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Class War For Idiots / February 7, 2012

In the spirit of the Millennial vs. Boomer debate raging in the comment section of Connor Kilpatrick’s great piece, “Thirty More Years of Hell,” I’d like to republish my account of an anti-healthcare town hall meeting I attended way back in 2009 in the subprime Southern California suburb of Victorville, in which I attempted to capture the fear and horror I felt watching old white boomer hicks froth at the mouth and tremble with rage at the slightest hint of extending to their kids and grandkids the same sort of government-run healthcare “entitlements” that they’ve been sucking on all their lives.

It’s from September 10, 2009. Enjoy:

town-hall-victor-valley-1

It was a hot day, still 98 degrees at 6 PM, as I zoomed through gridlock on my freshly fixed 1979 Kawasaki KZ-400, squeezing between the monster trucks and lifted SUVs clogging one of Victorville’s main drags, pouring sweat into my helmet and leather jacket on my way to an anti-Obamacare “town hall” meeting at the local community college.

I thought I knew what to expect when I got there. Like everyone else in this country, I had been watching the packs of deranged tea bagger types and their astroturfing overlords dominate the healthcare reform debate like a pack of retarded howler monkeys in heat. But TV hadn’t quite prepared me for the reality of it. You can’t really appreciate how fucked this country really is until you see, as I did, hundreds of blue collar Americans sync up their primitive brains in a paranoid racist-hick seance, channeling White Power ideals through Reagan’s damned soul.

This Obama-bashing meeting was brought to the people of the High Desert courtesy of the Representative from California’s 41st District, Mr. Jerry Lewis. No, not the “Great Balls of Fire” guy. This one was a different type of performer: a great wads of cronyism political scam artist. In the two decades Lewis has served as this district’s rep, he’s made quite a name for himself as one of the most corrupt members of Congress, using his position as a ranking Republican member of the House Appropriations Committee (one of the most powerful committees out there) to “steer hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks to family and friends in direct exchange for contributions to his campaign committee and political action committee.” But as I was about to find out, Lewis’ constituency was so crazed they made him look less like an uber-successful used car salesmen and more like Mr. Mackey.

lewis_portrait_004_400

Mr. Lewis in front of Congress’ Corruption Hall of Fame portrait

My motorcycle didn’t help me get to the town hall any faster than my car would’ve—it was impossible to get around the lifted trucks with monster tires that barely fit into their own lanes—so I got there 30 minutes too late, and the auditorium had already filled up. “Sorry, sir. We have to wait until someone comes out to let you in. We’re at maximum fire safety capacity,” a college kid tasked with manning the doors told me and pointed me deeper into the lobby, where a TV and some chairs had been set up for the overflow crowd.

There were about 30 people assembled around the television set. Most of them were old, liver-spotted zombies. A few of them were in wheelchairs, others were sitting with canes between their knobby knees. Two vets had set themselves up on a bench right in front of the TV. One of them was wearing a brand-new “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirt while his buddy had the words “Bubba Stick” etched into his wooden cane. Was this the front line of the anti-healthcare reform revolution?

I tried to make smalltalk with an old man wearing a blue “Korean War Veteran” hat, who was standing next to me. I tried to be chummy, saying something about the organizers not letting us in because we looked suspicious. But he would have none of it. Without saying a word, the vet gave me a slow cagey glance and hobbled away from me closer to the TV. I thought maybe gramps was hard of hearing. But there were mean vibes coming off the old man that couldn’t be ignored. Only later—when I finally made it into the auditorium and took a good look around—did I understand what it was all about.

Inside, the demographic was even more skewed towards the white and the old. Other than a couple of college students and one black guy, the 400-person auditorium was a sea of flabby, wrinkled white punctuated by handle bar mustaches and the occasional oxygen nose-tube glistening in the fluorescent light. But that oxygen had obviously come too late. People were queued up and down the aisles waiting for their turn to speak. And judging by what they were saying, brain damage had already taken its toll long ago.

