TBT: The Brutal Truth

Monday, June 26, 2006

It's A Matter Of Principle

Appended to "The Purge of 9":

ERRATA: With the news of Jane Hamsher's mother passing away, there's a lot about the above that I can't agree with anymore. In fact, much of what write here actually embarrasses me. Rather than scrub the post and pretend that I never wrote such horseshit, I'd rather leave it here -- ugly warts and all -- and explain in a later post why I feel embarrassed by it. That post will come in due time ...

Just prior to my mother's heart attack last Thursday evening, I had my e-mail program open and composing an e-mail to Ms. Shakes because I had seen "The Ad" appear on her blog ... and I was torn. Her blog is about the best blog within left blogistan -- you can't toss a stone in the dark in her HaloScan without smoking a Socialist, the people there actually give a damn, and between Toast, Oddjob, Haikuist, and Dark Wraith, hilarity often insues. But "The Ad" was the basis of whacking 9 other blogs from my blogroll, so I really didn't know what to do.

The e-mail was going on two or three paragraphs when my mother pulled in the driveway. Within 10 or 20 minutes, she complained of chest pains. That's when I came in here and placed my computer into Hibernate mode, intending the finish the e-mail to Ms. Shakes later for Mom was preparing to drive herself to the hospital (I can't drive -- something that enrages me to this very day but that's a tale for another time provided I can remain calm at the this keyboard long enough to ever tell it).

She barely made it - by the time we passed the YMCA, roughly 2 miles away from the hospital itself, her chest pains were becoming intense and she was almost in tears. The red lights and rush hour traffic in downtown wasn't helping, either. When we were within blocks of the hospital, I told her, "Just pull the van up to the damn ER doors and leave it. Fuck parking the bastard!" After they wheeled her into the back, I followed and the page told me to register my mother at a desk near the ER's beds. Once I took care of that, I then made my way back to the lobby to the waiting room, grabbed the phone, dialed 9, then my sister's number to tell her where Mom and I were at and to move her ass.

That completed, the page had told me Mom was in Bed 5. I made my way back there and two doctors and a nurse were working on her, getting the necessary drugs to deal with the heart attack -- some of which were drugs she was doing without thanks to the Medicare/Medco finger pointing -- and her high blood pressure. After a brief talk with one of the doctors where he told me that the ECG is showing signs of a heart attack and they've given her Plavix and Nitro to deal with that and Catapress to bring her blood pressure down, I made my way back to the ER doors and outside to smoke a much needed cigarette (rolled from half-dozen butts) and wait for my sister to park the van.

She eventually showwed up, parked Mom's van, and we both made it back to Mom's bed. Over the next few hours, her pain was going away and her blood pressure was dropping. Since a heart attack guarantees 24-hour observation, Dawn and I were getting ready to leave and the doctor stopped us, "Actually, I want you to hold off because we hadn't gotten her chest x-ray or her blood work back so it's possible that things can turn worse and we'll have to fly her out of here." No problem there - we've forgotten all about those things with the worry and adrenaline. Hell, I had forgotten all about my back until I noticed my cane was still at home and I've been pacing the hospital floors without it. Another hour goes by and the doctor made it clear that she's stable and Dr. Amin (pronounced Ah-meen) has been made aware of the situation and want to do heart angioplasty tomorrow." Dawn and I said our goodbyes to Mom as we left.

By 9:30PM, my sister had dropped me off here at home. I was furious -- absolutely goddamned livid for I had just mentioned on this blog days ago that capitalism and bureaucracy between Medicare and Medco would end up trying to kill my mother before they stopped pointing the finger at each other but I never dreamed that it would be so sudden. Talk about deja-vu ... and it put me in one fuck of a foul mood -- a mood that hasn't gone away.

I fire up my computer ... and notice the e-mail to Ms. Shakes I neglected earlier. I deleted what I had typed, minimized it, and headed straight here to vent. From there, I went to Alternate Brain to e-mail Fixer, copy and pasted it into the mimimized e-mail to Ms. Shakes (making the necessary gender changes in the salutation), and sent them both off. Then, I stewed. Sat here chain smoking and stewed, trying my damndest to resist trashing the entire house for when I said, "Careers will end", I meant it and still do. After fuming for a few more hours, I shut down the computer and laid down hoping the TV would calm me down and I ended up sleeping.

The next morning, I get up and do my usual routine of firing up the computer, and while it tries to cram WindowXP, a virus scanner, WeatherBug, and everything else I use into 512MBs of RAM, I cane myself into the bathroom to drain my dick and then on to the kitchen to get a drink (and pop my breakfast pain pills if I've got them). Once I made my way to the computer, my fury returned ... and it focused on my Democratic Party representative John Dingell. Once that e-mail was rifled off (which he won't see until Tuesday, if he even bothers) I slogged through my usual online routine of places I hit while waiting for the painpills (if I have them) kick in so that, with any luck, the cane can go back to its usual place against the desk right by the trash can.

