Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Frightened American People

Patriotism demands we must all openly call for Bush and Cheney to step down, despite any personal costs

Keith Olbermann led the way on Independence Eve in calling for Bush and Cheney's resignation in the face of their final treason against our beloved Republic. When George W. Bush eliminated the sentence for Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who covered up high treasonous acts by high-level Bush Regime personnel (including the man who directed the outing of Valerie Plame, likely Dick Cheney), this made perfectly clear where this President stands -- for himself and his narrowing base of unAmerican cretins, our beloved Republic and our justice system be damned.

I likewise call for Bush and Cheney's resignation (actually, any form of ouster will do), even though I, like almost all Americans these days, am frightened.

Why are we frightened? The easy answer would be the increasing government surveillance of our communications, the subverting of habeas corpus, or other ridiculous freedom-impinging results that have sprung from the USA PATRIOT Act. It's not just things like this. It gets "realer" than that.

We are frightened of losing our jobs, and following from that our health insurance, thus most of us clam up, whether on the work premises or not, about how we really feel about our disaster of a health care "system", the work world itself, or about what really needs to happen with this worst American Presidency on record. We are frightened of telling the truth that our nation is way past moral and ethical bankruptcy. We dare not speak up for doing anything that might make some corporations or industries unhappy, even if it is for the good of all.

We are frightened of each other, as we are bombarded with corporate newscasts that make it appear that our neighborhoods are chock-full of predators and otherwise awful people, and nobody can be trusted. The neighbors we used to trust and chat with are no longer anything but potential "enemies". We cannot deal with people who might have different viewpoints, and above all, democracy (the great historical invention it is) is feared because "everyone but me doesn't know shit!".

We are frightened of the world and anyone who doesn't look like us or follow our ways. We can't find most of the countries of the world on a globe. We think we are the center of everything, even though we are very much NOT. We eschew ideas from other countries because they weren't invented here, or again, out of pure fear. Despite our health care system sucking ass for millions here, we dare not consider ideas such as socialized medicine (we already have socialized retirement, education, libraries and fire/police), because limited socialism works in other countries, but could never work here (?) -- and this again, comes from fear of the unknown. We the Ignorant jump to conclusions about the world and its working solutions without even flinching.

And last, somehow, someway, we are frightened of this nothing of a President. Forget "bully pulpit", this President went straight to "Big Bully" and has run the most strident, belligerent, ignorant, stubborn, incompetent, callous, criminal Regime ever seen in these parts of the world. His continued virtual non-response to Hurricane Katrina has proven his disrespect for human beings and human decency. His virtual mass murder of Iraqi citizens and our beloved troops for no discernible reason proved the same, times 1000. And his administration's political vendetta against Joe Wilson which resulted in the outing of his covert CIA agent wife, was nothing short of high treason, and no matter who specifically conducted the outing, I ACCUSE George W. Bush and Dick Cheney of high treason against the Republic.

Here's where my being frightened comes into play. I may well pay some kind of price for printing this. But it is my clear-headed position, and my beloved Republic ultimately must come first. I have to speak out.

But for this to have any effect, you must join me. You must. Look at what this disastrous President has perpetrated against our beautiful country. Look at the ruination of long-standing principles and the rule of law. Look at our nation's extremely scarred image around the world. And look at the numbers of our fellow human beings DEAD because of THIS PRESIDENT.

President Bush, and Vice President Cheney, if you have any decency, or any regard for the Republic you pretend to serve, you will indeed both resign. We the People have had enough of you. We the People spit on you. We the People hereby deny you any more power over us.

For the sake of our grand, beloved Republic... We must stop being frightened!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This Election is about the Constitution!

Re: Stan Katten's article in a Southern California newspaper that begins with: "Whether the traitorous Democrats or the virtuous Republicans prevail could influence this country for years to come."

This is one of those articles that is so blinkered that it's amazing it was printed.

Calling Democrats traitorous when they have continuously advocated strong measures for protection against terrorist attacks is insane. The only traitorous behavior that is noticeable is when this President and his enablers in Congress (mainly Republicans, but also some Democrats) have openly abrogated our brilliant Constitution in the cause against terrorism, when there are so many constitutional approaches that could be taken (but aren't) to achieve a state of reasonable safety for our nation.

This constant divisiveness (not to mention the rubber stamp behavior) by some "virtuous" Republicans, clearly desperate to hold onto Congress, needs to be checked by a strong-willed electorate. No matter what happens between now and Election Day, the Congress will indeed be changing hands. This isn't necessarily because the Democrats have better policy ideas in general. It's because Republicans today care more about their own power than about fiscal responsibility, truly securing the country, and serving the people's interest. And especially because Republicans have lost their interest in upholding the U.S. Constitution as we all together want to eliminate terror threats.

The bottom line must be whether We the People are going to allow any reduction of our liberties in the face of a scattered, limited, but certainly real threat. Are we going to allow fear (mostly instigated by craven fear-mongers like Katten) to override our knowledge that when it comes to risk, we all have a much greater probability of dying in a car accident, or even a lightning strike, than we do a terrorist strike? Are we going to continue to allow an unchecked President to continue to break laws and abrogate the Constitution on multiple fronts? Why do we patriotic Americans have to put up with any threat to our Constitution and our liberties? Why must we give up even one shred of our birthright the Greatest Generations before us fought and died for?

It is clear that, by far, the greatest threat to our beloved republic are those who are internally trying to destroy our republic and our Constitution brick by brick, something the Islamic terrorists could only dream of doing. But, alas, people like Stan Katten are doing the job for them.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11/01 - The Day Bush Failed to Do His Job

Reflections of 9/11 and thoughts about the Bush Regime's new vicious campaign against the American people

Looking back at that beyond-terrible day five years ago, I maintain various streams of thought, not easily processed into flowing prose. Thus, I will enumerate them.

  1. The beginnings of my grave suspicions surrounding the events of 9/11 began with the Bush Regime resistance to the forming of an independent 9/11 Commission. I mean, major red flags really went up for me around that time. I was thinking "How could they possibly be obstructing the American people from finding the truth when 3,000 of our fellow citizens were murdered in front of our eyes?". Why wouldn't Bush and Cheney testify under oath, and even stranger, why did Bush have to have Cheney present to testify? I was downright horrified, and remain essentially so to this day. I also fear that the commission wasn't as independent as advertised and didn't have sufficient access to 9/11-related materials to appropriately assess that terrible day and events leading up to it. Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, a member of the 9/11 Commission, recently raised a new red flag by acting as a participant in Sunday's lie-filled docudrama "The Path to 9/11". That doesn't exactly come off as "independence" to me.

