Kentucky Fried Chickens
i am sorry, america. on behalf of all the sensible people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, i apologize for giving dr. rand paul a reason to speak to the national public. not everyone in kentucky is fooled by the horseshit that comes out of his hateful little mouth. we're not all ignorant, lazy racists here-- only about half of us, according to the latest polls.
dr. paul is the republican candidate for one of our US senate seats, which is being vacated after 700 or so years by the lunatic jim bunning, who was always stingy & mean but got dangerous crazy to the point that the GOP leadership (including the darth vader of the US senate, kentucky's senior senator, mitch mcconnell) barred him from speaking in public until they could force him to retire this term. bunning's the guy who derailed the session to extend unemployment benefits because he was sick of hearing poor people whine for more handouts, the federal budget didn't account for the funds, and besides, the UK wildcats were playing on the tv at the same time.
dr. paul is a tea party darling who upset the apple cart by actually winning the republican nomination, despite enormous odds. he'll be facing jack conway, a young democrat who has run for just about every state office in his brief but busy career. conway became the attorney general a couple of years ago and hasn't done anything to hobble his chances of making it to washington. his hair is perfect and shiny, his smile appears genuine and on cue, and he shakes a lot of hands and shows up at everything. he'd be a shoo-in against any actual republican candidate.
but rand paul is a republican like colonel sanders is a chef: if that's what he has to call himself to get attention and move some units, he's not ashamed to put the elephant logo next to his name. mitch mcconnell cringes every time he sees the pairing, i'm sure, but so far mitch has largely kept his revulsion to himself.
see, rand paul fancies himself a libertarian. i guess at one point, a libertarian could've been described as a person who cherishes and seeks to protect the liberties of individuals above all else, including the welfare of the state. i'm guessing a true libertarian could come up with some equation to demonstrate how if all people were vested with complete liberty, then there would be no need for a state.
or some such poppycock. ask rand's dad, a US representative from texas who might be the closest thing to an actual practicing libertarian.
with their slavish adherence to intellectual principles, they remind me a little of the shakers, a religious sect in the 19th century that set up communes apart from the prevailing culture. they refused to procreate on some inviolate principle. they stuck to their principle and disappeared after a short spell.
i don't see how the shakers thought it would work, and i don't see how, even in theory, a libertarian could expect their system to work.
but, that's beside the point. rand paul is a libertarian like colonel sanders is a military commander. it's just a name, a title, something with a respectable ring to it. (i think anyone can become a Kentucky Colonel if they have lived and worked in the Commonwealth for, like, five years and cough up the processing fee. my dad is a Colonel, and he's a Hoosier!)
first off, rand paul is an opthamologist who makes a comfortable living off federal funds from medicare. he doesn't seem to see the contradiction between telling other people that they shouldn't expect money from their government and building a medical practice where half his patients pay with the government's money.
that said, though, rand paul is closer to a libertarian than the rabble that support him, who until a year ago might have thought that Libertarian was the country in africa where barrack hussein obama was born, if they thought at all. rand paul says he wants to do some of the same things that a libertarian would want to do. he wants to phase out huge chunks of the federal government: worthless money pits like the departments of education and energy among them. these kinds of drastic solutions would allow ordinary americans a greater degree of freedom, according to rand paul.
on the campaign trail, rand paul rails against the government bailouts and the $2 trillion deficit, invokes the unholy trinity of "obama, pelosi & reid" (oh my!), and by sheer aural proximity implies that they are to blame. in fact W inherited a huge SURPLUS when he moved into the white house & squandered it in 18 months, and then-senate-majority-leader mitch mcconnell personally shepherded every single bailout through congress. rand paul doesn't mention that, and his rabble don't ask.
and to say that rand paul "rails" is giving him too much credit. the guy barely has a pulse at the podium. he mumbles. his speeches have about as much topography as your average fifth grader's recitation of the gettysburg address. physically, rand paul appears as uncomfortable as that typical fifth grader, too.
rand paul has said he would have voted against the war in iraq and against the invasive Patriot Act. he used to say he wanted to legalize marijuana. so, yeah, for a minute it looks like adhering to stringent libertarian principles could at times be reasonable. but now that the primary is over, he doesn't bring up those subjects too often. nowadays, rand paul talks about repealing the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, because, he says, they interfere with small businesses' human resources decisions.
