Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally (updated with more links)

As I write this, there is one day left of the Bush regime's official control over our government. It is the end of an era. The end of a political nightmare the likes of which I hope we never have to live through again (I am not so naive as to think we won't).

I have put a lot of thought into what I would write as my final Bush-related blog post. Actually, I have been thinking about it ever since I began the blog, in September 2004. Many of my posts were written with some thought devoted to the end of the story. Now that time has come, and I feel as though I have lived through a period that is so philosophically shattering that I am left shell-shocked.

Please, put the tea kettle on and find a comfy spot. This may be a long one.

As some of you know, I started blogging in Sept 2004. Like many others, I began as a means of finding a voice to address the urgency of the 2004 presidential election. I'll bet blogging increased a thousandfold in 2004. Here is one of my first blog posts, which describes my feelings at the time:
The initial reason I decided to enter the blogosphere is that our current political environment has inspired me to express myself... Not that I don't have other things to talk about. But the past four years have restored a political conciousness in me that had grown almost dormant in the 1990’s. With too much faith in Americans’ ability to discern between truth and lies, between the good of the country (and indeed the whole planet) and the undisguised avarice of a handful of over-privileged corporate royalty, I have watched our political climate transform into a storm of divisiveness by a self-proclaimed "uniter." The most important election of my lifetime has arrived.

I naively assumed that those right-wing extremist hate-mongers, the neocons, could not possibly come to absolute power. I watched as neocon leaders duped their followers into surrendering themselves, using the same tried-and-true formulae as so many who had come before… nazi-like propaganda designed to inflame the base passions of Jerry Springer Show-wannabe’s who can’t be bothered to imagine life outside the warm incubator of the spoon-fed neocon vision of “Us vs. Them” (“them” being anyone who does not contribute to the neocons’ money and/or power).

Even under the Reagan administration, the neocons seemed like they were still a fringe group. Not anymore. Power has been seized by those who seek only to feed their own greedy self-interest, the rest of humanity be damned. Calling themselves “conservative” in order to capture the demographics of the 1980’s Republican constituency, they have revealed themselves to be no such thing. Conservatism used to mean fiscal restraint and moral temperance. The modern leadership of the Republican party seems to believe “conservative” means spending money you don’t have (and lots of it), giving special favors to rich Republican plutocrats while snatching food, money and civil rights from lower-income people, and insulting the world by telling them that their opinions, rights, and very lives don’t matter to Americans. They damage they have done is horrific. If I had voted for any of them, I would be ashamed. I am embarrassed to be represented by them.
As you can see, that was an understatement as to the horrors that would follow. As I wrote in years to follow, everytime I thought they had done as much as could be done, they would come up with something unexpected. Remember when the Bush regime decided to take away workers' right to overtime pay? Or when they decided to "support the troops" by slashing veterans' benefits? Or when they planted fake journalists in news organizations so they could spread their propaganda? Or when they planted a gay male prostitute in the White House press corps and pretended he was a credentialed journalist? Cheney telling a senator to "go fuck himself" while on the floor of the Senate? Cheney's secret energy task force that met to plan their conquest of the middle east (here and here)? How Cheney about choosing himself to be vice president, and then lining his pockets off of the war. Cheney's company even continued to do business with Iran when it was against the law. Or all the sex scandals (Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, the Interior Dept Sex-and-Drugs-for-political-favors-scandal...)? Or how about the fact that the Bushes gave financial support to the Nazis? Or that Bush took more vacations than any previous president,yet still managed to spend more money and create more debt than all others combined? Or how they used fear to manipulate the nation into surrendering their civil rights? How about Bush cracking jokes about the way he lied to justify his invasion of Iraq? Or saying he doesn't even care about catching Osama Bin Laden? Or saying he doesn't even think we can win the "war on terror"? That's because he never considered it a war on terror - it was a war for oil, and he always knew that; the terror thing was marketing for dupes. How about being abducted and thrown into a foreign prison without knowledge of why, of who is responsible, of when you might be released, or if you might be released... and then tortured!?. How about the fact that we have done that to children who have now grown up in our torture-prison system? Will they come out of that experience thanking America for liberating them from Saddam Hussein ("let freedom reign")?

And don't think we'll avoid burning in Hell for showering Iraq wih radioactive material. If you can stomach them, here are pictures (scroll down) of how we have "liberated" Iraq with depleted uranium. We did this.

You never hear anyone mention these things anymore, do you? Not now, with two wars that have raged longer than WWII and an economy a gnat's piss away from repeating the Great Depression. And don't get me started on Karl Rove or Tom Delay or Abramoff or extraordinary rendition or... Augh! There are so many bad things to list that the Bush administration has done, that there isn't time to concentrate on any but the most currently pressing issues. Maybe that was something they counted on. You are willing to forget that someone held down your foot and smashed your toe to pulp with a 3lb sledge hammer, if they later decide to hack off your foot with a dull saw.