  2. I've realized how overwhelming fear and sorrow can interfere with one's logical thinking and the public's overall ability to assess issues rationally. The Bush Regime took advantage of this, and that was probably the highest immoral act by a U.S. administration since Andrew Jackson mass-relocated native Americans in violation of a Supreme Court decision. While our collective heads were ensconced in the fog of 9/11, the Bush team cynically lied us and Congress into an elective war of aggression in Iraq. People who take advantage of others when they are down are the lowest of the low. The Bush Regime sold us Iraq as part of their "War on Terror" when it had absolutely nothing to do with that. The great disaster of 9/11 was followed by the great shame of Iraq. This has been a sad period indeed.

  3. My sense on the very day of 9/11/01 was that the buildings fell via controlled implosion. They fell too fast. How could jet fuel that burned at too low a temperature to melt steel and burned up quickly at the top of the buildings cause the entire buildings to crumble as if blown up by explosive devices at every level of the structure? And there is widely known evidence that WTC7 was ordered to be brought down. I still cannot envisage any other rationale for the buildings tumbling down the way they did. And there's no information I've ever been able to locate that convinces me of the official explanation. And certainly, we have learned that the Bush Regime cannot be trusted for shit. So, how will we ever find out the truth? It's maddening to think about.

  4. Katrina had an effect of clarifying for me how 9/11 transpired. I really do think Bush and his regime are a criminally negligent/exploitive bunch who only pay attention to how they can profit the most from any scheme they can dream up or from any catastrophe that happens because they're not watching that intently. Pre-9/11, they were fixated on missile defense and tearing up the ABM Treaty. Post-9/11, they were able to "get serious" about terrorism (in reality, beat the fear drums incessantly) and ultimately launch an elective war because it was easy to muddy the thinking of the American people. Either way, they intended to get rich beyond the dreams of avarice off the military-industrial complex. Bush "got lucky" (politically) off of 9/11 because of his ineptness and/or incuriousness to examine details in front of his face before 9/11. And his initial reactions to both 9/11 and Katrina seem to ring a distinctively similar tone (or should I say, tone-deafness). Katrina is indeed the "9/11 echo".

  5. I'm not the only one who finds it strange that Bush is suddenly interested in Osama bin Laden again -- just in time for the elections. I note that it took the U.S. and allies about four years to finish off Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini, while bin Laden (without a large protective armed force that the dictators enjoyed) has been on the loose for five. I think it's clear that Bush, for whatever reason, decided that going after the guy who murdered more Americans than anyone in history wasn't important. Does it matter what the reason is? And how can this be explained to all the 9/11 widows? I would like to see Bush explain this directly to them.
Those are a number of my streams. Tell me (and everyone) about your streams of thought in comments.

For a final word, we have been hearing a lot lately from Rumsfeld (really, Rums failed), Cheney and Emperor Bush about how those of us American Patriots who challenge them on their extremely failed policies are somehow "aiding the terrorists" or "acting like Nazis". I will be blunt: Using language like this to describe opponents in what is supposed to be a democratic republic makes the Bush Regime Enemies of the Republic who must be stopped. Why? Because their language is indeed of the fascistic type that may well be a precursor to totalitarian actions against the American people. For these traitorous actions, as well as their other traitorous actions in abrogating the Constitution on multiple fronts, breaking multitudinous laws, mass-murdering Iraqis and wasting away our once-great military (and that's not the end of it), it would behoove the active citizens of the Republic to demand a removal of these unAmerican figures in the Bush Regime at the earliest possible moment.

What will it take for us to decide to directly take on the worst Presidency in U.S. history? Another 9/11 on Bush's "watch"? Another Katrina?

And if we decided to take action together, could they really stop us? At any rate, we owe it to all the people lost during the past 5 1/2 years to at least consider giving it a try. After all, it is Our Country. Right?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rerun for Posterity: Bush's 'Singular' Disaster

After a year of doing nothing, the dangerous, criminally negligent President Bush still should be removed from power

Welcome to the rerun that President Bush's negligence has inspired. For posterity, I hereby rerun last year's report (originally published 9/7/05) on the disastrous week of Katrina, somewhat reduced for easier consumption...


MR. LEHRER: New question. We've been talking about a lot of specific issues. It's often said that in the final analysis, about 90 percent of being the president of the United States is dealing with the unexpected, not with issues that came up in the campaign. Vice President Gore, can you point to a decision, an action you have taken that illustrates your ability to handle the unexpected, the crisis under fire, et cetera?

GOV. BUSH: Well, I've been standing up to big Hollywood, big trial lawyers -- what was the question? It was about emergencies, wasn't it? (Chuckles.)

I can remember the fires that swept Parker County, Texas. I remember the floods that swept our state. I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas. I've got to pay the administration a compliment -- James Lee Witt of FEMA has done a really good job of working with governors during times of crisis. But that's the time when you're tested not only -- it's a time to test your mettle, it's a time to test your heart when you see people whose lives have been turned upside down. It broke my heart to go to the flood scene in Del Rio where a fellow and his family just got completely uprooted. The only thing I knew to do was to get aid as quickly as possible, which we did with state and federal help, and to put my arms around the man and his family and cry with them. But that's what governors do. Governors are oftentimes found on the front line of catastrophic situations.

— First Presidential Debate, October 3, 2000 [ref]


MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy. We have months to go. We have years to go. And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain-sawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.

It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. — Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish, on NBC's Meet the Press, September 4, 2005 [ref] [video]

In technology circles, a singularity is basically the culmination of a period of time when the development of advanced technologies causes models of the future to become less and less reliable and eventually break at some crescendo, leaving developments after that time open only to wild speculation. Or put more simply, beyond a certain point, we just cannot foretell what the future holds.

When applied to politics, interestingly enough, the concept of the singularity works somewhat differently, as while there can be seminal events which trigger tectonic shifts in political attitudes, there are usually a much smaller set of potential scenarios for what is to follow after such a shift. The 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the 1963 church bombing and 9/11 spring to mind as such events that changed the nation forever, even though the choices for the nation following these events were either immediately obvious or delayed for a short period of consideration to allow a public consensus to form behind reasoned national responses. In short, catastrophic events that befall the nation often trigger major political changes, although the changes are not entirely unanticipated.

I propose that Hurricane Katrina, its aftermath, and the federal response widely agreed as strangely delayed will become known as the second political singularity of the twenty-first century.

Let's take a look at the week following the hurricane disaster.

"We have come through what may have been one of the worst weeks in America's history, a week in which government at every level failed the people it was created to serve. There is no purpose for government except to improve the lives of its citizens. Yet as scenes of horror that seemed to be coming from some Third World country flashed before us, official Washington was like a dog watching television. It saw the lights and images, but did not seem to comprehend their meaning or see any link to reality. ... Since 9/11, Washington has spent years and untold billions reorganizing the government to deal with crises brought on by possible terrorist attacks. If this is the result, we had better start over. " — Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, September 4, 2005 [video]

Nothing could have prevented the monster storm itself. Hurricane Katrina was going to hit with tremendous Category 4 force and cause vast damage no matter what any politician could muster. With regards to New Orleans, many questions remain and will be explored about what could have prevented the levee breach, called by many the second disaster after the hurricane struck. As government always had and will have the responsibility to ensure that infrastructure is maintained adequately, these questions will be answered in due course, and responsibility may or may not be assigned for the lack of preventive maintenance on the levee system. If the Bush administration does have a lot to do with the levee breach, this will definitely fit the Bush governance pattern, and this will provide even more reasons to oppose them. But as amazing as it seems, as of now, there are much bigger fish to fry.

It's not the bureaucratic and budgetary FUBAR behind the levee breach that should concern us most now, but rather the general Bush administration response to the tragedy during the first week after the hurricane came onshore, no matter who is ultimately responsible for the levee becoming breached.

As this is such a fast-paced story in progress, putting various facts about this ongoing tragedy into a conversational format doesn't do them justice. So, following is a categorized but admittedly incomplete list of referenced facts with regards to Bush administration activity/inactivity surrounding this disaster. Before you start reading, let me warn you: Some of this may well curl your hair.

Lengthy delay of response

  • "On the Friday before Katrina hit, when it was already a Category 2 hurricane rapidly gathering force in the Gulf, a veteran FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] employee arrived at the newly activated Washington headquarters for the storm. Inside, there was surprisingly little action. 'It was like nobody's turning the key to start the engine,' the official recalled." [ref]
  • The Department of Homeland Security "did not ask the U.S. military to assist in pre-hurricane evacuation efforts, despite well-known estimates that a major hurricane would cause levees in New Orleans to fail. In an interview, the general charged with operations for the military's Northern Command said such a request to help with the evacuation 'did not come our way.'" [ref]
  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered to send his state's National Guard the day before the hurricane hit Louisiana. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco accepted his offer, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route did not come from Washington until late on the Thursday after the storm. All along, Bush had the legal authority to order the National Guard from any state to the disaster area himself. [ref]
  • "Others who went out of their way to offer help were turned down, such as Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who told reporters his city had offered emergency, medical and technical help as early as last Sunday to FEMA but was turned down. Only a single tank truck was requested, Daley said." [ref]
  • Immediate response to the disaster was made much more difficult than under ordinary circumstances, as from 30 to 40% of the National Guard from the affected states were deployed in Iraq. [ref] Also of note: Ostensibly due to the Iraq war, "Recruiting and retention problems are worsening the strain on Guard forces in hurricane-ravaged states. Alabama's Army National Guard has a strength of 11,000 troops -- or 78 percent of the authorized number." [ref]
  • The American Red Cross was never allowed into New Orleans because, according to DHS, their "presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city." [ref] However, with no way out for thousands of survivors all the way through the Friday night after the hurricane (see reference to Fox News report below), badly needed food, medicine and other supplies were callously held at bay.
  • Reports have surfaced that various relief providers were prevented from bring food, water and supplies to the thousands of people seeking shelter at the SuperDome as well as survivors in other locations. [ref] [ref] Further, police and doctors were turned around by FEMA. [ref] This was all apparently by FEMA's design. [ref] [ref] Note: the second reference in this bullet also has Aaron Broussard mentioning that FEMA was cutting "all of our emergency communication lines" without notice!
  • A New Orleans resident commented that "On Thursday, the government used the excuse that there were some very scattered gunshots (two or three instances only) -- around 1/50th of the number of gunshots that occur in New York City on an average day -- to shut down voluntary rescue operations and to scrounge for 5,000 National Guard troops fully armed, with 'shoot to kill' orders -- at a huge economic cost. They even refused to allow voluntary workers who had rescued over 1,000 people in boats over the previous days to continue on Thursday, using the several gunshots (and who knows who shot off those rounds?) to say 'It's too dangerous'. The volunteers didn't think the gunshots were dangerous to them and wanted to continue their rescue operations and had to be 'convinced' at gunpoint to 'cease and desist.'" [ref]
  • Also on Thursday, despite FEMA already operating in New Orleans for three days, the head of the city's emergency operations, Terry Ebbert, said there was still no "command and control." [ref] Ebbert also stated "This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy." [ref] Perhaps FEMA being systematically dismantled had something to do with that. [ref] [ref] Or that "[DHS Director] Chertoff and FEMA Director Michael Brown had no disaster experience before they were appointed to their jobs." [ref] Also see [ref]
  • The U.S. Northern Command (federal troops), which was to be used for search and rescue, medical help and supplies (not law enforcement activity barred by the Posse Comitatus Act), was ready to deploy before the hurricane struck (Monday), but according to Lt. Commander Sean Kelly, was required to wait for Bush's authorization (according to the BBC). [video] FEMA Director Brown confirmed that federal "personnel, equipment, supplies, trucks, and search and rescue teams were positioned in the region ahead of the hurricane." [ref] Gov. Blanco confirmed on Friday morning that "they were finally starting to see the response from the federal authorities," [ref] the same day as the President's arrival on the ground, three full days after New Orleans became flooded from the levee breach.
  • On the same Friday:
    • "Martha A. Madden, former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, said she believes a critical systemic breakdown occurred the moment the levee broke. She said contingency plans have been in place for decades but were either ignored or improperly executed. Madden, now a national security and environmental consultant, said the lack of immediate federal help, specifically in the form of military assistance, was 'incomprehensible.'" [ref]
    • "Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., (R-La.), said he spent the past 48 hours urging the Bush administration to send help. 'I started making calls and trying to impress upon the White House and others that something needed to be done,' he said. 'The state resources were being overwhelmed, and we needed direct federal assistance, command and control, and security -- all three of which are lacking.'" [ref]
    • Early in the day, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin said "This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the Convention Center and don't anticipate enough buses. Currently the Convention Center is unsanitary and unsafe and we are running out of supplies for 15,000 to 25,000 people." [ref] Late in the evening, the end of the day the federal forces had been fully deployed no less, apparently thousands of people were still stranded at the convention center (and its vicinity) to experience another night of misery and death (and prevented from leaving on foot to seek supplies in other locations), according to Fox News reporters Geraldo Rivera and Shepard Smith. [video] They were finally evacuated on Saturday. [ref]
  • One full week after the hurricane struck:
    • Air drops of food and water (apparently directed by FEMA) begin. [ref]
    • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers patched the ruptured levee along the 17th Street Canal. [ref] This came three days after the flurry of "photo-op repairs" followed by abandonment on Friday (see below).
  • People who know what they're talking about are accusing the administration of failing to act according to the National Response Plan. [ref]