on the subject of mountaintop removal, a big-coal scourge where massive machines literally knock the tops off our appalachian mountains and then dump the rock & poison & sludge into the waterways and onto the people and towns below, rand paul says, "we're not talking about Mt Everest. we're talking about these knobby little hills that are everywhere out here."
add to these pronouncements the fact that he has always been vocally anti-abortion, and i begin to wonder if when he and his rabble talk about those small businesses and their "human resources decisions," the definition of "human" they are using may be a little narrower than most people would be comfortable with.
rand paul's perversion of libertarianism seems to want to protect the liberties of individuals from percieved intrusions of the state, provided of course that those individuals are not minorities or people with disabilities or hillbillies or women of childbearing age or some other despicable fringe element.
and so, who exactly is buying this shit?
from what i have seen, it's mostly ignorant fat white people. the last two i can observe with my own eyes. they're white, and they can't hide it. and they're fat, and they can't hide that, either. in fact, a lot of them are so fat they can't walk anymore, so they ride around on those rascal scooter things, which i'm sure they didn't purchase with aid from any socialized medicine program like medicare or anything.
their ignorance i have to infer from the interviews conducted during rand paul events, and from the fact that they do not realize that if rand paul had his way, they'd all be devoured by the corporate wolves he unleashed.
from the vitriol he spews about corporate bailouts, one might get the impression that rand paul is some sort of populist giant-killer. that's just pure political duplicity.
i don't think rand paul can distinguish between businesses and people. aside from the infrequent reference to protecting the 2nd ammendment right to bear arms, mostly when he talks about government intrusion, rand paul is talking about regulations imposed on businesses by the government. when he starts talking crazy shit about "an army of EPA agents descending", rand paul isn't scaring people with lurid images of government forces kicking down their doors and hauling off their Roundup. he's saying that if we keep funding the Environmental Protection Agency, eventually all their pesky rules and regulations will stifle businesses' ability to turn a profit.
certainly businesses are comprised of people, and some people benefit when businesses do well, but businesses by their definition in a capitalist society do not give a fuck about anything but profit.
the people who run these businesses are charged with doing anything to increase profits--even if it requires outsourcing labor to india or sponsoring some charitable organization that builds schools in a third world country. whether the result is lowered labor costs or improved public perception of their brand, the ultimate goal of every action is to increase profits.
if we're going to view businesses as people, as rand paul seems to, we can't imagine them to be people like your kindly aunt rebecca, who always sticks a $20 bill in your birthday card, or your neighbor carl, who will let you borrow his mower when yours is down. i think it's wiser to imagine them to be like some vicious crackhead who sees no problem with stealing your shit right from under your nose while you sleep and who is not above beating you to death with your own shoe if you happen to wake up during the robbery.
this is not me being some crackpot theoretical propagandist. the record is clear: every time the government has deregulated an industry, that industry has engaged in ruthless and perilous behavior that has resulted in dire consequences. the government inspectors of the deep water horizon let the BP executives write their own safety reports, you know, so as to keep the government out of their hair and let them do their thing. their thing killed 11 workers and poisoned the gulf of mexico. rand paul dismisses that by saying, "accidents will happen."
housing, automobiles, banks & financial institutions, health insurance: when left to their own devices they robbed our houses and are still beating us with our own shoes. the economy didn't tank because "obama, pelosi & reid" (oh my!) regulated these industries out of competition. we're not left stewing in our own filth because of government intrusion. we are so royally fucked because the government did not intrude enough, or intruded feebly, or wasn't allowed to intrude because of W's cowboy economics.
and despite this evidence, rand paul gets applause for saying he's going to get the government off our backs. government may have been giving corporations the keys to the store for at least the last hundred years, and that is an offense. but, rand paul, it seems, wants to make it clear and legal. he wants to sign over the deed.
i feel safe in saying that the fat white people doing the applauding don't have a clue what they're actually clapping for.
so here's a guy who doesn't even make sense to himself being praised and supported by an ignorant rabble whose interests are jeopardized by the policies he espouses; they're angry. of course they're angry. the tv tells them they're angry. they don't know what they're angry about or who to be angry at, but what the mumbling smart guy (he's a DOCTOR) says sounds like some pretty good stuff to be angry about, so let's take back our government. or something. what he said.
and this guy is running even with his opponent.
either rand paul is using hypnotism (the Journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, a group of nuts with MD after their name that rand paul often speaks before, claims that barrack obama used mesmerizing techniques in his speech patterns and gestures during the campaign) or something else explains why he hasn't been swept back under his rock in bowling green already.
what this story needs is a good villain, someone dark & sinister & powerful sitting in the wings pulling levers and whispering directions. someone with a dastardly overarching Secret Plan.
enter the koch brothers, prime examples of why corporate power needs to be curtailed. that's who this purported "grass roots movement" really is.
these goons inherited a vast fortune from a variety of industries their family built, many of which operate most profitably when money doesn't have to be diverted into nuisances such as worker safety & security, insurance, taxes or concern for the environment they despoil.
the bros are deeply concerned about any and all government regulations not for any rigorous libertarian ideals these regulations might run contrary to, but because they cut into their profits.
it's fairly obvious why the bros would like to see more rand pauls writing policy in washington. i don't know what the super-rich do when they get more money. maybe the bros want to build lakes on their ultra-yachts so that they can float around on smaller yachts framed out with bones from their fallen employees. maybe they're intoxicated by power and can't get enough. whatever they aspire to, a bunch of rand pauls in DC would help.
but what's murkier is how they've managed to get all these fat ignorant white people to do their footwork (or rascal-work, as the case may be), to stand (or sit) in for a motivated public, to give the whole rotten mess a bouquet of populist sentiment.
i'm not a fella real fond of simple answers, but this one seems to go a long way toward explaining baffling realities:
barrack obama is a black man.
there are still a lot of white people who are threatened by a black man seeming to tell them what to do. many of them live in kentucky.
the bros themselves may be paragons of racial equality in their personal convictions.
but they're also savvy enough to know that president obama's race is just the lightning additive they need to spark life into frankenstein's monsters like rand paul.
people have massed in dubious and impotent protest against the prevailing government many times before. they've been told that they're mad as hell and that they don't have to take it and seemed to believe it so many times it's a wonder that old saw has any teeth left on it.
and the fear merchants have been relentlessly pedaling ridiculous apocalyptic scenarios forever-- everything from killer bees to bird flu to death panels, from aliens to russian bombs to y2k--to sell all manner of crap--from advertisements to construction materials to pharmaceuticals. a scared public is a pliable public. and the thing that people fear most is THE OTHER. that shit sells like nothin else. and it gets easier as the technology that delivers the message about the menacing OTHER becomes faster and more pervasive.
i think they were gifted the perfect lightning rod when barrack obama was elected by a wide majority of the country.
the campaign to paint barrack obama as OTHER has gone through so many iterations and permutations i can no longer keep my scorecard legible.
what is he?
disciple of a radical christian minister or jihadi muslim? socialist or fascist? kenyan or hawaiian? insignificant community organizer or leader of the dreaded one world government?
the haters need to streamline their message so i know precisely which OTHER i should fear most.
all the while FOX "news" and the rest of the "liberal media" fill the heads of fat ignorant white people with constant affirmations that they are now a besieged minority.
7% of kentucky's population is black. 3% is other. how people who constitute 90% of the population could ever mistake themselves for a minority makes me consider the hypnotism angle more closely.
i guess that's a sign of how deeply racial fear runs here: one black man in the highest office threatens a significant portion of the overwhelming majority.
the frantic pace of their fabrications and alarums just gives strength to my belief that, at the core, they are most upset that a black man has some authority over them.
but, ultimately, the bros couldn't care less if rand paul becomes kentucky's next junior senator. they know he wouldn't be able to get a lunch date with their bitch, mitch mcconnell, much less get any of his crackpot proposals to the senate floor for a vote. rand paul is a handy tool, a pleasant distraction, something to set the stage for a more corporate-friendly administration. long after rand paul is back in bowling green taking government money through the eyes of his patients, the koch brothers will be executing their next campaign.
the koch bros want the same thing as the republicans: barrack obama's balls on a plate. this foe of deregulation must not be allowed to spawn. he's bad for business.
he's no surgeon, but dr. rand paul is in the house.
for all of this, as a kentuckian, i apologize.