Saturday, June 24, 2006

Musings from Tom Joad Country

I've been reading about this "grass roots" phenomenon that's sweeping the country. It must not have "swept" down this far, because I scoured the prairies and plains of Oklahoma, and the only thing I came up with was a clump or two of Johnson grass, a few scraggly buffalo and some errant loco weed...

In fact, there's not much movement of any kind in Tom Joad Country. Maybe that's because Oklahoma has always been, or at least has had the reputation of being, not only poor but backwards both intellectually and culturally. If I were so inclined, I could probably debunk this fallacy, but I'd have to start in Tulsa and move east...

People west of Tulsa aren't too concerned with politics. We get involved and come alive for only a couple of things -- A six-pack of Bud Light and OU football. Tulsa denizens like to think of themselves as "cosmopolitan" and politically hip, but they have a tendency to look at issues through an oil prism. That's why we always end up with Stupid White Men like Don Nickles, Jim Inhofe, and Tom Cole. When you think about it, I guess it serves us right...

Okies are independent and "don't want the damned government bleepin' around in their business..." Their political ideology is based on this ONE issue -- Republicans want smaller government; ergo -- they vote Republican. They also have a tendency to believe whatever it is that the last person -- usually a preacher - -says to them. Since Democrats have no voice in Oklahoma, Okies believe Republicans and vote Republican.

I do not understand, however, how the elderly -- most of whom would have starved to death if it had not been for Roosevelt and the Democrats -- could ever vote Republican. But in Oklahoma, they do, and are dadgummed proud of it.

I do not understand how any military - -and we have a large military presence throughout the state -- could vote Republican. Most military, especially lower enlisted, are in the services as a direct result of being unable to make a living anywhere else. The US military is the largest welfare program in the world. Lifers, such as Colin Powell, have never received a paycheck that wasn't drawn on the government. Powell, and so many others like him, would not be where they are today if it had not been for government "affirmative action."

The same with civil servants -- government paychecks and retirement bennies come directly from Sam. I should know. Like Powell, I devoted my entire working life to the government and, although I don't make out like a bandit every month, thanks to Sam I can afford to put food on my family. But in Oklahoma, most of these retired military and civilian folks enthusiastically support programs that cut their own livelihoods -- literally foreclose on their children's future -- by voting Republican...

If we have a grass roots movement in Oklahoma, it is fueled by militant Christians -- mostly southern Baptists who have no clue about the intricacies of politics, but are told by their Christian right-wing brethern that Democrats are whoremongers who think every woman should have an abortion whether she wants one or not, and the gays are coming after their children. This is enough to drive them to the polls to vote Republican.

Okies love America, they love their born-again idiot president, and they are proud to be blind and brazen warriors in God's Very Own Army. Together, they and Bush are proudly in lockstep -- insanely marching to Zion...

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Monday, June 12, 2006


And it's up against the wall American Muthers,
Barbara Bush, who raised her son so well.
Now Dubya's out there smirkin' in God's honky tonk,
Just kickin' soldiers' asses and raisin' hell.
~~apologies to Jerry Jeff Walker

Once a year, George Bush shows up at Arlington National Cemetery and tells a tightly controlled, thoroughly vetted audience that he 'preciates the sacrifice of those who volunteered to die "in freedom's cause." There, surrounded by silent tombstones and armed Secret Service Police, this most infamous of military deserters befouls not only the hallowed ground, but the very air, as he regurgitates words he babbled the year before...and the year before. He reminds us that America is a "reluctant warrior," but we are resolved; our will must not be broken, no matter how many sacrifices it takes.

During the annual photo-op, Bush reads exerpts of farewell letters allegedly from fallen soldiers and marines, all apparently honored to have died in Bush's noble cause. Their words passed on to us by Bush are eerily familiar -- stay the course -- complete the mission of ridding the world of evil -- spread freedom and democracy to the four corners of the earth. Then, after hoping that the slain heroes made peace with their Maker before being blown to bits, and a final admonishment to "support the troops," Bush cuts out until next year.

