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Marion On July - 10 - 2011

I am a Virginian born and bred. My mother’s people were Virginians before Virginia was Virginia. They met the first settlers when they arrived to found Jamestown in 1607. One married John Rolfe. She rests a few miles down the road from me here in England, for her sins. For mine, I’ll rest in the Commonwealth, I hope.

I am a proud Virginian and proud of the people who made the Commonwealth great. Because of Virginians, we have a Constitution (James Madison), a Declaration of Independence (Thomas Jefferson) and a Bill of Rights (George Mason). We can claim the first President and the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament. We might have been stupid enough to house the capital of the Confederacy, but in 1989, we elected the first African American governor to preside over that old capital, and that’s when Derval Patrick was still in short trousers.

Johnnie Cash married a Virginian. So did Al Gore.

We’ve given America eight Presidents, and we’re waiting on Number Nine – please, may he or she be a Democrat.

But, Lord, we do have some low-hanging fruit in the state, and when it hangs low, it hangs low.

Now, being a fruit-producing state, there are two types of low-hanging fruit. One’s the sort that just evolves to a certain point and then gets no further. It’s a poor fruit and a victim of circumstance, like poor education and no occupational opportunity or general poverty, that produces a Lindie England. With a bit more nurturing and a lot of attention from people in a position to act as benefactors (i.e., responsible representatives of the people), a lot of Lyndies could have been avoided.

But it’s the second type of low-hanger that’s troublesome. And that’s a low-hanging fruit which is deliberately, almost arrogantly, swaybacked, looking out for its own brand and thinking about no other even though this fruit is smack dab in a position to be noticed.

And just to be truly fair and balanced, there’s a piece of low-hanging fruit from the Right and another one from the Left swinging from an apple orchard someplace in Eastern Virginia.

Lord, what do we do with assholes like Eric Cantor and Ed Schultz?

The boys from Richmond and Norfolk just keep on piling embarrassment on the Commonwealth.

Eric’s the Republican – the one who always reminds you of Tom Sawyer’s tattletale brother, Sid, who never put a foot wrong, always dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s and never failed to say yes ma’am to Aunt Polly. But when her back was turned, it was Sid, who was always miming the way she limped or making faces.

Ed’s the Democrat – the one who makes you think of Judd Frye in Oklahoma, the Neanderthal who could have been redeemed by Laurie’s love but wasn’t, who lost his temper and fell in a fight won by Curly. Ed’s the bull in a china shop who runs off too much at the mouth, gets told off by the teacher, then steals some wimpier kid’s lunch money.

Our Eric’s been a naughty boy, as The Huffington Post explains:-

House Democrats are circulating a resolution accusing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) of having a conflict of interest in the debt ceiling debate, a move that could provide an awkward C-SPAN moment for one of the lead Republicans in the budget negotiations.

The resolution goes after Cantor’s investment in ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF, a fund that “takes a short position in long-dated government bonds.”

The fund is essentially a bet against U.S. government bonds. If the debt ceiling is not raised and the United States defaults on its debts, the value of Cantor’s fund would likely increase.

The Democratic resolution, obtained by The Huffington Post from a Democratic source on the Hill, argues that Cantor “stands to profit from U.S. treasury default, which thereby raises the appearance of a conflict of interest,” and that he “may be sabotaging [debt ceiling] negotiations for his own personal gain.”

Oo-er. That is not the kind of thing a good Virginia boy is raised to do. Well, not unless you’re trailer trash. As my elderly aunt would say, Eric’s mama ought to turn him over and wail the hell out of his sorry ass for doing something like that. Why, betting against an economic failure of the US Government and actually surreptitiously sabotaging debt ceiling negotiations for personal gain … that’s tantamount to treason! That’s despicable, onerous and downright hateful.

And Ed hasn’t been much better.

Back last year, Ed got mad at President Obama’s Press Secretary, who got mad at people like Ed, who were supposed to be on the President’s side, but sought to criticize every little thing he did, said or planned to do or say. Nothing he did was ever good enough to allay the criticism. So Robert Gibbs called out the so-called Professional Left, and Ed lost his temper. (Virginians are famous for losing their tempers).

Well, Ed lost his temper so much, that he told the sheeple – I mean, he advised the people who watched him on television or listened to his radio show not to vote in the 2010 midterms. Teach the Democrats, teach the President a lesson, he said. Show them how much their criticism hurt the base which got them elected.

The base? (Cough, cough) … The base? The base is solid, Ed. The base doesn’t go off on one when it doesn’t get instantly gratified. I didn’t think there were that many stupid people in America, but – hell – I’m from Virginia, so I guess there must be someone out there on the Left Coast or up in the Northeast lazy enough to let a Southside boy like Ed do their thinking, because those damned people just stayed at home and he handed the key to the House door to Eric … so Eric could cook the books, back out of the debt ceiling negotiations and hope the government tanked all around. The President would lose, John Boehner would lose, Eric would be chosen Speaker and laugh all the way to the bank.

But now, sixteen months before the General Election of 2012, Ed’s ranting the same old song:

Don’t vote! If the Democrats, if Obama cuts entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, DON’T VOTE!

That’s right. Don’t vote, and let Eric’s party come in and really cut entitlements. You see, Ed’s latest fearmongering was based on an anonymous rumour, a Chinese whisper, a clever piece of ratfuckery sucked up by The Washington Post and The New York Times. When someone finally got up off their ass and investigated, they found that any proposed “cut” in Social Security was to cut the cost-of-living increase of $34.41 per month to $34.27 per month. A cut of fourteen cents per month – $1.68 per annum.

So for that, Ed says, don’t vote. Hand everything to the Republicans who won’t just cut, they’ll hatchet.

Totally irresponsible and totally wrong.

I am ashamed to share the status of Virginian with these two dumbasses. So I propose a punishment: Excommunication by State.

First, I would have the pair of them carted down I-95 and I-64 on a flat-bed truck, slowing along the way to allow people assembled along the sidelines of the route to pelt refuse at them. I would take them to Williamsburg, where I would lock them in the public stocks and give people the opportunity to hurl some of the rotten, worm-infested apples and peaches from our orchards, using their heads as targets. They would then be ceremoniously dumped with the contents of two chamber pots, before being tarred, feathered and ridden on the back of Macaca Allen back to Richmond  and onto the shores of the James, where they’d be tossed in a burning boat (along with Macaca) and cast out to sea and their fates.

And as the wind whistled in off the Eastern Shore each evening, we could all hear Ed and Eric, crying for their mamas.

25 Responses so far.

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  1. ADONAI says:

    So you’re from Virginia. That probably explains a lot of our disagreements :)

    I’ll see your Eric Cantor and raise you a Mitch McConnell. GOD I hate that man. I’m pretty sure he hates Kentucky. But he LOVES the kickbacks.

    Never liked Ed myself. Not personally, just don’t appreciate his on air style. I’m sure he’s a good guy off the camera. When he isn’t fueled by rage.

    The most famous journalist I can think of from Kentucky is Hunter S. Thompson. So I think we got off better there. Diane Sawyer too but she’s harmless.

  2. funksands says:

    I was born in DC, God help me. I’m not sure what that means, but apparently its not good.

  3. escribacat says:

    I bet Ed just wants to garner himself some Huffy headlines like Rachel and LO and Keith used to get. He’s just another radio to TV shock jock.

  4. agrippa says:

    I don’t know. I can tell beef from bull’s foot. Schultz has no more credibiltiy with me than Hannity ot Limbaugh. He is, simply, thumping a different tub.

    I know who my enemies are: they are the nihilistic Republicans: people with no values; no beliefs; no facts; no logic.
    Obamda and the Democratic Party are not the ememy; I am not Schultz; I am not Hamsher; I am not Huffington.

    Vote the way you shot.

