Ruminations On Outrage

The other day Evo posted a comment in response to my post on the CIA torture tape destruction, saying, “Lion, what should be of most concern about the CIA story is that things like this no longer elicit much outrage. It already seems like yesterdays news.”

I responded in a light vein, but then kept on writing and as I did so my anger grew into a Lionesque snarl. Oh, yes, I am outraged. And I suspect a lot of people are.

There’s certainly plenty to be outraged about. The Bush Administration has been nothing but a progression of incompetence, lies, deceit, criminal acts, and sleazy, disgusting conduct. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

The illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Failure to provide proper equipment to the troops. Halliburton and others profiteering off the the death of American troops. Dead soldiers smuggled into the country in the dead of night instead of in the light of day and in the sight of Americans. Torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib. Black prison sites, unaccountable to anyone. An Attorney General politicizing and corrupting the Department of Justice – the Department of Justice, for chrissake – and lying to Congress. The White House complicit in breaking the cover of an undercover CIA agent doing valuable work on weapons of mass destruction. The President commuting the sentence of Scooter Libby, a convicted felon involved in the treason of outing the CIA agent. A new Attorney General claiming that a globally recognized method of torture, abhorred for five hundred years, was outside his knowledge and depended on the President’s definition. A President who seeks a new war, despite having, according to every United States intelligence service, no cause, and in fact that essentially claims the President is a liar. Which he is and has been. Federal tax dollars being fed to religious organizations, with no accountability. Fanatic religionists infesting the government, infesting the Justice Department and pushing their pathological agenda. Military academies crawling with religious fundamentalists and raging evangelicals pushing religious bigotry against non-Christian cadets. A Vice-President spewing lies and hatred and continuing the same lies and hatred even when he’s proven to have lied. Legitimate scientific research, crucial to the nation and the world, and to individual Americans, lied about, twisted, distorted, suppressed by the White House. Torture approved by the President. Habeas corpus suspended. Americans wiretapped for no cause, apparently by the millions at hubs operated by complicit communication corporations. Mercenaries given full immunity in America and Iraq, murdering Iraqis at whim and will. A Republican Senate and Congress agreeing to all of this. A Democratic Senate and Congress unable to get its thumb out of its ass to fight the destruction of Constitutional law by a Republican President and his gang of thugs. An Attorney General (Mukasey) committing the Justice Department to supporting voter ID laws that are nothing more than a cover for Republican suppression of the vote.

And on and on. I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch, just as I’m sure that in the stinking underbelly of Republican and Bush rule there is more foulness that has yet to come to light. If all of this were condensed into a stench, everyone in the world would be vomiting a dozen times a day.

And if the people of this country ever gave vent to their justified outrage at this government, Bush and Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Gonzales, Rumsfeld, a dozen others, and the likes of Limbaugh, would all be hanging from the tree nearest the White House.

But to answer Evo as to why there is no outrage, I can only surmise that a portion of the population chooses ignorance; some choose apathy, seeing only business as usual; others have chosen party over nation, party over the rule of law and justice, party over the Constitution, party over decency; others are, I think, simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of outrageous and criminal acts and have to some degree gone numb; and yet others hold their anger at bay, putting their hope into next year’s elections, and not seeing that the Republicans are doing their best to subvert those elections, locally, and with the support of the new Attorney General, whose nomination the Democrats refused to fight.

White House crime, incompetence, deceit, lies, the worst of the worst running the government, day after day – this has become the norm. It’s simply not possible to maintain outrage month after month, year after year, and keep one’s health and sanity.

I’m tired, and I’ve only been writing on these things since May. Before I began blogging, I was simply furious every time I opened the paper or watched the news. Now, by blogging, I’ve relieved some of that stress, but more and more I come up against the feeling that it makes no difference, that there is little to be done to stop the slide of the United States under the Republicans and the fascist Conservatives into the kind of nation that the founders abhorred when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I’m not young anymore and I likely will not live to see the worst of it. But I’d like to see my side win. I’d like to see that before I go.

But I think the United States will do what other nations have done. We will slide into tyranny and oppression, leading to bloody revolution, and follow the cycle again and again. That’s going to be the legacy of George Bush and the Republicans and their arrogant, foul, brain dead religious supporters who glory in the tyranny they’re seeking to create here.

Next year is a crossroads in our history. We can choose the rule of blood and wealth or the rule of American Constitutional law.

Yeats, I think, had it right.

[And then of course there’s this…]

[And this over at Atheist Hornet…]


11 Responses

  1. Other than that, are you feeling OK?


  2. Good one, Ric. It’s nice to see all the outrages we’ve experienced in the last 7 years in one concise paragraph, that big middle one up there. I’m cutting and pasting that and putting it up on the bulletin board come election week next November with a title “Lest we Forget”.

