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About The North Coast times-eagle. (Wheeler, Oregon) 1971-2007 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 2007)
N O RTH
C O A ST
TIM E S
EA G LE
. . .
ln a dark time the eye begins to see
DELUSIONS OF ADEQUACY
BY MICHAEL PAUL McCUSKER
“A democracy can disappear at any time,
if it ignores the truth about itself."
“Go out into the world and fight against poverty, racism
and militarism,” Martin Luther King, Jr., said forty years ago at
Riverside Church in New York City (April 4, 1967).*
We have instead done the opposite. Poverty is not only
widespread but endemic, part of a plan for a two-tiered society of
the extremely affluent and powerful, with everybody else forced
to struggle to survive. Racism is the pillar upon which the new
American aristocracy affixes to grasp and maintain power. And
militarism is its method, domestically and abroad.
Of course, none of this is unusual. The founders were
very aware of this sort of imperial behavior, and after their own
bloody struggle with it, propagated a Constitution with a Bill of
Rights to curtail the worst excesses of greed, injustice and the
grasp for supreme power.
The past five years have nearly reversed all that —
although the threat has always been apparent and nurtured
before the ink was dry on the Constitution.
George W. Bush has about a year and a half to com
plete his destruction of American constitutional democracy.
Count the days! On the one hand, each day passed is one day
less for his Presidency, on the other, each day engulfs us further
into the strangling morass of deceit, corruption, war, and the
sinister erosion of civil rights and liberties of average Americans.
It will take a long time to repair the damage to demo
cracy by the Bush seizure of neo-dictatorial power, yet everyone
should be aware of the chilling future without constitutional
democracy, imperfect though it is and susceptible to zealotry,
corruption, discriminations of every sort, and of course by latent
We might after all be a dying democracy, a bloated red
dwarf star that rose too quickly and consumed itself with careless
and misguided hubris. Whatever greatness we have possessed,
which was our quest for liberty and justice for ordinary people,
seems to be swiftly disintegrating, and at least from a vantage
of things as they are, the torch is threatened with extinguishing,
signified by Bush’s refusal to comply with last November’s elect
oral majority. If indeed we succumb to tyranny by schoolyard
bullies, it might be hoped that a future people will successfully
struggle against similar despotism and oppression and redefine
liberty, equality and justice.
About George W. Bush, Walter Kerr might have had his
measure when he said of someone else, “He had delusions of
adequacy." Or Paul Keating: “He is simply a shiver for a spine
to run up."
His swaggering venality has affected us all: a corrupt,
compulsively dishonest unelected President whose arrogant
seizure of power has spread deceit, avarice and corruption all
through American society (not that it wasn’t already there). An
egregious local example would be the imposition without public
involvement of LNG into lower Columbia River culture, denying
the citizenry a right to choose.
It would seem ironic, even sardonic, that a psychopathic
liar claims he is chosen by God to lead America to Rapture. That
he shamelessly proclaims himself war leader when he shirked
the war of his generation (enabled by his privileged birth, which
is so anti-democracy). That he demands the noblesse oblige of
a King when he is only a President, and a fraudulent one at that.
And that he seems belligerently unconcerned about the human
costs of his misbegotten war. He accuses the growing majority
who are turning against him as they see his true character as
not only disloyal but lacking courage — a fine thing for him to
say who has never demonstrated any valor except a swaggering
big-mouth bellicosity unmatched by deed or action. He is still
a barroom bully although he apparently quit alcohol and other
drugs (a sniff of former cocaine use); and he probably ran out
on any fights his mouth initiated.
Bush contemptuously disregards opposition, pontificat
ing that he is fighting evil as God's right-hand man But contrary
to such radical (and willful) ignorance, neither evil nor its good
twin exist in this world, or universe for that matter. Good and
evil are human constructs. Other than human interpretation,
the rest of the world operates daily in what might be considered
a “relativist” cosmology. Nor is evil committed by agents of
Satan, but by satanically-articulated human beings who impose
their own peculiar evil purposes upon other humans or humanity
The problem with evil is that nearly everyone suspects
nearly everyone else of being evil, which presupposes every
body who thinks that way of being good. That has led to a great
deal of mischief over history, mostly of a malevolent and tragic
kind Millennial madness only complicates these constructs (and
heightens anxiety). It would seem that every nation chooses
hard-line fundamentalists for leaders; the new Catholic Pope is
former Hitler Youth. We Americans have George Bush, who
cloaks his evils with psalms of good.
It is certainly past time to dethrone him. Or defrock
him, given his penchant for self-anointed sanctity. Impeachment
is the right to trial for a President who is under scrutiny. More
importantly, it is the right to bring a President to trial
Bush’s first impeachable offense was taking the
Presidential oath because his “selection” was fraudulent: his
second offense might be the fact he has disregarded his oath
to defend the Constitution, which he has more or less scrapped
in favor of autocracy (or the “unitary executive", a preposterous
claim of no merit and cloudy definition), aided by his very auto
cratic Vice President.
Ron Betts of Waldport, a decorated Vietnam veteran,
thinks the next two years ought to be spent getting evidence
on the President and Vice President, and at 12:20 p.m., January
20, 2009, the moment after the new President has taken the oath
of office, federal officers handcuff common citizens Bush and
Cheney and perp-walk them to jail for all sorts of crimes against
democracy and humanity.
