Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Looters, Reactionaries, Ayn Rand and "Nordie"

BLOGdoc 6 “Right on Brownie!” Just keep going, George.

Ms. Nord is responsible for checking imports into this country. After some bad experience with toxic toys, bad tires, poison dog food and the like, she told Congress that the recalls meant she was doing a good job. She also told Congress that only about 10% of the recalled products were ever returned. The rest stayed with the kids or on the family car or in Fluffy, the family cat.

“Right on, Nordy!”

Ms. Hughes was responsible for sweetening up America’s bad reputation around the world. She is what you might call a “faith based” diplomat. Now that everything is all better, she is resigning to, of course, be with her family or to become a lobbyist.

“Good job, Hughsie!”

There are two interesting words which have a great deal to do with understanding neo-con logic. It is surprising and somewhat disappointing that we do not hear them more often, especially in the progressive part of society.

The first of the two, ironically enough, is one heavily used by Ayn Rand in her books about social and economic objectivism. In Atlas Shrugged, for example, there were extensive descriptions of the “collectivist bad guy” characters, but a common thread through all of her comments was that she called them:


There have been a significant number of, presumably, uninformed claims that Ayn Rand style Objectivism furnished the basis for the wholesale transformation of more or less normal human beings into modern neo-cons. This misperception is fueled by the incredible “testimony” of so-called spokesmen for Objectivism in dabbling little interviews on Air America. In these insipid five minute “gotch’a sessions” the participants strive to connect the influence of Objectivism to the rather savage economic and social goals of neo-cons.

As far as generous review might extend, all of these conversations are the equivalent to two mules standing in a mud hole arguing about the price of oranges. Neither one knows much about his position on pricing or about oranges, but knowing about arguing is the important question of the moment.

We have probably all read Ayn Rand when we were impressionable, romantic high school students. We have probably even fallen in love with either Dagne Taggart or Fancisco d’Anconia, subject to our corresponding tastes. Even more, we have, most likely, incorporated some of the message of “non-contradiction” to a special place deep in our thoughts.

There is even the that special something, always produced by one side or the other in these “debates,” that Alan Greenspan, and by innuendo all sorts of other mysteriously powerful people, attended to some cult oath administered in, where else, the very apartment of Ayn Rand in New York City! Please.

Anyone familiar with Ayn Rand’s style of Objectivism would have to assume that this would be the last sort of thing to expect! We can be confident that Ayn Rand’s idea of a good time was the catch you and hold you with ideas, not late night, candle burning oaths to the sinister philosophy of Objectivism.

Back to “looters.”

There is a certain wealth distributed around a country such as the United States which has only a little to do with Wall Street, raw cash or Patrician lineage. This wealth is buried in functional, existing pension fund investments where a flow of money has continued for a long time.

It is buried in instruments such as the pharmaceutical plan delivered to Congress by the PHARMA lobbyists. The flow of money from pharmaceutical customers could be increased with legislation to create more customers. Even better, these high minded altruists in the congress and the pharmaceutical industry would, by the way, require protection form old sick people who really needed expensive medicine. The stairway to heaven hardly leads through their now infamous black hole of no benefits!

We saw the first assault on the wealth incorporated in the mortgages of families in America when equity loans and second mortgages became not only popular, but also rather easy. The second assault came with the brutal revisions to the bankruptcy laws. It was discovered that it was relatively easy to bankrupt a reserve soldier with a family and a home mortgage by sending him to Iraq often enough and long enough for him to lose his job.

The final, ultimate avarice arrived with the plan to increase the number of mortgage holders by lowering the requirements for lending. It was hoped that the strong among these “fish in the net” would survive economically long enough to begin their own destructive cycle of second mortgages and equity loans. Those other “fish” who proved to be unable to “jump the waterfall” could simply return to the pond, possibly to disappear forever or possibly to try it again later. You know. After they got back on their feet.

They must have forgotten that old adage about “rising tides lifting all boats” or whatever.

When the wealthy get tax relief, it must be made up by the taxes of those remaining payers who are not wealthy. This is looting.