The camera never strays from Bush's twitching mouth, darting eyes -- never scans the audience so we might see who these people are who applaud him so vigorously. It must be members of his administration and those legislators who follow him around like whipped pups, for I cannot imagine mothers willing to either sacrifice their children to bolster Bush's poll numbers in a barbaric slaughterhouse that grows more bloody and chaotic every day, or to cheer him on. Somehow I cannot conjure up an image of mothers offering up their sons and daughters to a pathological narcissist killer, knowing if they are returned at all it will be either in pieces or in boxes.

Hiding the Troops

Either way, Bush is determined to protect us from seeing the steady stream of ghastly homecomings. That's what mothers are for. Bush says he wakes up every morning trying to figure out how to protect the American people, and -- like his mother says -- folks shouldn't have to worry their beautiful minds with such depressing images.

So Bush not only banned the media and the public from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where dead soldiers are secretly shuttled back in country in the dead of night, but from military installations around the world.

Bush also restricted the media from covering funerals at Arlington, apparently deciding that the best way to support the troops is to "disappear" them from our view forever. Besides, if you've seen one aluminum transfer tube covered with the old red-white-and-blue, you've seen 'em all. Why bother parading 2,500 of them past a bored, disconnected, disinterested citizenry, most of whom have no children in this fight and could care less about other people's children...

General Tommy Franks, former Central Command Commander, who developed and executed the bloody Iraq fiasco, recently told the National Rifle Association that it wasn't important how many Americans died -- that those who count the increasing number of American soldiers killed in Iraq are missing the bigger picture. "What we're talking about is neither 2,400, 24,000 or 240,000 lives," Franks said. "Terrorism is a thing that threatens our way of life. It doesn't have anything to do with politics."

Americans fail to realize that words mean far different things to Bush, and apparently to Franks, than they do to coherent, rational people. To Bush, "support the troops" means don't criticize him when thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocents die in an illegal, bloody mess that he lied to get us into.

Bush brags that he's a war president. He says he sits in the Oval Office with war on his mind. He doesn't read --- doesn't need to because his gut makes all the decisions, and anybody who doesn't like that is aiding and abetting the terrorists.

So -- stick a yellow ribbon on your vehicle, shut up, and support the troops.

Supporting the Troops

In the only evidence of support I am aware of, just months after getting his war on, Bush opened a new $30 million, state-of-the-art, 70,000 square-foot mortuary at Dover to support the troops, or what is left of them, when they are sneaked back to the states under cover of darkness. Since then, he has sent America's sons and daughters unprepared and unequipped into a raging guerilla insurgency with orders to kill anything that moves.

Bush and his entire Iran-Contra war-criminal chickenhawk administration are devoid of ethos; incapable of empathy or compassion, and could care less about supporting troops. Bush has said on more than one occasion, "My attitude is, any time we put one of our soldiers in harm's way, we're going to spend whatever is necessary to make sure they have the best training, the best support and the best possible equipment."

That may be his attitude, but it is not the reality on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. Far too many Americans Bush has put in harm's way are trying unsuccessfully to stay alive in soft-armored Humvees while wearing Vietnam-era flak jackets. Far too few of them have the Intercepter Vest designed in the late 1990's to protect its wearer with Kevlar lining and ceramic plates in front and back pockets to shield vital organs. Day after grinding day in the fillth and horror of a war with the "front line" anywhere the enemy decides it will be, ill-trained and ill-equipped Americans are losing the battle to stay alive -- and there is no end in sight.

Most Americans neither know nor care about what is going on, but the mothers know. They are not only spending thousands of dollars sending critical armor, night-vision goggles, and other needed equipment to their children, but are sending food as well.

Journalist Bob Kerr writes in The Providence Journal that Marine Nick Andoscia called and asked his mother to send food. Kerr said Nick told his mother that he and the men in his unit had shed about 10 pounds in their first few weeks in Iraq. They were pulling 22-hour patrol shifts, and were getting only two meals a day -- not meals to remember. He said they were going to the Iraqis and literally begging for food.

The lack of support this administration gives its uniformed personnel is monumentally ruthless and evil. Since Bush's unprovoked attack on Iraq, nearly 12,000 soldiers have been evacuated because of disease. Some of the sickness can be attributed to Halliburton-KBR serving tainted water and rotten food in the mess halls, but most is undoubtedly from radiation poisoning due to the widespread use of the deadly Depleted Uranium.

