Wednesday, May 20, 2009

USA Toduh

I picked up a copy of USA Today today. Yes, on rare occasions I actually buy a newspaper. Try not to faint. I try very hard not to go into detail about my worklife cuz that's not what my blog's about, but suffice to say I'm currently not in a position where I have access to Internet news in the morning as I prefer, so I must resort to more traditional methods. ..Okay so I like the crossword puzzle.

They say print is dead; that newspapers are Dead Man Walking. Rumors of their demise have been greatly exagerated. Alright, slightly exagerated. However, perhaps their time has come. Perhaps like three week's worth of garbage still accumulating in the kitchen, it's time to drag it out to the curb and let City Sanitation take care of the rest.

I read Marc Thiessen's The Eye of the Storm this Wednesday morning, May 20th 2009. Catchy title. Very original. Never heard that one before! Page 11A. In my youth, a piece like Marc Thiessen's The Eye of the Storm would be notated as an edtiorial. This portion of the newspaper would have at the top of the page "Editorials" which to my Dad meant "here there be insane crazy people failing to convince you they are not crazy insane - watch your step." Pages like this are to be properly labelled as such, for the same reason polluted swimming holes teeming with purple algae and ameobae the size of golfballs have signs around them saying "no lifeguard on duty swim at your own risk."

Marc Thiessen's The Eye of the Storm opens with facts, dates, quotes, and well-intentioned serious jargon, but he sneaks in opinions as if they were facts. I know this, because that's what I do on my own blog and on my videos. I can get away with this, because I'm not being published in a national newspaper. I'm not pretending to be a journalist. Unlike some people, and I don't want to point fingers because that's so uncouth, but Marc Thiessen is one of them. His piece opens, and I quote:
Last week, Sen. Diane Feinstein rose to defend Nancy Pelosi, explaining why the House speaker didn't object to waterboarding when she was told about it seven years ago: "I don't want to make an apology for anybody," Feinstein said, "but in 2002 it wasn't 2006, '07, '08, or '09. It was right after 9/11, and there were in fact discussions about a second wave of attacks."
Feinstein says she doesn't want to make an apology for anybody, and then she goes right on ahead and apologizes for Nancy Pelosi. I do not fault Marc for this. He's just reporting the facts, because he's pretending to be a reporter on what's pretending to not be an editorial page.

Marc Thiessen then argues a case that actions caused by our government in the months and years after Nine Eleven should be seen in context and not challenged; that today, we all think the danger has passed but it hasn't, because Marc Thiessen believes we are in "The Eye Of The Storm." Marc Thiessen then goes on to cite many examples on the public record of attempted terrorist attacks thwarted or pre-emptedly stricken, by the CIA. For example, in 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told Jose Padilla to blow up some high rise apartment buildings in the US. Padilla was arrested in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, before he committed these heinous crimes. What they arrested him for, is curiously omitted from Marc Thiessen's sound reporting efforts. In 2006, an Al-Qaeda cell was broken up before it could successfully carry out its reported plan to take planes from Europe and crash them into Heathrow airport, and buildings in the London Financial District. Why they were grounded for what they didn't do yet is unclear. Perhaps they thought too loud.

These and other events were stopped by the CIA and other law enforcement entities in the US and abroad working together in solidarity against the Evil-Doers. It was a heady time in which the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys always had moustaches they could twirl. Of course we should allow the Non-Evil Doers carte blanche on the freedoms of mankind, because they are so well intentioned, and wouldn't hurt anybody, unless they thought about hurting anybody.

Marc Thiessen thinks these events should be looked at with rose colored glasses, in light of all the nightmarish horrors that kept us up at night on September Twelfth. Questionable acts by our own government were done for the sake of National Security, and they should not be challenged. They were done for Mom and apple pie. They were protecting our freedoms so I have the right to type these words I type now, without the fear of enemies blowing up my favorite convenience store. The fact I now have fears of my own government subjecting me to waterboarding and ass pyramids for writing these very words is merely caustic irony, and can be medicated with moderate amounts of American brand beer. Marc Thiessen says today is different. After Nine Eleven, we have worries and concerns we didn't have before. However, because the CIA has done its job, We the People have become complacent. We no longer fear.
Today, it is taken for granted. The men and women of the CIA responsible for this achievement are victims of their own success.

