Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the Merry-Go-Round

"They thought they could stop the merry-go-round if they captured all the horses. But of course the horses don’t make the carousel go around. The horses are just passengers like the rest of you.”

“By horses, you mean rulers, governments.”

“That’s right.”

“How do we stop the merry-go-round, then?”

Ishmael sorted through his tree clippings for a choice item as he thought about this. Then he said, “Suppose you’d never seen a merry-go-round and you came across one that was running out of control. You might hop on and try to stop it by pulling on the reins of the horses and yelling, ‘Whoa!’”

“I suppose I might, if I’d woken up kind of stupid that morning.”

“And when that didn’t work, what would you do?”

“I’d hop off and try to find the controls.”

“And if no controls were in sight?”

“Then I guess I’d try to figure out how the damn thing works.”


“Why? Because, if there is no on-off switch, you have to know how it works in order to make it stop.”

Ishmael nodded. “Now you understand why I’m trying to show you how the Taker merry-go-round works. There is no on-off switch, so if you want to make it stop, you’ll have to know how it works."

— Daniel Quinn, My Ishmael, 1997, Bantam ed. p. 176

With each passing month, the glow fades more from the Obama hope. Even as this entrancing speaker calls forth the voice of M. L. King to address the NAACP, we are hearing the U.S. President make jokes about Leave it to Uihgur, and we wonder, why doesn’t he hire those seven Guantanamo Uihgurs to work in the White House residence? What happened to audacity?

Far worse are the many foxes hired as henhouse guards in the past six months — too many to make anyone feel very comfortable about the economy, health care, the peak everything crisis, or climate change.

As Ellen Brown
pointed out recently, the federal loan California asked for to avoid entering its IOU-scrip debacle was one tenth of what the White House team headed by Goldman alumni gave to AIG, an insurance company, which promptly paid back Goldman for its wholly credit default swaps (soon to be illegal?) which, in turn, allowed Goldman to post the highest quarterly profits in its history, enough to put the 28000 Goldman employees on pace to take home more than $900,000 each this year, to say nothing of the windfall profits accruing to stock option holders inside the West Wing.

And then there is the obstruction of justice. “Mr. Attorney General, you can appoint a special prosecutor but you can’t investigate who ordered the
secret White House death squads to operate inside the borders of the United States, and you can’t investigate whose orders authorized CIA contractors to torture young Moslem boys and girls, even when they resulted in death, were videotaped, and made you nauseous. You may investigate the war crimes committed by the Central Command in the handling of prisoners and the thousands of Afghan bodies being excavated from the desert for re-disposal or burning to conceal their torturous deaths, and the previous thwarting of investigations, but any questions of pursuing war crimes prosecutions would need to be further reviewed.”

Harry Shearer imagined a recent mock conversation between the President, Hillary Clinton, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Defense Secretary Robert Gates over what to do with the Gitmo detainees who were acquitted but could not be released. Emanuel suggests they kill them.

RE: “You’ve electrified the exit doors, zap-zip-zoop-boom, done, finito, unplug the electricity, and ‘Oh, shoot, Achmed had a heart attack, that’s crappy timing.’”

BHO: “Starts to look suspicious after the third or fourth time, wouldn’t it?”

RE: “Different methodology, dangerous world, these folks have a lot of enemies, you know, the usual.”

RG: “Mr. President?”

BHO: “Yes, Mr. Secretary?”

RG: “Ahh, I think even though it is wartime, I don’t think, uh, the uniformed military would want to sign up for this particular assignment.”

RE: “Not a problem. CIA’s on board.”

BHO: “You’ve talked to Panetta about this?”

RE: “Not me personally, but they just need a few tweaks in the unsigned opinion from Justice. And a signature. And they are ready to rock and roll.”

HC: “Mr. President I seriously doubt Mr. Panetta wants to sign his agency up for a program with targeted assassinations at the doors of United States courthouses.”

RE: “With all due respect, I am not sure Mr. Panetta was a party to this discussion, anymore than I was.”

BHO: “Okay, so, just to review, the best we’ve got right now, to solve this problem, is to kill any one of these folks lucky enough to get acquitted.”

RE: “Yes, sir. And who knows? Even if they started to catch on it might even be an incentive for them to plead guilty.”

— Harry Shearer, KCRW’s le Show, July 12, 2009

This might be funny if it weren’t so close to the truth. It is how the carousel works.


Anonymous said...

you have a law degree, you should get involved with politics, toss your hat into a ring. Not like steve, not to just make a statement, but to get a job there, become one of the gears that make changes in Washington. Be serious, cut the hair and beard, wear a suit and blow some minds like Bill just did in N. Korea.

Karen said...

That's an awful idea, Anonymous! Anyway, fat lot of good it would do. I'm disapointed and disillusioned with Obama, too. I think he's doing everything wrong. Perhaps nothing can change because when Bill Clinton was President, anything he wanted to do that had value was stale-mated or blocked and he was personally slandered.




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