  5. AdLib says:

    Provincialism almost always creates a haze between one’s eyes and the way things really are.

    The corrupt, right wing extremism of Eric Cantor is far from an exception in today’s Virginia.

    The Republican Governor of VA is Bob McDonnell, the Republican Attorney General is Ken Cuccinelli. Both deny science such as climate change, are at the forefront of fighting for insurance companies and killing the Affordable Care Act, both are in the pocket of the Koch brothers and attended the Koch gathering last week in Vail, Co. Gov. McDonnell delivered the Republican response to Pres. Obama’s SOTU speech this year and attacked him and Progressive values while injecting RW religious dogma.

    With all respect, VA is like many states, one that is currently controlled by very right wing Republicans who are corrupt, bent on pandering to the Religious Right and serving their conservative financiers instead of their citizens.

    In order for these RW Republicans to have won office, a majority of Virginians had to have voted for them. McDonnell, who has called for offshore oil drilling in VA and deregulation of corporations, has positive ratings as Governor and doesn’t look at this point as having difficulty being re-elected. So, the sensibilities of the majority of Virginians remain the same as McDonnell’s, right wing and conservative.

    As to your proposition, I for one would not look forward to seeing Virginians such as him or Cuccinelli elected as President, any more than I would like to see Californians such as Darrell Issa or New Yorkers such as Rudy Giuliani elected president. Pride should be taken in the quality of the person who is elected President instead of because he/she is from the same state one was born in.

    There are indeed many principled and genuine Progressives in VA who are just as upset at where the balance of power is right now in their state as others across the country are.

    On the other hand, your article presents that people on the “Left Coast” (a provincially-inspired derogatory term) and the Northeast were intellectually lazy enough to take Ed Schultz’s advice to not vote in 2010 but Virginians aren’t as lazy as people in those regions.

    This scenario is a complete fabrication, there is nothing sensible, no facts or realities to base such a claim on, just the prejudice of provincialism.

    Here is a provable fact: Most of the Dems who didn’t vote in 2010 do not even watch the Ed Show.

    There are approximately 75 million Democrats in the US. The Ed Show as of last week has around 700,000 viewers. Even if all of the viewers were Democratic voters, which they aren’t, and even if every single one of them were mindless followers of Ed Schultz who only did in their lives what Ed told them to do, which they aren’t, that would still only represent less than 1% of all Democrats. That greatly overestimated number is still enormously lacking in the numbers that would be needed to fulfill the imagined scenario that was represented.

    As to the negative connotations ascribed to Democrats in the West and the East in favor of Virginia, political reality is actually the complete opposite of what appeared in this article.

    The prevailing government in VA is made up of right wing Republicans.

    The prevailing governments in CA and NY are made up of Progressive Democrats.

    NY just passed legalization of gay marriage. CA was one of the few states in 2010 that resisted the Republican resurgence across the country and overwhelmingly elected liberal and Progressive Democrats to office.

    Meanwhile, Virginia, like most states in 2010, lost many Democratic seats to far more conservative Republicans.

    Now, I could much more effectively claim that was because Virginians, not those on the West and East Coasts, listened to Ed Schultz and didn’t vote, allowing Republicans to put their candidates in office…if I wanted to be provincial, ignore common sense and the facts I posted above.

    All Virginians, Californians, New Yorkers, Progressives, etc. are not one thing, There are principled Progressives in each state and RW extremists as well.

    Despite what one may think, it doesn’t actually elevate one to claim more integrity or other positive qualities over others, based solely upon which longitude and latitude one’s mother was located at when she gave birth to them. It only undercuts oneself and one’s credibility if such an arbitrary circumstance that’s out of one’s hands to have pre-meditated or controlled is presented as the central reason for one’s personal exceptionalism and/or the inferior nature of others.

    Who and what we are is not defined by where we were born, previous generations of ours or our descriptions of ourselves, who we are is defined through the actual choices and actions we make each day of our lives.

