I'm pissed. I'm angry. I'm outraged. I'm so mad I'm trembling. The crap the Bush administration has dumped on my country in the past 4+ years is unbelievable and you and I and the rest of our fellow citizens are sitting by and letting it happen. Sure, there are lots of forums, lots of things being written, lots of petitions being signed, lots of people talking to other people. But, FOLKS! We're not even SLOWING THEM DOWN! We congratulate ourselves when Bush's scabrous Social Security proposal runs into opposition??? You've gotta be kidding me!! We're grasping at STRAWS, my friends!! My country - OUR country - is turning into a BANANA REPUBLIC just like the ones we claim we don't like and won't support. Why, you may ask, am I cranked above and beyond the usual? It's all circumstantial, let me assure you and, if you are up for a good rant, please read on.
I live part-time here in Buenos Aires. Today has been a gorgeous day and I went out to take advantage of it. I bought a copy of the Buenos Aires Herald, the English-language daily, with plans to read it over a cup of good coffee and a tostado and that is precisely what I did. Afterwards, I took a nice long walk. It was during this lovely outing that my displeasure with the way my country is being governed, never cool, came to a full, rolling boil.
I tend to follow news closely wherever I am. What's going on in other countries always grabs my attention, particularly when I can get it directly from the source, unfiltered by U.S. media. (Trouble is, the U.S. media generally does a horseshit job covering news from other countries but that's a rant for another day). So, here I am, early afternoon, drinking un espreso doble con tostado, reading an article about Argentine President Nestor Kirchner publicly rejecting a report published by the Argentine La Nación newspaper that was critical of his administration. (I won't go into all the details. You can read them for yourself - subscription only, unfortunately - at www.BuenosAiresHerald.com.) The President's rebuke came hard on the heels of concerns expressed about the freedom of the press in Argentina by the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) during a mission to Argentina two weeks ago. The IAPA found "confirmation of circumstances that contribute or may lead to erosion of press and other freedoms." It mentioned "biased awarding of government advertising contracts, selective denial of information applied to certain media and journalists and disguised yet direct pressure against the press." (Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.)
The lead article on the front page of the same paper described a three hour shutdown yesterday of the city airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, used principally for domestic flights, that stranded hundreds of passengers. Here's part of what happened.
"The aeronautical workers' union went on strike to protest against the government's decision to usher LANChile [Chile's international airline, affiliated with American Airlines in the One World Alliance, and currently doing quite well financially] into the Argentine market to take control of the state-run airline LAFSA... The unions said that they want the government to keep control of LAFSA instead of privatizing it and threatened more strikes during Easter next weekend... The demonstrators also called for the resignations of Transport Secretary Ricardo Jaime and Aviation Under-Secretary Ricardo Cirielli. `The Transport Secretariat has been turned into a private store,' said Deputy Alicia Castro, one of the leaders of the aeronautical workers."
So, newspaper, coffee and tostado finished, I resumed my walk. So far during my time living here I have avoided the bustling downtown, the Microcentro, and have thus missed seeing some of the grand old architecture there. Today, however, I decided to venture into new territory and was enjoying the crowded pedestrian mall when I stumbled on a most interesting spectacle. It took me a few minutes to grasp what I was seeing. There were roughly fifteen to twenty people pounding with hammers on a corrugated metal wall that had been erected immediately around the outside of a tall office building and they were making one hell of a racket. The wall was clearly not new and showed evidence of severe pounding that must have occurred over quite a period of time. I noticed that the "pounders" were casually dressed and were accompanied by protestors carrying signs. My first thought was that it was a construction site and they were demonstrating against some new development. As I examined the building in greater detail, I noticed a familiar white and blue sign and logo high up as well as blue and white trim partially exposed behind the corrugated metal. Slowly it began to dawn on me. This wasn't a construction site, it was CitiBank's main office in Buenos Aires. I also realized that there was a heavily guarded door at the corner of the building where employees coming and going were flashing their badges. "I'll be dipped in shit," I thought. "This is a day-in, day-out deal. This goes on every damn day!"
Lemme get to the point.
WHY ISN'T IAPA CONDUCTING A "MISSION" TO THE UNITED STATES TO REPORT ON ABUSES OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION? WHY AREN'T WE CHAINING OURSELVES TO THE FRONT DOORS OF HALLIBURTON'S CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS TO PROTEST WAR PROFITEERING? WHY AREN'T WE POUNDING ON THE WALLS OF CITIBANK FOR PRACTICING USERY, ACCUMULATING PROFITS ON THE BACKS OF THE POOR, AND BUYING POLITICAL INFLUENCE IN ORDER TO PASS THE EXECRABLE BANKRUPTCY 'REFORM' BILL? WHY AREN'T WE GATHERING OUTSIDE THE OFFICES OF EXXON/MOBIL OR ANY OF THE OTHER BIG OIL COMPANIES, DOUSING OURSELVES WITH GASOLINE AND THREATENING TO SET OURSELVES ON FIRE TO PROTEST THE OBSCENE PROFITS THEY ARE MAKING ON THE EVER-INCREASING PRICE OF CRUDE OIL? WHY AREN'T WE DEMANDING THE IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR REPEATEDLY AND CONSCIOUSLY VIOLATING THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION IN WAYS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION???
Ok, Ok, maybe I'm over the top. But are you following me here??? We oughta be joining hands and marching across the country to toss the ringleaders of this godawful mess OUT, OUT, OUT!!! They do not deserve, have not earned, and do not respect the STEWARDSHIP (and, yes, I have deliberately chosen that word) we have granted them to lead our country forward for the common good. They have clearly demonstrated that THEY WILL STOP AT NOTHING to maintain and consolidate their power and to re-shape the United States of America in the image their own ideological and religious beliefs, the Constitution and well over 200 years of history and precedent be damned. WE CANNOT AND MUST NOT SIT BY AND ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN! I have only another 20 good years at most but my children and grandchildren will inherit some terrible consequences if this bunch continues to wreak their havoc over the next four years. We simply cannot wait that long.
P.S. On a lighter note, in an attempt to chill out after my internal melt-down , I took myself to see a movie. The Secret of Vera Drake is a must-see. Great acting. Great story. Lots of food for thought. Set in 1950's Britain, it's very topical.
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