Friday, September 29, 2006

The Torturer's Horse Scratches Its Innocent Behind On A Tree

Why is it that the good ones die but the bad live on forever? Why couldn't John Lennon have risen from the grave instead of McCarthy, or if you will, Curtis LeMay?

Praise be to Molly Ivens for hitting the nail on the head. I saw her on a pundit show a few weeks back and God help me if she doesn't seem to be suffering from some severe disease, maybe the "Big C." Her head wrapped in a scarf, she seemed an exhausted warrior nearly spent of ammunition, of strength, nearing the end of battle, splayed out on an infinite battlefield under a pitiless sun beneath a clock without hands on a day from no calendar.

Now, as the President signs Habeus Corpus out of law for the first time in a million or so years, the stormtroopers on the other side, gleaming and glistening with smug satisfaction, swathed in shiny, unwrinkled suits, preen as they surge toward ultimate victory. Good will triumph over evil, they say. Too bad the two will have become indistinguishable.

No wonder the world is more worried about Bush than Bin Laden. Turns out they're much the same. Good versus evil, good versus evil. Good versus evil. Blah blah blah.

So Molly Ivens dies of cancer and Karl Rove goes to a power lunch.

Our government has decided that in order to protect us they need the power to torture and kill us - with no checks on their power. The president decides who is a terrorist. He's the Decider. He decides. He doesn't have to tell anyone why. He doesn't have to produce evidence. He doesn't have to provide a lawyer. You're guilty because he says so.

And who exactly is this model leader upon whose shoulders the mantle of unrestrained power now so lightly rests?

People, when the groupthink passes you are going to have a lot to answer for. This is a man who cannot think. A man who says he hears the voice of God. A man who is proud about everything he does not know and is not curious to learn. A man who, backed in his youth and young adulthood by the most powerful cadre of snakeskin elites the world had ever known, and a father with claws deep in Central Intelligence, Big Oil, Big War and the White House, could muster no more than a C-minus average and a half-finished pantomime of military service. Not to mention a hundred lost weekends over the border.

This is a man who sleeps like a baby while your kids sweat in the desert and get their asses shot off so that Haliburton and Exxon can continue to plunder the pockets of the working poor. Your pockets.

Good versus evil.

I only hope that those of you who think it's okay to destroy the protections of the constitution and international law someday run afoul of your government. You'll want a lawyer then.

But you won't get one.

How long will they be able to jail you?


Who will you be able to turn to and say, "there's been a terrible mistake!"

No one.

Who will ever know your fate?

God alone.

"You're a terrorist!" they'll say.

And that, friends, will be that.

I write to you from my desk at this psychiatric hospital, which is a fundamentally sane place. At least people here know they've got a problem.

Someone out there write a comment and help me keep from also going insane.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I Am Curious, Red: Sexy Republican Thoughts

During the Clinton administration, as we remember, the Republicans were relentless in their attacks and ad hominem smears on the president. They claimed he hadn’t really deserved the oval office since Ross Perot had spoiled the race and thwarted the will of the “true majority” of Americans. There were the accusations that he had had Vince Foster murdered, that with the assistance of knowing Arkansas state troopers he had committed rape numerous times, and of course, that he used his position as governor to acquire land at a reduced rate – the land he eventually lost his entire investment on - the swampy acreage known forever as “Whitewater.”

The GOP was unable to make anything of substance stick to the president, no matter how hard they tried. Thirty million dollars spent to uncover cronyism and sweetheart deals that today wouldn’t even make Jack Abramoff’s top hundred and fifty, and couldn’t be proven besides.

They were finally able to stir up a faux national crisis in Bill's boxers, a hook (forgive me) on which to hang their psychological rage and perverse revulsion with female sexuality. For one thing was certain, and that was Clinton’s sexual allure to women and the female swoon that followed him. I think what bothered the Right most was how the women around them loved and lusted after Bill Clinton. He would simply have to go.

I think of John Ashcroft, whose first act after losing his senate seat to a corpse, only to be resurrected as the most powerful law-enforcement official in the land under a new idiot man-child president, was to cover the statue of Justice with a cloth so that visitors to the Capitol wouldn’t have to endure the disturbing sight of Justice’s filthy, dirty, disgusting, pornographic, bare alabaster breasts.

Huzzah! 1950 had returned, and nude statues were dirty again. What a relief.

