Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

"It Smells Like There’s a Dead Body in the Damn Car!"

The young woman who seems to have committed the most heinous and mystifying of all crimes — the murder of her own two-year-old daughter — rarely shows even a flicker of affect. Grave-pale and dead-eyed, she sits lumpily in court and listens as her astounding lies are recounted, and that lack of affect seems to have even changed the planes of her face — as if her brow and jawbones were being steadily blunted, so that by trial’s end she will no longer have any facial features left, just one solid block of white bone.

She watches herself on a laptop computer, which shows a videotape of her interrogation by Florida detectives, and keeps her poker-face intact as she sees herself effortlessly spin the most absurd of lying sagas.

Here’s how breathtaking a liar she was: for three years, she convinced her family — whom she lived with — that she was going out every day to a great job at Universal Studios in Orlando — a job that never existed. And when the police finally started closing in on her, she actually led them to Unversal, through the security gate (“I lost my badge”), and down the corridor to her non-existent office before finally stopping dead in her tracks and admitting, “I don’t work here.”

From there, her byzantine tale of kidnapping nannies and shadowy boyfriends began to crumble, though even now she proposes a transparently phony tale about her daughter accidentally drowning in the family pool: the lies don’t stop, they just morph into new lies when they’ve outlived their purpose, which is to buy one more day of lying.

I see the face of Casey Anthony in 95% of the politicians that surround her on cable news.

At a time when one out of four American children don’t even get enough food to eat, these Casey Anthonys on the national scene continue to stand there, dull-faced in the sunlight, and talk about how important the deficit is. When veterans are killing themselves in record numbers, they blandly inform us that it’s crucial to slash funding for veteran’s support: “Everyone’s going to have to take a haircut.” And while the growing despair of the working class turns into terror and outright panic, they drone on about the debt-ceiling.

Their speech cadence and thought patterns are so boring they actually become hypnotic.

Whether they’re standing in a New Hampshire farmyard or sitting in a network studio, there is no urgency, there is no truly righteous indignation, there is no awareness of the suffering out there. What does it say about the national mood that the only people who seem truly outraged — or who are willing to organize around their outrage — are the Tea Partiers?

In the Casey Anthony trial, there was one shocking and heartrending eruption of reality when the dead child’s grandmother was testifying. They played a 911 tape, a call the grandmother made when she could no longer deny the truth in her gut. She made the call after she’d picked up Casey’s car, which reeked with that unmistakable odor, telling the 911 operator: “It smells like there’s a dead body in the damn car!”

Watching the grandmother doubled over in the witness chair as she listened to the tape, reliving the horror that is every parent’s ultimate nightmare, was unbearable. But at least it provided a shock of recognition: this is what’s really happening. A child is really dead.

Children, veterans, the poor and the elderly are really dying. And many are dying because of decisions made in Washington and state capitols around the country. How can we learn to hear those daily 911 calls from all across America? When does the denial stop?

“It smells like there’s a dead body in the damn car!”

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning.

More articles by:

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence. He can be reached at: johneskow@yahoo.com

May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail