Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bush Dictatorship: 8 Years in 8 Minutes

Keith Olbermann sums up eight years of George W. Bush in eight minutes.

(Thanks to Karl for passing this one on...)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Wrong Man

I remember being woken up by a frantic phone call.
Planes. New York. Buildings. War.
It didn't make a lot of sense, frankly. I had no frame of reference for what I was being told. I switched on my TV just in time to see the first tower fall.
Mouth agape, comprehension still elusive.
Eventually I arrived at work, and found co-workers huddled around computers streaming radio broadcasts.
"They have no idea what they just woke up," I said.
Turns out, none of us did.

The Presidency of George W. Bush is irrevocably tied to 9/11. At first he spoke with restraint and clarity in response to the attacks, but that only lasted about 24 hours. Then it became apparent that I what feared was actually being contemplated: Pax Americana -- American forces tearing a swath across the globe, making the world "safe."
The irony is that this is exactly the plan that Bush's neo-con advisers had wanted him to follow anyway, even without a 9/11-type tipping point, and this is exactly what bin Laden expected him to do.
Bush believed that he was a man destined to live out a defining moment of greatness, and he threw himself down this ruinous path chasing that moment.
But Bush was never great. Not at anything, except having a famous last name and falling in with people who were willing to exploit it. His moment of destiny was the moment that he became President, thus proving the old adage that anyone could become President, even a party-hopping ex-frat boy drug user who had failed at almost everything he tried.
The wrong place, the wrong time. The wrong man.

Pax Americana didn't succeed, mostly because the Neo-Cons, drunk on hubris and their own press clipping, believed they knew better than anyone else. I guess when your invasion of a foreign country is based on lies, soon you actually start believing them. They forgot that the mission was to get bin Laden.
In WW II, it took 2068 days for the Allies to get Hitler. Now after 2688 days, Bush is gone but bin Laden is still out there. A free man.

Those who like Bush perceive him as a strong leader. But he wasn't. He was so weak that he bought into every stupid and destructive idea his clique of Neanderthal advisers whispered into his empty head.
Perhaps his rigidity was mistaken for strength. But sticking to your plan no matter how far reality diverges from your hoped-for reality isn't strength, it's inflexibility. In Bush's case, it was a disastrous liability.
Bush didn't even come through for his constituent base, the people who actually like him and think he's done a good job. He failed the neo-cons, he failed the religious right. He failed everyone.

We all know that this is the century that the American Empire finally falters. Bush pushed that time frame up by at least a generation or two. He praised free market capitalism, but was forced to to use the tools of socialism to save the business elite. He denied there was a need for fuel conservation, and now there's no oil. He denied the need for financial regulation and now there's no economy. He denied that climate change existed, and now there's no time.

So, George, what are you going to do now? Start a new oil company and run that one into the ground too?
Or perhaps you'll be dealing with the creation of your "Presidential" Library. That should be an easy job -- you only read one book of any consequence while you were "President": My Pet Goat.
So long, Bush. And good fucking riddance, too.

1: a person lacking in judgment or prudence
2 a: a retainer formerly kept in great households to provide casual entertainment and commonly dressed in motley with cap, bells, and bauble b: one who is victimized or made to appear foolish : dupe
3 a: a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding b: one with a marked propensity or fondness for something (a dancing fool) (a fool for candy)
4: a cold dessert of pureed fruit mixed with whipped cream or custard

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bush: By the Numbers

Bernie linked to it over at his blog FOB, but in case you missed it, here's Harper's magazine index of Bush: By the Numbers. Bernie quoted a few choice numbers, and I've picked a few other ones. Read 'em all here.

Months before September 11, 2001, that Cheney’s Energy Task Force investigated Iraq’s oil resources: 6
Hours after the 9/11 attacks that an Alaska congressman speculated they may have been committed by “eco-terrorists”: 9
Number of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African men detained in the U.S. in the eight weeks after 9/11: 1,182
Number of them ever charged with a terrorism-related crime: 0
Days since the federal government first placed the nation under an “elevated terror alert” that the level has been relaxed: 0
Number of box cutters taken from U.S. airline passengers since January 2002: 105,075
Percentage of Americans in 2006 who believed that U.S. Muslims should have to carry special I.D.: 39
Chances an American in 2002 believed the government should regulate comedy routines that make light of terrorism: 2 in 5
Date on which Bush said of Osama bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him”: 3/13/02
Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3
Date on which the White House announced it had stopped looking for WMDs in Iraq: 1/12/05
Years since his acquittal that O. J. Simpson has said he is still looking for his wife’s “real killers”: 13
Percentage change since 2000 in U.S. emigration to Canada: +79
Portion of all U.S. income gains during the Bush Administration that have gone to the top 1 percent of earners: 3/4
Increase since 2000 in the number of Americans living at less than half the federal poverty level: 3,500,000
Percentage change since 2001 in the average amount U.S. workers spend on out-of-pocket medical expenses: +172
Percentage change since 2002 in the number of U.S. teens using illegal drugs: –9
Percentage change in the number of adults in their fifties doing so: +121
Change since 2001 in the percentage of Americans who believe humans are causing climate change: –4
Number of total additions made to the U.S. endangered-species list under Bush: 61
Average number made yearly under Clinton: 65
Days after Hurricane Katrina hit that Cheney’s office ordered an electric company to restore power to two oil pipelines: 1
Days after the hurricane that the White House authorized sending federal troops into New Orleans: 4
Number of press conferences at which Bush has referred to a question as a “trick”: 14
Number of times he has declared an event or outcome not to be “acceptable”: 149
Average percentage of Americans who approved of the job Bush was doing during his second term: 37
Percentage of Russians today who approve of the direction their country took under Stalin: 37

Monday, January 05, 2009

Throw Your Own Shoe at Bush!

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can throw your own shoe at Bush.
Try one here and another here.