Thursday, July 22, 2004

Sticker Shock

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Are you feeling all paid out yet?

I am. First, we had the scare of being told that if George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld, say, decided to label us an enemy combatant, we could be imprisoned without trial indefinitely, even for life, just by shipping us to Guantanamo Bay. A lot of screaming and a Supreme Court ruling finally succeeded in regaining our right to be free from indefinite imprisonment without trial.

Why should we have to fight for such a basic freedom from our own government, a government whose duty is to protect our freedoms?

Then a couple weeks ago our precious Homeland Security, WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED TO DEFEND THIS COUNTRY, decided to see whether the 2004 presidential election could be postponed in the event of a terrorist attack.

Well let's see, the Constitution doesn't allow a delay, so we'd have to change that, and state constitutions don't allow delays, so we'd have to change about 50 state constitutions, and lets see, we would have 4 months to do that and get straight who does the delaying under what circumstances and so NO NO NO NO NO, IT'S NOT POSSIBLE, AND HOMELAND SECURITY IS RUN BY DUMBASSES!

So they said something like, well yes we know all that but we're just "looking into" the possibility.

To Homeland Security: Please "look into" the possibility of doing something legal for a change, like how are you going to do your duty and ensure that elections go on IN SPITE of any terrorist attacks.

Why should we have to yell and scream at Homeland Security to get them to defend our national elections? Who needs terrorists when we have defenders like these?

Then, periodically, we hear about some citizens being arrested or detained for "trespassing" at a Bush speech for either carrying anti-Bush signs, or as happened most recently, wearing anti-Bush T-shirts.

How long will it be, do you think, before our government, WHOSE JOB IS TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM, will grant that freedom of speech is one of those freedoms they have to protect, not trample? How much yelling and screaming from the rest of us will it take? Will this require a Supreme Court ruling too?

The latest assault on freedom in this country comes from the President's own Orwellian-named New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. They are calling for mandatory mental health screening for "consumers of all ages" in this country, beginning with grade-school students who can be easily accessed through the public school system, then going on to include pre-school children and eventually adults.

Psychiatrists doing these mass screenings would use government-approved flow charts to decide who is mentally ill. The kids who test positive could then be required to take psychiatric meds, to control their illnesses and make them happy consumers.

I don't think the Constitution once refers to citizens as consumers, much less as "mental health consumers." The term is a favorite of pharmaceutical companies, which is a very big hint from me to you telling you who is behind this crap.

Just make sure that when your kids go in for compulsory psyche screening they haven't been "consumers" of any sugar-frosted cereal lately, as points will be deducted for fidgeting. Anti-authoritarian behavior will certainly be a decision point on the flow chart, so better tell them not to wear anti-Bush T-shirts.

Elder Bush motto: Don't worry, be happy. Junior Bush motto: Don't worry, take your happy pills. Or else.

To paraphrase Dick Cheney, I think Bush should go screen himself.

Thursday, July 8, 2004

I Loved That Monkey

Let's talk about everything!

Usually, if I would have trouble deciding what to write about, I would blame it on being depressed. Maybe my pet monkey was just assassinated, or maybe I just found out that a certain legally prescribed medication shouldn't be, too late to stop it from turning me into a hairless goat. Or maybe my country was just taken over by yahoos and I started wishing I could move somewhere that had a constitution that the government in power respected.

Downturns like those can ruin your perspective so that you can't see straight enough to write about anything in particular, so you write about everything and hope for the best.

But upturns can have the same effect, I now know. Last week I got such good news that I am now giddy as a schoolgirl. I won't say why, because I'm such a tease, but I will instead distract you all with this: seeing Colin Powell sing as the construction worker in the Village People gave me new life and hope for America. How can you not love a man who can swing a hammer from his belt like that? Am I right, girls?

So here I am, feeling so good I'm ready to say: this IS the best of all possible worlds! Let's count our blessings!

Hooray! Saddam Hussein is being tried by the people we installed in his place, the very same ones we picked out because they hated Saddam the most! How great is that? They're even following our democratic example and making him submit to interrogation without letting him once see a lawyer! Not only that, but they're charging him with invading another country (Kuwait) without provocation! Our newly created allies have learned American democracy perfectly, and are beginning to master American hypocrisy too! I'm sure Saddam will have a wonderful trial, much better than any he could get from an international court. Maybe the Iraqis will even behead Saddam, encouraging more insurgents to behead more of us! Off with everyone's head!

Hooray! It's now OK for the President of the Senate to tell a Senator to go F-himself whenever it makes him "feel better"! Abuse of power and position be damned! It just feels good to tell the leader of the party out of power off for having the audacity to criticize one's precious self and one's superior political opinions. It's especially great to be able to tell some Democrat to go F-himself the same day Republican legislation passes to fine the bejeezus out of anyone else using the same word on TV or radio. Did someone say "hypocrisy"? I should have to call it H, or pay a gigantic fine! But even when we can't say it in print our leaders will still H. It will make them feel better!

Most of all, hooray for the newfound uses of detaining innocent people while calling them terrorists without formally charging them!

Last week the Supreme Court said you can't merely hold people as "enemy combatants" indefinitely. Eventually you have to allow them to legally challenge their detention, or you have to release them. This is called "human rights", something that we have said we were for, at least for the past 228 years or so, when we weren't doing the H-thing.

But the court will let the President detain potentially innocent people for reasonable periods of time, whatever that might be. I was worried about this loophole until I heard that the New York Times was reporting that the US, with Britain, had secretly traded Saudi prisoners held at Gitmo for Brits that had been tortured and held by the Saudis. How heartening.

The released Saudis were surely innocent; our government would never, NEVER, trade real terrorists even for innocent Westerners. That would be letting the terrorists win.

So there is something to be said for locking up innocent people, after all! Think of them as if they were pennies. Have a prisoner, give a prisoner! Need a prisoner, take a prisoner! It just saves trouble, and that's what America is all about!

Oh no. I AM a hairless goat.