Archive for May, 2014

Bread and Circuses

Posted: May 9, 2014 in New Post

The Roman satirist Juvenal had a phrase for it, “Panem et Circenses”. Translated it means “Bread and Circuses”. It referred to the common practice of Roman politicians buying the vote of the easily distracted voter base with free grain and costly entertainment. The theory was, if you can’t govern, dangle shiny objects. It worked.

Well, this historic lesson certainly was not lost on the current ruling majority in the House of Representatives. Watching their “Obamacare” strategy for the mid-term elections go up in smoke like Nero’s Rome, they decided that playing that same old fiddle until November just wasn’t going to hold their rabble’s attention. It was time to put down the fiddle, acknowledge the fire, and come up with a new plan. Except the new plan was actually a two year old plan, Benghazi. Yes, there’s nothing like a blood curdling conspiracy theory to attract the torch bearing mob and call them to action (and donations to the NRCC). Pull out your wallets and hold on to your tin foil hats! Do we have a circus for YOU!

Now John Boehner, the Weeper Speaker of the House, solemnly promised that this would not be a side show in a circus, and this part was true. Actually, it would be the main event, the center ring, a Cirque de Soleil La Nouba.

“Come one, come all, and see the amazing chameleon conspiracy! Watch as allegations appear out of nowhere, disappear, and turn into new ones right before your eyes!. Sit in amazement as seven GOP acrobats twist and turn facts into unbelievable shapes and sizes unrecognizable to any civilized human! Hold your breath as one subpoena after another flies across your Fox News screens while headlines warn of the impending “Scandal of DOOM!” All this and more for that mere cost of  $25, $75, $100, $250, or $500. Whatever you can contribute!”

That’s right, conspiracies don’t come cheap and setting up a Select Committee circus tent doesn’t either. Taxpayer’s dollars don’t grow on trees, even if GOP conspiracies do. While the obvious question of political motivation popped up, another more disturbing one begged to be answered. Should the Republican Party be using the tragedy of lost American lives to raise money from an easily enraged base? When asked this very question, John Boehner, doing his best Nero impression, picked up his fiddle again and played a new song. “Our focus is on getting the answers to those families who lost their loved ones. Period.” The reporter asked again, and again the same tune. Another reporter asked, the fiddle hit the same chords. Yes, Nero turned into Mr. Roboto right before our eyes. He just put on his best tanning salon face and repeated the same response. Domo arigato.

So here we are, in May of 2014, two years and four congressional circuses later, still investigating the scandal that never was. This may be a waste of taxpayer’s dollars. This may be a waste of television air time (but then again, wasting air time is what Fox News does best). But circuses can be profitable for a party searching for a reason to exist in the 21st Century, and what better historical example than to take a page out of a book from the 2nd Century. Give them Panem et Circenses”, Bread and Circuses.




Last week was another bad one for the Republican Party and their whiny but always entertaining mouth piece, Fox News. It was a week of devastating news for Fox Tales and their GOP sponsors. First they found that being a racist can be a bad thing (see Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling). Then came the news that over 8 million people have signed up on the health care exchanges(see Death Spiral). Seems like repeal and replace has become retreat and regroup. But the worst news for Fox and Fiends was on the economy. Yes, the figures are in and the Obama economy is doing quite nicely despite predictions of job creators dropping dead on the street from the strain of having the Bush tax cuts expire. Unemployment was down to 6.3% in April and 288,000 private sector jobs were created marking the 50th consecutive week of job growth. And what was the Fox response to all this great news? BENGHAZI! That’s right, just as Ilsa Lund and Rick Blaine will always have Paris, Fox and Fiends will always have Benghazi. The word flows out of right wing mouths like flatulence out of the anus of Rush Limbaugh. Someday the Fox crew will realize that the only people paying attention to their fake scandals are either having their cattle impounded or have just been banned from the NBA. That day will probably not be very soon.