Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Epitaph for the Bush Years

As usual, Scott Horton sends the nail deep into the wood with one blow.

If it does not do justice, what is the government but a great criminal enterprise? For what are gangs of criminals but petty little governments?--Augustine

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Only Thing That Could Be Worse

would be not prosecuting the murdering mother fuckers who did all this.

Eight Years In Eight Minutes

Here's the transcript, courtesy of this comment by TrueBlueMajority at the KOS.

George Walker Bush.
43rd president of the United States.
first ever with a criminal record.
our third story tonight,
his presidency: eight years in eight minutes.

early in 2001 the U.S. fingered Al Qaeda
for the bombing of the USS Cole
Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke
had a plan to take down Al Qaeda.
instead by February the NSC
had already discussed invading Iraq,
and had a plan for post-Saddam Iraq.

by March 5 Bush had a map ready for Iraqi oil exploration
and a list of companies.
Al Qaeda?
Rice told Clarke not to give Bush a lot of long memos.
not a big reader.

August 6, 2001
a CIA analyst briefs Bush on vacation:
"Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S."
Bush takes no action tells the briefer—quote
all right, you've covered your ass now.

next month Clarke requests
using new predator drones to kill Bin Laden
the Pentagon and CIA
say no.

September 11th
Bush remains seated for several minutes
to avoid scaring school children
by getting up and leaving.
he then flies around the country
and promises quote a full scale investigation to find
those folks who did it

Rumsfeld says Afghanistan does not have enough targets
we've got to do Iraq.
when the CIA traps Bin Laden at Tora Bora
it asks for 800 rangers to cut off his escape
Bush outsources the job to Pakistanis
sympathetic to the Taliban
Bin Laden
gets away

in February General Tommy Franks tells a visiting Senator
Bush is moving equipment out of Afghanistan
so he can invade Iraq.
one of the men who prepped Rice for her testimony
that Bush did not ignore pre 9-11 warnings
later explains quote we cherry picked things
to make it look like the president
had been actually concerned about Al Qaeda
they didn't give a bleep about Al Qaeda

July and Britain's intel chief says Bush is
fixing intelligence and facts around the policy to take out Saddam
January 03
Bush and Blair agree to invade in March
Mr. Bush still telling us he has not decided
telling Blair they should paint an airplane in UN colors
fly it over Iraq and provoke a response
a pretext for invasion

the man who said it would take several hundred thousand troops
the man who said it would cost more than a hundred billion
the man who revealed Bush's yellowcake lie
his wife's covert status
the White House liars who did it
and covered it up
not fired
one convicted
Bush commutes his sentence

then in Iraq, stuff happens:
Iraq's army, disbanded
the government de-Baathified
200,000 weapons, billions of dollars just
foreign mercenaries immunized from justice
political hacks run the Green Zone
religious cleansing forcing one out of six Iraqis from their homes
Abu Ghraib
the insurgency
Al Qaeda in Iraq

other stuff does not happen:
post-war planning
body armor
vehicular armor

the payoff?
and billions for Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies
while Mr. Bush denies VA healthcare to 450,000 veterans
tries to raise their healthcare fees
blocks the new G.I. Bill
and increases his own power with the USA PATRIOT Act
with the Military Commissions Act
public orders exempting himself from a thousand laws
and secretly from the Presidential Records Act
The Geneva Conventions
sparking a mass rebellion at the Justice Department

secret star chambers for terrorism suspects,
overturned by Hamdan v Rumsfeld.
denying habeas corpus,
overturned by Boumediene v Bush.
200 renditionings
sleep deprivation

Rumsfeld warned in 2002 that he was torturing
that it would jeopardize convictions
out of 550 at Gitmo
hundreds ultimately go free with no charges
dozens are tortured
eight fatally
three are convicted

on U.S. soil twelve hundred immigrants rounded up
without due process
without bail
without court dates
without a single charge of terrorism

it wasn't just Mr. Bush no longer subject to the rule of law
he slashed regulations on everyone from banks to mining companies
appointed 98 lobbyists to oversee their own industries
weakening emission standards for mercury
and 650 different toxic chemicals
regulators shared drugs
and their beds
with industry reps
the Crandall Canyon mine owner told inspectors to back up
because his buddy, Republican Mitch McConnell
was sleeping with their boss
McConnell's wife is Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
her agency overruled engineer concerns about Crandall Canyon
and was found negligent
after nine miners died in the collapse there

