Thursday, April 3, 2014

Charlie Madigan's Screaming Baby

Faux News Blog: Money, Micturation and 


I suspect you are all wondering exactly what to think of the Supreme Court's latest ruling on the question of campaign finance. It took me back to the deep woods of Pennsylvania and the long walks I once took on the Appalachian Trail, which looked a lot like this picture of that very same place. Oh, the hardwoods and the streams and the undergrowth and the chirping birds! Sooner or later, you would feel a little twinge of fullness in, let's be frank, the bladder. You knew it was time to select just the right place. This tree, for example, with its spot of white, its gracious age, its lumps and bumps. I would walk right up to one of those things and micturate. Maybe make my initials on the side of it, depending on the amount. Ah, the relief that provided! It was as though a vile force that had filled you was released, and you were free again to move happily on down that trail, just as in life.

A lovely slice of the Appalachian Trail, perhaps where I micturated.
This is exactly the same impulse I felt when I heard the Supreme Court had cleared the way for the very wealthy to exert even more influence on the political process by taking the cap off of the maximum anyone can "contribute" in an election cycle. In the middle of the night, I was dragged from a deep sleep by the overwhelming need to micturate, not literally, but figuratively, on what has become of the American political process. What a clever thing, I thought. That would make a sweet blog, talking about pissing on politics and politicians.

Then I thought about my representative in Congress, Jan Schakowsky of Evanston and what she said about it:

Money needs to play a smaller role in politics – not larger.  Allowing the dollars of a privileged few to play an even bigger role will only further dilute the ability of millions of Americans to have their concerns heard.  

I have followed Jan Schakowsky since way back. I have always liked her, which I am sure she knows because I faithfully wait for her to show up at the annual Evanston 4th of July Parade, and wave like a teenager at a rock concert. Why? I don't know. It might be because I have always thought of her as a good politician, someone who is there because she is doing the public's work. She is not a fool. She knows how the system works and I am certain, has sent plenty of spectacular benefits back home to Evanston. I am NOT going to micturate figuratively on that kind of politician. There are lots of others like her all over the place, I am certain, in both parties. There are also lots of dishonest players. But the danger of wetting on everything in the abstract is that you sprinkle the good even as you douse the bad.

 So I can't just piss on the whole political process. It would not be fair.

I have to direct my stream elsewhere.

I know! Sheldon Adelson.


I think in any other world, I would have nothing but admiration for someone who worked so hard early in life to become successful. Sheldon Adelson is quite the story from that perspective. But now he is a Las Vegas/world level casino mogul, which means he makes his money by taking it from people who are dumb enough to be lured by the distant promise of riches, a discount airfare, and a $4.99 slab of roast beef with potatoes and everything, which is what Vegas has always meant to me.
A pensive Sheldon Adelson

I would have been a terrible gambler because I know that no matter how much I pick up, at the end of the day it comes because whole rooms full of fools don't mind throwing their hard earned money at the slots, or the tables, or wherever else they go. I know they enjoy it, but still, what a way to make a living, picking the pockets of suckers who are just in town for a good time. Sheldon the Casino mogul is so successful at this that his fortune is estimated at $40 billion. That means he can cough up, oh, say, $92 million backing various conservative and Republican political causes in 2012 without even breaking a sweat. Don't get him wrong. He thinks it is bad for the wealthy to put mountains of money into the political process, but if that's allowed, he will. I don't get the logic, but it's his, not mine. I think he hates George Soros, the fat cat who bankrolls lots of Democratic and liberal stuff and feels the need to offset that influence. Or he just truly enjoys buying politicians! Don't know, but one is as good a reason as the other. 

 Newt Gingrich would have been a washed up has-been were it not for Sheldon Adelson in 2012, who gave him enough life to ride his ridiculous presidential campaign for months beyond when it should have just collapsed. Sheldon is just the character the Supreme Court had in mind in this latest ruling in erasing the overall limit on campaign spending. He can now just fill trucks full of bucks and dump then into any crazy political construct he can find that supports his causes. (There are still individual contribution limits, so he can't do that for individual politicians yet. But it's only a matter of time.) On the other hand, he and his wife give a lot of money away to causes they believe in that are not full of political parasites. And, of course, the court is right, he is entitled to his political opinions. So maybe he is not such a good target after all, although only my sense of fairness keeps me holding my water in this case.

I may have to default and end up micturating on the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court that unleashed this ruling. It was the high court, after all, that opened the political process to the same abuse that led to post Watergate campaign reforms by ruling that giving money is just like speech so it has to be free of government control. Oh, yes, and corporations are just like individuals so they can shovel money into politics, too, because the First Amendment says they can. I wish I could say they have brought wreckage to the political process, but they didn't. The process did that all on its own by deciding "just short of whoring" was a good job description for members of Congress. (An apology to those of you in the sex trades. It's still a great hyperbole to use in politics. Maybe you can think of yourselves as aggressive fund raisers or something.)

The problem with micturating on the Supreme Court is that I do believe in the First Amendment with a deep passion that recognizes that sometimes, even Nazis have to express themselves.

Dang. Out of options. I'm not going to micturate on anything.

I abandoned my middle of the night thoughts with a look at the New York Times website, where the paper reported on a mass that was held on the border at Nogales. Okay, so it was a holy publicity stunt, but I have been moved by lesser things. I could not resist these hands reaching through the border fence to get Communion from a bishop. These are pleading hands, in this case, waiting for the Consecrated host that is so crucial to Roman Catholic belief. But I prefer to view them as metaphors for a people in need. 
Reaching for bread of life at Nogales
It's very easy to think of politics as a target for bold humor and unforgiving criticism. In that world, you can imagine pissing on all kinds of things. But there are still people who have some hope that their lives can be better with just a little political influence. The sad thing is that their argument through the institutions that claim to represent God here on earth does not carry anywhere near as much weight as the riches of our very own Oligarchs, who are always eager to send money. 
Just to the wrong places.


  1. The great thing about this government is that you CAN say you'd like to piss on it. The supreme court ,in my opinion,has made more than one despicable ruling.Makes you wonder.

  2. Love the pissing metaphor. Next time direct your stream to Adelson.