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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Real "Family"

A few weeks ago, former Manson "Family" member, Leslie Van Houten was denied parole from prison for the 19th time. She was, of course, one of the people who helped to murder Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in 1969, the night after other "Family" members murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others. We've been fascinated with the Manson "Family" story ever since we were kids, so after Van Houten's parole hearing, we went back to our library and started re-reading "Helter Skelter", the seminal story of the Manson crimes and trials, written by Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor who convicted the Tate-LaBianca murderers. One of the most notable aspects of the Manson story is the extent to which Charles Manson had completely and totally brain-washed his followers. During the trials, if Manson fired his lawyer, then the next day, his fellow defendants, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins would fire their attorneys. When Manson turned his back on the judge, the next day the girls turned their backs on the judge. When he carved an "X" into his forehead, the next day, they had done the same. Why are we mentioning this? Because we're seeing the same type of bizarre behavior today in the Republican Party.
There seems to be no real original thought or leadership in the Republican Party, it's as if someone, (a Manson mastermind), decides what action the party should take, and then, within 24 hours, all the others fall into line. Manson comes up with the talking points, and on all the talk shows the next day, Van Houten, Krenwinkel and Atkins, or Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Elisabeth Hasselbeck all repeat the exact same talking points. First it was a push to get rid of illegal immigrants, and that's all we heard from the Republicans "Family" members. Then it was that we can't afford unemployment benefits, and we heard that phrase repeated ad nauseum. And now, this week we can afford tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and that's all we hear from the crazy cult that is the Republican Party. But how do we rid of ourselves of this dangerous cult? Just like with the Manson Family, we have to identify the leader and put him away, and then the hope is that his followers will eventually mentally "de-program" and return to a normal life. But who is the Charles Manson of the Republican Party? Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck? That's the question for which we don't have an answer. Where is Vincent Bugliosi when we need him?

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