Mr. Bush's hands off
as Enron blacks out California
doubling electric bills
after months of rejecting price caps Mr. Bush bows to pressure

the blackouts end

Mr. Bush further deregulates commodity futures
midwifing the birth of unregulated oil markets
which just like Enron jack up prices to an all time high
until Congress and both presidential candidates call for regulations

and the prices fall

deregulating financial services and lax enforcement of remaining rules
created a housing bubble
creating the mortgage crisis
creating then a credit crisis
devastating industries that rely on credit
from student loans to car dealers

firms that had survived the Great Depression could not survive Bush
those that did got
seven hundred billion dollars
no strings, no transparency
no idea whether it worked

unlike the auto bailout
which cut workers' salaries.
a GOP memo called it
a chance to punish unions

but Bush failed even when his party and his patrons
did not stand to profit
investigators blamed management cost cutting communication
for missed warnings about Columbia
Bush administration convicts include
sex offenders at Homeland Security
convicted liars
every kind of thief in the calendar
and if you count things that were not prosecuted
the vice president of the United States actually
shot a man in the face

the man apologized.

Mr. Bush faked the truth
with paid propaganda in Iraq
on his education policy

tried to silence the truth about global warming
rocket fuel in our water
industry influence on energy policy

politicized the truth of science at NASA, the EPA,
the National Cancer Institute, Fish and Wildlife
and the FDA

his lies
exposed by whistleblowers from the cabinet down
"complete BS" the treasury secretary said
of Mr. Bush on his tax cuts.

Rice's mushroom cloud
Powell's mobile labs
Iraq and 9-11
Jack Abramoff
Jessica Lynch

Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman again
Pat Tillman, again.

the air at Ground Zero
most responders still suffering respiratory problems.

global warming
carbon emissions
a Clear Skies initiative lowering air quality standards
the Healthy Forests initiative increasing logging
faith based initiatives
the cost of medicare reform
fired US attorneys
politically synchronized terror alerts

the surge causing insurgents to switch sides
that abortion causes breast cancer
that his first recession began under Clinton
that he did not wiretap without warrants
that we do not torture.

that American citizen John Walker Lindh's rights
were not violated
that he refused the right to counsel

heckuva job Brownie
some survivors still in trailers
New Orleans still at just two-thirds its usual population

the lie that no one could have predicted the economic crisis
the economists who did
no one could have predicted 9-11 except
one ass-covering CIA analyst
or thirty
no one could have predicted the levee breach
except literally
Mr. Bill
in a PSA that aired on TV a year before Katrina

Bush actually admitted that he lied about not firing Rumsfeld
because he did not want to tell the truth.
look it up.

all of it
all of it and more leaving us with
ten trillion in debt
to pay for 31% more in discretionary spending
the Iraq War
a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut

median income down two thousand dollars
three-quarters of all income gains under Bush
going to the richest one percent
unemployment up from 4.2 to 7.2 percent

the Dow, down from ten thousand five hundred eighty seven
to eighty two hundred seventy seven
six million now more in poverty
seven million more now without health care

buying toxic goods from China
deadly cribs
outsourcing security to Dubai
still unsecure in our ports
and at our nuclear plants
more dependent on foreign oil
out of the international criminal court
off the anti ballistic missle treaty
military readiness and standards down

with two unfinished wars
a nuclear North Korea
disengaged from the Palestinian problem
destabilizing eastern european diplomacy with
anti missile plans
and unable to keep Russia out of Georgia

