January 24, 2009
This is another brilliant piece of writing by Bill Marvel, about whom I have enlightened my readers in an earlier post. This column appeared in the January 19th edition of the Conway Daily Sun, and it is nothing short of brilliant. Enjoy!
by William Marvel
Conway Daily Sun
Monday, January 19th, 2009
Tomorrow ends one of the gloomiest epochs in American history. The most cynical, selfish, and shortsighted presidential administration in 220 years will conclude just as it began, with most of the country’s population opposed to its occupation of the White House. Now others must begin the enormous task of reparing the pervasive damage George W. Bush has done to our environment, our economy, our international prestige, our future, and our national spirit.
Our deliverance does not come without further volleys of Republican hypocrisy. Republicans who lambasted Al Gore for his legal challenge to the close results of the Florida election now put their last hope in a legal challenge to the close results of the Minnesota election, straining to at least delay any increase in the Senate’s democratic majority. Republicans who declared Bush’s one-percent margin a “mandate” in 2004 now belittle Barack Obama’s 53-to-47 percent victory as “not that significant” – studiously forgetting that Abraham Lincoln’s resounding 1864 triumph barely gleaned 55 percent of the popular vote, and that Andrew Jackson’s legendary landslide of 1828 only reached 56 percent.
Although he shows little regard for history, and even less knowledge of it, Bush appears belatedly concerned about his historical image. To resuscitate his miserable environmental record, for instance, he lately transformed many leagues of the Pacific Ocean into national monuments – but only because the energy tycoons of his coterie have no practical means of exploiting the resources there. Meanwhile, he spent his final days in office auctioning off mining and drilling concessions in some of our more precious domestic preserves, sacrificing historical and natural treasures for the sake of a few more months of fossil-fuel pollution.
In order to prevent embarassing revelations about the president or his associates, the Bush administration routinely disregarded the Presidential Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, or any other law that might provide incriminating documents. E-mails conveniently disappeared, in flagrant violation of federal statute, and in many instances their deletion represents the destruction of criminal evidence.
This unlawful secrecy ensnared even the pension records of the last surviving veteran of the Civil War. Half a century after his death the Department of Veterans Affairs should release his records, but that requires a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act. I filed such a request two years ago – but, six years into the Bush presidency, I was informed that there was a six-year backlog of such requests. The old veteran’s pension file probably doesn’t hold very dangerous insights into the workings of the Bush-Cheney cabal, but letting more innocent FOIA requests accumulate by the thousands effectively buries the really damaging information.
Democrats, to their eternal discredit, assidiously avoided every opportunity to prosecute a president who smirked his way through innumerable offenses far more serious than hiding an extramarital affair. Were every American truly equal under the law, Bush should have been impeached two years ago for violating federal statutes against domestic wiretapping and torture. Bush and Cheney might even have been handed over to the Hague for war crimes.
Instead, hand-wringing Democrats cringe at the thought of “putting our country through such an ordeal,” just as they did in 1974. That didn’t stop ruthless Republicans from frivolously impeaching a Democrat, and the Democrats’ perenial cowardice about impeachment only allows those Republicans to resume the attack with all the self-righteousness of the unindicted. They are doing just that, too, by ballyhooing the investigation of one dubious Democratic governor to make the public forget Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, Scooter Libby, Ted Stevens, all the pardoned Reagan-era criminals whom Bush re-appointed, and countless other Republican scoundrels.
Bush ultimately betrayed almost everyone. His rapacious economic and foreign policies horrified even the traditional conservatives of the Republican party, including his own father. Under the dishonest guise of compassionate conservatism, his cronies cultivated the worst elements of the Republican base. Bush leaped blindly into the abyss of neoconservatism. He enthusiastically embraced the apocalyptic world view of his fellow biblical literalists, whose primitive lunacy and enforced ignorance mirrors that of their fundamentalist Muslim counterparts.
Through their failure to control the renegades who hijacked the party, and their willingness to accept reckless leadership in return for electoral victory, Republican leaders forfeited any further claim on the loyalty of the American public. Their party now represents almost no one but corporate hyenas, chauvinistic imperialists, and religious fanatics. Those deplorable constituencies are all personified by that swaggering monument to unearned who starts back to Texas tomorrow afternoon.
William Marvel lives in South Conway.
June 12, 2008
Hello faithful readers,
This tasty little nugget found its way on to my desk a while back, and I’ve just been re-reading it, and, since I’m too lazy this morning to organize my own thoughts and opinions, I’ll share this column with you, written by a one Bill Marvel of Conway, New Hampshire. I don’t know anything about this man other than the fact that he is apparently a regular columnist for a daily rag called the Conway Daily Sun. Enjoy!
THE LEFTHANDED LEXICON
by William Marvel
The Conway Daily Sun
Monday, September 18, 2006
Anyone who has studied the human species for a few years should be sufficiently cynical to know Ambrose Bierce and his Devil’s Dictionary. That collection of sage observations served well enough in its day, and it is periodically revived, but it deserves certain additions and revisions. What follows represents a few entries for, shall we say, the definitive addition.
catastrophe, n. 1. In nature, a geological or meteorological event that threatens the survival of entire communities, continents, or of the planet itself. 2. In politics, the revelation of an embarrassing truth that jeopardizes the likelihood of an incumbent’s reelection.
committee, n. A gathering of three or more people for the purpose of collecting their most ridiculous ideas and memorializing them in a fashion that any of the individual members would find mortifying if held personally responsible.
congressman, n. A successful aspirant for both the condition of amnesia and the security of a federal pension, chosen through a contest of telling the most convincing lies.
corporation, n. An officially recognized syndicate in which the members are customarily allowed to enjoy most of the proceeds of criminal activity without suffering any of the consequences.
democracy, n. 1. An oligarchic system, esp. since 2000 A.D., in which a majority of the people within the state believe that they were allowed to participate in making a decision that was preordained by the dominant party’s leadership. 2. A form of government in which decisions are made by a majority of the people within the state (now obsolete).
god, n. A principal character in the mythology of primitive peoples, supposed to possess the power to cure all evils but in most instances notoriously unwilling to exercise that power; despite such inhumane perversity, this character is nonetheless reputed to be entirely benevolent.
insurgent, n. The name given by armed invaders to those who resist their domination.
judge, n. A lawyer who has made substantial contributions to successful gubernatorial candidates, who is rewarded with relief from the danger of malpractice complaints, regardless of the degree of idiocy exhibited from the bench.
law, n. A tradition established to protect the wealthy from injury by others, to secure them rights of private ownership in public property, and to provide them with a vehicle for intimidating and abusing the poor.
lawyer, n. [from Anglo Saxon “liar”]. In modern law, the principle beneficiary of any human tragedy, identifiable by the struggle to suppress a smile at the conclusion of judicial proceedings.
license, n. A certificate of authorization from the state to pursue activities that would otherwise be considered criminal. See lawyer, e.g.
patriot, n. One who boisterously professes to love his own nation, or to hate another, and who insists on the duty of others to take up arms in the protection and expansion of his own wealth.
patriotism, n. A common form of dementia distinguished by an attraction to brightly colored rags and martial music, often used as an excuse for crimes that cannot be explained by more sophisticated varieties of insanity.
police, n. A self-perpetuating organization established to create the illusion of public safety; known for failing to provide timely protection for the citizen who is physically threatened, and for simultaneously advocating against the citizen’s right of self-defense on the grounds that that is the responsibility of the police.
priest, n. One supposed to be a franchised subcontractor of the mythical god (q.v.) whose two main duties involve assuring customers of the affectionate protection available from his principal and explaining his principal’s repeated failure to demonstrate that affectionate protection. In the secular field of actuarial gambling known as insurance, these duties are performed by one called an agent.
property, n. Artificially partitioned portions of the earth, once claimed by kings by virtue of divine right and later conveyed to individuals who, though denying the divine right of kings, still pretend to hold valid title.
recreation, n. In the developed nations, a cornucopia of activities invented to absorb the abundant leisure of non-productive individuals, and to protect them from the danger of thinking about their personal insignificance; unknown in the third world except in the form of the storytelling that ameliorates incessant labor.
revolution, n. An exercise in political purification once deemed natural and morally justified, so viewed now only when directed against governments or heads of state hostile to the current administration, but otherwise criminalized as the most heinous form of heresy against the civil religion.
sentimentality, n. The American substitute for political dialogue.
sheriff, n. The principal law enforcement officer of a county, who in many regions also holds an ex officio position as chief of that county’s criminal element.
welfare, n. 1. A gift that the recipients of congressional campaign contributions give to corporations under the auspices of tax incentives or business subsidies, allegedly for the public good. 2. A humiliating stipend grudgingly dispensed to mothers who have been abused or abandoned by the fathers of their children.
William Carvel lives and lexicogitates in South Conway.