To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Friday, September 22, 2023


Freedom Vs. Fear, Paranoia



VernTurnerOne of my favorite pundits, Maureen Dowd, wrote a scathing piece recently reviewing Dark Dick Cheney’s interview from an upcoming Showtime program The World According to Dick Cheney. Any reasonable, thinking person knew all along that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was his handiwork, but not until I read Dowd’s analysis did I realize how wickedly Cheney pulled Bush’s strings when “W” was still learning that being president wasn’t just another fraternity beer bust.

There is cynicism and there is hubris. Then there is Dick Cheney who, unrepentantly, said, “If I had to do it over again, I’d do it over in a minute.”

Never mind that 100,000 innocent Iraqis were killed because of the absence of WMD. Never mind that we created a boom in the prosthetics industry for the 30,000 wounded and crippled U.S. troops and the deaths of another 4,000 Americans to remove “the axis of evil player” who did no harm to our cities in 2001.

Dick Cheney, new heart and all, clearly has no heart for consequences of personal, biased and egotistic maneuverings in the highest circles of power.

History will probably continue to bash the Bush II Administration for a very long time, so spending time on this very wrong and dark group of miscreants now muffles issues that need immediate attention to unscrew the pooch left us in 2008.

Recent data show that over 85% of American citizens favor universal background checks for firearm purchases – all firearm purchases. In some areas, the citizen approval rate is 100%.

Yet a U.S. senator, Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn, dropped his support for legislation for reasons known only to him and begging for clarification.

Moreover, Republican representatives and other politicians at all levels have been mostly reluctant to speak up even as their constituents tell them, “We have to do something more.”

Forgive my naiveté, but isn’t a democratic republic supposed to have its elected leaders do what their constituents tell them to do? So, why isn’t there an 85% approval rate for such legislation coming from the legislators? What’s holding them back?

It couldn’t be the NRA, because over 75% of NRA members want universal background checks too. Perhaps it is the political arm of the NRA that ignores its constituents, too.

Perhaps it is the gun manufacturers and sellers who object. Well, no it isn’t them either. The commercial end of this issue can’t afford the bad publicity by abandoning common sense and their paying customers, too.

Sen. Rand Paul just made a spectacle of himself by talking for over 12 hours about things that are burning issues with him, but have little basis in fact. He fears the U.S. government will use drone spy planes to terrorize American citizens on American soil.

I think everyone with a working brain and not beholden to some corporate entity will agree that it is a shame to track and attack American citizens in foreign countries who are giving aid to enemies and other miscreants.

War is hell, and participants in wars know that they might get killed. That’s what wars do.

Still, Mr. Paul had to scare everyone about tyrants and dictators that might be lurking in our governmental or electoral woodpile waiting to pounce and terrorize and dictate and be despotic and do all those terrible things.

I noticed one thing missing and one thing positive from this lengthy abuse of oxygen: There was no mention of the Patriot Act that allows unwarranted invasion of individuals’ electronic privacy, their mail or their telephone use without answering to anyone. I guess the 4th Amendment is now part of our quaint past.

Eric Holder, the current attorney general stated that the U.S. government has NO legal basis for killing Americans with drone strikes on American soil. Whew! Even Rand Paul thought that was good. Be careful, senator, or the RNC will accuse you of sleeping with the enemy.

You remember the panic that ensued after 19 box cutter-wielding Saudis crashed airplanes into our buildings. From this panic came the John Ashcroft presented missive, the Patriot Act. Nobody is sure who the real author of this bill was.

What was remarkable was how quickly this destructive and invasive document appeared and how quickly it was passed into law. The “debate” was minimal, but then the Republicans controlled Congress and debate only matters when bills from the Democrats get to the floor.

Well, it looks like Dick Cheney, with all his harrowing experience watching Vietnam War protestors in Wisconsin while he was dodging the draft, saw fit to never let that embarrassment of actual democracy happen on his watch after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

t looks like he just slipped the strings of his puppet control mechanism over his fingers and the most ridiculous period in our government’s history ensued.

The Patriot Act may be a consequence of abject fear and paranoia from which we may never recover our quaint notions of freedom.

Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through


Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
Exceptional reporting about goings on in my home state as well as informative opinion pieces that makes people think about issues of the day...........get a SUBSCRIPTION FOLKS!!!!!!!
Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.