Republican Red Pill, Democratic Blue Pill: Matrix-like media and politics almost beyond parody

Obama extends Bush policies

As predicted, Stephen Harper is gearing up to put his majority powers into effect. If the Prime Miser gets his way, Canadians can expect a widening spectrum of Republican-style social engineering, starting with monkeywrenched pensions. So you have to laughor cry, if you preferwatching what Harpers ideological counterparts are doing south of the border.

For the past few months the Republicans little clown car of presidential nominees has been performing donuts under the 2012 Big Top, ejecting a few greasepainted passengers along the way. Even so-called serious media are now approaching the pratfalls as straight-on entertainment. Will the handsome Mormon one-percenter beat the silver-haired fat guy with the amphibious moniker? When will the frighteningly named Rick Santorum drop out?

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Who cares? Barack Obama is the best Democrat the Republican party ever had. Formerly a senior lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago, Obama has not only failed to reverse many of the policies of the Bush administration, he has extended and widened them, from wireless wiretapping to extraordinary renditions to bank bailouts to extending the Bush-era tax cuts. (For a real laugh riot, google NDAA).

The whole depressing spectacle seems beyond parody, but one late-night comic has done a decent job. Steven Colbert educated viewers on their gamed electoral system with his short-lived exploratory run for President of the United States of North Carolina. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision that money is a form of speech, Colbert legally cooked up his own Political Action Committee, which was financed by donations from fans. The comic put his late-night colleague Jon Stewart in charge of the organization, which resulted in a series of WTF political attack ads in Colberts home state of North Carolina. (The best one begins with a clip of Mitt Romney remarking, corporations are people. The horror-film voiceover notes how Romney carved up functioning companies for profit during his tenure at Bain Capital and concludes, Mitt Romney is a serial killer.)

Colbertor his organization rather, since candidates are not allowed to coordinate with their PACs on funding decisionsoffered the GOP $500,000 to change the name of the Republican North Carolina Primary to the Republican North Carolina Colbert Primary. The party almost went for it, and only a last-minute decision kept the RNCP from being branded like a hogtied steer.

As The Colbert Report demonstrates, some of the most compelling political content is found on late night television. A few weeks back, talk show host Conan OBrien promised to officiate a same-sex wedding on his show. On a later show, he aired the responses from television news broadcasters to his announcement. No fewer than 17 anchors from 17 different U.S. cities prefaced the story with exactly the same words: Conan OBrien may be about to push the envelope on late-night television.

Its no secret that U.S. broadcast news is a processed as a ballpark frank. Right wing talking points, rendered and canned by the GOP, are consumed and excreted by Limbaugh, Palin, and the usual suspects. No one is surprised by a Borg-like mindset on Fox News, but the tight scripting about OBrien involved local news teams from cities across the U.S. The verbal lockstep brings to mind the Wachowski brothers film The Matrix, with its the simulated world humming through the heads of human batteriesthe films futuristic extrapolation of contemporary couch potatoes.

In any case, Liberal progressives are terrified of a homo-bashing, immigrant-trashing Mitt/Newt option, so they are returning to Obama for yet another drink of Kool-Aid to wash down the Blue Pill. What a choice: between the Rethuglicans and the Despercrats. Name your poison, America.

As I said, you have to laugh. Last December, a U.S. spy drone went down in Persian airspace. According to The Washington Post, an Iranian toymaker is now manufacturing scaled-down toy versions of the captured RQ-170 drone, and President Obomber will receive one in response to his formal request to return the top-secret craft. Iranian state radio has promised the president will get a model one-eightieth in sizein bright pink, to boot.

Forget the Matrix-making Wachowski brotherstodays headlines and news clips seem more like the work of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the cartoon series South Park.

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