Swans Commentary » swans.com December 19, 2005  



Blips #31
 From The Martian Desk


by Gilles d'Aymery




"Of course we will have fascism in America but we will call it democracy!"
—Huey Pierce "The Kingfish" Long (1893-1935)


(Swans - December 19, 2005)  LESSON FOR YOU DULLHEADS: 9/11 changed everything. Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not. Oil is short. It was not then. We do not kill, we do justice, or it's called collateral damage. Trust me, we do not lie. We have the best interest of the American people in mind. We spy on you. Get used to it. It's for your own good and safety. We follow the laws and the Constitution so long as they're my laws and my read of the Constitution. Dissent is unpatriotic. To question my policies is a treasonous act. A treasonous act is dealt with by all the power of the government -- me...and my handlers. Traitors are dealt with through swift deliberation, in Guantánamo Bay, where, you should be reminded, we do not torture. Victory is the end game. It will take a long, long, long, time to reach it. So don't you worry. Trust me. Life is swell. God is great. Now, leave me alone. I'm saving your asses. Go to Wal*Mart and have a merry Xmas -- uh-oh -- holiday.


ANOTHER EXECUTED HUMAN BEING: Who, cares, right? He was just another f**king nigger who deserved his lot, right? The Termite-ator did not feel he could grant clemency, for the nigger had not repented... How could the man repent to an act he always, from the day he was arrested, denied he had committed? HOW? Did Schwarzenegger ponder that question? Did he ask himself, deeply, in the solitude of his conscience -- and not his politics -- whether maybe, just maybe, the nigger, though found guilty by a jury, was not guilty? No DNA evidence in twenty-some years...coerced testimonies...police framing...

STANLEY Tookie Williams was sempiternally in a double bind. Yes, he had a rough adolescence. Yes, he had been violent. Yes, he had stolen and robbed in his youth. Yes, he had been one of the founders of a Los Angeles gang. And yes, he was black. Six percent of the California population is black but 36 percent of inmates on death row are black. That he had become a model prisoner, writing books denouncing gangs and youth violence, that he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times over the years, that he always professed his innocence in the four murders, made no difference to the injustice system that is based on revenge, careerism, and corruption. And then, we entrust a former body builder turned Hollywood action figure and third-rate politico to script our fate in a life and death decision that cannot be test marketed and revised accordingly in the editing room...

NOW, decades of studies show that the death penalty does not deter violent crimes, that it is overwhelmingly administered against poor and indigent people and minorities (racism anyone?), and that innocent people end up executed. Mentally retarded are executed. Juveniles are tried as adults and end up on death row. And, of course, we know that capital punishment is deemed "cruel and inhumane treatment." (Remember, "we do not torture.")

SINCE the US death penalty was reinstated in 1976, an individual is executed, on average, every 10.5 days. Schwarzenegger had his usual Tussauds-like waxed smile on his botulinum face while announcing his denial of clemency... Lest we forget we are a "civilized society," Stanley T. Williams's execution, we were told, was carried off in "a dignified and professional manner."

WHEN I was arrested in May 2004 by a Highway Patrol in Santa Rosa and thrown in jail under the charge I was driving under the influence, which in American lingua franca means drunk driving, and that, in the aftermath I hired an attorney, Walter Rubenstein, I gave Mr. Rubenstein a M$ Word document that recounted my own recollection of that unfortunate and stressful night. His immediate reaction was to tell me that he had little interest "at present" in my side of the story. He wanted to get the police report first and read it. Then we could go through my own side of the story. Slightly baffled, I asked the reason of such an approach. His answer was stupefying, at least to me and my companion Jan, who was present and can corroborate this. He explained that the police were most of the time if not always lying and presenting facts in a light that would better help bring a conviction. So, what I had in writing meant little till we found out what they had put in writing. Sure enough, they had lied alright...but we had to go through a 10-month ordeal against at least six District Attorneys to defeat that police cabal at a cost, financially, emotionally, and practically, that is reverberating to this day and will have consequences, at least financially, for another three years. Even when found not guilty, you still pay a price. (I'll have much more to say about this long ordeal, in greater detail, in the future.)

IMAGINE then what would have happened if I had been known to be a founder of some street gang, or once convicted for stealing properties, and my skin was dark... As I was recounting the episode of the cop shoving me back and forth as his colleague was smiling and I shouted at him to stop roughing me and touching me -- that he had no right to do this -- Mr. Rubenstein simply commented that I was lucky. Had I been black they would have beaten the hell out of me, and no one would have peeped a word. The judges know about it. The DAs know about it. The attorneys know about it. That's just the way it is. The entire injustice system is deeply violent and corrupted, indeed.


TALKING ABOUT our American civilization, not only do we torture (when appropriate) and execute people (whether innocent or not), we also shoot to kill any potential danger, such as a mentally unstable man running out of an airplane in Florida. Safety First is the motto peddled by the White House (and the insurance industry, I suppose). In the name of security and safety, we'll stay the course in Iraq, all the way to "victory." It matters naught that "victory" is never defined and that we do not do body counts (what's 100,000 dead Iraqis in light of our safety and security? Mr. Bush can't even recall if there was a discussion of the potential number of casualties when making the decision to destroy Iraq...); it matters naught that we execute people, innocent or not, or torture people we say we do not torture -- though the entire world knows we do. What matters is that we are civilized -- Wal*Mart is proof of our civilization -- and nobody, no country can stop us from doing whatever we want. Amen!


QUOTE FOR THE AGES: "We removed Saddam Hussein from power because he was a threat to our security." --G.W.B. December 14, 2005


BUSH PLANET: There is no more dangerous a people than those who believe their own delusional fables. To wit: Bush said that,

The reality is that the terrorists have been targeting America for years, long before we ever set foot in Iraq.

We were not in Iraq in 1993, when the terrorists tried to blow up the World Trade Center in New York. We were not in Iraq in 1998, when the terrorists bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq in 2000, when the terrorists killed 17 American sailors aboard the USS Cole. There wasn't a single American soldier in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001, when the terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 people in the worst attack on our home since Pearl Harbor.

I MEAN, DOES HE really believe it? Um, Mr. Bush, we were not in Iraq in 1991, when we kicked their asses out of Kuwait? Um, we were not in Iraq during twelve years of devastating sanctions? Um, we were not in Iraq over the no-fly zones? Um, we were not in Iraq bombing them on a weekly basis for that entire period? Um, we were not in Iraq when we bombed the heck out of them in 1998? Um, we were not in Iraq using the inspection regime to infiltrate the system with CIA-we-do-not-torture operatives?

SINCE I AM AT IT... um, were we not in Saudi Arabia for a decade or so? Um, are we not in Kuwait, Qatar, and all those mini Gulf States, day in and day out? Um, were we not in Iran from 1953 to 1979? Um, is there any country in the region in which we've not had a presence?

LOOK, Georgie Boy, why don't you level the field with the American people? Why don't you tell us that it's all about our lifestyle? You could simple say: "Friends and fellow citizens, remember what daddy once said, 'the American way of life is non negotiable.' Friends, daddy was right, and I am working hard to make sure that it stays that way. Please, stick with me so that your SUVs and trucks keep humming on the road all the way to Wal*Mart. America Uber alles. God bless."


SAFETY FIRST: We were used to the FBI snooping on dissenters. Now, it's the Pentagon that's keeping watch of peace activists and antiwar organizations and Quakers in a dandy database; and, the National Security Agency has gone into the domestic snooping business, courtesy of Georgie Boy, who assures us that's it's all legal and Constitutional. Don't you feel safer? Is this the type of democracy "the kingfish" had in mind?


OH, HAPPY DAYS: According to Fortune Magazine, April 18, 2005 here's the list of the 10 biggest employers in the USA in 2004:

Wal*Mart: 1,600,000
McDonald's: 438,000
UPS: 384,000
IBM: 329,001
Home Depot: 325,000
Ford: 324,864
GM: 324,000
GE: 307,000
Target: 300,000
Citigroup: 290,500

ANOTHER QUOTE FOR THE AGES: "Wal-Mart's founding family is said to be wealthier than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined, and yet more than half of the company's employees don't receive health care, and its enduring quest to bring us lower prices drives down wages everywhere."
--Matt Bai, "New World Economy," New York Times Magazine, December 18, 2005.


BOONVILLE NEWS: Holy mackerel, the cost of propane has jumped 25 percent in just four months. Our distributor, Ferrellgas of Ukiah, charged $1.81 per gallon in August and $2.26 last week -- okay, it's only an increase of 24.86187 percent in four months! I suppose Santa Claus decided to reward oil & gas executives with a fat bonus for Xmas since the price of oil has decreased almost 25 percent since August 2005. That's a 50 percent spread, but then what do I know?

Dennis Toohey and Speedy completed (sort of) our "shed remodeling," bringing an almost close to the project (I suppose it'll take another year or so to fully complete it). Still, at year-end, in Boonville, I would strongly recommend that if one has a road job to do, one should definitely call Dean Titus at 707-895-2515. Dean and his older brother, Craig, will be there when you need them. As to remodeling or constructing, you could not fare better than dealing with Dennis Toohey. He is a phone call away, at 707-895-2038. You may have to get in line, but it's worth the wait.

2005 cannot come to a close without mentioning David Severn, the publisher/would-be editor of the Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA), and the sorry story he is in the Valley, at least in the crowd I frequent. Severn, in a response to an aggravated reader, wrote:

That you find no significant content [to the paper] might speak more to your reading preference than to the coverage of the AVA. Unlike most newspapers the AVA bulges each week with information and coverage on issues of great import, always trying to take a fresh and original look at often confusing topics. With reference to your closing sentiment as well as the invasive, colonizing rich that are remaking the Valley maybe it is the Anderson Valley that does not deserve a paper of the caliber of the AVA.

Wow! Issues of "great import..." . . . "fresh and original look..." (darn, over 50 percent of the paper is reprinted from other publications and the remaining stuff, with the exception of one contributor, Bruce Patterson, is unreadable!) The Valley does not deserve "a paper of the caliber of the AVA".... David's baby power has gone to his head or what? Who knows, maybe the Valley does not deserve David himself!

So, we nominate the great David Severn for the brainless, idiotic, and arrogant Anderson Valley Award of 2005. Happy Xmas, David.


Ç'est la vie...

And so it goes...

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Patterns which Connect

America the 'beautiful'


About the Author

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.



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This Edition's Internal Links

Michael Neumann's The Case Against Israel - Book Review by Gilles d'Aymery

Reflections On 2005 And The Future - Edward S. Herman

After The 2004 Elections - Louis Proyect

2005: Navigating The Doldrums...An Unprogressive, Sulking Year - Gilles d'Aymery

2005: Annus Propagandus - Jan Baughman

2005: A Look Back In Anger - Charles Marowitz

2005: Earth Responds, Illusions Crumble, Vision Needed - Eli Beckerman

2005: A Lamentable Year - Robert Wrubel

2005 And Its Possible Impact - Philip Greenspan

The Good Gardener - Gerard Donnelly Smith

2005: Pessimism Unleashed - Milo Clark

Resistance Is No Longer A Choice - Joe Davison

Letters to the Editor

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art11/desk031.html
Published December 19, 2005