Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Fearless Fosdick Presidency

As a kid I loved Al Capp's long running and very popular comic Li'l Abner. Li'l Abner himself had a favorite comic strip he read, called Fearless Fosdick, a parody of another popular comic of the time, Dick Tracy. While Tracy was upstanding, stalwart and fearless, Fosdick was naive, feckless and blindly loyal to authority. Kind of like Alberto Gonzales, or countless other Bu$hCo™minions.
Fosdick was introduced on Sunday, November 2, 1941, as Li'l Abner's "ideel" — not just a favorite comic strip character, not just a role model, not just an object of abject, undying worship, but his ideel itself, so tough that on the rare occasions he isn't wearing his black suit, he pins his badge to his bare chest. For the duration of that storyline in Abner's United Feature Syndicate comic, Abner's emotional roller coaster was tied to the ups and downs of Fosdick's adventures in Dogpatch's newspaper. Its happy conclusion, amid piles of bullet-riddled corpses of innocent bystanders, brought euphoric glee to the enraptured boy. (from
Fosdick's most memorable attribute though, was his response to being wounded.
Fosdick was a farcical and guileless hack and was never simply wounded. Perpetually riddled by flying bullets, Fosdick's enduring trademark was the Swiss cheese bullet holes revealing his truly two-dimensional comic strip body. (Li'l
- Kind of like Alberto Gonzales, his Department of Justice, or for that matter the entire Bush administration. No matter how many political wounds they endure, no matter how bullet-ridden their credibility, they somehow soldier on, declaring the most damaging revelations not worthy of consideration. 'No problem, it's only a flesh wound.'

The question needs to be asked, and asked repeatedly until a solid answer emerges, how the heck are they surviving? Because, unlike Fearless Fosdick, the Bush administration is not a cartoon within a cartoon, although it appears to be at times.

The short answer is that for six long years they enjoyed no effective oversight whatsoever, with both houses of Congress controlled by the Republican/fascist party. Worse, even since the Democrats have taken control, their investigations can't get any traction in the mainstream media, particularly on television news.

I reluctantly took a break from writing my latest post, on James Comey's revelations about the Justice Department's declaration that the NSA warrantless wiretapping program was illegal back in 2004, and the dramatic hospital bed meeting between Gonzales and then AG Ashcroft, to see what CNN had to say about it. So what did li'l Wolfie have to say on The Situation Room? Nada. Zilch. Bumpkis. Diddly Squat. NOT A PEEP about this story!! What happened to 'if it bleeds, it leads?' Comey's testimony has been described as being "like the script of a Hollywood movie."

But never mind the editorial imperative to make this a major story based on its 'infotainment' value. This is a story about the government repeatedly and knowingly breaking the law, and doing so in order to tread on the rights of US citizens. Constitutionally protected rights. This is EXACTLY the type of story that the fourth estate has the highest duty to pursue.

Like countless other stories that should have brought the Bush government down but didn't, the broadcast media are effectively misinforming the public by simply not informing them. It's as if they had reported the Hindenberg explosion as "some of the passengers' luggage went missing." It is the journalistic equivalent of the philosophical question, 'if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?'

It turns out that the democracy that theoretically, ostensibly, purportedly, supposedly exists in America is anything but. When the government is repeatedly allowed to say one thing but do another, to break the law and tread on the rights of ALL Americans, what you have is a LIE-ocracy, a form of government based entirely on deceit. This is not what America is supposed to be about. It looks more like another Li'l Abner fiction, Lower Slobbovia.
As wretched as existence was in Dogpatch, there was one place even worse: faraway Lower Slobbovia.. ..There was no visible civilization, no money, no hope. The politicians were even more corrupt than in Dogpatch. Conditions couldn't be worse.
With both political parties AND the media under the firm control of a small group of multinational corporations, there seems to be no political wound that will be fatal to this farcical, feckless government. I am reminded of a line from the Elvis Costello song, Watchin' the Detectives;

They beat him up until the teardrops start,
But he can't be wounded 'cause he's got . no-oh-oh . heart.

He's got no heart.

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