Friday, February 24, 2006

Tell Me When Its Over

Another installment of reader's theatre from my identical cousin:

Tell Me When It's Over
by Todd Wm. Ristau

(Two men sit at a table, perhaps in a bar. One is a FATHER, the other his SON. They have several empty beer bottles in front of them, and are in the process of adding two more.)

FATHER: Well, it couldn't have been easy.

SON: Nope.

FATHER: Your mother, she was awful proud of you.

SON: I'm sorry about that.

FATHER: Well, we were both worried too. Braggin' on you kept her from crying, I think.

SON: I wasn't doing much front line duty. There were plenty of people needed more worrying about than I did.

FATHER: I don't think there's anybody anyplace that isn't in need of some worrying anymore.

SON: S'pose you're right. It's pretty fucked up.

FATHER: (laughing, as men do) Don't talk like that in front of your mother.

SON: I won't.

FATHER: probably won't. You haven't said more than six words to her since you got back.

SON: Sometimes...sometimes it seems like the more things back here try to act like they were before I left, the less I feel like I really am back.

FATHER: Probably doesn't seem real yet.

SON: Dad...that's just it. That's exactly it. Nothing seems real. I don't remember when it did.

FATHER: Well, that just takes time. You know, after you're here a while, and after you get a job...

SON: What the fuck kind of job am I going to get?

FATHER: Hey--watch your mouth. You're not in fatigues now, you're in blue jeans and you're in my bar where all my friends are watching me sitting down for some beers with my son.

SON: Well, that seems mighty worried about what other people think of me, instead of worried what I think about anything.

FATHER: Look, you have a responsibility. People want to support you, they don't want to see you come home bitching about every goddam thing, sad sacking around, and complaining about your service.

SON: Fuck you, Pop.

FATHER: I think you've had enough.

SON: I've had enough, but I've just begun to drink tonight. What I've had enough of is you and all these other sons of bitches with W's and yellow ribbons on their SUVs being all proud as hell of what I'm doing for them...doing so they A) don't have to do it themselves, and B) Don't have to watch me do it for them because I'm doing it way the fuck over there.

FATHER: That's right. That's god damn right. Fighting them there is better than fighting them here. I don't know what the hell is wrong with you.

SON: I don't know what the hell is wrong with me either.

FATHER: (softening, fatherly) Well, just find out and then fix it.

SON: Wow. You know what I'd have given if even one person above the rank of Colonel had that thought occur to them? The only thing they know how to do is train everyone to stare at something broke and call it already fixed. The more broke it is the more fixed they call it. (laughing and taking a deep drink of beer) And I guess that makes me damned near perfect.

FATHER: (giving up and getting angry) You're right, with an attitude like that nobody is going to hire you for anything. I don't know if I'd hire you. I'm not even sure I want to finish this goddam beer with you.

SON: Nobody's going to hire me because I re-upped and I'm going back for another tour.

FATHER: No you're not. You're just saying that to be hurtful.

SON: I guess you'd know all about saying stuff just to be hurtful.

FATHER: I thought you were going to get a job here in town, your mother is talking to some people--

SON: Is Mom gonna get me a job where I can kill some towel heads for her? Is she gonna get me a job where I can kick the shit out of an 11 year old muslim kid until he tells me anything he thinks I want to hear just to get me to stop? Show me the want ad where they need someone good with dogs, jumper cables, and menstrual blood. You've seen the pictures. That's what I know how to do. That's what I'm an expert at.

FATHER: Those pictures are lies.

SON: If that makes you feel better, then believe that.

FATHER: If any of that was bad apples and they got pulled out of the barrel. You'd never do anything like that.

SON: You're not listening to me. I'd never do anything like that, you're right, so if I did do everything exactly like that...then who the fuck was I? Who the fuck am I? I'm AWOL but I show up for duty every goddam time. How can that be? How can broke be fixed? How can you be glad this imposter came home and has the fucking balls to sleep in your son's bedroom?

FATHER: (long pause) If you hate what you're doing so much, why would you go back and do more of it? It doesn't make any sense.

SON: (pointing the empty bottle at his head) Because they fixed me, Pop. When you can walk into a cell with a bucket of soapy water to wipe away where somebody wrote on the their own blood...that they killed themselves to keep you from hurting them any more...Me, Pop...When you can drive a man to kill himself and then can wash away his last words and only think how hard it's going to be to clean up...You don't come home after something like can't come home because you're not really there to come home more than the son of a bitch whose blood is filling up your sponge.

FATHER: (angry) So, what are you saying? It's all pointless? All those lives just wasted?

SON: (not looking at his FATHER, not looking at anything at all) I don't know. I'm not supposed to know. Neither are you. We find out when we're done.

(Slow fade to black as SON continues to drink. FATHER watches him in uncomprehending silence.)

First performed at Roanoke No Shame on February 17th by the author and Drew Duncan

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Let me get this straight...this is what he wants his first veto to be?

Ok...So we all know that the DP World deal with a company owned by the United Arab Emirates (A country with far more demonstrable links to September 11th than Iraq) is going to be in charge of 6 vital American ports is a "hot button" topic.

We know that Rush Limbaugh is in favor of it and that Sean Hannity is suspicious of it (Bill Frist is against it, so poor Sean's head is grinding and smoking over deciding what he's supposed to think and or say about it).

We know that many Republicans are outraged over it, but Jimmy Carter says it is probably no big deal. Sign of the apocolypse?

We know that Dittoheads are glad to see Democrats acting like racists because Dems are against giving control of the ports to an Arab firm. Now they get to slam Democrats for being Johnny Come Latelys to the security issue and for being hypocrits about profiling. (That logic makes sense to them, though it doesn't make sense to me...but then the very definition of DittoHead is to agree with Rush without having to actually make or understand the argument being made.)

We know that these folks in congress (from both parties) who are against it are talking about sending up a bill to oppose it, and that the President has said he'd veto any legislation designed to stop this deal.

But did you know that the President didn't even find out about this deal until AFTER it was already a done deal? That's right. He saw it on the TV news. I guess we should be glad that he is actually watching the news, that's in the plus column, but I would think something like this might be something the White House would be interested in taking a peek at before it gets passed.

Did you know that passage of this deal was not even legal, because by law any sale such as this to a foreign power which might affect national security is supposed to get a vigorous 45 day investigation and Congressional Review?

Now, here's the thing, folks.

1) I don't know if this is a safe or a good deal. Neither does Congress. Because they weren't given a chance to find out, because this administration doesn't care what you, I, or Congress thinks. It does what it wants to do and deals with the fall out later.

2) The President didn't even know about the deal until after it was over, and he is taking his strongest public stance, waving the veto pen, to protect it. This tells me that either someone else is telling our President what to think, do and say or the President doesn't care that he doesn't know enough about the issue to take a stand on it.

3) This administration are a bunch of scoff laws and they are doing their best to turn the DittoHead nation into unquestioning scoff laws too. This deal was NOT legal. It shouldn't be at the point where Bush is threatening to veto a law which would prevent it, it should be at the point where Bush is explaining why, again, his administration doesn't feel it has to follow any laws it does not like.

And here, we get to the real heart of the matter. With one party in control of all the branches of government there is no chance of impeachment, no consequences for wrong action, and no hope of oversight in a government any school kid is supposed to understand was created with the novel notion of checks and balances to power. Why does this administration keep doing stuff like this? Because it knows it can.

Think about it...breaking the law and misrepresenting the truth are textbook examples of impeachable offenses...but impeachment can't happen unless the House decides to take that action...and this House is beholden.

I know that by bringing up impeachment I will be immediately discounted by many as a Bush Hater. I am not a Bush Hater. I am an America Lover and I'd like to have a President who cared about things like obeying the law.

Is that too damned much to ask?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Cheney Victim OK, No Charges...No Story?

Well, The Man That Dick Shot is released from the hospital.

The Newmerican People just want to move on and get back to paying attention to the things that really matter to them.

