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Pants on Fire:
The Liars of the Bush Administration will take the world down in flames if we let them
Sam Alito is merely the latest liar on the block for Bush's full spectrum dominance agenda. But the show-trial hearings on whether this proto-fascist ideologue should be allowed to shape US social and political development for a generation provide some nuggets of insight into how the corrupt junta’s pathological liars actually work.
The first order of amazement is that the process can actually take place. Shouldn't precedence be given to hearings on impeaching and imprisoning the corporate cronies who lied us into war? Business As Usual, is, as usual, the most effective weapon in the arsenal of the criminal cabal that has seized control of the US. If it looks like a government, stands behind a podium with a government seal, wears a suit and speaks in an authoritative voice, then everything must be okay. Ask any successful thief or terrorist what the point of the grift is: try to blend in. When I travelled in Europe in the '80s, my friends and I were occasionally hasseled at borders because we "looked the part": sort-of-scruffy, beat up car, long hair, etc. My German friend scoffed: "Guys with bombs in the trunk are certainly wearing suits and driving Mercedes."
No cover works forever, and though many of us warned that the veneer was never very convincing to begin with, the paint seems to be chipping more and more on the right wing's menagerie of talking dolls that is the Bush administration. Of course, Alito's presence alone is evidence of the mask falling away. When Baby Doc Bush tried to appoint his own lawyer, his christofascist paymasters seethed with rage and responded with one voice: "You shut up, you dumb monkey, and remember why we put you in office in the first place." The swaggering phony cowboy (well, the Boy part is real at least) obediently caved, and Harriet Myers made way for Raymond, aka Sam
So here he sits, the klieg lights melting the carefully crafted Rovian image of a real honest-to-goodness judge. First line of defense is always the blatant lie, of course; and to their barely deserved credit, the Democrats on the panel let loose with a much deserved chorus--to paraphrase--of "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Why was Alito so proud of his membership in the racist Concerned Alumni of Princeton, whose original goal was to keep blacks and women out of the Ivy League school? He had "no specific recollection." Thank you, Mr. Haldman-North-Dean-McNamara. Why did he agree with a case where a farm family was evicted at gunpoint? They may have had weapons. What about his well documented statements that there is no constitutional protection for abortion? That was then, this is now. His unabashed adulation of Robert Bork, whom he called the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in this century? Out of context.
For all their impotence, the Democratic minority managed to hone in on the real dangers that tipping the court might hasten: the final nail in the coffin of reproductive freedom, and an uberpresidency resting on unrestrained executive power. Not entirely to their credit, of course. Anyone who wasn't awakened by the scandal of the NSA wiretapping is comatose. And those who hide behind "protecting Roe v. Wade" as the benchmark of protecting women's rights are a few years too late. Casey is not the super-precedent that enshrines the 1972 Roe decision as untouchable: on the contrary, it is the open door that has invited states to impose restrictions on abortion, so that, at this date, 87% of the counties in the US have no health care providers who will perform abortion. Alito is merely the icing on the cake--the real fight is all but over, and the right wing has won. Anyone who doubts this should see the alarming Frontline documentary "The Last Abortion Clinic."
And the Democrats, by playing their scripted part, are slowly but surely sowing the seeds of their own demise. Since the parties largely eschew any activity outside the electoral arena--strikes, mass rallies, mobilizations--there is little for them to do "between cycles" but play the role. The peculiarities of the Senate do allow them to filibuster; but their complicity in the war and their addiction to propriety will probably prevent them from doing so. And their predicament can be summed up in the simple phrase "No filibuster--no future."
Simply sending Alito's wife home sobbing (the meme currently being shopped by Fox News) isn’t enough. And as for that, Sammy & Martha, I'll save my tears for some real
victims, starting with the maimed and murdered children around the globe who are subject to the unrestrained authority of US presidents, past and present. Just beneath the mask, the ugliness of the agenda of these wackos is revealed by their own statements, in moments of clarity, and those of their heroes. Robert Bork, rightfully rejected as a radical nutbag, once said, in his dissent from a major case on the legality of contraception, that there is no explicit or implicit right to reproduction in the constitution. Yikes. This fits nicely with the theocracy Bush's base would like to establish; but it's a far cry from the mainstream.
That's why it has to be covered by lies and hypocrisy so deep and so twisted that it blows our brains apart. The country that drenched southeast Asia in a warm bath of dioxin has the balls to talk about chemical weapons--Saddam’s most egregious crime, remember, was that he "gassed his own people," while the generations of deformed Agent Orange babies in Vietnam deserve no parallel treatment. "Useable" nukes will somehow help us prevent nuclear proliferatioin, even as other countries scared to death are scrambling to get nukes to avoid become the US' next victim. Meanwhile, nuclear war is already here: the Persian Gulf has been saturated with depleted uranium munitions not once, but twice, with all the vigor of elites whose kids are not sent to war. More than half of the soldiers of the first Gulf War are on some form of disability, and the coming DU crisis will engulf US society as it has already done to Iraq. Widespread torture will keep us safe, and somehow quell the rage of those who oppose our policies. Spying on nonviolent peace groups will preserve our civi liberties. Quakers, for God's sake! I thought everyone pretty much knew that Nixon was the only dangerous Quaker. No wonder a recent internet sendup claimed that George Orwell's estate was suing the Bush Administration for stealing his ideas.
But lies, of course, can't hurt without a complicit audience. Vichy Democrats don't help themselves or the country by abetting the pretense that this band of corrupt thugs clinging to power is Business as Usual. The timid debate over the horrors of the Iraq war won't ring true to the rest of the world until they include a war crimes tribunal, reparations to the invaded, and restructuring of the process that made the war hysteria possible. Instead, the drumbeat toward war on Iran is already ramping up--sound familiar?--without the visceral response one might expect from such a truly insane proposition, and one from which the US and the world will not recover. And the press, who would love the ratings, can be counted on to continue the Orwellian spin: Pope John Paul is mourned as a reformer and a man of progress; the Abramoff corruption scandal is a bipartisan affair; and Ariel Sharon is recast as a Man of Peace. Meanwhile, the march toward the abyss can't be overstated, and is being eased into fast forward. Bush may be an ignorant puppet, but The League of Shadows around him is neither stupid nor benign. And with control over the bloated military, they have the very real power to accelerate the world toward nuclear war and environmental devastation. Resistance begins with calling them on their lies; otherwise we risk being drawn into the flames.
© 2005 Daniel Patrick Welch. Reprint
permission granted with credit and link to danielpwelch.com.
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Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia
Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The
Greenhouse School. Some of his articles have been broadcast on radio, and translations are available in up to 20 languages. Links to the website are appreciated at