Amoral moralists pontificate as parishes perish
Expanded from the 9-18-2005 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
A skunk can change neither his stripes nor his smell. The true character of the Prodigal Prince and his royal entourage was demonstrated last week not by the usual ogres but by the movie-star handsome chief justice anointee.
Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee carped and complained about the judge's evasiveness. That's forgivable. After all, they were playing in Mr. Roberts' Neighborhood. The learned John Roberts had them so stymied that Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, resorted to asking Roberts the titles of his favorite movies.
The obtuseness of the Democrats was reinforced by what they did not ask. No one engaged Roberts on moral questions, not even when he dared them.
His defended his embarrassing and bigoted legal writings by asserting that he was acting as an attorney for clients (Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese, et al.) who wanted things a certain way.
That's why people hate lawyers. Vigorous, high-quality representation is the goal, not winning by any means necessary. Those are the ethics of Karl Rove.
The Democrats were grasping at straws because the Bush administration ordered Attorney General Alberto Torquemada Gonzales to withold Roberts' writings from his days in the justice department. Having written too much doomed the 1987 nomination of Retro Robert Bork.
"I was just following orders" is the first defense of war criminals. But when Roberts used it, nobody pounced.
"Okay, your honor," Sen. Snort might have said. "Does that mean if your client asks you to draft a constitutional amendment reimposing slavery, you would do so without making a judgment about whether your actions are right or wrong? Would you dispute your client? Would you quit your job and say I won't be any part of this?"
Roberts performed his dirty work for the Reagan administration without complaint and was not called to account last week.
What are we to think of this supposedly gung ho Catholic who refuses to raise moral objections when asked to do something immoral? Reagan wanted to make it harder for blacks to find employment or vote. Roberts provided legal rationales for accomplishing both and the Democrats did not broach the immorality of it.
MORAL OBTUSENESS FROM A TEXAS MARIE ANTOINETTE
Roberts is thus the perfect replacement for his old boss. The late Chief Justice Rehnquist participated in black voter suppression as a young lawyer in Arizona. As CJ, he was one of five who made sure that the votes of thousands of Florida blacks and senior citizens were not counted, resulting in the nonelection of Dubya the Dauphin.
We view ourselves as a nation of independent feisty fighters, cowboys with guns a'blazing just like in the movies.
Actually, we're wimps. Foreigners chuckle in amazement at how rugged individual Americans sheepishly obey walk/dont walk signs. When they could no longer stand illegitimate governments, the people of the Philippines and Ukraine took to the streets and took back their countries.
Here, when the U.S. Supreme Court installed George the Lesser, we rolled over and played dead. We have long suffered from manipulated energy prices but have been convinced that we are helpless, that we dare not tamper with the almighty and immutable market. So, we grumble and pay, pay, pay. Pain is our comfort zone. The senate judiciary committee merely reflects its co-dependent constituency.
For more than five years, I've pointed out that American voters exhibit the behavior of battered spouses. Now comes Dubya like a cheating husband begging Christian forgiveness for abusing us again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Many will buy Bush's "I'm sorry" shuck as readily as they'd accept Karl Rove as recovery czar notwithstanding that the only recovery he cares about is in the polls, not the parishes.
WITH BODIES STILL FLOATING
Firms with Bush ties snag the first Hurricane Katrina reconstruction contracts (REUTERS)
As New York Times economics writer Paul Krugman noted several years back, these people don't solve problems, they use them. The Iraq War and occupation provide just one example. The Dept. of Homeland Security is another.
Weak leaders reorganize the government when they don't know what else to do. Witness the pea-shuffling of the unlamented Jimmy Carter. With only shadowy enemies to seek out for revenge, it was inevitable that our shallow, soulless post-9/11 leaders would vent their embarrassment against us.
The Dept. of Homeland Security was actually formed to bar hundreds of thousands of present and future employees from ever getting union pay and benefits. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was gutted in the process and the results still float in New Orleans.
Dubya may have gallivanted off to fund raising events while bayou waters rose, but he knows how to use a good problem when he sees one. He quickly ordered that reconstruction of the Gulf Coast be done at minimum wages and without environmental protection. Desperate job seekers and their devastated homelands are the most in need of justice, but don't look for it from George Walker Bush or John Roberts.
They are in power to protect their stockholders.
DUBYA TALE, PART I: George Bush had a dream about how to cleanse the toxic sump which is now New Orleans. He immediately called Rev. Pat Robertson and asked the preacher if he knows how to turn water into wine. Robertson replied that Jesus had indeed given him a vision of how to cast such spell but Robertson refused to perform it. "Wine's an alcoholic beverage, Mr. President."
DUBYA DUNCETIME, PART DEUX: There is no truth to the rumor that Bush asked Robertson if Jesus had passed along some tips about how to walk on water, given that most of the military's shallow water boats are in Iraq.
The shallowest people are certainly not.
Be well. Raise hell.
BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy
The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
ORDER "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy"
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press
SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.
By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)
Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.
...and more ammo
BARBWIRE: We have met the enemy and he is us, 5-29-2005
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Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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