The Discord’s CEO Pierce Winslow asked me to hunt down Mick Zano to conduct an important interview. The boss-man is based out of Philly and he wants to get to the bottom of some recent disturbing trends occurring here in the southwest. He’s worried about some of Zano’s cryptic emails, his strange business receipts, the lack of viable material and his increased bail requests. It begs the question, has Zano completely lost his mind after the midterms? So I agreed to track him down and get some answers, for a small fee.
CM: Thanks for meeting with me today, Mr. Zano.
MZ: We’re usually here on Tues—
CM: (Ahem…) Let’s start with current events. They’re saying Obama’s executive order on immigration is the biggest power grab ever.
MZ: It was a bold move but Bush and Reagan did similar solo immigration things. Socialists! Jonathon Chait summarizes things wonderfully, here. lf you recall, these other changes occured minus the whole End of Freedom rhetoric. I didn’t support Obama’s decision to act alone, precisely because of the focus on executive orders, the Constitution, and all this imperial presidency stuff. Post Bush the president did gain some clear leeway to act unilaterally, on anything, but this needs to be reined in.
CM: So you’re a Tea Partier now?
MZ: Hardly. In fact, if more people like them try to defend the Constitution we might as well burn that shit right now. Although, I must admit to being conflicted. Lately I’m all too willing to support any move on Obama’s part that further weakens Republicans. They remain our biggest challenge.
CM: Even if it means violating the Constitution?
MZ: No, but I do get Marshall Law flashbacks. We do forgo some rights during times of great crisis and an argument can be made that the Republican Party’s current Scheissgeist constitutes such a crisis. Their unwillingness to do anything except bring down our president is disturbing. But I’m still going to resist any moves that further expand executive power. I fear if a Republican becomes president in the near future, whatever the hell we quilled on parchment back in the day will be moot. That’s my declaration of an independent.
CM: The border situation is a humanitarian crisis. Doesn’t that matter?
MZ: I am pro-immigration reform, but we just got our asses handed to us in the midterms. Hey, I have an idea, maybe more than four Hispanics should have voted last week. Besides this is a Band-Aid. We need real reform. I’m not happy about the prospect of ignoring this crisis either, but we need to win elections.
CM: So why didn’t Congress act on immigration?
MZ: That’s like saying, why didn’t they let the Discord-gang stay longer on trivia night.
CM: Trivia night didn’t end well.
MZ: Yeah, and they asked us to stay.
CM: They won’t do that again, but back to the lack of action in Congress.
MZ: I guess it’s because the family-first people want to tear families apart, uh, in the name of Jesus. Don’t ask me to get inside their heads. They’re batshit. Obama went to Boehner asking for a bill and he failed, yet again. But we still have a system of checks and balances in place, as infuriating as that might seem when Republicans are involved. We need to beat them at the ballot box, until then the misery will continue, in all directions as far as the eye can see. But wasn’t it Jesus who said blessed are the shit kickers?
CM: I always found your stuff entertaining, until this interview, but you did get the midterms wrong. The GOP is on the march and yet here you are still focusing your energy on their epitaph.
MZ: Longer term trends look bad for Republicans. They’re deeply divided—not on anything meaningful, mind you—but they’re just further fragmenting into ever more extreme versions of themselves. I think the Republicans will eventually become so batshit that even the not-fully-engaged average voter will be forced to take notice. Trust me on this one. I just worry it’s going to take too long. A growing societal insight may be wishful thinking on my part but the long term voter demographic trends alone will spell doom for the Republicans. They will spell it wrong of—
CM: You’ve done that one before.
CM: Let’s say I don’t agree with you on this one. The GOP isn’t going anywhere.
MZ: Well, those brainwashed aren’t, that’s for sure. But they won’t return to power, at least on a presidential level until some major reforms. The alternative is…well, that’s the stuff of nightmare.
CM: You remain a staunch supporter of the president and yet Obama remains deeply unpopular. How are you right and everyone else is wrong?
MZ: Therein hangs the tale. But why do you think the Obama presidency is such a failure?
