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The bonfire of the inanities
Seriously, could it get any worse?
BY BARRY CRIMMINS


‘Merry Solstice,’ Bill

At a time when the nation found itself distracted by frivolities such as an unjust and illegal war, torture scandals, congressional scandals, statewide scandals, energy prices plunging an icy dagger into the hearts of American families, the continued calamitous ramifications of Katrina, and a White House overrun by felons and even traitors, leave it to Bill O’Reilly to bring the focus back to an issue we’ve all been ducking for far too long: holiday salutations. And who better than O’Reilly to appoint himself as Jesus’ personal savior? Even if the FOX News host has things he’d much rather be doing with a marital aid, his anus, his leprechaunic Irish penis, a speaker phone, a loofa, some falafel, and an unwilling employee, he found the time to speak up for the vast majority of Americans: the oft-overlooked Christians. Christians who had become much too lax with department-store employees’ godless use of phrases such as "Happy Holidays."

O’Reilly saw through this Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, pagan, Wicca, agnostic, atheist plot and spearheaded a drive to forcibly put the phrase "Merry Christmas" back in the mouths of those who during the rest of the year sincerely urge us to "have a good one."

By way of thanks, I’d like to send along this special holiday greeting to Mr. O’Reilly: Go fuck yourself … you have the technology.

_BC

For 2005, my annual task of reviewing the past year has been complicated by an old adage: oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Here I sit, tangled in a web that many people began weaving way back when the Gipper was protecting us against deadly pollutants released by old-growth forests. It was a jumble out there this year — one that defies linear documentation.

So let me borrow from our friend Mark Twain and offer this admonition: persons attempting to find chronology in this narrative will become lost; persons attempting to find morals in its subjects will be generally disappointed; persons attempting to find a plot will be overwhelmed (because it contains more plots than Arlington National Cemetery).

And anyone expecting a comprehensive review will end up feeling they have a lot more coming.

SCANDALOUS TO THE END

California Republican congressman Duke Cunningham had a narrow window of opportunity. It was late November, and he had 15, 20 minutes tops, to become a late entry in the scumbag sweepstakes that was 2005. The aging Navy fighter-jock did not miss his chance. At an impromptu press conference, Cunningham announced both his resignation from Congress and his guilty plea to several corruption charges. On that sunny autumn afternoon, the Dukester secured his place in history — as a simpering, blubbering jellyfish.

Most years, Cunningham’s weepy guilty plea and resignation would have been a major news story for weeks, but in 2005, it barely merited a "So what else is new?" shrug of the shoulders.

By the time we got to Cunningham’s sobbing exit, no one — absolutely no one — could keep track of all the scandals involving the Bush-Cheney administration, the Republican Congress, and state and local Republican leaders and their corporate and evangelical cronies. There were procurement scandals, media scandals, emergency-preparedness scandals, even treason scandals. These people stole everything, from coins in Ohio to billions in Iraq — including, in the estimation of some, the 2004 election, giving George W. Bush a matched set of nebulous claims to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Which is where we entered 2005: believe it or not, Bush and Cheney’s second inaugural was a scant 11 months ago. Feels more like 11 years, doesn’t it? I’ve suppressed almost all memory of the inauguration except for two things: a hazy recollection of the halftime show for the Crusades and the faint hope that Bush-Cheney arrogance would lead to such brazenly incompetent and unconstitutionally criminal behavior that not even Rupert Murdoch would be able to conceal it.

In mid December, Wally O’Dell, a big GOP fundraiser who promised to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes for Bush, resigned as CEO of Diebold, the company whose electronic balloting machines at least in part delivered Ohio to Bush. O’Dell left over allegations of insider trading. The same week, a Florida county announced it would no longer use Diebold machines because they’re vulnerable to backdoor hacks and could be used to manipulate vote tallies.

You know that saying "the fix is in"? Well in this case, was the fixer an inside trader?

I mean how much more naïveté can we afford? We have a president who has twice been "elected" despite polling data that told us it wasn’t going to happen. And then his administration is fraught with every possible insider scandal. They fix intelligence, they fix the media, they fix government contracts, and now the man that promised to hand them Ohio leaves his job at the secret voting-booth company because he was caught insider trading. Is it paranoid to connect the dots and understand that we have been living, for the past five years, under an unelected criminal regime? Or is it, to put it in W-era parlance, a slam-dunk? Use your own intelligence and trust it.

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Issue Date: December 23 - 29, 2005
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