The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    The Politics of Cruelty

    I'm coming off of my Thanksgiving week high, settling down, and what's the first thing I think of when I get back to my desk to do some writing?  Cruelty. Institutional cruelty, at that.  Political cruelty.  The kind of cruelty that knows no bounds and fears no punishment.  A new kind of cruelty, right out in the open and expecting rewards.  The New America, courtesy of the Tea Party, the Koch Brothers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

    I had a lovely week.  Our dinner was great, I avoided Black Friday, we celebrated a good man's birthday, and our 350 mile trip back home was uneventful.  No wind or snow or traffic jams, and the ferry, our lifeline, was running on time.

    Maybe it was because of that fine respite--I don't know--but at my desk those thoughts about where we are on the inhumanity front kept coming through. 

    If there is a catalyst, I blame Joe Arpaio, the infamous, publicity-seeking sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County.  He's the guy who thinks it's cute to keep his prisoners in pink underwear.  He stays awake nights trying to come up with ideas to humiliate and demoralize the inmates in his care.  He gets a real kick out of it and never misses a chance to publicly tighten the screws.

    To save money, Arpaio says, he feeds his prisoners only twice a day on between 15 cents and 40 cents a meal.  The meals are vegetarian, no salt and pepper.  He's working on charging them a dollar a meal, because, he says, "Everybody else has to pay for their food, why should they get freebies?"

    Last Wednesday he took the time to tweet his Thanksgiving menu

    "Thanksgiving menu is all set! Hope the inmates give thanks for this special meal being served in the jails tomorrow." 

    Five ounces of turkey soy casserole and donated brownies.  56 cents a meal.  Did he do it to save money?  Sure.  Did he have to do it?  No.  (Did he eat it himself?  Have you seen him?)
    But Joe is small potatoes compared to the various Federal, state and local leaders busy thinking up ways to stick it to the little guy.  Governors refusing Federally endorsed Medicaid for their citizens.  A $40 billion cut in food stamps.  A fight to block minimum wage hikes.  Cuts in unemployment benefits.  Cuts in Veteran's aid.  Cuts in public education.  Complete and total neglect of crumbling infrastructure.  Refusal to recognize the Affordable Care Act, along with a hearty wish that that damned website would just die already. 
    Cruel, cruel, cruel, cruel, cruel, cruel, cruel, and cruel.  Every "no" vote, every obstruction sentences hundreds of thousands to needless suffering.  But because that kind of cruelty is now the American version of politics-as-usual, some of us rail (and not for the first time) while some of us cheer, but in the end, the power is no longer with the people.  Endless, needless, avoidable suffering and nobody goes to jail.  

    Except Joe Arpaio, but only long enough to torment his inmates for yet another day.  Then he gets to go home, where nothing can hurt him.  Ever.



    Arpaio is a symptom of almost everything wrong with this country.

    But bless the kind souls who donated the brownies.

    You bet he is, and he's proud of it.  He gets more press than any volunteer ever will.

    I read about this latest torture by Arpaio.

    I get so angry! 

    I even had a dream that he was arrested for misappropriation of tens of millions of dollars...hahahah; and put into his own tent pending trial. 

    My son showed up on Black Friday. The only shopping we did was at the grocers.

    I fixed burritos and we watched movies. Of course we had other courses like tacos and cheese and the amenities that go with that dish. The next morning we had the usual pancakes and sausage.

    He ate it all it all up like he always does, after all  he had had it with turkey and such.

    The next afternoon Precious was dropped off and the three of us played the piano in the community room. Precious also met the mechanical penguin with a Santa hat. hahahha

    She took her tiny fingers and began to remove these little lights and I got her back to the piano. 

    I am grateful for a number of things. 

    My kids are healthy, Precious is healthy, I have a roof over my head (and we have already had sub-zero lows up here), I even have enough in savings to replace this lap top if bad things happen.

    I am attempting to 'stay on line' as they say.

    There were two train derailments within a few days, there were several shootings (reported that is, there are always several shootings), people were fighting each other at the malls (hahahahahahahaha, isn't that awful, I mean it just makes me laugh), there were car accidents (one that took the life of a guy who had everything), and....

    Life goes on.

    I shall now log off and see if Leno has some headlines.

    Happy Holidays Ramona!

    Richard, sounds like the best Black Friday ever.  I love that you call your granddaughter "Precious".  Just so you don't say it this way.  (Sorry)  frown

    Glad to see that life is good for one of the good guys.

    Happy Holidays to you, too, Richard.

    I watched on MSNBC tonight that the NAACP is organizing a boycott against Art Pope's discount stores in North Carolina. He is a trust fund baby on a scorched earth power trip.  He engineered the tea party take over of North Carolina's state government and the extreme gerrymandering.  They announced this on the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus boycott.  Pope is about to feel some of his own scorched earth economics.  People will car pooling out of poor neighborhoods where his stores are located to other stores.

    I am glad to see people make a stand against meanness.  

    According to Fast Fact:

    POPE'S INHERITED RETAIL FORTUNE: Pope’s fortune comes from his inherited family business, the discount retail chain Variety Wholesalers, Inc. Variety Wholesalers owns Maxway and Roses, which it bought out of bankruptcy, and several other smaller stores. In locating its stores, Variety Wholesalers targets areas where the median household income is $40,000 or less and with a minimum 25 percent African-American population within five miles.

    Some retailers operate on a low profit margin so even a relatively mild decrease in in-store sales can have major impact. I am encouraged by the struggle going on in North Carolina. Citizens are demanding freedom from the overbearing government represented by the GOP. If you disagree with the Republicans , they seek to destroy rather than seek any compromise.

    Pope publicly confronted the NAACP leadership on this yesterday.  The boycott was called last August by the Democratic Underground.  Pope must be feeling the economic pressure in his business.  He seemed surprised that he would be a target for a boycott.  Gee what did he expect.  You take away people's rights and they will take their business some where else. I know from experience that middle class and well to do shoppers are not going to go into these low class neighborhoods to shop.  I have friends that will not come to visit me or pick me up because of where I now live.  This maybe a very effective boycott because his wealth comes from patrons in low class neighborhoods and towns. 

    I didn't know about these guys.  It just goes on and on, doesn't it?  This kind of exposure is so important.  Keep shining the light on those Koch-fueled haters--they're parasites.

    Oh, I can't take another pay cut
    Though you say you're my friend, I'm at my wits end
    You say your party's bona fide
    But that don't coincide with the things that you do
    And when I ask you to be fair, you say
    You gotta be
    Cruel to be kind to be a right winger
    Cruel to be kind it's a very clear sign
    Cruel to be kind means that we own you
    Baby, you gotta be cruel to be kind

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