Heroes and Goats of 2005
by Gary Alan Scott, CommonDreams.org, December 31, 2005
1. Sen. Russell Feingold, the only Senator to vote against the original Patriot Act and the one who led the fight to block its sequel. In this tradition of independence and integrity, we should also include Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa), Rep. Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT), and Sen. Robert Byrd, the eldest statesman in the Senate, who is still on target. I applaud these leaders for their courage and honesty. Keep holding the administration accountable!
2. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and Ronnie Earle for bringing I. Scooter Libby and Tom Delay to justice for their criminal behavior. Keep digging and bringing the cabal to justice!
3. Cindy Sheehan, the catalyst for an antiwar movement that was on life support before this grieving mother with her "no-holds-barred" way of expressing herself camped out in George W. Bush's back yard! Rebecca Solnit called her "the antiwar Movement's second chance." Sheehan demanded an explanation for the death of her son (and so many others), and she dogged Bush throughout the summer, refusing to allow him to evade or ignore the consequences of his actions. "He can run, but he can't hide!"
4. Jessica Lange and Etan Thomas for their speeches at the protest rally in Washington D.C. in October, which featured the sign carried by a Hurricane Katrina survivor that read, "No Iraqi Ever Left Me on a Roof to Die" Keep telling the truth and exposing the evil that is this occupation!
5. The reasonable and good citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania who voted out the school board members that wanted to replace science with mythology. The religious right demonizes Darwin but they sure seem to love social Darwinism!
6. Seymour Hersh of the New York Times for being the first journalist to report on the increasingly indiscriminate, lethal, and potentially sectarian U.S. air war against Iraq. From My Lai to Iraq, Hersh again breaks an important story where others do not dare to tread.
7. All of the good and responsible journalists who strive for independence, aver spurious balance, and speak truth to power. For a list, see Danny Schechter's December 18 article on this site, entitled: "The Envelope Please: It's Time to Honor our Media Heroes" and I would add one name Schechter omitted: Tom Engelhardt (TomDispatch.com). Thomas Jefferson was right: it would be better to have a free press with no government than a government with no free press!
8. The Christian Peacemakers Teams for their unbelievable courage, sacrifice and commitment to peace and justice. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
9. Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Sec. of State, Colin Powell's aide, for exposing the Cheney-Libby-Rumsfeld-Rove cabal that made decisions, apparently without the approval, and sometimes even without the knowledge, of the President. He should be applauded especially for recalling Gen. Tommy Franks' description of former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, whom Franks called "the f---ing stupidest guy on the planet." You go, sir.
10. The Code Pink Movement, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) the Appalachia Science in the Public Interest (ASPI), and the women taking on Wal-Mart across the country. We all owe much gratitude to these and many other civic groups whose work is ignored by the mainstream, corporate media. Your service is appreciated!
THE GOATS: (an abbreviated list)
1. George W. Bush for his stubbornness, lack of compassion, duplicity, incompetence, and secrecy. You have brought shame to the office and disrepute to our country's values. No President is above the law!
2. The Cheney-Rove-Rumsfeld-Libby cabal for their dirty tricks, lawbreaking, and recalcitrance. Keep digging, Mr. Prosecutor!
3. The nine Republican Senators who voted against the ban on torture, which passed 90-9 (with Sen. Corzine absent). They are: Allard (R-CO), Bond, (R-MO), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Cornyn (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), and Stevens (R-AK). Shame on all of you! There will be a quiz on the constitution after recess.
4. Rep. Tom ("The Hammer") DeLay for his brazen disrespect for constitutional democracy, for breaking Texas' campaign finance laws, and for his pathetic performance in the Terri Schiavo case. You shall be judged by the company you keep.
5. Sen. Bill ("One-Eyed Bill") Frist for shady, likely insider-trading of his HCA stock. A little prison time was good for Martha, so I'm sure it will be good for you!
6. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham for accepting bribes and being yet one more elected "public servant" selling his country for personal gain. Let this be an example for the friends of the likes of Michael Scanlon and Jack Abramoff! May you reap what you have sown.
7. DHB, the company that manufactured and sold to the U.S. military what were supposed to be "bullet-proof vests", until the Marine Corps Times revealed that the vests experienced "multiple complete penetrations". The company's President and CEO, David H. Brooks used $10 million of his war profits to throw a Bat-Mitzvah for his daughter. No punishment is too severe for you!
8. The Democratic Party, especially Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, for being wimpy, wishy-washy wafflers. Sen. Kerry didn't even have the fortitude to challenge the voting irregularities in the 2004 election and a Hillary nomination in 2008 would be a Republican's dream come true. Oh, and Hillary, pray tell, did Bill inhale before going on the Dec. 9 Larry King show with Bush 41?
9. The U.S. Election System (and the Democrats again) that cannot seem to verify vote counts in order to hold free and fair elections (in 2000, 2004, and 2005). It really doesn't matter who runs nor who is nominated in 2008 if the vote tallies are left up to the right-wing cyber-thieves. Bring on the U.N. election monitors and the Carter Center. We must demand paper back-ups to allow for recounts!
10. Judy Miller, Bob Woodward, and generally, the mainstream, advertising-saturated, trivial, corporate, insider media. Unembed yourselves!
11. FEMA and Cronyism. Gee, who knew that a party that believes government is the problem and does everything possible to undermine government would turn out to be poor governors? Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!