SURVIVING AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT
"You is feeling like you was lost in the bush, boy? You says: It is a puling sample jungle of woods. You most shouts out: Bethicket me for a stump of beech if I have the poultriest notions what the farest he all means."~~James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)
My friend Bernie says ever since the Bush gang stormed the White House in 2000, then stormed the World Trade Center in 2001, we've done nothing but run in circles like a bunch of terrified chickens with our heads chopped off. "We have no sense of direction," Bernie said, "we're staggering around in a jungle of lies, deceit, and scandal with no way out -- and that's the way they planned it."
"You're kidding!" I exclaimed, astonished. "You mean they planned this mess? It's nothing but bloody chaos out there --"
Bernie nodded. "You got that right. Bloody chaos is the best -- the only -- way to get what they're after. Don't be fooled by those little American flags stuck in the lapels of this bunch," Bernie continued. "The people in this nation, the hungry and homeless, the ill, the elderly, displaced Katrina victims, and especially those returning from war's inferno either in body bags or maimed physically, psychologically, and spiritually aren't even blips on their New World Order radar screen. They suffer at the pleasure of the president."
Bernie reminded me that shortly before the 2000 presidential campaign, when Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, he made a speech to the Institute of Petroleum in London where he complained that oil producers "had to deal with the pesky problem that once you find oil and pump it out of the ground you've got to turn around and find more or go out of business."
Cheney went on to say, "That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously in control of about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business...the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies..."
Bernie grinned. "If that didn't set off alarms, especially in Iraq, you gotta know they started going off when, a year later, with his eyes on the prize, Cheney appointed himself vice president, put himself in charge of the nation's energy policy, based that policy on the location of oil fields -- not only in Iraq and Iran but throughout the Persian Gulf -- then mounted up and headed out to solve big oil's 'pesky' problem."
I have to agree with Bernie. Cheney and his bumbling bunch of neo-conservative henchmen are obsessed with this really crazy "vision" that they can control the world. Flip through their chilling masterpiece and you'll see that they believe the world is theirs -- everything, including space and cyberspace -- all theirs. And, it'll hit you right between the eyes that every one of these suckers is a flaming psycho. If it takes lies, they'll lie. If it takes imprisonment, torture, mass murder, either at home or abroad -- they'll do that too.
Bernie says folks in this country have no idea what they're up against. In spite of the draconian USA Patriot Act, they still hang onto the illusion that their freedoms are protected by the US Constitution; yet they emerge from each succeeding crisis with fewer and fewer freedoms. "If Americans were willing -- or capable -- of reading and thinking," Bernie said, "they'd know that the war being waged throughout the world began here at home, and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights were its first victims."
Can't argue with that. The truth's been out there for years. In December 2002, before the Washington Post drank the Stepford Kool-Aid, it published a riveting piece, "In Terror War, 2nd Track for Suspects," in which writer Charles Lane exposed Bush's executive power grab to strip courts of all oversight or authority. Lane sounded the alarm on the "parallel legal system in which terrorism suspects -- U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike -- may be investigated, jailed, interrogated, tried and punished without legal protections guaranteed by the ordinary system."
Lane went on to say the administration, with approval of the "special" Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, could "order a clandestine search of a U.S. citizen's home and, based on the information gathered, secretly declare the citizen an enemy combatant, to be held indefinitely at a U.S. military base." If the courts were aware of this activity at all, they would have "very limited authority to second-guess the detention." .
Lane's article is no longer available on the WaPo site (surprise!), but can be found on Common Dreams.org, as can Jonathan Turley's August 2002 article,"Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision," originally published in the LA Times, but alas, is also no longer there.
Turley, a straight-talking professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, exposed then Attorney General John Ashcroft's "hellish vision" to incarcerate citizens he decided were "enemy combatants," i.e., all who were disloyal to Bush or dared to resist his "smoke-em-out" war on terror. According to Turley, in Ashcroft's America, "security precedes liberty." Liberty is nothing more than a "rhetorical justification for increased security," and citizens have a choice -- accept autocratic rule and surrender their rights peacefully, or be labeled enemy combatants and be held indefinitely by the government, without charges, a hearing, or access to a lawyer.
The camps are there, fully staffed and ready. In the absence of the US Constitution, Bush's Executive Orders are in place. Everything needed to keep this country running has been contracted out. Halliburton has left the building. Those in our society still having bragging rights to civil liberties are illegal aliens, whose growing numbers give new meaning to the word, "surge." One swipe of Bush's pen will inflict martial law and we will discover, too late, that we live in a police state patrolled by jackbooted Blackwater USA mercenaries who will, indeed, serve at the pleasure of the president..
Blackwater is in place to become this nation's shadow police force and is its current shadow army. Go back to the "dry run" of Katrina and take a look at the heavily armed force that laid seige to New Orleans, that sped through the streets rounding up hurricane victims, packing them into a "detention" arena where they were forced to stay for days without food or water or assistance. Go back even further -- the bodies hanging from the bridge in Fallujah were not US soldiers, but Blackwater mercenaries -- death squad troops 100,000 strong who roam the Iraqi streets at will and stir up violence and hatred against the uniformed US military.
We are awakening to find ourselves in a dark evil tangle, a "puling sample jungle of woods." Reminds me of the helplessness I felt on that bright, sunshiny day when I pulled over at a roadside park near Atlanta to take a short nap. When I awoke two hours later, it was pitch dark -- and it was only noon! Then, I realized with horror that I was covered with Kudzu -- I could hear it relentlessly growing, munching, crunching around me!
I was faced with a choice. I could hunker down in fear and hope someone else would save me, or I could at least make the effort to get out of the mess I had gotten myself into. Armed with only a dull pocket knife, I managed to slice my way out of the jungle by cutting frantically for a few minutes and then "inching" the car forward. Finally, after a three-hour battle with the stuff, I was free! I sped toward the state line with the carniverous vines hot on my tail. I have never been back to Georgia. Only the Devil goes down there...
It doesn't matter if that actually happened. The important thing is that we are now faced with a choice. We can hunker down and hope for the best, or we can rise up and take our country back. Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul says we must act before it is too late and we find ourselves being herded into camps. Paul says we must contact every single member of congress and demand "a repeal of freedom-crushing legislation such as the Patriot act and the Military Commissions Act and the Defense Authorization Act which essentially wipes out Habeas Corpus."
They must be forcibly stopped. We must impeach this unholy gang of war criminals because they have no intention of leaving office in 2008, or ever, if they are left unchecked. We must not allow ourselves and our children to be forced to live in a Kudzu World -- to survive only at the pleasure of the president.