Because you'd have to be an idiot to think that the Newmerican People give a damn that their Vice President shot a man and avoided any of the usual a blood alcohol test or immediate questioning by law enforcement.

And you'd really have to be out of your mind if the Newmerican People gave one single damn about the recent report that shows in a world wide opinion poll the only country less popular than ours is Iran.

If anybody does care about something as trivial as our highest elected officials being so far above the law that they can shoot people and then tell you it isn't a newsworthy event or that Iran is only slightly less popular than we are, you can tell them the same thing Dead Eye Dick told Senator Pat Leahy on the Senate floor.

Pretty much it is the Newmerican national motto.

"Go (you can't print it but Dick can say it) yourself."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Shot Heard Round The World...except at the White House

Listen, the real issue is less that the Vice President accidentally shot a man...accidents do happen, and millions of people get accidentally shot all the time...the real issue is that I can raise the following questions at all. All relevant questions should have been answered, and answered convincingly, by the Vice President or an official White House spokesperson immediately after the event.

Why did it take so long to inform the President of the accident?

Is there something wrong with the communications system, during a time of war, which allows information to be quickly and accurately transmitted between the VP and the President?

Why was local law enforcement turned away by the Secret Service?

Why did a private citizen, the ranch owner, give the first public statement instead of the White House or Vice-President's office?

Was the eye witness coached during the 22 hours it took to give her eye witness account?

Why was the Vice President hunting without the proper credintials, and therefore was hunting illegally?

Regardless of any criminal charges, who was at fault in the shooting? Can it be reasonably claimed that Harry Whittington was responsible for the situation which resulted in his being shot by the Vice President?

Is Harry Whittington already dead?

Call me conspiratorial if you must, but that last question seems very relevant to me. If the wounds were as superficial as originally described, with Whittington all but laughing off the "peppering", why has he been in intensive care for three days? How did a "peppering" of shot result in a pellet getting through his chest and into his heart? How close was he to Cheney?

22 hours would be plenty of time for the US Government to arrange for someone the Vice President killed, even by accident, to a hospital where some time after the fact complications due to age rather than directly resulting from the shooting would give a cause of death less politically damaging than manslaughter. Let me be clear, I am not making that accusation. I am angrily pointing out that secrecy creates doubt, which is more damaging to a democracy than a shotgun blast to the face and chest.

Consider the contempt it must take for this administration to choose deception and secrecy by default while claiming to spread a doctrine of democratic freedom which inherently demands an informed electorate.

Why risk, given the age of the victim and the seriousness of any gunshot wound, why risk hiding anything at all when it will only give rise to suspicion? Unless the truth is even worse than anything the unimformed public might possibly suspect?

It makes no sense, until you accept that they don't care.

They would care if they had any reason to care...and the evidence is that they don't care what we think, suspect, or even ask.

You stopped caring, so they don't have to.

Come on, people. Blame George and Dick if you want, but I don't care where Truman said the buck stops...we've got the government we deserve, and unless we start caring, the people we put in power never will.

I bet some of you out there are saying, just like Luke Skywalker said to Princess Leia, "I care."

Well, prove it.

Don't stop following the shooting story, but don't follow it so closely you don't pay any attention to the fact that Scooter Libby just testified that he was authorized by "superiors" to leak the Plame information, and that Plame was a covert agent owing to the fact that she had travelled as a covert agent to Iran to work on WMD issues during the required 5 year period before the leak was made.

Cheney has done worse than shooting a 78 year old man who got between him and a quail raised in captivity for the sole purpose of being shot by rich "hunters" on the weekends.


This administration may be a joke, but it is no laughing matter.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dick Cheney Shot His Friend and Donor....

How do you think he'd treat an enemy and a critic?

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Dick Cheney shot his friend, Harry Whittington, in a hunting accident.

"The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good." -Katharine Armstrong, ranch owner

I'm glad Dick Cheney's friend is OK, but for crying out loud...Could you ask for a better metaphor when it comes to not getting between Dick Cheney and anything he wants...or wants to kill?

