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Commentary Last Updated: Jun 27th, 2007 - 02:24:30

The End of (Rant) Days approacheth
By Kerry Tomasi
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 27, 2007, 01:20

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For those of you growing weary of seeing these "rant" type missives, take heart, they probably won't be around much longer.

I hate to sound like the consummate cynic (I prefer to think of it as being a pragmatic realist), but if things play out the way I think they will, we are rapidly approaching the time and place where I, and many others, may have to give it up.

Even now, at this stage of the game, I'm merely exercising/exorcizing the demons, while I can, because there's not much else to be done. It's a personal thing, and I appreciate you being an unwitting part of my 'therapy.' By simply reading this, you're helping me work through my "Cassandra" issues (the mythological Cassandra, not a cross-dressing fetish!), and I'm sincerely grateful.

Recently I made the following observation in one of my rants, "Americanized fascism is not only possible in this country, it is right at our doorstep, leaning in. All it will take is for just one more "catastrophic emergency" to occur, and that door is going to fling wide open, and in they'll come, prepared to solve all our problems with just a few 'minor adjustments' to the system."

Actually, they're not only at our doorstep, but they've removed and discarded the locks and hinges. All protective mechanisms that once protected us are now gone.

Consequently, there's not much of anything I could realistically suggest anyone do at this stage. Whatever we do would have little impact anyway, once they decide to pull that "emergency" trigger. The USAPATRIOT Act, "Military Commissions Act, and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20 have made sure of that.

Right now in this country (and it's still hard for even a cynic like me to digest this) not a single person has even one constitutional right if George W. Bush says they don't. We don't have a right to be free from arbitrary search and seizure, or not to be arrested and imprisoned without trial. We don't even have a right not to disappear forever into some unknown detention center! And if you don't have these rights, what worth are any of the others? Essentially all rights are now based solely on the whim of the president, if he so desires to exercise that whim, for whatever reason.

No, they are not dragging people off the streets by the thousands in broad daylight. That's the point. They don't have to. They only have to have the power to do so, and to make an example of a select few, in order to quash dissent and otherwise terrify the citizenry into submission.

Who among us over the age of 30 could even fathom such a thing 5-10 years ago?! What in the world happened to us and to this country? What were we doing when it mattered; when it was crucial for people to pay attention (and not just to Faux News!) and engage in the process?

I'm sorry to report (much more than I can express) that the opportunity to engage, and make a difference, has now passed. That point was in 2000, 2002, and 2004. That's when many of us were desperately trying to warn anyone who would listen that the 'handymen' tinkering with the door were not who they said they were, and must be stopped.

"At the very least, quit supplying the tools and baking them cookies!!" -- we implored. "PLEASE!!!"

Alas, too few listened.

But hey, I'm not here to throw stones. I realize people had other priorities and/or needs.

Most of the wealthy were blinded by the expectation of big fat tax cuts (and what could be more important than that?). Others, by the prospect of declaring this "The United Christian States of America," as well as doing their part to help move along that whole "Armageddon/Rapture" thing. Still others, I suspect, were in a perpetual state of GOP/media induced fear, and therefore unable to think clearly. And far too many simply didn't care one way or another, assuming someone else would do their caring for them.

Which brings us to where we are today.

But again, I'm not here to lay fault or blame. Not at all. I guess I'm just hoping that maybe next time . . . well, probably just wishful thinking and a moot point.

Anyway, here's a little trip down memory lane, some 'on record' excerpts of my plaintive pleas from 2000 thru 2004. Peruse them if you like, or not. Not sure what difference it would make either way.

But at least it does help me cope. And for that, I am grateful.

9/00 -- Our constitutional freedoms, as we know them, may be depending on you! . . . Maybe it is just paranoia. I honestly would prefer it were -- I kind of like the Bill of Rights as is. But just in case, please, do your civic duty. Get out and vote, and take someone with you. Future generations will appreciate it.

10/00 -- �Free money!! George W. is going to give me some free money!� . . . The free money being offered is borrowed money, borrowed ultimately from future generations. It�s called our national debt. Giving away this borrowed money to help win an election is equivalent to skipping your mortgage payments in order to shower friends and family with gifts. Sure, they�re going to think you�re a swell guy, but it would be really irresponsible.

2/01 -- 43 percent of the tax cut -- $688 billion -- will go to the richest 1 percent, and this will somehow stimulate the economy? Seriously, if you truly wanted to stimulate the economy (and maintain fiscal responsibility), wouldn't you limit tax cuts to those who will actually spend the money in the economy; people to whom a villa in the south of France just isn't an option right now?

3/01 -- Look, I'm only trying to do my part to help some of you avoid the embarrassment that will inevitably come when you realize you've been duped. When the budget surplus has mysteriously vanished, the gap between rich and poor has reached dangerous levels, and the environment is in another post-Republican era freefall, you'll at least be able to say, �I saw it coming a mile away.�

11/01 -- I have nothing but disdain for those who wear their nationalistic zeal on their sleeve and loudly proclaim that those who do not embrace their particular ideology or religion are therefore unpatriotic. Those who proffer such a blind allegiance represent the most dangerous threat to our liberties and freedoms, and are, in my opinion, the antithesis of true patriotism. Adlai Stevenson Jr. said it best -- �Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."

12/01 -- Once again, I beseech you -- don't be sucked in by this mind numbing propaganda machine. It's not at all a stretch, considering the way this Republican juggernaut is rolling right now, to be seriously concerned that we're headed in an irreversible totalitarian direction. Give these people just a little more power, let yourself become just a tad more indifferent, and you might just wake up one day soon to an Americanized version of fascism. And you won�t even know what happened.

4/02 -- Like zombies we listen to the billion dollar corporate media, and millionaire individuals within the Republican Party tell us that a tax cut for billion dollar corporations and millionaire individuals is just what this country needs right now. And like brainless idiots we buy it. We stand there with our little flags in our hands, clutching our Bibles, and swallow any foul thing they care to feed us. All they have to do is serve it up with a patriotic condiment and a side order of God, and we eagerly consume their crap.

5/02 -- There are serious things going on in this country right now; things the Bush administration -- and the people who own it -- don't want you to know about. They are quite literally banking on it. If they can keep your attention diverted long enough; if they can keep us fearfully focused on their new replacement for the communist bogeyman -- 'The Terrorist' -- they may very well leave behind a wake of environmental and economic destruction that will take decades to recover from.

9/02 -- Thousands of innocent people died that morning that probably shouldn�t have. And tens of thousands more will likely die because of it. If the Bush administration had done their job in a lousy manner, or in a sloppy manner, lives could have been spared. But they didn�t even do that. They did nothing. He just sat there. Why doesn�t anyone seem to care?

11/02 -- Ever since 9/11 was thrust upon us, many Americans appear to be emotionally hell-bent on destructive revenge, regardless of who it is that gets destroyed, including ourselves. This irrational exuberance to go kill somebody -- anybody -- seems utterly bizarre to me.

4/03 -- This could be our best opportunity to preserve our constitutional form of government and the ideals it represents. Let's not let it slip away without a fight. Do it for yourselves. Do it for future generations. Do it to 'support the troops'. Do it because, as a citizen of this country, it's your responsibility to do so.

5/03 -- A rather large percentage of the American public want it uncomplicated and easy. And the more superficial the better. But the world, and reality in general, is much more complex than that. Something far too many in this country either fail to see, or simply refuse to acknowledge. Is it any wonder we appear to be reverting, collectively as a society, to a condition more suited to childhood?

11/03 -- What else would justify the silence and/or acquiescence of certain 'in-the-know' members of our society to the flagrant economic, environmental, and societal devastation going on today? Why are the Democrats, the media, the intelligence community, and even traditional conservatives, so cowed by this movement? . . . There has to be something more sinister in play here. Something most of us thought could never happen in this country.

5/04 -- It's within that 2000 PNAC document that we find articulated what they believed would be a prerequisite to their Iraq invasion; the one thing that would be needed in order to bring the American citizenry on board -- both emotionally and monetarily. That need, that missing link was, and I quote: "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor."

6/04 -- "Bring it on!" Or as Lord Farquaad, the character that portrayed Bush in the movie Shrek put it to his Knights: "Some of you may die, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."

7/04 -- This was and is the method to their madness, at least on the domestic front. Ignite the fundamentalist Muslim world against us (adding tens of thousands to the terrorist ranks), fueling a never-ending 'war on terror.' Then use that war -- and the fear generated -- as a tool to dismantle, one by one, the structural components of our unique but fragile system, and replace it with a theocratic form of military/industrial corporatism.

11/04 -- It's been difficult for some to comprehend the downward spiral we as a country seem to be caught up in, and why so many of their fellow citizens appear to be positively giddy about it -- wholeheartedly embracing those in power who are driving us straight into the ground. But it hasn't been difficult for me. I've been observing both the leaders and followers of this right-wing movement for 20 years, and warning of the dire consequences that lay ahead. I knew what they were all about, and where it was headed. Still, there appears to be something more going on right now; something peculiar and unanticipated, but with a vaguely familiar feel about it.

 . . . Yep, there's a definite pattern developing here. Better get ready. The Kool-Aid is being prepared. And they're going to try to force us all to take a drink.

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