Calling the kettle mad
It struck me suddenly a couple of weeks ago that I have been saying and writing things that, had I seen them under someone else's byline a few short years ago, I would have regarded as the product of a crank.
In fact, I am regarded as a crank and a nutter by some of the steadfastly corporate-minded upper middle class and upper upper middle class people who run and work at the newspaper where I labored for 30 years. The place is awash in degreed worker ants.
An American president avid to foment wholly unnecessary armed conflicts to feed his own ego and enrich his billionaire friends -- willing, in effect, to murder tens of thousands for purely personal, financial and political gain?
A vice president so patently paranoid and delusional that even commentators of the corporate press write openly of his delusions?
Several people at the top of the U.S. Justice Department, including the attorney general, so willing to further the ambitions of their masters in the White House that they happily wipe their filthy shoes on the Constitution and all the lesser laws of the United States?
American generals and admirals so cowardly they do what they are told in the face of the obvious criminality of their orders – just like the generals of Nazi Germany?
A majority of the members of Congress sitting silent or carefully editing their words to inoffensiveness while allowing crazies and criminals – whom they privately recognize as such – to commit egregious breaches of American and international law, to act against the people of America and the world, and against common decency?
An American public that focuses on television “reality” shows and shopping while terrible crimes are perpetrated in its name and the rest of the world watches in nausea and disgust?
An American press that looks the other way unless some event pushes its nose into the mess, and even then devotes only minimal attention to the major events and issues of the day and avoids the truth about our rulers whenever possible?
People of my generation and two or three after it grew up in the belief -- hammered into us daily – that this “greatest country in the world” also is the most just, the most free, the most democratic, the most honest and open in the history of the world.
While many young adults now seem not to believe in much of anything but their own “specialness” and right to whatever they want, we older folks find it all but impossible to believe what our country has become, even when the truth is writ large and in blazing neon right before our eyes.
Yet there is incontrovertible evidence that our leadership is deeply corrupt and either crazy or cowardly, and often both. It is obvious that despite all of the claims of having been birthed twice, very few who have power in this country have even a vestigial acquaintance with anything that could reasonably be defined as morality.
Given that great, ovine, uncaring public majority which uncomplainingly allows what I and others see as evils to unfold, one after another, day after day, it follows that perhaps I am indeed the nut case, a left wing crank.
Maybe all those inarticulate lumps squatting in front of their television sets and grunting at each other about the utterly silly blonde who died and the other utterly silly woman who shaved her head and all the rest of the mindless crap that covers the land from sea to dying sea have understood something I don't get. Perhaps they grasp at some primal level how to exist in what may be the true “end days” of humanity – a great, slow mass suicide.
Such doubt leaves, though, when I look at the simpering nut case the voters of Minnesota's big Sixth Congressional District elected to represent them in the House of Representatives. I see her and know that I am sane, because no rational human being could do in public as that vapid cheerleader for Gawd and Bush does and I recognize that. Nor would I confuse the identities of the two as she does and as her principle backers and a majority of the district's voters apparently do.
She's nuts, they're nuts, I am not.
Of course, I mean that outstanding new member of Congress, Michelle Bachmann, elected with major personal help from the little king, from the weird and terrible vice president and other members of their administration and with enormous contributions from right-wing billionaires from all over who profit through their associations with Bush & Co.
Bachmann, you will remember, is the jenny who kissed Bush and wouldn't let go of him after the State of the Union speech, making an international spectacle of herself on television.
She's the one who has shrinks around the country analyzing her behavior. The one who draws her basic beliefs from a religious organization which holds that the Pope is the antiChrist and her political views and a stunning array of misinformation from beyond-the-fringe right-wing blogs and publications, the one (or one of the ones) who says her god told her to run for office.
She's the one who – drawing purely on divinely-provided knowledge or the right wing blogs (is there difference in her pathetic little mind?) -- recently claimed in an interview that she knew for a fact that Iran intended to partition Iraq and turn half of that country into a “terrorist safe haven zone” to foster attacks in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The newly-divided region is to be called “the Iraq State of Islam, something like that,” she was quoted as saying.
Some people who didn't believe her speculated that the woman is bonkers. A few wondered if the Bush administration was using her to try out a new anti-Iran fiction, since it would be so easy to deny anything she might say should the story flop, as it certainly did.
Political scientists interviewed by the Star Tribune in Minneapolis speculated that this latest bit of nuttiness came from one or more of the blogs from which she draws her positions. It's a reasonable guess.
Having again become a righteous target for ridicule, Bachmann quickly backed off her statement, claiming her words had been “misconstrued,” despite the fact that they were perfectly clear to everyone who heard or read them. (They were on the Web site of the St. Cloud Times, which was the paper for which the interview was done.)
Michelle Bachmann will make more such incredible blunders, probably many of them unless the Bush crowd assigns someone to her staff to put a sock in her mouth. She is, in fact, a lunatic. But she'll always vote for whatever the Bush crowd wants, without question.
Seems to me the real problem is that her presence in Congress is a safetly valve for Bush & Co.
Bachmann's nuttiness draws attention from the far more dangerous lunacies of the White House imperialists and war lovers. Much easier for the cowardly talking heads of television and the equally gutless print people to focus on her silliness than to confront the equally bizarre positions of, say, Dick Cheney, who in his delusions continues to claim, and almost certainly to believe, that things are going pretty much right in Iraq and that the U.S. war machine is doing a beautiful job.
Which it is, if your goal is untold profits and unrestricted power for you and your cronies – but that definition is, in itself, a clear demonstration of a deadly kind of madness.
Then there is the little king himself – a smirking superannuated frat boy who has a mile-wide mean streak, who does not and may not be able to read or analyze, who requires constant flattery and coddling, who cannot tolerate being in the presence of anyone who disagrees with him and, in fact, sees disagreement as treason, who has a temper that goes quickly out of control, who is ignorant of the world and proud of it, and who, in fact, panics into near-catatonia until he is told by his handlers what to do when confronted with a true crisis (see the film of him when he was informed of the attack on the World Trade Center).
It's a fact: Our country is ruled by madmen.
I'm somewhat surprised that only one person has asked me whether I really believe we'll see press gangs roaming the slums of our cities, kidnapping young people to serve in the armed forces.
The answer, of course, is that, no, I don't think that will happen.
My point in the piece below was that as more and more young people wisely shy away from the military and as the need for cannon fodder grows -- especially if Bush & Co. attacks Iran -- the shortage of personnel will become ever more desperate, and the Bush crowd is likely to resort to ever more desperate measures to fill the ranks.
Recruiting out of the prisons, suggested below, is not so far-fetched, and the generals, under intense pressure from the White House, may come up with other recruiting methods we have not thought of, probably methods that most of us will find appalling.