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What on Earth Were They Thinking?

The citizens of the United States recently finished midterm elections in which they gave control of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Congress to the Republican party. The current president, George W. Bush is a Republican. In two years, he and his administration have managed to misdirect a booming economy into recession and produce a near-collapse of the stock market that has evaporated roughly a third of the country’s wealth. Bush and his keystone kops have also destabilized global politics with various threats of unilateral aggression against any country or group deemed to be hostile toward the interests of, let’s face it, the American oil industry.

The republican victories, along with George W. Bush’s current popularity, can be accounted to the actions of two men, one of whom Bush has spend 14 months and untold billions trying to kill, the other he will soon be trying to send to his death, Texas-style: Osama bin Laden, who is likely responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center in September 2001, and John Allen Muhammad, the sniper who terrorized Washington, D.C. during the month prior to the midterm election, and who managed to distract everyone in the United States from a Republican political and social agenda that will push American civil liberties back beyond the McCarthy era, and may jack the U.S. economy back even further. Americans will get Homeland Security in the bargain, which isn’t the same thing as a secure homeland and which will protect Americans not at all from lunatics like John Allen and very little from the friends and successors of Osama bin Laden.

As U.S. presidents go, George W. Bush makes Richard Nixon look like a fair-minded intellectual, and Forest Gump a toastmaster. Bush is a man who tries to dislodge pretzels from his throat with bottles of Wild Turkey, which may explain why he can’t seem to control his daughters drinking problems, and can’t keep a smirk off his own kisser longer than 10 minutes while addressing the nation. He is, to appropriate a bad joke, a man with his head so far up the oil industry’s behind that he can see the heels of his own Vice-President, Dick Cheney. I guess that’s some sort of accomplishment.

Okay, I’m ranting. But what on earth were the American people thinking?

On a related matter, the 40th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis passed a few weeks ago without being noted by any of the major corporate media. Since the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest we’ve come to nuclear Armageddon, you’d have thought its anniversary would have occasioned some sober second thoughts about the course of military aggression the U.S. is about to embark on, and about the possibility that it could escalate into a global conflagration. Not a word.

Jimmy Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize, which the Nobel Foundation openly admitted was meant as a rebuke to the Bush Administration policies, has been similarly disappeared. You can safely bet your first born that Carter isn’t going to be briefing the Joint Chiefs of Staff anytime soon on how not to fuck up the world, and that he won’t be chosen by Time Magazine as it’s Macho of the Year.

While the above isn’t reported on at all, a single cassette tape of dubious authenticity with some Arabic mutterings about how countries sympathetic to the U.S. ant-terrorist policies might be targeted instantly sets off an avalanche of on-camera and on-the-record government security turd polishing and sabre-rattling, along with a thousand dumpsters filled with media speculation and fatuous expert analyses. It suggests that the degree of media/government convergence on what is news and what isn’t since September 2001 may be a greater threat to liberty and peace than Osama bin Laden and his friends, and it sure as hell isn’t the signal of a golden age of journalistic balance. Scares my ass all the way to the nearest mall for another shopping spree.

654 w. November 15, 2002

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Wally Hourback

Wally Hourback

Wally Hourback lives and works in North Bay, Ontario.

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