RANDOM THOUGHTS as mankind accelerates its drift toward a third world war . . .
The leader of our homeland, who has mastered the strut but needs to grow the mustache and work on the stiff-armed salute, announced Thursday that "America is leading the civilized world in a titanic struggle against terror."
His choice of the word "titanic" is ominous. We all know what happened to the "unsinkable" ship, Titanic. As our own ship of state plows full speed ahead through treacherous waters, we might want to remember the Titanic.
And maybe slow down a bit.
THE BUSH PEOPLE make me nervous. Papa Bush adopted the phrase "new world order" to justify America's expanded role in exporting violence, and didn't seem the least embarrassed that "new world order" was the exact phrase the Nazis used to justify their urge to conquer.
Now Bush Lite has popularized the word "homeland," which to me seems remarkably like the Nazis' "fatherland."
If these people want to borrow expressions from others, I'd feel more comfortable if they borrowed from Ghandi or Martin Luther King rather than Hitler and Goebbels.
I wonder, too, if "homeland" just includes the lower 48, or if Alaska and Hawaii are included. And Guam.
PRESIDENT BUSH TELLS US "that thousands of trained killers are plotting to attack us." To deal with them, he wants to set up a bureaucracy of 170,000 people with a proposed annual budget of $37.5 billion. This, he claims, is not expanding government.
This makes me wonder what there is about politicians that makes them feel compelled to lie to us, a characteristic not unique to Bush. Bill Clinton lied just about every time he opened his mouth. In the case of his dalliance with a certain Ms. Lewinsky, he got caught at it.
The first George Bush got caught in a Big Lie ("Read my lips: no new taxes") and it probably cost him a second term. And Ronald Reagan flew away on so many flights of fancy that one could have thought he was merely an actor playing a part.
And so it goes. They all lie to us. And we wonder why half the eligible voters in America don't bother.
BUSH'S HOMELAND DEFENSE proposal is really a proposal for a national police force. The new federales won't waste much time expanding their role. They'll soon go from ferreting out terrorists to ferreting out killers and kidnappers and bank robbers and heroin dealers and pot smokers. Some day some unsuspecting motorist will make history when he becomes the first person ever to be stopped by a Homeland Defense cop for speeding.
WE HAVE A PRESIDENT who is on record as saying his job would be easier if he were a dictator, a clue both to his thought process and his actions.
He keeps increasing his own power and the scope of the federal government. Part of his technique for doing this is what I call The Outrage of the Week.
In my Outrage of the Week theory, Bush and his minions take advantage of the fact that there's only so much room on the front page.
So what the Bush people do is telescope outrages, piling one on top of the other. Before we fully digest one outrage, our attention is diverted by the next.
Suppose, for example, Bush announces he's scrapping America's participation in the Kyoto Accords. To many of us, that's an outrage. But before we can fully digest it, the Bush people announce they now plan to eavesdrop on lawyer-client conversations, a new outrage.
Most of us get so upset over this new outrage that we forget Kyoto. And then, before we get to digest the eavesdropping outrage, Bush announces he would consider using nuclear bombs as first-strike "defensive" weapons.
And so on. One outrage is stacked upon another with such speed that the public can't keep up.
(My examples aren't in proper order. I just used three outrages that came to mind to make a point.)
THE TIMING OF BUSH'S announcement on his new "homeland" police force was politics at its most nauseating. It was clear all last week that he would do something to deflect our attention from the breakdown on pre-Sept. 11 intelligence, and his bigtime address to the nation was it.
I think we got off easy, at least for now. I was afraid he'd decide to blow up another country.
LEST YOU THINK Bush is the only snake in the Washington grass, you should see what's in the "anti-terror" bill passed by the Senate.
According to The New York Times, there's $10 million for Texas farmers and ranchers hurt by a water dispute with Mexico; $500,000 to study avian Newcastle disease in Athens, Ga.; and $75 million for relief from floods in Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky."
And the beat goes on ...
Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist and iconoclast. His column appears Mondays. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.