Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Dear Honorable Ms. Clinton:

I have received your “Critical National Issues Survey” and find it odd that nowhere is there any mention of the war in Iraq. Could it be because you stand with Bush and Cheney in support of that war, and in fact, wish to expand it?

Nor is there any mention of the fact that on the city of Fallujah alone, American bombers have thus far dropped almost five-hundred thousand tons of ordnance, or that we are bombing civilians with white phosperous, which basically melts human flesh down to the bone, leaving the clothes intact. Good. Perhaps Walmart (whose board you sat on for years) will be able to sell those clothes to the poor in New Orleans and turn a tidy profit.

Come to think of it, your survey makes no mention of New Orleans, either. Already forgotten, huh? Did you know that 80% of the loans to rebuild the houses of the homeless in New Orleans were turned down by FEMA? But hey, when you're spending $195 million a day on a pointless war, I guess there's not much left to build homes or levees or feed hungry people.

And nowhere in your survey is there any mention of the words, “torture” or “detainees.” No mention of the “Patriot Act.”

Excuse me, but what kind of “survey” is this? Is this for real? One almost gets the feeling that in your view, the items I've enumerated are not even worthy of consideration as “critical issues” in your so-called survey.

If ever there was a time for Democrats to find their spines and begin to stand for something real, surely the time is now. Yet, for the most part, you and the other corporate-financed Dems of our party are silent as bedbugs. Indictments are percolating all the way up to the White House, and nobody on our side of the aisle appears to have much to say.

Well, I will say it: this war is immoral, it is illegal, it was brought on by a pack of lies, and you and everyone up there knows it. If you had an ounce of courage, you'd be standing with Cindy Sheehan in the ditch in Crawford, instead of keeping a safe distance, leaving her and the Veterans for Peace to carry that burden by themselves. Shame on you. And on all of us.

I will not support a party or a candidate of that party that does not, from this day forward, commit to getting us out of this obscene war and bringing our troops home—within the coming year, not some time in the dim future.

I will not support anyone who does not take a firm and vocal stand against this war and those who perpetrated it.

That our Congress, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution, could tolerate for this many years the lawlessness of this administration, certainly is viewed by the rest of the world as a stain on our country. I believe most historians will write it that way, and in fact, are already starting to do so.

Do you really want to be associated with the Bushes, Rumsfelds and Cheneys of this world? Or do you want to be one of the few that historians will look back on and remember in a different way?

Sign me:

Not Interested In Republican-Lite Candidates.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


"For nearly 20 years, before the test of 1968, I had emphasized, especially in talking to students, the need for a revived sense of vocation in modern society. I had emphasized that acceptance of professional status carries special responsibilities and obligations, including the obligation to take risks; and that we should expect politicians, if the issue is important enough, to show a similar sense of profession, and to understand the obligation to take political risks when necessary."

"At all times, but especially in 1968, and again, if it is possible, especially now, the role of the Presidency must be one of uniting this nation, not of adding it up or putting it together as a kind of odd-sized jigsaw puzzle. To unify this nation means to inspire it. We need to develop a sense of character in the nation with common purposes and shared ideals, and then move on as best we can to achieve limited or great progress toward establishing a sense of justice."
For young people who grew up as I did in the 1960s, Gene McCarthy was our voice crying in the wilderness. He was able to articulate the immorality of the war in Vietnam, and he had the courage to do so. He was not flamboyant; he was fearless. There was a wonderful resonance of courage in his voice, and in his speeches we heard a paring down of issues to their essence, and a clarity that lifted our spirits.

And he was a US senator, an older guy and a member of "The Establishment". But when McCarthy declared that he would challenge President Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic Primaries in 1968, it certainly required a lot of nerve. McCarthy understood that the issue of the war was fundamental; the risk of dividing the Party was an essential choice. Our Gene McCarthy sugar-coated nothing and he was a leader for those who opposed the Vietnam War. He was both pragmatic and capable of fine moral judgement, full of poetry and integrity. He raised the whole level of debate and would not accept injustice. The sense of the reality of the war in 1960's Vietnam had just slipped away from the Johnson White House; and Gene McCarthy understood that this was what had happened. Bush's Iraq War is an example of this same kind of fracture between political goals and reality.

In recent years, McCarthy aptly described George W. Bush and his associates as "bullies", with the political instinct to "bully everything"; and as recently as 2003, McCarthy warned
"A Democratic Party that can win but forgets the disenfranchised people of the country is a hollow party that wins hollow victories. And that's what we have now."
It was especially sad to hear of the death of Eugene McCarthy over this past weekend. This is because many of my generation loved him. There is no stronger or finer friend than the one who has seen you through a storm and given you courage. Farewell brother. Thank you for everything.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

copeland morris THE RECEPTION

East of Bedlam, my friends read the paper
At the reception in my honor.
I myself have come early, hoping to taste
The blush of laughter, your sweet wine.
Accepting pardon, I am like the moon
That rises before dark.
The moonlit desert abides,
Worried that you praise me too much.
The party breaks up and some are convinced
That I was a sacred desert, perhaps a moon
Too exalted to mourn.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


America will soon have to pack away its little treasures, the forget-me-nots and relics of unwholesome war, and lay them in the vast crypt of futility. But before the massive door swings on its creaking hinges and slams tight, we should consider the parable of Kong.

Kong grew addicted to television, and he was expendable. And General Electric Television (NBC),-- what's not to believe? They finally did the right thing, and told him, showed him really, that the President's "spontaneous" interview with our soldiers in Iraq was a faked-up event;--and then happened to mention that the President's whole four-and-a-half years of "public venue" amounted to nothing but a stage-managed facade.

Let no one tell you that beauty killed the beast. No. It was the charade that killed him.

Saturday, October 01, 2005



By Jack Rafter


It’s been a hot summer in old Sherwood Forest, but the wind and the rain are coming, spillover from the hurricane, so I guess we’re in for it. Hope no logs fall on our heads. Vincent doesn’t mind rain so much, but he tends to take thunder and lightning kind of personal. Well, I told him we’re still better off than a lot of those refugees pouring out of Orleans. At least I’ve already been through losing my home, although it wasn’t exactly a natural disaster that took it. No, it was just a guy in a three-piece suit. But we do have a nice tent, after all.

Now, New Orleans is flooded again, from the latest hurricane. I went over to Johnny Blair’s café the other night and watched the evacuation out of Houston. It looked like a richer grade of people coming out of there, than the ones that got left in New Orleans. Now, the vultures are swarming to the sunny South—-the speculators, the developers, buying up cheap flood land, carving it up. Halliburton is there, too, just like they are in Iraq. The president has suspended a law that would have allowed laborers to be paid $10.40 an hour. Now, contractors are free to hire workers at poverty wages. Business as usual.

* * * *

Sure looks like the world is going to hell. I wonder how many times, in how many places someone has repeated that line—“the world is going to hell”? I wouldn’t know, but I bet it’s a lot. And I suppose people have said it in every age, and every language, as far back as you could go. “The world is going to hell.”

Most summer nights, Vincent and I sleep outside the tent, trying to stay cool. We listen to the groaning of trains in the freight yard, and if the moon’s out, we lie awake watching it. Or at least, I do.

And whenever I watch the moon, it seems like I always think about the same thing: how long it’s been up there; since the beginning of time, since the first stirring of life, the earliest sign of human beings, the moon has been there, a constant companion through every age and epoch of history. And sure, the stars have been there, too, just as constant. But the moon is so close. Our neighbor. The one thing that everyone on earth clear back to the beginning has seen or at least was aware of.

Think of all the people who have paused somewhere in their journey and looked up at the moon. They may have been crossing a desert or an ocean or making their way across the Great Plains. They were ancient Celts or Egyptians. They were Mayan or Aztec or Roman. They were Australian aborigines or they were Sioux Indians. And they all wondered about the moon. They all made up stories about it. And some of them made romance in the presence of its mystic light.

And I suppose, almost without exception, every soldier that ever lived and died, who has been in any war since the first stone axe was thrown, has looked up in the quiet aftermath of fighting and beheld the moon, if only a sliver of silver in the night sky, and thought: What am I doing here?” And “Why are we doing this?” How could they do otherwise in the presence of the moon—an oracle of calm and peace?

I’m thinking now of a battle I read about in some book—about the Civil War. I can’t remember which battle or where it was. But for several hours the battle had raged in a tangle of woods and briars and brush. The sound was terrible—trees ripped apart by shot and shell, along with humans and horses. The woods filled with nightmarish screams. Finally, as darkness came on, the shooting died out, leaving only the sound of men—boys really, always boys—moaning in their pain, crying out for water or food or for their mothers. And as the smoke lifted, and the moon’s light filtered down through splintered branches, a lone voice rose from the darkness—no one knows from which side. But someone began to sing. It was a song no doubt everyone in those woods recognized, no matter which side they were on. The Doxology. And so this anonymous boy began to sing in a clear voice:

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow. . . .”

And as he sang, in that moment, other voices joined in, here and there, hunkered down in the thickets and briars, till almost all the soldiers on both sides were singing:

“Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


"O Tiresias,
master of all the mysteries of our life,
all you teach and all you dare not tell,
signs in the heavens, signs that walk the earth!
Blind as you are, you can feel all the more
what sickness haunts our city..."

"So I beg you, grudge us nothing now, no voice;
no message plucked from the birds, the embers
or the other mantic ways within your grasp.
Rescue yourself, your city, rescue me--
rescue everything infected by the dead.

How terrible--to see the truth
when the truth is only pain to him who sees."

--Sophocles, OEDIPUS THE KING, (Robert Fagles, trans), p 176
Neglect has poisoned the public altar and polluted national life. Even the ritual of death that was so particular to New Orleans' culture has simply vanished. The defilement of the city is complete; since its dead used to be escorted through decorated streets, with the cortege bringing along Dixieland musicians, its long procession dancing. The whole nation has seen the unclaimed dead floating in that dreadful, toxic water. The living city has dispersed, with all its refugees spread over several states. So many are still trying to contact and recover their lost children. Wind, water, and gravity can do only so much to dispirit people; and yet the real catastrophe lies in government neglect, prevarication, and unpreparedness--all on prominent display in President Bush's administration.

Writing for Time Magazine, Matthew Cooper contrasted Bush's "bullhorn moment" in September 2001, atop the wreckage of the Twin Towers. "He can't threaten to get Katrina "dead or alive". The [hurricane] victims didn't need a photo-op gesture of reassurance so much as water, food and escape."

George W. Bush will not be accused of patricide or maternal incest; he is not guilty of such crimes, of course. This man, whose banality surpasses all presidential frontiers, can clearly be nothing more than the half-assed imitation of a tragic figure. Deficiencies of judgment, corruption and deception, and a shallow barbarism are the hallmarks of his White House. Tragic Oedipus at least had real issues; the President on the other hand, seems like a flimsy patchwork of gimmicks, evasion, and disinformation. The marvel and shame is that such a psychologically damaged man could have risen to the presidency twice.

In Oedipus the King, the theatre audience finds a great soul, whose fundamental concern is for his people. The King will spare nothing, not even himself, to get to the bottom of the plague, and find out why his city of Thebes has been singled out for punishment. Such great crimes as he committed were utterly unwitting ones; he never sought his fate. He was accosted at a crossroads, while he was traveling; he could not have known that the old man and retainers, who tried to force him off the road, were from a royal court. He had no way of knowing that Laius was his father, when he killed his attackers. The whole mechanism of his fate was in place when he was born. A soothsayer had told Laius that his newborn son would be his death, that the grownup child would kill him. Laius ordered this infant bound, and laid exposed on a mountainside to die. A shepherd found the child, and brought him to a distant city, where another king and queen adopted the boy.

Because Oedipus did not understand his actual role or his real standing when he came to Thebes, he only sank deeper into his fate. Thebes was tryannized by a cruel riddler, a monster called the Sphinx. Oedipus solved the riddle put by the Sphinx, and thus banished it from the city. Grateful beyond words to this rescuer, the citizens made him their king and married him to Jocasta, their queen. And he could not know the reality; that this older woman was, in fact, his mother. The audiences weep for Oedipus because he is undone by the greatness inside him. This king is most deeply devoted to accountability. And what matters above all else to him, is his responsibility to his people. When he gets word from the divine oracle that the killer of the former king is living inside the walls of Thebes, he will move heaven and earth to investigate, and uncover the killer, who must be killed or banished. And that killer is himself; and he finally twists the truth out of Tiresius, a blind man, an old soothsayer.

"To the extent the federal government didn't do its job right, I take responsibility."
During appalling days when those stranded in the city kept waiting and waiting, a man trapped by flood could see across the street, where he witnessed river rats eating the flesh off the feet of a man he knew, who was still alive, but immobile. After two days of watching it happen, he could only exclaim "Thank Jesus", when death at last brought an end to that torment. Another man was found, who had died in his flooded attic, after clinging to life for a long while, as he tried to breathe through a vent pipe.

It's necessary to come back to the question of defilement, in order to take the measure of this calamity. It is incontestable that there is something wrong with Karl Rove, something wrong with George W. Bush, something wrong with Cheney. It's obvious that defilement is the issue when the toxic sludge is being scraped off New Orleans to make way for a boondoggler's ball. Ordinary prevailing wages are being suppressed by executive order, and the path is being cleared for Halliburton and the whole conglomerate of corporate vampires, who have been sucking blood out of Iraq and bleeding our young soldiers.

There is a symbolic cord that connects New Orleans with tragedies like those of Oedipus and Antigone. We see that sacrilege and defilement are heaped on the city, oozing like a curse through the streets. There is a symbolic association, when the dead are left unburied and become carrion for wild animals, and those familiars of our households, the dogs. The parallel with New Orleans is the excavation of its culture and people; and it is haunting and terrible. The bones stare back at us. A dog is seen gnawing a thighbone on the doorstep; fattened birds disgorge their gruesome message on windowsills; river rats waddle and deposit this horror. Altars, vestibules, and other sacrosanct places are polluted.

And it is said that aides were nervous about irritating the president, whenever they suggested that he might shorten his vacation to consider the fate of a city.
"I charge you, then, submit to that decree
you just laid down: from this day onward
speak to no one, not these citizens, not myself.
You are the curse, the coruption of the land!

You, shameless--
aren't you appalled to start up such a story?
You think you can get away with this?

I have already.
The truth with all its power lives inside me.

What? Say it again--I'll understand it better.

I say you are the murderer you hunt." (Ibid pp 179-80)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


As is often the case, sometimes the most artful essay cannot capture the pure essence of someone better than they can do it just by speaking in their own words.
Barbara Bush: "What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.
And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) -- this is working very well for them."

There you have it: yet another shining example of good Christian values.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Well, everything is going right along just fine, so our President tells us, and New Orleans is washed away. Gone. . . .

A lot of the washing away, the drownings, the murders and rapes and hundreds of thousands of people losing their homes, their jobs, and everything they ever had in this world, happened while Bush was vacationing or was off on another fund raiser.

Now, that the news cameras are rolling day after day, now that some of the water has finally receded enough so he can comfortably stand on dry land without sinking up to his gills, or getting too much mud (or shit) on his trouser cuffs, now he has finally got himself down there, insinuating himself into the picture, as he goes from one black person to another giving each one a big fatherly hug.

He looks a little out of place. He doesn’t make a very good Franklin Roosevelt or even a passable imitation of Huey Long. Didn’t Bush cut off the funding that was going to repair and reinforce the levees that broke in this storm and caused all these people he’s now hugging to his bosom to be homeless? I read somewhere the amount of money he cut would pay for about seven and a half minutes of his war in Iraq.

In light of all this excess water, and the tardiness of our government in responding to this catastrophe, I can’t help but recall something Bush’s bosom buddy, Grover Norquist, said awhile back. Let me see—what was it? Oh, yes, it comes to me, now: he said he wanted to shrink government down to the size where you could "drown it in the bathtub.”

Now, Norquist is in charge of some group calls itself the "Leave Me Alone Coalition." This bunch consists of a certain type, what Norquist calls the “ideal citizen”--a homeschooling, gun-toting sort of guy “who doesn’t need the goddamn government for anything.” Well, I guess this is what you get when you vote for no government--literally, a drowned city.

Mr. Norquist might be happy about this, I don’t know. But it doesn’t look like it’s doing Mr. Bush much good lately. It’s sort of funny. But it looks like he’s finally getting his ass kicked. And who’s doing the ass-kicking? Anybody from Congress? No. Certainly no one from the Democratic side of the aisle.

The Democrats are done. Stick a fork in ‘em. New Orleans is gone and the Democratic Party has blown away, carried off in the breeze like so much thistledust. What remains are people like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and all the other members of the Club known as the Democratic Leadership Council. Go ahead, get a good look at these specimens. THESE ARE REPUBLICANS, my friends. Make no mistake. There's not enough cartilage between them to make one good spine. Not only are they for the war and the corporations, they’re for even more misadventures in the Middle East.

As for the rest of them, the rank and file Democrats, where are they on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts? Nowhere. Where are they on torture at Abu Ghraib? Where are they on the Downing Street Memos? Cindy Sheehan was at Camp Casey for over two weeks. Joan Baez showed up. Martin Sheen Showed up. The National media showed up. People came from all over the country and the world. But where were the Congressional Democrats that should have been standing beside her? Nowhere.

So, who’s kicking Bush’s ass, now?

It’s the mothers. The mothers of this country. Beginning with Cindy Sheehan. Followed by more and more mothers of fallen soldiers. They are coming from everywhere, from small towns and big towns, from all walks of life. They are trailing him, dogging his steps, like the ghosts of Christmases Past. From the camps in Crawford to Washington, D.C.

Something tells me they’re not going to quit. All the right-wing smear campaigns don’t seem to be working against the mothers of sons and daughters who have served their country well, sacrificing their lives for a pack of lies. The petty insults and smears seem to have no effect on them. On the other hand, they show in bold relief the pure meanness of the right that spews out such venom.

Now, there's yet one more to add to the list of mothers that are hounding the President. Mother Nature, her own self--Hurricane Katrina. It seems that Cindy and Katrina have caught the cross-eyed President unawares. I’m sure it was the last thing he expected. People who think they can run the world probably believe that nothing is as powerful as they are, with all their corporations and armies and vast weapons to back them up. In their hubris, not only are they apt to shirk off a fierce tropical storm; they may even underestimate the ferocity of a mother’s love.

Good luck, George. I don't think these moms will blow away quite as easily as Congressional Democrats. Let's face it--they're made of better stuff.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Camp Casey II, Crawford, Texas
Saturday, August 27, 2005

The summer day was almost too hot to bear. Its August sun bore down on the huge tent at Camp Casey II, where people gathered in heat that was 100 degrees, and perhaps more. Cindy Sheehan's supporters arrived by chartered bus from Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin; and as they stepped down from the bus, they were given a hand of applause by many who stood in the midday sun to greet them. Others flew into Texas from distant parts of the nation or drove long distances to be in Crawford. One protest group from Ithaca, New York, had raised $10,000 and sent 31 members to be present at Camp Casey.

On the 27th, it was an honor to witness more history being made, just down the road from President Bush's ranch. Cindy Sheehan was there, in person, surrounded by what this writer would estimate to be 1,200 supporters. Cindy has kept faith with her son, Casey, who was killed in Baghdad, 15 months ago; and it's only been a matter of three weeks, since she rallied a protest movement that clearly defines Bush's war as immoral, and calls for a halt to pointless deaths.

Saturday's event attracted veterans' organizations, as well as many of Cindy's Gold Star parents who set up their tents at the original Camp Casey. Gathering at the larger camp were clergy, lots of fine musicians, bloggers and other writers, camera people, and many volunteers who maintained supplies of water, ice, and seemed to prepare food around the clock. The dedicated time, effort, and donations of many responsible people were in evidence everywhere.

Though exhausted by the heat, Saturday's crowd could not forget the memorial of white crosses and empty boots that were always part of this event. And when Cindy Sheehan stood on the stage, flanked by other grieving mothers and fathers, and also by Joan Baez and her guitar, the audience was completely absorbed in the moment. Their music continued to swell and surge, through the chorus of an old tune, associated with America's Civil Rights movement. This tune "We Shall Overcome" was one that Cindy Sheehan sang with passion, and the crowd might as well have been in church. "We... shall overcome,.. today " those onstage sang, and the crowd sang along, tenderly. The old lyric was "We shall overcome...someday"; but changing it to "We shall" seemed to fit the occasion.

Cindy's speech followed a short time later; and she told her audience that the pointless deaths of American soldiers must end. The President would still not meet with this grieving mother; and with sadness, she explained that having spilled the blood of young American troops in Iraq, the President felt empowered to spill even more blood. She acknowledged that August 31st marked the end of the President's "vacation", and that she would feel some loss in leaving Texas behind. She wanted Americans to know that her time spent in Crawford is only the beginning; and it's important to take this protest to Washington DC next; and she believes Camp Casey and the meaning of Camp Casey will come with her.

A few hours later, the sun was starting to edge toward the horizon, and a dark squall line began to bear down on the camp. Very quickly the temperature dropped, and wind began to whip across the flat pasture in a menacing way. This unanswerable, raw power of nature sometimes proves more frightening than anything we can imagine. Someone took the microphone and advised the crowd to avoid the place where they were standing, under the steel masts of the pavilion tent, while lightning began to rapidly approach. Here, beneath the suddenly uncertain sky, was the tangled net of so many of our human choices, a breathtaking proof of our human frailty, and the temporary, provisional space we occupy.

Rabindranath Tagore has said "Where danger is near, so also is salvation."

In this way, conscience also ebbs and rises on the tides of American history. But the sonority and wholeness of that conscience has rarely been so beautiful or as necessary to us, as it has proved to be at Camp Casey.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Camp Casey II, Crawford Texas
Saturday, August 20, 2005

The crowd drifted slowly out as evening fell, emerging from under the huge pavilion tent, and its steep. canvas spires. The dark indigo of night seemed to flatten down strands of pink against the horizon. The playing of taps had been announced, and the crowd anticipating it was quiet. Through the afternoon, others had been bending down, fitting white crosses, 200 of which filled an apron of pasture between the tent and the road.

The people, the whole congregation standing there, would not have been waiting as they were, without the initiative of one woman, Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, 15 months ago. This mother touched the conscience of the nation, starting a couple of weeks ago, as she reminded Americans of the lies told by President Bush, which led to war. She began by camping out along the edge of a narrow road, near the President's ranch. But Cindy's cause is the cause of many mothers who are camped out there.--even if Cindy herself has had to abandon her spot temporarily, owing to the serious illness of her mother.

But as night gathered at Camp Casey II, what was best expressed, was the solidarity of people's eyes, as they searched around the margin of those white crosses, for the trumpeter who would sound taps--a man whose silence lingered, as his name was called. The man paused to hear the notes sound in his head, waiting for the music to come into him. The spirit that Cindy Sheehan had personified was something real to those who patiently stood there. Gold Star mothers were present, whose sons or daughters had been killed in Bush's war.

A 71 year old black woman from New York heard the echo of taps fade; and she received encouragement from a kind hand on her shoulder. She struggled with the words of a hymn, but began to sing; and it must have been that she was weeping over a grandchild. Faltering for a moment, she finished the last refrain; and at the end her voice was strong, "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me".

The crowd returned to the tent for music and supportive speeches; but that timeless moment, under the relentless indigo of dusk would persist inside them. Speakers would remind them that this anti-war movement has truly begun. But reflecting on what they had just witnessed, they seemed to know already that this is its real beginning.

Friday, August 19, 2005


On Monday night, a vandal in a pickup truck ran over
hundreds of small white crosses that had been installed in
Crawford, Texas as a simple memorial to the Troops killed in
Iraq. The vandal, who police say is Waco resident Larry
Northern, was soon arrested, and OpTruth's Perry Jefferies
managed to find his e-mail address. Here's what he had to

Mr. Northern:

I am a Veteran of the Iraq war, having served with the 4th
Infantry Division on the initial invasion with Force Package

While I was in Iraq,a very good friend of mine, Christopher
Cutchall,was killed in an unarmoredHMMWV outside of Baghdad.
He was a cavalry scout serving with the 3d ID.Once he had
declined the award of a medal because Soldiers assigned to
him did not receive similar awards that he had recommended.
He left two sons and awonderful wife. On Monday night,
August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him
by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers in Iraq was Roger Turner. We gave him a
hard time because he always wore all of his protective
equipment, including three pairs of glasses or goggles. He
did this because he wanted to make sure that he returned
home to his family. He rode a bicycle to work every day to
make sure that he was able to save enough money on his Army
salary to send his son to college. At Camp Anaconda, where
the squadron briefly stayed, a rocket landed inside a tent,
sending a piece of debris or fragment into him and killed
him. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial
cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers was Henry Bacon. He was one of the finest
men I ever met. He was in perfect shape for a man over
forty, working hard at night. He told me that he did that
because he didn't have much money to buy nice things for his
wife, who he loved so much, so he had to be in good shape
for her. He was like a father to many young men in his
section of maintenance mechanics. They fixed our vehicles
with almost no support and fabricated parts and made repairs
that kept our squadron rolling on the longest, fastest armor
advance ever made under fire. He was so very proud of his
son-in-law that married the beautiful daughter so well
raised by Henry. His son-in-law was a helicopter pilot with
the 1st Cavalry Division, who died last year. Henry stopped
to rescue a vehicle belonging to another unit on what was to
be his last day in Iraq. He could have kept rolling - he was
headed to Kuwait after a year's tour. But he stopped. He
could have sent others to do the work, but he was on the
ground, leading by example, when he was killed. On Monday
night, August 16, you took it upon yourself to go out in the
country, where a peaceful group was exercising their
constitutional rights, and harming no one, and you ran down
the memorial cross erected for Henry and for his son-in-law
by Arlington West.

Mr. Northern - I know little about Cindy Sheehan except that
she is a grieving mother, a gentle soul, and wants to bring
harm to no one. I know little about you except that you
found your way to Crawford on Monday night in August with
chains and a pipe attached to your truck for the sole
purpose of dishonoring a memorial erected for my friends and
lost Soldiers and hundreds of others that served this nation
when they were called. I find it disheartening that good men
like these have died so that people like you can threaten a
mother who lost a child with your actions. I hope that you
are ashamed of yourself.

Perry Jefferies, First Sergeant, USA (retired)

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Photo: Nathan Diebenow, The Lone Star Iconoclast
"Why do the right wing media so assiduously scrutinize the words of a grief filled mother and ignore the words of a lying president?" --Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed five days after arriving in Baghdad in April 2004. She was later invited to Washington for a private meeting with the President, in the company of other bereaved families. But George W's attitude and tone shocked her."Instead of a kind gesture or a warm handshake, Sheehan said she immediately got a taste of Bush arrogance when he entered the room and "in a condescending tone and with a disgusting loud Texas accent" said: "Who we'all honorin' today?"
"[Bush's] mouth kept moving, but there was nothing in his eyes or anything else about him that showed me he really cared or had any real compassion at all. This is a human being totally disconnected from humanity and reality. His eyes were empty, hollow shells and he was acting like I should be proud to just be in his presence when it was my son who died for his illegal war! It was one of the most disgusting experiences I ever had and it took me almost a year to even talk about it." (LewisNews)
It's one year later; and although the war news is worse, the President is taking an extended vacation in Texas.

Bush and his best minds pondered whether to arrest Cindy, as she camped out near his Crawford ranch this week, still adamant about seeing George. Empty suits were toying with the idea of locking her up as a "national security threat". Instead, the President was pointed toward the microphones, so he could respectfully disagree with her criticism, and politely wash his hands of the protesting mother.

The Bush propaganda war is in place all the time. His talk about the "nobility" of the cause, contains no clue as to what that might mean. The republican creed of party above country, the blundering, the profiteering, the lies: these are all the contributing factors that have led to the violent death of thousands, and among them, 24 year old Casey Sheehan.

One group of day-tripping right-wingers arrived recently at Sheehan's Crawford encampment with the moronic chant of "We don't care. We don't care".

This message comes to us today from Cindy Sheehan at Crawford, Texas, courtesy of Peace in Pink Shoes:
"I am a continued thorn in the side to the right-wing bloggers and right wing-nut "journalists." One man, Phil Hendry called me an "ignorant cow." But you know what, the people who have come out from all over the country to give me a hug and take a picture with me and to support the cause of peace, overwhelms me so much, I don't have time to worry about the negativity and the hatred. The people who are slamming me have no idea about what it feels like to unjustly have a child killed in an insane war. Plus, they have no truth to fight truth with, so they fight truth with more lies and hate."

"Three active duty soldiers from Ft. Hood came to visit me and tell me that they really appreciated what I was doing and that if they were killed in the war, their moms would be doing the same thing. That made me feel so good after all of the negativity I had been hearing from the righties. I also got to hold a couple of toddlers on my lap while their mom or dad took pictures of us. I am honored that people have resonated with the action that I took to make our mission of ending the war a reality."
Cindy Sheehan's contest with Bush and his hollow men, somehow brings to mind what Norman Mailer said, during an interview last summer. He commented on the corrupt nature of corporate power and those who accommodate that power in America. Our corporations "tend to flatten everything" he said, "They are the Big Empty".
"You could see [in contrast to authentic people] all the faces of the present administration, those empty faces, those handmaidens and bodyguards of the Big Empty." --Norman Mailer

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


(Further Adventures Of A Homeless Man and His Dog)


By Jack Rafter

Dear Mr. Mogli,
Since the warm weather came in, Vincent and I have been staying in the tent in our little strip of woods near the freight yards. For some reason, the tramps down there have taken to calling it “Sherwood Forest,” though it’s just a ribbon of scrub oak and brush caught between the bike path on one side and the track line on the other. Beyond the freight yards is a two-lane black top. I haven’t seen any Robin Hoods or “Merry Men” running around in those woods. No Maid Marions, either. Folks down there are pretty shabby looking, for the most part, including. . .yours, truly.

