"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Saddam Had To Go

There is a bizarre inversion of the direction of hostility going on that is aimed not at our enemy-- the apprehended Saddam and the climate of Terror he presided over and is still kicking-- but at President Bush for sending the troops in to take him out.

It is understood that the opposition party, its allies in the media, and its politically-active sympaticos in the population--all rife with "Blame America First"/Anti-War Bush-haters-- will engage in all sorts of spin and demagoguery to darken the portrait of the sitting president, but to propagandize with the obvious intent to defame the president’s signature issue-—his prosecution of the War on Terror—-by pessimistically and essentially mischaracterizing the war, is unconscionable, as it results in the demoralizing of our troops and the emboldening of our enemies (precisely as the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era did, which seems to be the pattern the Bush-Haters are trying to replicate).

The Global War on Terror should not be defined as a multi-billion dollar manhunt for Osama Bin Laden. The massive mobilization of the greatest military force in history is not the rounding up of some posse on behalf of a lynch-mob mentality, hoping to hang the man behind the crime of 9-11 which killed 3,000 + civilians one fine day, and then walk away, leaving the status quo largely intact--and burgeoning.

It is a long-term operation which endeavors not to simply excise a malignant, symptomatic growth -—Bin Laden-- but to aggressively confront and treat the underlying condition of Middle-Eastern Wahabism, an extreme, intolerant, and bellicose form of Islam which produced Bin Laden and has declared war and death upon the West in terms of satan and scorpions and which considers women and children legitimate military targets in the pursuit of their own agenda.

It is a very bold and ambitious endeavor, and the domestic argument should not be about whether Saddam’s Iraq qualified as a strategic target in the broad outlines of the Global War on Terror. It does, and that should be obvious by the suicide bombings, the cafe attacks, the decapitations, and the civilian massacres employed by the Iraqi “insurgents.”


Instead, the argument proper should be about whether we should (a) aggressively proceed in intrusive efforts to re-wire—-if not destroy—the Medieval zeitgeist which emanates hate and death out of the Middle East and reverberates around the 21st Century world, explicitly threatens the welfare of the West, and creates instability in an otherwise cooperative movement towards globalization, or (b) to back off, mollify it, contain it, work around it, and spray it from time to time as needed ad infinitum in an obviously failed policy which President Bush accurately described as “Swatting flies” while wasps swarm.

It is a question of whether one supposes that the “nuisances” of the “pesky” regularities of terrorism throughout the 1990’s that reached an intolerable crescendo on September 11, 2001 were acceptable and willing to be endured as they obviously escalated in magnitude, from the 1993 Al Qaeda-orchestrated downing of two Black Hawk helicopters and the killing of 18 American soldiers and the dragging of their corpses through the streets of Mogadishu (who were there on a humanitarian mission) the first World Trade Center attack of that same year (when it was hit low), which killed six civilians and injured 1,000... to the 1998 bombings of our sovereign embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 258 and injured 5,000... to the year 2000 bombing of the U.S.S Cole (a guided-missile destroyer of the United States Navy), which killed 17 United States servicemen and women... to the attacks of 9-11, when 3,000 + human beings of diverse backgrounds were killed by the hijacking and destruction of four commercial airliners, the ensuing collapse of the World Trade Center (when it was determinedly hit high this time around), and the blind-siding of the Pentagon (the brain center of the Armed Forces of the United States).

The fourth plane, brought down in the Pennsylvania countryside by Todd Beemer and the boys--well, the real men, actually-- was heading for the White House or the Capitol Building.

Much is being made of the fact that Bin Laden’s head has not been delivered on a pike, and the Bush-haters are using that fact as some indication that President Bush is not properly or succesfully prosecuting the war.

First of all, the war plan is much bigger than Bin Laden. Bin Laden was simply the last straw in a haystack which needs to be bailed or burned.

Secondly, we did get him, for all intents and purposes. He is in all probability laying very, very low in a cave somewhere, a la Saddam in his spider-hole, fearful of even using a cell-phone (which is preferable, actually, as he can behold the “paper tiger” turned awakened Giant and ponder his folly). Let him disseminate on videotape his sermons and lectures in the hopes of defeating his arch-enemy, George W. Bush.

One thing is certain: His capture or his coerced cavorting with 70 virgins in some unearthly realm is inevitable and will certainly satisfy some aspect of justice, but it would not end the conflict, as it will provide nowhere near the finale for the war that, for example, Emperor Hirohito’s formal surrender to President Truman on the U.S.S. Missouri did for WWII.

President Bush has said repeatedly that the nature of this new kind of war, and the measurement of its success, cannot be gauged by previous standards of armies routed and leaders signing surrender papers. That will not work with Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network, or like-minded extremists who do not belong to Al Qaeda proper, but are brothers in arms in outlook.

They can't be ignored. They can't be contained. They want to kill or enslave anyone in dhimmitude outside their exclusive belief system, and are willing to die in the endeavor.

Here is a glimpse of the mentality we're dealing with, within the ranks of Al Qaeda, Iraq, and elsewhere.

This particular sermon is by a sheik preaching to Palestinian Authority TV. It aired last month, on May 13, 2005. It is quite typical:

Allah has tormented us with "the people most hostile to the believers" – the Jews. 'Thou shalt find that the people most hostile to the believers to be the Jews and the polytheists.' Allah warned His beloved Prophet Muhammad about the Jews, who had killed their prophets, forged their Torah, and sowed corruption throughout their history.

With the establishment of the state of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost, because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because the Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers...

Enough of that. The next several paragraphs are Protocols of the Elders of Zion stuff.

Okay, everyone knows how Jihadists feel about the Jewish people, but they have plans for the rest of the infidels, too:

Look at modern history. Where has Great Britain gone? Where has Czarist Russia gone? Where has France gone - France, which almost ruled the entire world? Where is Nazi Germany, which massacred millions and ruled the world? Where did all these superpowers go? He who made them disappear will make America disappear too, God willing. He who made Russia disappear overnight is capable of making America disappear and fall, Allah willing.

We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we will rule the entire world again. The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world...

So who has the imperialist agenda? Israel? Us?

The invasion of Iraq is blamed by the Bush-haters for inciting that sort of polemic. But there is no mention of Iraq.

The Bush-hating crowd is moving the precursor (i.e. that mentality) ahead of the Iraqi invasion on the timeline and making the invasion the catalyst for that mentality that's been praying for a return to sharia, and world domination, well before 9/11.