Those things I listed above are just a handful off the top of my head; the actual list of Bush administration transgressions is miles long, far too long produce a comprehensive list here. Not that I didn't want to... I started out wanting to do that as my final Bush post, but the further you go back, the further you peel back the layers of corruption, depravity, criminality, treason... it just become too overwhelming. Here are a few:

Bush Scandals List
Bush Lies, Etc
List of Bush Scandals
So Long Worst President Ever; 10 Reasons History Will Hang You
The 43 Who Helped Make Bush The Worst Ever
42 Reasons We Won’t Miss President George W Bush
Bush Lies
Do You Know?
ABC'of W
Know Your BFEE
Right-wing Claims vs Fact
Bush Family Values (a favorite!)
Rightwing Chickenhawks
The Comprehensive List of 110+ Palin Problems (not Bush but still important)
Republican Offenders
Republican Sex Offenders
More Republican Sex Offenders
Republican Sex Scandals going all the way back to 1925.

And let's not forget that Bush was not elected president in 2000 - the election was stolen from the voters by a corrupt Supreme Court (one, two, three, four). That's the same court that conservatives criticize now as "acivist." And, he fucked with our votes again in 2004 (here), and in 2006 (here)!

Furthermore, I don't care how crazy some people think it sounds, the Bush regime's complicity in the 9/11 incident is too far beyond coincidental.

When I first started blogging, I told myself it would take a long time to repair the damage inflicted by the Bush presidency. As their actions developed, I told myself I probably wouldn't see the damage repaired in my lifetime. Now, I believe the damage is irreparable.

I grew up wanted so much more from the 21st century. When I was a child, it was predicted that we would be living on the Moon and exploring Mars by now. Instead, almost a decade into the 21st century, we live in a world where religious fanatics want to drag us back to the middle ages, and socioeconomic "conservatives" want to return to a world of Dickensian sweatshops where the middle classes no longer exist, replaced by a master/servant serfdom. All in the name of "freedom", says George Bush.

The following article eloquently describes how it has been a disastrous eight years under Bush. I want to reprint the article in its entirety, so I will close, for now, with it. But I want give my most heartfelt thanks to all those who have been with me on this right through political hell. I'm not giving up, but I am so looking forward to being done with George Bush, who should have been impeached long ago. I hope criminal charges are brought against him and his cronies, and they are tried for crimes against humanity in a world court.

Sorry about the tone, but I can no longer summon much humor where the Bush years are concerned. In so many ways, they ruined our country, and I will forever be pissed off about it. Anyway, please enjoy this great article:
It is hard to imagine that one U.S. presidency could leave more wreckage than George W. Bush's did during his eight years in the White House.

By his own yardsticks, his administration was an abject failure. He was a divider, not a uniter. He was "the decider" who led the country into a war of choice on what proved to be false pretenses. His administration was neither compassionate nor conservative. It ran up record deficits while giving tax breaks to the wealthy and creating a culture of government neglect that left some Americans trapped in a netherworld of neglect after Hurricane Katrina, and continues to keep all of us gripped by the angst of an economic system that remains on the brink of collapse.

This was a president whose election was assured only after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, settled the more than monthlong dispute over the Florida outcome. He immediately began to govern as if he had a ringing mandate.

The defining event of the Bush presidency came on Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and turned them into missiles against the icons of U.S. financial and military might. More than 3,000 died that day, and the world was transformed. For a fleeting moment, the American people - and global sentiment - rallied around Bush. But that opportunity would soon be squandered.

For the neocon factions within the Bush administration, the 9/11 attacks opened the opportunity for two goals it brought into office: To force a regime change in Iraq, and to expand the power of the executive branch. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney went on the stump in 2002 to sell the notion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had a connection to al Qaeda. Neither proved to be true. Still, America went to war, and American troops remain in battle to this day, many billions of dollars and more than 4,000 U.S. lives later.

The threat of terrorism became the rationale for other Bush administration assaults on American values. The Bush White House pushed the limits of the law to establish warrantless wiretapping, military tribunals, indefinite detentions of suspected "enemy combatants," torture techniques on detainees and a legal no-man's land at Guantanamo Bay. Bush expanded and redefined the use of "signing statements" to effectively declare that he - as president - can pick and choose which laws he will enforce or ignore.

Just don't call Bush a conservative. The last Clinton administration budget had a surplus of more than $100 billion; the fiscal 2009 deficit could approach $700 billion.

Bush was a disaster on the environment in many ways, but in none more critical than in his belated acknowledgment that climate change was real and was a serious threat to the planet. This nation essentially lost eight years in addressing the most profound issue of our time. In the final weeks of his presidency, Bush moved to undermine the Endangered Species Act. The Bush administration also let politics trump science in other ways, such as its resistance to stem cell research and myriad family-planning programs.

Politics also pervaded this administration's oversight of the Department of Justice. Its attempt to fire nine U.S. attorneys appeared targeted at those who were not regarded as conservative enough.

When strong hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, what seemed to be a slow and disorganized response reflected badly on the Bush White House. The public relations damage was compounded when Bush toured Louisiana right after Katrina and commended Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown for a "heckuva job." The awful hurricane aftermath, in which we saw hungry and frantic Americans scrambling through the chaos, became an indictment on the competence of the Bush administration.

"He kept us safe" is the mantra of the Bush loyalists. Indeed, terrorists did not strike again after 9/11. But the Bush policies did, leading us into war, depriving our liberties, exploiting our natural resources and allowing the construction of financial houses of cards - while seizing new executive powers at every turn. This nation is deeper in debt, gloomier in outlook and weaker in global stature than when George W. Bush took office.

This has been a disastrous eight years.
It certainly has.

ps - I think I'll dedicate this one to the late Molly Ivins, who would be very happy that this time has finally come.

Friday, January 9, 2009