Still, it’s a thriving little community we have here, though we’re all but invisible to the Outsiders. (And I use the term "thriving" somewhat loosely, of course.) Outsiders, by the way, are people who still live in houses and have jobs and cars and TV’s and cell phones, and so on. I used to have all those things. I was once an Outsider. Then, my job got moved out of the country. Now, a Chinaman does my job for about a tenth of the pay. In the language of NAFTA, this is progress. Three cheers for progress!

Early in the morning and late in the evening, the joggers and the bikers streak by on the bike path. We can see them through the trees as they flash by in a blur, a swish of white Nike running shoe, a blinding beam from a red or blue bike helmet. But they do not see us. We are just shadows in the trees, sparrows rooting around in the leaves. And on the other side of Sherwood Forest, the trains rumble by all day.

Lately, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of people trying to move into the “forest.” None of us who live here are surprised at the increase. Sure, some of us are crazy, I guess, but a lot of us are perfectly sane and aware of what’s going on. We read the papers. We keep up with current events. We hold meetings in our woods. We have little “round table” discussions in our campsites, like the knights of old.

Yes, we're a tattered tribe of knights. But we can still see and hear and think. We read how all the jobs are leaving the country, how the government and the corporations are one and the same. We notice that more and more people can’t afford to run air conditioners in the summer or gas heaters in the winter, they can’t pay their utility bills or their childrens’ dental bills, they let their house insurance lapse, they miss a mortgage payment, they fail to pay their property tax; and finally, the banks gobble up their homes. That, in brief, is what happened to me.

There are some in Sherwood Forest who believe that virtually everyone in America, except the rich, will be homeless one day. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true, they really believe it. The question then will be whether or not the poor will still be blamed for being poor.

Of course, for years, it has been the middle class, as much as the rich, who has blamed them. They spent years buying into the false morality that Welfare or anything that remotely smacked of “Socialism” was somehow evil. Even to the point where many of them would actually support a president who would disgorge all the money from their Social Security retirement plans and hand it over to Wall Street brokers.

They were a people who didn’t read, who had no awareness of history. In that way, their president was just like them. He was them. He could tell them anything and they would believe it. It was like spoon-feeding little children. They didn’t know that Social Security was a visionary program brought into being long ago by a president named Roosevelt.

Franklin Roosevelt was a man who thought that everyone— especially the poor—should have some form of income when they reached old age. Franklin Roosevelt thought that “promoting the general welfare”—or “well-being”--of the citizenry, was a perfectly sound, honorable, thing to do.

That is in stark contrast to those who are in power today. Now—perhaps too late—the Middle Class is just beginning to learn what this could mean—that increasingly, they. . .are. . .Them—the Poor. The Shit Upon.

What will they have to say about that, I wonder? Who is left to blame?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


What if the eye that Americans look up to, the eye that is lodged at the top of the pyramid, is a lizard's eye? The lust of the eye constitutes whatever reason a reptile has to exist. There is only the eye that moves and the objects which it makes subordinate to itself. Being history's actor, it will simply react to an opportunity or withdraw in fear. It is only concerned about itself.

The last act of republican credulity will likely come during a great public health crisis, while an enraged public is demanding justice; and it will be a bitter outcry, since the lizard and his accomplices have done nothing but reject accountability, from first to last.

Compared to that edifice of republicanism, Calvin Coolidge, George W. Bush is a modern GOP activist. Writer Irving Stone described Coolidge as the absolute minimalist of all presidents, who put in four hour days in the Oval Office, and spent most afternoons asleep with his feet up on the desk.
"On the afternoon of the day that Treasury Department officials laid on Calvin Coolidge's desk the documented case for immediate and drastic control of the investment market, and he turned them away, defeated by his icy silence, he went down to the basement of the White House to count the number of apples in a barrel sent to him by a friend from Vermont."
"While Rome burned, Nero at least made music. But President Coolidge counted apples."
President Coolidge famously said "The business of America is business." And for him laissez faire was a guiding light; change was a repellent concept. Borrowing money to risk in the stock market was actually good for business, he thought. And a great many ordinary Americans were doing just that. From 1927 until the market crash of 1929 (the year after Coolidge left office), a devastating "domino effect" was in process of playing out.
"Family savings were being poured into local banks. Local banks poured their funds into Wall Street"..."The savings of the nation having been absorbed by Wall Street, the people were persuaded to borrow money on their farms, factories, homes, machinery, and every other tangible asset, that they might earn high interest rates and take big profits out of the rise in the stock market. When Wall Street's huge foreign loans and dubious domestic loans were not repaid, America lost not only the cash of its savings but its collateral as well."
Reporter Bob Woodward got a candid answer out of our current president, when he asked him how history would judge his war in Iraq. "History, we don't know. We'll all be dead." We hope he didn't mean "We'll all be dead, and soon." The words can also be interpreted to mean that the President is too busy making history to worry about his legacy.

David Brown, writing for the Washington Post, provides these unsettling facts:
"Ironically, for the current H5N1 strain of avian flu to gain "pandemic potential" it will have to become less deadly. Declining lethality is a key sign that the microbe is adapting to human hosts. That is one reason the 34 percent mortality observed in the most recent outbreak--a cluster of cases in northern Vietnam--has scientists worried."..."Such strains are rare. They arise from the chance scrambling of an animal flu virus with a human one."
Brown reminds us that the 1918/1919 outbreak was one of the most lethal of these rare strains.
"At least 50 million people, and possibly as many as 100 million, died when the world's population was 1.9 billion, one-third of its current size." (Brown, Washington Post, 7/31/05)
It's too bad that we live in a country where the reptilian mindset, known as the "bottom line", takes precedence over the more evolved construct of civic responsibility. Our tears are wasted; but let's belabor the obvious for a moment. We don't have a liberal government that would simply give the pharmaceutical companies their marching orders, and support the effort with subsidies..

No, the soul of republicanism is attached to the idea of waiting. The "market forces" must be in the right alignment. The drug companies will need to see a market incentive, before they can think about cranking up vaccine production or doing a jump-start on research. "The business of America is business."
"...the end of this world-wide vaudeville act, shall be a fool's prat-fall" or so my friend Earl Lewis once wrote, in the jacket of a book he gave me.
All this seems to be coming true in the hands of the government that rules us now.

But even at this deplorable junction of history, it can't be right to give up on popular government. Perhaps if we keep shouting in unison, one or several of the engineers will pull the brakes on this runaway train. None of us alive now, wants to be twitching out of the depths of the reptilian brain, or blinking out of the lizard's eye. Over millions of years there have been some improvements; and now we share the same customs, laws and medicine,--and breathe the same contagious air--if it should come to that. Before we condemn another generation to years of suspicion, aggression, and selfishness, we need to see if we can revive public service and conserve something more important than profit.

Government has yet to counsel the public on this issue. And if the right questions haven't been posed, now would be a good time to ask.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


We are in Iraq as occupiers and it is going badly; but for George W. Bush, what matters is to dazzle the public with wishful thinking. The war is going grandly, according to him. Democracy is on the march; but really, it isn't.

While fewer Americans are tuning into his speeches, many more have stopped listening to their president. People are coming around to the conclusion that Bush's daydream of Iraq bears no resemblance to the real and tragic country itself. Suspicious cash transfers were described in an article for Reuters by Sue Pleming. Americans should be aware that $8.8 billion appropriated for Iraq is simply missing; and no one is being held accountable. Pallets of cash, billions, have been loaded on ships in New York, and handed out to corporate contractors in Iraq in duffel bags. The ground there runs red with Iraqi blood; three American soldiers are killed there every day. In Bush's fixer-upper Iraq, coalition partners don't cut their losses and withdraw their brigades. Raw sewage doesn't run in the streets in his fantasy; there is electricity and water service in the President's Iraq. The occupation isn't pushing the country toward civil war.

Sixty years ago, on "the hotttest of August nights", Albert Camus was watching Paris shoot off all its guns to celebrate liberation. He observed then that greatness doesn't come with conquest; he was sure that it only begins when people themselves resolve to be just. So it must be said that the President's audacity is no example of leadership. He never has inspired us to overcome our unjust condition, which would require that we ourselves be just.

Bush handles applause at fake Town Hall meetings, where born-again republicans are picked-over to assure their partisan purity; but he seems most comfortable speaking at military bases, from Alaska to North Carolina. The President is unchanged, even if his audience has grown more solemn. None of the old confidence has left his voice. He is still the salesman, making a pitch to secure the sacrifices of the soldiers.

This is the President who used the trauma of 9/11, the destruction and death at the World Trade Center, to run his agenda roughshod, over the law, over the truth, and over the bodies of Iraqis; having less body armor for the troops, but with no apparent shortage of happy talk. The President's disinformation machine keeps churning out the same meticulous lies, strung-together phrases, extracted by Bush's marketing experts from focus group experiments.
"The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face"..."The same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York"...

"Defeat them abroad before they attack us at home"..."Iraq is the central front"..."The only way our enemies [in Iraq] can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11."
David Nyhan covered the December 1999 New Hampshire primaries for the Boston Globe. "It was a gaffe-free evening" for the "rookie front-runner"..."till he was asked about Saddam's weapons stash." 'I'd take 'em out,' [Bush] grinned cavalierly, 'take out the weapons of mass destruction--I'm surprised he's still there.'

This superficiality in the face of life and death is an unchanging trait. The cavalier would-be president was head-hunting even then; and Saddam was already in his sights.

Bush brought up New York no less than five times during his speech last June, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The soldiers were given the cue for one lonely ripple of applause, while their president failed to answer the nation's concerns. Over and over again, Bush put together the same confounded story, as he linked Iraq and Saddam Hussein with September 11. As he was about to wind it up, with one final reference to September 11, the President couldn't resist a plea for new recruits. Awkward and a bit pathetic, the remark could be easily confused with some kind of grim, gallows humor, a parody of his performance.
"And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces."
Our grandchildren will find out our secrets. They will see whether we became corrupt--or whether we grew just--once we decided to be stronger than our condition. Those who come after us will know if our souls rest easily. This would be because "we did what was necessary," as Camus says, "without any spirit of revenge or spite"..."as victory returns."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Final installment of my interview with Jubal Durfee, whom I met at the gunshow recently. For more background on Jubal, see previous chapters below. Here we are in the midst of a big discussion on religion:

THOLOS: You say the Grand Canyon arrived “intact.” What about Adam and Eve?

JUBAL: What about ‘em?

THOLOS: Did they also arrive “intact”?

JUBAL: Well, that’s what the Bible says, ain’t it?

THOLOS: Were they the first two people?

JUBAL: Well, hell, yes.

THOLOS: You know that, for sure?

JUBAL: Of course I do.

THOLOS: Are you familiar with the Scopes trial?

JUBAL: The what?

THOLOS: The trial of John T. Scopes. The “Monkey Trial”?

JUBAL: Oh, I think I heard of that.

THOLOS: It was back in the twenties, a little town called Dayton, Tennessee. Scopes was a biology teacher who tried to teach evolution in his classroom. The town had an ordinance against teaching evolution--

JUBAL: Good for them!

THOLOS: So they put him on trial. Clarence Darrow defended him. And William Jennings Bryan defended the Bible as the only necessary authority in the classroom, when it came to the origins of life.

JUBAL: Well, I agree with him, by God.

THOLOS: I’d like to ask you a question that Clarence Darrow put to Mr. Bryan. Do you mind if I do that?

JUBAL: Go right ahead, bud.

THOLOS: There’s a passage in Genesis that goes: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, in the East of Eden. And Cain knew his wife.” What do you make of her?


THOLOS: Cain’s wife? Mrs. Cain? If Adam and Eve were the first two and they begat Cain and Abel, then where’d this extra woman spring from?

JUBAL: I dunno. I guess God musta fixed him up. (He laughs.)

THOLOS: But seriously. Where do you think she came from? Was there another creation somewhere-—over in the next county, perhaps?

JUBAL: Sure. Why not?

THOLOS: Yes, why not. Only, it’s not mentioned in the Bible, is it?

JUBAL: No, I don’t think it is.

THOLOS: But you’d think it would be, since it’s such an important story, and, as you say, everything in the Bible is the literal truth. Yet, there’s no explanation provided for the presence of this extra woman. For instance, there’s no mention of Mrs. Cain’s parents. Don’t you think that’s kind of odd?

JUBAL: Well, I’ll tell you, bud, I don’t spend a lot of time questioning the ways of God. I think if you get yourself saved, you’ll have all the answers you need, partner.

THOLOS: Okay. You mentioned gay people earlier.

JUBAL: Queers, yeah.

THOLOS: Do you think they’re not entitled to the same rights as other people?

JUBAL: Well, I don’t know about that. I do know what the Bible says about ‘em, though.

THOLOS: What’s that?

JUBAL: Says kill ‘em.

THOLOS: Really?

JUBAL: Yep. You oughta read it sometime. It says it in Leviticus.

THOLOS: It says kill them in Leviticus?

JUBAL: Yep. Chapter 20, verse 13. It’s right there in black and white.

THOLOS: It also says adulterers should be put to death, as well, doesn’t it?

JUBAL: Adulterers? Yeah, I guess it does. I wouldn’t be surprised.

THOLOS: And you go along with that?

JUBAL: Well, it’s in the Bible. I have to go along with it.

THOLOS: If you took all the adulterers in the country, let alone the whole world, and put them to death today, that would be a considerable amount of killing in one day, wouldn’t it?

JUBAL: I don’t know. I don’t know how many people commit adultery every day.

THOLOS: If I remember rightly, that same chapter you quoted from also says that anyone who curses his father or mother should be put to death. I would imagine there must be literally scores of teenagers, who at one time or another, in a fit of anger, may have cursed their father or mother. Many of them probably regretted it later, and some may not have. We know there are literally thousands of children who every year suffer at the hands of abusive or violent parents. Nevertheless, the Holy Scripture says they should all be put to death if they ever cursed their parents. Do you agree with that?

JUBAL: All I know is, it ain’t my place to question the Bible.

THOLOS: So you would kill all those children?

JUBAL: I don’t say I would. But I think God would deal with them, one way or another.

THOLOS: I see. So, this is the God we’re dealing with!

JUBAL: I didn’t say that.

THOLOS: If either of your sons ever, in a fit of anger, cursed you or their mother, would you agree with Leviticus that that boy should be put to death? And would you be willing to do that yourself, or would you try to get someone else to do it?

JUBAL: Well, that ain’t exactly a fair question. My kids never cursed me or their mother. They was raised better than that.

THOLOS: We’re just talking “what if”, here, that’s all. We’ve all known kids who were rebellious at times. What if one of yours cursed you? What would you do?

JUBAL (Slight laugh.) I know what you’re tryin’ to do. You’re tryin’ to trap me into sayin’ somethin’, and I ain’t gonna say it. I just don’t question God’s law. That’s all you need to know, bud.


(At this point, his eyes were starting to glow like hot embers, so I changed the subject.)

THOLOS: You’re a big fan of Grover Norquist, aren’t you?

JUBAL: Oh, sure, you bet, he’s my man. Him and Karl Rove. Those are the two greatest men in this country right now, I believe.

THOLOS: Greater than Rumsfeld? Or Gonzales?

JUBAL: Are you kidding me? Man, those two are just lap-dogs. Rove and Norquist are the real action heroes in my comic book. Big guns. I’ve written letters to Grover thanking him for all his good work in behalf of us decent Americans. And you know what? He wrote me back, thanking me for all my work in Arkansas! And it wasn’t a form letter, either. It was a personal letter signed by Grover Norquist! I know, because he talked about Bee Keeper and how much he loved the Ozarks and mentioned that he had friends in Little Rock, and so on. So, that’s the kind of person he is. A genuine American through and through.

THOLOS: Norquist said that having moderates in the Republican Party was like drinking “rat-head cola.”

JUBAL (Laughing.) That sounds like somethin’ Grover would say, all right.

THOLOS: I guess it means if you found a rat head floating in your soda, you’d never buy that brand again.

JUBAL: That sounds about right. You get an A-plus! I think these moderates are doing a lot of harm, and we need to get rid of ‘em. We need to purify the party.

THOLOS: Purify it?

JUBAL: Yeah. You wouldn’t want to drink tainted water, would you? You want your water nice and clean. No impurities.

THOLOS: I see. I thought liberals were the big enemy of the Republicans. Now, it seems to be moderates.

JUBAL (Laughing.) Are you shittin’ me? No offense, buddy, but you liberals are a bunch of limp dicks. You can’t figure out your heads from your assholes. John Kerry! Hah! C’mon! On any given day, he does more for us than he does for you guys. All we have to do is wind him up, sit back, and watch him go. Like the Eveready rabbit. But they’re all like that, all those Democrats. Look, we even got Barbara Boxer, your best Liberal—shoutin’ hooray on the filibuster compromise. We got that new guy, that Nigra—what’s his name? Brock O--?

THOLOS: Barak Obama?

JUBAL: Yeah, him. S’posed to be some big liberal—out of Chicago. Made his big starry-eyed speech at the convention. First thing he did when he got here was vote with us on the bankruptsy bill. He couldn’t wait to play on our team! Yeah, we caught on to the “liberals” real fast. Norquist knew about ‘em from the beginning, knew how easy they were to domesticate. I didn’t believe it at first, but I’m startin’ to, now. Yep, they’re just like a herd of cows, standing in the shade, chewin’ their cuds. All you have to do is whistle or show ‘em a little sweet alfalfa, and they all come runnin’. Liberals! I wonder if they’re as pussy-whipped around their women as they are around Bill Frist or Tom Delay. Or even Kay Hutchison. Good ol’ Kay Bailey. God, I love that ol’ girl. Now, there’s a real lady, if there ever was one. Never voted the wrong way in her life. There ain’t a fighter jet or weapons system she ain’t head over heels in love with, including missile defense. And she’s a good Christian, too. I’d love to see her in a cat-fight with Hillary. I bet I know who the winner would be. Shoot, all Kay would have to do is say, “C’mon, Hillary, honey, let’s you and me compromise.” And that Clinton girl would go down like a cheap hooker. After all, she voted with us on the war. Yeah, all those Democrats are easy. We’ve moved on, now. We’re after bigger prey, now.

THOLOS: Thanks for talking to me, Jubal.

JUBAL: Sure thing.


Reading a book lately called The Bush Survival Bible, by Gene Stone. He has a chapter in there called, 1 Way to Tell If Bush Is Lying."

"Nick Morgan, Ph.D., one of the nation's foremost speech coaches, is an expert on body language; his most recent book is Working The Room (Harvard Business School Press, 2002)."

Morgan says it's easier, of course, to tell when someone you know is lying. The hard way is to watch for very small changes in facial expressions of people you don't know. "if you watch these people closely, you will notice split-second changes in expression take place as they lie."
Morgan has studied Bush since watching him give the State of the Union address before the Iraq war. He says that when Bush lies, his eyes dart quickly from side to side. 'The moment I saw this was when he said that he wanted peace with Iraq and that he would seek out every possible avenue for peace. I knew then that the war was a done deal.

'Watch Bush's eyes dart, and you will be able to see him lie.'

. . .Morgan says that Condoleeza Rice is a terrible liar. 'It's written all over her face. When she lies, her face goes rigid--she tries to conceal the fact that she is lying by freezing. It's so obvious that anyone could make a lot of money playing in a high-stakes poker game with her.'

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Continuing my interview of Jubal Durfee, whom I met at the gun show recently. Jubal is active in Republican politics in his hometown of Bee Keeper, Arkansas.

THOLOS: You seem to say that if the President lied to Congress and the American people to get us into the war in Iraq, that it was okay, because it was a lie for God. Is that correct?

JUBAL: Yeah, somethin’ like that.

THOLOS: But what about the rule of law?

JUBAL: Rule of law?

THOLOS: Don’t people in a democracy have a voice in what happens?

