Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yo-Yo's wit and wisdom

Yossarian explained to Nately that the enemy is anyone who tries to kill you-it doesn't make any difference which uniform he's wearing. Somehow, you're not amazed my personal hero would be a character from a work of fiction, now are you? Yeah, I know-typical.

Part of me has always been confused about the reasons for a Department of Homeland Security. Maybe it was just me, but I don't think so as there were (and are) millions of us. I enlisted and then re-enlisted, in the USAF, and took an oath that said, in part, 'to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic'. Sounds to me like I was already an employee of the Homeland Security Department but we had a different name for it. More significantly, I'm wondering if perhaps I missed the larger discussion on the meaning, Constitutionally speaking, of 'domestic enemies'.

This isn't an "
Eat the Rich" screed, because to the rest of the world, we are the rich. In light of last week's Wall Street Shuffle, is it possible Dow Jones is a fellow traveler? Are brokerages a front for domestic enemies? We just came up with more money than my little brain can comprehend to rescue the secret government--the folks whose decisions cause my family and yours to have to choose between making a house payment or buying fuel oil, because we can't do both, can we (not anymore). The very same White House that assured us Saddam and Obama were shoe-shopping and that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction in the potato cellar (while simultaneously knowing that NONE of that was true) asked a sleepy-eyed and bed-headed Congress, who bought without question a package of emergency measures no free society can stand, or withstand, the Patriot Act, for boxcars of our money to avoid an 'economic catastrophe', but for whom and at what cost?

When the Kenny Brothers (sorry Adam and Kelly) can't make payments on their credit cards, it's a family issue; when it happens to the Jonas Brothers, it's in People Magazine but when Lehman Brothers has written checks their backsides literally cannot cash, it's a national emergency. Wasn't it Calvin Coolidge who noted '
the business of America is business'? As GM goes, so goes the USA. Except the wheels fell off that idea, literally and figuratively, decades ago. Sic transit Chevy Corvair (I owned one and it was as awful as you've heard).

The USA is the #1 exporter of military hardware (and the ancillary training to support it) in the history of our species on this planet. Why can't we don't do anything else as well, except consume four times the amount of natural resources as any other nation on earth? Some of us, well-meaning I know, would like to blame 'the government'--sorry, I can't really go there. I remember something about 'we the people, in order to form a more perfect union' on one of those documents we keep in a museum vault (while also ignoring it in daily life), and realize we have done this to ourselves.

We've created a caste system where everyone stands on everyone else's shoulders to get ahead or to keep from falling back--and the men and women in our military are no longer an extension of foreign policy, they are the embodiment of that policy. Notice how the State Department hasn't gotten any larger, or how economic outreaches to 'third world' nations haven't grown, but how everyone on both sides of the aisle in Congress thinks we need to add 100,000 trained soldiers, another air wing, another division of Marines and an additional newly constructed submarine for the respective branches of our armed forces. Why would we build this capacity if we're not intending to use it? And don't think for a minute who we choose on November to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is going to change the deliberations on our ways and means. New brooms, but old dust-that's what we'll get because that's what we want.

Two hundred and thirty two years after John Hancock signed his name so large and boldly on the Declaration of Independence that George III could read it without glasses, I wonder, if he could see where we are now, what we've done with this incredible democracy that he and so many of his fellow countrymen (who, technically, didn't even yet have a country) pledged their lives to create and defend, if he wouldn't ask for the white out. As Mao purportedly said to Nixon, 'how do you know one Revolution was enough?'
-bill kenny

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