Saturday, April 22, 2006

April Showers Bring Exposure of Hypocrisy and Lies

What a fuckin' wonderful month! Bush's approval rating hit an all-time low while oil prices hit an all-time high (for my thoughts on that, refer to a previous blog entry of mine). But first, that crook Tom DeLay resigned because he's under investigation for receiving illegal funds. What's he got to say? "I'm in God's hands now." Hahaha! Then the next fucking day the Bush Administration is found to have a pedophile in their midst! Then came "Scooter" Libby's testimony (before a federal jury no less!) that his orders to out CIA agent Valerie Plame came from Cheney and Bush themselves! Jackpot!

Let's pause on that last one for a second and take a look at the picture that's being painted here: in the months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson wrote a few op-ed pieces calling bullshit on the Bush Administration's "rationale" for war. As we now know (thanks to the smoking gun the American press loves to ignore, the Downing Street Memo), Wilson was right and the Bush Administration was lying -- not misled, not exaggerating, but fucking lying. So Bush basically then gave Cheney (who then gave Libby) permission to disclose classified information to dissuade his political enemies (Wilson), so Libby went ahead and outed Wilson's wife Valerie Plame as a undercover CIA agent to GOP lapdog Judy Miller, thus endangering national security and both Wilson and Plame's lives. Nice.

I cannot stress enough what a dangerous prick our "president" is: in addition to the uplifting tale above, there is ample evidence he used the plot from the movie Black Sheep to rig not one, but two elections, and with his recent admission of authorization of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, he became the first president in history to admit to breaking the law in office. Under him, we arrest and detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, without being charged with anything, without access to lawyers, without outside contact from anyone and without access to any legal recourse, then fly said suspects over international airspace to secret CIA-run gulags on foreign soil, torturing them all the way. There is a laundry list of international treaties and domestic acts he has repealed and rejected, with potentially disastrous impact on our international relations, environment and economy. The wage gap in our country is now wider than the Grand-fucking-Canyon. American cultural, economic and military imperialism is gradually increasing around the world, while Executive power and one-party rule are vastly expanding here at home. Please understand, it really is that bad.

But back to the good news: April 10th was the "National Day Of Action For Immigrant Justice" and it was a massive success which stunned the nation, especially here in Salt Lake City, where between 20,000 and 40,000 turned out to march from Washington Square to the Capitol Building on April 9th alone. Check out the website for highlights. By the way, most "undocumented" immigrants pay taxes, via a tax ID number issued by the IRS (who's policy it is to not communicate with the FBI, INS and/or Homeland Security). If there's taxable income out there, you better believe the IRS is gonna be all over that shit. Most also have legitimate jobs with taxes deducted from their paychecks (meaning they're paying into Social Security, though they'll never see any return from it). Many have U.S. high school diplomas and many young male "illegals" are in the Selective Service program due to financial aid programs, which automatically enroll you in the draft (and make you eligible for jury duty).

Anyway, last Tuesday NOFX released their new full-length, Wolves in Wolves' Clothing! These motherfuckers just get better with age! Fewer songs about Bush, more songs about Jesus, and all of it fucking awesome!

Speaking of Jesus, I'll leave you with something to really turn your fucking stomach: Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (who nearly became pope last year) has taken the outlandish position of saying that it might be okay to use a condom -- but only with your spouse, only if your spouse has AIDS and only if you haven't caught the disease yet. Note that the Cardinal's comments are in no way representative of the Vatican's official stance that rubbers NEVER be used; in fact, the Church is so furiously anti-prophylactic that it runs a global disinformation campaign to try to convince people that condoms offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Also note that the Catholic Church has a well-documented reputation of full-on fabricating shit, such as its rule that priests be celibate and "over" any homosexual "urges," and that Mary Magdalene, Bride of Christ and Apostle to the Apostles, was actually a prostitute. Can I get an "amen" for misogyny and heterosexism as forms of control?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My beloved Isaiah Jay,

In a mere two-and-a-half years I have watched you grow and change in incalculable ways Рaside from clich̩, superficial milestones such as first teeth and steps to fine motor control, I have watched you learn to think and speak. You have developed a personality and a heart Рperhaps there has been nothing more incredible and satisfying than watching you begin to care about things.

Since the days before we could carry on conversations about increasingly complex issues, I have worried about you. Not in any physical, over-protective way, but in a developmental one. I have worried you will become a monster. I have worried that my brother, your father, will poison you with his narrow horizons and mind. I have worried that you will marginalize women and homosexuals, that you will conform to rigid patriarchal gender roles, that you will absent-mindedly toss burger wrappers out your car window, that you will never second-guess some of the more subtle evils in my world, which show every indication that they will only grow and multiply by the time it becomes your world.

If it isn’t destroyed first. As I write this, Isaiah, my generation and my parents’ are waging a holy war which threatens to literally engulf the world in flames (made possible by our grandparents, who gave us the accursed gift of the atom). As stubborn, ignorant theists tear the world apart, I live in a nation whose government thoroughly believes in neo-imperialism and Pax Americana, driven by religious absolutism. I live under a government whose checks and balances have broken down, under a party who’s mutilated not only the founding ideals of the country but the ideals the party itself once supposedly stood for. A party who’s frighteningly effective at consolidating power and marginalizing criticism. A party who’s powers are expanding. Xenophobia and jingoism are no longer exceptions, they’re the governing norms. A perpetual war (or three) has eroded our civil liberties and taken away our legal recourse. Loaded language is the only language. Suspected terrorists don’t get arrested and charged – they get kidnapped and tortured overseas, disavowed by the supposedly noble system they’re allegedly threatening.

Corporations make money off the fear and war. They fuel violence, exploitation and neo-colonialism in peripheral nations to drive and protect their profits, encouraged by the very governments who should regulate them. Apathy extends beyond politics to consumerism. They turn a blind-eye or conjure up supporting pseudo-science to rebuff critics. They view the crisis as being what happens when we run out of natural resources, when we suck this planet dry – they ignore the fact that if we burn all the fossil fuels that we have already discovered, we will render our own planet uninhabitable. They level forests at alarming rates. The species extinction rate is faster today than it was in the waning years of the dinosaurs. It really is that bad.

But there is nothing I can do for you. I cannot raise you to be like me – there is nothing special about me, I am not enlightened, I am as hypocritical, bourgeois, ignorant and consumer-driven as everyone else. I cannot force you to believe one way. I can merely be an influence, one of many. I merely hope that the sweet boy who asks if I’m sick, gives me a hug then tells me I feel much better now will grow into an equally compassionate, effective, upright adult. I wish for you not only to know less suffering than we have, but to create much less than we have, and to undo some of that which has been done.

Just don’t turn into a monster.

Love,

Uncle Tony