When the bridge in Minneapolis falls from lack of maintenance, where oh’ where could the maintenance money have gone? Directly into someone’s pocket? Probably not. That would be too risky an undertaking for these famously incompetent, codependent looters. No need to think of that, anyway.

It could build a new road to by campaign donor’s brother-in-law’s new Dairy Queen out in Smithville. Let’s see. We will spend $5 million on the road, and oh by the way, another $2 million on the new bridge (named after my campaign sponsor; campaign sponsors love things like that). Our campaign will receive $100,000 in cash support by the grateful souls, but politics-wise that $100,000 is worth far more than tax-wise the $7,000,000 is worth. That is looting.

As pharmaceutical insurance goes, it is far more profitable to insure a large group of people who will submit only modest claims than to insure rickety, sick old folks who gobble up thousands of dollars worth of really expensive medicine. They hedged their losses a little when they outlawed any bargaining whatsoever (you can be arrested for mentioning pharmaceutical price bargaining in any form other than to say how bad it is for research and development, or maybe, even what a burden it is to making a decent profit for these terribly put-upon pill factories). This, of course, is looting.

Little matter that Medicare pharmaceutical coverage disappears just when the old and the poor need it the most, this little insurance gizmo represents extremely good business, extremely profitable risk management. With the cover from their friends in the White House, there was not any reason to even hide all this in fine print. Let them complain. This is looting.

Unlike the shared risk in normal insurance, this Medicare plan is designed to shut old people off before they have a chance to present a risk. What genius. Even when we compare this to the old, bad days before Medicare Pharmaceutical “coverage,” we will still probably have to call it looting.

Next, we consider Iraq. “Oh my goodness! (pant-pant) There is not a minute to lose! (pant-pant) We have to get in there as fast as possible! (pant-pant) We will need contractors to support the army! (pant-pant) There is no time to bid any of these jobs! (pant-pant) Just give them to somebody who can get them done! (pant-pant) We can go back to more efficient business practices such as actually bidding contracts later when things calm down! (pant-pant)”

Years later, we still use the same contractors and these contractors are still receiving unchallenged no-bid contracts! This would be war-profiteering, but it would also be looting. Delivering million dollar bundles of U.S. cash plastic wrapped for easy carrying to various people while neglecting to jot down their names would also be war-profiteering, but it would also be looting.

Hacking out $60 billion dollars from Congress for Katrina, well... Anyway, it is looting.

All of this looting would have possibly been more palatable if it had been accomplished in the normal style of government. That is, if all this money had truly slid under the table, quite unknown to the taxpayers, we might have been able to simply say, as we have always said, “it’s just the way the government operates.”

But this kind of looting pays its benefactors not only the green cash, but also the meal made of their arrogance. They have not hidden much from us. Rather they have paid our money to these freaks right in front of our eyes. They frightened us enough that they got away with it! This is looting.

We mentioned two words. The second is “reactionary.” The modern definition of reactionary is: “to stop everything where there is a possibility of looting a flow of money on ideological grounds, cruelly mutating it until looting becomes possible and the cost of which can be blamed on the original bad idea but actually be diverted to either some project we like or campaign contributions.”

This is a bit of a long definition, but if we try really hard, a useful one. The only times neo-cons stray very far from this idea of pure looting is when they smell the addictive odor of a legacy issue. Then all bets are off. What had been hidden under the table then becomes a deal done right on top of the table in the light of day. Regardless of the expense involved, citizens who are not “boosters” for these legacy projects are dangerously antisocial.

Their phone numbers are turned over to Homeland Security who then gives them to the NSA for FISA warrants so they can be monitored. The cost of this process is about $1 million dollars each, and is, of course, not only reactionary, but also looting.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Empires: Brief and Empty Histories

BLOGdoc 5 Separations November 22, 2007

The first chapter of the train wreck that is Iraq divided all public speech between those who have experienced combat and those who have not.

The second chapter is here with us now. It divides those who have read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and those who have not. The United States arose more quickly than the Roman Empire. Do we dare expect its fall to proceed more slowly? More rationally? More comfortably?