    As provincialism is by nature superficial, divisive and in the end destructive, the instinct towards it should be eschewed in favor of finding common ground with those who generally share the same principles and values.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      From Wikipedia, “Granfalloon”

      A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle), is defined as a “false karass.” That is, it is a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless.

      The most commonly purported granfalloons are associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. As examples, Vonnegut cites: “the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company —and any nation, anytime, anywhere.” A more general and oft-cited quote defines a granfalloon as “a proud and meaningless association of human beings.” Another granfalloon example illustrated in the book were Hoosiers, of which the narrator (and Vonnegut himself) was a member.
      If you wish to study a granfalloon, just remove the skin of a toy balloon. — Bokonon
      “My God,” she said, “are you a hoosier?”
      I admitted I was.
      “I’m a Hoosier, too,” she crowed. “Nobody has to be ashamed of being a Hoosier.”
      “I’m not,” I said. “I never knew anybody who was.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

    • Marion says:

      Neither Cuccinelli nor McDonnell are Virginians, and they won their election in 2009 for the same reason Republicans got the House in 2010 … people stayed home. If I can be bothered to fly home to vote against Bob McDonnell, then someone can get off their lazy ass to walk down the street and vote against him too. They didn’t. A lot of people listen to a lot of talking heads on both sides of the political equation. And that’s a fact. Too many people have forgotten how to think critically.

      • AdLib says:

        I’m not sure as to why you wouldn’t view McDonnell and Cuccinelli as Virginians. According to Wikipedia, McDonnell moved with his family to live in VA when he was 1 year old, that isn’t sufficient to be considered a Virginian?

        I’m sure you’d agree that it wouldn’t be appropriate to say that naturalized US citizens aren’t Americans just because they weren’t born here, in the same way, I don’t see how someone who began living in VA at 1 year old wouldn’t be considered a Virginian.

        What you did to fly home to vote was fantastic and indeed set a meaningful example to those who merely needed to get off their sofas and stroll a few blocks away.

        I do absolutely agree that people listen to and are influenced by talking heads though on the Progressive side, there is no Rush Limbaugh who can make a declaration and it is lapped up as indisputable truth.

        Ed Schultz has little influence as an individual on the entire Democratic Party membership. It does seem that on the Progressive side, a percentage of people are influenced by a preponderance of punditry.

        That is, those who as you say lack the skill of critical thinking, may hear Ed and Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald and Huffington Post and others howling about Obama and promoting the idea of withholding votes to prove something (IMO, what it proves to voluntarily hand the country to people one thinks will destroy it is stupidity and/or masochism) and adopt such a POV because of the presentation of it by many different sources.

        The difference in 2010 was that the youth vote from 2008 and even 2006 didn’t turn out for Dems and Repub turnout was much higher, aided in great measure by indies switching from voting Dem in 2008 to voting Repub in 2010.

        There was discouragement among Dems that led to reduced turnout but this doesn’t appear to be a result of pundits urging them not to do so. People who have lost their homes, jobs and/or savings don’t need Ed telling them to feel discouraged. History shows time and again that an incumbent party loses voter enthusiasm in mid term elections, along with Congressional seats. When added to that, people are going through economic hardship, the party in power is typically blamed and putting these two elements together clearly provides for what resulted.

        No push from any pundit was needed and IMO, had any meaningful impact.

        In the aftermath of the 2010 elections, a meme was and has become widely accepted that the reason the Repubs won so much in the 2010 elections was due to Dems not voting because their pundits instructed them not to, which is not accurate.

        The fallout from this is that it empowered the anti-Obama Purists because they took credit for it (what lunatic Progressives would want to take credit for having the Repubs controlling the House and creating all the havoc they are?) even though they were not the cause. So, they are pounding their chests even harder thinking they will again wield this power they are deluded into believing in.

        As Choicelady mentions, the absolutists on the Left have always been around, they were around and supported Nader in 2000 (that sure worked out) and they were there but irrelevant in 2008.

        So, they can have an impact though it appears to be very tiny. And they can only have an impact when people are receptive to their egocentric, childish ravings.

        In 2008, they were disregarded. In 2012, I think they will be as well. Yes, the economy will still be an issue for many as it was in 2010 but last year, it was a referendum on the bad economy and how petulant voters can take out their anger on the incumbent party.

        In 2012, it will likely be, do you want President Obama or President Romney? Do you want to kill Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, the EPA, the Department of Education, the Consumer Protection agency, regulation of Wall Street, Planned Parenthood, any hope for economic justice for 99% of citizens, etc.

        Will Ed or Jane or Arianna feigning populism and urging people to not vote overpower all these looming threats for Progressive voters?

        I don’t think so, any more than such extremists had any success with this in the last Presidential election.

        So, yes, there is some influence by cynical, self-centered pundits on Progressives but the percentage is very small. And such urgings historically fall on deaf ears when there is a presidential election and the choices are stark.

        • Khirad says:

          I was a little confused by that, as well. Is being Virginian like an ethnicity with generations of pure breeding commensurate with ones Virginianness? A whiff too much of the aristocratic for me. Of black turbans, as well. I think a decade, preferably two, suffice.

          McCain wasn’t from Arizona, Pelosi wasn’t from California, and so on. Yet, we never begrudge them their Arizonan or Californian identities.

          I just find this aspect foreign. Not necessarily wrong. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the litmus test of blood lines and heritage here, and what is has to do with anything. I mean, pride in ones own heritage is never a bad thing, but to hold it as a standard for others is curious -- unless it is they who are claiming to be more Virginian, à la Sarah Palin. Of course, I still find that rather foreign, but I’ve long given up understanding Texans and Virginians, anyway!

          But, I guess that’s just a mongrel Western attitude, where we have roots from many places back East. They don’t define us, or our identity with our current state of residence.

          I would agree that Cuccinelli is a bit more of the carpetbagger. But, it’s not like he hadn’t lived in Virginia for a while already, either. More than McCain lived in Arizona before he ran--that seems for sure.

          In the end, no matter who stayed home, it was Virginians, even those with possibly perfect pedigree, whom voted for these guys. Period.

          • AdLib says:

            In a country that is mostly populated by immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, it is a bit of a disconnect to be provincial, especially since it is so subjective.

            After all, if we talk about who lived in the area now called the State of Virginia prior to when it became a colony of immigrants, let alone a state, the true Virginians would be Native Americans (Native Virginians), the rest of the population that resides there today would not then be Virginians.

            Provincialism can be found in every state and every country to one degree or another but it is unusually poorly suited to being justifiable in America.

      • Sabreen60 says:

        Marion, I think you have a point. My son who is pretty apolitical to my chagrin has heard enough of this Obama bashing from “pundits” that it’s seeping in. I had to point him to some facts online.

    • choicelady says:

      Hi AdLIb -- good point. Ed does not determine much, all on his own. But that mantra -- Don’t Vote and Show the Dems -- has been in the “ether” since the 60s. DSoc and even parts of the Democratic party has had that chant for decades -- and it works too often.

      It pains me to hear Ed spew that nonsense. It’s totally ignoring the outcome of people NOT voting in the heart of the heart of the country. Now -- the chickens have come home, and it’s hurting the very people whom Ed professes to love. What’s up with him wanting this for the NATION again?

      But you are quite right -- it’s not just Ed.

      What makes me laugh about it though is that it is so FREAKING PROTESTANT and espcially evagelical. I used to have problems defining what IS “American culture” -- other than tuna noodle casserole. But the book I’ve mentioned, “Rebirth of a Nation” posits compellingly that the Protestant belief in “regeneration” from some catastrophic occurrence invests ALL of our attitudes. It arose most powerfull after the Civil War -- rebirth and regeneration from chaos -- that opened a new era of freebooter capitalism as the new path to regeneration and salvation. By the end of the 19th century, personal salvation could now come from both God AND Mammon.

      National salvation though could come from war, imperialism, large-scale economic collapse and renewal. It required totally ignoring the human suffering which actually prompted a new form of Social Gospel work by those who once believed this, but evangelicals and non-believing materialists never let it go.

      Apparently neither did the Left in many instances. “Let it all collapse and WE will fix it” was the war cry last year during the budget negotiations. Heard it again this week during the phony uproar over non-existent safety net cuts. “Let the GOP bring us to our knees, then the people will rise, and we can take over!”

      How I laugh when I hear this now -- non-believers perpetrating their own vision of End Times and Renewal! This IS where the Right and Left intersect. The problem with both is, there are a lot of bodies -- innocent victims of the existing system -- being trampled underfoot while we go marching on.

      Ed’s not the problem per se. That belief in regeneration is. And it’s always people LIKE Ed, who will bear little impact from cataclysmic upheavals, who are the first to sacrifice the ones who are already hanging by a thread.

      My organization, Protestants all, learned a LONG time ago about the very wickedness of rebirth and regeneration. It’s paternalistic, it’s elitist, it’s cruel, and it is culturally genocidal. We, the missionaries, learned our lesson. We did grievous harm even with good intentions. We have nothing so wonderful to offer that it justifies the damage we inflicted on good people, noble cultures.

      Social gospel perspectives on justice and a unyielding belief in the Common Good is much, much slower, less flashy, and means we have to subordinate our egos. But the end results are generous, fair, honorable, and involve people in decision making over their own lives. That is a worthy goal that Ed and Ed types don’t accept, but it is, I think, the only humane and honorable way to go. In Virginia or anywhere else.

  6. choicelady says:

    Marion -- it hurts my heart that someone like Ed would rant “don’t vote” when the outcome is not only EVIDENT but is something Ed is fighting.

    Is it possible that having a boogieman is to Ed what betting on failure is to Eric? Is it possible that a progressive (perhaps many) are happy ONLY when things are so screwed up their ratings soar and their rants get noticed?

    May we be saved from narcissistic self interest. Few of my major desires ever get fulfilled -- but I come from an arena in which altruism and concern for the Common Good are paramount. Whatever fails to benefit me is outstanding if it elevates the people in need. My wants are ideologically grounded. Theirs are grounded in massive hunger and want. They are more important to protect because they will suffer or even die without a floor under them, even if it’s linoleum and not imported, sustainable hardwood. I have a “lifestyle”. They have a way of life -- not much choice. Low hanging fruit type one does not GET a lot of choice. They make do, sometimes nobly, sometimes not, but they make do, they don’t choose.

    Ed can be brilliant (cannot say the same for Eric) but someimes is not. Sometimes he’s just a horse’s ass preferring outrage over rumor to careful assessment of fact.

    But you’ve opened my eyes to the very wicked possibility that yes, he works from self interest. If he can fulminate over the state of working people screwed to the floor by Republican victories in 2010, then he must be wanting that nationally if he’s advocating not voting AGAIN. And that, it seems too painful to admit, seems to be all about Ed. Nothing about working people at all.

    Ed and Eric. I know you love Virginia, warts and all, Marion -- but maybe we need to ask them to secede? They seem to be giving us all the spoiled fruit and none of the former bounty. Too bad. It is a lovely state. Or was.

    • Sabreen60 says:

      This is where I get really cynical. Ed is a former Republican. Cenk is a former Republican. Jane Hamsher does business for profit with Republicans. Greenwald is a libertarian who has worked for the Cato Institute. I don’t trust these “former” Republicans. I know people can change, but their actions and rhetoric give me pause.

    • Marion says:

      Perhaps Darrell Issa and his good friend Bill Maher would oblige from California as well. Yours used to be the Land of Opportunity to which all aspired. Glass houses and all that … and Nixon.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Marion, excuse me, but you bringing up glass houses (especially to c-lady, your staunchest supporter here) is like a fish in a barrel pointing to the shotgun hanging on the door, but I won’t…..
        I won’t……


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