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Friday, February 3, 2006

The Stakes of the Communion

by CLINTON FEIN

Click to Send PostcardToday our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Sandra Day O’Conner’s replacement on the Supreme Court will ensure that the dreams of Coretta Scott King and her late husband will transform back to the nightmare that spawned them.

Every time I'm invited to this rostrum, the arrogance of my privilege and entitlement is fueled. Pun intended. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement. We have led America through one of the darkest periods of our history, and it has been my role to saddle you with it.

Tonight the state of our union is weak, confused, angry and divided, and I will make it even worse.

Yes, you are dreaming. If only the President of the United States was as honest, and his State of the Union address was not such a tired, lame Washington tradition that serves little more than to show the nation and the rest of the world just how out of touch American leadership is with what is going on.

From the War on Iraq to the realities of Hurricane Katrina, the problem of sheltering the President from protestors and dissenters and shielding him from alternative viewpoints is that he appears to be hallucinating on ecstasy to the point that his speech came across as the incoherent ramblings of a lunatic.

He began by calling for civility in political discourse, after sending his Vice President Dick Cheney and loose-lipped advisor Karl Rove to attack anyone who didn’t support their dark, dangerous, world view by painting them as unpatriotic and accusing them of aiding and abetting the enemy. Never mind that the enemy has been aided and abetted by a misguided, preemptive attack that enabled Al Qaeda to morph into Medusa-like, decentralized, terrorist cell blocks that are more violent, bent on destruction, more difficult to penetrate and are making recruiting gains in direct contrast to the United States military who can only try and meet their recruiting goals by lowering the standards of education and ethics of its recruits.

The President seems to be unaware that a significant part of rest of the world view America as a big, puss-dripping penis penetrating itself unsolicited and uninvited with the cultural sensitivity of a bull in a china shop, spreading metaphorical gonorrhea, labeled liberty, whilst spawning mini-democracies that mimic the terror and torture of their creator.

“There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat…we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals or even in our own courage,” said President Oblivious, unable to distinguish honor, truth or courage from arrogance, dogma and denial.

The President framed his attack on Iraq as part of a broader goal to end tyranny. Who cares that a provably false threat of an accumulation of weapons of mass destruction was used as a justification for the war? Tyranny is defined as a government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power or characterizes the office, authority, or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler. How can the President, with a straight face, claim to seek an end to tyranny when he uses his office and authority to circumvent congress, the law and the constitution to spy and eavesdrop on American citizens?

How can we be seeking the end of tyranny in our world, by outsourcing our torture to tyrannical governments, ignoring maniacs like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and appeasing human rights violators in China?

How can a President who now inserts disclaimers to bills presented to him by congress – especially ones unequivocally denouncing torture and degradation and who nearly vetoed the bill -- his first veto ever – because of its denunciation of cruel and unusual torture, possibly recognize tyranny, even as it slaps his in the face when he looks in the mirror?

“In less than three years, the nation has gone from dictatorship to liberation to sovereignty to a constitution to national elections,” said President Delusional. And in less than five years, this nation has gone from national elections and a constitution to a court appointed theocracy to a sovereign ruler, dictating under the guise of “Presidential Authority.”

Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom in Iraq has proved a violent and unending nightmare for those America “liberated” by bombing them with tons of depleted uranium. A generation of limbless orphans will certainly grow up to bestow upon us the same gratitude that Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz predicted would occur in Baghdad. In surges! Yes, you can buy satellite dishes in Iraq now, but good luck finding electricity.

The President’s rosy picture of hordes of happy, liberated millions in Iraq and Afghanistan, laughing at the “last throes of the insurgency” (as Dick Cheney coined it last year) is torn apart by the violent reality of bombs and violence that rocks Iraq daily – on the verge of a civil war -- the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the return of degraded, abused and marginalized women in burkhas, a dress mode the once secular women in Iraq had better get used to or else.

America is supposedly on the offensive with a clear plan for victory, perhaps only slightly better than no plan at all which is how we went in, training Iraqi troops to fend for themselves to defeat the enemy, (who most Iraqis perceive as being America). How American forces will manage to train Iraqis to be effective when they themselves aren’t is a mystery. Perhaps adequately armored vehicles and superior body armor, denied to American servicemembers, will be given to Iraqi security forces to enable them to fare better.

With the National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans, Karl Rove outing CIA operatives to embedded and ensconced journalists that don’t even deserve the First Amendment protections they claim title to, clamping down on dissent and freedom, it's little wonder that Iran and North Korea remain real nuclear threats in possession of, or with aims to produce, real weapons of mass destruction, and that the “road map” to peace in the Middle East languishes in tatters.

As New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd put it, the simple notion of assuming that cultures think differently from an anthropological perspective would better serve America than the “discredited intelligence agencies that are costing $30 billion a year to miss everything from the breakup of the Soviet Union to 9/11 to no W.M.D. to Osama's hiding place to the Hamas victory.”

Said President Arcane: “Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second guessing is not a strategy.” Oh, how profound. There also happens to be a difference between constructive criticism that acknowledges mistakes and seeks to learn by them and dogmatic insistence that remedying a mistake is a sign of weakness and defeat. Neither is lack of foresight or a paltry appreciation of history a demonstration of wisdom, nor guessing -- in defiance of history, experts and common sense -- a strategy.

"Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran. America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran,” said President Gasconade. One day, perhaps, Iran too will be able to deny reproductive options to its women, prevent gays from serving their country honorably and truthfully, unless they lie like the government does, and spy and eavesdrop on whoever it wants without warrants, legislation or oversight. This President respects Iranians as much as FEMA’s Michael Brown respected starving, scared citizens trapped in toxic sludge at the Convention Center in New Orleans. While the spineless bastard dined and rolled up his sleeves to appear effective.

The patronizing explanation of the President’s domestic spying program, euphemistically referred to as a "terrorist-surveillance" program, ignored the fact that the law already provides for retroactive court approval. And if the President still felt the law was inadequate, why not approach congress and pass legislation that strengthens it? Don’t wipe the constitution with your ass as if its cheap toilet paper. Perhaps this President and his scandal tainted cronies should read the constitution, along with their ethics manuals.

To the winners of no-bid contracts and executives in the oil industry, the economy is booming. Enough said. And how better to revolutionize America’s dismal healthcare system than to ensure that medical liability reform protect pharmaceutical companies and insurance providers, while the remaining Americans lucky enough to have insurance are still forced to buy affordable drugs from Canada. For those without insurance, simply hope and pray. It’s a faith based world after all.

The only part of the President’s speech that was not immersed in fantasy and illusion was the crafty meat-throw of poison to the vitriolic and spiteful collective he calls his base. The same assassination-provoking Pat Robertson types whose religious philosophies teach hatred, murder and hypocrisy, who stabbed Ariel Sharon in the back as he lay on it in a coma, and who steals diamonds from starving Africans, were given their courtesy payola.

“Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture and the health of our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage,” said President Pigheaded. As the adulterous, whore-fucking posers, politicians and preachers clapped their tainted, blood-stained hands in hypocritical unison. Smugly safe in the knowledge that the President has stacked the courts -- including the highest court in the land -- with judicial activists who will turn American enlightenment backwards thirty years.

With a weepy, queeny congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham bilking the military, a disgraced I. "Scooter" Libby facing indictment, Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay and Senator Rick Santorum tainting what’s left of the legislative branch of government, and an overstuffed Dennis Hastert trying to keep it all together, Republicans are up to their eyeballs in shit.

Meanwhile, confused Democrats prepare to repackage the ineffectual, wispy Tom Daschle, the indecisive, uncharismatic John Kerry and present the divisive, position-shifting Hillary Clinton to succeed this President in 2008, so they can analyze what went wrong afterwards, aside from voting irregularities. One has to wonder how much worse it can get.

As fanatical, intolerant Muslim preachers continue to incite violence over the depictions of violence, and as Israeli Jews deliberately incite riots by building unauthorized new structures in settlements, America’s religious righteous -- armed with justifications from their churches, mosques and synagogues -- are mincing into gay bars with machetes and guns and opening fire. Others are frantically preparing to picket Coretta Scott King’s funeral because she supported gay rights. The Pope, lost in the haze of his Nazi Youth is too busy purging the symptoms of his dysfunctional, homocentric Church -- in between satin dress fittings and Prada shopping sprees -- blissfully oblivious to the blatantly obvious causes. The one certain thing all of these Torah-touting, Koran-clutching, Bible-thumping, Scripture-screeching religious zealots seem to share, is an unbridled lust for violence.

The President used the bully pulpit to spew a narrow, deluded world view that bares not a trace of reality, vision or wisdom. Representing a once-respected nation by turning it into a sick, despised caricature of democracy, achieved by preemptive force, violence and intimidation. A twisted Napoleonic mélange of bullying, bellicose bravado, riddled with corruption, cronyism, greed and arrogance. The extent of the contrast betweeen the President's hot air and the chilling reality would be laughable if the consequences were not so horrific, painful and deadly.

The State of the Union is dark, dangerous and ugly.


 
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