Proud member of PETA

June 18, 2009 at 9:20 am (Politics) (, )

People Eating Tasty Animals, that is.

Ladies and gents, he swatted a bug. If this is the only reason they’ve got to get in the paper, maybe people should stop paying attention to them. Leave the drama hounds behind.

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Ah, change….

June 17, 2009 at 7:16 am (Politics) (, , )

“Change you can’t believe in” is becoming a depressingly common observation about the new administration, when you look at what it’s actually doing. The interesting part is that the lefties are finally recognizing it.

While I’d normally be thrilled to see that the administration isn’t acting on its promises, they’re picking a lot of the wrong promises to back off on. Bankrupting the coal and power industries, putting tens of thousands of people (conservatively) out of work? Full steam ahead, with our current EPA moving towards a ruling that they can regulate CO2 (ie, your right to exhale).

Gay rights, including DADT? Well, no, we won’t really put any effort into it, but here – we’ll give federal employees partners benefits. Never mind that that only benefits a small fraction of your number, they’re the ones who can complain to me directly, and isn’t it spiffy? For the record, my own state governor recently made basically the same offer. I’m equally as impressed by his bravery in the face of stalwart opposition from his own party (remember – the ones who are *supposed* to be in *favor* of gay rights) as I am by Obama’s.

IE, not at all. There’s a reason folks are calling it a consolation prize – politically, the LGBT community loses, but they don’t want us to go home mad. His DOJ is even picking some of the most offensive arguments to *protect* the DOMA and DADT movements he suggested he’d work *against* during the campaign.

Those bailouts and wars and surge tactics that were such a bad idea? Yeah, he supports those too, now. Along with most of the Democrats who were supposed to be against those sort of policies. Mind you, while the 32 Dem’s who voted against them are brave supporters of right-thinking policies, the Republicans who voted against them are all wrong-thinking obstructionists, just in case you were worried that doing the right thing while being a right-winger wasn’t still a greater sin than doing the wrong thing while being a left-winger.

Y’know, I’m starting to think that this *isn’t* change you can’t believe in. It’s business as usual, from (The) One more political hack in a long string of ’em.

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Revolution Roulette

June 2, 2009 at 1:02 am (Politics) (, , , )

This is a continuation of a series of articles on the Wolfemann’s Den on the songs of the Poets of the Fall’s “Revolution Roulette.” Since I get into politics, I’m cross-posting here as well.

Here we go – getting into the really good stuff here. Revolution Roulette, the title track, is the one that cemented the album in my list of favorites. As with the past songs, it’s one that starts out sounding fairly normal – down with the system, power to the people, it’s time to revolt.

“If this machine doesn’t stop, what will you do if it never goes out, never goes out of season? It never stops as it turns, there ain’t no passion yet it burns, introducin’ my prison! Losin’ myself in this place, soon I’m gone without a trace, freed with that final incision. Look my heart is a bird, it needs to sing and to be heard, not this clockwork precision, yeah!”

The sort of thing you might hear anywhere, hmm? But, as the song (and choruses) go on, it moves into a much, much more unusual theme – one that’s as topical now as ever. You see, there’s a reason the song’s title is “Revolution Roulette.” Like *another* sort of roulette that starts with an ‘R,’ the song poses, it’s a game you just can’t win. Let’s take a look at the chorus as it progresses, shall we? Starting with the first one….

“And the machine grows idiotic.
Who’s gonna be it’s ingenious critic?
Everybody loves a perfect solution to beat the odds against the poorest possible substitution!
What you see is never what you’re gonna get!
Everybody’s playin’… Revolution Roulette.”

The first lines sound normal enough. The machine is breaking down, fouling up – somebody needs to stand up for what’s right and fix this! We love this idea, we love the people who present it to us (shades of election season 2008? Or, for that matter, *any* election season when the people aren’t happy?)

But those last few lines hint at the problems. The idea of there being a poorest possible substitution – not a replacement, a substitution of one broken system for another. Replacing the old problems not only with a new set of them – but possibly a worst one. History has seen this any of a thousand times. The French Revolution – ditching the monarchy for the Reign of Terror. England’s own revolution, when Oliver Cromwell killed the old king and took over, enforcing Puritan ideals. Cuba, China, the USSR – most communist countries, really.

Nazi Germany. Remember, Hitler was elected through a popular vote, on a platform of fixing the problems with the old system that had led Germany into its decline, and the disaster that was World War I.

Throw a dartboard at the dictatorships and genocidal regimes out there – you almost *always* find a case where the dictator came to power through popular support, only to turn on their supporters later on.

“And the machine grows parasitic.
Who’s gonna criticize the good critic?
Everybody has the perfect solution to beat the odds against the poorest possible substitution!
What you see is never what you’re gonna get!
Everybody’s playin’… Revolution Roulette.”

Revolutions are aptly named – they almost always come around to where they started in the end. I’m not going to claim American immunity on this one either – there are a lot of folks, on both sides, who’ve accused the US’ political leaders of trying to establish a monarchy of sorts (I’m not entirely sure they’re wrong either – the barrier to entry in the political arena is a lot higher than it ought to be.) The way that it happens is almost always the same, too.

The system is there for a reason – it provides some sort of service. Most often, it’s basic infrastructure. So elements of the old regime have to be maintained… or, if not, replaced with something very similar. It feeds off of itself, and off of the people – there’s no way to get away from it. What’s worse, the old rebels begin to feel a sense of entitlement. They saved the nation! They brought it out of the jaws of destruction! That they might not have a *clue* how to actually administer the *new* system doesn’t have any bearing on the matter. The fact that everything wasn’t magically fixed when they took over isn’t their problem – they didn’t promise too much, they just need time.

And then it begins to set in.

Who dares criticize them? The people should be grateful! It’s foolish to criticize the people who you owe your freedom to… in fact, it’s not just foolish. It’s wrong. It’s unpatriotic. After all, who *would* complain? Only somebody who thought the old system was better… only loyalists and sympathizers who need to be expunged. *They’re* the ones causing the problems, not the fact that the new regime doesn’t know what it’s doing!

They need to be caught, exposed for the traitors they are, and purged. Then it *will* be the Utopia we’ve been promising. If it isn’t? Well, clearly we haven’t caught all the loyalists and saboteurs yet, and we just need to try harder. After all – some of them are undoubtedly posing as loyal *supporters*, just to get close enough to cause some *real* trouble. We’d better start hunting them down… they can’t *always* have their guard up, we’ll catch them when they slip up.

Whatever. It. Takes. Because it’s for the good of the *people*, you see.

“Everybody has the perfect solution,
But it’s just hard to resist the sweet seduction!
There ain’t no trick to winning double what you bet…
Welcome to, Revolution Roulette!”

And there we leave off – the last chorus, and the final downfall of the revolution as it starts right back up again. The song gives a feeling of a Mephisophelian croupier, taking bets and waiting for the wheel to spin again… but really, it never stops. Some people win, but in the end they always lose again. Because people who start playing with revolutions almost never have an exit strategy.

The successful ones, historically, have been the ones where the rebels had the sense to realize that they could end up being just as bad. I said before that I don’t claim US immunity against claims that we’ve done just that, I don’t say we’re inherently any better. But I will say that I think we lucked out with who led our own revolution – they did a pretty good job of setting it up afterwards to prevent absolute dictators from taking charge. Revolutions are a messy business, no matter how you carry them out… and the results often end up setting up the next one to come.

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