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Some Killers Can Read Better Than Others: the Tiresome Bush-Manson Connection

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Some killers can read better than others

When the news hit the Internet about Charles Manson receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions in music, there was a sharp and vocal backlash against it. It didn’t seem to matter if the news was real or wasn’t, people were so enraged at the idea that they started a petition and took to Twitter to vent.

“Because he is not that much of a contribution to the music industry. And most importantly he is a cult leader…” is how the petition levels its argument. The only reason Charlie wasn’t much of a contribution to music is because the industry sucks. And let me ask you, intelligent reader, is Christina Aguilera “that much of a contribution” to music or anything else? Yet her star is plastered into the sidewalk at 6901 Hollywood Blvd.

Let’s not even get into the Backstreet Boys. The wholesome BSB band that peddled, as the late great Bill Hicks said, “mediocrity and banality” to all the youth of America.

And Charlie killed people. Nothing mediocre about that, unless you’re not actually doing the killing, but hiring it out to thugs or the military. Well, actually, Manson was charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He was the Family’s commander-in-chief. How appalling to honor such a man on one of America’s grimiest sidewalks.

That Hollywood star hubbub happened in the summer of 2011. What a magical time it was. There were even protests at Vine and Selma. People holding clipboards taking signatures to stop the Manson star from happening later in the summer. Activists holding clunky cardboard signs asking motorists to honk if they too were outraged by the idea of the infamous cult leader getting his name honored by having it plastered into the Walk of Fame sidewalk.

That argument…it’s a real career killer…

Hollywood has never been a place of scruples and upstanding morals, nor has it shied away from glorifying war, murder, death, torture, rape, aggressive sex, and the commodification of humanity. Besides that, many murderers are honored. This country loves a good killer. We make them famous. We elect them to public office all the time.

Some receive Nobel Peace prizes for killing, but claim they have ideas of peace in mind while doing it. And some killers, like George W Bush, are bestowed with the honor of having a presidential library at Southern Methodist University dedicated to him.

I know, everybody makes this George Bush Jr / Charles Manson connection, and it’s a real career killer. As long as I keep writing content like this, I’ll never be hired by any legitimate, popular news source. But I like the Manson / Bush Jr dynamic. It’s an old argument stumbled upon with great veracity by drunken intellectuals slouching on bar stools in Berkeley dive bars all the time. Yet, still, it’s fun to think about.

Charles Manson is not all bad. He was and is a unique singer-songwriter who has written interesting music featuring a chorus of girls behind him. Hell, the Beach Boys’ Dennis Wilson stole a song from him. He also was into saving the air, the water, the trees, and the animals. He was arrested while living in the desert and wearing a buckskin vest he’d made himself. He planted trees in the desert. He preached sustainability long before it was widely talked about. Why do you people rip up natural habitats to build shopping malls? he’s asked interviewers many times. Charlie is the perfect outlaw outsider, and it would be foolish to dismiss his specialized perspective.

He also had a very dark side, and everybody knows about that.

But what is Bush Jr’s light side? That’s where the balance doesn’t play out. What could Jr do, other than ride off his father’s successes, make compromising connections with high-level Saudi officials (the infamous bin Laden family) to fund his failing oil exploration company, Arbusto, and sink a famous Major League baseball team?

Well, Bush Jr does have a little merit, too. He’s into painting his legs in the bathtub and being a straight shooter. So maybe he does deserve to be honored with a presidential library. Especially since this library is not primarily about books, nor about reading. Which is good, because sources have said it’s not that the former president doesn’t so much dislike reading, but rather he has an unnecessarily difficult time with it. Thankfully, the presidential library is more of a catalog of twisted metal, policy errors, and gross negligence.

So what if he’s responsible for the deaths and hardships of untold millions of Iraqis, Afghans, and Americans, too. So what if he bankrupted our nation and destroyed our national wildlife refuges and scaled back environmental protections and bailed out the major multinational corporations and global banks after they’d imploded our economy, and so what if his administration ignored clear intelligence that hijackers were planning to fly planes into the World Trade Center towers, and so what if he emptied our Treasury to kick enormous tax breaks back into the pockets of the richest Americans and nearly every sector of business and special interest so he’d get reelected for another term of self-destruction?

He’s still not as loathsome as the most hated, despised man in the world, who still sits in a prison cell for having influenced a few girls and a couple guys to kill a Hollywood starlet and her drug dealing friends. That comparison, the Bush-Manson dynamic, is tiresome, I know. And the parallels of ordering death squads to destroy unsuspecting peoples is worn thin.

It’s not all bad in prison…for example, there can be good conversation

Protesting can be a satisfying pastime

But really, besides the typical jokes that should stream out of that obvious oxymoron of having the name Bush in the same sentence as the word library, where is the backlash? It seems the American public is either as forgiving as Christ, or they just forget very fast, because polls show that the one-time ‘most hated’ president is now at a fairly neutral 47 percent approval rating. He had, when he left office, a 33 percent rating. How does this happen? Isn’t George W Bush just as creepy, if not creepier, than the infamous outlaw, Charles Manson?

If there were substantial veins of intelligence and justice in this country, there wouldn’t be a need for measuring Bush Jr’s approval rating, because he’d be in jail. He’d be showering next to Charlie, chatting away about hookers and fig trees, the values of Jesus Christ and playing old country tunes on the guitar. A burly guard with a bald head would watch the water pour down their backs and dribble off their wrinkly white butts.

“He’s a nice enough fellow,” Bush Jr might tell a reporter in his first ever interview from prison, “but I can’t figure out most of what he’s saying. Nice fellow, though. You’d never expect it.” And then we’d see that familiar half-grin, that half-shrug. “What can I say, he’s a jokester,” Bush would say.

He may be a war criminal, but he’s one of the more likable ones…

There were protests for Bush’s library dedication in Dallas, but most of the news coverage of the event was positive. A nice story about a nice reception. Not one negative peep from the five gathered living presidents. Nothing about allowing torture. Nothing about the Patriot Act. Nothing about a fabricated invasion that is going to cost over $6 trillion. No mention of suspicious and obvious connections between the Bush family and the bin Laden family.

Instead, President Obama talked about how likable Bush Jr is, and how comfortable in his skin he seems to be. Those comments would have created a graceful transition into how the former president could use those qualities to make friends in prison. But of course our president wouldn’t say that.

At least Obama could have jabbed Bush about that Iraq invasion that was sold with faulty, fabricated information to a vulnerable, unthinking American public and a skeptical post-9/11 world. A joke could have been made about it, if nothing else. That invasion that killed about 6000 US troops, forced 4 million Iraqis to seek refuge in other countries, and resulted in around one million dead Iraqis, who perished either at the hands of the American military, or from suicide bombers, or from sickness and disease from living in a country that no longer had running water and electricity. Maybe Obama didn’t say anything about that, because he’s guilty of many of the same offenses.

These are not small offenses. They are not mistakes that can be forgiven, because there has never been any mentions of wrongdoing. The truth is, we live in a hellish world, and much of it seems to be catalyzed by Washington — the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA. In conglomeration with big business — Big Pharma, the oil companies, Wall Street.

Black or white, the horrors remain…

You all know the horrors of Bush. And now his successor, who speaks and acts in a sophisticated manner, still promotes torture, indefinite detention of people abroad and at home, who has and uses a kill list to expand the nonsensical war on terror to a worldwide battlefield by allowing the president to strike any individual in any country without any judicial oversight. That’s the number one cause of terrorism. Nothing else.

We’ve now got a president who sheds a tear over the Sandy Hook children, but makes the “tough decisions” to pull the trigger on killing families overseas. There is a philosophical rift in this country’s mentality when some dead kids warrant tears, and others are considered necessary casualties in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The maimed and killed are collateral damage when the drone strike hits a marketplace, but they are lives inexcusably lost when it’s an unacceptable terrorist strike in Boston.

The intensity of that gaze…

Charles Manson once leveled his eyes at an NBC female reporter and said, without flinching, “If I started murdering people, there’d be none of you left.” He’s always claimed his innocence, all these decades later, but his words, no matter how chilling, were facetious. Nobody has the power to even get close to killing so many people as to actually make a dent in the world’s population. It’s just too much work. That is, unless you’ve been put in charge of the United States military, and with your hand on the throttle, you can cause as much pain and destruction for the human population as possible without even having to get your hands dirty.

You just have to shake a few sweaty hands at the troop meet-and-greet in Afghanistan and Iraq, to show your gratitude and honor the sacrifice.

Ultimately, it’s about perception, and who you’re murdering, and how thoroughly you can get the mass media to dehumanize the people you’re wiping out. And always wear a clean, pressed suit. You can bet that with only a few years, the American public will forget everything you’ve done and measure your character by the width of your TV smile.


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