The same thing is done with the BIF crowd (i.e. "Blame Israel First"). They say that the "illegal occupation of Palestine" is what incited the terrorism against Israelis (and by extension our alliance with Israel inciting the terrorism against us). But that's not true. He did mention "the establishment of the state of Israel," but that was just saucing on an ancient goose of hate. Hostility was directed towards the Jews from that crowd long after Rome gave them their walking papers and banished them to the four corners of the earth in the first century, and over a millenium before they returned to their ancestral homeland and "caused" the hostility.

Here is the conclusion of the sheik's sermon:

The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world – except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.
It's an ancient hate.

Differences can easily be drawn between the Jihadist terror network of Al Qaeda that was operating out of Afghanistan—-which was directly responsible for the hatching and carrying out of the plot of 9-11—-and the secular Baathist-run nation of Saddam’s Iraq, and it is those rather superficial and circumstantial differences which are amplified by the various Bush-hating organizations and propaganda outlets on a daily basis to form a wedge which separates Saddam’s Iraq from the Taliban’s Afghanistan.

But let’s review the record of Saddam, and decide if such a character with global influence was not only as worthy of attention as Bin Laden (if not more), but should have been tolerated as the civilized world marches into increased modernity in the 21st Century while being harassed by Jihadist terrorists along the way who have declared war on the West in no uncertain terms:

(1) Saddam fancies (or fancied) himself to be not only the heir to the Medieval Saladin (while minding the connotative fact that Saladin expelled the Anglo Crusaders from Jerusalem and made the Jewish city Muslim) but also some reincarnation of the ancient, Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar (while minding the present-day connotation of the fact that Nebuchadnezzar had exiled and subjugated the ancient Israelites).

(2) Saddam built and lived in monumental, luxurious palaces and his eldest son Uday amassed a fleet of expensive automobiles while the Iraqi civilian population suffered under sanctions that Saddam himself brought upon them. It should be added that the maintaining and even expanding of the luxurious lifestyle despite constrictive sanctions was apparently enabled by lucrative kickbacks of sorts from the United Nation’s Oil-for-Food program, and side-deals with UN members, who conducted business with Saddam and also profited while the United States was roundly condemned by the BAFs (i.e. pre-war Blame-America-Firsters) for “starving” the people of Iraq with the sanctions specifically designed to ensure that the Iraqi people would not starve.

What the corrupt UN members were doing was buying oil from Saddam beneath the publicized price, and kicking back half the difference, which, when dealing with the world’s second largest oil producer, was quite a difference for both pockets, and, by the secretive nature of the transactions, had the same unaccountability as cash. And it was those very nations-—France and Germany-—who resisted forced change of that status quo on the grounds of “legality” and “principle.”

(3) Saddam had thousands of political opponents tortured, murdered, and buried in unmarked mass graves.

(4) Against International Law, Saddam fumigated ranks of thousands of Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds alike with chemical weapons (as if spraying cockroaches with Raid).

(5) Against International Law, in 1991 Saddam brazenly invaded his Muslim neighbor (Kuwait) to the south (however artificially drawn the borders were way back in Lawrence of Arabia’s day) in order to seize a good-sized gas-pump of the world’s NUMBER ONE energy resource (oil), a seizure which, if allowed, would have given Iraq under his fist-—and then the dreaded Qusay’s for another generation-- undisputed hegemony over the Middle-East and economic influence on a global scale, assuredly protecting, enabling, emboldening, bribing, and enlarging the already well-financed institutions of anti-Western Jihadists of which had only recently been aggressively addressed and begun to be dismantled.

Saddam, a secularist leader, obviously tolerated and even pandered to Jihadists within his own borders, as long as they spat their Jihadist venom at Israel and the West, and not at him.

(6) Saddam only high-tailed it out of Kuwait by force after being given a stern but patient warning by POTUS, whom he responded to by challenging to a fight in “The Mother of all Battles.”

(7) Saddam lobbed SCUD missiles into Israel during the expulsion in the hopes that Israeli retaliation would compel the Arab partners of the coalition to jump ship or to his side. If Israel did not have the discipline and presence of mind to restrain itself, such a ploy had the potential to incite full-blown Jihad and ignite global Armageddon, a price Saddam was spitefully willing to pay for his own survival (i.e. if he was going down, the world was going with him).

(8) In another fit of spite, Saddam ignited oil wells on the hasty retreat, unconscionably creating an ecological disaster and destroying a large supply of oil (which is, once again, the number one energy resource for the civilized world) in the process.

(9) Saddam signed a United Nations Security Council Resolution in 1991 in order to cease hostilities and stay in power and would violate that and FIFTEEN more throughout the 1990’s.

(10) Saddam was behind a 1993 assassination attempt upon the retired POTUS who drove him out of Kuwait.

A foreign leader putting out a vindictive hit on a former POTUS is tantamount to an act of war.

(11) Saddam had a tiled mosaic of the head and shoulders of that POTUS gracing the lobby floor of the international Rashid Hotel, subjecting the facial image to the soles of hundreds of shoes a day, which is a widely-publicized and extremely-undiplomatic Mother Of All Insults.

(and yet it is the very son of that POTUS, POTUS 43, who is held responsible-- by the Bush-haters-- for provoking the “failure in diplomacy” that led to Operation Iraqi Freedom)

(12) Saddam never accounted for the destruction of the documented and/or admitted possession of such bio-weapons as mustard, sarin, VX, and anthrax. All of the Western intelligence agencies, and President Bill Clinton in the 1990’s, and Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, to boot, believed that Saddam was hiding weapons of mass destruction up his sleeve, was a threat to the stability of the Middle East, and, furthermore, was a likely candidate to slide such weapons under the table to terrorist organizations who are bent upon the destruction of Israel, the United States, and then the seizure of Europe by sheer default.

In the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists, a few boxcutters and airplane controls caused the devastation of 9-11. In the hands of an unknown terrorist(s), a few letters containing “high grade, very virulent and sophisticated” anthrax caused the evacuations and quarantines of the Senate Office Building and the U.S. Capitol Building, the potential murder of prominent newsanchor Tom Brokaw, and the actual murders of postal employees and unfortunate recipients of the lethal letters.