Blaming the Troops

One of the more frightening things about wars, especially immoral wars like this one, is the enemy must be dehumanized so soldiers and marines can be kept under control and "up" for the killing they must do. Normal human beings can't turn cruelty on and off like a faucet; therefore, the troops must be also be dehumanized to the point of madness. They become predators without conscience -- drugged and brainwashed into a continuous white rage, not only willing, but eager to kill.

Their commander-in-chief is a ruthlessly self-centered, single-layered demon whose hypnotic cadence of kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill has succeeded in turning them into the monsters they must be for his world dominance aspirations to succeed. The US military are victims of a cruel fascist regime. They are used, then tossed aside to come to terms with what they have become on their own. It is a rare soldier who returns to find professional help available.

For many, the final battle with their predator leader is one too many. Because of the values they were taught from birth -- it all comes crashing down. Many can't cope with the magnitude of sheer evil that envelops them. Some commit suicide. Others become alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless, the walking dead.

When torture, murder and war crimes committed by Americans in places such as Guantanamo, Haditha, Abu Ghrab, Ishaqi and Fallujah, as well as in Afghanistan, comes to light, Bush and his criminal defense department initially try to conceal the atrocities. If forced to investigate themselves, they find no wrongdoing. When all else fails, Bush comes out, blames the troops and says the few bad apples will be brought to justice. Commanders stand silent, refusing to defend or protect those for whom they are responsible -- mute acknowledgement that, as Henry Kissinger said, "Soldiers are expendable -- dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy."

Every single member of Congress, every single member of this filthy administration, every single commander on the ground, and every single member of the shameful corporate US media must be blamed for allowing George Bush's rampant maiming and destruction of American citizens and for the genocidal murder waged against innocent Iraqi men, women and children. Every single one of them should be forced to don Vietnam-era flak jackets, crammed into unarmored Humvees and ordered to drive across Iraq, fighting to stay alive while choking on depleted uranium dust. Then they might acknowledge who is to blame for this fiasco.

Is it the troops?

No way in hell.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Government of Thieves

By Tim L. Taunton

(For the victims of 9-11)

We have seen our treasures plundered
By a government of thieves...
Full of of systematic systems
And of lies no one believes...

As the trails of bloody murder
Fall down hard from tall dark skies...
When you think about those towers
Tell you recognize?

What they did to us, there brother
Was betrayal once again...
Prissy sonny boy perdition
blowingKisses to the wind...

As he marches toward the fire
To the bright hot lake of flames...
Don't much matter with the numbers, boys
It's all about the names...

Who are you and I together
Do we stand for what is true...?
Will we be with God forever
Will I always still love you...?

Will you take me to a better
View of all there is to see?
Holy Spirit are you out there?
In the land of Liberty?

Will you Comfort us together
As so many fall apart...
Will you teach us that true justice
Is a matter of the Heart...

Will you show us how to make it
Through these tough and troubled times...
As the wind around us raises
And the storm around us climbs...

To the government of plunder
That sad buddle of sick thieves
With their hands in bloody money
And a cause no one believes...

Did you ever stop to wonder
All you did to others too....
Was mistreat them for no reason
'Cept you thought your lies were true...

Now they gather 'round about you
As you scurry underground
To you bunker, like a drunkard...
See you stagger all around...

Will your smirking and your jerking
And your slobber and your slime...
You're a sick and sad ol' coward, boy...
Who's the big shot now this time?

Come on tell us you're a liar...
Just confess it, now will you...?
Blame your mama or, Osama
Or, you daddy -- blame him too...

Or, your brothers and your sisters
All that rich old sack of thieves...
What's a government of liars...
To a broken heart that grieves?

To the soldier over yonder
Yes, you know you've been deceived...
For they told you, be cold blooded...
So the lizard you believed...

And to Rummy it was funny
And to George a stupid game...
Uncle Dick must have more money...
Little soldier what's your name?

Bring it on, now, said his double
What's a forked tongue to do...?
But, to stumble and to mumble
And to blather lies are true...???

In the towers of those burdens..
.As the weeping widow grieves...
We shall best not ever trust again
A government of thieves!