Administration lies, coercion, productions and feigned ignorance

  • FEMA Director Michael Brown declared on March 9, 2005: "Our Nation is prepared, as never before, to deal quickly and capably with the consequences of disasters and other domestic incidents." [ref] And as the hurricane struck on Monday, Brown said FEMA had "planned for this kind of disaster for many years because we've always known about New Orleans' situation." [ref]
  • As the hurricane struck on Monday:
    • "FEMA had medical teams, rescue squads and groups prepared to supply food and water poised in a semicircle around the city, said agency Director Michael Brown. Brown, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, said the evacuation of the city and the general emergency response were working as planned in an exercise a year ago. 'I was impressed with the evacuation, once it was ordered it was very smooth,' he said." [ref]
    • "'It's a storm now that is moving through and now is the time for governments to help people get their feet on the ground,' Bush said. 'For those of you who are concerned about whether or not we are prepared to help — don't be. We are.' He added, 'We're in place, we've got equipment in place, supplies in place and once we're able to assess the damage we'll be able to move in and help those good folks in the affected areas.'" [ref]
  • DHS Director Michael Chertoff said on NBC's Today program on the Thursday after the hurricane: "The critical thing was to get people out of there before the disaster. Some people chose not to obey that order. That was a mistake on their part." [ref] Ignorant or outright insensitive? Anyway, there were many poor people without their own transportation or without the funds to afford long-term accommodations away from home, so without massive evacuation help, these people were simply not going to be able to leave. There were also many tourists stuck at hotels.
  • On the Thursday after the hurricane, while New Orleans was "crumbling," Brown and Chertoff were offering assessments of various situations that could be characterized as rosy, ignorance-feigning or otherwise very much off-the-mark in comparison to "grittier, more desperate views" from officials and others actually on the ground in the city. [ref]
  • Even though Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency on August 26 [ref], at least two days before the storm hit (and during Bush's vacation, incidentally), the Washington Post reported on Sunday morning that a "senior Bush official" had complained that, as of Saturday, the governor (incidentally, a Democrat) had not yet made such a declaration [ref]. The Post has posted a correction. [ref] Also see proof that the Department of Defense received the declaration: [ref] (jump to question from CNN's Jamie McIntyre). Also of interest is that Bush declared Louisiana a federal disaster area two days before the hurricane struck. [ref] [ref] Thus, Louisiana was federalized all along.
  • In a nationally televised interview the Thursday evening after the hurricane, Brown said FEMA hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the convention center. "He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, 'We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.'" [ref] His boss, Chertoff, also appeared Thursday evening on NPR, dismissing "reports of thousands of refugees trapped at the convention center for days without sustenance. He called the reports, in so many words, 'rumors and anecdotes.' Informed that an NPR reporter had been on the scene, he sniffed, 'I can't argue with you about what your reporter tells you.' Later, his staff called back to say that he had 'received a report confirming the situation' and that he was now 'working tirelessly' to get food to the location." [ref] These words from Brown and Chertoff came before the Fox News reports from the Convention Center on late Friday evening.
  • Commentators have suggested that federal relief efforts were kept at bay until Bush himself set foot on the ground on Friday. CNN's Jack Cafferty: "Do you suppose, Wolf, that the arrival of the relief convoys and the political photo ops on the Gulf Coast happening at the same time were a coincidence today?" [video]
  • Bush stated on early Friday evening: "I'm pleased to report, thanks to the good work of the adjutant general from Louisiana and the troops that have been called in that the convention center is secure. One of the objectives that we had today was to move in and secure that convention center and make sure the good folks there got food and water. The caravans, the bus caravans, are continuing on, as is the airlift." [ref] These words came before the Fox News reports from the Convention Center that happened just a few short hours later.
  • Last Friday, New Orleans levee repairs were faked for a Bush photo-op. Sen. Mary Landrieu commented on Saturday: "But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment." [ref] Interesting then, that on early Friday evening, Bush stated: "and by the way, we just came from the 17th Street Levee. A lot of folks are working hard to repair that levee. They've been working around the clock, 24 hours a day. People from -- people from the federal government and the state government and the local government are working to breach that -- to fill that breach." [ref] The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ultimately patched the ruptured levee along the 17th Street Canal, but on the following Monday. [ref]
  • With regards to last Friday, a commenter to the War and Piece blog commented: "There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV. ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF." [ref] This appears to be backed up by:
    • the ZDF news site regarding a Bush stop in Biloxi (translated from German by a contributor to the Daily Kos blog): "In the parts of the disaster area where the US president visited, auxiliary troops [National Guard] cleared up properly beforehand - but only there. ZDF correspondent Claudia Rueggeberg quoted desperate inhabitants asking, 'Why is Bush bringing loud bodyguards and his assistants here in his cars, instead of provisions?' Along the President's route, troops had cleared debris before Bush arrived and would have hidden corpses. Then Bush left, 'and with it', said Rueggeberg, 'so did the troops'. In Biloxi, the situation remains unchanged - everything is still lacking." [ref]
    • a ZDF video, translated to this: "Two minutes ago the President drove by with his convoy. What happened here in Biloxi during the day is really unbelievable. All of a sudden the rescue troops finally showed up, the clean-up vehicles; we didn't see those over the last days here. In an area where it really isn't urgent, there is nobody around, all the remaining people went to the city center. The President is traveling with a press convoy, so they get wonderful pictures saying the president was here and the help will follow. The amount of this catastrophe shocked me, but the amount of set-up that happened here today is at least equally shocking for me." [video]
  • On the same Friday, even while standing amongst the Katrina devastation, Bush denied that the military (and by extension, the National Guard) was stretched too thin because of the Iraq War, and reasserted that "We've got a job to defend this country in the war on terror." [ref] Recall that Iraq under Saddam had no connection to the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda.
  • "Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday. The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night, concerned that such a move would be comparable to a federal declaration of martial law. Some officials in the state suspected a political motive behind the request. 'Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking it away from the locals, they then could have blamed everything on the locals,' said the source, who does not have the authority to speak publicly." [ref]
  • On the Saturday after the hurricane, Chertoff told reporters that government officials were surprised by the levee breach and flooding, even though he and Brown were briefed by the director of the National Hurricane Center on the danger of severe flooding before the storm hit. [ref] Also see [ref], which includes Brown contradicting Chertoff's assertion on Larry King Live the previous Wednesday, after the flooding: "That Category 4 hurricane caused the same kind of damage that we anticipated. So we planned for it two years ago. Last year, we exercised it. And unfortunately this year, we're implementing it."