A wheelchair-bound grandma with sunken in eyeballs and translucent skin the color of a sardine was so overtaken by Lewis’ generic Republican free market/invisible-hand-knows-best sermon that she was ready to leap out of her wheelchair. Her “amens” were getting louder every time Lewis uttered one of the many permutations of that night’s mantra—”government keep your hands off my healthcare”—that I half-expected her to start speaking in tongues.

I spied an long-haired dude wearing a “Public Option is the Only Option for Health Care Reform” button. But while the rest of the living dead cheered their rep’s “health care reform is a slippery slope to Communism” argument, he sat quietly mumbling under his breath. And he was doing the right thing. Wearing that button was brave enough, and he was already getting bad looks from some of the surlier dudes in the audience. You don’t want to start a confrontation in a room filled with venomous redneck grandmas and Harley-ridin’, goatee-braidin’ Vietnam vets hanging out with their Korean War dads while they are soaring high on American Patriotism. These people were itching to lynch a liberal. Itching real bad.

Finally, Rep. Lewis opened the floor up to questions.

Some hag from Apple Valley started off with a long screed about how illegal immigration was ruining our country and how the government was going to force her to pay the medical fees of illegal immigrants, union members, ACORN, and the rest of the treasonous Commie/Muslim groups Obama brought in. Then she switched gears: “And on page 59 of HR 3200 it states, ‘The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic transfers,’” she said, convinced that the health care plan was a diabolical plan by Obama’s Commie masters to take money away from honest white people like herself and redistribute it to blacks, spics, chinks and of course those damn kikes. “The government will take our savings,” she said, her voice quivering. “I am not willing to give my savings to the government!” The whole place went wild in support, the applause kept on roaring and people gave her a standing ovation. It was like she just scored a touchdown.

There were a couple of 50-something blue collar workers and their wives sitting behind me. One of the men, who was sitting about a foot away from my left ear, kept saying “yeah,” “yeah,” “that’s right,” to every point the woman—and just about everyone else who took the mic—made. He sounded like Beavis at a super church.

A woman who was extremely worried about the sovereignty of America took the mic. She heard that China was going to be one of the half-dozen countries manufacturing the Swine Flu vaccine. And she was convinced that those Commie bastards were going to use the vaccine as a Trojan horse to destroy America from the inside. “I hope we are going to be protecting our sovereignty. I hope that America does not import the vaccine from China,” she screamed into the mic. “And I better damn hope we know what they are putting in these vaccines!”

The idiots in that room got to their feet and cheered her on, whooping, yelping and whistling. Some guy took it even farther. He was convinced the World Health Organization had fabricated the Swine Flu pandemic so that the UN could take over the whole world and start running that One World Government they had been planning for so long. Not only had these people not changed in half a century, it seems like they had regressed.

As long as we’re keeping score: The Enlightenment: 0, Rednecks: 1.

On and on it went. “I’m sick and tired of having people up there comparing us to other countries. If you don’t like it here, go back to Africa!” a stringy woman with a meth-head physique yelled into the mic, goading her own ten-year-old daughter into health care-related illegal immigrant bashing. “How come we who work have to pay for people who don’t pay any taxes?” the girl said, clearly not knowing what the hell she was talking about. Another guy went on a tear about how illegal immigrants are actually flush with cash, but don’t spend it. Instead, they use credit cards that they never bother to pay, forcing us to foot the bill. “Who’s gonna pay for that when they disappear? We are!”

“Yeah, I took an oath to protect and serve my country. Not piddle it away to immigrants and unions,” a vet chimed in.

Jesus Christ. These people really are the perfect slaves. Their brain structure isn’t equipped to handle the complicated ripoff schemes pushed on them by greedy corporations, corrupt politicians or perverted pastors. It was clear that for the majority, racism and violence were about the only concepts they could understand with any certitude.

It was a weird, scary thing to behold. And it was clearly making Rep. Jerry Lewis uncomfortable. He tried to play down some of the more paranoid and racist statements, but he knew he was walking a thin line. Any attempt at reason would be viewed as nothing less than outright betrayal of the American Way he was elected to preserve.