With Saddam's character and record considered (as briefly and incompletely itemized above and below), and in the context of weapons-proliferation in the post-9-11 world—-which is the number one issue of concern agreed to by both President Bush and Senator Kerry during the debates-—and the policy of zero tolerance, Saddam’s cooperation consisted of playing “Hide-&-Seek,” “Catch-Me-If-You-Can,” and “Maybe-I-Do-Maybe-I-Don’t” games.

Joe Wilson's claims to the contrary, Niger WAS dealing in yellow cakes and was contacted by North Korea, Libya, Iran, AND Iraq. Saddam was indeed concealing a nuclear centrifuge. And as late as March of 2003, Saddam was trying to acquire long-range missiles from North Korea.

We see how difficult it is, now, during the occupation with a 100,000 boots on the ground and nurturing a friendly government, to keep tabs on who and what is coming and going over the border, and what's being hidden where.

Yet somehow, the Bush-Hating crowd insists that everything would have been transparent and open if we had just let Hans Blix keep running around the country following leads from intelligence sources that we're often flying blind.

(13) On October 31 (Trick or Treat?), 1998, The Iraq Liberation Act was signed by President Clinton, which made regime change an official U.S. policy.

Here are parts of his statement:

Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region...

I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

Give the man a cigar. That was well-put.

(14) Saddam encouraged terrorism against both Israeli military personnel and mall shoppers alike by rewarding the suicide bomber's families with sums ranging from $30,000 to $ 63,000, the total sum of bribes reaching $40,000, 000.

Meanwhile, his people were starving to death.

(15) Saddam felt free to take potshots at American surveillance planes in the No-Fly Zone right up to the time of the invasion itself, in continual contempt of the cease-fire agreement of 1991.

(16) The Al Qaeda terrorist Al-Zarqawi was operating in Afghanistan before he fled following the invasion that ousted the Taliban and decimated and scattered Al Qaeda. He has obviously found easy passage into Iraq, ready residence, and either has familiarity or assistance in finding his way above and below ground. He is identified as the masked judge, jury, and executioner who, with a knife, sawed off the heads of tied and kneeling American, British, and Japanese civilian contract and aid workers while they pleaded for their lives. He is but one of thousands of Jihadist terrorists now congregated in Iraq.

We do indeed see that Jihadist element of the Middle East--the stated enemy of the GWOT-- at work in Iraq right now. They are engaging in kamikaze civilian massacres, the disrupting of the civilian infrastructure, and the attempted sabotage of the germinating Constitutional and democratic government of the good Iraqi people.

From the July 18, 2005 issue of The Weekly Standard, there is a special report on the new evidence of collaboration between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda, by Stephen F. Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn. Despite the "Expert" insistence by the hyperbolic antiwar elitists--and from the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards-- that Saddam had "nothing to do with Al Qaeda," this follow-up on Stephen Haye's book The Connection makes plain a cooperative nexus between the two that vindicates the president's decision to eliminate Saddam in the early phases of the GWOT.

Here are but a few excerpts:

We have been told by Hudayfa Azzam, the son of bin Laden's longtime mentor Abdullah Azzam, that Saddam Hussein welcomed young al Qaeda members "with open arms" before the war, that they "entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation," and that the regime "strictly and directly" controlled their activities. We have been told by Jordan's King Abdullah that his government knew Abu Musab al Zarqawi was in Iraq before the war and requested that the former Iraqi regime deport him. We have been told by Time magazine that confidential documents from Zarqawi's group, recovered in recent raids, indicate other jihadists had joined him in Baghdad before the Hussein regime fell. We have been told by one of those jihadists that he was with Zarqawi in Baghdad before the war. We have been told by Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister and a longtime CIA source, that other Iraqi Intelligence documents indicate bin Laden's top deputy was in Iraq for a jihadist conference in September 1999...At the same time, the Iraqis were cultivating a relationship with Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the current top deputy to bin Laden. According to Qassem Hussein Mohammed, a 20-year veteran of Iraqi Intelligence, Zawahiri visited Baghdad in 1992 for a meeting with Hussein.

In a 2002 interview with the New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg from a Kurdish prison in northeastern Iraq, the IIS veteran described his duties as a bodyguard for Zawahiri during his visit. This was not Zawahiri's only meeting with top Iraqi officials. According to a May 2003 debriefing of a senior Iraqi Intelligence official, Zawahiri met with Iraqi Intelligence officials in Sudan several times from 1992 to 1995. A foreign intelligence service has corroborated that report, adding that at one of those meetings Zawahiri received blank Yemeni passports from an Iraqi Intelligence official.

In 1993, at Turabi's urging, bin Laden came to an "understanding" with Saddam Hussein that the al Qaeda leader and his followers would not engage in any anti-Hussein activities. The Clinton administration later included this development in its sealed indictment of bin Laden in 1998. According to the indictment: "Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

They have been there and are still there, killing our troops piecemeal not in the hopes of defeating us militarily. They can't. They're fighting on in the hopes that the controversy cooked and stirred up by the Bush-haters here at home will win it for them, providing fuel for the protests by killing and causing mayhem.

Those are 16 reasons above that, cumulatively, more than warranted the removal of such a leader from the political world stage, and they include the 16 violations of the United Nations Resolutions that kept him in power--if obeyed.

And yet, incredibly, the Bush-haters have zeroed-in on "The Sixteen Words" regarding uranium yellow cakes from Niger in the pre-war State of the Union Address , which they insist is a LIE that qualifies as a High Crime and Misdemeanor that justifies regime change here.

What madness is this?

A correlation has become evident with the increased stridency against the Commander in Chief here by the Bush-haters, and the increased audacity of the Jihadists. The Bush-haters,in turn, linked in a symbiotic nexus with the Jihadists, are themselves spurred to greater stridency with each additional casualty, and so they dance together.

An impeachment march on Washington is actually being planned by the Bush-haters for September on the basis of the "illegality" of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with the Downing Street Memo serving as a banner.

Yes. Allah Akbar.

Republicus stands by the mission to defeat those forces and welcome a new Iraq into the global community. Republicus stands by the good Iraqi people who must not be left at the mercy of the terrorists.

Strength and Honor. Long Live the Republic.

The Bush-Hater's Bush

Okay, I've listened to complaints diverse and sundry about President Bush, analyzed the rants, raves, and screeds, and I think I got the gist.

Lemme get this straight:

1) Bush went into Iraq for personal vindictive reasons because Saddam had the audacity to put a hit out on Poppy

2) Bush also went into Iraq for political reasons, hoping to win the second term that eluded Poppy by doing stuff Poppy didn't and that were blamed for his loss in '92, like retracting the "Read My Lips" tax hike and taking out Saddam

Those were the personal motivators for Dubya the simpleton.

Unwittingly, or perhaps acquiescently, in pursuing his personal goals of revenge and redemption for Poppy, he is actually being the puppet of:

A. The corporate, global interests of Halliburton and Kellog, Brown & Root, petroleum hunters and war-profiteers who have corporate agendas with business strategies that targeted the second-largest oilfield in the world (Iraq) and the belligerent Baathist regime there (stationed in the desert like toy soldiers in a shooting range) as an opportunity to land The Mother Of All Contracts, essentially securing a no-bid multi-billion-dollar grant by the Federal Government to demolish an existing infrastructure and claim-jump the oil-fields

B. The Neoconservative Foreign Policy Advisors Wolfie and Perle, and all their cohorts in the media (The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, Foxnews...) and Washington thinktanks, who themselves have an imperialist agenda for America and are agents or strong sympaticos for Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and the hawkish Likkud party, who themselves have a Zionist agenda for the Middle East

Both of those entities (A & B) have differing interests (one corporate, the other imperial), but not competing ones, as the removal of the sitting, America-hating, and anti-Semitic duck Saddam, the dismantling and democratizing of his disfunctional culture, and the "opening of the spigots" would serve both interests well.

Those corporate and imperial strategies could not be pursued with a Democratic Adminstration making policy, because everyone knows how noble and principled and peace-loving the liberal Democrats are, so they had to get an insider inserted, preferably Lord Darth Cheney, who was as good a drummer or bass player as anyone, but, unfortunately, would not do being in the limelight as the singing frontman of the band...

So they looked around and found Dubya, whose Poppy is a pal of Lord Darth Cheney, and who was already a queen of sorts in Texas, and could be relied on to carry out the pre-meditated seizure of Iraq because of the psychological inclinations of 1 & 2 above.

As to the question of electability, he had the benefit of rallying the army of disgusted Clinton-haters who felt that Clinton stole the throne away from King George I, and could exploit the sentimental value for that king (41) the way the talentless Priscilla does for The King (Elvis), and the way the lightweight John-John did for Camelot King Arthur (JFK).

(All that yearning giddiness for a monarch occuring on both sides of the aisle and in the heartland of a Constitutional Republic, but anyway...)

But they still needed another extra-million votes or so to beat the sitting veep--Gore-- in an election held during a time of peace and prosperity (however illusory), so enter the third Puppet-Masters:

C. The Leaders of the Radical Christian Right (i.e. the anti-choice, homophobic, illiterate biblical literalists)--a.k.a. "The Fundies"-- who controlled--or "shepherded"-- the political sympathies of millions of Red State sheep, and just as the corporate war-profiteers and oil-developers saw Lord Darth Cheney as one of their own, the Fundies saw the repentant and Born-Again Dubya as one of theirs.

Furthermore, the hostile takeover of Iraq (where the Biblical Garden of Eden and Babylon were) in the first term, placing our armed forces in the neighborhood of a beleagured Jerusalem, struck millions of Fundies as the appearance of missing jigsaw puzzle pieces that interlock to create a picture that depicts the global scenario forecasted by the end-time prophecies in The Bible, specifically the idea that Russia, Iran, China, the EU, and the UN are going to get sick of Israel and--against the will of the United States-- form a coalition of sorts calling for regime change and beseiging Jerusalem on the pretense of "peacekeeping" (but actually by the machinations of Satan intent on destroying God's Chosen People once and for all).

All that will be enabled because of the rest of the world's awareness that the United States government is in full control by the evil forces of (A), (B), and (C) above, an awareness that has already kicked in and is already reaping repercussions severely detrimental to diplomatic relations (supposedly).

Anyway, with Sharon, Likkud, and Israel about to get the tit-for-tat treatment for our imperious and totally unwarranted treatment of poor Sadaam, the Baathists, and Iraq, that will lead to the American mullahs Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell excitedly picking up the bat-phone to the Oval Office and recommending--no, urging-- the anointed Dubya to launch the Instruments of God's Wrath (i.e. nukes) and protect Israel, which is about the time when the scata REALLY starts to fly and hit the fan.

But it's all good, because before the Fundies and their puppet (the anointed Bush), can get hurt in the thermonuclear exchange, they are all whisked up to heaven without ever having to die, in the death-defying "Rapture" (as described in Timothy La Haye's best-selling Left Behind series, gobbled up by millions of politically obedient Fundie sheep).

Unfortunately, I myself can't attain escape velocity, because my own lewd and lascivious ways act like a ball and chain, so I'm stuck here with you perverts.

So we watch (on Foxnews, which knows what's REALLY going on) 1/3 of the earth and her oceans be irradiated and poisoned as the missiles fly, earthquakes split continents, and killer asteroids pummel the planet as the Battle at Armageddon rages.

Don't look at me. It's in The Bible (at least with one way of reading it).

BUT WAIT! Before the earth and humanity can suffer total destruction, Jesus Christ comes back, still pissed from the beating he took 2,000 years ago, and he and the raptured Fundies (with Dubya, too) stop all the fighting, send the bad guys to hell, and set up a Millennial Kingdom with its headquarters in Jerusalem, and administer to an earthly utopia for a thousand years until the Final Battle between Good and Evil, where Satan and his minions are completely and totally and absolutely and utterly destroyed and the good guys live happily forever after in some sort of Nirvana.

The End.

At least, that's what Dubya has in mind...

Lions, tigers, and bears, and war-profiteering Capitalists, imperial, war-mongering Neoconservatives, and End-Time Christians, all pulling the strings of Poppy's boy Dubya...

...Oh my!

By George I think I've got it!

Welcome to the Bush-Hater's World!

