Thursday, June 23, 2005



What time is it? Is it time for Congress to figure out how to get us out of the disastrous quagmire that Iraq has turned into for most of us (though not for big GOP campaign contributors like Bechtel and Haliburton)? Is it time for Congress to figure out how to confront the dwindling supply of oil in our oil driven society? Is it time for Congress to figure out how to repair an electoral system that allows partisan tampering with such alacrity that determined extremists can "win elections" without getting actual votes? For the Republicans who have managed to gain control of all branches of the federal government it's time to figure out why their approval ratings are so low, and sinking lower and lower
by the day. Bush's approval rating is headed into the 30s-- which means he'll be supported by far
right religious fanatics (time to insert one of my favorite Voltaire quotes-- "The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning"), war-profiteers AND NO ONE ELSE. The Congress' approval ratings are already in the 30s. Doing anything that would actually solve the problems that have Americans disapproving would violate GOP ideology and their whole raison d'ĂȘtre for going to such expense and trouble to steal elections in the first place. So what's a right-wing legislator to do? Well, sure as shit, the GOP has come up with the solution! According to Orrin Hatch (R-UT), "It's time to stand up for our symbol. I consider defecating on the flag, urinating on the flag, burning the flag with contempt." Now THERE'S a problem that keeps me up nights! Defecating on the flag? To hell with Republicrooks trying to make it easy for their Wall Street pals to loot Social Security-- the way they have managed to OK looting of corporate retirement funds and the way the one-party GOP government in Ohio has allowed its contributors to loot the State Workmen's Compensation Fund-- we have a REAL problem: people defecating on the U.S. flag!

I think I must have been in like 6th grade at PS 197 when I first heard about the governing concept called "divide and conquer." I can't remember who the teacher was, although I remember it applied to the Roman Empire. Maybe my old classmate Norm Coleman, now a far right loon elected to the U.S. Senate under dubious circumstances after the murder of Paul Wellstone, will remember. (Lord knows he applies it in his career.) But it didn't make much of an impression on me at the time. I mean, the Romans? That was like so long ago. And we've come so far! The next time I remember hearing about it, it was the British Empire and how they encouraged Hindus and Muslims in India and Shiia and Sunni in Iraq to hate each other so the British could control such populous far away places with a minimum of expenditure of blood and treasure. That made more of an impression but it was still a long time ago. But then some wiseass teacher, apparently one who wasn't worried about the NYC academic witch-hunt engendered by the Rapp-Coudert hearings, slipped in something about how the wealthy white Establishment (i.e.- The Right) in the American South was still using divide and conquer to separate poor whites and poor blacks -- by "stoking" racial tensions-- in order to run the show down there. It all clicked and I've been watching how they do it ever since. Yesterday the GOP ran their predictable little show again in Congress. With cheerleading from their co-conspirators in the media conglomerates they own and the echo chamber that creates in the media companies they don't directly control, they are convincing always gullible Americans that what ails the society is not tied to Republican policies, Republican venality, Republican corruption, Republican incompetence but to... people (in Utah??) defecating on the flag.

Veteran political journalist Ron Fournier wrote an AP story today that points out that although the lockstep GOP mob that runs the House of Representatives passed a measure to ban desecration of the flag, "its prospects aren't good in the Senate, but Republicans could still get what they want-- an issue that divides or even conquers Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections."

The debate was personalized by two House members-- Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), still staying out of prison after taking a large bribe from a defense contractor (see my June 14 entry) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), whose district includes the 9/11 Ground Zero. ''If the flag needs protection at all,'' said Nadler, ''it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents.'' Meanwhile, the bribe-taking Duke, like Hatch, is playing to the lowest common denominator (though he restrained himself from talking about Hatch's defecation problem): ''Ask the men and women who stood on top of the Trade Center,'' (an impossibility obviously). ''Ask them and they will tell you: 'Pass this amendment.''' (I guess aside from running a bribes-for-defense-contracts scam, Cunningham is also working, at least part-time, the psychic network angle. But just ask their fearless leader, Bush, and you'll know the Right has direct communications pipelines from Heaven.


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