Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I'm tired of writing about Dubya, Condi, Rummie and Dick. How many different ways can one say that our country has been turned into one massive yard sale so that GWB's cronies can cart off everything that's not nailed down -- and everything that IS nailed down too -- for cheap while "We The People" are not even allowed to attend the sale of our own stuff.
I personally have written over 350 essays on how America is being reemed by the Bush bureaucrats. The internet CRAWLS with facts and statistics backing up my claims -- yet somehow those gangsters in the White House still manage to convince an all-too-large number of gullible Americans that the Bush Mafia family is wonderful, that America is having no trouble and that anything you hear to the contrary is just spiteful lies made up by us worthless bleeding-heart liberals who are merely jealous of their great success.
Like thousands of us disgruntled liars just sat down and made up all that stuff up about Dubya, Condi, Rummie and Dick -- stuff like the failure to share their knowledge of a possible attack on America in September of 2001, the fiasco in Iraq, the loser economy, the Katrina FEMA disaster, welfare for the rich, vets, children and seniors being treated like sheep dookie, the national parks give-away, the US-occupied Afghanistan record-breaking opium crops, Osama bin Forgotten, Enron, vote fraud and on and on and on? Like we could even CONCEIVE of all that ineptness and corruption. Like even Michael Moore could dream all that stuff up?
Or else there is the other possibility, as Jane Smiley told us recently, that us liberals are NOT lying and the Bush "government" really IS fouling up -- but they are doing it ON PURPOSE! "The Bushies have a pattern and they stick to it in spite of every apparent reason to change course.... Let’s take a look at the 'mistakes' the Bush administration is said to have made, and, instead, ask ourselves if they are actually realized intentions" -- deeds done on the sly so that what happened in the New Russia and the New China can happen here too. So that in the confusion of a once-great country's disintegration, Dubya's giant American yard sale can be held.
Hey, didn't that Arctic oil supply that I just saw being hauled away in the back of Dickie's pick-up truck used to belong to us? Isn't that OUR army that just got sold for pennies on the dollar to Rummie? Didn't WE used to own Fort Knox?
Or the Bush bureaucracy might be destroying our country simply for the power it gives them. Knowing them, that would make perfect sense -- that they would rather be kings of a devastated America than preside over a thriving republic where "just a piece of paper" like the Constitution ties their hands.
In any case, I am rock-bottom bored with constantly having to spend my valuable time writing about the antics of Bush's carpetbaggers and sadists -- so I thought I'd take a break and write about my second-most favorite dysfunctional family for a change. That would be the family of my daughter's friend Jordan whose life sort of resembles "Malcolm in the Middle" combined with "Veronica Mars".
For those of you who are just tuning in to "The Bizarre Adventures of Jordan," here is the gist of the story so far: Immediately after Jordan and his brother Nathan were adopted, their new mom was forced give up being a drunk when her liver failed. Then the father went into anger management meltdown and started hitting the kids. Then the parents filed for divorce. THEN they reconciled. Then the boys were shipped off to some boarding school for abused children that was run by a child abuser too. Then when the boys came home from that, Nathan tried to protect Jordan and as a result spent the next four years trudging through the brat camps of Utah, California and Colorado. And all this time, the parents called the cops on their kids like they considered the police to be their own personal "Nanny 911".
So here's the latest episode. And trust me, this one does not disappoint!
When we last left young Jordan, he had just run away from his "behavior modification program" in Montana, went back to his parents' home on Wisteria Lane, got thrown out into the street by said parents and came to stay with us. I bet you are thinking, "Now that Jane's in a postition to help, this soap opera is finally going to have a happy ending," right?
After five happy months of staying at our house, Jordan moved back in with his cop-calling, brat-camp-addicted, dysfunctional parents. Why? It seems that young Jordan had also become addicted to living in a soap opera and, frankly, life with us was too calm.
Since Jordan went back to his parents' house, he's been in hog heaven. The police have visited there four different times. The emergency mobile mental health crisis unit has been there twice. The child protective services have done an in-depth study of this normal middle-class American family. There have also been visits from a social worker, two sets of lawyers and a shrink. The household is like a big circus. The brother cusses. The father rages. The mother sobs.
Jordan feels right at home.
But wait. It gets even better. When our Nathan -- after four years in brat camps, this kid hasn't a CLUE about how to behave -- took the family car to go see his girlfriend, the father called the cops and Nathan ended up spending Thanksgiving in juvenile hall. So. There's Nathan, back home with the toxic combination of his volatile parents and an electronic monitoring device keeping him on Wisteria Lane 24/7 -- a toxic combination guaranteed to create havoc. And it did. Nathan got into an argument with the mom and she BIT him.