No American Rubicon will be required in its passage from Republic to Empire. Our modern Rubicon requires only sufficient fear, executed effectively, for our ultimate willingness to accept the unbridled ambition of pathetic incompetents with tragic, meager goals and corresponding bargain basement promises.

Being driven by the fear of one’s own legacy is similar to being addicted to white sugar. Or maybe, to even less tasteful, high fructose corn syrup. The “drug” is available, dependable and destructive.

It becomes dull, boring. There is no final crisis of the spirit from self-observation which might resurrect human life in the afflicted. There is only a long, slow decline. There is no fiery moment of self-reclamation, only a suspicious kind of irritated soul more akin to a lingering toothache.

A Chinese proverb of suspicious origin:

“If your servant carries the stone three miles the first day and you beat him. And on the second day, he carries the stone eight miles and you beat him. You should plan on three miles per day.”

As active voters we are, in a sense, the servants of our Constitution and our democracy. The perceptions of the self-image of these “masters who have stones which must be carried” are inflated by their transitory positions and power.

We must never see them as anything other than vacuous.

Will we, as individual citizens, dare dream that we, as individuals, might try to do better?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks for the Steadfastness of Progressive Radio

BLOGdoc 4 Dad Comes To Visit November 20, 2007

“Hey! How are ya’ doin’ kiddo?”

“Dad! I’m doin’ pretty well, at least as well as can be expected. Its great to see you!”

“What do you mean, ‘as well as can be expected?’ This is a darned beautiful day!”

“Gosh, dad. Don’t you ever get tuned into the news? There is a lot of trouble running around. I mean its trouble out in the world, but, you know, its the kind of trouble that can be right here in no time.”

“Hold it right there, son. I’ve seen this attitude creeping up on you for some time. So has your mom. She’s worried about this, too. In my day we were raised to, well, fit into America. We were taught by our parents, your grandparents, and our church goin’ that we could have happy, productive lives if we spent our time payin’ attention to our own business, not roaming around the whole world lookin’ for trouble. Why, when I was your age, I just concentrated on my family. None of us were out borrowin’ trouble, and that made us, well, satisfied. You know, calm. We were optimistic because we knew that we were living in the greatest nation ever made.”

“Since you’ve got me started, I’m just gonna go on ahead and tell you some things that have been on my mind for a while, now. See, maybe you didn’t notice, but I’ve been in your house when you were listening to that Air America on your radio. Your mom has heard it, too. She didn’t know what to think of it, but I did. There she was in our kitchen, asking me about what she heard.”

“Your mom didn’t know stuff like that was on the radio. That’s why she asked me about it. Since we’re talking about your bad attitude, I guess its time to tell you what I told her.”

“See, a radio station like that wants to convince you that there are millions of people listening to it. You know, millions of people hearing that stuff and believing what they hear. Yeah, that radio station wants to trick everybody listening to it into thinking that there are millions of other people who agree with that stuff. Those people are brainwashing everybody who listens to them.”

“Dad, they aren’t just guessing that many people are listening to them. They take the count the same way all the other networks do it.”

“Well, they might be doing that, but most of the people they get on the phone while they are out there counting listeners, most of those so called listeners just tuned in by mistake. They were just getting ready to look for something better when they called. Lots of the others are people in old folks homes who just sit around and listen to the radio without even knowing what’s on it. Nurses and people like that who are liberals tune in those radios to Air America on purpose because they know the old people won’t change the station.”

“There might be one or two thousand people who actually listen to that Air America, but the rest of the million listeners they claim to have are nothin’ more than accidents and old people. I’d figure that the other two million listeners they claim to have are just plain lies and payoffs.”

“Your mom and I always hoped that it was just some clumsy accident that tuned your radio into that station, but after we kept hearing it when we visited, we finally figured out that your were tuning it in on purpose. Normally, we wouldn’t have anything to say about it, but neither one of us can stand by while you play that stuff with the little one around where he can hear it. That’s our grandson we’re talking about. We can’t let that go on. See, he doesn’t understand the price he’s going to have to pay for being a liberal when he grows up.”

“Your mom’s already worried about her bridge partners findin’ out about you and your wife. That’s not to even mention what would happen if that ever got to her church friends. Do you even realize that Father Diaz talks about Air America from the pulpit? Warns us about the danger of lettin’ stuff like that get into us, you know, gettin’ into our souls and stuff like that.”

“Father Diaz warns us about those people. They’re broadcasting poison, and the more of that poison you hear the more you believe it, the more you want. They’re like the Moslems. They hate America. They hate our freedom! Those Air America radio people are trying to make you forget just how valuable our freedom is here in the United States.”

“They’re taking everyday news and turning it into half-truths and inflammatory deceptions of all sorts. I’ve never heard it, but I trust Father Diaz -- and my neighbor, you know, George. George and me have always been able to talk to each other in private when there’s trouble. George has read stuff in his magazines about Air America.”

“Those magazines he reads are about deep truth, stuff that’s too complicated to be in the newspaper. See, if Air America was as important as those people claim, there would be stuff about it in the newspaper or the tv news shows. I’m telling you. It doesn’t matter what kind of lies they’re telling about how many dirty little radicals they claim are listening to ‘em. If they amounted to anything important, they’d be all over the news.”

“See, they’re trying to trick you. They want you to turn into some kind of a whining liberal loser, then, when the truth finally comes out, you’re going to be stuck. You’re gonna’ be a liberal when everyone else in America is still on track. Then where will you be? And not just you but also your whole family. You haven’t been thinking about what might be good for them, have you?”

“George knows about this stuff. He’s read about what happens to people who get hooked on Air America. That bunch makes everyone who listens to ‘em sick on a steady diet of environment stuff. Those Air American liberals are always playing trick recordings about stuff Republicans have said and then laughing at them. Those people think they are so smart that it is okay for them to make fun of anyone who doesn’t agree with ‘em.”

“Son, if you have a shred of patriotism left in you after all that, you’re going to cancel that button on your radio that tunes in Air America. You need to get with the program. Because we live in America, we have to freedom to listen to anyone we like, and that American freedom I’m talking about has provided us with some of the best free press choices in the world.”

“Its good that you are interested in the news and everything, but you’ve got to take advantage of some better quality media. If you just try this, I’ll bet you’ll really like it. You won’t notice it all of a sudden, but you will start being more positive. You know, the stuff going on the world isn’t nearly so depressing if you just get a hold of the true story.”

“Hell, face it. Once you get away from those liberal wimps, your sex life will probably get better. I’m not saying that you need to listen to the radio while you’re having sex. If you fill yourself up in the daytime listening to real men, real Americans, it’ll last over into the night if you know what I mean.”

“You’ll sleep better if you start getting your news from the regular channels. Even if you don’t start sleeping better, those ABC, NBC, CBS channels all show commercials about the newest cutting edge drugs. In fact, that’s where your mother got the idea for her Xanterdrobe. She saw it on a commercial during the news and went right down to her female doctor and demanded it.”

“You’re never gonna’ hear about new stuff like that on Air America.”

“See, you’ve got a choice to make. You can go on poisoning yourself with PBS and Air America drivel or you can tune into to some of the good stuff. Its all over the radio, you know. Shows like the ones I listen to, you know, Rush and Hannidy, not only give you good solid news, but they’re funny. They’ll make you feel better. Why not just jump into the mainstream? Just try it. Tune into Savage and O’Riley. Join the human race the way millions of Americans do everyday. These guys are literally all over the radio they’re so popular. And, they wouldn’t be all over the radio if people didn’t listen to, and people wouldn’t listen to ‘em if they weren’t right. Put some good grown-up entertainment into your life. You’ll like it!”

“I’m glad I finally got all this off my mind.”

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Terror of the Moment

BLOG 3 Fear: How Much Is Enough? November 19,2007

When the cave bear approached brave Homo Erectus, the full range of available risk aversion balanced his odds of outrunning the creature or, perhaps less appealing to him, winning or losing a fight with it. Our central question rests firmly on comparing our odds on the “Law of Accidents” which placed the bear threateningly close and whether or not the fears we face today have the same mercurial origin.

