    Key Excerpts:
    Romney, the failed candidate who challenged President Barack Obama in 2012, heralded a handful of Republican governors and his former running mate — Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — as the next generation of GOP leadership. And he counseled party activists gathered here at the Conservative Political Action Conference to learn from his campaign’s missteps.

    “It is up to us to make sure that we learn from my mistakes, and from our mistakes, so that we can win the victories those people and this nation depend upon,” Romney told a warmly supportive CPAC crowd.
    …”In the end, we will win just as we have won before, and for the same reason: because our cause is just and it is right.”

    No recognition that the 1% that they serve have antithecal values to the majority of Americans who vote. No acknowledgement that the R’s, both the fatoldwhite establishment and the Teabagging morons who would remove gummint don’t share the values of the majority of America.
    Just the same old ‘just and right’ manure.
    Just don’t get it, and right, as in wing. That’s all they got.

  8. Brent crude rose to near $110 per barrel on Friday as strong U.S. economic data fuelled prospects of increased demand in the world’s top oil consumer, while concerns over supply from the Middle East added support.

    U.S. industrial production strengthened more than expected in February on a rebound in manufacturing.

    • Mitt and the Kochs should have no problem filling their tanks. I, otoh, along with probably 300 million other folks, don’t do that very often anymore. Not even with my 2013 $12 per month hike in my S.S. check. Still, I do know that it’s moochers like me that are destroying Amurka. Oh well, f**k it.

  9. I’m sure this will be money well spent. *fart*

    U.S. to Bolster Missile Defense to Deter Attack by North Korea
    The United States will deploy additional ballistic-missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to increase the Pentagon’s ability to blunt a potential attack from North Korea, in a clear response to recent tests of nuclear weapons technology and long-range missiles by the North.
    The new deployment will increase the number of ground-based interceptors to 44 from the 30 already based in California and Alaska. While the limited missile-defense system does not offer a 100-percent guarantee of knocking down a North Korean attack, the weapons send a signal of credible deterrence to the North’s limited intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal.

    • Pat says:

      Indeed, let us presume the impossible — that the Church should suddenly allow the ordination of woman, and decree that abortions in the first month of pregnancy are now licit, and that homosexual unions, if for life, will henceforth be recognized and blessed.

      This would require the Church to admit that for 2,000 years it had been in error on matters of faith and morals, and hence is not infallible. But if the Church could have been so wrong for so long, while the world was right, and many had suffered for centuries because the Church erred, what argument would be left for remaining Catholic?

      I can help him here: there has never been any reason at all whatsoever to either become or to remain Catholic; as with all other Christian religions, everything is based on a faulty premise to begin with, the premise that there’s a god out there somewhere. Show me one sliver of truth — ONE only will do, but it has to be a good one — that your god or anyone else’s version is out there somewhere, and we can talk. But I’ll not hold my breath.

      There. That was easy. Poor Pat. Being propagandized since birth can have long-lasting negative effects on the thinking process.

  10. i can’t remember who it was last night that commented on the Sandy Hook school shooting, but the one comment that keeps careening round in my head was this:

    in less than five minutes, Adam Lanza fired 152 rounds, mostly into the bodies of 7 year old children. in less than five minutes, from the onset, until the time he killed blew his brains out.

    thats more than five 30 round clips. it could have been more, but 152 shell casings were accounted for. many children were dismembered by high powered ammunition designed for military warfare….i cried last night, and it’s still bothering me today.

      • Veronique Pozner, the mother of Noah Pozner, the youngest victim in the Newtown tragedy:

        In the wake of the Newtown shooting, Veronique described the state of her little boy’s remains as she struggled to bury him.

        ~“He had thick, shiny hair, beautiful long eyelashes that rested on his cheeks. He looked like he was sleeping. But the reality of it was under the cloth he had covering his mouth there was no mouth left. His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.”~

      • She (Rachel) pointed out that to get to 152 rounds fired, there was one bullet in the chamber, plus five 30 round magazines, plus one pistol bullet, the suicide round.

        I have to wonder why he didn’t use the pistol first and save the children. I don’t suppose there’s any kind of a sensible answer to that, but still, I don’t understand what could possibly cause such nonsensical and absolutely horrific behavior.

  11. Here’s a good one, a (lengthy, of course) explanation as to how Obama will get that third and fourth term in the White House, and how from that circumstance he’ll create a Socialist state here in Amurka. And what’s the tool? OIL SHALE! Twenty locations with 20 billion barrels of oil in each one! Yee Haw.

    And you thought Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt were bad? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

    Keep a barf bucket handy if you choose to listen to this dude.

    • I get e-mail items from Newsmax (just so I can keep up with what the crazies are whinging about next), and one of their sponsors is Stansberry Research. He always making wild ass claims about how the stock market is going to crash like nobody’s business (because he correctly predicted every economic downturn for the past umpteen years, my guess is by predicting one all the time and being right once in a while). Now i know I was right to never read those articles or watch those videos. Thanks. You’ve done a great service just posting this much.

      • I had the distinct feeling that Stansberry was the equivalent of a weather forecaster in Colorado. They get it right every time . . . tomorrow, about what the weather patterns were today. They can even get the high and low temps, usually.

  12. As Charlie Cook underlines how disproportionately white the GOP has become since redistricting, as a minority outreach session degenerates into an argument about the virtues of slavery and segregation, National Review actually runs a post about the greatest thing about CPAC this year: the shoe shine. SRSLY:

    “Dino Wright, manager and owner of the shoe-shine booth, has worked at the hotel since it opened five years ago. CPAC and events like it boost business for Wright. He says he thinks it’s because he “provides a very important service to this very image-conscious group.”

    Wright began shining shoes after the airline he once worked for defaulted on its pension obligations, driving him to find a source of income in retirement.

    “I was able to create a pension for myself by creating an entrepreneurial activity,” Wright says. He noticed that fewer people were entering the shoe-shining profession, and “I saw that as an entrepreneurial opportunity” – an ethic that sits well with the CPAC crowd.’

    • It seems that the biggest difference between the modern GOoPer and a lab rat is that there are still a few hateful things a lab rat can’t be taught to do.

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