While Democrats are setting differences aside for patriotism,
Republicans are setting patriotism aside for opportunity
      by Bryan Zepp Jamieson    9/24/01

        There’s something about the right-wing mentality that can be unbelievably tawdry and petty and vicious.
Nearly everyone knows of Jerry Falwell taking advantage of the catastrophe in New York to try and pin blame
on gays, liberals and the ACLU.  Here in northern California, in the town of Redding, some of the local
anti-abortionists thought that the spontaneous memorial to those killed in the attacks would be a dandy place to put
up pictures of chopped up fetuses and propaganda.  I mean, people were paying attention to the memorial, right?
Why not take advantage of that to promote their cause?

        If it was limited to that sort of thing, you could write it off as the sort of sickening tackiness that so often
accompanies right wing sanctimony and ignorance.  Unfortunately, it isn’t limited to the trashiest lower reaches of the right.

        While Democrats in the House and Senate were setting differences aside – even the matter of the fact that Putsch
stole the election – Republicans, with a whoop, were taking advantage of the war fever, patriotism, and confusion to
push as hard as they could for their various pet projects.

        The rich white trash at the Wall Street Journal kissed off all their dead comrades with unseemly haste and
gloated in an editorial that “the bloody attacks have created a unique political moment when Americans of all
stars and stripes are uniting behind their president.”

        The Wall Street Journal was pretty happy about this, and made it clear that they felt that Republicans should
take advantage of all this mawkish mourning and patriotism and what not to press for items that might otherwise
have not passed the Senate.

        Accordingly, the $40 billion “anti terror” bill that Putsch is requesting comes loaded with all sorts of GOP
wet dreams.  It includes $8 billion for “Star Wars”, particularly ludicrous given that this pie-in-the-sky scheme
would never have stopped the terrorist attack two weeks ago.

        It comes with a capital gains tax cut.  Six thousand, five hundred people are dead, and the very least we
can do for the grieving rich is give them a free ride on the backs of our society, permanently.  After all, rich
people are deeper, and grieve more.  Those of us who aren’t rich should give them special breaks.

        John Ashcroft, the American equivalent of the Taliban, wanted to resurrect the Alien and Sedition act.
He had the interesting notion that resident aliens, no matter how long they had been in the country, should be
subject to deportation and seizure of property without benefit of trial or even administrative hearing, and in deed,
even without evidence of any criminal acts.  While it’s likely that our Attorney General, who harbors a deep mistrust
for people who don’t smear Crisco oil on themselves in the name of God, isn’t envisioning throwing out 80 year old
British grannies, he pretty clearly wants to be able to shaft some people.  People with prayer shawls and accents,
perhaps.  The good news is that some Democrats stood up and said, “Er, Mr. Attorney General, sir?

Um, the courts have ruled against things like that in the past and might interfere now.”  At least until it gets to our
criminal Supine Court, any way.  Ashcroft agreed to give the Senate another week to think it over, perhaps in the
hope that the national sense of crisis might be ratcheted up in some way.  The anti-terrorism bill contains all sorts
of little nasties like that, the rest all aimed at American citizens.  If you want to have liberty, you have to sacrifice
freedom.  That’s the GOP message of the day.  And let’s get going with that Crisco oil, people.
We don’t want a bunch of weird pagans around here!

Drilling in the Alaskan National Wilderness Reserve was tacked on to the terrorist bill by James Inhofe (R-Cheney)
of East Knuckledrag, apparently as a favor to Frank Murkowski (R-Exxon) of Alaska.  (He had already told the
press he wasn’t going to do that, you see, so having a bill with his name on it would have looked tacky).
We’ve got to maintain that oil habit if we want to fight terrorists, yesiree Bob.

The loud insistence that the terrorist attack was the work of Osama bin Laden is coming under closer scrutiny
in Europe.  Jane’s has been reporting that the Israeli Mossad, not exactly a sympathizer to either bin Laden or
the Taliban, believes that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks.  This is borne out by media reports of
decidedly secular behavior on the part of those believed to have been responsible for the hijacking of the
four jetliners.  Fundamentalist Muslims (and bin Ladin’s organization contains no other type of human being)
don’t, as a rule, hang around in strip clubs, bars, and McDonalds.  These guys did.
That suggests the more secular Saddam.

Colin Powell promised unequivocally to provide proof that bin Laden was behind the attack in a Sunday
gasbag show, and backed away from that promise today.  The Administration muttered about security concerns.
Although if they can’t cite the proof in the public arena, how do they propose to do it in any court of law?
And will the rest of the world back an attack based on proof that we won’t share?

Then there is the matter of Dick Cheney’s secret meeting.  Cheney, of course, has been stonewalling on demands
from the GAO that he provide the roster and minutes of meetings held in the Vice President’s office with oil and
other extraction industry executives.  Sunshine laws demand that such meetings be available for public scrutiny,
and the showdown between the GAO and the administration, unparalleled in American history, is going to court.

In the European (free) press, speculation is growing that in the course of the meeting, Cheney agreed that the
administration should try to provoke some sort of crisis in the oil-rich middle east, something that would create
a crisis and make it easier both to get oil-friendly legislation through (like the ANWR drilling) and give them an
excuse to eliminate those pesky environmental regulations.  It would explain Cheney’s strange and blatantly
illegal refusal to disclose the nature of the meetings.  It would explain why the administration, which showed
no sign of any interest in middle east politics during the campaign or in the first couple of months after taking
office, suddenly and heavy-handedly started supporting Israel.  It explains why they went out of their way to
annoy the entire world of Islam.

I don’t think Cheney had something like the World Trade Center in mind.  If I did, I would be insisting that he
stand next to the person who planned it, and share the same fate.  But I think he was playing “Wag the Dog”
on a scale never envisioned by the movie’s creators.  And if that’s the case, his liability is criminal, and he
belongs in jail, if nothing else then for malfeasance and gross criminal negligence.

The country as a whole is coming out of the grief and mourning, and starting to look around, and we’re just
starting to realize that the Republicans, cold, imperious, and remote, have been busy little rascals, and have
been taking advantage of the situation in every way they can.  Greed and viciousness never rests, it seems.

Thousands are dead, and the country, Democrats in particular, strove to work together as one to try and get
our great nation through this time of horrible tribulation.  But the Republicans seem to have the attitude of
“Hey, one way or the other, they’re all still dead, so let’s make a little hay while the sun shines and put the
screws to our loyal servants, the American people!”

The terrorists, indisputably, are America’s enemies from without.  But the vicious callousness of the past
two weeks from those mentioned here should remind people that terrorists are not the only ones working
for the injury of America, and that not all enemies come from without.

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