Bush's insensitive and otherwise odd behavior

  • Despite the ongoing hurricane and flooding aftermath, Bush stuck to his original event schedule (note that in photos from the events, Bush appears to be having a splendid time):
    • (Mon) As the hurricane rages, he appears at a staged Medicare event in California. [ref] Bush then flies to Arizona for yet another staged Medicare event. [ref] Upon landing, he presents John McCain with a birthday cake [ref] [pic]. The next day's editorial in the Arizona Republic calls Bush out: "I'm guessing that Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, will not be remembered as the day President George W. Bush stopped by a retirement community in El Mirage to discuss prescription drug benefits for seniors."
    • (Tues) On the day floodwaters inundate New Orleans and the Gulf Coast reels from the catastrophe, Bush spoke at a VJ-Day ceremony in San Diego. Afterwards country singer Mark Wills presents him with a guitar. [ref] He then returns to Crawford for the night. In an editorial released the following day, the conservative Manchester Union Leader called out Bush for his "diffident detachment" and declared "A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease." [ref]
    • (Wed) Bush finally returns to Washington, but not without first flying over New Orleans on the way so Bush could gawk at the disaster. Back at the White House he makes his first official statement about the aftermath of Katrina. [ref]
    • (Thurs) Bush surrounds himself with his father, the first President Bush and former President Clinton and callously declares this day that there's a "lot of help coming," [ref] even though the full thrust of federal relief doesn't begin until the following day when he happens to arrive in the devastated areas in person.
  • Bush declared there would be "zero tolerance" for looters [ref]. OK, so it's "shoot to kill" [ref] for hurricane survivors searching for food, water and supplies, but for Iraqi looters after Saddam was toppled, it's "freedom's untidy." [ref]
  • Upon arriving in Alabama Friday, Bush remarked "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." [ref]
  • On the Friday after the hurricane, while touring the devastation, Bush "joked at the airport in New Orleans about the fun he had had in his younger days in Houston." [ref]
  • No federal government flags were flown at half-staff until Sunday, several days after it was known there would be hundreds or even thousands of deaths in New Orleans alone, but conveniently, the day after Chief Justice Rehnquist died. Bush drafted two separate proclamations about flags flying half-staff starting immediately for both the victims and Rehnquist, even though the period for the victims would last a week longer. [ref] [ref] No national day of mourning has been declared to this day.
  • Still to this day, despite wide calls to fire FEMA Director Brown or DHS Director Chertoff, no action has been taken. But Bush has almost never fired personnel widely believed to be major "screw-ups." Almost nothing to see here, but nevertheless, inaction here is still insensitive.

Now, once you've caught a breath or two, imagine yourself in the place of a hurricane survivor (if you haven't already), especially one stranded in New Orleans because you were too poor or too unlucky to comply with the "mandatory" evacuation order. Many, many people went for days without any help whatsoever. We will certainly find out many people died from dehydration, drowning and unavailable medical care, if not hunger. It's often said you can judge a nation on how well it treats most poor and needy. The people of the United States who have any degree of character or decency, no matter who they choose to blame, will thus realize our nation should be ashamed of its response to this disaster.

While playing a "blame game" might appear to be untimely in face of the work still left to be done for the survivors, the evidence is dramatic, to say the least, that especially the federal response to this disaster was slow and pathetic, if not willfully held back. No matter how it's cut, no excuse is acceptable here! Decide for yourself Is this calamity worthy of being labeled a "genocide by neglect"? Decide for all those people you saw on the television screens calling for help without their calls being answered... for days. Decide for the dying babies, senior citizens, and diabetics going without their insulin shots. Decide for all the victims, no matter their race or class.

Now that you've decided for the victims, now transpose them with the tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens killed by Bush's elective war in Iraq, noting that the press is getting access to the Gulf coast disaster areas in a way very much unlike the non-access they get in Iraq. Congratulations! You have just achieved a glimpse into the horrors being met by victims of an unnatural disaster in a faraway land at the same hands that could have prevented much of the deaths within the first week after the hurricane struck.

And here's another mental exercise for the gentle reader: After the way our fellow citizens have been left to starve, drown and die in New Orleans and other Gulf coast areas, do you honestly feel at all safe from potential terrorist incidents occurring while this administration is in place? Will Bush and his minions protect you when you need it most?

"Four years of anti-terrorism planning have failed to produce a competent system for mitigating a metropolitan cataclysm one that, on the ground, is indistinguishable from the effects of the terrorist attack we've supposedly been girding for since 9/11." [ref] What's more, Bush and his minions seemed to have a tin ear when it came to requests for immediate assistance in the case of Katrina, eerily similar to how requests for more troops were ignored in the case of the invasion of Iraq.

So, after all we know, how do we the people deal with this? Thankfully, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is going to investigate the federal response to Katrina starting as early as next week [ref], and perhaps they will discover all the aspects to this tragedy that we already know of and hopefully, a lot more. I encourage anyone who can help them in their investigations to do so. And I call on the American people to pressure their Senators to perform a solemn duty in finding out all the facts, no matter how much their efforts are obstructed by the Bush White House (like during the 9/11 Commission), and if the facts lead to a conclusion that Bush should be impeached, Congress should honestly pursue that. Of course, the American people will not be surprised that, based on past performance, Congress will most likely fail in this particular task, especially with taking steps to reign in or dismantle this imperial Presidency... perhaps the idea of impeachment has become quaint.

By the way, just yesterday, Bush announced that he will be effectively investigating himself. [ref] Great! Perhaps Bush will do a better job with this than he did with the Valerie Plame affair.