2000 miles of Appalachian streams
destroyed by rubble from mountaintop mining
at his last G-8 summit,
he actually bid farewell to other world leaders
saying quote—goodbye from the world's greatest polluter

consistently undermining historic American reverence
for the institutions that empower us
education, now "academic elites"
and the law, "activist judges"
capping jury awards

and Bin Laden?
living today unmolested in a Pakistani safe haven
created by a truce endorsed and defended by George W. Bush

and among all the gifts he gave to Bin Laden
the most awful, the most damaging not just to America
but to the American ideal
was to further Bin Laden's goal
by making us act out of fear rather than fortitude

leaving us with precious little to cling to tonight
save the one thing that might yet suffice:


Friday, January 16, 2009

We Were Warned

When President Eisenhower told us, in his 1961 farewell address, to beware of the Military Industrial complex, America ignored him, and built the most powerful group of private corporations ever to supply a military.

But way before Ike did his best to tell us what was going to happen if we weren't careful, another president gave a farewell address that warned us about George Bush:

Political parties serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

That's from George Washington's farewell address (h/t Scott Horton). Did you have to be a George Washington to figure this out: "...unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people..." I was physically attacked, made fun of, blacklisted by Republican co-workers who spread the word not to hire me, called a traitor and a commie, all because I tried to warn people, before he was even appointed by the Supreme Court, that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were unprincipled men who would subvert the power of the people.

Washington even tried to warn us that these men would start dangerous wars of choice with their out-of-control military. He prayed that we would...

...avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

If my union is the main prop of my liberty, then shouldn't I protect my union from another Bush/Cheney "administration" in order to preserve my liberty? Shouldn't we, as patriotic Americans aware of our history and the admonishments of past presidents, work to avoid the necessity of an overgrown military establishment which is inauspicious to liberty? Do we not have a duty to past Americans who have fought and died for our rights to fight for the liberty of our descendants?

What would be the best way to stop future presidents from usurping the power of the people? Should we move on and not bog ourselves down in the bickering that would accompany trials of war criminals from the highest echelons of government? Will we signal to future presidents that they will be considered above the law as long as their partisans promise to bicker and complain that the prosecution is not deserved because it is being controlled by someone from a different faction?

If fear of political harm prevents the prosecution of criminals, then wouldn't criminals simply threaten political division and wrangling in order to avoid prosecution? Has political calculation won over an executive's duty to uphold the law and the constitution?

Listen carefully to the oath of office on Tuesday. The promise that President Elect Obama makes will be:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This oath does not mention protecting Americans from terrorists no matter what the cost to liberty. It doesn't say anything about letting people avoid prosecution because it would be divisive or distracting. It doesn't even say anything about getting God's help. It says to protect and defend the Constitution, to the best of your ability. I know that the best of Obama'a ability is pretty damn good. I heard what his Attorney General Designate said about torture. I heard Obama say no one is above the law. He is capable of heeding the warnings of Eisenhower, Washington, and many other presidents.

As for how we managed to get to this place, it seems we just don't listen, do we? America has a long, rich history that we will be doomed to repeat if we don't study it, and prosecute those responsible for usurping the power of the people and ignoring the rule of law.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Brief History of a Joke

Sometime's it's fun to follow the conversation that leads to a funny joke. But the joke has to stand alone:

My moat is frozen. Hopefully the assholes can't ice-skate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Bush's Last Press Conference (as pResident)

And so, I view those who get angry and yell and say bad things and, you know, all that kind of stuff, it's just a very few people in the country. I don't know why they get angry. I don't know why they get hostile.—GW Bush

I can only answer with another quote, from his Vice pResident:

Go fuck yourself.—Dick Cheney

Monday, January 05, 2009

Not an Utter Failure for Rich Cronies

From the January Harper's Index: A retrospective of the Bush era:

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

Estimated percentage by which Social Security benefits would have declined if Bush’s privatization plan had passed: –15 ...

Portion of the $3.3 billion in federal Hurricane Katrina relief spent by Mississippi that has benefited poor residents: 1/4

Sunday, January 04, 2009

No Elaborating on Utter Failure

No! You can go back to your, what do you call it, your Google, and you figure out all that.
-- Former President George H.W. Bush, when asked to elaborate on some of his son's failures as president.