I could be your psychiatrist. Because my schedule is full I will utilize this blog to clarify, interpret and confront the American Scene to help you better understand your own target symptoms of anxiety and depression without charging you the going rate.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fahrenheit 93

While watching the film, United 93, I couldn't help but feel that here at last was the sequel to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911. I remembered the lines around the block in the spring of 2004 trying to get into the little art cinema in Portland, Maine and later the audience's snickering as Mr. Moore portrayed how George Bush persisted in reading stories to an elementary school class even after he had been told that the planes had hit the World Trade Center. United 93 tells us "the rest of the story" for as George Bush was sitting there with the kids a national emergency was developing that needed his input. Our military air defense system was scrambling to protect Washington DC from terrorist piloted planes but no protection was possible without the president's approval. The film portrays the actual director of air traffic control exclaiming " We're at war with someone". And yet, to the obvious frustration of the air defense command, Mr. Bush could not be located. So our planes went up anyway and even though they were unarmed and actually went the wrong way at one point it was still possible for them to intercept the terrorists. But, apparently, in the finely drawn lines of air defense protocol only the president can determine the "rules of engagement" and without authorization from Mr. Bush no engagement was possible. Of course, the vice president could have filled in for Mr. Bush but interestingly, he too was not to be found. So, if not for some very brave people on Flight 93 we might today be looking at funding a White House memorial in addition to the World Trade Center memorial.
As United 93 ends and we see both terrorists and passengers praying to their god just before the plane becomes dust, one cannot help but feel a torrent of anger. Mr. Bush is still with us, praying to his god and the terrorist mastermind, Osama Bin Laden remains with us as well, praying to his god.
Along with the anger comes an anxiety that won't go away until our government is led by competent, intelligent and logical human beings.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Isn't it Ironic?

Watching young people demonstrating in the streets of France recently, brought me reflections of 1969 and young American baby boomers marching in our streets to protest the Vietnam War. Our campuses, our conversations and our concerns were all directed toward righting wrongs while our music soundtracked every step we took, connecting us through the struggle. If we look at the world today we see similar if not more serious wrongs that need to be righted. An unjustified war in Iraq, global terrorism, global warming, religious tampering with government jeopardizing the rights of women and political tampering with government jeopardizing the rights of all surely are important enough to bring our youngest and most energetic generation into the fray.
And yet, clearly, they have not been moved to sacrifice their time and energy.
The so-called Y Generation, those born from 1980 on, are no where to be found----at least not in the streets. This generation, the "Echos" of their baby boomer parents, certainly have greater access to data concerning the world's problems than any prior generation through the internet, cable tv and cellulars.
However, this modern technology, potentially capable of bringing the Y generation together to confront our greatest problems, instead appears to be utilized for much more personal diversions. Go and visit any college campus these days and you'll see the emphasis is clearly on grades, jobs, money and socializing while the internet for the most part serves the purpose of students by putting the best version of themselves on the web through MySpace.com. Who would have thought that the most technologically tuned in generation would actually be the most tuned out generation. Even the soundtrack of the Y-generation unites few if any as it filters individually through their ipods.
As the high priestess of the Y-generation, Alanis Morrisette, sang in 1997, "Isn't it ironic, don't you think?"

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Brokeback Dependent

Sometimes we give people too much credit by overestimating their intelligence, motivation or sense of responsibility. For example, take George W. Bush and the issue of intelligence leaks. Mr. Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, long known to function as a lone ranger - recently manifested by his failure to alert the president after he shot a man- now has been accused by his assistant, Scooter Libby, of directing Mr. Libby to leak intelligence. Mr. Libby further testifed that Mr. Cheney told him it was the president who ordered the leak. Well, it seems we are all so hopeful that Mr. Bush is so profoundly involved in directing the important issues of his administration that just about everyone has concluded that indeed it was Mr. Bush who directed Cheney to leak the intelligence through his staff.
However, if we read the history of this administration it is more likely that Bush was once again surprised by Cheney's actions. After all, it was Bush who years earlier had exclaimed " we'll catch the leaker and punish him". Of course, he can't admit he was surprised again by events because that would only confirm that he superficially presides over this government while Cheney and his boys run amok. So, Bush cannot plead his usual "I didn't know" which we all have become accustomed to following Katrina, the Dubai Ports deal, etc, etc. If he did admit to ignorance as he usually does then Cheney would be exposed as having violated the law. Bush would then have to fire Cheney and then go it alone until 2008.
Voila, la problem-----Some people call Bush's allegiance to his staff---loyalty. But, would we call a spouse's allegiance to an abusive, alcoholic partner loyalty --------or dependency! Clearly, people put up with a lot when they don't feel capable of functioning on their own. I wouldn't be surprised if Bush had his own Brokeback moment with Cheney over all of this.

Cheney--"Yes, Mr. President, I authorized the leaks"
Bush---"Dick, I wish I knew how to quit you".

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

"Life is so light that if you make even a tiny mark everthing is changed forever". Or to put it another way, our world is so fragile and interdependent that even a single flap of a butterfly's wings can cause a ripple effect resulting in a great storm. As I watched the deteriorating domestic and global scene on the Sunday morning news programs yesterday I began to search for some mark, some flap of a wing that could have caused the horrible path that we now find ourselves on. And then I saw them---fragile, diminutive hanging chads. Oh my God, that's it! It's November, 2000 and people are trying to analyze them, count them and ultimately derive from them who voted for whom. And when the decision was made George W. Bush was ours -.- thanks to some hanging chads. The negative chain reaction of events from that point continues till today. Here's how the downhill slide looks.
Hanging chads counted----------Bush sworn in---------incompetent and disinterested leadership begins---------vacations instead of meetings-----9-11---------------patriotic flag waving---------"Saddam is the real enemy"--------"Screw the U.N"----------"mission accomplished"-----"the terrorists are out to get us"-----"only I can protect you"-----------"of course not if you're gay and you want to get married"---------"let's save Terry Sciavo"------of course not with stem cell research----------"the levies are breached?" -----"who knew?"------"actually all is well"--------"the media just won't report that"

See what a hanging chad can do. Who knows how Gore and Leiberman would have done but let's face it, they could not have done worse. And we most certainly would have been spared Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, the neo-cons, Abu Graib, freedom fries, Karl Rove and the Crawford ranch. Hopefully, somewhere there's a butterfly flapping.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March Madness

Watching George Bush conduct yet another public relations tour is particularly maddening to those of us who actually listen to what he says.
" I have a plan for victory"
" Of course it's up to the Iraqi people"
" Actually, it's up to the next president"
" Things are really going much better than you think in Iraq because
the media doesn't cover the good things"
In reality, more reporters have been killed in Iraq than during the entire Vietnam conflict while trying to cover the good and the bad. If things are really going so well why is it that the only time Bush visited Iraq he had to do so under the cover of night in a plane with its lights off. He then had a cup of coffee and got the hell out of Dodge.
Spin, spin, spin
To everything, turn, turn, turn
This White House is not about winning or losing. It's about spinning and spinning until its political base is pacified. And when failure comes as it frequently has since Bush's inauguration in 2001 then it's always someone else's fault or God's will or the liberal media at it again. By the way where is the liberal media? Spin the radio dial to find a non conservative talk show host and you'll spin till you're dizzy. Maybe that's why America has chosen to engross itself in the March madness of basketball and in the now annual search for the next American Idol while tuning out Mr. Bush. At least that way we can watch a team and a singer who have a plan for victory and who actually win!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Live From Washington D.C---The Oscars