I swear. This stuff actually happened. I did NOT steal this plot off an episode of "Desperate Housewives" -- or even a White House press conference!
Then what happened? The parents called the cops. Again. You shoulda been there when the cops (and the emergency mobile crisis unit) arrived. Nathan started shouting, "The bitch BIT me!" The crisis unit started screaming that Nathan was lying and how could he say that about his poor sweet parents. And the cops just stood there and shook their heads.
So. Now everyone is happy. The whole family is living the life they are used to. "But," you may ask, "what will happen next?" That's easy to guess. Just ask a cop. Half the local police force knows that, with Nathan forced to stay in that volatile situation by a well-meaning but clueless probation officer, the chances are good that the up-coming holidays could involve a possible homicide attempt (or at least major mayhem) on peaceful, Christmas-tree-light-festooned Wisteria Lane.
Down at the local police precinct, the beat officers are actually running a betting pool on who in that family will draw first blood before New Year. Place your bets early, folks. The odds are on Nathan but the mom's odds are looking good too.
Bottom line: l now avoid Wisteria Lane like the plague -- and I advise the cops to do likewise. If your 911 button lights up involving that address on Christmas, guys, just ignore it and keep passing the egg nog!
PS: Now that I think about it, there are clear correlations between the White House fiasco and the fiasco on Wisteria Lane: Dubya's dysfunctional family has ulterior motives disguised as "Patriotism" and an uncontrolled drive for power -- and soap opera. Jordan's dysfunctional family also has ulterior motives disguised as "Good Parenting" and an uncontrolled drive for power -- and soap opera.
PPS: There is actually another episode of "Brat Camp" being produced for next season and this time it takes place at Aspen Achievement Academy, one of the several brat camps that Jordan was forced to attend. Sorry, guys, he's not in this episode. Maybe next time?
I only wish that they would do an episode of "Brat Camp" where Dubya, Condi, Rummy and Dick are the campers. And the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary Achievement Academy sounds like a great place to film it.
Friday, December 16, 2005
I just started reading Martin Cruz Smith's new murder mystery, "Wolves Eat Dogs". It takes place in Russia after the collapse of the USSR. To quote the cover blurb, "[Moscow police detective] Arkady Renko has survived, barely, the journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia.... Now Renko enters the privileged world of Russia's new billionaire class". By page 55 (where I am now), the author has painted a pretty grim picture of life in the New Russia -- corruption, Mafia-like violence, social disintegration and economic inequity between the new super-rich corporate mafia and the average poverty-stricken citizens who have lost their savings, their homes, their jobs and their pensions.
Many political scientists will agree that the economic collapse and resultant political fragmentation of the Soviet Union was caused by a huge drain on that country's resources as a result of the USSR's occupation of Afghanistan combined with the humongous expense of keeping its super-power military machine running at top speed.
In 2005, the United States of America seems to be in approximately the same position that the USSR was in during the 1980s -- too much money being spent on war; maxing out our credit cards on war toys at the expense of everything else.
I hope that I'm wrong but what if this comparison is valid and there will also be an economic collapse here in the United States too? And will political fragmentation also result? Perhaps the red states will form a new country called Tex-America and the rest of the states will break into West America, Mid-America and America East....
And will US corporate gang leaders take over Houston and New York and DC like they took over Moscow? And will the average person in Chicago and Los Angeles lose their jobs, housing and savings like what happened in Leningrad? Should we study the antics of the New Russia to get a glimpse of how the New America will be?
Or can we learn NOW from the USSR's example and cut down our over-expanded and unjustified military empire before it's too late?
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Talk about your insensitivity! U.S. occupying forces have closed Iraq's borders just as Muslim Iraqis are preparing to go on Hajj. Do Bush, Rice and Rumsfeld even know what Hajj is? Even if you don't know how to use America's trillion-dollar information-gathering systems, guys, at least try to Google it.
For U.S. occupying forces to close Iraq's borders at Hajj time would be like the Israeli Defense Force closing down Bethlehem at Christmas. Oops. They already did that -- and discovered it was a bad idea. Now the IDF has just limited Itself to imprisoning Bethlehem with checkpoints and the Wall. But even despite this, going to Bethlehem is always a good idea -- it is the experience of a lifetime for Christians, just like going on Hajj to Mecca is the experience of a lifetime for Muslims.
