"Ms. Hughes, this is, um," The nervous aide checked his notes. "Matthew."
"Hi, Matthew! My name's Karen. This is a pretty big day for you, huh? I bet you're excited about being on TV!"
"I'm going to be on TV!" Matthew yelled, spinning in his swivel chair.
"Matthew!" admonished his mother. "That's not how we behave!"
"Kids are kids," Hughes smiled. "He'll do great. He's just perfect!"
"They're almost ready for him, ma'am," the aide's Adam's apple twitched.
"Secretary Reverend Fallwell is finishing up."
To say that Daniel Pipes felt constrained would be an understatement. Since his appointment as Homeland Security Secretary, he had found himself hemmed in at every turn.
His Protocols for a New America had gotten rave reviews at the Pentagon. Rove called it one of the most compelling post-911 documents to date, but getting it implemented was like pulling teeth.
"We have to pace ourselves, Dan," the Vice President Emeritus had told him. "Look how far we've come in less than a decade. Besides, I have some ideas about one of your Protocols. I like the savings figures you projected on the Transition to General Disposal for the High Risk Detainee population. It's a labor-intensive, high-cost operation. I'm thinking that we can go beyond savings, actually make it a source of revenue."
Pipes frowned. "Private sponsorship? But who would - "
"Nope," smiled Rove. "Empower them as Givers."
Pipes tried to suppress an involuntary shudder.
"Mr. Vice President, do you think the market - "
"Would want Arab organs?" Rove chuckled. "Not if they are presented as such, of course not. But clients don't ask things like that."
Individuals selected as living organ banks were officially called "Givers." Though neither they nor their survivors received any compensation, recipients paid a hefty fee to Schering-Bayer-Pfizer, as well as to both surgeons.
The Givers program was, according to the White House, compassionate conservatism at its best. "No longer will any individual be obliged to be a burden to the State," the statement read. "Every American, no matter what his circumstances, can make a significant and unique contribution to our great economy, and help his fellow man at the same time. America is still and always will be the Land of Opportunity."
"With all respect, Mr. Vice President Emeritus," Pipes chose his words carefully. "To be a Chosen as a Giver is a privilege..."
Rove smiled. "Indeed it is, Dan. And America does not withhold privileges on the basis of religion or ethnicity."
Roger didn't get too many days off, and he didn't want to waste a minute of this one. Whatever Big Event was going on, they didn't want cleaning people around, they were emptying out every building. Security, they said. Roger could care less. "Wake up, you lazy penguin," he tickled his son awake.
"Are we going on an adventure?" Chuchito rubbed his eyes and reached for his sneakers. "Not with dirty teeth," Roger pushed his son toward the bathroom.
An adventure meant getting on a bus and going somewhere in the city they knew nothing about, just to see what and who was there. Most Preferreds would consider this both dangerous and foolish, but Roger was not a Suit. He did not come from Suit stock, and Chuchito made friends wherever he went. Roger had never met an ethnic or economic group that did not have something good to eat or an interesting story to offer him and his little boy, and if they got lucky, both.
Today Roger decided they would check out the street the book lady had told them about, with the little food stand. He needed distraction more than Chuchito, just so he wouldn't call his lawyer every five minutes.
"And so, my American brothers and sisters, thanks to this wondrous gift, and to your Blessed Resolve, the hard work of the War on Terror is about to get a little easier - and to give you an idea of just how easy, I'd like to introduce you to a young friend of mine who is taking his place in history today - Brothers and sisters, please welcome America's very first Citizen Defender - Matthew Connor!"
Falwell stepped away from the podium, microphone in hand.
"Your parents gave you a good name, Matthew. That's a name from the Bible. How old are you, Matthew?"
"And you like to play the computer games, you must be pretty good."
"Matthew stared at the mike, nodding vigorously. Falwell chuckled.
"Well, Matthew, you know you don't have to be a long-winded preacher like me to play computer games or to help America win the War on Terror. Now you just sit down here. You're the expert, not me, I never have understood the computers much, just too old, I guess." Falwell paused to allow the audience to applaud politely at what tomorrow's papers would call a quip.