And for all you Bushco apologists out there who are talking about liberals taking cheap shots on this or anything else...Stop for a second and honestly ask yourselves what you'd do if John Kerry or Al Gore accidentally shot somebody on a hunting trip.

While you're at it, ask yourself (and again, honestly if that is possible) what you'd do if anything done by this administration had been done, exactly the same way, by the Clinton administration...either the last one or the next one.

And...though it is nearly impossible to imagine (but not for the reasons Republicans think)...ask yourself how worked up you'd get over Bush getting a blow job from a consenting partner he wasn't married to.

Would that be as easy to laugh off as Dick Cheney shooting someone?

Or would you get all worked up about how terrible it was that the President's indiscretions were revealed by a scheming Democrat for political reasons after illegally recording, in secret, a private conversation with the President's willing partner...someone they knew considered them a friend and a confidant?

You people make Newmerika suck.

And I'm here to tell you, that sucking sure as hell ain't willing or consensual on my part.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Living In Newmerika

As of Tuesday, with the confirmation of Alito and the State of the Union Address, I have decided that we no longer live in America. A bloodless coup has been accomplished and we now live in the state of Newmerika.

I'm heartbroken, of course, because I actually loved being an American. I loved the freedoms, rights, moral authority and rich history of progression towards justice along with the devotion to peace that was part of the fabric of the nation where I used to live.

Where I live now is a strange place...I could try to describe the differences between Newmerika and America, but if you aren't aware of the differences already, I have to presume that you are incapable of discerning the difference or were a Newmerikan long before you and your kind seized control of my former homeland.

I'd like to believe that America will rise again, will throw off these occupiers and repudiate their doctrines which run so contrary to America's philosophy and creed...But the Newmerikans have been careful in their planning. They have waited patiently for 30 years and I must confess to little hope of success.

I am afraid that I believe that no revolution or insurgency will remove them from power, and even if it did, that would only be a temporary reclamation...At the first opportunity they would spring back to life in a form even more difficult to eradicate a second time.

If history teaches anything, it is that the only hope for the end of Newmerika is to let Newmerika consume and destroy itself by allowing its insane and immoral objectives to be realized. Resist, but know that resistance is ultimately futile.

Newmerika must be allowed, as difficult as it will be to live through that process, to self-destruct. The repudiation must be complete, the revelations of corruption unquestionable, and the wrongness of this state must be obvious to all...Including those who have helped perpetrate that wrong. Because Newmerikans will never yield to reason, it is not reasonable to attempt to reason with them. American virtues are pearls, and these should not be cast before swine. They must be worn, so that those who reconginze their worth will be drawn to them...but nothing is as dangerous as an overextended metaphor.

At this point you either get it or you don't...or rather, won't.

This is not what any of you want to hear, I know, but we lost and they won. We had our chance to change the course, to preserve America, and we failed. It is no use to assign blame. The only thing of value we can do now is to be accurate chroniclers, and ensure that all the wrong and mistakes are known, recorded, and preserved to educate future that after the inevitable fall, no one will ever again make the choices which have lead to the path our nation now travels.

But, I do not mean to be an assassin to hope. So long as America lives in your heart, it has not passed away utterly. No matter how long we Americans must live in Newmerika, we must continue to live as an American. Resistance may be futile, but assimilation is far from inevitable and certainly not advisable. Survival means nothing if you must sacrifice your most basic defining principals in order to continue that survival.

Live in Newmerika, Live as an American.

Be just, be fair, be honest, be kind, be moral, defend instead of attack, give rather than take, tolerate rather than punish. Lead by brave example rather than follow in craven fear of punishment.

Don't accept that what the Newmerikans tell you is true.

Research. Question. Verify. Record. Distribute. Repeat.

Hardest of all...Forgive.

But no forgiveness is possible without repentance, no repentance without confession, contrition, and a sincere desire to be forgiven.

We are right, and we are good...And we must have faith that rightness and goodness shall not perish utterly from this Earth.

For Example: