The Pulse of America – Code Red, or Cold Blue?

Sometimes it is prudent to step back from the daily grind, review recent events, and take a good, hard, cold look at what has been happening around the country. What are the trends? Where are we going? Are things looking up? Is Anna Nicole still dead? What does our future hold? 

Congresscritter C.W. "Bill" Young (R-FL)

For weeks, we’ve been shocked to learn that Wally Reed and other medical centers treated our injured soldiers worse than animals being led to slaughter. We learned that Team Bush has been cutting funding for VA hospitals and care for discharged soldiers. To add fuel to the fire, we learned that the military plays games with disability ratings, intent on limiting  medical coverage, rehab and financial support.

Considering that 300,000 vets are now homeless, could we think of anything more shameful? How we treat our injured is disgusting, unacceptable, and frankly, unAmerican.

Unfortunately, the story gets worse. Congresscritter Young, who chaired the Defense Subcommittee of House Appropriations, knew of the mistreatment of troops, but did nothing for years! He wanted to protect the confidence of patients and their families, and did not want to "give the army a black eye while fighting a war." A black eye? Are you kidding?

This is nothing less than outrageous. Soldiers commit suicide while waiting for treatment, and he wants to protect the reputation of the army? It gets better, or rather, it gets worse: "I would not hold hearings on patients and their problems and violate their privacy." When he was in a position to do something about Wally Reed, he covered it up, preferring a PR cover-up. Unbelievable. Unacceptable. UnAmerican. Treasonous, really. Not only did he fail in his sworn duty as an elected official, his deliberate, willful inaction led to death and destruction.

I hope that Floridians recall his words in 2008 when they head to the ballot box. Still, defeat alone seems too good for Young. 

IraqNam

Things are getting worse, not better, despite the most recent fund-raising speeches by Bush and Cheney. General Petraeus admitted that the surge cannot work, and that there is no military solution to the growing problems in Iraq. After misleading the Senate, he now wants to increase the number of troops, over and above the surge.

Every wasted American life is precisely what Senators Obama and McCain called it – a waste. These sons and daughters lose their lives each day in Iraq, when we know that the policy was based on lies, that we were misled into this war, and that the war’s execution was criminally negligent. Cheney and Rumsfeld will hopefully pay for their crimes, but all too often, true evil goes unpunished.

We can no longer ignore the deaths of innocent Iraqis. It is not just illegal torture, illegal renditions, the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure, the fraudulent construction contracts to US companies, it is all of that and more. We have killed or caused the deaths of 600,000 Iraqis, and the dire straights among Iraqi children alone should give us pause.

Unfortunately, the Senate continues to tapdance on the issue, and talks about resolutions. At least the House is pushing towards a possible solution. Watch for the president to whip out his veto pen. The boy who would be king can’t have his war games canceled. It might erode his war powers.

Scooter Libby

The guilty verdict came in, and it was Fitzmas in March.  The right wing was up early, with the Wall Street Journal leading the charge. Ignoring their hypocrisy over obstruction of justice when applied to the Clintons, the call for a pardon was immediate and well organized. The fact remains, though, Cheney’s Cheney lied, misled, and concocted facts in an effort to protect the White House’ and Darth Cheney’s role in outing a spy, and protecting its lies about Iraq.

Their puppet-like, orchestrated response is amusing, but I suspect that America is getting tired of the tune. As the true impact of Scooter’s verdict becomes more clear, people will wake up to the fact that Iraq is not only an unnecessary disaster, but a quagmire that should never have been.

Tonight on MSNBC we hear, for the first time, from Valerie Plame herself. She will explain how her NOC job masked an effective, global, anti-nuke program intent on preventing the trade and sale of fissionable materials. Her exposure brought the whole program to an early and unfortunate end. By outing Plame, Cheney and Bush did more damage to the “war on terra” than we will ever realize.  

The rightwingnuts will lose this battle, and I suspect that if Bush pardons Libby, the outrage will pour over this issue like a tidal wave. The real story remains clouded. Cheney’s role in starting our invasion of Iraq must be investigated fully. Our future andour integrity demands it.

Mea Culpable

Two candidates, lots of divorces, lots of affairs. Rudy is  warned that his baggage is pretty ugly. Two divorces and affairs are tough to reconcile with the family values crowd.  Newt Gingrich takes the cake. With the same history as Rudy, Newt takes it a step further. Not only did he serve divorce papers on an ailing hospitalized wife, he had another affair at the very time that he dogged President Clinton about a blow job. Maybe he was jealous. He admitted his “sins” to Reverend Dobson in an effort to shore up support for a presidential campaign. It is so nice for Dobson to forgive him his sins. 

If nothing else, the GOP has again proven that the word “hypocrisy” is just not strong enough to describe their normal behavior.

I hope Newt runs. He proves the obvious, that the pseudoVictorian morality of the religious right, their anti-gay, anti-female, anti-privacy, anti-abortion and anti-sex programs thrown in our faces so often for six years, are merely a tool to grab the right wing vote. Their behavior is so contrary to what they preach, that his entry into the race would make America wake up and laugh. 

Justice-Gate

Two issues here, both extremely disturbing.  Their testimony was riveting. Eight highly regarded US attorneys, eight demotions for political reasons, eight reasons to fear Alberto Gonzales’ pretty boy words, pressured by GOP pols, fired because they did not push indictments against Democrats.

Congress woke up to the fact that Team Bush sought to pervert America’s justice system, to bend it to their will. Even GOP senators were outraged, although had they read the New and Improved Patriot Act, even once, it may not have happened. Of course, had DEMOCRATS bothered to read the Act . . . . 

The GOP defections and the Democrat threat of subpeonas literally scared the crap out of Team Bush. Alberto, smirk in hand, went begging to the senate, offering a change in policy just to prevent the subpeonas.  I am reminded of the dear departed Molly Ivins, who noted that around election time, rumors of indictments against Democratic candidates seems to appear, only to disappear after the election. That would be par for the course. The White House toyed with America’s fear by upping the threat level every time bad news broke about the White House behavior.

What is worse, the corrosive impact on Justice is probably a story yet untold. Paul Krugman of the NYT makes some scary, yet all too believable observations today. Search out his article and be prepared to start looking over your shoulder.

The second issue is just as disturbing. In at least 2,000 cases, the FBI used the Patriot Act to gain private, secure, and personal information from companies, telephone and internet providers, banks, and more, illegally and without justification. 11,000 requests were made, and the vast majority ended up finding nothing, or at most, a drug enforcement issue. The FBI spied on Americans who had nothing to do with any threat to America.

My, my. We give the Feebees the power to spy on us, and they misuse it? Who woulda thunk it? And remember who controls the Feebes. (Alberto Gonzales). And who he reports to (Team Bush). And who can benefit most from the private data the feebees collected.
 

Conclusions? 

We face many problems. Our future is, in many ways, dim and growing dimmer. Government’s unbridled power to keep its activities secret from We the People, combined with growing intrusions, investigations and internal spying make our country far more similar to Ye Olde USSR, than the America we once trusted. Attacks on the justice system, illegal FBI spying, warrantless NSA wiretapping – just think who gets all that information and use it as they see fit. Team Bush.

The talk of an Iranian invasion died down, but that is temporary. If we or Israel invade, then our country is doomed sooner than later. If we stop the maniacs in office, then maybe we can start fixing everything that Team Bush broke, including the economy. But what a thankless task.

Our future is also bright in many ways. It’s no surprise that the trip to South America is being greeted with massive demonstrations against Team Bush. If only we saw the same reaction at home.  The House might find its spine, after an absence of six long years. State and local governments want to impeach Team Bush.  The anti-science policies of Team Bush are being overturned, bit by bit, but across many fields, with scientists finally objecting out loud. How else could we have learned about the global warming gag order issued last month?

Brave people are standing up. At last. And that is why our future is far more bright than dim.It is up to each and every one of us to stand up to Team Bush. A change at the top would be a good place to start.

(Robert Kezelis is a lawyer, sculptor and writing curmudgeon based south of Chicago.) 

Comments are closed.