Fear translates to control. The presence of the bear, at that moment, completely controlled the cave man, given his attachment to the 2nd Planetary Imperative, that is, the general axiom of all life: “Don’t die if you don't have to!” That aspect of fear seems to exist perpetually where there is life. (Refer to “Personal Possibilities” website for more information on planetary imperatives.)

All but the suicidal few agree, notwithstanding certain lines in our cinema scripts such as “I don’t care if he/they/it kills me. I’m going in anyway!” How often do we hear that when it is really meant?

The most potent fear of all is the death fear making it The Fear with the possibility for the greatest control, at least for human beings. The religionists got to this fear first, compounding it into their mythologies of unfortunate reincarnations, lakes of burning fire and every other tree in the orchard of modern Zoroastrian dualistic terrors. Once the incorporation of this fear was complete and available to every appetite or necessity for control, the continuous telescoping the phenomenon into every variety of cheap comic book and dirty shirt preacher with a frightening story roared into action.

The only other resource required by the benefactors of these issues of control was some program of mitigation. “Only if you follow me or him or us will you escape. We have convinced you that your position, whatever it might be, is quite, shall we say, either hopeless of at the very least quite vulnerable. Now, do as we say and think as we think. Make your own ‘movie’ from our story to sustain your terror and obedience.”

With the cosmic application of the death fear monopolized by this mischief, what is left for the ambitious politician in his sleazy quest for his own ration of influence and control? Well, well. It seems there are still a few neglected morsels left unnoticed on the floor beneath this religious feast. In any event, he will have to deal only with his uniquely constructed “cave bear” at the kitchen door, not some messy high maintenance soul business.

In contrast to the work of the religionists, the politician, and that is a ‘politician of any stripe, autocrat, dictator, party boss or simple clever liar who has already accumulated sufficient strength to have everyone’s attention,’ must take care with the thread of his story. Inconsistency for the pious can always be discounted as alternative dogma or heresy. The same “loose ends” for the ambitious autocrat can easily metabolize into dangerous suspicion. A terrified constituency, in this case, is a “happy face.” A suspicious constituency will be no more fun than a lingering toothache. Especially when the current news of his endeavor to protect them is not “roses, simply roses.”

So what is there remaining for his use? The death fear of the religionists is, generally, a risky nightmare with an onset perhaps no more than an instant after death. Our autocrat will require one based more on earthly sensations, one lasting from a few moments, say, close to the mushroom cloud, or one more durable, perhaps one not close enough to be measured in moments.

You know. The one that the Vice President mentioned. Of course, the children heard him. What an excellent investment for the future! What a nice man!

Nerve gas and fine tuned bacteria would last for various times. All these must be no more than a fleeting aside in the speech. He say too little and none will notice that he said it. Too much and that good old fighting spirit will be reduced to abject, hopeless fatalism. It must be just right. And it must be just right when repeated by other voices, voices which can also command attention.

These short quips, aside from seeming to have been nonchalant, routine reminders, must still be delivered with an air of long suffering courage if not outright bravado. This long suffering servant of our survival will require great measures of support, silent agreement, patriotism, as it is defined by his crisis, and cash. Especially cash. It’s sources and future consequences mean nothing so long as it is here today.

After all, we struggle for our survival.

And there will be blood in the dust. Not too much to fear a little, perhaps even more than a little. Even this can be managed to an advantage if it can be delivered with callous glory. Somehow, even the theatrical use of terms such as “our kids over there,” the careful delineation of “soldiers and marines,” and the most awful and fearful of all, “ultimate sacrifice.”

Once past the initial faint complaints about the allocated money, there can be further threats uttered about our homeland economy. No enemy can have suitable credentials without threatening our economy. A toothless enemy who does not threaten our economy would be almost useless as a fear generator. Even so, as with Homo Erectus and the cave bear, it will be far more fearful to take the odds of picking up the spear than building solar panels.

Real men have oil hegemony. Spears are for girls.

