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“Somewhat Fantasy Land”

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Honest, tearful and tormented.

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That was admitted murderer Mark Hacking this week, as he stood before 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg awaiting sentencing for shooting his sleeping wife Lori in the head, then throwing her body in the dumpster. That was the mood of a man who more than likely would have stood by idly had another person been a suspect in his wife’s “disappearance” as he led a search last summer for her whereabouts in Memory Grove.

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That was the mood of a man who sent scores of people picking through the Salt Lake County Landfill in search of her remains.

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Honest, tearful and tormented he was. If we’re to believe a known liar, that is. According to defense attorney Gil Athay, Hacking loved his wife so much he simply couldn’t bear to see her in so much pain after catching her husband in the lie that he was admitted to medical school.

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So, naturally, he killed her. In fact, even as he came across his gun before doing the deed, Athay said, Hacking was in a mental “state that was somewhat fantasy land.” Get it?

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Having lived under the current presidential administration for some time now, perhaps we do. Certainly the American voters who gave George W. Bush a second term are more than happy to live in this “somewhat fantasy land,” where the leader of the free world can run through whole lists of distortions, half-truths and, yes, even outright lies. At least President Bush has never told us he was admitted to medical school in North Carolina. He can proclaim that “freedom is on the march” while overseeing the death and torture of detainees held without trial. He can hawk his ideas of Social Security reform, even if his Medicare drug benefit plan will soak taxpayers to the tune of $720 billion and make his friends in the pharmaceutical industry rich beyond belief. He talks of “a nation at war,” but wouldn’t dare think of a military draft that treats blue blood on par with enlisted sons and daughters from less-privileged families. He can wash his hands of a war he launched on trumped-up evidence, even as his office shows no mercy for the mistakes of a national magazine like Newsweek.

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With his Texas drawl he can come across the average, working-class Joe, even if his tax cuts benefit billionaires and burden the wage earner. He wants an America where whole estates are inherited tax-free. Imagine that: Those who inherit wealth will get it free, while those who work and contribute to society foot the tax bill. He boasts of American power with all the swagger of a barroom brawler, even as he pounds our nation’s economic might and currency into the ground with budget deficits that would make even Democrats blush.

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Hacking cried that he meant well, but somehow still managed to kill the one thing he loved the most, then throw it in a dumpster. Who’s to say Bush, too, isn’t in a mental state that is “somewhat fantasy land?” When all this is over, is it the American people who will be honest, tearful and tormented, or our seeming delusional president?

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