"Now General Graner taught you how to play, didn't he? What was that like, learning a new game from a real live Abu Ghraib hero?"
Matthew shrugged. "It's not a very hard game."
"Well, folks, you hear that. Out of the mouths of babes. All right, Matthew, let's show America what you and General Graner have been working on. Why don't you tell all the boys and girls watching at home how to play."
"Um, well, you click start, see? and in a minute a little red dot - there it is - ok, it's going to get bigger, wait till it's as big as a dime, and then you put your mouse on it and click - and see, the little red thing blows up."
Matthew grinned and reached for the microphone.
"I just killed a bad guy! I just killed a terr'ist!"
The audience rose to its feet, applauding. "Matthew! Matthew!"
Matthew jumped up and down. "Yeah!"
Falwell beamed, let the applause continue for a minute, then closed his eyes, held up his hand. His other hand dropped to Matthew's head.
"Brothers and Sisters, let us pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you today for Matthew, our little Citizen Defender, we thank you for the gift of this technology. In the Bible we read that a little child shall lead them, and we thank you for...."
"Sholeh, Niki can't carry you and pull the clothes too," Noushin tied one more knot in the bundle and wedged it into the rickety cart. Niki shot her a baleful look, twitched her tail. "Lazy thing, it's just clothes," Noushin laughed, rubbed the goat's ears, and scooping up Sholeh, ran back to the bank for one last splash before heading home.
Sharuz placed a baby turtle carefully on his sister's head. "Turtle hat!" he shrieked. Sholeh lay down in the shallow water and watched the bewildered turtle paddle away. "Turtle hat wants to swim!" she announced. "And so do I."
"Next time," Noushin gathered up the wriggling twins. "Time to go home now. "Turtle hat will still be here."
The road home was really more of a path. The "good" road, though not paved, was wider and smoother, and had served the little village for more centuries than anyone could count, but it was full of landmines now, and such a frequent recipient of US bombing raids that there was not one family in the village who did not have at least one grave to tend.
Although they had been told to walk, the twins' preferred method of locomotion, when Niki was otherwise engaged, consisted of a few hops followed by falling to the ground and rolling over and over while tickling each other mercilessly.
Noushin shook her head. Half the day at the river, they were so clean, and here she would bring them home for all the neighbors to see, literally rolled in dirt. At least it won't be a shock, she thought. This happened every time she did the family wash.
Now they came running up to her, tugging at her skirts. "We want bread and honey when we get home!" Noushin smiled at them, "Bath first."
The flash, the blast, came without warning, but her mother's instinct extended her arms to her children before she could even think. And arms, twins, clothes and goat exploded into a red mist, her scream still hanging in the air.
"It was a very successful launch. Our target was a known terrorist command and control center in the north of Iran. An area where Americans have taken some return fire more than once. I guess you could call it a rat's nest. But today, thanks to little Matthew, it's insurgent-free. It's safe for Americans. Little Matthew saved some American lives today, and now as Citizen Defenders, every American can do the same. We are very excited about this program, and thank you, Larry, for having me here tonight"
"It's an honor and a privilege to have you here, Sir. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chief, General Chief. How should we address you General Sanchez?"
"Larry, you can call me Rick. And I just want to say, before we go on, that in just the few hours that the Citizen Defender Program has been operational, we now have over 7 million homes online, that participated in our advance enrollment, and almost 40 million in the pipeline."
"40 million?" King sat up. "Now that is - well, that is simply amazing. That is - well, that is like effectively increasing our armed forces by 40 million, is it not, General?"
"It certainly is, Larry. And I think another reason the program is so popular, it's something that families can do together. A lot of times nowadays parents don't have as much time as they'd like to spend with their kids, and here is a way to spend quality family time, and also protect our American way of life."
"And I believe we have an 800 number, and a website? Where people who haven't signed up yet can be a part of this, can become Citizen Defenders? Producers, can we get that number up on the screen?"
The shy-looking man and his irrepressible little boy reminded Rick of another time, another place, another chatty little boy out for a treat with his dad.
"I can read!" Chuchito called out to him. "See my book?"
Against his better judgment, Roger had let Chuchito bring the Kids Guide to World Religions along so he wouldn't be bored on the long subway ride to the bus stop. It had not occurred to him that Chuchito would call attention to the illegal book in a public place. He looked around nervously. Luckily, it was still early. They were the only customers.
Rick did not seem alarmed. "Good for you!" he said. "That's a very nice book." To demonstrate his prowess, Chuchito read a few sentences from his favorite section - Hinduism. "It doesn't say why the people are blue, though"
"The people who live there aren't really blue." Rick laughed. "But you are a very good reader!"
Chuchito looked disappointed. "The gods and goddesses are blue," Rick added quickly. "They are blue to represent how God is so big he is not only the earth, but the sky and the ocean."
"Can you tell me about Krishna? The book doesn't really have it all."
Rick smiled. Who better than a good Muslim from Lahore who claimed to be Swiss to tell a little Mexican boy about Krishna? Some things about America not even Washington could change. He poured some tea and sat down next to Chuchito.
"Once upon a time, in a far-away land called Mathura, there was a bad, evil king named Kamsa..."
Time to move, Haley thought, completing her morning ritual of brushing her teeth and bemoaning her nose. She didn't feel comfortable having MaryBeth know where she lived any more, and she'd been here six months. That was a pretty long time for an Informal to stay in one place anyway. And the murmurs of an impending crackdown on Informals showed signs of eclipsing the nose question.
"Those who choose to live outside the norms of society, those who reject our American way of life, at the same time that they benefit from the use of our streets, they don't reject our dollars when they have something to sell you, now do they?" Homeland Intelligence Czar Zell Miller had a three point plan: Round em up, and bring em to General Detention. The third point of his plan involved phasing out the term "Informal."
"It's deceptive," he said. "It's an innocent sounding name for people who are anything but innocent. They are a threat to everything that as Americans, we hold dear. Calling them Informals gives loyal, hard-working Americans a false sense of security. That's a raw deal."
Miller recommended using the term "Persons of Interest."
Friday, January 21, 2005 | Wave to President Bush! God Bless President Bush!
Who doesn't love a parade?
Only America has the military might to move the most hated man in the most hated nation on earth safely through the streets of a town where hordes of desperate poor strain against the shackles of poverty, taxation without representation and the brutality necessary in a police state that has proclaimed itself to be master of the earth and all who therein dwell.
What a stirring celebration of freedom!
Not a dry eye in the house as the ringing tones of the loudspeaker order the crowds to pay homage to their Lord!
Wave to President Bush! God Bless President Bush!
There are no orders to kneel as the Son of Heaven's serene presence passes by, because America is a democracy.
Even those who dare oppose torture and child rape are permitted to cough their hisses through clouds of some unspecified gas. Time will tell what.
Come now the Royal Jesters, colorfully clad youngsters in various stages of LeftBehindedness, today permitted to emerge from the dungeon of Wal-Mart Associate training for their one moment in time, if it please Your Majesty.
On their heels, their older brothers, torturers' apprentices and flag-draped remains to be. Tomorrow, they will shed blood, exult in the screams of their victims, today they shed the dulcet notes of a sprightly martial dirge. Lock-step, eyes blank with Resolve and experimental vaccines, Bush be Praised, they have health care.
At last the Celestial Treasure is safe from the enemies of freedom, and the crowd falls strangely silent as the Exalted One's prestigious post-excretory ablution apparatus passes by, proudly mounted in replica on a float, no doubt to tastefully depict the resolute flotation of the most gracious and Presidential product whose traces it is privileged to whisk away into the Potomac.