JUBAL: Oh, sure, they do. You betcha. They can go vote, which is what they did. They voted Bush back in.

THOLOS: But if he’s lying to us, how can we make an informed decision about how to cast our votes?

JUBAL: Well, if he’s lyin’ for God, then I don’t think we need to be concerned. Our vote is bound to come out right.

THOLOS: So, you’re saying we just throw out the rule of law and go with lies and deceptions?

JUBAL: Rule of law? What is that? I don’t know anybody that even thinks like that, except liberals. I mean, sure, we have to have laws and rules, I guess. But I don’t see that many people squawkin’ about the rule of law, at least, not in this country. First place, people are too damn busy to think about those kinda things. It’s too abstract for ‘em. You know, most of us aren’t trained as lawyers. We don’t sit around readin’ the fine print. But that’s why we elected a strong leader—somebody that would just roll up his sleeves and get the job done, and not get hung up on all these rules. These Godless liberals think they have to have a voice in everything that happens.

THOLOS: But isn’t that the definition of a democracy?

JUBAL: Well, technically, I guess. But are we talkin’ about actual democracy? How do we define that, anyway? I think it’s strictly an ideal kinda thing, ain’t it? Like when you’re out huntin’ and you run up on the perfect deer—a fine buck with a nice rack on, and you got a clear shot. It’s like winnin’ the lottery or not havin’ to work for a livin’. Sure, we all want those things. And we should strive to get ‘em. But nothin’s perfect, and you can’t spend every minute whinin’ over ever’ little flaw. Not when we have enemies in the world that covet our way of life and would like to kill us. See, you cain’t reason with people like that. Best you can do is just round ‘em up and throw ‘em in a pen, like a bunch of mad dogs, which is what they are.

THOLOS: Where does that leave the Bill of Rights? Do you believe in that?

JUBAL: Well, sure. Of course I do! I love the Bill of Rights. But you know what? Between you and me, I’ve never actually read ‘em. Have you? Can you name ‘em all off, one after another? I doubt if G.W. knows what they are. I guarantee you he’s too damn busy to sit down and learn all that stuff. I mean, if that’s what it took to be President, nobody would be President. I know there’s s’posed to be freedom of religion, but these secularists are doin’ their best to break that rule. And there’s freedom of speech. But we can’t pray in the schools, so I don’t believe we have freedom of speech. So, what good is the Bill of Rights? Maybe you can answer me that, ‘cause I can’t.

THOLOS: Getting back to the prayer issue. I’m curious. Why do you have to have prayers said over a loud speaker in a classroom? If a child just wants to quietly bow his head in school and say a prayer, who’s actually stopping him?

JUBAL: Ah, man, you know as well as I do a kid ain’t gonna do that on his own. In the first place, all those kids with Godless liberal parents would probably ridicule the kids that wanted to pray. And anyway, you gotta make ‘em recite. That’s the whole foundation of our schools. I mean, do you honestly think a kid is just gonna sit there and read his textbook without somebody pushin’ him to do it? Same thing with prayer. Same thing with the Pledge of Allegiance. All these things. Which every kid was brought up to do since the beginning of this country. Including Thomas Jefferson and you and me. I don’t see that it did us any harm, do you? Do you feel like you were brainwashed or somethin’?

THOLOS: I was raised a Methodist, so reciting Christian prayers aloud didn’t really bother me. But perhaps if I’d been a Muslim or a Jew or any other faith, then I can see how it might have made me or my parents uncomfortable. Do you think we have a responsibility to protect the rights of those people?

JUBAL: Look, all I see is too many people worried about the rights of this little handful over here, and nobody worried about my rights or my kids’ rights. And this was our country long before these Godless outsiders showed up here. Our founding fathers weren’t Jews or Muslims or Hindus, or any of these other things. They were God-fearing Christians and they wanted God in our country. An’ I don’t see what’s so terrible about that. I’ll be runnin’ for school board next year, so I’ll be workin’ on that real hard. I’ll also be lookin’ into the textbook problem, as well.

THOLOS: What problem is that?

JUBAL: Just—the whole evolution fiasco. I’ve already told my kids to ignore it, since it’s just a half-baked theory, anyway, and not a proven fact. I think a majority of Bee Keeper folks are doin’ the same with their kids. Right now, we’ve got after school classes goin’, teachin’ our kids the correct version of things. And if I get on the school board I’m gonna see to it that our viewpoint gets equal time in the classroom.

THOLOS: So you want Creationism taught in the public schools?

JUBAL: We call it Intelligent Design.

THOLOS: Do you want that presented as science or as--?

JUBAL: I think it oughta be taught in the same class as evolution. They’re callin’ their thing science. I don’t see why we can’t call ours whatever we want.

THOLOS: You mean you would call the Bible story—science?

JUBAL: I don’t see why not.

THOLOS: So, you’re saying you believe strictly in the Biblical version of the origin of the earth and of all life on the planet?

JUBAL: Yes, sir, all the way.

THOLOS: And so, do you believe the earth is—what? Four thousand years old?

JUBAL: Closer to six thousand, I think.

THOLOS: Six thousand. Really?


THOLOS: Do you think it just took six thousand years for the Colorado River to carve the Grand Canyon?

JUBAL: Well, first off, I don’t think the Grand Canyon was carved by any river.

THOLOS: You don’t?

JUBAL: No sirree-bob. God carved it. God was the artist. And He could’a done it in six minutes if he’d wanted to. Personally, I think it arrived intact.

THOLOS: Intact? You mean—already completed?

JUBAL: Right.

THOLOS: So, the geologists got it wrong?

JUBAL: I dunno. What do they say?

THOLOS: They think it took a little longer. A few million years.

JUBAL: They got it wrong.

THOLOS: They’ve got ways of measuring the age of rocks, you know. They can do it pretty accurately, now.

JUBAL: So they’d like us to think. But I think they’re blowin’ smoke out their rear ends.

THOLOS: Are you saying that scientists around the world are just making these things up?

JUBAL: Maybe.

THOLOS: Why would they do that?

JUBAL: Maybe you oughta ask them.

THOLOS: I’m asking you.

JUBAL: Well, I think they’re in league with the Devil.

THOLOS: So, archeology, botany, biology, chemistry, physics, and geology—these are just things the Devil dreamed up—is that what you’re saying?

JUBAL: I don’t know if the Devil dreamed ‘em up or the scientists did. But the Devil has his seal of approval on all of it, and that’s what I’m against.

THOLOS: Why would the Devil have so much interest in evolution?

JUBAL: Because it wins people away from God, as our Creator and Redeemer.

THOLOS: I see.

JUBAL: You know, if you look at all the things that are goin’ on right now—that are bringin’ our country down, you can trace just about all of it back to one place—one wrong turn in the road. Evolution.

THOLOS: What things are you talking about?

JUBAL: Oh, things like the Kinsey Report, for instance.

THOLOS: The Kinsey Report?

JUBAL: Yeah. You had this sex-crazed man and his wife—both of ‘em, atheists—tryin’ to promote their perverted lifestyle by callin’ it science.

THOLOS: I see. And what other things were caused by evolution?

JUBAL: Well, the sexual revolution, feminism, divorce, abortion, homosexuals, even Hitler.

THOLOS: Evolution caused all those things?

JUBAL: Belief in it, yessiree.

THOLOS: And caused homosexuals?


THOLOS: Divorce? Feminism? And Hitler?

JUBAL: Yep. Hitler was big into evolution. Survival of the fittest, right? He was real big on that. So was Kinsey. So are all the feminists, the fairies and the abortion doctors. It’s the one thing they all have in common. They’ve all rejected God and believe in the false god, evolution. See once you accept evolution, you’ve opened the door to all kinds of deviant thoughts and behaviors.

THOLOS: I see.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


It's hard to listen to the pronouncements of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and "architect" Karl Rove. There will be no soft landing for America. The country is in the hands of shallow men, and has fallen under the influence of their weak and disingenuous smiles, and is almost smothered at times, by all that pettiness and deceitful nonchalance. It is easy to feel ashamed of these small men. But men of this calibre are, by no means, a full reflection of our predicament.

Already there is sentiment, both in Democratic and Republican ranks, that under all circumstances the occupation should continue; and if it is tragic, it is still inevitable. What none of them has yet revealed to the public, is that this heavier and committed occupation can only be sustained by a larger, conscripted, US Army. John Kerry, our erstwhile Democratic candidate, supports "fixing" what we have done in Iraq. But there's no point in singling him out, because this is bipartisan madness. Even a casual review of the voting records and rhetoric of Senators like Clinton and Lieberman, Biden and McCain, Warner and others, will bear this out.

The Iraqis refuse the long term presence of occupiers. And an occupation that extends into the indefinite future, is impossible without compulsory military service. It's not so clear to American families now, but when their children have been betrayed, when another young generation is being sacrificed for essentially economic reasons, it will be our own country which Bush and his accomplices have placed under Occupation. This is no joke. Talking heads and economic experts will be solemnly declaring that George W. Bush, as cockeyed and cracked as he may be, has ransomed or gambled the continued role of the USA, as a superpower, and its economic future on the continued occupation, if not subjugation, of Iraq. You see, under their logic, we can't afford not to be imperialists.

An imperial power will have to pay a steep price in blood and treasure. There is one estimate that puts the accumulated expenditure in money, by the end of Bush's term in office, at $600 billion. But a much more grievous injury to American society will be the sacrifice and betrayal of the younger generation. It will be done for the increasingly tawdry prize of American prestige and a truly Faustian wager on the economy. A resistance was made, nearly forty years ago, against the expansion of militarism during the Vietnam War; and it was necessary to oppose many of the same corporate/political factions and the same sort of ambitious men who were then standing as a dire threat to our real security, to our dignity and self-respect as Americans, and to the well-being and life of every conscripted soldier.