Within the confines of an hour or so, I made it to my blog, read the kind words left by Fixer and Shakes in my HaloScan, and then proceeded to make my blog rounds and research the Medicare/Medco situation further at the same time. By the time I made it to Shakes's blog (I save the best for last), that's when I learned of Jane Hamsher's mother passing away and that sucked the inferno right out of me, filling me with a vile sense of self-loathing I could hardly contain it -- self-loathing because of my holier-than-thou net neutrality stance that resulted in the great "Purge of 9" in the first place.

Firedoglake isn't a blog I read regularly but I've got immense respect for Jane, Christy, and the rest of the gals over there to basically come out of nowhere in left Blogistan and turn heads within a year's time. FDL is, I believe, a very young blog -- at least in terms of how long C&L, and Ms. Shakes, and I've have been around -- but yet they managed to come out of nowhere with both guns blazing to what Firedoglake is today: left blogistan's equivilent of the 50,000 watt flamethrower WJR-AM in Detroit just without the Rush Limbaugh (and thank god -- although I have no love for Rush, there is something seriously wrong about having him on such a blowtorch when a half dozen smaller 10kw-20kw stations around the Detroit market could use the revenue and ratings his audience generates without compromising coverage at all, allowing WJR to go back to covering issues that matter within metro Detroit).

The news of Jane's mother hit close to home with me because I'm losing mine, too, just at slower pace. I've allready lost my father and she's next and no matter how old you are, how successful you are, or even if you're able to make ends meet without any real hardships, once you lose both your parents, you realize within that instant that you really are on your own in the world to sink or swim and if some unfortunate things happen in your life that make living on your own an impossibility, there's no going back to Mom and Dad to live in a spare bedroom or basement for a while until you get back on your feet again. They're gone. Hopefully to a better place.

Rereading parts of "The Purge of 9" didn't make that sense of self-loathing disappear but made it worse because, for all I know, Jane herself could've been in a situation no much better or worse than my own. Driving that point home even further was a comment left here by Mommybrain:

The net neutrality ads at FDL have been a much-needed source of funding. We all know to click often and then close. We all know the ads are deceitful but if they can get our heroes some needed funding, well ... I'd much rather it came to FDL than, say, lgf or worse.

The point she drops on my lap reminds me something from a George Carlin special in the early 1990s:

We've got something in this country called NIMBY: NOT IN MY BACK YARD! People don't want anything near 'em as long as it'll help somebody else. It's part of that wholesome generous American spirit we keep hearing about. Pfffffft! Pfffffft! Pfffffft! Yeah, the wholesome, generous, American spirit. People don't want any kind of social help near them ... except military bases. They don't mind that, do they? Naw, give 'em an army base or a navy base and they like that. Why? JOBS! JOBS! Self-interest. Even if the base is loaded with nuclear weapons, they don't give a fuck. They'll say, "Welp, I'll take a little radiation if I can get a job!" Working people have been fucked over for so long in this country that those are the decisions they'll have to make.

What's sad about Mommmybrain (and George Carlin's) larger implication is that no matter how renegade the blogosphere claims to be, we're all still slaves in some form or another of the corporate coffer -- the same corporate coffers that buy off our politicans behind our backs; the same corporate coffers that syphon off our tax dollars to fund their own mirror-ball wishes and cavier dreams without lifting a single finger, spending a dime of their own fortunes, or enlisting one of their own spoiled brat children to die for the privilege.

If not slaves, then maliable pawns to either be moved about upon their chessboard or, in the off chance we grow willful and rebelous, to have our loved ones used as pawns instead as we watch in horror ... and an even more sad of implication of that is as long as that remains true, we are less likely to really give either the rich, monied elite or the large multinational corporations that fuck over the working people time and time again a serious run for their money or thier consolidated power.


Because that keeps us on some sort of leash, whispers to us to not rock the boat until given permission to rock the boat every quadratic November 3rd -- regardless of what we do on every single April 15th -- where we're then forced to choose between an allready bought-and-paid-for politican. And for that, we will always be the horse's ass to their jokes at every $1,000 dinner stag party or National Press Club gathering.

In the end, I'm still torn. Torn because, on one hand, I can empathize with the reasoning Mommybrain made and if the funding from the Blog-Ad in any way allowed Jane to help her mother in her final days, more power to her. If the roles were reversed, I'd have done the same damned thing (which is the primary reason Blog-Ads will never appear here). On the other hand, however, is the matter of principles -- principles that, despite any self-righteousness on my own part, defends the "Purge Of 9" because a blogopshere whose audience "knows that the ads are deceptive" and also "knows to click often and close" is a blogosphere whose principles can be as compromised as the sell-out Republicans, sell-out Democrats, and sell-out MSM, in which capacity the blogopshere (and its audience) can kiss gate-crashing goodbye. At best, the gate will only be rattled threateningly. At worst, it will be held open beforehand for the crashers to be invited on a tour of the large palace with its pristine ivory towers whom they'll be given the keys to for their own ascension.

The only winners are the capitalists.

The losers are their slaves and pawns.


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