There was an old Grade B melodrama some years back entitled “I Wake Up Screaming.” I can’t recall what it was about, and don’t believe, as a matter of fact, that I even saw it, but the title runs through my mind as daily events elicit a scarcely contained impulse to give in to wakeful screaming. Just when it seems the country couldn’t be any more ravaged by hypocrisy and deceit, new details surface in every conceivable corner of governmental affairs that send a shudder through the collective consciousness, at least among those who are paying attention.
While this administration casts itself as a beacon of morality and family values, its budget cuts funds for the enforcement of child-support payments, and other regulations have made it almost impossible for those trying to dig themselves out of poverty to hold down jobs, pay for health care, provide shelter and take care of their children adequately. Programs that could benefit the neediest are the most at risk, and “leave-no-child-behind” initiatives are under funded or not funded at all, leaving localities to wrestle with budgets that are hard put to sustain the strain of additional costs.
In terms of education in general the country is plagued by ideological managers who insert themselves in everything from science to current events. Imagine that oversight at NASA is handled by political flunkies who take it upon themselves to alter statements by the science staff to satisfy religious opinions about how the world was created. And teachers around the country are strongly encouraged to present Evolution as just a theory as yet unproven and not universally accepted, despite a preponderance of scientific opinion supporting its relevance. And not a day goes by that we are not fed some faulty information about one thing or another by the White House team.
The president suggests in his State of the Union address that we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil, scaring the wits out of the Saudis and causing many to ask how and what the specifics of such a goal might be. Immediately, comes a disclaimer from administration officials who inform us the president didn’t exactly mean what he said – – not to worry Saudi Princes – – followed by the news that there are upcoming budget cuts in both staffing for and development of alternative-energy research projects.
And adding greatly to the scream factor are the constant revelations out of England about how Bush, with Blair’s acquiescence, manipulated us into the war in Iraq. Strangely there has been almost no major media coverage in this country about the secret strategies these two were forging to facilitate a confrontation with Saddam Hussein. As has become increasingly obvious the threat of WMD and especially nuclear arms were trumped-up pretexts to justify invasion plans already in motion.
Into the mix comes the current saber-rattling with regard to Iran, as if we could afford either in terms of manpower or national treasure an incursion into yet another middle-east country. And, as a disturbing concomitant of our war efforts, is the president’s insistence that he has the right to conduct unwarranted surveillance within this country – – thousands of intercepts already undertaken, few of which have warranted serious follow-ups. When one considers the constant reminders from Secretary Rumsfeld and various others that the “war on terror” could last for decades or perhaps forever, the already troubling notion of domestic spying becomes rather more insidious.
Perhaps most troubling in all of this is the lack of in-depth planning and the general incompetence with which this administration operates, both in terms of developing domestic programs or pursuing long-range foreign policy goals. Ideologically, they are wicked strong, but in the conduct of the nation’s affairs they are screamingly inadequate and downright scary.

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