(and please, fasten your seatbelts!)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

"The America We Remember"

Bush-Haters seem to think that, ever since the inauguration of George "I Cannot Tell A Lie" Washington, we have been smoothly cruising down the 200-year-long-plus highway of democracy and just ho-humming and enjoying the ride...
... until, that is, the year 2000, when, out of the blue, we were pulled over by the Supreme Court and assigned a new driver who no one wanted (except for those 50,456,002 American citizens from up and down the socio-economic ladder, from every state, both young and old, of both genders, all races, diverse ethnicities and creeds, and with wide-ranging educational backgrounds), and who even had a DWI on his record!
But we were told to kick back, relax, drink our 7-11 Slurpees, play hand-held video games, or count the cows we passed as we continued on our Great American Journey, and many of us did, with the exception of several disgruntled blue-staters who sat sullenly and pouted with arms folded, or incessantly whined:
"Are we there yet?... Do you know where you're going?...I want the old driver back! Slow down, you're driving too fast...!"

America is a country that doesn't know where it's going but is determined to set a speed record getting there.

Lawrence J. Peter

Then, suddenly, the new driver, Dubya-- following cryptic directions from some mysterious voice in his ear-phone-- inexplicably lurched and wildly cranked the wheel and took a sharp right, smashing through a road block, and bumpily steering onto an offroad of imperial fascism; a jostling road which is full of rocks, potholes, roadkill, and runs off a cliff at the end!
Needless to say, fasten your seatbelts, people!
So, essentially, the Bush-haters are simply pointing out that Dubya is not only a bad driver, but a dangerous one, and they are pleading for us to take back the wheel, turn the car around, and get back on the highway, the freeway they "remember," and they wax sentimentally about the vision and noble character of the asphalt-laying Founding Fathers as a contrast to the villains at the wheel today:
The Constitution is being trampled! The Founding Fathers are rolling around in their graves!
The Bush-Haters
Sure, I know who they're talking about: the Bible-thumping, debt-ridden, slandering, slaveholding, murderously-duelling, Native American-hating, and probably wife-beating drunkards to boot (not to mention traitors to the Crown).
Hey, don't get me wrong. I love those revolutionary scoundrels and properly revere them. I'm serious. And they were certainly men of high intellect:
Europe was created by history. America by philosophy.
Margaret Thatcher
But really now. It was hardly a Golden Age of Plato's Philosopher-Kings.
Jefferson's vice president Aaron Burr shot to death ten-dollar bill Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first treasurer from Washington's administration, in a duel because of what Hamilton was saying to the papers about him. Washington was called all sorts of things, including a war criminal, a "country bumpkin" and "King George" (two out of three arguably warranted), and the rabble-hating Adams was labeled a "monarchist" and "insane" so often I would suspect he lamented the etiquette the Englishman (NOT the Frenchman) bestowed upon royals, and had a nervous breakdown or three. And we know about Jefferson: a slave-owner and perpetually-indebted spendthrift who shocked Constitutional sensibilities by his Louisiana Purchase that expanded the young nation's girth largely enough to make any imperialist proud.
Interestingly, that "Let's take America back" shtick is precisely the substance of Kevin Costner's heroic rendition of Prosecutor Jim Garrison's closing argument in Oliver Stone's JFK, when he teared up and pleaded to the jury to help him "take back" the "America he was born in," the America he "remembers," before the Republican/Military/fascists forces took the wheel (after killing the original and desired driver, the King of Camelot, JFK).
Coincidence? I think not. The mind-set of many of the Bush-Hating liberals at the vanguard came out of that putrid cultural petri dish known as "The Sixties" and had that anti-establishment silliness revitalized when Stone came of age and began churning out his conspiracy-laden propaganda against that conservative establishment (strongly implying, for example, that the military-industrial complex--associated with war-mongering Republicans--had a hand in killing Democrat JFK because the latter wanted to end the Vietnam War--which he started! For good measure, Stone then gave Republican Tricky Dick Nixon the Anthony Hopkins/Hannibal Lecter treatment).
Don't believe me? Run down to Blockbuster's and catch Costner's/Garrison's closing argument in JFK. It is almost as if the Bush-Haters lifted the lines verbatim when harping about corporatism, deceit in government, the sinister power of the military industrial complex, fascists, and the behind-the-scenes puppet-masters (who, I guess, are somehow connected to the KGB, CIA, Cuban, and mafioso assassins that were crowded on the grassy knoll that day in Dallas, along with--what the hell, why not?-- an insanely jealous Joe Dimaggio).
Above all, note Garrison's tearful plea to the jury to "take back" the America he "remembers."
Sorry, folks. Stone was just flashbacking and skillfully putting to film his paranoid acid trips.
Let's have a reality check:
As to the notion that the year 2000 marked the end of some idyllic America that Stone/Bush-Haters "remember" and want to "take back," I don't know what "America" they're talking about, and I don't think any of you can tell me, either.
First of all, if you take Occam's razor and sheer away much of the loud carping on the state of the union that is created by a big-mouthed, gossipy, partisan, and alarmist media--from both ends of the political spectrum, to be sure-- that is more ubiquitous today than ever before in print, on the air, cable, and the Internet, I would think that any reasonable person would prefer the standard of living, communication capabilities, the instant fingertip access to vast amounts of information, and freedom of thought, behavior, and mobility that we enjoy today than what could possibly have been offered at any other time in, not only American history, but human history, not to mention the graceful and cooperative attitude we have all developed for our neighbors and even strangers of both genders and all ages, creeds, races, ethnic and educational backgrounds, socio-economic status, and even sexual orientation, a cultural zeitgeist which embraces diversity but appears to be taken for granted by SOME people who see an alarming decline in all of those things with Curious George the monkey who's not curious about anything (at best) or the Son of Satan (at worst) living in the White House.
Bush-Haters would have to agree to all that good stuff, but in so doing would have to concentrate that much tighter a lazer of hate on the "anamolous" Bush Administration to justify the angst at a time of decent living for the average American-- decent in RELATION to what the average American had to deal with for the past two hundred plus years, including, but not limited to:
Franco-American relations deteriorating to the brink of war but defused by #2 John Adams when the country was in its infancy stages (and this not long after they helped us win the Revolution)... Another war against England in 1812 that resulted in a march on Washington and the looting and burning down of the White House... A turf-taking war with Mexico after that (remember the Alamo?)... Imperial designs and expansionism that would make a modern-day Neocon blush, beginning with #3 Tom Jefferson's Louisana Purchase (which doubled the size of the young nation) and still going strong with #11 Polk's annexation of Texas and California (which was the largest amount of Real Estate acquired by any single administration) in a pursuit of a "Manifest Destiny" that commited genocide against Native American nations not seen since the Israelite Joshua exterminated the indiginous Canaanites from the Promised Land... The enslavement of imported Africans concurrent throughout and leading to a national schizm and Civil War that is to Red State/Blue State hysteria over "DIVISIVENESS!" what Dred Scott is to Elian Gonzales immediately followed by the assassination of #16 Abe Lincoln, and then the Impeachment of #17 Andrew Johnson, and a carpet-bagging Reconstruction Period that made the efforts of Halliburton in Iraq look like the Salvation Army's...The rise of the Ku Klux Klan... The Gilded Age and the rise of a corporatism that certainly compromised the entire Federal Government to a degree that would positively make today's allegations of corporate infiltration and malfeasance a model of ethical and productive cooperation...Another assassination (#20 James Garfield)...A war with Spain that was initiated under dubious circumstances (remember the Maine?) and imperial designs for Cuba (remember TR and the Rough Riders?) finishing off the Nineteenth Century and beginning the 20th with the assassination of #25 William McKinley, and the debut of Neocon Patron Saint #25 TR...The poison-gassed trenches of WWI and the abortion of the newly-conceived UN prototype League of Nations...The Woman's Suffrage Movement (did I mention that all this time woman were not allowed to vote?)...Terrorist mob warfare in American cities. ..The Great Depression...Pearl Harbor and WWII and the dropping of two atomic bombs on civilian cities in Japan...The Cold War breeding the Korean War and the policy of M.A.D. (Mutually-Assurred Destruction, which, for decades, didn't do the drang-level of the national psyche any favors)...Communist infiltration in the federal government and reactionary McCarthysm... The lynching of African-Americans in the South and race riots in the North...the ascension of charismatic pretty-boy #35 JFK, and his encouraging of Soviet Cold War enemy Kruschev to deem him a lightweight and so slide a bishop to Cuba and put us in the Missiles in October check in the chess game of the Cold War...the sacrificing of a knight and a pawn to get out of that check...the assassination of JFK, RFK, and MLK..the Vietnam War, Kent State, Yoko Ono breaking up the Beatles, Jim Morrison in Miami, the Rolling Stones in Altamont, Charles Manson and his family, Janice Joplin, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison dying of substance abuse...Watergate, presidential resignation of #38 Tricky Dick..Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford on SNL...the booby-prize #39 Jimmy Carter..Polyester leisure suits...the "American Malaise" and hostages in Iran... #41 Bush's Operation Desert Storm and the eviction of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait..."The New World Order"..."Read My Lips" tax hikes and a recession...race riots in L.A... the consequential electoral rejection of the Distinguished Flying Cross WWII veteran for a draft-dodging unrepetant rapist from Hotsprings, Arkansas, which necessarily lead to the military debacles in Haiti and Somalia, Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewatergate, the first World Trade Center Bombing (when it was hit low), Vince Foster blowing his brains out, Ron Brown dying in a plane crash, the torching of the Branch Davidian cult, the suicide pact of the Heaven's Gate cult, the Oklahoma City bombing, Orenthal Simpson going Othello on Nicole and Ron, Susan Smith going Medea on her two kids, Kurt "No I don't have a gun" Cobain blowing his brains out, Lorena Bobbit performing a penectomy on her marine husband with a kitchen knife, the re-attachment and his return as a functional porn star reminiscent of Frankenstein, a comet smashing into Jupiter, a federal government shutdown, Coffeegate, Chinagate, Columbine, Olympic bombings, Paula Jones, Monicagate, the "irrational exuberance" of the dot-com craze while sovereign American embassies in Africa were bombed, the gratuitous bombings of Kosovo and Iraq, a second U.S. Impeachment, a paternity suit by Arkansas prostitute Vivian Ward, the revelation of the brutal rape of Juanita Broadrick, the guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Cole being blindsided, Y2K hysteria, and Al Gore too while Bin Laden hatched the plot for 9/11.
Gee, that was "fun."
Now tell me, Bush-Haters, which part of American history do you lament and want to "take back"?
Did I leave something out?
Oh yeah:
Between #39 Jimmy Carter's "American Malaise" and #41 Bushs "Read My Lips" tax hikes were the eight years of #40 Reagan, which played the end-game of the Cold War, the 20th Century, and the Second Millenium to boot as memorably as Joe Gibb's Redskins played football as American culture aggressively progressed in all fields, from IT to New Wave music.
The tenure of #34 Ike Eisenhower wasn't too bad at all, either (who presided over a time when America emerged as the preeminent, post-War world power during Richie and Fonzie's "Happy Days").
Ah, Republicans.
Okay, that's my subjective opinion (and no one has to respect it). To you, it could seem that Reagan was no prize and that we would have been better off with a second Carter term, or Mondale/Ferraro's election in 1984 (to which I would say that's it's a good thing I like vodka).
And Ike was a Republican, so forget him.
But that just begs the question again:
WHAT "America" is being wistfully referred to?
For all of you still muttering that Bush's legitimacy was made dubious by the election of 2000 and believe that set the country off on the wrong path by its "UNPRECEDENTED!" nature, then I will convince you that electoral irregularites have occurred throughout American history with...well, regularity:
President #2 John Adams--a Federalist-- had to deal with the sudden appearance of a two-party system which was...(gasp!) UNPRECEDENTED! He then discovered that his rival from the other party, Democratic-Republican rival T. Jefferson, would be the Vice President (In those days, the veep was the presidential contestant who came in second. Adams himself became Washington's veep after winning a plurality of only 34 out of 69 electoral votes, and a majority of three, thanks to Hamilton's balloting, which initiated an ugly feud).