By the way, going to Bethlehem is absolutely safe. Palestinians -- both Muslim and Christian -- are the soul of hospitality. And they have internet cafes there too so you won't feel lonely. Stay at the Bethlehem Star Hotel. You'll feel right at home. But I digress.
I recommend that every single Muslim in Iraq go on Hajj this year. Just stop killing each other and do it! Even the Kurds. The oil will still be there when you get back.
And as for the American occupying army: Show a little dignity. Offer a truce during this very holy time. Or, better yet, stop occupying Iraq altogether.
PS: If one wants to keep people happy and peaceful, just keep them busy! Jobs, schools, arts and crafts? Whatever it takes to keep their minds off making bombs. Installing electricity in Baghdad would be a great first step!
Saturday, December 10, 2005
There are buildings in America named after Richard Nixon, famous for the Watergate scandal.
There are buildings in America named after Bill Clinton, famous for the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
There are buildings in America named after Ronald Reagan, famous for the Iran-Contra scandal, promoting torture and death squads in Latin America and giving Saddam Hussein access to American-made weapons of mass destruction.
There are buildings in America named after George H.W. Bush, the man who made "Gulf War Syndrome" a part of the English language.
There are buildings in America named after J. Edgar Hoover, a professional blackmailer and alleged cross-dresser.
Yet Congress in its wisdom has officially refused to name a post office in Berkeley, California after Maudelle Sherik, a long-time City Council member who has fed the hungry, fought injustice, fixed our potholes, set us an example of courage and graciousness, funded our libraries, inspired our children and generally made our city a better place.
If instead of serving on the Berkeley City Council, Maudelle had been President of the United States or head of the FBI, America too would have been a better place -- and we wouldn't be struggling with debt, unemployment, senseless "wars" that are draining our country's wealth, corruption in high places, stolen elections and a tarnished world image.
Maybe that's why Congress balked at naming a post office after Shirek. She's not corrupt enough or hypocritical enough or blood-thirsty enough. And she's too honest!
PS: the Berkeley City Council just passed a resolution naming the City Hall after our Maudelle. But I still want the post office named after her. It's the principle of the thing -- that sleazy Congressman King from Iowa can slander Shirek's good name in the House of Representatives, claim Joseph McCarthy was a "hero for America," call Shirek a commie of all things (she's not), block the post office naming and get away with it. Two buildings named after Maudelle instead of just one? Works for me.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I just got an e-mail from a friend in Dallas. It was a shocker. "People need to know what is going on with some of the Katrina evacuees here," she wrote me. "My feelings right now about some of these Katrina folk is that they should be thrown out with the bath water. I WANT THEM ALL TO GO THE HELL BACK TO NEW ORLEANS!" She goes on to detail how some of the victims of Hurricane Katrina are using their access to government funds to go on elaborate spending sprees. And they are also acting like thugs.
Could it be possibly true? My liberal heart is breaking here. Are some Katrina victims following in the footsteps of George W. Bush and the infamous Bush bureaucracy and taking advantage of American wealth and generosity to line their own pockets? Please say it isn't so! And if it is, does that mean that these New Orleans people, like the Bush bureaucracy, will now get fawned upon by the American media ad nauseam and be given the keys to the White House and Fort Knox?
"Some Katrina evacuees are using their money to buy things like jewelery, big screen televisions, etc.," wrote my friend from Dallas. "One woman used her debit card to fly to New York and purchase an $800 designer handbag! Another man purchased Texas Rangers equipment and went on a gigantic buying spree." Yeah. That sounds like they are copying George Bush. Bring it on!
Liberal that I am, it's easy for me to blame this sort of behavior on the fact that many New Orleans people, much like GWB, had rotten childhoods -- but what can we do about that now? You can't just give people back the decent childhoods they should have had in the first place so that they will shape up and act right as adults. Or can you?
Once an apple falls from a rotten tree, is that "all she wrote" for said apple? Do adults who were deprived of good examples when they were children ever snap out of it? Did poor sweet baby Georgie even have a chance at becoming an honorable and honest American? His father sold out to Big Business. His grandfather sold out to the freaking NAZIS. Probably not. But is there any hope of reforming young George now? Don't hold your breath on this one.
Like some of the victims of Katrina, GWB now has billions of dollars of OUR tax money -- and he is spending it even more wildly than my friend says that the Katrina victims are spending it. So. We should crack down on the one but not on the other? Have a double standard -- one that points the wagging finger of shame at the Katrina victims but lets that welfare queen in the White House slide?
