Causes of Concern

It is a very strange and disturbing time, isn’t it?

Here in Massachusetts we have a Republican running for governor who’s campaign is largely funded by her spouse. They live in this amazingly wealthy neighborhood in a house on the ocean north of Boston. His company is a few miles from the house, making for a pleasant commute. Which is all fine; but for the detail that the state’s economic development program helped pay for the villa his company’s in. Seems that the Republican administrators of the program decided that this delightful neighborhood, one of the richest in the state and possibly the country, was a economically depressed. Well I guess that’s what business friendly Republicans do.

And then we have this guy Allen in Virginia, running for Senate. He stuffed deer’s heads into the the mailboxes of black people, or niggers as he called them for years. After months of stories like that coming out about this guy he’s running neck and neck against his opponent. What’s up with people in Virginia?

I have often joked, but now I am afraid, that what globalization would bring to us was South American governance, i.e. where when countries go bad people of the opposition just disappear never to be seen again. The right to demand that a court review the why somebody has been tossed in prison, it’s what 400, 600 years old? Our elected officials, here in the US, recently set that aside. The president or his minions now have the power to disappear us.

Consider this story in the Times today. Guy happens on the vice president in the street. Tells him that he thinks the Iraq policy is reprehensible. Can you guess what happens next? Yup, the secret service tossed him in jail.

Why exactly do we fear terrorist more than this? Why do we fear terrorist more than people who would, apparently without shame, write laws that retroactively say that their torturing people is legal. Why do we fear terrorists more than people who would make torture legal?

And then you have the announcement that Rice, who’s now secretary of state, was fully briefed on the Al Queda threat in July 2001, months before 9/11. She was told on a scale of 1-10 this threat was a 10, that something had to be done. She did nothing. Which is news. It’s deeply troubling. But it’s part of a pattern that was already clear. The administration just didn’t care. Didn’t care to learn how care about this kind of issue.

So while that’s horrible I’m more bewildered that it appears the 9/11 commission knew about that briefing and left it out of their report. Huh? I know that the commissions report was horribly partisan, but really this is over the top. How exactly can we trust anything in the report at this point. What else got left on the cutting room floor?

Of course Rice handled the news like any bad PR problem. First pretended that meeting didn’t happen, then that she couldn’t remember it, and then finally her staff admitted it did happen. Hope thru out, I presume, that it might blow over.

II guess it did blow over.
Now we have a new circus. A congressman who’s been chasing underage boys around the capital building for years. The good news, for him, is that the Scientologists are old friends of his, so he’s hiding in one of their ‘rehab centers.’ He’s got some excuses. Blame those Catholic priests. Though people say he doesn’t drink he’s also blamed on the drink. You’d think given that he’s got millions of bucks he could get a better crisis manager to handle his PR.

Of course the real story there is that if you’re a viciously unethical political party boss, then a rich closet gay pedophile makes a great lieutenant. No risk he’s not going to follow orders! So now we have the small amusement of watching the party captains skitter like roaches under the fridge when the lights come on.

What’s wrong with this country? It still it isn’t clear that the Republicans will be shown the door in the upcoming election. How can any citizen vote for any of these people? This really bewilders me. More so, it terrifies me.

0 thoughts on “Causes of Concern

  1. Zack Hyde

    A couple of points, Ben:

    You say, “Why exactly do we fear terrorists more than this?” I would ask you and all your readers to ask yourselves a question. Before I write the question, do me a favor. Clear your head of all knee-jerk possible reactions. Read the question and actually think about it. Let’s see if we can understand and get in touch with what we actually feel. Here’s the question. Do you actually fear terrorists?

    Me? No. I look deep within myself. I think about my daily walk to work. I consider those things that I actually believe might threaten me at some point (I come up with: old age; my own bad habits; drunk drivers; the federal government). But in no way whatsoever do I feel terror, or fear, or even apprehension about terrorists. I take public transportation. I cross bridges. I even fly places occaisionally. I just don’t actually feel fear of terrorists. Good thing I don’t heed the flame-fanning of the gummint, eh?

    I just think that’s interesting. I mean, isnt’ the whole point of terrorism to invoke terror on your victims? If that’s the definition, then Bush and the military are the terrorists.

    Also, I don’t think Rice did nothing. I think she requested that the same briefing be given to Ashcroft and Rumsfeld. But check me on that. I’m pretty sure the same briefing was given to the two of them, a week or so later.

    Lastly, just as a thought experiment–consider it an excersize in game theory–would it really be best, for the long term, if the Republicans were shown the door in November? Whoever wins that election is being handed a “damned if you do” global and domestic situation, and, they will be hobbled by the White House. What if there was a slim Republican majority after Nov.? All the embarassing and colossal failures that the nation is sure to see in upcoming years would then be hung more directly on the Republicans. (Do I daresay that perhaps we even need a Republican internal split, in which the moderates distance themselves from the neocons, and give us dyed-in-wool lefties a version of the Republican party that we can stomach?)

    Of course, in 2004 I thought it might be a good thing if G.W. Boosh won again, because I thought for sure he would bungle things so fantastically that everyone would have to backlash against him. Interestingly, he has bungled things worse than I could have imagined. But some people out there still support him. I hate to say this, but part of me thinks 4 more years (’08-’12) of Republican president might push things so far that we get the backlash we really need. But I don’t really believe that. I’m just not so sure that a Dem win in November is either likely or the best possible long-term strategy.

  2. Jane Hyde

    I recently agreed to undergo a survey by an earnest NC college undergraduate, and among my answers offered that terrorism did not especially worry me. Well, of course I thought later, yes, I’ve been aware for several YEARS now that terrorism was the most likely next threat to Civilization As We Know It, but still, it’s not one of my daily worries. And I agree with Zack that I fear Bush and his neocons much more than I fear terrorists.

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