Sunday, March 25, 2007

Our Power Doesn't Run On Nothing

I only got into the Thermals' The Body, The Blood, The Machine a short time ago, having totally missed it when it came out last year, but it otherwise would have made my Best of the Year list. It reminds me a lot of old-school Bad Religion. The brash intensity, the biting outspoken political commentary. It's very smart, very loud music that only sounds tossed off and silly. (For an album that's so clearly punk-inspired, it's also very slow and deliberate, inviting the listeners to consider the lyrics and concepts rather than just careening into one another semi-rhythmically.

Anyway, there's a track on the album called "Power Doesn't Run on Nothing" that doesn't an excellent job of summing up the American take on world diplomacy. To wit...

Our power doesn't run on nothing/
It runs on blood/
And blood is easy to obtain/
When you have no shame

The Republican Party under Bush, really our entire government with a few minor exceptions, is utterly and completely without shame. Perhaps more so than any other administration in American history, which is really saying something. Here's Dick Cheney speaking just today to the Republican Jewish Coalition. (Don't they sound like a fun and not at all humorless group?)

Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday accused the Democrat-led House of not supporting troops in Iraq and of sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face danger.

"They're not supporting the troops. They're undermining them," Cheney told a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition at the oceanside Ritz-Carlton hotel in Manalapan, Fla., about 60 miles north of Miami.
Cheney called it a myth that "one can support the troops without giving them the tools and reinforcements they need to carry out their mission."

Do I really even need to follow up on this point? I'm sure astute, and even somewhat less than astute, readers are already making the connection in their head. The man whose administration left injured troops to rot in moldy, deteriorating hospitals...The same man whose pre-war "planning" consisted of rubbing a rabbit's foot and an overnight Civilization III session...The man who hired 24-year-old nitwits to run the Baghdad stock exchange...The man who was content to send troops into battle without proper armor or supplies...The man who backed Rumsfeld's "light, small, ineffectual and barely visible army" strategy in the early days of the occupation...He's now saying that you can't support the troops without giving them the proper tools and reinforcements.

That's beyond shameless, beyond hypocracy. There's no word for what that is. Shamelapocracy. Bullshitonomy. Assholicism. Anyway, it's completely infuriating.

There's no music video for "Power Doesn't Run on Nothing," but here's the YouTube for another song from the album, "Pillar of Salt." If you go to the actual page on YouTube, you can peep a hilarious argument in the comments about whether or not the song is "against God" and "anti-Christian," which are of course the same exact thing...


kathylenhardt said...

I would be very impressed if you could name a current politician, regardless of party, who is not shameless and hypocritical. If the current administration had sat on their hands regarding the Middle East, the opposition would now be complaining that nothing had been done when there was a chance. No one has a crystal ball, and it took much too long to admit that the Iraqis who are left in the country are basically incapable of running things themselves. Since I just found your blog and haven't read very far back, I'd be really interested to know what you believe should be done.

Lons said...

Well, first off, I'd say that it's unfair to ask someone to have a viable solution to the Iraq problem before they mock and belittle Dick Cheney. Regardless of what I think we should do, his plan was a miserable failure, and he's the one who started the war in the first place. On that, I'd figure just about anyone could agree.

It's a difficult question, what we OUGHT to do, because none of my potential solutions will ever have any even remote chance of being tried. It's more a question of what is it possible to do while Premier Warlord Bush is still in the White House. I think the Democrats concept of postponing any decision for 18 months is ludicrous and borderline insulting. I'd begin bringing our men and women home TOMORROW.

I don't think there is nor ever was a military solution to this problem. I think we need to take a few steps back, take the stink of American imperialism off of the Iraq situation, and let the people of the region, Iraqis and otherwise, figure it out for themselves, helping out in any reasonable, non-military way in which we can. (I'd also recommend that we abandon our personal, selfish, pro-American desires for the region and focus exclusively on maintaining peace for a time, but I mentioned previously that the likelihood of this is absolutely nil.

As for politicians who are not shameless and hypocritical, I'll admit it's not that easy if you'll admit that it's a question of degrees, not absolutes. Politicians are all in some way or another corrupt or corruptable, but there's a HUGE difference between pocketing money from teacher's unions in exchange for favorable legislation and pocketing money from Halliburton in exchange for looking the other way while they undersupply troops and generally war profiteer.

kathylenhardt said...

LOL! While my upbringing makes me frown upon mocking and belittleing (belittling?) on the whole, it is one of those guilty pleasures. Yes, probably everyone agrees that planning was horrible.

Having spent a year biting my nails to the quick while Kyle was stationed in Baghdad, and having heard all of his stories (Well, not all; we're aware that there's a lot he won't tell us.) and opinions, as long as there are insurgents blowing up little kids, et. al., I'm not sure a non-military solution would work. I believe that they need the protection while the politicians (: P) are trying to figure out the best way to run the country. You're right, that was an unfair question because the situation is amazingly complicated. That's why I don't appreciate simplistic songs written as if they have all the answers.

GimmeDaWatch said...

If I hear one more argument degenerate into this mindless "You don't support the troops" re: "Yes I do!" script, gahhhhhh. Can't people have a debate or express their views without this pathetic questioning of the other sides' patriotism?

kathylenhardt said...

Did you even read these comments? No one accused anyone of not supporting anything. I have always had the utmost respect for Lonnie's opinions, and I would never make that kind of juvenile accusation, nor would I ever question his patriotism. What on earth were you reading?

Lons said...

I think he was responding to Dick Cheney in the article.


"They're not supporting the troops. They're undermining them," Cheney told a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition at the oceanside Ritz-Carlton hotel in Manalapan, Fla., about 60 miles north of Miami.

kathylenhardt said...

Yes! Gotcha'! I thought that was just a speech, not a debate. I, too, am very tired of the catch-phrase arguments from both sides!