And some of it backfired. He tried to reassure the crowd that the UN was not going to take over America and that Obama was not going to get full access to their savings accounts, but the people didn’t like that one bit. One guy threatened Lewis straight up, saying that he better not see him support those union lovin’, ACORN-funding Dems. “You better not. Or… I’ll be watching you,” the said, his voice menacingly flat and terse. This wasn’t deadpan liberal comedy. The man meant it, and Jerry Lewis knew it, able to muster only a nervous laugh and attempting to redirect the bad vibes coming his way in the direction of a grotesquely obese heckler in the back, who was drunk and spewing out incomprehensibly slurred grievances for the better part of an hour.

“You know, we’ve had a heckler like this at just every town hall meeting I’ve hosted. Last time, there was a man trying to ruin our civil discussion. I didn’t know it at the time, I read it in a newspaper, but it turned out this guy was working for the Democratic opponent that ran against me. He had been fired a little earlier because he was selling kiddie porn,” Lewis told the crowd, delivering the anecdote Jay Leno style. He knew how to work his audience back into a good mood. Even the heckler had a laugh. It seemed all had been forgiven.

As the meeting went on, it became clear that the crowd was composed of three distinct groups. The first, largest and dumbest was made up exclusively of racist hicks, who were convinced that any regulation was a secret attack on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and the God-fearing Ways of White America. The second group, heavily overlapping with the first and probably just as big, was was made up of old people. They were pensioners and veterans who were opposed to government-run health care—the very health care plans they were on—because they feared their benefits would be cut. The third town haller type was stealthier and smarter. They didn’t ask questions or voice concerns, they made point-by-point policy demands lifted straight off the health insurance lobby, but wrapped in the bi-partisan rhetoric of astroturf organizations like FreedomWorks.

But the evil corporate shills didn’t bother me as much as the old people with their old-person smells. There they were, barely moving and ignorant as all hell. They are part of “sun revolves around the moon” demographic, but they are not stupid, survival instinct-wise. The joke of this is that they’re all living on government healthcare plans—the very thing they had been mobilized to this auditorium to fight! But they were not ignorant or hypocritical. They were fighting to protect a limited resource.

Consider these fun Baby Boomer facts: Right now, there are about 75 million of them. By 2020, there will be one baby boomer for every five Americans, yet they’ll account for half of all visits to physicians. As they age, they’ll siphon off more and more money from Medicare, spending more to keep themselves alive than they ever put into the system. The amount of healthcare that these offspring of the “greatest generation” will need is astounding. Right now, just as many Baby Boomers are beginning to retire, there are about 80,000 hip fractures a year. Ten years from now, that number will grow to 500,000.

You can be sure that when the Baby Boomers are done with it, Medicare will be sucked dry with nothing left for us youngin’s. And they know it. They want to maximize socialism for themselves while they can, and leave none for the next generation.

On some primitive level, the old people around me understood what I had not: the fight for healthcare reform is not just pitting the average American against giant health insurance vampires. It is also a fight between the young and the old, between the giant, aging Baby Boomer generation and the rest of us. They understand that we want to have some of what they have. But they are greedy, self-centered geriatric vampires and they do not want to share.

This article was first published by The eXiled in September 2009. At the time eXiled editor Yasha Levine was stationed in Victorville, an isolated desert suburb on the frontline of California’s real estate meltdown. His immersion journalism and reporting on the city’s rampant real estate scams and local political corruption got him on the frontpage of the local newspaper, the Daily Press. It also got him a bad case of substance-induced insomnia.

Yasha Levine is a founding editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.


 



 

28 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. vortexgods  |  February 7th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Hatred of the young definitely seems to be what the Tea Party is all about. Take this screed from Frank Miller:

    http://frankmillerink.com/2011/11/anarchy

    The thing that really comes out of it is real hatred of anyone significantly younger than himself.

  • 2. Urda  |  February 7th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    You don’t share resources,you either create them or harvest them.There may be a given pool of money that can be taxed but that changes year by year.

