August 3, 2006: Almost 5 years after 9/11 we still don't have Osama. But we do
have Saddam. He sez he wants to be shot rather than hung when
found guilty of being an evil dictator. Hey-- drop him off
on any street corner in Baghdad. It will save us the ammo.
The bullets flying in Iraq were supposed to be roses. So sang
Dubya & The Neo Cons. They had a monster hit way back when.
But that was then and this is the now of a much harsher sound.
One propelled by the destruction of normal life for average
Iraqis and punctuated by the shrieks of the wounded and bereaved.
Set to the inexorable beat of non-stop war. The lyrics? A dense,
multi-layered, political and sectarian tangle.
This is what lurked behind door number one. The portal that Dubya
pushed us through in 2003. It didn't take much of a shove. Except
for a few voices on their fringes, both parties said go go go.
The newsmedia helped grease the skids. Ignorance and wishful
thinking did the rest. Iraq and al-Qaeda sitting in a tree.
K-i-s-s-i-n-g. Not to mention WMD. And oil. The towel head
terrorists who did 9/11 had it under their sand. We'd take it.
Payback would be our bitch.
Circa 2006, what comes out of the pump? Sand priced like
Still, the folks who Hate Our Freedom will someday embrace
democracy. If we just stay the course and spend enough soldiers.
Male and female alike. Sexual equality in the military being one
of our more recent freedoms. Hip hip hooray! Joanie got her gun.
Which way to the fire exit? Damned if I know. Though I doubt if
hanging out in the burning theater for years is the way to go.
Meanwhile, back in the usOa, Nanny State and Bully Boy are
dating. Recently spotted in Club New York. Talking eminent
domain over a bottle of bubbly fermented in an Empire Zone.
Quasi-public servant Charles Gargano, of the quasi-public Empire
State Development Corporation, was seen going table to table
with a tray of thoroughly public goodies. Pols & players kept
tucking cards into his gargantuan cleavage with invisible hands.
But Gargano played coy and would only commit to a little HUD
cuddling. Crooning "show me the invisible jobs." No one mentioned
the impossibility. They were too busy issuing press releases
In a corner banquette, State Attorney General and gubernatorial
hopeful Eliot Spitzer was hunched over reading the releases.
Making note of who needed what. Chug-a-lugging Pataki Pale Ale
and digging into the public peanuts. Not even looking up when
Senator Hillary Clinton's eyes and teeth entered the room. The
rest of her followed a few minutes later. Senator Chuck Schumer
in tow. Hill & Chuck were pumped; they'd just snubbed Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki for not snubbing Hezbollah and risking
death by fanatic. At the bar, state attorney general wannabe and
X HUD head Andrew Cuomo made a snide comment behind his hand
about Hill's pleather pants-suit. The New York City Patrolmen's
Benevolent Association tittered appreciatively and rose to
endorse him. Singing his praises for launching HUD's fraud
ridden "Officer Next Door" home purchase program back in 1997.
Come 2007, New York State could wind up with a real dream team.
Governor Eliot Spitzer. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. With
Senators Clinton and Schumer war-mongering in Dee Cee and
bringing the pork back home. Where the usual crew of cronies
will continue to have it their way. Empire state residents
will be living in Hog Heaven!
Pigs with wings have been seen in the sky all over the country.
Some think it a sign. Others say it's just white collar crime.
Real estate fraud first & foremost. As the housing bubble pumped
by federal policies and taxpayer dollars deflates, the rush is
on to roust the last fool. Lenders, realtors and affordable
housing hustlers slide flyers under the doors of the dead and
twixt the pages of pennysavers. Offering no down payment, no
pulse, interest-only mortgage loans. Equity schmequity. Join the
ownership society. Being a debt ridden serf means kissing
your landlord buh buy.
All is not rotten in Denmark. We could be Cambodia. Where they
really know how to do a culture of impunity.
But seriously. The writing on the back of the cereal box isn't
all bad. The public is fed up with adventures in foreign places
and holds Congress in contempt. (If Congress didn't deserve it,
this would be sad.) Dubya stands naked (shudder) in the public
eye. As does eminent domain abuse. Aka government land grabs at
the service of private development. In California, one million
people have signed an initiative to put an anti eminent domain
measure on the ballot in November. The Ohio State Supreme Court,
in the first post-Kelo call at a state level, just delivered a
blow to development related eminent domain and pointed out the
suspect subjectivity of profit driven declarations of "blight".
Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Senator Joe Lieberman is finding that
being a war monger may cost him what seemed like a permanent job.
Lieberman's opponent, Ned Lamont, is yet another moneybags
reformer (see Governor Jon Corzine in New Jersey, see George
Soros everywhere) and if that doesn't do ya, he has the active
support of the new and improved Al Sharpton. Still, it's good to
see Joe hustling to hold onto his seat. If it gets kicked back
to Connecticut, perhaps he can put his piety to use cleaning up
the state's public corruption. Or confronting Conn's municipal
leaders about their addiction to eminent domain. Every cloud...
Other good things. Many people go on leading decent, self-reliant
lives despite a great deal of cultural pressure to do otherwise.
Kids still greet each Summer day as an adventure in neighborhood
places. Families still celebrate birthdays, graduations, and
weddings with backyard barbecues, and country roads still wind
through cornfields and forests. Fishermen still stand knee deep
in rushing streams and sit with coolers full of beer on the edge
of lazy rivers. Lots of people still do lots of things just
because they love doing them. And though it's often attacked,
devalued, or wrongly characterized, freedom of speech is still
a fact of American life.
As is freedom from the sort of nationwide chaos enveloping Iraq.
Funny how even local roads lead there.
When pointing a finger at Dubya for "lying us into the war"
keep repeating we're a democracy, we're a democracy, we're a
democracy. Even though the prez and his people cherry picked
intelligence, arm twisted lesser public officials into supporting
their position, and manipulated the body politic, that body
wasn't a body in the CSI sense of the word. Credible info
contradicting the admin's WMD case for war, and debunking any
link between 9/11 and Iraq, was out there. As were warnings
re the potential for post invasion chaos and a costly military
quagmire. The naysayers were various military and intelligence
experts (most of whom were retired and/or working in the private
sector and hence, less subject to political pressure) as well
as historians whose specialty was the Mideast. Anyone with an
Internet connection had access to these alt visions of Dubya's
reality. By the beginning of 2003, when war was looming, 67
percent of the U.S. population was online.
The Internet is one of the goodest of good things. Sure, it has
spyware and orc porn. The IMHO highway sometimes seems clogged
with navel gazers, predators, and party line blog bores. None
the less, the Internet shines. Among many virtues is its power
as lie detector and counter to Orwell's Memory Hole. We should
kiss the Internet for limiting the ability of our leaders to lie
to us. Or more accurately, for expanding our ability to spot
their lies. These days, when pols take the country to hell in a
basket of falsehood, it's impossible to say there was no way to
see it coming.
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
Sources include but are not limited to:
"Campaigning in Conn., Sharpton 'disappointed' in Lieberman,"
Susan Haigh, Associated Press & Boston.com, 08/02/06
"Saddam Hussein wants to be shot by firing squad instead of hung,"
Associated Press, 07/26/06
"PBA Endorses Cuomo for Attorney General," Press Release, New York
City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, 06/22/06
US Internet usage 1995-2006, Harris Interactive, 2006
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