    I’m sure I missed a bunch

    Let’s also not forget how he frittered away the good will and empathy the world had for our country right after 9/11. Nor the way he failed to capture bin Laden when he had the opportunity, because he got sidetracked with Iraq, and avenging his father’s near assassination. Or how he filled government jobs with incompetent political cronies who couldn’t manage hurricane relief efforts. Did you mention Halliburton, his 2nd …erm…first-in-command’s pet project?

    My brain’s mushy.


  3. Hey, SI, great idea about tacking Ric’s paragraph up on the bulletin board. I’ll add your little addendum at the bottom, too.

    [Note to Self: Buy bulletin board.]


  4. I wish I could accuse you of hyperbole, but the sad truth is, you nailed everything accurately. As complete as your list seems to be (my God, it’s a long one, isn’t it?), I shudder to think what other vile waste lies submerged ‘neath the White House carpets.

    Sad to say, if I posted that list and SI’s addendum on the bulletin board at my office, I’d be tarred and feathered. I work with about half of the 30% who think Bush is God’s second son (and, I guess, Jesus’ 1/2 brother; that fits, he’s certainly a 1/2 wit).


  5. Ex- I’m doing better but still far from one hundred percent. I’m shooting for eighty by next week. Thanks. And don’t forget the tacks for the bulletin board… 🙂

    Spanqi- Mushbrain may be a good defensive mechanism. I find it handy, but usually blame it on the Lyme. Kind of like saying, “Hey, I’m Lyming Bush today,” when I don’t want to deal. And oddly enough I did forget the hurricanes. Thanks for reminding me. I’ll let your note speak to them.

    Chappie- There are worse things than getting tarred and feathered for standing up for what you believe (but it’s a good idea to coat your body with oil before committing the offense – makes the tar easier to remove). Some of the stuff from the Inquisition (the old tyme CIA) was nasty. You could stick the list on your desk? Or up your coworkers’ butts? 🙂 And I think you’re giving Bush way too much credit… he’s a no-wit. (Is there a mathematical term for that?)


  6. Ric:

    I meant to ask you in previous comment:

    When you referred to Yeats, were you thinking of

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity


  7. Ric said: And I think you’re giving Bush way too much credit… he’s a no-wit. (Is there a mathematical term for that?)

    I guess a linguistic term would be “zero.”

    Numerically, it might look like: “0” or 0/0. If one applies Occam’s Razor, “0” should be about right.


  8. Ex –

    That’s the one. The Second Coming.

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

    Oh, wait, that’s Washington, and the slouch is Bush.


  9. Interesting image, a zero slouching towards…..?


  10. I’m not sure that this CIA tape scandal is anything more that a Rep-Dem squabble. It’s hardly like we don’t know they torture people, we know that they do. In the “War of Terror”, which is no way a war on Islam, over 83,000 Muslims (men, women and children) were detained by the US by 2005 – can we call them hostages?

    There are 35,000 detainees in Iraq (about 20,000 in US custody), who have committed no crime and will be released without charge… eventually. They obviously aren’t providing useful Intel – so why are they being detained? Answer: America using internment as a collective punishment – they nab boys and young men off the streets or out of their homes to punish the population.

    But because this happens Iraq there is very little outrage – the New York Times won’t use the word internment or concentration camps but what would they call it if 83,000 Muslims were being held in Rikers Island?


  11. Steph,

    You are, of course, right that we torture. More than that, when anyone from this government says we don’t, we have to assume they are lying, no matter what legal restrictions may have been placed on the use of torture. In fact, we can no longer trust anything anyone associated with the Bush administration says, and must assume some degree of dishonesty, and the greater the assumption the more likely it is to be accurate.

    While it is a Rep-Dem squabble on one level, primarily because the Republicans will support anything the little psychopath does, I think this goes deeper, assuming that what’s out there so far is accurate, or reasonably so. For one thing, there’s a direct line drawn from the events to the White House. And the intelligence agencies, having disgraced themselves with the entire Iraq affair, appear to be unwilling to be used again by the Bush thugs.

    The recent NIE, devoid of its subtleties, in effect called Bush a liar, and indicated that the various agencies were not going to be part of another neocon plan to lie this country into another bogus war.

    It may be that people directly involved may finally have become willing to step up and tell the truth. We can only hope.

    As for the 83,000 Muslims being held, whether individual or collective punishment, whatever their situation, chalk it up on the board with the long list of war crimes Bush and his cronies have committed. Will there be justice? I see only two possibilities for that. One would be if the Democrats crush the Republicans in next years elections and grow a set of balls and some integrity, and pursue criminal charges against the members of the Bush administration. The other would be if everytime any of these people from this administration steps outside the country, they are arrested and shipped to The Hague for trial. Every one of them should learn to be afraid of leaving the country. And they should be equally afraid of staying here.


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