    The entire West is in that hand-basket,we don’t innovate,we don’t expand and our financial institutions couldn’t lend the money needed to create or expand new industries anyway.They are too likely to get involved in pyramid schemes.

    Blaming the boomers,isn’t the solution or blaming the old.Nobody expected the system to break down as fast as it did,everyone assumed there was one more decade before everything fell apart.

    This comment is brought to you by Trolling 4 the Cure, a tri-annual trolling triathlon whose proceeds go to benefit the Boomer Trolls For Eternal Life Extension Foundation.

  • 3. Trevor  |  February 7th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    The really infuriating factor is the hypocrisy. Boomers have been lecturing their children on “personal responsibility” and all that good stuff for three decades but now refuse to give up the very entitlement they decry.

    Assholes.

  • 4. Dtd  |  February 7th, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you so much for reposting this. . .it was always one of my favorite Rev. Yasha pieces and it feels particularly poignant after reading Mr. Kilpatrick’s article. The comment section is cracking off over there! And the AEC is largely staying out of it.

    We mere mortals must be on to the right track if the AEC doesn’t feel the need to correct our retardation incessantly. The cryptic pursuit of truth has always been our mortal burden. From what I can tell, the AEC is there merely to point us in the right direction.

    May he not lightning bolt this comment.

    Amen

  • 5. hazey  |  February 7th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    It’s so much nicer reading about Victorville from Riverside, than reading about Victorville while still in Victorville. Fuck that place.

  • 6. Punjabi From Karachi  |  February 7th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    The comments in Kilpatrick’s piece are okay. This would be average for some of the places I’ve seen internet debates rage.

    Read this back in 2009 :-) What does AEC stand
    for? American Enterprise…Centre?

  • 7. Hick  |  February 7th, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I’ve lived where the population was 96% white, 96% Republican, and, apparently, 96% on the gov’t teat. What I’ve observed is:

    Democrats: “I want welfare and food stamps, so anyone in my situation should be able to get them too.”

    Republicans: I want welfare and food stamps, but FUCK anyone not in my own little circle of friends who want ‘em no matter how poor, FUCK THEM, FUCK THEM WITH A CACTUS!”

    The equation has been gone over again and again and again: it’s far cheaper to have basic medical care available for free, to everyone, than do thing the way we do now.

  • 8. Strelnikov  |  February 7th, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I remember this piece when it originally ran, all the old people rage and that slickster with the helmet hair…what a fucking joke.

  • 9. Strelnikov  |  February 7th, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    And by “a fucking joke”, I’m taking about TeaTard politics, not the article.

    AEC responds: Yes, my son. The AEC always understands what you intend to say, even if you yourself are frequently confused.

  • 10. heyabuddy  |  February 8th, 2012 at 12:47 am

    There’s a remarkably non-crappy article in this month’s Atlantic that fleshes out the personal/psychological impact of the demographic crisis we’re headed towards as the boomers age. Highly recommended for further reading…

    …but as usual, Exiled had them scooped by good margin. Visiting this site really helps me fool my friends into thinking I’m smart.

    THE AEC RESPONDS:
    That’s what we’re here for, heyabuddy: making readers who don’t have time to actually be smart to nevertheless appear smart.

  • 11. jacksmith  |  February 8th, 2012 at 8:19 am

    REALITY!! And A Fix for Unemployment, Homelessness and Hunger

    In addition to fixing healthcare the right way we need a NewDeal. We need a permanent and updated FDR WPA (Works Progress Administration). A Full employment act requiring the government to provide a job for everyone able to work that wants to work at a living wage or better. At safe, meaningful work where they live. Guaranteed by the US government. With free or very affordable excellent healthcare and free or very affordable education and training for advancement or just personal enrichment.

    ( http://my.firedoglake.com/iflizwerequeen/2011/05/16/how-about-a-little-truth-about-what-the-majority-want-for-health-care/ )

    ( Gov. Peter Shumlin: Real Healthcare reform — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yFUbkVCsZ4 )

    ( Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator — http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html )

    ( Briefing: Dean Baker on Boosting the Economy by Saving Healthcare http://t.co/fmVz8nM )

    START NOW!

    As you all know. Had congress passed a single-payer or government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one, our economy and jobs would have taken off like a rocket. And still will. Single-payer would be best. But a government-run robust Public Option CHOICE! that can lead to a single-payer system is the least you can accept. It’s not about competing with for-profit healthcare and for-profit health insurance. It’s about replacing it with Universal Healthcare Assurance. Everyone knows this now.

    The message from the midterm elections was clear. The American people want real healthcare reform. They want that individual mandate requiring them to buy private health insurance abolished. And they want a government-run robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one. And they want it now.

    They want Drug re-importation, and abolishment, or strong restrictions on patents for biologic and prescription drugs. And government controlled and negotiated drug and medical cost. They want back control of their healthcare system from the Medical Industrial Complex. And they want it NOW!

    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL NOT, AND MUST NOT, ALLOW AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE TO STAND WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

    For-profit health insurance is extremely unethical, and morally repugnant. It’s as morally repugnant as slavery was. And few if any decent Americans are going to allow them-self to be compelled to support such an unethical and immoral crime against humanity.

    This is a matter of National and Global security. There can be NO MORE EXCUSES.

    Further, we want that corrupt, undemocratic filibuster abolished. Whats the point of an election if one corrupt member of congress can block the will of the people, and any legislation the majority wants. And do it in secret. Give me a break people.

    Also, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance.

    Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and poorer quality patient care.

    Republicans: GET RID OF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.

    Democrats: ADD A ROBUST GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION TO HEALTHCARE REFORM.

    This is what the American people are shouting at you. Both parties have just enough power now to do what the American people want. GET! IT! DONE! NOW!

    If congress does not abolish the individual mandate. And establish a government-run public option CHOICE! before the end of 2011. EVERY! member of congress up for reelection in 2012 will face strong progressive pro public option, and anti-individual mandate replacement candidates.

    Strong progressive pro “PUBLIC OPTION” CHOICE! and anti-individual mandate volunteer candidates should begin now. And start the process of replacing any and all members of congress that obstruct, or fail to add a government-run robust PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE! before the end of 2011.

    We need two or three very strong progressive volunteer candidates for every member of congress that will be up for reelection in 2012. You should be fully prepared to politically EVISCERATE EVERY INCUMBENT that fails or obstructs “THE PUBLIC OPTION”. And you should be willing to step aside and support the strongest pro “PUBLIC OPTION” candidate if the need arises.

    ASSUME CONGRESS WILL FAIL and SELLOUT again. So start preparing now to CUT THEIR POLITICAL THROATS. You can always step aside if they succeed. But only if they succeed. We didn’t have much time to prepare before these past midterm elections. So the American people had to use a political shotgun approach. But by 2012 you will have a scalpel.

    Congress could have passed a robust government-run public option during it’s lame duck session. They knew what the American people wanted. They already had several bills on record. And the house had already passed a public option. Departing members could have left with a truly great accomplishment. And the rest of you could have solidified your job before the 2012 elections.

    President Obama, you promised the American people a strong public option available to everyone. And the American people overwhelmingly supported you for it. Maybe it just wasn’t possible before. But it is now.

    Knock heads. Threaten people. Or do whatever you have to. We will support you. But get us that robust public option CHOICE! available to everyone on day one before the end of 2011. Or We The People Of The United States will make the past midterm election look like a cake walk in 2012. And it will include you.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. They have already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    Spread the word people.

    Progressives, prepare the American peoples scalpels. It’s time to remove some politically diseased tissues.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.

    Sincerely

    jacksmith – WorkingClass :-)

  • 12. jonnym  |  February 8th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I remember reading this when it first came out and a lightbulb went off over my head. In my life, it was almost always the 50+ crowd who parroted the Limbaugh/O’Reilly/Coulter/Beck “yay corporations” party-line. I’d never really noticed it before I read that.

