June 1, 2007
Bernie Sanders for President
So Bernie Sanders was on the radio this past Friday morning, as he always is on what’s left of Air America, sounding sane and reasonable, pragmatic and determined, intelligent and altruistic – in sum, the antithesis of our Decider, our Commander Guy, our Mass-Murderer in Chief.
This would mean a return to truly radical concepts, such as keeping religion from polluting public schools; no wiretaps or email captures; no double jeopardy or self-incrimination; due process back by popular demand; no rotting in off-shore hell-holes without charges or access to a lawyer; and trial by jury of one’s peers makes a comeback, as does the proscription against cruel and unusual punishment (see you in hell, waterboarding fans).
A country based on Bernie Sanders' political and societal principles, and his belief in the role of government as a positive force in the lives of its citizens, would be so remarkably different than the one in which we're currently serving time as to be unrecognizable in all aspects but geography.
The Rockies would still pierce the clouds; the oceans would still pound the left and right coasts; the Mississippi and its tributaries would still drain half the country and send immense volumes of valuable agricultural topsoil to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico each year; the vast repellent wasteland of west Texas would still be an abysmal piece of scrub desert that only a Gila Monster and a brush-clearing sociopath of severely limited aesthetic vision could love.
Unfortunately, we live in a country led – if that's the right word – by a collection of dangerous misanthropes who have made an art of peddling the big lie, the big con, the big payoff, the big campaign extortion -- or "contribution" as it's often called in our euphemistically rich native tongue -- the big sop to big business, the big raised middle finger to those with functional brains and reasonable ethical expectations, the big move to bumper-sticker politics and the big denial of fact-based policy and critical thinking. That and the unrelentingly malevolent influence of the big Dick, reactionary numero uno, slithering his way up the org chart, a glistening slime trail marking his decades of progress from wingnut Congressman into even more rarified layers of governmental bureaucracy, finally lurching and snarling his way to the pinnacle of the testosterone-poisoned BushCo hierarchy.
All this and President Malaprop, too, the human spoonerism, The Decider (when he's not busy being "The Commander Guy"), the man laid low by a pretzel who, when juxtaposed against Washington or Jefferson, presents perhaps the single most compelling argument against Darwinian evolution ever to assume human form.
So here we are. Adding insult to broken cheekbones, the boot belongs to a gang of third-rate corporate suck-ups whose life’s work is increasing their own vast personal fortunes, improving the already luxurious life-styles of their corporate employers, and adding to the loot acquired via their class war victory by that small elite cadre of insanely rich white guys whose status seems to derive from having other Really Important White Guys on speed-dial.
And to serve these objectives, these venal screw-ups, these historical footnotes, these O’Brien wannabes – these miserable small-time felons and serial liars are willing to dismantle Constitutional government piece by sanctified piece; entrench themselves and their regime of big lies by fomenting free-floating fear in a gullible populace; allow intellectual non-entities and unqualified cronies to administer, and inevitably destroy, formerly useful regulatory agencies; provide gainful employment for an asexual android like Karl Rove, whose primary job qualification is a pure sociopathic personality, presenting as shrill antipathy for pretty women like Sheryl Crow, and for whom nothing is too debased or morally repugnant if it serves his dream lover and boss, The Commander Guy.
Hell, you know the litany. We’re simply comparing and contrasting a country governed by a party based on Bernie Sanders’ principles with a country governed by a party based on the principles of Torquemada. We have a fine example of the latter, close at hand and readily observed. We have been privileged, if that’s the word, to watch at close range the destruction of both national and state treasuries, the disaster relief infrastructure, both houses of Congress, government of law, international codes of behavior and arms limitation treaties, statesmanship and diplomacy, the Democratic party – and we’ll throw in the English language as a special acknowledgement of our Texan Mush-Mouth in Chief.
We have never in our history, PR and happy text book boosterism notwithstanding, been governed by a party with altruism as its organizing principle. In fact, it’s unlikely that such an anomaly has ever occurred anywhere in the modern world. If it had, the CIA would have quickly put an end to that kind of nonsense.
So maybe it’s about time to give it a try. Government by malevolent kleptocrats certainly hasn’t worked except for those very malevolent kleptocrats -- nor has government by national security apparatchiks, government by raging corrupt imbeciles, nor government by a tongue-tied faux Texan with giant globs of melamine-soaked wheat gluten for brains and the sunny disposition of a piranha with a toothache.
One of my favorite definitions of insanity is Benjamin Franklin’s, who says insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We exceeded that standard some years back; now we’re just waiting for the attendants to haul the lunatics out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
So here's Bernie Sanders, democratic socialist, longtime Congressman and now first-term Senator from Vermont, a populist of the first order, a man whose idea of good government is so completely out of sync with that of the current nest of vipers masquerading as the executive branch… Well, this bunch doesn't actually have a concept of good government, just one of ever-broadening totalitarian powers and an ever-tightening steel-taloned grip on the collective throat of American citizens here and another six billion live targets abroad.
In Orwell’s prescient "1984," O'Brien, a highly placed though pragmatic functionary with Oceania’s security state, challenges Winston Smith -- prole, thought-criminal, rebel and eventual co-opted drone -- to isolate the underlying motive for the indiscriminate exercise of violent, overt and largely random state brutality.
Since Winston is unable to conceive of limitless power, or how a state might exploit it to do limitless harm, O'Brien himself supplies the answer: "If you want a picture of the future,” he says, “imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
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And because we at Bush-bashing headquarters aren’t heartless, we provide alternatives; here’s a particularly stout beam spanning the 20-foot ceiling in the formal living room, over there’s a convenient balcony just a short reach away and, already looped over the beam with one end tied in a noose, is a sufficient length of genuine hemp-based rope.
"Make no mistake about it"
Bush and Cheney Suck