MZ: Okay, let’s pretend you never studied. Why does your average citizen think Obama is such a failure?
MZ: That’s part of it and yet every element of the ACA is popular when polled separately. It’s surpassing all expectations for enrollments, it’s linked to decreasing overall healthcare costs, hospital administrators love it, pre-existing conditions, blah blah, blah, so why is Obama’s signature achievement suddenly the kiss of death panels?
CM: I’m supposed to ask the questions.
MZ: Well, why else is he demonized?
CM: Fine. He’s had all these supposed scandals.
MZ: Let’s forget you said ‘supposed’ for a moment. This week we just concluded our 457th Benghazi hearing and learned nothing more than we already knew from day one, aka the place needed better security (committee’s lack of findings here). This won’t stop the witch hunts, nothing will. I guess all of the dozens of embassy attacks under Bush had sufficient security…right before they exploded. Feigned outrage, like Benghazi, has successfully painted a picture of both scandal and incompetence. Oh, and did I mention Republicans cut embassy security two years before Benghazi? When there’s a real problem, look to a Republican policy. I think a special Benghazi tax should be paid by all registered Republicans. You want to start being fiscally conservative? Why not start there? Let’s start tracking every time a Fox lie costs the tax payer money.
CM: I do remember you always saying this was a sham.
MZ: And now where are those Republican voices saying “we’re really sorry we led you on this two year journey of meaningless bullshit”? They are almost never right and yet they’re the ones who don’t bother with retractions. Hell, I do more than they do and I’m a spoof guy. I guess if you purge the bullshit from the GOP there’ll be nothing left. But let’s give them credit, their false reality had real consequences for seats. Ebola! ISIS! Amnesty! Fear!
CM: How could this incompetent bunch pull something like this off?
MZ: They’re well-funded and their using propaganda 101 to a tee. Fear motivates. There are also some educational problems in this country that they’re capitalizing on. Why it’s working is really the interesting part, at least from a psychological standpoint. On Obama’s inauguration day I predicted The GOP would try to create a Bush-Left. That’s exactly what they’ve done. In the context of Obama’s arrival, which I always like to remind everyone involved a global economic collapse and two wars, why didn’t they try to help? The fact they had nothing better to do from day one than obstructionism makes them…um, for lack of a better term, assholes.
CM: You did kind of admit that Obama is as bad as Bush.
MZ: What? When? History won’t agree and yet somehow this is common “wisdom” today. But we forgot one, the economy. Everything is going fairly well right now but Republicans have this delusion that we could be doing much, much better.
CM: Okay, you’re going back to the demonization of Obama. So couldn’t we be doing much better?
MZ: Hell no. As our global economic system continues to split at the seams, I would love to hear some viable plans. Republicans are kind of forgetting how, post Bush, this world market of ours is continuing to flounder, as predicted—kind of like Iraq was lost the day we invaded, as predicted.
CM: Show off.
MZ: Bottom line is, many Americans sense our whole system is in trouble, and they’re right. They just aren’t very good at assigning blame. Republicans have capitalized on their mistakes. I don’t think our economy will ever be the same, post Bush, but since we’ve managed the strongest recovery in the West, Obama deserves some credit. All economic indicators improved drastically under Obama during a very difficult period.
CM: You always talk about the historical context.
MZ: Yes, this stuff is lost on Republicans. Most facts are.
CM: So you’re pessimistic?
MZ: Not necessarily, I have a lot of hope—not for super capitalism, or Republicanism, or our current culture, but for those people willing to embrace the next steps. There’s stuff we can still do to make a better future for future generations.
CM: Like what?
MZ: That’s a loaded question, but I don’t see how blind consumerism survives much longer. I would like to shift to sustainable energies and then to sustainable communities. This is our moon shot, but we can’t even address this because half our country is not allowed to see the perils we face.
CM: Why do you think that is? Okay, I think I know.
MZ: You do, because Exxon and the Kochs and the like have successfully purchased the brains and votes of nearly half our country.
CM: Others would say you are blinded by the benefits of big government.
