Obligatory 9-11 seriousness
We are undergoing the fourth week of bombardment on every side by media images of patriotism, hero stories, calls to arms, etc. Sadly, one still has to put forth effort to find substantial news marking the tumultous period in our nation’s history since 9-11; stories that examine the government’s accelerated abuse of power since that fateful day, loss of civil liberties, looming fiscal disasters, etc. Perhaps the only 2002 story bigger than 9-11 (if that’s not blasphemous to say) is the great veil that fell from Oz and revealed the maze of corporate swindles on Wall Street. Amazing how effective those terrorist targets were—the two tallest objects one can find in “the world’s greatest city” were two towering symbols of capitalism, and once they fell, all hell broke loose in our nation’s economy.

I’ve been harsh on President Bush in this column—a “leader” who feels like the most dangerous and pathetic since Nixon. I make fun of him while trying to bounce ideas that may inspire (particularly) young people to read alternative news outlets and put together more accurate, informed opinions—not an easy feat these days, when all forms of major U.S. media (likely to include, soon, radio) are controlled by the same defense and oil companies that benefit from the wars and corruption. The spaces between the haves and have-nots continue to grow as our attention spans and critical thinking abilities magically shrink by the generation.

People have asked me if I really think Bush is as stupid as I make him sound. Of course not. He sounds and looks stupid, and he is certainly a puppet controlled by interests around and before him, but I suppose he had to have a functioning brain to make it to the White House—namely, “good ol’ boy” people skills. Readers have sent me emails, both positive and negative, and called this column everything in the book from “communist crap” to “hilarious,” but I guess I should be thankful anyone reads another little bite sized, throwaway thing anyway ("usually, just the Props” some tell me). Regardless, in a time when so many people feel impotent, I find humor a healthy release against the apathy and frustration.

Like the Green Party is trying to do now, it takes grassroots-level organization to make a change. You have to start somewhere. Of course I think democracy (the greater good of the people, which is not what we have) and capitalism can work; but it’s got some serious re-evaluating to do. We need intelligence and compassion to be included today. To answer a reoccurring question: Of course I love this country, and particularly its environment and people, but not our government or consumer culture. We owe it to ourselves to be critical and questioning in the times ahead—that is the saddest thing for me since 9-11, that we have not heard more voices.

Weekly props
1. Dylan in Red Bluff (10/7)
2. Claude the dragon
3. COBA voting
4. Greg Palast’s The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (paperback)