The Widdershins

Remain Calm, Etc: A Spoonful of Sugar

Posted on: June 19, 2014

Good Thursday, Widdershins.  Did I ever tell you that I am a huge fan of Mary Poppins?  I read the books repeatedly as a child, and much later, repeatedly to my own child.  Mary was a stern but loving nanny who blew in on the East wind (“popped-in”) to care for the Banks children, then blew out (“popped out”) when she was satisfied that her services were no longer required.

“I never explain anything,”  Mary Poppins

I now find myself wondering if we might be better off with Mary running the government.  At least she is forthright about the fact that she has no intentions of explaining anything to anyone, not now nor ever,  Instead we have a Congress that rarely shows up, which might actually be all for the best considering their proclivities.  We have a President who has gone out like a bright light, and a Justice Department which appears to be running amok.  Constitutional protections are either full-bore or non-existent, and secrecy reigns supreme.   Yet each and every governmental entity insists that they are beavering away night and day in the public interest.  Did not our President promise transparency?

We have had the FISA courts since the Carter Administration, but their secrecy has now grown exponentially – that is, when we bother to use them at all.  The Bush Administration asserted their right to rush wiretaps right past the FISA court, and I do not have full faith and confidence that the Obama Administration – or third and fourth terms of Dubya – has operated any differently.To his credit,  Obama has fiddled around some with tracking the emails of ordinary citizens, and hooray for that.  Renditions, black ops, off-shore prisons, torture – did those things really happen in my country?  Congress meets in secret, claiming national security, and ignores their own injunctions against the type of insider trading deals that would land the rest of us in prison for decades.  I only wish that I were imagining this.

Not that the concept of Constitutional workarounds is a new one – Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, and Roosevelt presided over internment camps for people of Japanese ancestry, some of whom were American born.  Both of those acts, unlaudable as they were, yerminated at a clearly defined point when the war ended.  Eleven years into the current quagmire, we find secrecy and cessation of civil liberties expanding with no end in sight.  Forget free assembly – get a parade permit.  Need an attorney or a speedy trial?  None for you if you are percieved to be a threat to national security – off you go, and you may never been seen or heard from again.  However, we should rest more easily because all of this abrogation of the Bill of Rights is just dandy, because now we are safe.

Because of this constitutional overreach, we have now incited the very edge of the fringe of the American right.  They are busily constructing shelters, acquiring weapons, and stockpiling food, water, and ammunition against the day that they must fight the government.  It frightens me that I cannot tell them how silly this all looks, because a part of me wonders if it’s true.  The only salient question that I might pose is to inquire why they were so fearless during the Bush years.  Frankly, these folks scare the beejezus out of me.

The application of American justice is even more nerve-wracking.  I am not so naive that I believe that justice is blind.  If you are wealthy and white, you are likely to get off with a slap on the wrist, and this is not new.  What scares the hell out of me is the for-profit prison system that contracts for full capacity, and the state courts – such as my own – that are only to happy to comply in the name of law and order.  Local police are rapidly becoming hyper-militarized and have been the beneficiaries of some high-grade military equipment leftovers from the Middle East conflicts.  Miami PD has used much of it, including drones.  This is somewhat disconcerting when you consider the number of DOJ investigations that have taken place with Miami’s numerous police shootings – good thinking, folks.  Let’s supply them with tanks and maybe a bazooka or two. What could possibly go wrong?  We’ve gotten a lot of promises that things will get better soon, but I’ll let Mary Poppins speak for me here as well.

  That’s a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken.

Pass me a spoonful of sugar, please.  This is an open thread.



17 Responses to "Remain Calm, Etc: A Spoonful of Sugar"

I really don’t know what to say. It’s all so fubar’d.

I guess you saw this about the CDC. Incredible.

Chat I have nothing to add — you dun went and said it all just right.

Oh, I am going to be traveling tomorrow so I won’t be around — hope everyone finds my ramblings not too off-putting. Have a great weekend.

Betty Bowers takes on Dick and Liz Cheney (wasn’t there another Dick and Liz before these two?)

Prolix, hope you have a good trip.

If it’s cutaneous anthrax, they should be fine. Pulmonary anthrax is another matter entirely.

chat@7: I’m gonna say if it’s the CDC they’re working with the bad one.

I love Mary Poppins, and her “never explain” credo. Great post! Yes, Mary P. would do a much better job than the idiots that are running things now.

Fredster, that video was adorable! Laker almost blew my eardrum out laughing with his booming voice.

Why do we still have that concentration camp in Cuba? Shouldn’t they be charged and tried, or treated as POWs? The terrorists probably have all their headquarters wallpapered with pictures of it. We’re probably much less safer because of it.

Was anthrax first a cattle disease?

Sheep and cows, really any herbivorous animal; although it can be transmitted from infected skins. I once had a patient when I worked at Henry Grady’s ER in Atlanta that acquired cutaneous anthrax from a set of bongo drums that she purchased overseas.

Bongo drums! Wow! The music store we hang out at has a lot of African instruments. Chat, what does it look like and what are the symptoms?

annie@9: I laughed my @ss off at that video. “Betty Bowers” can come up with some good ones.

Morning schmoe was asking today (paraphrasing) “well just because they were wrong the first time, don’t these folks (the neo-cons) have a right to be heard again?”. Sure Joe, and I have every right to ignore what they say as totally clueless.

If y’all have a chance, go check this out.

I would not worry about the ones at your music store. There’s a good picture here

Eeek! God that looks awful! (the anthrax) Thanks chat!

Fredster, that was a cool link. They did a nice job. I notice Darth Cheney has a habit of injecting the phrase “if you will” in a lot of sentences. He is so full of himself.

annie@16: Maddow mentioned that link on her show so I was typing it as she was talking about it. I’m glad he got hammered with his own words. Looking back at his words, it was obvious that they were sooo taking advantage of the people of this country right after the 9/11 attack. It set things up perfectly for them to do what they wanted (invade Iraq).

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