Those who claim that they are speaking in our interest, will soon be telling us that we face recession and even worse calamities, if we withdraw from Iraq. Don't listen to them. The worst thing that we could do as a nation would be to commit to a heavy, ongoing occupation of Iraq. There should be a more dedicated movement for withdrawal from Iraq; and under no circumstances should we allow them to draft our children.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


"To adore the "Great Beast" is to think and act in conformity with the prejudices and reactions of the multitude, to the detriment of all personal search for truth and goodness."
--Plato, The Republic, Book VI
America's TV anchors, so superbly tailored--urbane and impeccable in every detail--are unperturbed by the encroaching medievalism that is bleeding slowly through the fabric of national life.

A feudal power like Walmart is on the make, in America, where "There's always lower prices".

This trademark has become a culture, a twisted religion. And the false God said, "Screw your neighbors, while the screwing is good. Smash'n'Grab Capitalism has made a comeback." At the top of the food-chain there are the insiders and stockholders. And for the vassals and peons there is paranoia in the workplace, and a pox on any signal of worker solidarity. Even in the land of Washington and Lincoln, there is a war waged on the quality of life: subsistence or below-subsistence wages, timeclock swindles that make people work off the clock.

And above all else, there is the evil of "Always lower prices"--the obscene smiley face-- that covers up the horror of sweatshop labor, on the supply-end, and leaves employees (so-called "associates") dangling on welfare", at the sales-end.

The whole system, in which customers earn and buy, is being diminished, jot by jot, year by year. This methodology is subversive and gradual; and "Always lower prices" is a slogan that works like a drug, to control the mood and maintain the stimulus. Walmart is the 21st Century's premier retail monster: dictating terms to employees, vendors, overseas suppliers, as it pushes into communities with--and sometimes without-- the consent of the governed.

Meanwhile, another space in the nation's history books is being prepared, for the latest outbreak of vulgarized religion and vulgar patriotism.

The Bush Administration's Smash'n'Grab operation in Iraq has gone tragically awry; since our leaders didn't expect so much "interference". Notwithstanding the US Army (whose job was just to "smash the storefront") there remain the sublet mercenaries, and the Halliburtons that handle the handling fees, and the government and Iraqi puppet agents, in charge of the transfer of assets, infrastructure and businesses.

Journalist Greg Palast has presented the following chronology of George W. Bush's pre-war planning, that began in early 2001, with Cheney's secretive Energy Summit, on the heels of State Department screenings of favored Iraqis , possible replacements for Saddam Hussein:
  • "October/November 2001: Then--[Deputy] Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz"..."convince[s] the Administration to junk the State Department "coup" plan, in favor of an invasion and occupation that could remake the economy of Iraq. "..."[The plan] scopes out the "sale of all state enterprises"..."especially in the oil and supporting industries."
  • "2002: Grover Norquist and other corporate lobbyists meet secretly with Defense, State and Treasury officials to ensure the invasion plans for Iraq include plans for protecting "property rights" . The result was a pre-invasion scheme to sell off Iraq's oil field, banks, electric systems, and even change the country's copyright laws to the benefit of the lobbyist's clients. Occupation chief Paul Bremer would later order these giveaways into Iraqi law."
  • "Fall 2002: --Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, is brought in by the Pentagon to plan the management of Iraq's oil fields. "There were plans," says Carroll, "maybe even too many plans," --but none disclosed to the public nor even the US Congress."
  • "January 2003: --Robert Ebel, former CIA oil analyst, is sent, BBC learns, to London to meet with Fahdil Chalabi to plan terms for taking over Iraq's oil."
  • "March 2003: --Defense Department is told in confidence by US Energy Administrator Guy Caruso that Iraq's oil fields are incapable of a massive increase in output. Despite this intelligence, Dep. Secretary Wolfowitz testifies to Congress that invasion will be a free ride. He swears, "There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be US taxpayer money...We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon." a deliberate fabrication promoted by the Administration, an insider told BBC, as "part of the sales pitch" for war."
Intertviewed on Fox News, Secretary of State Condi Rice recently said, "[T]he Administration, I think, has said to the American people that it is a generational commitment in Iraq." [my emphasis]

The Secretary immediately qualified her statement, by saying that she didn't imply military means, but primarily suggested a continued relationship with the country.

The President, of course, didn't mention a generational commitment when he was pitching the Iraq war to Congress; that wouldn't have been a good sales point. He said that the war on terror was a generational commitment; and much later he said that the war in Iraq was "the central front in the war on terror".

Republican America today is an alliance between the ruling class and the luckless people who covet that kind of power. But at the end of the Civil War, in the 19th Century, President Lincoln understood that all which America had suffered was an expiation of the sin of slavery: the blood wrung in bitterness from the backs of slaves, placed on a sacred scale, and set to balance by soldiers' blood at Gettysburg and elsewhere on the tormented landscape.Sin and expiation form a recurring theme in American history; and we haven't done nearly enough healing. In the wicked days we have seen, nothing is so good for the soul, than to remember the best people who have passed our way. Simone Weil was a person like this. In her life it's possible to recognize what solidarity and compassion signify, and why we can't live without these things.

The death of Simone Weil is about saintliness. This French woman who lived too brief a life, grew up in a Jewish family, a brilliant philosopher and religious thinker. During World War II, she escaped occupied France, and by way of New York, reached wartime Britain. In a hospital there, in a country where food was strictly rationed, she stopped eating. She refused all nourishment, including intravenous, because as she said, children were starving to death in her country.

From her writings, Weil presents us with another perspective of the Great Beast,--or the social Beast,--as she sometimes called it. This Beast, first outlined by Plato, is actually not the property of any particular political affiliation or specific religion; but arises when people cannot discriminate between the sacred and profane, but only think they can, as a group.
"The collective is the object of all idolatry, this it is which chains us to the earth. In the case of avarice, gold is the social order. In the case of ambition, power is the social order."
It is as Plato warned us, because those who adore the Great Beast, take refuge in "the prejudices and reactions" of the collective, and its spokesmen; and "all personal search for truth and goodness" suffers from this attachment.

The social Beast sits front-and-center at those carefully staged and screened rallies for the President, riding his policy bandwagon. Those who have been groomed and ideologically filtered, wave hundreds of little plastic flags, and scream at their Leader's imbecilic sylables, and grow quiet on cue. Radical Republicans rejoice in the Beast.

And the Beast is attractive to some in the Democratic ranks, especially those who cry out that we should "stay the course" in Iraq; notwithstanding the President's intended aggression, going in there, and the aggression he still intends.

All that is worst in Americans, in their collective "Beast",--whether it is an outmoded notion of world supremacy, or an unhealthy idea of righteousness, or an addiction to SUVs,--is considered to be absolutely indispensable.
"The service of the false God (of the social Beast under whatever form it may be) purifies evil by eliminating its horror. Nothing seems evil to those who serve it, except failure in its service."
--Simone Weil, Gravity & Grace, p, 221

Saturday, June 18, 2005


Continuing my interview of Jubal Durfee, whom I met at the gun show (See Part I below.) To recap: Jubal is in his mid-thirties, active in Republican politics in his little hometown of Bee Keeper, Arkansas. He was at the gun show to buy his son a birthday present--a brand new AK-47 assault rifle. Billy just turned fifteen. The boy took off to look at guns while his father and I sat in the café and chatted.

THOLOS: What is your thinking about God, as far as His position on this war is concerned? Do you basically believe that God is on our side?

JUBAL: What other side is there?

THOLOS: What about people in other countries. Maybe they think God is on their side.

JUBAL: Well, I think they’re in for a disappointment.

THOLOS: Are you saying God only loves Americans?

JUBAL: No, I think He loves everybody alike. But He demands faithfulness. He’s a jealous God. He wants everybody on His team. If you’re not on His team, then He just figures you’re lost to the Devil, and there’s nothin’ he can do to help you. And that applies to Americans as much as anyone else in the world.

THOLOS: Do you think God was on our side in the Vietnam conflict?

JUBAL: Of course I do.

THOLOS: Why do you think we lost that war?

JUBAL: Well, I don’t think we lost, really. I mean, we pulverized the holy fuckin’ shit out of ‘em, didn’t we? We killed a couple million of those little gook bastards, whereas we only lost about fifty-four thousand on our side. Does that sound like we lost? Don’t sound like it to me. I just think we got weak, that’s all. We let the dopers, the hippies, the fairies and the radicals, like George McGovern, have their way. So, we pulled out early. Nixon was on the right track, though.

THOLOS: You mean, with his bombing campaigns?

JUBAL: You bet.

THOLOS: So you think we should have continued bombing them?

JUBAL: I just think you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to win people over to Jesus.

THOLOS: Even if it means killing them all?

JUBAL: Well, I believe in ferocious war, ‘cause that’s what’s called for in the Bible. Look, God gave us life, man! God gave us this beautiful creation! The only thing He asks in return—the only thing—is a little faithfulness. Is that too much to ask? I, for one, don’t think so. And that’s why I think it’s so important right now to elect candidates who have an ironclad belief in their creator. Nixon was one of those people—he was a Mennonite, I think, or somethin’ like that—so he had a deep faith in God, and he was willing to do whatever it took.

THOLOS: Actually, he was a Quaker.

JUBAL: Whatever.

THOLOS: Quakers are usually pacifists. They’re usually found among the peace demonstrators.

JUBAL: Well, maybe they lost their way since Nixon’s time. I wouldn’t be surprised. But he was on a path, see? And now, George W. Bush is continuing on that same path. And this guy that came out of his hidey hole after thirty years and said he was Deep Throat and helped to bring Nixon down is nothin’ but a coward and a traitor to our country. I think they oughta put him up in front of a firing squad, myself.

THOLOS: But Nixon lied and committed crimes. Do you think it was wrong to try to bring him and the other Watergate criminals to justice?

JUBAL: I think they were trying to do what they knew was right for the country. Does that make ‘em criminals?

THOLOS: Then, you think lying and stealing are okay as long as the cause is right?

JUBAL: I think there’s such a thing as lies for personal gain, and we all know that’s a sin. But then there’s such another thing as lies for God.

THOLOS: Lies for God?

JUBAL: Yeah.

THOLOS: And lies for God are okay?