Thursday, January 20, 2005 | Another Cold Day in Another January
Coronation Day dawned cold in Imperial Fortress America. Gunmen strutted and skulked, swaggered shifty eyed, on roofs, on the ground, behind trees. Missiles waited, ready to spurt their untamed fires and shred the flesh of any who might protest too much, turn their eyes toward the sun.
God speaks through Bush.
He has revealed this to his people, shared this confidence, and his loyal subjects waited to hear what God would say through him today.
In solemn adoration they gathered, resplendent in their haute couture stitched by child-slave fingers, the poor had been thoughtfully swept away, with the ice and snow, out of sight, lest their unclean shadows pollute the path of America's righteous and prosperous heart and soul.
It was a day of crystal and limousines, fine wine and glory.
A short distance away, the forces of darkness, the enemies of America, shivered without heaters, or tents, slipped on ice through endless checkpoints in the Authorized Demonstration Zones, a testament to the magnanimity of the Empire, to allow this privilege. A beacon to the world. It was forbidden by Imperial decree to apply salt to the ice here. Gunmen were more alert here, more visible. Howitzers were paraded by, as a reminder.
It was a day of bitter cold, gunpoint and ankle sprains.
As God, speaking through Bush, revealed his plans for additional mass slaughter, and increased revenues for key US business interests, I was privileged to eavesdrop as a middle aged lady recounted another cold day in another January, another crusade of aggression, another coronation of another war criminal.
In a modest Alexandria home, a motherly Episcopal rector's wife stirred pots of soup. "We're used to marchers," she said, smiling as her two dozen or so houseguests, none of whom she had ever met before, stumbled and milled about, groggy and sore from unaccustomed floorsleeping, lined up for the bathroom, made their way into the kitchen, then out the door, and on to Washington.
There were no free speech zones, no checkpoints, the mall itself was the free speech zone. The crowd grew, it swelled, it spilled into the streets, it swarmed over the monuments, it sang, it chanted, it shouted. The crowd waved signs, unfurled banners. The helicopters overhead gave up trying to estimate it.
Black and white, and every shade in between, young and old, rich and poor, the crowd grew larger, louder. The coronation ceased to be the story. This crowd was the story. Stop the war!
Some came with memories of other marches, another march in this same place, a decade before. Some bore the scars of Bull Connor's dogs, memories of hoses, or jails, of a bridge in Selma, Miami, the siege of Chicago, Philadelphia, Mississippi, four little girls in Alabama, Kent State.
Some came with their children, that they might have this memory, somehow sensing that, in the words of Mick Jagger, this could be the last time.
Some lent strong shoulders to aging elders with older memories, and the unshakable conviction that "never again" meant never again to anybody, even a little bit, even if there was money to be made.
Somewhere in the crowd, a murmur, VVAW is coming. And in the distance, they came slowly into view. On and on they came, until as far as the eye could see, a sea of people, marching into another sea, filling the horizon, some limping, some in wheelchairs, on crutches. Some hobbled on artificial limbs, some hopped without them, a few lay on gurneys, wheeled by their companions, on and on they came, the Viet Nam Veterans Against the War.
They kept on coming, by whatever locomotive powers the war had left them with, they joined the chanting, Stop the War!
The crowd without organizers, cell phones or central command, parted to let them pass. Cecil B. could not have done it better.
And still they kept coming, as far as the eye could see.
And the crowd, clergy, atheists, hippies, Black Panthers, stern young SDS fellows, socialists, communists and all, kept on parting like a human red sea, and lifting wind-chapped hands, fingers aching from the cold, they saluted. posted at
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Without the Jews, we have no Rapture
"Just look at yourself. Do you know you're old enough to be my mom? And what do you have to show for it? You weren't even a Professional Back Then, were you? You were a hippie. You know that's enough to get you Detained, right there. You don't even wear a yellow ribbon. Or a flag. I don't see how you have managed to keep out of Detention as long as you have."
Haley looked the young woman up and down.
"I'm sure you have TIPS on your speed dial," she said. "Why don't you call them?"
