Politics
Georgie and The Smoking Gun

Ru S. Freeman

Waterville, Maine USA
I couldn’t bear to listen to the man or even satisfy myself by muting him as he bumbled on national TV, so I read his speech in the papers the next day. George has apparently made a startling discovery. According to him, three Iraqi defectors (who have no self-interest whatsoever), have said that Iraq had several mobile weapons labs long ago. This information has made a bulb go off in — an otherwise vacuous — head. George says, the only possible use for weapons is "to dominate, intimidate or attack."

Okay. We’re with you George. And the US is in the meantime spending a mere $397 billion on its weaponry but hey — we don’t intend to use those for such pernicious activities as dominating, intimidating or attacking. No siree — we are hoping to display them in national museums throughout the world. Coming soon to a village near you will be state of the art weaponry — just for show and tell. Not for anything else, mind you. Only other people make weapons for use.

And today we have Colin Powell, the Good Soldier, showing us satellite photographs of various unidentifiable buildings in Iraq which, fortunately for him, "cannot be understood by ordinary people" and which, despite "careful and consistent monitoring," do not show us any weapons even though they are supposed to depict vehicles hustling giant nuclear weapons out of bunkers! Indeed, the bunkum sailing down the Potomac and filtering into homes across the nation these days has passed being simply ludicrous. It is now so absurd that one has to entertain the possibility that speculation about the actual number of gray cells in that Texan cowboy’s head, which was abysmal to begin with, gave us an inflated picture of the reality.

Bush and his cronies have so many unidentified and unidentifiable "intelligence sources" that people have begun to wonder if the last census had underestimated the population of the United States. That’s it! Perhaps all those people of Native American, African American and Hispanic descent were off working for Bush under assumed identities! That’s where they were when they were being under-counted! Ordinary "folks" (those "wunerful" people he refers to when he wants us to say "aw shucks, Georgy — go ahead and give our money to the CEOs of giant corporations underwriting your expenses don’t worry about me — I’ll be just fine without a job and with no health care and no way to feed my family"), those people are wondering if their leader thinks that if he says the word intelligence often enough he might actually acquire some himself.

According to his address, war is "being forced upon us." By whom, George? By whom?? There’s footprints in the freshly fallen snow and those boots look like they belong to you my man. There’s a smoking gun and you happen to be wielding the weapon George. There are troops amassing on the periphery of Iraq and they are there under your orders. There are bombs falling on Iraq daily and, oddly enough, your forces are dropping them. So, I ask again, who is forcing what war on whom? I’ve seen the enemy and it appears to be us!

In his speech, the Commander in Chief (whose bit of erudition on Vietnam was that "politics ought to stay out of fighting a war."), left out a lot of little details. So here now is the true state of the American union in a nutshell. As the sons and daughters of Maine march off to demolish some "Iraaackies" they know nothing about, let’s examine what their state looks like. Some 55 per cent of Mainers lack the income needed to rent housing.

Hathaway, one of the nation’s oldest shirt-manufacturing factories closed down, which, in addition to the dozens of other small businesses being forced out, resulted in thousands joining the ranks of the unemployed masses nationwide. Every day there is news of yet another plant, factory or business closing down. On February 1, it was Forster toothpicks which put 88 people out of work. Today it is L. L. Bean, letting go of 300 people. The state budget is facing a 300 million shortfall. At last count, two years ago, 16.1% of Mainers had no health care coverage (In Texas, home state for Bush, the figure was 26.3%, the highest in the nation). Given the overall economic slide, that figure is now probably three times worse.

On a national scale, RWE/Thames, Suez and Vivendi Universal who hold the water access of 281 million people worldwide in their grasp are being given red carpet treatment as they muscle their way into profiting from the water needs of people from the Red Wood Forest to the New York Islands. In the mountains of Montana and Wyoming, 9.1 million acres of pristine rangeland in the Powder River Basin is being devastated by Coal Bed Methane (CBM) extraction. 51,000 CBM wells are set to drain approximately a billion gallons of water per day depleting aquifers and adversely effecting the ecology.

The standards for arsenic levels in drinking water have been lowered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), allowing 50 parts per billion to be acceptable, despite the fact that the cancer risk this poses is 10,000 times higher than the EPA allows for contaminants in food and 100 times higher than the EPA has ever allowed for tap water. In New Jersey and elsewhere, children play alongside green rabbits near Superfund sites which were supposed to have been cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite 80% of residents supporting a total ban of snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park and 10 years of research on the destruction of the environment as a result of their use (a snowmobile driven for one hour emits more pollution than a car driven for an entire year), Bush lifted that ban. The Bush energy policy (or lack thereof), targets protected lands within the national parks, wildlife refuge, wilderness, wilderness study, and marine sanctuary systems for oil drilling despite their designations as natural, cultural, scenic and historical resources.

In the Rocky Mountain Region, Bush has ensured that 91% of public lands are open to leasing, 68% of which are open without any access restrictions. 40.6% of Americans live in areas which do not meet the EPA’s air quality standards. Critical services are seriously deficient according to the General Accounting Office, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Departments of Education, Housing, Urban Development, the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Aviation Administration. Just today, the CIA reports its desire to demand that EPA regulations be lifted from its conscience so that armed forces can conduct better training exercises within protected lands — and presumably destroy the very country it is supposed to be trying to protect.

What about women’s reproductive rights? Bush’s choice for Attorney General is a notorious anti-choice zealot — John Ashcroft. As his first act in office, on the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Bush revived the Mexico City Policy, which prevents NGOs which receive US international family planning assistance from using their own money to provide abortion services, counselling, or referrals or to lobby to change abortion laws.