"Real conservatives believe that the state should do a few things that no one else can do - defense, decent public education, police, law and order among the most obvious - and leave the rest to individuals. Funding FEMA and having a superb civil defense are very much part of conservatism's real core. It's when government decides to reshape society, redistribute wealth, socially engineer, and take over functions that the private sector can do just as well that conservatives draw the line. The reason I'm mad as hell over Katrina is precisely because I'm a conservative and this kind of thing is exactly what government is for. Bush in this sense is not now and never has been a conservative. A man who explodes government spending but can't run a war or organize basic civil defense is simply a fiscally reckless incompetent. If this were a parliamentary system, we'd have a vote of no confidence. Instead we have three years of more peril." — Andrew Sullivan from his Daily Dish blog, September 2, 2005 [ref]

It's not only that we have an administration that makes a lot of critical mistakes, it's that we also have an administration that avoids and shifts responsibility for those mistakes, and therefore an administration that does not learn from their mistakes. With one disaster after another (one of them an elective war) with large American death tolls (not to mention Iraqi deaths), and the strong probability of natural disasters and terrorist incidents to come, how can we trust the Bush administration with national security matters any longer? This is NOT a partisan political issue. This is NOT "politicizing" a tragedy. This is engaging the POLITICS OF NATIONAL SURVIVAL—with many hands sadly forced by President Bush's strangely delayed reaction to the hurricane disaster. We have to ask this question: If we don't bring politics into this now, when will we?... a few weeks from now when we will certainly hear the buoyant and eerily recognizable cries of Bush minions and sycophants saying "It's time to move on!"? Sorry, no dice this time. The American people deserve a president today who is not only interested in protecting them, but also one who, when he inevitably makes mistakes, owns up to them, and quickly learns from them. A president who is disinterested, disengaged and disingenuous is dangerous!

For those who insist we adhere to electoral decisions and maintain a president and his adminstration so widely observed to be unfit for office, we have to ask: What's more important, a democratic decision from almost a year ago (a result questionable to some in its own right, and before we knew of the Downing Street memo and especially before the woefully inadequate response to this hurricane disaster), or the survival of the republic? An election won largely by portraying John Kerry as incapable of keeping the country safe now rings hollow. That we cannot use democracy in the form of a recall or "no-confidence vote," while supposedly we the people are stuck with last year's election result until January 2009, even while the nation falls apart today under this administration, seems almost viciously anti-democratic and cruel.

Therefore, for the sake of the republic, I humbly ask George W. Bush to resign the Presidency, and for Vice President Dick Cheney and the entirety of Bush administration officials to step down as well, at the earliest possible moment. How can I put this gently: there are a sufficient number of people in this country who are now incensed enough to pursue the ultimate removal of this administration, one way or another. Resignation will avoid the inevitable dangerous times to come.

President Bush, you have uttered the phrase "you're either with us or against us" many a time. President Bush, with full patriotic verve, I am wholeheartedly against you. Does that make me a terrorist? Does it make me an "America hater"? No, it makes me a mere citizen who just wants his country to continue on as the great country it used to be before you came to power. It's time for a responsible adult, Republican or Democrat, to take over... something your minions and sycophants claimed you were when you came on board, but in the light of the now-dark city of New Orleans, they were clearly wrong. So be honorable and step aside.

Authored by Steve Magruder, September 7, 2005 (reformatted on 9/8/05; re-released 8/30/06). Please forward any corrections to Steve at your earliest possible convenience.

Special props to Crook and Liars for their great video feeds. And also a special thanks to the progressive blogosphere and even the mainstream media for a lot of great reporting the past week and a half.

This article is being released into the Public Domain. Relentless reproduction and quoting is encouraged with the caveat that the original article at the Public's Power Base blog (using its permanent URL) is referenced.

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The preceding statement is inapplicable to other articles posted at the Public's Power Base blog.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Delineation of a Historically Failed Presidency

The Bush Presidency has failed its supporters, too

I reprint the following important notice to the American people, copyright torpedoes be damned. This essay is so personal, so gripping and so real, it completely tells the tale of a nation led astray and going through the biggest catharsis since the Civil War. Even though I don't agree with every word stated, I have to believe that the solution to our national crisis lies within this letter.


By Doug McIntyre / Host, McIntyre in the Morning Talk Radio 790 KABC

There's nothing harder in public life than admitting you're wrong. By the way, admitting you're wrong can be even tougher in private life. If you don't believe me, just ask Bill Clinton or Charlie Sheen. But when you go out on the limb in public, it's out there where everyone can see it, or in my case, hear it.

So, I'm saying today, I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush. In historic terms, I believe George W. Bush is the worst two-term President in the history of the country. Worse than Grant. I also believe a case can be made that he's the worst President, period.

In 2000, I was a McCain guy. I wasn't sure about the Texas Governor. He had name recognition and a lot of money behind him, but other than that? What? Still, I was sick of all the Clinton shenanigans and the thought of President Gore was... unthinkable. So, GWB became my guy.

For the first few months he was just flubbing along like most new Presidents, no great shakes, but no disasters either. He cut taxes and I like tax cuts.

Then September 11th happened. September 11th changed everything for me, like it did for so many of you. After September 11th, all the intramural idiocy of American politics stopped being funny. We had been attacked by a vicious and determined enemy and it was time for all of us to row in the same direction.

And we did for the blink of an eye. I believed the President when he said we were going to hunt down Bin Laden and all those responsible for the 9-11 murders. I believed President Bush when he said we would go after the terrorists and the nations that harbored them.

I supported the President when he sent our troops into Afghanistan, after all, that's where the Taliban was, that's where al-Qaida trained the killers, that's where Bin Laden was.

And I cheered when we quickly toppled the Taliban government, but winced when we let Bin Laden escape from Tora-Bora.

Then, the talk turned to Iraq and I winced again.

I thought the connection to 9-11 was sketchy at best. But Colin Powell impressed me at the UN, and Tony Blair was in, and after all, he was a Clinton guy, not a Bush guy, so I thought the case had to be strong. I was worried though, because I had read the Wolfowitz paper, "The Project for the New American Century." It's been around since '92, and it raised alarm bells because it was based on a theory, "Democratizing the Middle East" and I prefer pragmatism over theory. I was worried because Iraq was being justified on a radical new basis, "pre-emptive war." Any time we do something without historical precedent I get nervous.

But the President shifted the argument to WMDs and the urgent threat of Iraq getting atomic weapons. The debate turned to Saddam passing nukes on to terror groups. After 9-11, the risk was too great. As the President said, "The next smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud." At least that's what I thought at the time.