    It wasn’t an all white cohort, like in this article; it was like 80% white for me. The rest were Asian or Middle Eastern, with an occasional Hispanic, Indian or black in the mix. The rare under-40s who parroted that line, though? Almost always white dudes. Usually really nerdy and creepy dudes, too.

    A lot of current hot-button issues in America — whether it’s healthcare, financial regulation, or labor politics — makes a lot more sense when you realize that you’re really seeing the struggle between a small, older, privileged populace against a younger, larger, less/non-privileged populace who want a bigger piece of the pie. Thank you, Yasha, for helping me see that.

  • 13. Narodnik  |  February 8th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I don’t see why anyone who is “change-minded” would be upset by this growing trend towards utter retardation and crypto-fascism. The corporations and their shills are feeding a beast that will devour them. Once their ideology fully manifests itself in reality – the state will collapse. Corporatism-Fascism is an inherently unstable mode of social organization, it needs to forever expand or it will collapse. There is nowhere for it to expand, so it’s already doomed.

    In this perverse way, the Koch-whores that you guys so despise are the most revolutionary group in modern Amerika. In a way, they are doing your work for you, while you continue to post shit on internet forums and organizing toothless “occupations”. If any of you are serious reds here, major counterrevolutionary points for you all. Any real revolutionary vanguard would have you guys shot.

    In light of this, my question is: what is your problem (aside from them just being poor human material) with Koch-whores/boomers/Reagan zombies/teabaggers and other members of this corporate-backed crypto-fascist movement?

    Censor, please retain the original formulation. The tone is intentional. I am actually interested in getting an answer to this.

    Great work, as always, Yasha. Publish a book already, so I can buy it. Even a “collected writings” will do.

  • 14. super390  |  February 8th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    #13:

    Well yeah, but what good does it do me if I can’t physically survive the full flowering of fascist rule because I died of pneumonia in a privatized labor camp?

    The only thing white liberals are good for is delaying the Kochs long enough for demographic reinforcements to arrive – too many minorities, too young, too strong and too angry for the redneck militias/military/police to stop. By the way, many of the redneck MMP forces will be Millenials. Ever see “youth-oriented” programs on Christian media? Sickening, but if they only get a few million ready to kill, they’ve got the dwindling white liberal population on the run until about 2050.

  • 15. Cum  |  February 9th, 2012 at 8:28 am

    @13: Accelerationism. Great. Not fighting back at all is the best strategy for fighting back, down is up, up is down, ice cream tastes like poop, troll troll trollllll

  • 16. Petkov  |  February 9th, 2012 at 10:55 am

    yet another “divide and rule” tactic by the rich that were perfected by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Making us squabble over crumbs while they spend over 1 trillion dollars on fake “wars on terror”. Makes one love the USA.

  • 17. Kindoran  |  February 9th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    @13 – “Corporatism-Fascism is an inherently unstable mode of social organization, it needs to forever expand or it will collapse. ”

    That’s a fatalist (and untestable) assessment. Besides, EVERY form of government eventually collapses. And if this Corp-Fascist paradigm takes WWIII to collapse, well… the survivors can enjoy their regained freedom in an irradiated hellscape I suppose.

    I’d rather go for some stifling one world “capitalist-lite” government that resembles Sweden than do the whole “Fallout” scenario, sorry. It’s the lesser evil. And we actually could achieve such a thing non-violently, so that’s a bonus, too.

  • 18. Hick  |  February 9th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve lived several places in the US, and it seems all the bridges, sidewalks, public parks, even major gov’t buildings, were built in the 1930s under FDR and the WPA. A lot of really cool shit, really. I live in a fucktard nowhere town now and …. sure enough, all the bridges have 1930s dates on them.

    I’d like to see the 700-odd outposts of Empire closed down, let us be militarized as hell, sure, but like Switzerland, for defense not offense. And let the National Guard be the guys and gals who hand out coffee and donuts and blankets when there’s some emergency, not the guys and gals out killing ‘hajis’ overseas. Put the $$$ the went into a worldwide Empire into building stuff and doing cool shit here at home.

