Today I'd just like to mention the curious phenomenon of slime mold. I don't remember when I first learned of slime mold. If it was in one of my few biology classes (which I avoided like the plague) or an upper level political science course entitled, "The Legislature" (another discipline I tried desperately to eschew).
But I'd thought I'd try to make an analogy between slime mold and members of our congress. While I realize it's a weak one, I think enough similarity exists to draw a comparison.
You see, slime mold is an amoeba-like cell, a fungus actually, much like our congressional representatives. Okay, so far so good. Each amoeboid organism acts as an individual. So do our members of congress, i.e., they stand up on the floor of the senate or house and make speeches, they go home to their constituents when campaigning and tell them what good things they've done for 'em, what good things they're gonna do for them (or do to them?) if the people will just re-elect them for another term.
Slime mold grows on various forms of decaying vegetation and dung. Here, I'm not sure how valid my comparison is, because in congress some of our representatives are vegetation, i.e., they don't do much, mostly have it done to them, while many more are dung, meaning they're so seeped in corruption they smell like it. (Why does Bill Frist come immediately to mind when mentioning this latter category?)
I admit, my analogy seems weak here, but maybe to quote an old saw, if, "You are what you eat," the analogy still holds?
Yet, that still doesn't quite get it, because in the special interest infested hallways of congress its debatable whether it's our reps or their lobbyist chums who are feasting off the other. It's probably both, i.e., a symbiosis wherein each benefit tremendously by sleeping with the other. But that's another loose analogy I drew here some months ago which was refuted by one commenter. In fairness, however, when reading a Dada analogy, one shouldn't apply strictest definitions. Allow me some slack. In the case of today's analogy, allow me lot's of slack.
Okay, so far so good. Slime mold and congressmen exist as individuals. Slime feeds off vegetables and dung, our representatives are vegetables or dung.
But here's where it gets interesting and, most probably, where the entire analogy breaks down.
Originally it was believed each amebalike slime mold cell existed solely as a solitary organism (which it does most of the time). But under adverse conditions, slime molds come together to form what is called a plasmodium. That's a larger body that acts in harmony to better themselves by acting collectively much as an individual would and then moving on to a environment where they may become separate organisms again.
So at the risk of invalidating this entire exercise, let me give an example. How many times have you gone to bed at night thinking you've heard all the bad news the day had to offer only to awaken the next day...or find out the next week or a month or two later, that as you slept that night, something else bad happened? And learning of what went on as you slept, you become angry or worse, sullied. You feel defiled. Well, that's because you were slimed as you slept.
Such is the case now coming to light of an incident involving the congressional leadership of senate majority leader, Bill Frist and speaker of the house, Dennis Hastert, in the middle of the night last December. Around midnight as congress was rushing to wrap up business just before their "holiday" break, these slime mold along with a few others, came together and convinced committee members to sign the defense appropriations bill which many signatories later learned contained protections for the pharmaceutical industry against lawsuits that might arise from bad vaccines.
It was all engineered by this republican plasmodium of slime mold in a backroom after senator Ted Stevens (R. Alaska) assured curious members there was no such provision in the bill. He was either lying at that point, i.e., the bill did in fact contain such a provision, or the provision was inserted after it was approved by committee members.
Whichever happened, when the bill emerged at 5:04 the next morning it contained the pharmaceutical protections committee members were assured earlier it didn't. If it was added after committee signed off on the bill, well, that's like altering a $5 check to read $105. It's not illegal apparently in congress, but know that as you were sleeping that night, fungi came together and screwed you. Again!
Okay, okay, the my whole freakin' analogy is breaking down. Maybe I just like applying the term "slime mold" to Frist, Hastert, Stevens and a few other honorable leaders in congress who acted, as we slept, yet again, for the monied interests of the pharmas at the expense of our own. There's something about a public sleeping that just emboldens government thugs to steal a little more from you, I guess. Maybe they think they won't get caught or, by the time in makes the news of the mainstream media, it'll be old news buried on page 17. You won't notice. Hell, MSM most often chooses to not even mention it.
Ah, but so it goes. And as we know, slime mold isn't unique to just congress. The White House is its own permanent plasmodium. And there's supreme court, another colony of slime.
But there's a much bigger implication here. While half of we Americans are kept trembling in our boots daily by an administration warning of the next attack against us from outside the country by bin Laden or Iran, we're facing a far graver terrorism. That's because we're being attacked by our very own government representatives working from within, financed by monied interests buying our government rather than voting for it like the rest of us. And, trust me, in this society, votes are no match for money. Just ask Bush, Cheney, Frist, DeLay and the other members of these slime colonies.
Oh sure, we currently have some in congress outraged. They're in a hissy fit at the administration's illegal spying on Americans. I wouldn't get too excited over their defense of our dwindling "rights". Their other hand is busy with their K-Street cronies, stealing us blind. America's social, political and economic securities are being plundered more every day by the creeping terrorism from within our own government!
So besides the terror of the 9/11 attacks, there was another terror later revealed--an air defense system that was in "stand-down" as Americans were being slaughtered. And as people in New Orleans stood atop the flooded out buildings beneath them with little or no food and water, another unbelievable tragedy unfolded as day after day went by and no help came. And the nation and the world watched in horror.
The list is endless as terrors embed themselves deeply into the psyches of us all. Just ask the asthmatic struggling to breathe thanks to a governmnment that's added 225% more sulfur dioxide, 450,000 tons more nitrogen oxide, or 9.5 more tons of mercury to our "Clear Skies". There's little more terrorizing than smothering alive.
Listening to Bush's buddy, Kenny Boy! (Lay's) Enron tapes of energy manipulators "fucking grandma" as they plundered her meager life's savings had to instill an uneasiness in us all. Our government was behind this in their deregulation of the industry.
Or how about record profits of the oil companies led by CEO's who won't even appear before congress to answer queries on price gouging. The same congress who in the recent past gave them billions of dollars in tax cuts. Does that not unsettled you? It should.
Or our health care? It's being stripped away by higher costs, shrinking benefits and fewer and fewer employers providing it. Terrifying.
Just today came a story of Senator Trent Lott having difficulty collecting insurance on the post-Katrina total loss of his home. Lott is suing his insurer because he's not being reimbursed as he feels he should be.
"Welcome to America, Senator Lott." An angry Lott threatened saying, "There'll be hell to pay!" if he doesn't collect for his losses. At least one has to enjoy the irony of it all; of Lott experiencing a bit of Americana while we wonder how many dollars insurance industry lobbyists have stuffed in his back pockets over the years. Perhaps from this experience, the slime mold will look into the insurance industry? Don't count on it.
And don't look for protection from creditors if you fall on hard times and declare yourself bankrupt. Our congress, working with the banking and credit industry took care of that.
And it used to be your home could be taken for the good of the public domain. Now it can be taken for the good of the private domain as well! Especially if you live on a site better suited for a strip mall or condos. It can be condemned and taken for developers to build and profit on. And so it goes, on and on. The list is long.
So while wondering when and where the terrorists will strike next, we may do well to remind ourselves they're attacking each and every day right here, right now. Not by middle east extremists but, rather, by American terrorists who inhabit the halls of our government, who form plasmodia with their bribers in the night to steal a little more for us all, facilitating in the process, the destruction of the whole damn country. Now that's real terrorism!
(Apologies to readers for the failed analogy.)