I grew up in New York and watched them build the World Trade Center. I worked with a guy, Frank O'Brien, who put the elevators in both towers. I lost a very close friend on September 11th. 103 floor, tower one, Cantor Fitzgerald. Tim Coughlin was his name. If we had to take out Iraq to make sure something like that, or worse, never happened again, so be it. I knew the consequences. We have a soldier in our house. None of this was theoretical in my house.

But in the months and years since shock and awe I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, double-talk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions, and flat out lies. I have watched as the President and his administration changed the goals, redefined the reasons for going into Iraq, and fumbled the good will of the world and the focus necessary to catch the real killers of September 11th.

I have watched the President say the commanders on the ground will make the battlefield decisions, and the war won't be run from Washington. Yet, politics has consistently determined what the troops can and can't do on the ground and any commander who did not go along with the administration was sacked, and in some cases, maligned.

I watched and tried to justify the looting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. I watched and tried to justify the dismantling of the entire Iraqi army. I tired to explain the complexities of building a functional new Iraqi army. I urged patience when no WMDs were found. Then the Vice President told us we were in the "waning days of the insurgency." And I started wincing again. The President says we have to stay the course but what if it's the wrong course?

It was the wrong course. All of it was wrong. We are not on the road to victory. We're about to slink home with our tail between our legs, leaving civil war in Iraq and a nuclear armed Iran in our wake. Bali was bombed. Madrid was bombed. London was bombed. And Bin Laden is still making tapes. It's unspeakable. The liberal media didn't create this reality, bad policy did.

Most historians believe it takes 30-50 years before we get a reasonably accurate take on a President's place in history. So, maybe 50 years from now Iraq will be a peaceful member of the brotherhood of nations and George W. Bush will be celebrated as a visionary genius.

But we don't live fifty years in the future. We live now. We have to make public policy decisions now. We have to live with the consequences of the votes we cast and the leaders we chose now.

After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush I've reached the conclusion he's either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both.

Presidential failures. James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Jimmy Carter, Warren Harding -- the competition is fierce for the worst of the worst. Still, the damage this President has done is enormous. It will take decades to undo, and that's assuming we do everything right from now on. His mistakes have global implications, while the other failed Presidents mostly authored domestic embarrassments.

And speaking of domestic embarrassments, let's talk for a minute about President Bush's domestic record. Yes, he cut taxes. But tax cuts combined with reckless spending and borrowing is criminal mismanagement of the public's money. We're drunk at the mall with our great grandchildren's credit cards. Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?

Bush created a giant new entitlement, the prescription drug plan. He lied to his own party to get it passed. He lied to the country about its true cost. It was written by and for the pharmaceutical industry. It helps nobody except the multinationals that lobbied for it. So much for smaller government. In fact, virtually every tentacle of government has grown exponentially under Bush. Unless, of course, it was an agency to look after the public interest, or environmental protection, and/or worker's rights.

I've talked so often about the border issue, I won't bore you with a rehash. It's enough to say this President has been a catastrophe for the wages of working people; he's debased the work ethic itself. "Jobs Americans won't do!" He doesn't believe in the sovereign borders of the country he's sworn to protect and defend. And his devotion to cheap labor for his corporate benefactors, along with his worship of multinational trade deals, makes an utter mockery of homeland security in a post 9-11 world. The President's January 7th, 2004 speech on immigration, his first trial balloon on his guest worker scheme, was a deal breaker for me. I couldn't and didn't vote for him in 2004. And I'm glad I didn't.

Katrina, Harriet Myers, The Dubai Port Deal, skyrocketing gas prices, shrinking wages for working people, staggering debt, astronomical foreign debt, outsourcing, open borders, contempt for the opinion of the American people, the war on science, media manipulation, faith based initives, a cavalier attitude toward fundamental freedoms-- this President has run the most arrogant and out-of-touch administration in my lifetime, perhaps, in any American's lifetime.

You can make a case that Abraham Lincoln did what he had to do, the public be damned. If you roll the dice on your gut and you're right, history remembers you well. But, when your gut led you from one business failure to another, when your gut told you to trade Sammy Sosa to the Cubs, and you use the same gut to send our sons and daughters to fight and die in a distraction from the real war on terror, then history will and should be unapologetic in its condemnation.

None of this, by the way, should be interpreted as an endorsement of the opposition party. The Democrats are equally bankrupt. This is the second crime of our age. Again, historically speaking, its times like these when America needs a vibrant opposition to check the power of a run-amuck majority party. It requires it. It doesn't work without one. Like the high and low tides keep the oceans alive, a healthy, positive opposition offers a path back to the center where all healthy societies live.

Tragically, the Democrats have allowed crackpots, leftists and demagogic cowards to snipe from the sidelines while taking no responsibility for anything. In fairness, I don't believe a Democrat president would have gone into Iraq. Unfortunately, I don't know if President Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. And that's one of the many problems with the Democrats.

The two party system has always been clumsy and imperfect, but it has only collapsed once, in the 1850s, and the result was civil war.

I believe, as I have said countless times, the two party system is on the brink of a second collapsed. It's currently running on spin, anger, revenge, and pots and pots and pots of money.

We're being governed by paper-mache patriots; brightly painted red, white and blue, but hollow to the core. Both parties have mastered the cynical arts of media manipulation and fund raising. They've learned the lessons of Watergate and burn the tapes. They have learned to divide the nation for their own gain. They have demonstrated the willingness to exploit any tragedy for personal advantage. The contempt they have for the American people is without parallel.

This is painful to say, and I'm sure for many of you, painful to read. But it's impossible to heal the country until we're willing to acknowledge the truth no matter how painful. We have to wean ourselves off sugar coated partisan lies.

With a belated tip of the cap to Ralph Nader, the system is broken, so broken, it's almost inevitable it pukes up the Al Gores and George W. Bushes. Where are the Trumans and the Eisenhowers? Where are the men and women of vision and accomplishment? Why do we have to settle for recycled hacks and malleable ciphers? Greatness is always rare, but is basic competence and simple honesty too much to ask?

It may be decades before we have the full picture of how paranoid and contemptuous this administration has been. And I am open to the possibility that I'm all wet about everything I've just said. But I'm putting it out there, because I have to call it as I see it, and this is how I see it today. I don't say any of this lightly. I've thought about this for months and months. But eventually, the weight of evidence takes on a gravitational force of its own.

I believe that George W. Bush has taken us down a terrible road. I don't believe the Democrats are offering an alternative. That means we're on our own to save this magnificent country. The United States of America is a gift to the world, but it has been badly abused and it's rightful owners, We the People, had better step up to the plate and reclaim it before the damage becomes irreparable.