JUBAL: Look, I think God is out to win as many converts over to his side as He can before the End Times. I think if I was to tell a lie that resulted in just one person bein’ saved on this whole planet, that God would pat me on the back and say, “Good for you, Jubal! Now, come on up here and sit beside me!” We’re in a war, you see? A war for peoples’ souls. And in a war, you do what you have to.

THOLOS: So, you think Bush’s lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a good lie? In other words, it was a lie for God?

JUBAL: Well, I don’t think he lied about those weapons, myself. I think they’re out there, somewhere. They’re in Iran or Syria, or somewhere, and we’ll find ‘em one of these days, and then a lot of people in this country and around the world will be eating their words. All liberals, I imagine. But even if it was a lie, yeah, I think it was a lie for the right reason. Saddam was an evil tyrant. We needed to get him out. And I think Bush is just trying to do what he believes God wants him to do.

THOLOS: About 95% of the rest of the world is in disagreement with this war and with the policies of the Bush Administration.

JUBAL: Well, I’m not surprised. Look, we finally have a president who believes in God, who puts God above everything else. Of course, the rest of the world’s out of step with that! Most of the world is a Godless place! I think there’s a reason why people are choosin’ up sides right now. And I just hope, for their sakes, they start makin’ the right choices.

THOLOS: Because the “End Times” are coming?

JUBAL: Absolutely. Jesus is comin’ back, and He’s not a happy camper. You remember when Bush said, “You’re either with us or against us”?


JUBAL: Lot of people thought he was bein’ a bully, tryin’ to talk tough or somethin’. I remember the press tried to make a big deal out of it. But that wasn’t it at all.

THOLOS: It wasn’t?

JUBAL: No. He just meant you’re either on God’s side or you’re on the Devil’s side, that’s all. He was speakin’ Biblically, you see. He was testifyin’ for God. Man, I just loved it when he said that! See, all of us in the Christian community—we knew what he meant. We sat up and said, “Finally! Somebody that gets it!—somebody that understands!” Man, it just got me so stirred up! I was pumped for days after that. (He wipes a tear from his eye.) See, you really have to pay attention when Bush talks. He’s way smarter than most people give him credit for.

THOLOS: I believe you.

JUBAL: Do you wanta know why that guy’s so strong?


JUBAL: Because of his beliefs, that’s why. And what’s the one thing his enemies are tryin’ to do right now? What are they focused on?

THOLOS: I don’t know. What?

JUBAL: They’re focused on his beliefs! They’re tryin’ to tear down his faith. Makes sense, don’t it? But they can’t do it! There’s no way! And the more they try to tear him down, the stronger he gets. Shit, I hear all this liberal talk about how Bush is just some frat boy, oh, he’s not his own man, it’s really Cheney runnin’ the show, and all that baloney. Well, don’t you believe it. He’s in charge, all right. He’s his own man. Hell, Bush makes Bill Clinton look like a little girl. Remember when they started in on ol’ Bill about that blowjob he got off’a Monica? Remember that? Shit, he just folded up. Tried to lie his way out of it. What a jackass! Looked like a kid that’d been caught with his pants down by his Sunday school teacher. You know what I would have done?

THOLOS: No, what?

JUBAL: First time they ever asked me that question about Monica, I would’a looked them assholes straight in the eye and said, “It’s none of your goddamn business!” And I would’a kept sayin’ it till they finally quit and went home. And that would’a been the end of it. Case closed. There never would have been a case ‘cause I never would have lied in the first place. And that’s what’s so great about George W. Bush. He don’t apologize for nothin’. He don’t wiggle-waggle or make excuses, even if he’s wrong. And he has been wrong a few times. So what. Nobody gives a flyin’ shit. Why? ‘Cause he don’t give a flyin’ purple shit! And the whole country just loves that! Really, they do. Look, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Okay? Are you ready? Here it is: Americans don’t care what their president does. They really don’t. Lie, cheat, steal—even kill, maybe, but I’m tellin’ you, they don’t care. All they want is somebody to look ‘em in the eye, tell ‘em what he’s gonna do, and then do it. And if people don’t like it, fuck ‘em! And G.W. does just that. Now, you take this PBS thing. There’s a good example of Bush in action. He wants to cut their funding, right? Wants to break ‘em. Well, okay. I really wasn’t thinkin’ about PBS till Bush got focused on it. Hardly ever watch it, myself. But yeah, I can see they got too liberal, so okay, let’s break ‘em. Same thing with Medicare and Social Security. I wasn’t focused on them, either. I didn’t know there was all these problems till he pointed ‘em out. But, see, that’s what I like about Bush—and I’ve heard a lot of my friends back home in Bee Keeper say the same thing—is not so much what he does, as how he does it. It’s the way he sets his sights on these things and gets after ‘em. You know, if he thinks somethin’ needs fixin’, he’ll fix it. But on the other hand, if he thinks somethin’ needs breakin’, he’ll, by God, break it all the way. No half measures. And you gotta respect that. You know who Bush reminds me of?


JUBAL: Clint Eastwood. You know—The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly? The no-name dude with the serape over his shoulders and the little cigar in his teeth? Check it out, sometime. Bush even squints a little like Clint, and kinda mumbles like him when he makes a speech. And who in this country don’t like Clint Eastwood, huh? And why is that? ‘Cause he never hesitates, that’s why. Never flinches in the face of fear. He just rides in and cleans up the town. Just like we’re doin’ in Iraq. And that’s the difference between Bush and Bill Clinton. I actually think they were a little hard on ol’ Bill with that Monica business, but hell, he asked for it. Maybe he’s got a guilt complex, or maybe Hillary’s got him pussy-whipped, I don’t know. But all that’s beside the point since he’s goin’ to hell, anyway.

THOLOS: Clinton’s going to hell?

JUBAL: I would bet on it.

THOLOS: I thought Clinton was Southern Baptist.

JUBAL: Nope. He betrayed the church. Him and Gore both.

THOLOS: Gore’s going to hell, too?

JUBAL: I imagine so.

THOLOS: What about Tipper?

JUBAL: Jury’s still out on her. But the main thing you need to know is that all these people that are tryin’ to run God out of our country right now are not gonna succeed. We’re forming an army to fight ‘em and we’re gonna win—big time!

THOLOS: An army for God?

JUBAL: That’s right. An army of believers.

THOLOS: Who do you think is trying to run God out of the country?

JUBAL: C’mon, man, you know they’re takin’ prayer out of our schools. They don’t even want God in the Pledge of Allegiance. They tried to make Roy Moore remove the Ten Commandments from the Alabama state capitol. But he wouldn’t do it, God bless him! So the bastards took his judgeship away from him. Can you imagine? Man, you know somethin’s dead wrong with this country when everybody holds up this Deep Throat dipshit as a hero, and then turns around and spits on a real hero like Roy Moore. But that’s all right, ‘cause now, our guys in the Senate are kickin’ some liberal butt. We’re gonna get all the judges we want, including the Supreme Court, and there’s not a thing these faggots can do about it, except sit on their hands and watch it happen. Before we’re done, we’ll have the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and schoolroom in America. And Roy Moore’s face will be up on Mount Rushmore.

THOLOS: No kidding? Roy Moore’s face on Mount Rushmore?

JUBAL: I know it sounds kinda wild, don’t it? But I guarantee you it’s gonna happen. Me and some of my buddies have already formed a committee to get it done.

THOLOS: But you live in Arkansas. Mount Rushmore’s in South Dakota.

JUBAL: Well, you gotta start somewhere. So far, we got the City Council to vote on a referendum—the vote was unanimous, by the way. And we got over eight-hundred signatures on a petition to the governor—that’s just about the entire population of Bee Keeper! I’ve been in contact with people in South Dakota and I’ve written letters to Grover Norquist and Karl Rove, and they like the idea. See, it’s what we call grassroots politics. Maybe you’ve heard of it, I don’t know. You liberals see four guys hunkered over a table in a café up in the mountains somewhere, and you think, “Oh, there’s some hillbillies. How quaint.” Just remember—these same hillbillies are about to get Roe V. Wade thrown on the ash heap. So, I don’t think puttin’ Roy Moore’s face up on Mount Rushmore is gonna be too big a challenge for us. Yeah, it may seem kinda far-fetched just now. But once we get the Ten Commandments installed in every courthouse in America, most people are gonna remember that it was Roy Moore who first had the idea and who refused to back down when he was ordered to take ‘em out. By the way, does he remind you of somebody?


JUBAL: Roy Moore.

THOLOS: I don’t know.

JUBAL: How ‘bout that nigra lady back in the sixties—you know, the one that refused to give up her seat on the bus?

THOLOS: Rosa Parks?

JUBAL: Yeah, her. Now, let’s be fair, here, and admit that what Roy Moore did is ever' bit as big as what that nigra did. And everybody treats her like Jesus. She’s written up in all the history books, and even got her face on a postage stamp. And I just think Roy Moore defending the Ten Commandments is a way bigger deal than somebody keepin’ their seat on a bus. Anyway, it’s high time we added some new faces up on Mount Rushmore. Maybe Karl Rove oughta be up there, too.

THOLOS: Karl Rove?

JUBAL: Sure, why not.

THOLOS: Would you rank Karl Rove alongside Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson?

JUBAL: Is Lincoln up there? That’s right, he is, isn’t he? Well, I think Karl’s done an awful lot for our country. I think he’s had a huge impact. He’s a big reason why we have so many Born Agains runnin’ almost every office of our government, now. The country owes a huge debt to Karl and Grover, and G.W., too.

THOLOS: You think George W. Bush should be on Mount Rushmore?

JUBAL: Well, sure, if there’s room for him. I think he might prove to be one of our greatest presidents.

THOLOS: There may not be room for all those new faces up there.

JUBAL: Maybe not. Maybe it’s time we blasted the old ones off. I think everybody’s tired of lookin’ at ‘em. They’ve been up there a long time. If we clean ‘em off, then we can put some new ones up there. What do you think?

THOLOS: Well, that’s a heck of an idea.

More to come. --Grayson.

copeland morris ENTWINED SONNET

Her shaded eyes, her necklace black velvet, onyx. Anguish she spoke; and he carried on, obsessed As only a young man could. An odd harm...