President #6 John Quincy Adams--Democratic-Republican-- lost both the popular AND the electoral vote to Andrew Jackson, but because neither won a majority, the winner was decided by Congress, which was...(gasp!) UNPRECEDENTED!
Now, you tell me which branch of the government is more likely to be corrupted by partisanship and less likely to be scrupulously attentive to the Constitution: Congress, or the Supreme Court?
Right. Congress.
Jackson dogged Q. Adams throughout his only term, calling him a monarchist like his daddy and blocking everything he tried to do (though Quincy managed to establish the Smithsonian Institution and open the Erie Canal). Jackson took him out in the next round (something Gore fantasized of doing to Dubya).
President #10 John Tyler--Whig-- was the first veep to step in as president because of the death of the previous one. The young Democratic Republic suddenly found itself being presided over by someone who was not duly elected, which was...UNPRECEDENTED!
He was called, far and wide, "His Accidency." When he vetoed his party's National Bank bills, his entire cabinet, save one, RESIGNED, AND HE WAS EXPELLED FROM HIS OWN PARTY!
Bush-Haters gloated about the resignation of some of Bush's cabinet after the last election, as if that was confirmation of what a freakishly disfunctional presidency Bush has in comparison to some pre-conceived notion of precedented Executive harmony.
NONSENSE! That was nothing!
Tyler then went on to serve in the Confederate Senate.
Yes, a President of the United States of America became a Confederate Senator.
President #16 Abraham Lincoln-- 1st Republican-- faced an unprecedented situation before he was even inaugurated. One month after the election, South Carolina was so angry, it seceded. One month before he was inaugurated, the Confederate States of America audaciously declared themselves (like this: "Ah do declay-ah!"). One month after he was inaugurated, Fort Sumter was fired upon, beginning the Civil War that would kill 600,000 Americans.
Now THAT'S what you call a "divisive president." I mean, how much more divisive can one president's election get?
He was hated by all caucasians in the south and many in the north. He was called an "ape" (Bush, incidentally, is also called a "monkey"). He was roundly called a tyrant (which was John Wilkes Booth's voiced justification for assassination when he shouted: "Sic semper tyrranus!" after landing on the stage in medias res of the performance of My American Cousin).
Lincoln now shares the top spot in the presidential affections of Americans with the Father of our Country himself, George W...ashington.
President #17 Andrew Johnson--National Union Party--was a pro-Union southerner and Lincoln's veep who also came in unelected at the UNPRECEDENTED assassination of an American president--by a southern sympathizer (Booth).
Johnson had it rough. He got Impeached (but was acquitted), which was, yes, unprecedented (incidentally, the proceedings for Johnson's trial had the dust brushed off them and referenced for another southerner's Impeachment trial, the second in the country's history).
President #19, Rutherford B. Hayes--Republican--lost the popular vote to Sam Tilden, with the electoral votes of four states in dispute. A special commission--with a Republican majority--awarded them to Hayes. He was referred to, far and wide, as "His Fraudulency." He voluntarily did not seek a second term, but left office with the nation prosperous and at peace after his watch.
President #23 Benjamin Harrison--Republican--also won the electoral contest but lost the popular vote. There was nothing to it. He simply won the popular vote by small margins in states that carried heavy electoral clout and lost by bigger popular margins in states with light ones (Rove's/Bush's strategy in both elections was the inverse of that).
President #26 Teddy Roosevelt--Republican-- promised he only wanted two terms and then essentially passed the presidency to his veep--and friend--Big Howard Taft. Then--missing being president-- he turned on Taft and criticized him relentlessly and even formed a third party--The Bull-Moose Party--to run against him. He was so abusive that the gentle-hearted Taft broke down and wept. The splitting of the ticket helped Democrat Woodrow Wilson to win (and, incidentally, seems to have been similarly repeated with former Republican Ross Perot forming the Reform Party and splitting the already fractured conservative/Republican base and helping Democrat Bill Clinton to win).
Allegedly, arguably and apparently, President # 35 John F. Kennedy--Democrat--stole the election from Tricky Dick Nixon by vote fraud in Chicago and Texas, predominantly orchestrated by his millionaire, boot-legging, stock-market manipulating, womanizing, pro-Nazi dad, Joe Sr. (and it is astonishing that many of the same folks who project some of those circumstances and character traits onto Bush 41 & 43 to one degree or another are hard-core Kennedy Dynasty devotees).
I'll stop there, 40 years ago.
So come on. Tell me. Which president and which part of American history do you Bush-Haters keep referencing to "take back" and are lamenting? At which time during the country's evolution do you think we--as a nation--had the right values, applied here and abroad? Which President do you think succeeded in meeting your criteria for presidential character and presided over a time you would identify as the "real" America, an America for "The People" and by "The People," an America you--and Stone/Costner/Garrison--"remember" as an American, political utopia that we should fight to "take back?"
Let me help you:
Perhaps you--and Stone/Costner/Gallery-- "remember" the administration of #5 James Monroe, Democratic-Republican, 1817-1825.
Monroe can be characterized as a faithful and competent man who benefitted from the company of men more brilliant than he (sound familiar?), assembling perhaps the best cabinet any president before or since ever has, according to a good number of historians. He was the last president to have been among the Founding Fathers, and the last of the Virginia Dynasty that was composed of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison (he was also the last president to wear knee britches and a powdered wig, as was the fashion in his youth, but was quickly becoming passe as the nation progressed into the nineteenth century).
In that youth, as a teenager, he crossed the Delaware with General Washington as a fighting soldier in the Revolutionary War (he is standing behind Washington and holding the flag in the famous 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by Emanuel Leutzeand titled Washington Crossing the Delaware) and was severely wounded in combat that Christmas Eve raid of the Hessian camp, needing two months to recover his strength.

He returned to the fight and spent the next winter with Washington at Valley Forge

He studied law under Tom Jefferson. He ushered in "The Era of Good Feeling" when he toured the rival Federalist New England states, and united a country that had been marked with rancorous North & South, Federalist & Democratic-Republican partisanship since #2 John Adams, nearly a quarter of a century before. Even his prickly successor, John Quincy Adams, who was very stingy with praise, wrote that the Monroe years would "be looked back to as the golden age of this republic."
In 1817, the Rush-Bagot Agreement established the 49th Parallel as the boundary between the United States and Canada, as in existence today.
In 1821, Monroe acquired Florida from Spain.
He is most famous for his declaration of what is now known as The Monroe Doctrine, which asserts that the United States would oppose any foreign interference in North and South America (basically warning: "This land, from sea to shining sea, is OURS").
The Monroe Doctrine remains a keystone of U.S. policy today. However, it has, gradually-- over the centuries as the world slowly evolved and recently accelerated towards globalization-- since been interpreted to also extend to foreign interference on American interests abroad, justifying imperial urges:

If the American nation will speak softly and yet build and keep at a pitch of a highest training a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.

Theodore Roosevelt

Yup. All the way to the Phillipines, right Ted?
But overall, yes, indeed, Monroe's Era of Good Feeling was an unprecedented and since very rare occurence of overall national pride, unity, progress, and expansion, as presided over by the last president to have the credentials and character of the Founding Fathers (the last of which, Madison, was to die in Monroe's first year in office).
So, yes, I suppose I can sympathize with sentimental Bush-Hater's yearning for those eight years of national harmony and growth that Monroe presided over, BUT...
...I'm not too sure what the "Take America Back" crowd would think of the fact that Florida was acquired on the heels of the Seminole War, which was largely fought by terrorist, Native American insurgents who just wanted the invasive Anglos to go away, and who were SLAUGHTERED WHOLESALE by Indian-hating psycho-war-machine Andrew Jackson (the first Democrat), who was given carte blanche by Monroe to do whatever it took to get Florida while Monroe himself played stupid and explained to the outraged English and Spaniards that Jackson was a loose cannon who couldn't be controlled (i.e. he lied).
And I'm pretty sure they would be griping about the fact that much of "The Era of Good Feeling" was enabled by the placebo of the Missouri Compromise, which allowed the slave-state of Missouri to join the Union if the free state of Maine could, allaying North-South tensions, but only delaying the inevitable.
So the Native Americans were already on the road to extermination by genocide, we were claim-jumping territories the way Halliburton claim-jumps oil-wells (supposedly, whatever), the slaves wouldn't be emancipated for over four decades, and women still wouldn't be participating in the democratic process for another century.
So no, I guess Bush-Haters aren't "pleading" to take back those days, either.
Operation Iraqi Freedom and it's pre-emptive nature is a mission that is viciously criticised by "patriotic" Bush-Haters as something very un-American, as being against the traditional values which made this country great (like abortions, same sex-marriages, euthanasia, higher taxes, and theophobic secularism, I guess).
It has been presumed that the Founding Fathers, in all their enlightened wisdom, would have blanched at the very idea of going overseas and attacking Iraq.
Most certainly. But only because back then, the vast oceans made it too time-consuming and impractical for the young nation to contemplate imperial designs on The Continent, and it was still trying to make it on its own independently of its English nursemaid (though English and French tutors were imported and still about), and prudently shunned involvement as best they could from the political and social upheavals roiling the Europe the fathers of the Fathers fled. Hence:

America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

John Quincy Adams

But that does not mean that they lacked territorial ambitions/avarice or did not take pre-emptive security measures against hostile foreigners/natives.
They had enough room for expansion in the North American wilderness to keep busy for awhile, and keep busy they did.
We were invading Native American land--and violating our own resolutions and signed treaties--from the beginning. Originally, anything outside of the original 13 colonies was NOT OURS by some imperial default, and the vast land was NOT totally uninhabited wilderness; we took what we did from English, French, and Spanish forts and colonies by hook, crook, and cannon, and commited a long campaign of genocide against the indiginous Native Americans who had organized nations and societal structures.
Indeed, what did the Europhobic Quincy Adams own father say?

I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence, for the illumination of the ignorant and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.

John Adams

Yup. Shore sounds like a neocon ta me, pa.
In all of those efforts, in those days, in that Nineteenth Century, mobilizing an army from the Eastern Seaboard and down to Florida or through the midwest and down to Texas and out to California took a significantly greater time commitment and investment of human resources and capital than a lightning-deployment to Iraq is today, the point there being that the thought of traveling great distances to a land populated by others for the purpose of seizure is older than baseball, and the greater effort invested to do so, back then, shows that they were would hardly have been apalled at the thought of such ventures, and, indeed, proved ready, willing, and able
to undertake them.
How do you think we got here?

America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole.

Bobcat Goldthwaite

Every nation, throughout history, has struggled and warred against its neighbors over resources or for the spread of ideas in the race of man, but we are exceptional, as a nation, as a people, in the cultivation of our conscience and in our capacity for--yes-- compassion. We're benevolent. If we weren't, South America and Canada would've added more constellations of stars to our flag long ago.
At worst, we're well-intentioned but clumsy:

America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.

Oscar Wilde

America is like a big playful puppy with sharp teeth.

Bill Maher (failing to credit Wilde)

At best:

There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

So don't worry. The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are both intact and well preserved down at the National Archives. If anyone messes with them, alarms go off, a trap door opens, you slide down a chute, and find yourself in the undisclosed location of Vice President Cheney, who then hands you an all-expense paid one-way ticket to Guantamo Bay for tampering with such a national treasure (only a terrorist would do that, you see).
But no worries there, either. You'll eat like a king and be seduced for information by thong-wearing interrogators.
Only in America.
Life in America is good. Having utterly escaped the notice of the Bush-haters (who are too busy ranting and raving and documenting the fall of the Republic and the rise of Caesar), the nation had another Wright Brother's moment a century and six months after the first flight at Kitty Hawk, on June 22, 2004, when Mike Melville became the first privately-funded astronaut, taking his craft--SpaceshipOne--into space.
The Bush-haters spent that glorious day carping over difficulties in Iraq, celebrating the resignation of Republican Connecticut governor John Rowling, and cheering the polls that showed Bush dropping 13% points in his favorability in handling the war on terror while aspiring-candidate John Kerry called Bush an obstructionist for supporting the federal patient's bill of rights.
Please. A private American citizen with private funding entered earth's orbit in his own spaceship and returned safely to earth, for crying out loud!
More recently, on March 4, 2005, the nation had another Lindbergh moment when Steve Fosset flew his Globalflyer around the world non-stop (the first to do so).
Did any Bush-Haters sing a paean to the American spirit of adventure and know-how self-evidently being alive and well? No, because good news is bad news for the Bush-hater, so it's ignored (if not overlooked in the preoccupying search for disaster).
The day before that, the nation's capital saw something it hadn't seen in 34 years when the new Major League ballteam the Washington Nationals took the field for an exhibition game against the NY Mets, and won 5-3 (their first game is this weekend, at the re-vamped RFK stadium, which was more-or-less mothballed since the Redskins left for Fed Ex field).
Okay, so I'm a Mets fan, but that's not stopping me from cheering the fact that when I look out and see America today, I smell apple pie. But not the Bush-haters. No. They see a strange, alien, and sinister corporate entity ensconsed in the White House and disfiguring the America they "remember."
One more time: What America is that again?

America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the world's history shall reveal itself.

George W. Hegel

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

President Bill Clinton (reciting Fleetwood Mac)

America is the dream of Pericles.

John (me)