    Enlarge Jimmy Carter’s Habitat For Humanity and have the legions of homeless folks, most of whom ex-middle-class, able to buy their own plots of land and build their houses. Get Joe Blow Ex-Middle-Class making shoes, or his son, making shoes. At $30 a pair, an American working in their garage can compete with China. Easily.

    Wanna see a Teapotard turn green? Mention that you remember the birth of the Tea Party, it was in protest of Bush Jr’s policies. It goes ‘way back before Obama was even on the horizon. And yeah, Barry for a 2nd term.

  • 19. sleepy  |  February 10th, 2012 at 3:57 am

    @16

    And dividing by age is one way to do it.

    Not sure why the article buys into the rightwing Koch/Peterson meme that medicare is broke. Like SS, with minor fixes it can be fine.

    The AEC responds to this Obama 2012 supporter: You are young and naive, my son. Boomers would rather castrate their sons than vote for higher taxes–yes, even on the rich.

  • 20. coprologie  |  February 10th, 2012 at 7:38 am

    whatever happened to the cool old people, the SDS types

    where’d they go

  • 21. greybeard  |  February 10th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    ^^ It turns out they weren’t really all that cool, they just had excellent PR for the time. Read up on the PL takeover of the SDS, and the Weather Underground split that prompted. It’ll help explain what “happened” to the old New Left. The rot set in long before Vietnam ended, don’t let them tell you different.

    Ahh, 60s radicalism. If the Exiled ever wants (yet another) written account from a 17-year-old who was at Chicago ’68, I could oblige. Who woulda thunk that nutters like the Yippies would come out looking like best of show?! Paul Krassner kicks some ass to this day, and a righteous god of some sort took care of that sellout Rubin. Abbie Hoffman remains way more readable than many of his contemporaries. Too bad he was so wrong about how awesome the space program was.

    Yeah, a modern equivalent of the Yippies would really help make those Occupy folks a bit more… palatable. I know they’re the good guys, but goddamn do I want punch someone in the throat when I hear those lame-ass chants. No savvy whatsoever. It’s not enough to be “right” — you gotta be COOLER than the cops, dig?

  • 22. raul  |  February 11th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    total agreement with this article and all the other class war dispatches!

    I just wish the exiled would stop using ‘retard’ as a way to describe these people. I have never known anyone who was mentally handicapped to be as cruel and unpleasant as the reactionaries of the right.

  • 23. Collation  |  February 11th, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Not even got my own blog to publish it on, I’d love to hear it, Greybeard. Always good to have another account rather than a popular historian just pulling it all together into his favorite narrative.

  • 24. pearl fiddler queen  |  February 12th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    @21, truer words not hardly spoken enough. what might kill occupy, but is certainly hindering it at the moment, at least in small outposts in the northeast, is how *blaise* they are. point of process! you know, at least act like our lives are on the line.

  • 25. rossiya  |  February 12th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    @22 “Retard” means “willful retard” or teatard. Just as “gay” doesn’t always mean happy. The meaning was reissued when a massive social movement emerged which cried out for a name. And they are retarded, if only through decades of perfect practice.

  • 26. bardak  |  February 13th, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Yasha,

    Why do you write such long rambling articles that never seem to make points?

    There is something terribly wrong with American journalism that thinks it is OK to say in 14 pages what can be said in three.

    Bardak

  • 27. Dtd  |  February 14th, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Hey, Yasha!

    Jerry Lewis is (finally) retiring.

    Almighty Exiled Censor, please don’t alter this humble supplicant’s comment. The new york time’s link I am enclosing is merely confirmation for my statement. Horrid though they are, when something simple like a congressman’s retirement gets printed in there pages, it either is the truth or it becomes the truth due to their designation as the ‘paper of record’

    Just like Saddam’s WMD’s right?

    DrunktankDan.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/us/california-congressional-delegation-braces-for-change.html?hp

  • 28. Dtd  |  February 14th, 2012 at 3:24 am

    oops,

    meant ‘their’ not ‘there’

    please don’t sick St. Dolan on me. I am unworthy of washing his feet.


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