Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith are responsible for a war based on lies, fought on borrowed money, fueled by greed, racism, sadism, and madness. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith are responsible for all the death, destruction, horror, and utter pointless waste of that war.
I would add George W. Bush to the list of responsible parties. He was president, legally or illegally elected, for all of it.
I would also add everyone who voted for Bush in 2004. If you didn’t know he and his gang were evil then your stupid. If you did know, then you’re evil, too. I would like to say things have improved, but they haven’t. The door to a police state the bush junta opened is still open, and the Obama administration isn’t doing enough to close it. It will also take generations to undo the destabilization in the Middle East. Oh, and not to mention leaving a monster deficit for nothing or worse than nothing. For people who profess family values, they sure left a helluva mess for their children to clean up.
On a related note, I’ll be publishing the Darkness at Sunset and Vine trilogy in 2012. I started writing the first part on September 7, 2003. Anybody remember September 7, 2003? Here’s my draft afterward:
Yes, I was very angry the week I wrote “The Way we Live Now at Sunset and Vine.” I wrote it in five days starting on September 7, 2003 when our unduly elected President Bush lied to us again:
“Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources. We have conducted a thorough assessment of our military and reconstruction needs in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan. I will soon submit to Congress a request for $87 billion. The request will cover ongoing military and intelligence operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, which we expect will cost $66 billion over the next year. This budget request will also support our commitment to helping the Iraqi and Afghan people rebuild their own nations, after decades of oppression and mismanagement. We will provide funds to help them improve security. And we will help them to restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security. Now and in the future, we will support our troops and we will keep our word to the more than 50 million people of Afghanistan and Iraq.”
That night in 2003, as I read to this speech on my computer, I could not know that over 4,500 American soldiers and 100K Iraqis would die, that Abu Ghraib would question my faith in our military and humanity, that billions would go missing somewhere between Halliburton and, well, Halliburton. I could not know over four thousand American soldiers would die in the service of a government that was unworthy of their sacrifice, I could not know the America I was raised to love would promote torture, despotism, fear, greed, slavery, rape, murder, and more murder for the goals of one small group of men who’d come to power, legally or not, but who’d taken the tragic opportunity of September 11 to sweep away any moral or legal obstacles to their plans to rule through fear, because they cannot govern through consent. And so they did. And so they continue to do so. Monstrous men – Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld – and their minions not much less monstrous than themselves.
But that night in September 2003 I could not know any of this, I could only go cold with rage and fury that the moral and fiscal consequences of Bush’s murderous Iraq invasion were going to sow horror in my country for generations and that it was so fucking unnecessary. I was too angry to cry, to furious to move, and the only thing I could do was open a word processing window and pound out the first five thousand words of part one of Darkness at Sunset and Vine, “The Way we Live Now at Sunset and Vine.”. Part one is 20K words. I wrote it in five days and somehow managed to work my 9-5 job as well. This story poured out of me in a torrent of fury and sorrow in between bouts of pounding on my desk and howling with rage. I am not a patriot. I love my country because its mine. I hadn’t realized how much I love it and writing a story might not seem like much of a fight for something one loves, but it was the only fight I had in me at that moment. Even a California girl will turn and fight with whatever is at hand when her back is against the surf. And this is how I felt in September 2003. Nine years later, I’ve calmed down a little, but I’ve only banked my fire with hope and sadness, it could flare up again with the right provocation.
At the time I was writing DASAV, my beloved California, for various insane and greedy reasons, was in the throes of recalling Governor Gray Davis, an unlucky and mediocre bureaucrat. Maybe I was just kidding myself, but at the time it seemed like the recall could go either way and DASAV was written as if Davis had won the recall, but the Bush family sent troops into California to install Schwarzenegger as governor. Would Californians fight this kind of invasion? For the purposes of fiction, I said yes, but looking around at the suckers like Darryl Issa and the clowns who elected Schwarzenegger and then re-elected him, I wonder. At one point in the second novella, The End of History at Sunset and Vine, Nellie’s dinner date (yeah, I know, Nellie on a date, laugh riot, right?) opines that he didn’t like what happened to his State. Nellie politely refrains from saying out loud that she thinks her State got what it deserved. It’s too long and complicated to go into in this screed, but through overuse of the referendum mechanism, which means we vote more than Switzerland, a manipulative, if not malevolent business culture and media, and just being stupid and greedy, California has bankrupted its government, painted itself into a corner, tied its hands, and knocked over a candle to set the house on fire, which the under-funded emergency services aren’t going to get to in time. But, hey, dude! Arnold Schwarzenegger is our governor, and the only thing that stands between our citizenry and complete moral, physical and financial collapse is the California Nurses Association and a couple of unions. But, hey, dude! Arnold Schwarzenegger is our governor, and- oh, just fucking, never mind.
The Enron scandal was also a factor in Governor Davis’ downfall, but that wasn’t clear to most people until after he was ousted. Most people still think he was a big loser because he couldn’t control energy prices and, in truth, he couldn’t control them under the deregulated system most of California adopted in the mid 90s, led by Republican governor Pete Wilson, who governed under some kind of curse so powerful that California experienced nothing but catastrophe after disaster, including, but not limited to, earthquakes, weeks of wildfires, urban rioting, and energy deregulation during his terms in Sacramento. I wrote quite a bit on how LA and parts of the State I liked might survive through the good management of a few farsighted individuals and the brute force and street smarts of the rest of the citizens determined to stay in post-Occupation Los Angeles. The fate of Los Angeles and California were very much on my mind in the aftermath of the Enron free-market assault on my foolish State. During the 90s energy deregulation madness in California, the head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Mr. David Freeman, refused to deregulate our utilities. It was not mandatory and, being an intelligent man who could remember longer than last week and might have done some reading on the history of unrestrained capitalism, he could see deregulating a vital service was not just a bad idea, it was a really fucking stupid idea. So he refused to do it. Our DWP has flaws, but deregulation is not one of them. This is why the DWP is keeping the lights on and the water flowing and raking a percentage off the top of every dollar circulating on the net in the City of Angels in 2016. How would they do it? They’d hire thugs like Nellie to protect their aqueducts and power stations, as well as dig up alternative energy sources that were getting dusty through disuse. The original El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciúncula founded in 1781 had (and likely still has) enough water to support about 14,000 souls. The Los Angeles Nellie lives in is about that half that number, and I surmised that the DWP could find a way to support that many paying customers with electricity and water. In parts two and three, I expound on the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s role in policing their bus routes and how AT&T keeps the internet working, but nearly destroys everything in a further grab for power.
DASAV is set in Los Angeles after the Federal Occupation which resulted in Der Terminator, sorry, Der Schwarzenegger, being installed as Gov for Life. I was discussing this with a friend in Michigan, who said LA would be impossible to occupy. This is likely true, but, courtesy of Bush I, we have had US Marines patrolling the streets of South Central LA after the 1992 Rodney King Rebellion, so troops on the street isn’t just a possibility in America, it has been a reality in Los Angeles. You see, here in Hollywood, we don’t just live our dreams, we live our nightmares, too.
Much of the novellas that comprise DASAV concern how things got so messed up. That the goals of the Bush family and their mafias was to create a passive slave society (through drugs, terror, and starvation, physical and spiritual) in which their looting could go unimpeded. Most of the American intelligentsia has fled. Philanthropic George Soros and opportunistic Bill Gates have essentially purchased Mexico as a haven for anyone smart enough to get there in time. (Canada has sensibly closed and mined their border with the US, but do help out in the third novella.) It is in Mexico, as brilliantly administered by economists Paul Krugman and Jeffery Sacks, that economists, scientists, linguists, and other such brainy and advanced-degrees types have been formulating plans to retake their country. The technology sector that has fled with the brain trust has been manufacturing and exporting the sexy ti-tandex outfits Nellie wears for protection and the titanium Colt she packs for action. Within the United States, Nellie’s former colleague, the brilliant linguist and vicious urban tactician (or vicious linguist and brilliant urban tactician, either way) Fydor Chandler, has been leading a guerrilla resistance, but the strain is driving him mad. Nellie’s idol, Dr. Max of Dr. Max’s Live Nude Economics – the best show on the Internet Broadcast – currently exiled in Mexico, comes to Nellie to ask her to convince Fydor to lead his people to join forces with Max in Mexico. It is Nellie’s history with Fydor that leads Max to believe she might be able to convince him with emotion where mere reason would fail. Among Fydor’s followers is the fantastically idealistic and tragically young Sara Lee, who has shrewdly taken a member of the Bush family hostage in a serious blow against their authority. It’s Sara Lee’s action that triggers all the events that ultimately lead to Nellie ending up if not on the right side of history, at least on the right side of what’s left of her conscience.
Okay, I get this question a lot: Why are all the freedom fighters linguists?
Oh, why not? Just because one never sees a linguist with a rocket launcher doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Why should rhetoricians have all the fun?
There are two more novellas in the trilogy: part two, The End of History at Sunset and Vine, wherein Chelsea Clinton is coming to LA to lead the revolution. Yay? The Greens, the Christian Right, and Kevin, the evil functionary from part one are trying to destroy what’s left of the US, starting with Nellie and Los Angeles. In part three, A New American Century at Sunset and Vine, the bad guys this time are working directly for the Bush family and their mafias using Fundamentalist Christian Rightwing refugees as human shields to get the Bush family and their money out of the US before the whole mess implodes. Also in this final story, Nellie and Fydor learn some important things about LA infrastructure, spend some quality time in a underground library cum bunker, Chinatown, and Nellie meets the followers of the cult of Santa Gloria Molina, who are not quite what they seem to be. Also in the last story, Nellie and Fydor, in their own inimitable way, launch the second American Revolution with style, wit and a little more than the usual level of mayhem.
However clever these novellas might sound nine years later, at the time I was writing them it was painful. These novellas are my plea to my country, which seems hell bent on destroying everything that’s ever been good about it, to stop, please stop, before it’s too late. Why, America, why does it even seem possible that such things as happen in Darkness at Sunset and Vine could ever occur, but with a less happy ending? Why have you handed yourself to the monsters of the Bush family and their mafias? Why? Are we too numb, too stupid, to beaten down to fight for the only things that mean anything in this crazy mixed up world? To fight for our freedom, our future, and the ideals Americans have been willing to die for for over 200 years? Have we forgotten that it’s better to die on our feet than live on our knees? Or did we never really know it? Or will we just not care? Until it really is too late?
It’s 2012, Occupy America has shaken things up more than I’d ever hope things could be shaken up again. 4.6 Billion dollars moved from major banks to credit unions and community banks on November 5, 2011. Occupy America says they have no demands but their message is clear: the United States must run fairly and equitably for everyone, not just the 1% with all the money. It’s a simple enough message; let’s hope D.C. hears it correctly. It is, after all, an election year.
Y’know, I still haven’t really calmed down. I don’t want to live forever, but I would like to live long enough to read what historians make of the bush II era. I’m hoping they’ll get it right.
Update 12/22/2011: I’ll let Doonesbury have the last word: