Wednesday, October 26, 2005

One party rule

I was brought up in a time when Russia was the enemy. We did air raid-like drills preparing for a time when nuclear missiles would rain down for no reason except for the evil and greed of Russia.

It all felt likely as I remember seeing Nikita Khrushchev on television at the United Nations pounding the podium and shouting about burying the United States.

We were told that the people of Russia lived in tyranny. There was only one political party and everything was done for the good of the party. People were killed for daring to stand up to the party. Everyone worked like slaves and the rulers were certainly crazy and were working hard at taking over the world. If they succeeded, every human on the plant would work for the party and live under tyranny.

As a free country, it was imperative to stop communist Russia and end communism at all costs. We were told we'd loose our freedoms. Again and again the evils of one party rule were drilled into our heads.

Punch the remote ahead to U.S.A. in 2005.

The Republican party is in control of the presidency, the senate, the house, the judiciary, and the media. Republican interests control the ever-consolidating corporate board rooms of the world. It's about money and power, tons of it for a handful of people with the rest of us working to keep it that way.

One party rule.

What? Do I say that like it's a bad thing?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wilma update

Word just traveled through the family grapevine that the Florida branch of the clan is okay. Some water blown under a door, power out, but telephones working. It's great news since Lee County was right in the middle of the hit.

Scandal of choice

Which scandal are you following? There's so much delightful filth.

Here's my list:

Plame, Wilson/Rove, Cheney
Tom Delay
Bill Frist
Ted Stevens A bridge too far

The list in order of my highest fascination first. If you're not into news much, there's a federal investigation underway concerning the public "outing" of undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

This scandal is on my list first because it involves spies, treason, lies, deception, cover ups and war. Spies have always interested me. The interest is based probably in the fact that my life is so mundane while the life of a spy seems so dangerous and glamorous like James Bond.

My travels have taken me to a few places in the world but I see spies traveling to all of the top hot spots with unlimited funds and getting into tight places with only their wits to get them out. Oh, and of course a trick watch maybe and a tricked out car.

I've read Helen MacInnes, John le Carré, Len Deighton, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Ian Fleming and possibly a few more that escape me now. Speaking of spy books, I think The Tailor of Panama by John le Carré is a plausible account of how lies and delusion can get you into a war.

In my spy world, all the spies are heroes who do the right things and it's all about truth and justice and freedom. That's pretty silly, I know, and it's even sick. I've actually met a CIA *representative* once and it wasn't all that cool.

Anyway, that's why when it hit the news about two years ago that a CIA agent's cover was blown, my interest was piqued. I've followed the investigation on and off ever since. The whole sordid mess is in the new more because the federal grand jury looking into the case is drawing to a close.

Indictments could get handed out any day now. The facination is in the detail for me but a lot of people are giddy about what may happen. Some of the top people in Washington D.C. may well end up in the slammer for their treason.

Real life is more unfortunate than my spy world. If evil has been done to make certain people even richer and more powerful, I want simple justice. So for now, I wait and watch as this drama unfolds.

Hurricane Wilma

This morning I see Hurricane Wilma is hitting southwest Florida as a Cat. 3 storm. All I can do right now is wait and hope my family there pulls through.

Friday, October 14, 2005

War mom

The opportunity came along to visit with a woman whose daughter and son-in-law are in the armed forces and both have done two tours of duty in Iraq. I didn't ask her what they did or which branch of the service they are in.

She is an old friend, someone I have known since early childhood. Back when Bush invaded Iraq, she was one of the vocal supporters going as far as to participate in pro-war demonstrations opposite the anti-war demonstrations that cropped up in our hometown. The anti-war group was on the one side of the Main Street bridge and the pro-war group formed on the other side.

The two groups chanted and shouted back and forth at each other. I remember driving down Main Street one afternoon after work and having the two sides shouting at me. I remember looking left and right and seeing so many familiar faces on both sides, including hers.

Small town America split and me driving down the middle. Most people were driving down the middle. The whole thing remains a powerful literal metaphor.

We visited today at length. Both of kids are back in the states right now and are fine. I asked if they'd have to do another tour and she said she didn't know. It looked like a two year rotation thing to her and if that's the case the kids could return to Iraq next year.

I told her I hoped we had the mess wrapped up by next year. She thoughtfully, and sadly, shook her head in the negative. "I hope so, too," she said quietly. She said the kid's attitudes are good. We agreed a positive attitude was for the best and that in reality, you have little choice but to have a positive attitude.

Her demeanor was somber and reflective. There was none of the fire and passion in her affect I had seen that day years ago on the Main Street bridge. Her kids are okay. Their attitudes are good. They're career military and knew war was a part of the deal.

There's no conclusion here. And I have too much respect for my friend and her kids to ask obvious and rude questions. While we visited, she was cradling her first grandchild from another of her offspring. Mostly the three month old slept in her arms waking once in a while to grasp at her grandmother's breast and stretch.