Make no mistake: the Republican party exists for very few reasons, maybe only two: first, to guarantee the rich and powerful a reliable stream of wealth and privilege, and second, to combat the dangers of female sexuality. Of course, Clinton was no enemy to the wealthy and powerful, to be sure. But we can agree today that his impeachment, for lying about the Lewinsky affair – a legal, consensual sexual affair totally unrelated to his ethical comportment as president – was a new low in Right-wing sexually – repressed filth.

Those of us who could see what was really going on drew a collective breath of worry and dismay. The sex police were coming, in high dudgeon, to proclaim the new Decency: airwaves filled with clean family fun, corporate dominance in all institutions and markets, well-scrubbed evangelicals waging war on women, on families, on international institutions - and later, war all the time, everywhere.

Anyway, believe it or not, I started this post intent on talking about Thomas Jefferson. I wanted to point out that under the Clinton administration, radical conservatives (oxymoronic, I know) were fond of quoting Jefferson thusly:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

No one on the Right is saying much about the tree of liberty now. In fact, they are now saying, “watch what you say about the government.”

I will end with a more apropos quotation from TJ, one I hope you, dear reader, will take to heart:

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

Peace to you all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Olbermann hits a Home Run

The more Keith Olbermann writes, the more I am convinced that his is a powerful new voice for sanity and change in America.

That he comes from the realm of sports commentary humbles me, as I have always tended to think of sports and sports figures as a distraction from more serious events. When the evening news runs fifty seconds of world news and eight minutes of sports, I always reflect that our priorities as citizens are disastrous. A distinct hopeless feeling follows.

How is it possible to not to discount the intellect of people – including dear friends of mine – who can’t name a single Supreme Court justice but can name every player in every position on their local baseball teams, their salaries, batting averages, where they went to school and how they were acquired or traded?

I understand not wanting to jump into the meat grinder of politics and policy. But immersing one’s self in the minutia of professional sports has always seemed to me a way of wasting one’s mind, disengaging from the real world and our responsibilities to be informed. Were we a tenth as curious about our government as we are about our “national pastime,” for example, perhaps our nation would more closely resemble the paradise of freedom it was intended to be.

Anyway, today I am reminded that I don’t know everything there is to know, that I can be something of a snob at times, and that there are indeed thoughtful, intelligent, and concerned voices speaking out from the press box to a world beyond the stadium.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"I Don't Care How He Governs, I Will Support Him. I'm A Republican Through And Through."

Many thanks to Ellie for calling me out of hiatus with her kind words of encouragement to post again. I will post a thoughtful examination of my reasons for being silent sometime in the next few days, but rest assured I have been watching the world turn with keen interest and have not abandoned my duty as a citizen to be informed.

Emotionally, the shock and awe of the Republicans’ disastrous domestic policies and their effect on the people I work with (I am a clinical director in a psychiatric hospital) have driven me silent lately. What is there to say? We live in a land where the rich eat the poor and to say otherwise makes you a liberal. And, as we practitioners of psychosemiotic analysis are aware, in today’s lexicon the following formula applies:


So be it. I am one of those few Americans with a long enough memory to still be chafing at the idea of “trickle down” social and economic policy. I remember how much better the country was before the Right wing Republicans came to power. Remember retirement plans? Remember benefits at work? Job security? Vacations? Paying the bills on one salary with a little left over to save? Remember low-cost student loans and grants? Remember when the government cared about justice, and actually enforced labor laws?

Ah, the good old days. Hell, I'm such a fossil I'm still lamenting the Reagan years, even as every institution in the land is gradually re-named after that deluded second-rate McCarthy himself.

Nothing trickles down to the poor and working middle class. Nothing good, anyway.

And what’s more, we have all known it all along, and yet we played along with this fantasy that helping people only hurts them, and that if a man is drowning you throw him an anvil, since his problem isn’t the drowning, it’s his lack of motivation to swim. We played along with idea that a businessman in a thousand dollar suit with a battery of lawyers can be a devout and humble Christian.

Maybe all of you out there are starting to wake up. As for me, the whole thing gave me a gut ache and sent me into seclusion. Reading, but no writing. Thanks to Ellie for letting me know people were in fact reading along with my struggle.

Anyway, on to the thing itself:

From today’s perusal of the ‘sphere:

“There are some people, and I'm one of them, that believe that George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord," Tomanio said. "I don't care how he governs, I will support him. I'm a Republican through and through.”

People like thisare the problem.

Peace unto you, and your families, and the world. May we all come to our senses soon.