"They are turning Dallas into a crime-ridden city," continued my friend. "They are turning the prices of everything upside down." You could say that about George Bush too.
"In school, these kids are way below grade level and they are starting fights in the schoolyard. And the gangs in South Dallas have even called a truce in order to stop the New Orleans gangs from taking over. They beat the hell out of them and for once the police are happy!" Not only does that sound exactly like the results of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" fiasco but our George has also succeeded in uniting the Republican and Democratic gangs against him too.
"Dallas bit off more than it can chew here," said my friend, "but thank God the police chief knows the score. He's had a couple of 'come to Jesus' talks with some of these folk." And a few "come to Jesus" talks with GWB -- preferably in a courtroom -- might work wonders too.
"And don't let me forget the sex offenders who are now running loose in Dallas. There are something like 350 that we know of." Okay. And Bush had Jeff Gannon, a well-known male prostitute, spend the night in the White House 20 different times according to Secret Service records. There's a definite correlation here.
"Now, FEMA wants these Katrina bad apples out of the hotels and the apartment folk want them out of the apartments. Many of them are just sitting around waiting for Texas to support them!" Hell, Texas supported George Bush for YEARS. "Texas can't afford it and Texas won't do it." I guess the people of Texas learned their lesson after being hit by Hurricane Dubya in 1994.
"In the meantime, many Katrina survivors are going to Dallas Health and Human Services to get welfare." George also likes welfare. For example, he's churning out welfare checks to the pharmaceutical companies hand over fist. And he's supporting the military-industrial corporate welfare queens too.
"I consider myself a stone liberal," my friend continued, "but some of these people from New Orleans are turning me into a conservative. I'm having nightmares about it. I called the City Manager and she's having nightmares too!!" I feel your pain. The amount of money those Bush bureaucrats have gouged us taxpayers for is stupendous. That's definitely giving ME nightmares. America has been descended upon by the Bushes like my friend says Dallas has been descended upon by the victims of Katrina.
"I tried to find jobs for several police officers from Orleans parish," my friend told me. "One was a sheriff and the others were police officers. I called my buddy in the police department here and he said, 'sure bring them all and we will hire them if they can show us their badges.' Well not one of them went!" That sounds like all those Bush supporters who LOVE the war on Iraq but refuse to sign up and serve.
It's HARD to be a liberal these days because a lot of low-lifes attempt to take advantage of our "Do unto others..." credo. But I keep on trying because I want to go to Heaven with a clean soul. I do it more for myself than I do it for them.
Bottom line: I will be a Liberal until the day I die -- but having said that, even I realize that it's time for both liberals and conservatives to join together and start separating the wheat from the chaff. It's time for all of us to cut the "evil-doers" out of the budget -- both in Dallas and in DC.
I think everyone will agree on that.
PS: There IS one difference between the Katrina evacuees in Dallas and George Bush. Many of the Katrina victims are spending like drunken sailors because they have never had any money before and don't know how to handle it whereas GWB has always had money. However, he too spends it like a drunken sailor -- especially now, ever since he got his hands on ours.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I was watching "Gray's Anatomy" on TV tonight and during the commercial break there was an ad for the new Steven Spielberg film based on the 1972 Munich Olympic hostage crisis wherein "eleven Israeli athletes were murdered" -- presumedly by the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Because I usually try to defend the cause of Palestinian freedom, I decided that I had better read up on what happened in Munich because one never wants to go around defending cold-blooded murderers no matter who they are. How can one condemn George Bush for killing so many people in Fallugah but let similar Palestinian behavior slide? One cannot. Killing is bad, no matter who does it.
So I Googled the massacre in Munich and this is what I found out: German police opened fire on the kidnappers and the hostages. Up to nine of the eleven Israeli athletes were "murdered" -- not by the hostage-takers but by the "rescue" squad. The Hebrew daily "Yedioth Ahronoth" even went so far as to state that all eleven of the athletes were killed by German snipers.
Now why does that sound familiar? Hummm....
Isn't that what happened during the 1971 Attica prison hostage crisis too? Attica guards opened fire on the kidnappers and the hostages. The hostages in Attica were also "murdered" -- not by the hostage-takers but by the "rescue" squad. And the New York Times immediately reported that the throats of all the hostages had been slashed by the prisoners.