MaryBeth sat down on the crate that served Haley as occasional chair.
"Don't think that's not a question I haven't asked myself. I guess it's just that I hate to see you just let your whole life go by without having it mean anything at all. If you got a GoodJob, you could be making a contribution, helping the economy, you could be part of the War on Terror. Don't you ever think about that? The things everybody wants and you just let the opportunity go."
"I would help the economy more as a Detainee." Haley poured tea from a thermos into a paper cup for her guest. "The per capita cost of Detention is about twice the net profit from GoodJob labor."
"Huh?" MaryBeth wrinkled her nose, both at the tea and Haley's annoying habit of saying things that made no sense. "per capital? Is that English? I can't believe you would just sit here in an American storage shed, with an American Outreach Worker, and just thumb your nose at the English for America Act. Please tell me you didn't just do that"
"I think certain Latin phrases were grandfathered in."
"So you WERE speaking a foreign language!"
Haley stifled a yawn. It had been a rough day. SafetyCleans all over the place, apparently there was some big event tomorrow.
"Listen, MaryBeth. I appreciate your concern. I really do, and I will look at the new brochures, and think it over, and I promise, cross my heart, that if I decide to work for OneBanc, it will be you I will call first, and you who will get whatever Hero points can be gotten."
"Really?" MaryBeth's face was wreathed in smiles. "I would really appreciate that, Haley. You know if I get just 30 more points I'll be up for a Gold Yellow Ribbon! Well, you can choose between that and an Internet Access pass, but nobody does. How would THAT look? And right after you just got Hero Points, too."
MaryBeth laid out the OneBanc brochures carefully on Haley's bed.
"Thanks for the tea. I know you will make the right decision, Haley. I just know it. You don't really hate America."
"It's really simple, Reverend Secretary." Ralph Reed brushed an imaginary speck off his Armani sleeve. "Without the Jews, we have no Rapture. I would think you, of all people, would understand that."
Falwell pursed his lips. Rove had just told him essentially the same thing, although the Vice President Emeritus had used a lot more words to do it.
"Ralph, believe me, I am not suggesting that we not HAVE the Jews, at least not in the same way that we no longer have the Muslims, Praise God. But I do not agree, and I have been very frank about this to Mr. Rove and now to you, I do not see why we have to have them so visible."
"And I am sure that Mr. Rove explained to you, Reverend Secretary. Morale. Incentive. Motivation. People need to SEE the Signs. Jews are a Sign."
"No, they are not a Sign!" Falwell was losing patience. "They are nothing but Unsaved, Ungodly, HEATHENS who walk openly on the streets, even appear on TELEVISION, for crying out loud, and set a bad example for Christian Youth."
"The people see them as a Sign, sir. They need to see them, just like they need to see the Insurgents on TV. They need to see the Enemy at home and Abroad. It is a constant reminder to them, not only to be Vigilant, but of WHY they are being Vigilant. They need them to Witness to."
"They could be Witnessed to, and seen, in a Protective Facility, Richard. We have teams in all of them. There are Christians whose every waking moment is spent in intensive Witness to Muslims and Hindus in those things. But it's a moot point. Rove agrees with you, and he is the boss. At least here on earth." Falwell allowed himself a small chuckle.
At least he had won out on the public display of Hanukah parephenalia, even if he had had to get a little apoplectic to do it. "We CANNOT allow GRAVEN IMAGES on the streets of Christian America!" he had shouted. He thought it had frightened Rove a little. Good. Sometimes Rove needed a little reminder of the high standards that a Man of Faith should maintain.
"One more thing, sir." Reed handed Falwell a manila folder. "Some suggested talking points for tomorrow. Boykin wants you to make a few remarks on the Faith-Based Nature of the Citizen Defenders Program."
"Good, good," Falwell peered into the folder. "Tell him to get that Marine Band. Have them rehearse "Onward Christian Soldiers" and let's see if we can't get the lyrics on a big screen. Have a sing-along going on during the actual launch." posted at
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill