The attention-span of the American news media is exceedingly short and its professional competence in ferreting out answers to important questions almost non-existent. Bored with the important stuff and unable to bring themselves to call a lie a lie, our “journalists” have moved on to the latest nonsense of the moment. The truth about WMD? Al-Qaeda? Unemployment? Energy “policy”? Noooo! They’re now seized with White House apoplexy about reducing terrorism to “nuisance” levels and Mary Cheney’s sexuality – something they’ll likely forget day after tomorrow. No wonder we’ve forgotten all the questions out there still begging answers. Let me refresh your memory on just a few. Whatever happened to…
The Ready Reserve?
You know, the bottom of the barrel that’s now being scraped…good guys who served well and honorably and, having left even drilling reserve units, assumed they had done their duty. Now, some in their fifties, they’re being yanked out of civilian jobs – by the thousands - to fill the gaps created by the Pentagon’s poor manpower planning. Trouble is fewer than two-thirds have shown up on time.
The National Guard?
Another barrel to be tapped to augment our less than adequate active duty ranks. Having signed up as weekend warriors ostensibly under the command of the several state governors, they’re now serving year-long tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, coming back for a few months, and turning around again for yet another prolonged stint in a combat zone. So who’s guarding the homeland and standing by for crisis relief?
Many lucky enough to return home in one piece find their family and job situations strained to the breaking point. And just this week, the Republican-controlled Senate refused to include pay relief for Guard and Reserve personnel and their employers, preferring instead to shower tax breaks on importers of Chinese ceiling fans, NASCAR track owners, and tobacco growers. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) proudly proclaimed “Let the record show this bill is fair, this bill is balanced.” So that’s what “fair and balanced” means? So that’s what “Support Our Troops” means?
No wonder the Guard is 5,000 short of its recruiting goals. Who the hell wants to be an “Army of One” for a nation of slackers.
Bush’s National Guard Records?
Speaking of the Guard…and slackers, why are President Bush’s Guard records still dribbling out – in response to AP’s Freedom of Information suit - many months after we were assured that all those records had been released? Makes you wonder what revelations might be found after the election. We might even learn what he did in 1972. But, then again, we could care less. We want to know what he’s been doing these last few years.
The story’s buried now on page 24. The press and Congress and we have lost interest. Still, the investigations cough up disturbing revelations – murders of POWs, dozens of “disappeared” in an American gulag, out-of-control and unaccountable civilian “interrogators.”
We’ve forgotten. But the world’s Muslims have not. Nor has al Qaeda. It’s too good a recruiting tool.
You know, the author of an unnecessary war, an army too small to win it, and, yes, Abu Ghraib. Why is this man still occupying an office in the Pentagon?
You remember her, the CIA agent outed last year by the Bush White House to get even with her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, for his refutation of the “yellow cake uranium” lie. Think our on-the-ball Justice Department would have tracked down by now the Administration culprit responsible for this egregious breach of national security. Think again. A year later, all they have done is turn their guns against New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who never reported on the subject, while giving a pass to neo-con insider Robert Novak who parroted to the public what he was fed by his White House buddies. Meanwhile, the lives of Ms. Plame’s sources in Africa are at risk.
Flash – Karl Rove’s just been hauled before a federal grand jury to answer questions on the matter. Stay tuned.
Where does that FBI investigation of Franklin stand? Was this Pentagon protégé of Under Secretary of Defense and Likudnik Douglas Feith really passing U.S. plans on Iran to Israel through AIPAC? Will Israel really bomb Iran’s nuclear reactor the day before our election with the 500 pound bunker buster bombs we just sold them? Just asking.
The Road Map?
It appears to be in shambles after Ariel Sharon’s month-long rampage through the refugee camps of Gaza. More than a hundred Palestinians, twenty of them children, have been killed in this latest exercise in collective punishment and Jebaliya has been bull-dozed to rubble. And, in the wake of such excesses, Secretary of State Colin Powell sternly lectures the Palestinians: “It’s time to end the intifada!” No, Mr. Powell, it’s time to end the occupation.
Fearing no retribution by an American government which long ago gave up any pretense of even-handedness and knowing that candidate Kerry dare not take up the issue, “Bull-dozer” Sharon plows ahead, destroying homes and lives, thickening settlements on the West Bank, and pronouncing unilateral “solutions.” Dov Weinglas, described by AP as Sharon’s “point man with the Bush Administration,” goes a step further, declaring boldly that “Effectively, the whole package called the Palestinian state with all that entails has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with the authority and permission – all this with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”
And not a peep from the Administration, nor, for that matter, any meaningful condemnation from the rest of the world. This has led Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, America’s designated “leader” of the Palestinians, to cry out “This ugly Israeli crime is taking place in full view of the world, and so far we have not heard a strong word from the world community that can bring an end to this aggression.”
Eyeless in Gaza, Americans cannot see why people hate us, why people take up terror, the weapon of hopelessness.
Fox News calls him “Campaign Carl.” His sister works for the Bush campaign and hangs with Laura, so he’s assigned to cover John Kerry. Bored silly by the assignment, Carl decided the morning after the first debate to post a story on the Fox website putting made-up quotes in Kerry’s mouth…stuff about nails and cuticles, metrosexuals and cowboys. Fox subsequently took down the story “written in jest…fatigue and bad judgement, not malice.” Whatever the reasons for this boyish prank that would have gotten any cub reporter fired, it reveals a lack of professionalism and the true attitudes of one Fox “journalist.”
The story went unreported on Fox’s broadcast news programs, which were seized at the time with something they called “Rathergate.” Meanwhile, “Campaign Carl’s” back on the Kerry beat serving up his usual “fair and balanced” distortions.
The old Baghdad Bob, that clown in a beret, has long ago retired to Dubai, where I’m sure he’s working on a book or a career in stand-up comedy. Fox, however, has a new clown they call “Major Bob.” To the uninitiated, that’s Major Bob Bevalaqua, who not only offers military opinions but “political analysis” in his role as a “Fox news analyst.” In the midst of last week’s attack on Baghdad’s Sheraton Hotel, a breathless Fox anchor asked Major Bob for his opinion about the political motivations behind the attack. Without hesitation, he replied that it was designed to help the Kerry campaign. “The terrorists,” he added, will stop at nothing to help Kerry.” Thanking Major Bob for that astute and fair and balanced comment, the anchor moved elsewhere without a word of comment.
Based on recent developments, one can be excused for becoming alarmed over the growing attack on family values from the right. What are we to make of Rush Limbaugh’s doctor shopping for controlled substances…or his recent divorce? Other than his dropping all references to Magda’s sleep number, it seems to have had no effect on his pontifications on national radio. And, then, there’s Bill O’Reilly, that married father of two, who allows he’s having a bad day or two, but sees no need to apologize for alleged phone sex and sexual harassment. Guess he figures he can bloviate his way out of this like everything else. Sue and shout “Shut up!!” Meanwhile, he’s out there peddling a children’s book and interviewing Dick Morris. Yes, speaking of family values, that Dick Morris!
While Rush has so far dodged a bullet, Bill’s counterparts on the other cable networks seem to be piling on the big guy with the big mouth and an even bigger ego. Seems they don’t like him any more than Al Franken does. That leaves us asking “Who’s Looking Out for You, Bill?”
The federal deficit just hit $413 billion, the largest in American history. This led Secretary of the Treasury John Snow (Now there’s a household name!) to proclaim “All of this shows that the President’s tax relief initiatives are having the intended effects.” You mean this is intentional?!
No wonder John Eisenhower, Ike’s son, has opted to support John Kerry? In his September 30 announcement of that support Eisenhower said that “today’s Republican Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word ‘Republican’ has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.”
The Powell Doctrine?
As our adventure in Iraq spins out of control, one must ask where is the overwhelming public support, the overwhelming force, and the clear exit strategy demanded by the Powell Doctrine? And what do we do now?
And why does Colin Powell remain, sitting there silently, subjected to continuing humiliation, while American foreign policy and his personal reputation go down in flames in the hands of our latter-day Nero.
Why does John McCain, another wise and honorable man allow himself to be manipulated like some rag doll by Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, the hacks who dragged the senator and his family through the mud four years ago and who now – in his own word – dishonorably pick at the scabs of Vietnam?
I know he’s positioning himself for 2008. But one has to ask “At what price? When does party loyalty trump personal integrity?” Hopefully, never. If I could, I would address the following plea to Senator McCain: “Please, please, before it is too late, shake free of the grasp of these Lilliputians and show the same courage that saw you through those years in Hanoi. It is transparently clear what they are doing. Don’t let them do it again. Your country calls again. The need is bigger than any election.”
I, at least, care, though precious few others appear to. Green (aka Delicious), a transgender woman, was brutally killed in Bayview-Hunters Point two months ago. The police refused to treat her murder as a hate crime, and the story soon disappeared from the pages of the Chronicle. Who cares? Another piece of tranny trash. The SFPD can’t solve crimes against “normal” people. Why get worked up over Green? For the same reason I’m still angry over the delayed justice – now two years and one mistrial later – for those who killed Gwen Araujo in Newark. Gwen and Tony were human beings who loved and were loved. Green came from a large family, who accepted her as she was. In turn, she helped raise the five grandchildren – 4, 8, 11, 13, and 18 – of her sister who described her as “a warm, giving, warm-hearted person.”
For Gwen’s mom, Tony’s sister, and myself, I ask you to keep in mind that God don’t make no trash and that all God’s children – no matter how different they may appear on the surface – are created in God’s image and, therefore, deserving of love and respect.
He died this week, and all of Canada cried. We did, too.
Posted by Vicki at 07:14 AM