A wonderful and productive fear can be based on the idea that this enemy might force a change on the homeland. Perhaps an invasion, an immigration or some incompatible new idea that might damage our imaginary status quo while solving our conflict, all quite fearsome. To manage these torments, our autocrat will need phrases. “The founding fathers.” “When I was young.” “The good old days.” All sorts of things that we fear losing, each one a separate dream with an individual meaning and threat for every listener.

There are always a few inevitable social and cultural rashes in the rise of an autocrat. Managed correctly we feel them little more than the bite of an unseen mosquito on our back, but later it begins to itch. And, the itch of an innocent mosquito varies not one bit from the itch of “Malaria Mama!” The head men vary between leaders and incompetents in many possible qualities. There may be fear in the land during the time of either type.

Leaders lead. The others try to run on top of the water in a river of fear without getting damp. When the drought comes, the leaders still lead. Those of us who walk on the earth down below them may feel foolish, embarrassed, but we learn to be afraid far more carefully.

Perhaps we become a little braver.

"The evil of the day is sufficient." (Unknown Origin)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thoughts on Torture

BLOGdoc 2 Thoughts on Torture November 12, 2007

Our first stop in considering torture and the questions we face about it will be to make it academic. As a sterile, distant phenomenon populated with entirely unknown quantities and painted with equally adolescent cinematic impressions it allows us to be little less than Caesar lounging on his throne with his thumb up or down. This will be the stage set for us as we “make our opinion.”

Our War Dogs are little more than pudgy draft dodgers. They have never seen even the grisly aftermath of combat, much less the corpse remaining after three weeks of hysterical screaming. Perhaps they have never heard the Grateful Dead. Perhaps they have conveniently neglected any seasoning knowledge of the horrible sight in our civil war that spawned those words. Are their lives and souls so clean? They seem, when asked, to forget almost everything.

We are tempted to suspect that they only compassionately insulated us with secrecy as they did what was necessary. After all, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no crime.” Perhaps, “We couldn’t handle the truth.” A flock of combat Generals tell us that it rarely yields what is sought, but the real men in the Senate know better. By the way, we continue to do it. Does Richard Cheney recline comfortably with the extracted truth or, dreaming of the screams, with one of his infrequent erections?

Being protected from it all, we hope to remain innocent, body and soul, from its fact. We didn’t know, and better yet, when we did, we could do nothing. It was the clammy Attorney General, its author but not its origin, or the strange mix of thugs and mice in the Senate, unwilling to outlaw it, who will fully shoulder history’s indictment.

We have very cautiously transformed our enemies, that is, the soldiers in the armies against us, into criminals. These idealistic unfortunates, captured fighting for dreams which were not our dreams, have become law breakers. They “Hate our freedom.” Whatever that means, it is enough to lubricate their ejection from the Geneva Convention’s protection and to permanently dislodge their inconvenient humanity.

Torture’s temptress smile is the deceitful promise of unreliable intelligence. Through history it has served up the wretched vengeance of hideous, slow death. Ours, of course, is done in secret, but our polished rumors, leaks and endless, vacuous debate must grant it some redeeming value as deterrent, that is, deterrent with even more value if only the Jihadist youths would only read the Wall Street Journal editorials before they rushed out to confront our helicopter gun ships with their rifles.

Intelligence, vengeance and deterrence are almost vindicated motives when compared to torture’s less illuminated products. It pays all its sponsors with the haughty intoxication of domination and superiority. One can drink quite deeply viewing the panic and suffering he authors for his pathetic adversary. And, don’t be fooled here in the bosom of a Christian nation, there is sex. Sex taken in as food in fantasy. Or, otherwise. All this food is the same. We, of course, are what we eat.

Happily this headache has only to do with distant deserts and, perhaps, our oil greed. Or, is this really true? Follow every moment of the life of a twenty year old convict as he “gets what he deserves.” Listen to the jokes of Letterman and Lenno. A forgotten prison architect left a few out-of-sight places for these violent trysts of five-on-one. And there is always man to man in night time cells under the constant threat of death. For ten to twenty, of course. All this not in Poland, but perhaps Kansas.