On January 7, 2003, Bush resurrected the judicial nominations of two people whose appointments had been rejected by the Senate due to their efforts to demolish women’s fundamental and civic rights. Anti-choice senator, Bill Frist is at the helm of the Senate. Extremists from the religious right now lead the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) reproductive health committee. One of them, Hager, has suggested reading the Bible for PMS, and refuses to prescribe contraceptives for unmarried women. All of them have demonstrated their support of draconian monitoring of the right of women not merely to choose whether and when they might reproduce, but also how they might conduct their sexual life.

The US Patriots Act rushed through Congress in October, 2001, has given law enforcement agencies the authority to search homes and businesses without a warrant. This one act has eroded the rights of all citizens and setting the stage for the Nazification of America. Almost 2000 people arrested post 9/11 are being held without charges. By January 2002, the Justice Department prioritized the deportation of aliens from Arab countries. The use of secret evidence, that is evidence that is not made available to the accused, has become the order. Sec. 9528 is a tiny condition buried on page 559 in the No Child Left Behind Act signed into law by Bush on January 8, 2002. In violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, the law allows military access to the personal information of every child within the public school system in this country for purposes of recruitment. Non-compliance with supplying this information to military recruiters jeopardizes the relevant school’s access to federal funding. Last Fall, the army sought the contact information of students at 100% of high schools receiving federal aid.

The separation of church and state has taken a serious beating. On Dec. 12, speaking to over 1,000 religious and charitable leaders gathered in Philadelphia, he launched his offensive. Circumventing a reluctant Congress, which, due to immense public pressure refused to go along, Bush announced a package of executive actions to encourage churches and other religious groups to apply for billions in government contracts to help the disadvantaged. Bush plans to divert up to $200 million in public funds to faith-based programs in direct violation of the Constitution. He also wants to allow taxpayer funds to subsidize the building of facilities at churches and other houses of worship. Taxpayers will be forced to support churches they don’t believe in, and workers will be denied publicly funded jobs because they don’t conform to religious mandates.

While the nation suffers from an epidemic of childhood obesity and multi age diabetes, the US Department of Agriculture buys $350 million of surplus beef and cheese for school children. That would be double the amount spent on fruits and vegetables, none of which is usually fresh. Exercise! he tells the people, as he tees off in Kennebunkport, Maine with Daddy, though all his people can afford to do is supersize their 99 cent burger from McDonalds. With a projected record deficit of $307 billion, Veterans of former wars can no longer count on inexpensive medical care. AmeriCorps has stopped paying its student recruits and social service programs are grinding to a halt. States are so broke that Oregon, freed all its prison inmates because they couldn’t afford to hold them. I won’t even go into the business of Enron, Arthur Anderson and the billionaires at weapons developer Lockheed Martin on whose board Cheney’s wife serves. There simply isn’t enough space. Suffice to say that America’s first corporate president and his associates are livin’ la vida loca while the rest of us ponder banalities such as whether to visit the dentist or the grocer this month. Or which of our children might die in a war and which from the arsenic in our water.

While the union plods on in this manner, on a worldwide scale, Bush (known in Europe as the ‘Toxic Texan’), has backed out of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 Land Mine Ban Treaty, the 1997 treaty creating the International Criminal Court, the ABM treaty with the Soviet Union, and abandoned a United Nations draft accord that sets out ways to enforce the 1995 Biological Weapons Convention. He has no plans to seek Senate ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits all nuclear test explosions nor will he ask the Senate to ratify changes to the 1993 START II nuclear disarmament treaty, a condition Russia has set for ratifying the treaty and putting it into force and which would require Washington and Moscow to reduce their arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons by half by 2007. He has selectively dismissed UN commitments to health, women’s and human rights issues. The Cheyney-Wolfowitz-Rice-Bush doctrine for the world state that they wish to have "A balance of power that favours freedom." The means to get there would be "(American) forces... strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military buildup in hopes of surpassing or equalling the power of the United States." Yeah, we do build those weapons just for show, not for use.

All appears to be lost. But, wait a minute. Three states, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut are suing the EPA over those air quality issues. Mexico has taken the US to court over the incarceration of its citizens. Mexico City’s residents held their first demonstration ever against US bases and training camps. On January 16, Chicago became the largest city to pass a resolution against a war against Iraq. Cleveland became the fiftieth U.S. city to pass an antiwar resolution. Other city councils from California to Rhode Island are considering the same resolution. Yesterday the Maine senate passed a resolution against the war on Iraq and is set to become the first state to make public its residents’ objection to Bush’s war mongering policies. On January 25th, Washington DC witnessed the largest anti-war protest in the history of this country. Larger than the largest during Vietnam. On February 15, despite the opposition of the New York Police Department which is refusing to grant organizers a license to practice their fundamental right to freedom of speech and association, the country will see the largest anti-war demonstration to date. Bridges and overpasses around the nation will be adopted by protesters voicing their dissent. Go take a satellite photograph of that, Colin Powell. It will be very easy for "ordinary people" to understand.

So George, while you are busy walking in daddy’s footsteps lockstep with your daddy’s friends, you might do well to remember that daddy was a one-term president. Yes, there is a ruler without a finger on his nation’s pulse. One who believes that war is important while older constituents rot to death and the young perish without hope. Yes, a war is being forced upon us. But it’s one that requires no weapons. And your intelligence sources have missed the coordinates. It’s not where you think it’s going to be.


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