MZ: I disagree. I don’t go into anything, including the ACA, blindly. But it’s much harder to see where a Dem-created policy has hurt us in the 21st century, unless you’re lying. The creation of Homeland Security, the NSA, the CIA, these are rogue agencies and, whereas both parties are responsible. It’s hard to see how Dems are more to blame for them.
CM: Obama expanded NSA wiretapping.
MZ: Yes, because we voted for this shit. As it turns out, we’re not horribly bright. Obama’s only scandal is how he is covering for these rogue agencies as well as the last administration’s torture. This doesn’t really resonate in the Fox-lands because on some level even they understand their own culpability.
CM: So Benghazi.
MZ: Right, Republicans are not permitted to discuss real issues and they somehow seem fine with this new reality.
CM: So what are they missing? What are your concerns for 2015?
MZ: Trivia night, I don’t think we’ll ever be—
CM: It’s true, I talked to Sharon. We should skip that for a month or two. I’m talking about national concerns.
MZ: I guess one of my main points remains how Republicans aren’t even “permitted” to see the real problems of our time. They are snowed on an impressive level.
CM: And if it snows, then there’s no global warming?
MZ: Good one! Exactly, and let’s not forget overpopulation, limited resources, mass extinctions, Monsanto, the disparity of wealth, poor education; these are the real problems of our time. And all this is happening while The GOP attempts to dismantle the EPA and the FDA. It’s insane, and history will damn them for it.
CM: They would say radical Islam is the biggest issue. Doesn’t that make the list?
MZ: Sure it does. Liberals are a bit too blind in this area, but their leaders aren’t. Hillary is way to hawkish for my tastes and even Obama, try as he may, is being sucked into this chaos too.
CM: You didn’t support action on ISIS?
MZ: I did, but degrade from the air. Screw putting our folks in harm’s way. The Middle East needs to start giving a shit about its own messes and that won’t happen if we keep trying to contain their own crazies for them. Besides, we have our own crazies to deal with in this country.
CM: Republicans? But you’re not conflating Christianity with radical Islam, are you?
MZ: No, Christians are generally at the upper end of the fundamentalism spectrum but too many Muslims are at the low end and are very tribal. It’s a problem, for sure. The recent interview with Sam Harris and Ben Affleck on Bill Maher captures the essence of both party’s blind spots.
CM: The right thinks all Muslims are jihadists and liberals defend all Muslims to a fault.
MZ: Bingo! Maher couldn’t even read a poll about Muslim beliefs without a massive liberal backlash. On the other hand, I think everything Republicans have done to quell this jihad tide has made things much worse. Besides, some of these other problems I mentioned will get you long before some ISIS-type, well unless we go broke amidst another avoidable war (See: alternate universe McCain Administration).
CM: One last thing, I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned the Keystone Pipeline. Isn’t this an important issue?
MZ: Not really, like our crowd on trivia night, it’s a mixed bag. Republicans are lying about it being a job creator—sure it will create some temp work, but why not just get a job at Best Buy for Christmas? But Dems are ignoring the fact other modes of oil transportation are far more dangerous to the environment. This shit-oil, that probably should have stayed put, may now have to travel further on a tanker. Lovely. Ultimately we need that moon shot away from fossil fuels which the Keystone only exacerbates. Eventually questionable extractions of fossil fuels will be globally illegal, but we’re not there yet. This makes little sense to a Republican, which is your first clue it’s true.
CM: Republicans would say eventually the free market will get us to sustainable energies.
MZ: Yeah, that’s the same thing the Republicans on Mars once said. We don’t have the time to get every greedy asshole on board. In fact, they are actually actively fuzzing the subject so they can keep raping the planet. I remain amazed that some relatively smart people on the right are fooled by these tactics.
CM: Okay, I’m really here because Winslow wants to know what happened in Vegas last week. No material, yet he received, and I quote, “A slew of suspicious business receipts.”
MZ: Ahhhhh, I think you’re only really here, Cokie, because this is your favorite brewpub. Oh, and you can tell Winslow to—