Bush and Cheney, for all their political machinations,
forget that politics is war without the killing. It is perpetual war,
always in crisis and about crises, real and imagined, yet its real
purpose is to alleviate the worst aspect of crisis, which is war.
For that alone they should be impeached and removed
BY ANNA MYERS
It is beginning to look like Vietnam because the death
toll keeps rising each day of U S. troops, Iraq police officers
and innocent civilians.
In Vietnam they had foliage to hide from the enemy,
but in Iraq there is no place to hide from the enemy. So U S.
troops, Iraq police officers and innocent civilians are caught
in the crossfire, sometimes resulting in death or injury.
The veterans hospitals cannot handle the numbers of
wounded troops coming back from Iraq. It was the same during
the Vietnam War The number of wounded American troops in
Iraq is nearly 25,000 The total number of American wounded in
the Vietnam War was 60,000
I feel that we have been in Iraq too long and that it is
time to get out while we still can.
Anna Myers is 22 years old and has been genetically
affected by Agent Orange all of her life Her father handled the
herbicide extensively when he was in Vietnam, and died from
his exposure when Anna was 18 months old She is a graduate
of Astoria High School, and lives in Astoria
I recently found a picture of my face with a caption that
claims I am a pretend war veteran. The caption has me saying,
“No, I wasn't in Vietnam, but sometimes I like to pretend I was.”
It was taped to a microwave oven behind the counter of
an Astoria bookstore, where I work a few days a week steaming
espressos and arguing with patrons who now and then buy a
book. Probably only two or three persons saw it, my coworkers
obviously. Yet it was posted in a public place.
I knew instantly whose work it was, a Rush Limbaugh
clone who worships Ann Coulter. I realized he was not making
a joke but a mean-spirited lying smear.
I can’t say he and I argue, because true argument is a
civil and civilizing process. We shout at each other; or more
truthfully, I shout back because anyone who disputes him is
shouted at. His self-appointed mission is to shout down and
denounce liberalism wherever it lurks. Disagreement with his
menacing and darkly violent vision is equivalent to unpatriotism
and Bush hating.
I have been asked by a number of regular patrons to ban
him from the bookstore, and they are impatient with my reason
ing that he has 1st Amendment rights equal to mine and theirs.
Some refuse to come into the bookstore when he is there, or
leave when he comes in.
He seldom names an ideological enemy (liberals and
leftists, whether they are or are not) without a blatant slur: every
other woman columnist aside from Coulter (as well as liberal
political women) are “sluts” or “bimbos." He calls Barack Obama
“Osama Bama” and the entire Democratic Party is, in his sneer
ing words, the “Treason Obstructionist Party” (or ‘TOP’).
So when I saw public display of what I think amounts to
a heavyhanded smear of me as a phony vet, I began to wonder
if this was the start of the usual type of slander and innuendo he
wholeheartedly approves of against ideological enemies.
I asked him if he was responsible for the slander, and he
proudly as well as loudly said “damn right" he was.
I showed him a copy of my “honorable” (without “good
conduct" medal) discharge from the USMC (DD-214), and speci
fically pointed to the reference to my service in Vietnam as a
“combat correspondent." (My job incountry was to accompany
infantry and reconnaissance troops to record and photograph
whatever trouble they made or got into.)
The Limbaugh/Coulter parrot was irritated when I said
that he and his “ilk" (a word he usually uses to deride liberals
and Democrats) smeared John Kerry in the same manner when
he campaigned against Bush in 2004 (despite three purple
hearts and a silver star) while shouting down any reference to
Bush’s military record during Vietnam (Bush went AWOL from
his silk-stocking Texas Air National Guard unit for a year, which
technically makes our war leader a war deserter).
My personal comparison to Kerry's defamation, which
contributed to his loss of the Presidency, is pertinent because
he and I were associated with each other as members of the
Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The local Limbaughtista
has called me a coward and traitor because of my involvement
with VVAW, and he berates me for “betraying" American
soldiers. He was a Navy enlistee during the Korean War but
never left North America. Like most viciously loudmouthed
warhawks, he never saw a second of combat. He defines
supporting the troops as keeping them at war and considers
wartime dissent a treasonable act worthy of incarceration
and/or execution (certainly torture, which he countenances)
rather than a fundamental freedom and obligation.
He was particularly piqued when I said I had talked to
a couple of friends who are attorneys. I asked them if the bad
joke was a slander because it was posted in a public place.
Their replies were a hesitant assent, but not worth the court
costs. A letter of cease and desist addressed to him from an
attorney would probably spike further proliferation of at least
that form of character assassination; and one offered to write
“I'm never going to talk to you again,” my Bush-loving
nemesis said, indignant that I had threatened him with the law
I said I was not going to tolerate him doing to me the
same as he and ilk did to smear Kerry.
“If you slander somebody as a joke you should not be
surprised if the subject of your humor is displeased,” I said as he
left the bookstore about an hour later, during which we ignored
Friends say the vow of silence is the best thing that
could happen, although they seem to think he will be unable to
keep his bellicose, zenophobic mouth shut for long They believe
his only purpose for being in the bookstore is to torment me
I am probably a hypocrite about this My portrait of him
as a Limbaugh/Coulter i-pod is nearly as offensive as his name
calling defamation of anyone he is in dispute with
*MLK was assassinated exactly one year later, April 4, 1968