While watching the Oscars last Sunday night I couldn't help but note how political the awards were. I soon began to fantasize what it would be like if real politicians could have their own Oscar show. Can you picture it?
Democrats and republicans parading down the red carpet being complimented or criticized by Joan Rivers on their outfits. And then the audience rises and Judge Samuel Alito, master of ceremonies takes the stage and gets the evening off to a rousing start by singing the political song of the year, " It's Hard Out Here for a Bush." He then announced that only a few Oscars would be awarded because last year's show ran over when the the winners despite being blasted by loud renditions of the national anthem could not keep their acceptance speeches to a reasonable length. Mr Alito was then joined by his co-host Condaleeza Rice ,previous winner of best supporting politician in "9/11" in which she uttered that famous line "No one could have anticipated that terrorists could fly planes into buildings", exactly 60 years after Pearl Harbor.
Condaleeza then introduced the nominees for best performance by a male in a supporting role. There was little surprise as President George Bush won the Oscar for the sixth year in a row. Mr. Bush exclaimed "it was hard to keep his performance at such a high level but that it was a "slam dunk" that he'd win again in 2007. Tension rose as Mr. Alito then listed the nominees for best performance by a male politician in a starring role. A huge roar accompanied the awarding of the Oscar to Dick Cheney, who in a close contest won with only 18% of the academy's votes. Mr. Cheney accepted his Oscar dressed in full hunting gear and he made the crowd guffaw when he shot his rifle into the democratic seats wounding the junior senator from New York, Hilary Clinton.
The political Oscars then shifted to the international scene when the Oscar was given out for best performance by a foreign leader. A standing ovation greeted Saddam Hussein as he took the stage in shackles to accept his award. To commemorate the moment a tribal choral group composed of Sunnis, Kurds and Shites sang a pleading rendition of the old Elvis Presley ballad, "We Want You, We Need You, We Love You"
Next, a lifetime achievement Oscar was awarded to former President Jimmy Carter who took the opportunity in his acceptance speech to call President George Bush "the worst president since Herbert Hoover." Needless to say, shots rang out as once again Dick Cheney fired, this time hitting Carter in the face. Cheney then took the mike and warned "serious consequences for anyone including Iran." Samuel Alito smashed his hammer on the podium several times finally restoring order. He then announced the nominees for best performance by a female politician in a supporting role. However, he sadly noted that once again due to a paucity of roles for females the Oscar was given to a male---Scooter Libby. Mr. Libby said he couldn't make any comments on his role due to conditions imposed upon him by the special prosecutor.
The tension again rose as Condaleeza read off the nominees for the best performance by a female politician in a starring role. As the press had predicted the Oscar again went to Hilary Clinton who was able to limp up to the podium where she proclaimed she had no ambitions except to concentrate on her next role as a re-elected senator from New York. In her long list of people she thanked, special mention went to Monica Lewinsky, whom she said had gained so much weight that even Bill was no longer interested. The award ceremonies closed as usual with the Oscar for the political event of the year. The Oscar was accepted by George Bush and the directors of Homeland Security for their amazing production of "Katrina Killed New Orleans." However, they would only accept their Oscars after being joined at the podium by the mayor of New Orleans who said " we could not have won this award if President George Bush had understood the meaning of the word Breach!"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Intervention---Past Due

When an alcoholic or drug dependent person displays behaviors that are destructive but continues to use, we sometimes stage an intervention to try to bring about insight and hopefully, change. In a confidential setting, loved ones, friends and acquaintances , all victims of the addict's behaviors finally bring the power of their concerns and affections to the table in such a way that the addict cannot continue to lie and deny. The intervention is always an emotionally wrenching encounter and it must be so if it is to break down the layers of denial. We often say that a chemically dependent person won't change until he or she hits bottom. It is the sheer caring power of the intervention that can bring the addict to an emotional bottom before all else is lost.
If I could plan an intervention today it would certainly be for George W. Bush, because we cannot afford for him to hit bottom. No one needs an intervention more and no one has more victims ready to tell him what he needs to hear. He needs an intervention because he has for 6 years surrounded himself with advisors who do not tell him what he needs to hear. And so, he goes on telling lie after lie and thinking that all is well. In reality, whether he is declaring war on Iraq because they have weapons of mass destruction or declaring that Harriet Myers is the best choice for the court or declaring that no one anticipated that the levies of New Orleans would be breached, he is lying to us and covering up a superficial and lackadaisical job he is doing as the leader of the free world. Who would we assemble in the White House living room for the intervention? Obviously, we would need to keep out the enablers like Dick Cheney, the neo-cons and the evangelicals. Let's see. I think we'd get Colin Powell to speak first--" George, I trusted you. I came to Washington to work for you. I told you before you went into Iraq---If you break it, you own it---You weren't listening, you never listened to me. Now we have 25,000 casualties of our own and countless more Iraqi casualties and we have a potentially catastrophic civil war down the road."
Then a few soldiers and national guardsmen, unafraid of reprisals would say " You needed to think this Iraqi thing through before you sent us on this misguided mission. Where is my future, my friend, my leg....." Then some former New Orleans residents would add--" Where were you? We waited and waited as the waters kept rising. You said you'd be there, where were you? Where are you?"
And then, maybe even Laura Bush would feel liberated enough to say--" George, this has got to stop. I just got back from Italy. No one respects us anymore. So many people who used to like us now hate us. You need help George and we need you to get help. You need to listen to all kinds of people. You need to work harder. You need to agonize more before you make decisions that affect so many of us. You need to change-----Now!"