After the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, they were vilified for their failure to connect the dots and stop al-Qaeda from carrying out its plans. Now they are vilified for doing what was necessary to connect the dots and stop the next 9/11. They are called torturers. Their achievements are questioned. And we are debating whether they ought to be put on trial or hauled before truth commissions for their efforts. They are not torturers. They are heroes. They don't deserve subpoenas. They deserve medals.
I got a message for Mr. Thiessen. This perception that things changed on Nine Eleven? That's all it is. It's not real. What had been abstract for a very long time became concrete in the eyes of Americans, but elsewhere on the planet, it had been very real for a very long time. We joined a club that day, of countries who had been victimized by gooberheads and chowderbrains.

Notice I'm not describing the gooberheads and chowderbrains by any cultural or religious or economic stigma. I'm describing them as goober heads and chowder brains. It makes no difference what you believe or what other people think you're worth. If you have chowder for brains, you're stupid. If your head gets stuck under seats in movie theaters, I don't care what name you use for your god.

If you kill and maim in your god's name, you're a chowderbrain. You're a gooberhead. The phrase "Intelligent Design" is poorly worded. It's not intelligent. If you dismiss the evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution because it doesn't coincide with your precious book, I am not going to mince words with you: you are stupid. The lines are not drawn between Muslim and Jew and Christian, but between those who use their grey matter intelligently, and those who do not.

Guess what! There were discussions of terrorist attacks long before Nine Eleven. Condi Rice read them at least as late as August of that year. We knew an attack was imminent. We just didn't know where or when. Such threats have existed long before Nine Eleven. When I was a kid back in the 1970s, we made jokes about terrorists hijacking planes and wanting to go to Disneyland. They were printed in Mad magazine. I think the terrorists were Libyan or Cuban back then but the basic premise was the same. Since before the Cold War - since before the Revolutionary War - the US has had enemies both foreign and domestic to contend with. Nine Eleven was the first time bloodshed occurred on the main land at a scale rivaling the Civil War, and we didn't do it to ourselves.

Marc Thiessen believes we are in the eye of a storm. He is wrong. We are not. It's much more complicated. However, to improve upon his metaphor, We The People are metaphorically under constantly changing weather patterns. Some of us respond to this by watching the metaphorical equivalent of the Weather Channel ALL day, as if watching it happening will help us prevent it. Thiessen wants the CIA to make sure it is always sunny, when at best our government should be more like an umbrella.

If I wake up tomorrow dead, because some gooberheads and chowderbrains blew up my great home state of Texas, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to read the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and that plaque at Lady Liberty's feet and I want you to uphold them. I ask you to defend those words because they are what have made this country great, up until recent decades when our country has stopped being as great as perhaps it once was, because we stopped upholding those words.

I ask you not to uphold those words for just some Americans, or all Americans, or anyone with whom you happen to agree. I ask you to please uphold those words for all men and women regardless of race, creed, color, gender, place of origin, current whereabouts, sexual orientation, preference in music, or whether or not they agree with what's in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and that plaque at Lady Liberty's feet. I want you to promise me that if I die because of terrorism, you will uphold these words and extend them to the very people who killed me. Why? Because the Bush administration didn't uphold these words. The Obama administration is not upholding these words. Nancy Pelosi, when she was told about waterboarding and she didn't do a doubletake and spit out her dentures, she didn't uphold these words. She bowed to overwhelming pressures when it was her JOB not to. NONE of our civil servants are upholding these words, and it's not the words that protect us but our vigilance and dedication to them. That is what protects us, or rather would protect us, if someone was actually doing that and no one is. Our civil servants are not upholding the very words that give them jobs. So if the Lone Star State explodes in a glorious fireball because gooberheads and chowderbrains took my inalienable rights, I ask you please to not take theirs. Turnabout is NOT fair play. It's cheating. We're better than them.

Inalienable rights mean just that. Life, Liberty, and Happiness for everybody; not just the people you don't mind having in your backyard. If we don't do this, if we don't continue to uphold those words as a beacon of justice and equality to the rest of the world, it's not that the terrorists win. Screw the terrorists. They're gooberheads and chowderbrains. They can't win.

If we don't do this, We The People lose, and we have only ourselves to blame.

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