Monday, December 05, 2005

December 4, 2005

America's Beer Hall Putsch

Rigging electronic voting machines isn't the only way to steal an election. There are far less risky ways of doing so. Just ask Tom DeLay and his GOP brethren in the Texas legislature.

Justice Staff Saw Texas Districting As Illegal
Voting Rights Finding On Map Pushed by DeLay Was Overruled

Washington, December 2, 2005 -- Justice Department lawyers concluded that the landmark Texas congressional redistricting plan spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay (R) violated the Voting Rights Act, according to a previously undisclosed memo obtained by The Washington Post. But senior officials overruled them and approved the plan. (Full Story)

This revelation may be the most solid proof yet that the GOP under Bush/Cheney is the most corrupt and anti-democratic administration and party in American history. That story alone would not lead one to such conclusion. But it fits all too neatly into what has become a pattern of hard-knuckle, thugish, take-no-prisoners tactics by right wing Republicans.

But this one, the Texas redistricting, will go down as America's legislative version of the 1924 Bürgerbräukeller, Beer House Putsch. While no blood was shed in this one, the results were too similar to simply brush them off as the crazy rant of a Bush hater.

Let's talk thugs.. in this case the political variety..

Wait.. stop. Is the term "thug" too strong for these guys? Let's stop right here and make sure we're on the right track. Here's an excerpt from a memo between two DeLay staffers bristling at the notion they were playing too rough:

"This whole thing about not kicking someone when he is down is BS -- Not only do you kick him -- you kick him until he passes out -- then beat him over the head with a baseball bat -- then roll him up in an old rug -- and throw him off a cliff into the pounding surf below!!!!!"

Adolf– and John Gotti -- would approved. Yeah, I know it was just talk. But do you talk that way?

Okay, glad we got that settled. So we are talking about thugs. Because you see, thugs like to play rough with their enemies, break a few legs, crack a few skulls. Anything less would be a sign of weakness inviting others to move in on their turf.

And, when things get really serious, thugs take their enemies "for a ride." Our thugs take them for rides on private jets to private dungeons in private places, where "batta-bing, batta-bang" can be carried out with the kind of privacy and deniability such behavior demands.

From time to time thugs need to coordinate with other thugs. Such get togethers represent thuggery's most dangerous and vulnerable moments. Who attended and what they discussed and decided must remain secret at all cost. Which is precisely why we still don't know who attended Dick Cheney's energy task force sit downs – and we likely never will.

Thugs are not all bad. They share. They take care of their friends. Sharing booty is central tenet of successful thuggery, because, after all, what goes around comes around. And oh how these thugs share! It's been bling, bling, bling for this administration's thugish friends; Halliburton, big pharma, big tobacco, big polluters, big energy. Five years of bling, bling, bling... The Mother of all blings.

Thugs are also liars – and not sometimes, but always. They really have no choice in the matter. If they start telling the truth they'll lose power – and might even end up behind bars. "Sure we stole that election, what's it to ya?" Nope. No can do. So they lie, lie and lie and, if caught, they lie about lying. The White House even has a full-time designated liar, Scott McClellan. (If Scotty is Catholic I suggest his parish priest start now building him his own confessional, with plumbing. He'll be in there for a while.)

When their lies result in material proof of wrong-doing, thugs simply create alternative realities. Losing becomes winning. Oppression protects freedom. Propaganda becomes news. Protest becomes irresponsible or unpatriotic. Killing people becomes saving them. Military occupation becomes peacekeeping. Fixed elections becomes a "mandate to govern."

Orwell would shake his head in disbelief. He underestimated thugs. Of course Orwell never met thugs like Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney or Karl Rove.

So yes, the evidence is clear now -- these thugs really did steal the 2004 election. And now we know one of the ways they pulled that off -- Tom DeLay's Texas redistricting putsch.

But DeLay's audacious election putsch would not have succeeded without help from high in the thug foodchain. Where? From the highest reaches of the nation's law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice. Which should not surprise us. Successful thugs always need a few key cops on their payroll. In this case it was thug-cop Attorney General John "Jesus Boy" Aschroft. He was the nation's top cop – and he was a crooked cop. Once the 2004 election fix bore fruit, Jesus Boy skipped town.

Ashcroft was replaced by reliable thug yes-man, Alberto Gonzalez. Before his promotion, our new top cop had been the boss' lawyer where he gave the nod to roughing up prisoners and mocked international laws against torture as "quaint anachronisms." His new job is covering up the corruption of his predecessor while obediently ignoring the misconduct of his still-active thug superiors. So, don't bother dialing 911 to report thuggery is afoot, because all you're gonna get is a "what's it to ya?"

Am I being too harsh? You think? Do I marginalize myself when I resort to this kind of over-heated hyperbole and tortured (no pun intended) analogies? Maybe. But some days the accumulated weight of evidence becomes just too much for to dispassionately intellectualize, mull, balance, soft-peddle or just ignore it all. I get angry. Then worried. Then depressed. Scared.

Disagree? Then you tell me, how else should I describe the actions and behavior of these guys other than as pure thuggery? Maybe you have a better description. I don't. Not that I haven't tried coming up with one for an administration that:

* Pay off their friends with billions of dollars from the public chest, while 46 million ordinary Americans can't even afford to go to a doctor,
* Hand out billions in fat no-bid contracts to friends, while cutting basic services to poor families,
* Who cook the nation's books to justify tax giveaways to friends, while refusing to enact a livable wage for working families,
* Who have violently killed untold thousands of people over the past four years, and just arrogantly warned they ain't anywhere near done.

So, if you think I've gone over the edge, so be it. I don't think so. I'm not only Sicilian, I also spent much of my reporting career chasing, interviewing and writing about mobsters and other assorted thugs. So, I do know a thug when I see one. How much more evidence, debt, death, corruption do you need to conclude that a pack of unmitigated, unabashed, unembarrassed and, at least so far unabated, gang of thugs have grabbed control of the American government? I don't need any more evidence.

And thugs don't belong in public office. They belong in jail.

You got a problem with that?