THE THEATER OF THE EXTREMELY ABSURD

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THE THEATER OF THE EXTREMELY ABSURD

Some Council or some Congress approved – for the XXX time, a new regimen of sanctions Thursday, on, well, North Korea for its underground nuclear test last month, imposing penalties on North Korean banking, travel and trade in a unanimous vote that reflected the country’s increased international isolation. Wow. I am impressed. Now, here is something new!

The resolution, which was drafted by the United States and China, (really? Buddies!) was passed in a speedy vote hours after North Korea threatened for the first time to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea. And all this only hours after Dennis Rodman left the northern part of the peninsula.

Now, here’s elegance and decadence all in one for you: for about 90 minutes on Wednesday night, a dozen senators and the president gathered on neutral territory (neutral territory? Switzeland?)— a private dining room at one of this city’s most elegant hotels (wow!)— and tried to work out their frustrations over beef and wine. Now imagine that! Beef and wine, rotting in their GI tracks for the next 36 hours – while all forms of laxatives, Nexiums and activia are being swallowed to ease anger management and control.
Or treat them to an expensive dinner, for that matter, experts said. The senators, as is their custom, did most of the talking on Wednesday night. They were grateful to Mr. Obama for the invitation,
Around 8:30 p.m., Senator John McCain of Arizona (the Arid Zone, right next to the Hot Road, the Cali-Fornia, right next to the “Snowed” – Nevada), and the self-appointed timekeeper, interrupted to say that they had exhausted their allotted hour and a half and should let Mr. Obama be on his way. “The president’s a busy guy,” he said.
That’s right. MacCain is in charge of protecting Obama’s well being and, of course, making sure that the president does not exhaust himself . I like that. I love political compassion exercised between grinding teeth (dentures!)
And with that, they went their separate ways into the cold, damp Washington night. Oh, “cold damp Washington night”. How gay and how romantic. (Chandler?)
Next week Mr. Obama will take the extraordinary step (extraordinary?) of traveling to Capitol Hill to hold four separate meetings with members of Congress (wow, that must be exhausting! Feed the man extra Ginseng!)— one with Democrats and one with Republicans in each chamber.
“Stories about dramatic interaction between big personalities make for excellent reading, but they do tend to downplay the structural constraints against which that drama is playing out,”
Now, here we’re talking !

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

Or ““When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. I mean that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.”
― “Frederick Buechner”

So….“Stories about dramatic interaction between big personalities make for excellent reading, but they do tend to downplay the structural constraints against which that drama is playing out,”
After LBJ: Much of the Great Society legislation — laws that created the Medicare, Medicaid, the National Endowment for the Arts and financed public schools — passed Congress when Democrats commanded supermajorities in both houses in 1965 and 1966.
But after the Republicans picked up dozens of seats in the next Congress, weakening those majorities considerably by 1967, Johnson had a more difficult time. In battles that mirror today’s big policy debates, he had to swallow considerable cuts in domestic spending before he could persuade Congress to pass a 10 percent income tax surcharge to help pay for the Vietnam War. And he failed to persuade Congress to create a national gun registry after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Okay, I confess! Upon hearing that name (Bob Kennedy), I freaked out. Freaked out completely!

“No wonder. Someone with your name, Bob Kennedy, must get really busy towards the end of December”. I’ve heard this joke all my life. So, now, what are they charging you with?”

“Homicide, I think”.

“You’re wrong, officer! I was assassinated. I was killed!”

“not the way I see it”

“You see it? Who are you?”

The officer left without saying a word.

Someone came to my defense. “You were assassinated, yes. The name of your assassin was Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. Your brother John was killed by a Lee Harvey…”

“Stop” – I cried out.

“And Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was killed by…”

“STOP IT !!!!!”

But it was Frank Sinatra who killed John Lennon and nobody will ever know that, you see? Because Lennon had a thing or two to do with the attacks of 9/11 and then Dr Conrad Murray and Osama Bin Laden, you see, were both heavily involved in the East Wing of Al Qaeda and……
The medical examiner concluded that the body parts belonged to one woman, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-7, approximately 164 pounds. (Her head and hands were found near the torso.) According to the autopsy, the victim had taken a “deep dive into nowhere”.
These are strange words for a medical examiner to use. I would have expected something more colorful like, “the body had been dismembered post-mortem with a band saw, a carving knife and a hacksaw”
Members of both parties complain today that the president’s outreach has been distant and dismissive. And they often cite Mr. Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, as being especially effective (HA HA HA HA HA !!! yes, they do have humor in DC. It must get exasperating!)
“Without these overtures, nothing would happen,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who took one of those phone calls on Monday. “It’s not a sufficient step. But it’s a necessary step.”
O.K., everyone makes a bad prediction now and then. But these predictions have special significance, and not just because the people who made them have had such a remarkable track record of error these past several years.

The interest-rate story is fairly simple. As some of us have been trying to explain for four years and more, the financial crisis and the bursting of the housing bubble, bursting of the housing bubble, bursting of the housing bubble, bursting of the housing bubble, bursting of the housing bubble, bursting of the housing bubble created a situation in which almost all of the economy’s major players are simultaneously trying to pay down debt by spending less than their income. Since my spending is your income and your spending is my income, this means a deeply depressed economy. Bursting of the housing bubble !

Frank Sinatra killed John Lennon and nobody will ever know that, you see?

Oh God! Do I miss the days of the Cold War !

Gerald Thomas
March 8, 2013

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