All we know are the jokes. Our high borne justice holds firm. American justice. Over here or over there. All unseen and unknown to us. Secret.

Secret crimes. Secret criminals. Secret needs.

If we are to ever torture, we must all “kiss the same girlfriend.” We must all, if we claim to be responsible and honorable, know what we have done. Is there some self-destructive mandate which compels us to “bravely” endure the awful consequences of a rubbish can full of smallpox germs hidden in Los Angeles as we pursue an absolute policy against violently extracting information?

Medieval Royalty insisted on a hood for their decapitators. Perhaps we might retain a few torturers to perform what is necessary to save Los Angeles then, afterward, sacrifice them to our cleansing justice, clearing the shadow from our own superficial consciences. In our modern day not even anonymity could provide dependable immunity. We love the thrill of defeating any such transitory protection with Congressional inquiry, courts marshal or “gotcha talk shows.”

Yet, there may be a solution. Our President is constantly available to “press the button” for a nuclear war. We rely on his judgment, and we have consolidated the necessary power for this required authority in his office. After the pivotal moment we will know if it was war. If the world and our nation step back from the brink, we will probably be told only what is expeditious. For calm. For politics. For economy.

Governors are required to specifically authorize executions, one at a time. This act, although not usually explained, inevitably becomes quite public whether with a stay or by inaction. The similarity between inflicting torture and inflicting execution suggests a possible future path to sooth our reluctance in endorsing the former if not both of these social anomalies.

Grant the President immunity, but require that the authorization for torture come from only that one high signature. No blanket policy. The dream would require the President to watch it in person. Or even direct it in person. In any event, the whole affair would, by law, come into the public domain within a week. It would enter the Presidential Library, the Presidential legacy. It would challenge us, as citizens, to accept or reject our own actions.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What Could Be Better Than Slogans?

BLOGdoc 1 November 11, 2007 "Fight them over there, etc." Really?

I hear things, perhaps things on the radio, that seem, at the moment, utterly reasonable. That is, these things seem to be suspiciously easy to not only believe at the moment but also to effortlessly incorporate into my memory for use at all sorts of times when various opportunities arise in, say, otherwise innocent conversations.

In fact, this unfortunate process may well describe the transformation of a man into a knee-jerk reactionary, especially when the initial idea is presented by psychological pyromaniacs such as Limbaugh, O’Riley or their “little engine that could” Hannidy. This unwholesome group might as well include those in the Bush/Cheney Fear Inciting and Speech Writing Task Force.

Claims such as these are little more than cannon fodder on the inter net in the absence of examples. It is my sincere hope that the following might be employed constructively in the conversations at the shops, coffee shops, barber shops or mechanic shops.

“Fight them over there or fight them here.” Seasoned analysis of the violence in Iraq places Al Queada influence (by their frequency as perpetrators) well down on the list of perpetrators, that is, below sectarian violence, tribal violence, religious violence, out of country jihadist violence and simple crime. We might even add the violent effect of the tedium of life without security, water, sewer or schools for otherwise unaffiliated Iraqis. These represent ample motivation for violence stemming from frustration.

The Bush/Cheney Fear Inciting and Speech Writing Task Force publicity rules require that Iraqi violence be attributed to the Al Quaeda at least once in every three sentences of all publicity releases by American Generals and even those famous “on the street” interviews with lesser ranks or selected civilians. (The domestic form of this is the intense repetition of the term “911” by the President and Mr. Juliani.)

How many Iraqi Al Quaeda are there? One thousand? Five thousand? Next question, how many did it take to blow up the Trade Towers? The answer is roughly twenty Saudi Arabians.

Back to “Fight them over there or fight them here,” we have to ask “Which twenty are we after?” In the unlikely event that all Iraqi Al Quaeda are neutralized, will we not need to continue our concern over instances such as the Moroccans in Spain or the Libyans in Lockaby?

Aside from the obvious oil graft, the no-bid war profiteering and the psychotic dreams of Christian Crusades, what are we doing? Of course, we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here!