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Versailles

Brooke is studying the French Revolution this month.  I told her that Charlotte Corday and the death of Marat would make a pretty good essay topic.  Then I realized that the guy was essentially a blogger who was murdered in his bathtub.  Ok, he was a nasty blogger who let things get out of control. He was more like Glenn Beck. Then I get all philosophical about the ethics of committing crimes to prevent even bigger ones, like Dietrich Bonhofer did during WWII, and she gets that “Ok, I’m bored now” look on her face.   Uh, nevermind.  Start at the beginning, go all the way to the end and, then, stop.

The French were pissed off over bread.  The Romans at least got that right.  Never keep the rabble hungry for bread.  But I digress.  Anyway, the roots of the French Revolution had something to do with a really bad financial collapse.  The tax system was a mess with the lower classes bearing the burden and the aristocracy getting away with murder.  There were some bad harvests.  The king was inept.  Not necessarily a bad man.  He just felt entitled.  Oh, sure, there had to be reform but it couldn’t go too far.  He was the king after all and he had the last word.

The Bastille fell in July 1789.  There was rioting on and off throughout the summer.  But the rabble definitely wasn’t going away.  It wasn’t until one night in October 1789 that a mob of women got to Versailles and the royals scrambled from bedroom to bedroom in a panic.  The monarchs left the palace and after a couple of years of factional fighting, The Terror began in earnest.

The Terror.  What a waste.  Thousands of lives lost, rivers red with blood.  Fear, chaos, instability.  It makes you wonder why any king would let that kind of pressure build up over 4 months to result in the country essentially eating its own for several years afterwards.

I saw Mubarek’s face on the frontpage of the NYTimes site, a face only a mother could love and a poster child for Grecian Formula and wondered, what the hell is he thinking?  He’s 82 years old for god’s sakes.  As one commenter said, it’s the ego of a man pampered by 30 years of power who thinks that only he can stabilize Egypt and the middle east.  In fact, he’s doing quite the opposite.  The people of Egypt want him gone.  A week ago, Mubarek stepping down might have been enough to turn the boiling pot down to a simmer, buying the region enough time to put together an interim government.  Now, it looks like all Hell is about to break loose.

But Mubarek must have the last word and he’s not going.

I’ve read that the protestors are starting to move on the presidential palace.

Those kinds of things never end well.

Thursday: Saddle point

Do you get the idea that we have reached some kind of turning point?  Is there nowhere to go but up or are we sliding sideways into oblivion?  Will the public finally see what the Republicans really are once they take over the House during the mother of all recessions or has the preincubation of visions of GlennBeckistan done its job?  Will the masters of the corporate universe take a look at the balance sheets and finally realize that outsourcing is wasting the valuable productivity time of their remaining employees or will they keep forcing us into smaller workspaces with fewer resources to show that their beautiful management theories work in spite of all of the ugly facts?

Take the 2012 primary, for example.  Yesterday, Matt Bai in the NYTimes just idly speculated whether it was time for the Democrats to consider alternatives.  Predictably, Matt Bai, being from that tiny but vocal minority of the Democratic party that thinks it’s swell for non-viable personal favorites to run instead of people who actually like to practice politics has floated Howard Dean’s name to the top of the list.  Whatever.  The intellectual masturbation post of Bai’s generated 805 comments before the discussion was cut off (soooo not fair for those of us at work).  Russ Feingold also got some attention.  I have nothing against Feingold but he strikes me as a bit of an enigma.  You get the idea that he votes on principle but his principles are a bit quirky for everyday consumption.  I’m not sure the average Joe will *get* Feingold and, unless you’re living in Iran, the votes of the average Joe are still sort of necessary.  Hillary’s name is floated by many, many people who regret voting for Obama.  LOTS of regrets.

Over at Naked Capitalism, there are hints of another Black Swan event on the near horizon. It turns out that when Obama cut his deal, the nitwit forgot to get a guarantee on raising the debt ceiling from the Republicans.  Since the government will run out of money sometime during the first quarter of next year, we can probably look forward to a government shut down.  (Oh, no they woo-ent.  Oh yes, they would.)  Then there’s some stuff about municipal bonds that will be phased out next year, putting some big states at risk of insolvency.  It’s just so thrilling it makes me squirm with anticipation.  The speculation is that these moves are designed to put a huge amount of pressure on a fragile economic system and that Americans will cut loose their public service unions and slit their throats in order to avoid a major collapse of the global financial system.

If I were the president, I’d call the Republicans global terrorists and have them arrested for pulling that shit on us.  But that’s just me because I’m uncouth and rude while also being sanctimonious and pure.  Picture Joan of Arc with a beer gut.  Come on, Barry, you and Versailles have me all confused.  I have no idea what I’m supposed to be.  Just tell me this, am I still a virgin?

And then there are those annoying liberal Democrats who insist on sticking to their core principles.  Like Al Franken, who has the chutzpah to quote the New Testament and he’s not even a Christian.

(see this link for the rest of Franken’s excellent shellacking of the president and the Republicans)

Ehhhh, what does he know.  Today’s Christians don’t mess around with the New Testament.  I mean, if you read THAT side of the bible, you’d think that Jesus was a fricking Liberal or something.  And Franken keeps bringing up carpenters for some reason.  Jesus was a carpenter.  Of course, if Jesus were alive today, he would have just lost his pension to some greedy con artists on Wall Street who sold his pension fund a bunch of worthless tranches.   Good thing he was the Son of God or he’d be eating catfood.

(Hey, did you know that the Atheists community is the biggest contributor to Kiva?  Who knew?  They beat the pants off the Christians.)

But Obama, who kind of implies that everyone should have a faith or they’re worthless human beings, is a different kind of Christian.  You know, the kind that likes to court Evangelicals for political gain but thinks that it’s gauche to get all wrapped up in values and principles.  They would just get in the way of his “accomplishments”.   Jeez, Barry, why don’t you just take up needlepoint or some charming ideas for a painted table or something?

Anyway, Al’s suggestion that you help out someone in need for the holiday season is a pretty good idea.  Why not buy a disadvantaged kid you don’t know a present for Christmas?  (Or, I’m 1/8 Jewish so I’m entitled to one day of Hannukah, right? )  Your workplace may be sponsoring such an opportunity, like mine has for years now.  Take advantage of it and you will make a kid happy for the day.

Podcast for the day: On yesterday’s Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewd David Sanger of the NYTimes regarding the Wikileaks document dump from the State Department.  Count how many times they mention Hillary’s name.  It’s pretty hilarious.  They keep dancing around the subject of how well the State Department is doing these days and how forceful its response has been to Iran.  They even go so far as saying that the Iranian sanctions are nothing like what Barry had in mind when he was running for president.  They make a passing reference to Hillary calling him *naive* but are careful not to credit her with the harsher sanctions.

It is becoming more clear to me that if the Republicans are allowed to botch the country into third world status, it will be because Whole Foods Nation progressives just can’t get their heads out of their asses.  They would rather let the country die, die, die! before they let some “Blue dog” {{snort!}}, war hawk, triangulating, DLC loving, New Democrat like Hillary Clinton inflict her steely resolve and competence on Washington DC.

So, if we all end up poor and yoked to our billionaire masters of the universe, don’t blame it on Republicans.  Blame it on the self described “creative class” Democrats who want to replace Barack Obama with candidates who are not capable of winning or running the White House.  Yeah, that oughta learn them lousy Republicans.  Take that.

Ok, sports fans, I’m off to buy a Visa check card for Christmas for a 14 year old girl I don’t know.

Go and do likewise.