Before the 1972 hostage crisis, Palestinians in Palestine got a rotten deal. Violently pushed to extremes, they reacted violently. Before the 1971 hostage crisis, Attica prisoners in Attica got a rotten deal. Violently pushed to extremes, they reacted violently too. In both cases, violence was answered by violence. That's obvious. But what is important here in both cases -- and what we can hopefully can learn from -- is the abysmal failure of the policy of answering layers and layers of violence with yet even MORE violence.
In Attica, according to Tom Wicker, it was a "turkey shoot". Untrained and unsupervised guards opened fire on both the prisoners and the hostages.
The same thing happened in Munich.
In both cases, the crisis was immediately escalated by the people in charge of ending the crisis. In both cases, killing people was too quickly chosen as the only solution. Too quickly, things were allowed to go too far. So what have we learned here boys and girls? That the use of force as the only solution to a problem CAN CAUSE THE PROBLEM TO GET WORSE.
It has been in every newspaper recently that the Bush bureaucracy has been playing fast and loose with violence, humiliation, torture all over the world. They have been violently pushing far too many people to far too many extremes. And let us hope that this over-the-top use of force in every situation isn't going to come back to haunt us too.
In international relations as well as in situations like Attica and Munich, you gotta be careful where you point that gun.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
When I was young, adventurous and still willing to sleep in hostels and live on french bread, I went to Florence, Italy -- hitchhiked there from Paris with a very cute International Herald-Tribune newsboy named Trig -- and visited the Duomo, a magnificent Renaissance cathedral that would knock your eye out with its glory and lush decoration.
As I stood there in the center of the church, I was totally overwhelmed. The church's massive and intricate design created within me such a feeling of God's power and awe that I was absolutely dumbstruck. Then it occurred to me. "This effect of awe was created deliberately. The church's architects really put in an effort to make this place overwhelming and to make the power of God seem HUGE." Now why would they do that? Wouldn't they want to do the opposite and make God seem to want to be my savior, companion and friend?
"I bet you anything," replied the scholar/tourist next to me, "that they did it because they were trying to prove a point -- that if God was so all-powerful and yet could stoop so low as to notice the likes of the people who built this cathedral, then the people He noticed must be God-like too." Aha. This cathedral was an ego trip!
I immediately went outside and, like St. Francis of Assisi, began looking for God in the sun, the moon and the stars instead.
I am afraid that modern man is following in the footsteps of the egotists of the Renaissance. I bet they are thinking, "Only God can create a man, true, but if WE have the power to destroy God's ultimate creation, then we must be on a par with God too." No. That's blasphemous. Only God -- or Allah or Yahweh or the Great Spirit or the Tao or string theory or whatever one chooses to call the magnificent power that holds the universe together -- can destroy what only God can create.
Whether one kills by dropping bombs upon people one cannot see from 30,000 feet in the air or whether one kills in the heat of battle or whether one kills while committing a violent crime or when giving a fatal injection to a prisoner on death row, taking another human life is the ultimate blasphemy.
With regard to Stanley Tookie Williams III, who is scheduled to be snuffed by the State of California on December 13, 2005, the same thing holds true. Did he commit the cold-blooded murders that he was accused of? He says that he didn't. But as a lawyer I know once told me, "I gave up practicing criminal law because I got tired of having my clients lie to me." But it doesn't MATTER if Williams committed the crime or not. It doesn't even matter that he has redeemed himself in prison by doing good works. What matters is this: To kill this man is to commit the ultimate blasphemy against the Master of the Universe -- to pretend to be God also.
That's just WRONG.
And God don't like ugly.
PS: These are interesting times that we live in and Judgment Day is on its way -- finally! But it ain't the Armageddon that the fundamentalists thought it would be. Instead, there is gonna be some serious Final Reckoning in Washington DC. The ACLU is calling the CIA to account. Rep. Murtha is finally asking questions on the floor of Congress about the "War on Iraq" scandals. And Americans who have been silent as the tomb up until now are finally waking up from their deadly stupor and demanding the truth about WMD lies, corporate welfare scams, Bush bureaucracy Swiss bank accounts, in-your-face electronic voting fraud, FEMA inefficiency, missing Halliburton/Iraq billions, the demise of our education system and the fine art of feeding our brave troops to the shredder for fun and profit.
People are FINALLY starting to sit up and look around to see whose fingers are in the cookie jar.
And the best thing about this new Final Reckoning to put an end to government corruption is that Americans are staging this much-needed revolution in an orderly and democratic fashion. Whew. I'm a bit old to be taking to the streets.