So, accept my apology for allowing partisanship to blind me to an obvious truth; our President is incapable of the tasks he is charged with. I almost feel sorry for him. He is clearly in over his head. Yet, he doesn't generate the sympathy Warren Harding earned. Harding, a spectacular mediocrity, had the self-knowledge to tell any and all he shouldn't be President. George W. Bush continues to act the part, but at this point whose buying the act?

Does this make me a waffler? A flip-flopper? Maybe, although I prefer to call it realism. And, for those of you who never supported Bush, its also fair to accuse me of kicking Bush while he's down. After all, you were kicking him while he was up.

You were right, I was wrong.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Return of the Long Lost Art of Righteous Brazenness

Are Americans relearning how to speak out without fear?

The final weekend of April 2006 gave us Americans a big taste of something we haven't beheld for a very long time: People actually standing up and saying things on their mind, apparently without fear of any retribution whatsoever. Americans have seemingly regrasped the powerfulness of catharsis in one full swoop.

In one extended weekend, we saw three major national protests in favor of immigrant rights, getting U.S. forces out of Iraq, and doing something about the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. We saw the highly talented Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner emit a blast furnace of "truthiness" that scorched a tumbling President and an uninquisitive lapdog American press. We are seeing a crescendo of pundits and concerned citizens across the U.S. make the case why there is no case for a new elective, preemptive war with Iran. And this weekend capped an extraordinary period where we see 1) state legislatures in three U.S. states (so far) openly considering whether Bush should be impeached via the invocation of special rules developed by none other than Thomas Jefferson, and 2) multiple retired U.S. generals openly speaking out against the current U.S. Defense Secretary--acts historically unheard of.

Americans who deeply care about the republic are learning how to speak out again. But why now? Let's explore some possibilities.

People are *really* tired of war

Yesterday, the number of Iraq combat deaths amongst American soldiers reached the 2,400 mark. Thousands upon thousands of our finest have been injured, physically and psychologically. And the numbers of Iraqi dead are mounting to far higher and scarier numbers themselves. And all this occurred because Bush decided to go to war without any justification (that we know of today), and worse, using cherry-picked intelligence to lie Congress into supporting a war resolution. But what makes this all hit a special boiling point now is that Bush 1) continues to have no plan whatsoever for our ultimate withdrawal, and 2) civil war is obviously brewing over there while our soldiers are left sitting in the middle of it. Bush is now seen as not giving one damn about our troops, and this is absolutely unacceptable to most of the American people. There's also a growing sense in the American public that war should be only the last resort in defending the nation--so when we now know how Bush got us into Iraq, and wants to get us into Iran, we now clearly see sinister schemes and fearmongering where we used to see a "strong war President."

If the Latinos can do it, why can't we?

On several occasions recently, Latinos across the country have taken off work, risking their employment and possibly even their safety, to march in favor of their rights in this country. And they are showing up the rest of us *real* good. A lot of people are wondering, "How are they doing that?", "Hey, why can't we organize like them?" and "How can they be so brave?". American Latinos are giving us all an object lesson that certain things are worth fighting for. And despite the U.S. Constitution being obviously trashed on multiple occasions by President Bush (as one mere example), most of the rest of us cannot seem to be able to organize our own protests. People are asking aloud "What's wrong with us if we can't fight for our country?" Perhaps this past weekend was the beginning of a big answer to that question.

The encouragement from high Bush negatives in the polls

There is an obvious bandwagon effect here; that is, when 68% (or so) of the American people are on your side against Bush, it is easier to speak out without anyone calling you on it, or firing you for it. But it's not as simple as this, as many Americans have been living in a state of fear, much of it induced by political leaders (and even some employers), since 9/11. The current major disapproval of Bush was, in a way, hard won by activists pointing out over time the increasing instances and degrees of Bush's obvious foibles. And so now that Bush is hovering near Nixonian lows, there is most likely a sense of relief and even faint celebration in the American public that most of us are on the same page now. We can finally speak our true minds again. It is very refreshing and empowering.

Those damned high gas prices

This is a "well, duh!" kind of point, but people do seem to start squawking when their wallets and purses are being hit hard by fuel and travel expenses that continue going up seemingly without an end in sight. Anecdotal evidence of "political conversations at the pump" are on the rise. When people are hurting financially, and hurting the same across the board, people almost can't help but take advantage of the "water cooler of economic complaining." And what makes this effect especially piercing for Bush's bubble regime is that everyone knows that the high gas prices are all his doing through political inaction based on an unusual coziness with Big Oil (not to mention his administration continuing to beat the wardrums for a new conflict with Iran).

Bush has crossed one Constitutional limit too many

The American people love their Bill of Rights. And they love how the Founding Fathers set up this republic to have a separation of powers. But now President Bush is openly trashing our rights via warrantless wiretapping, while writing "signing statements" on hundreds of bills that effectively says he has the power to decide the constitutionality of laws that apply to the executive branch (well, really, Bush himself). Many Americans rightly see these actions by Bush as outright treason. And when they see treason in a political leader, true patriotism arises in the American public. Bush's treason against the Constitution has become a major factor, not only in terms of increasing complaints from elected Representatives and Senators (even within his own party), but also in Americans scratching and clawing to find *some* way of impeaching and removing this President. Because of the craven intransigence of the Republican Congress, the state legislature route is apparently the only way of legally removing the President. And of course, if that fails, given the continued outright treasonous activity by Bush, who knows how much further the American people will be willing to go to see he is removed? Hint: I've seen some approving talk in some places of a potential coup--the past several months especially. Come to think about it, when we see retired generals speaking out, it almost seems as if a shot across the bow is occurring right before our very eyes.


The increased speaking out, in public and in Internet forums and blogs, is happening despite the fear of what our employers or potential employers might do. Apparently, we are about at the point where the American people have lost much of that fear. The problems in this country are too great, and it's ultimately up to truly patriotic citizens to fight for their country--in the streets, if necessary.

But our speaking out won't come without some fierce words from the remaining 32% of Bush's support. They will warn that we will lose business or lose our jobs if we speak out--in fact, I've already been told I will lose "50%" of potential consulting business because of my "ludicrous" positions. But I don't care, and neither should anyone else. After all, if we lose the potential of 32% (the real Bush approval number) of business, that is, business from the backwash of society, why should we care? The potential of business from 68% of the public who agrees with our patriotic views is an incredibly huge market!

The bottom line for Americans is this: Do not let anyone cower you into not fighting for your country. And to the dude who thinks my "ludicrous" views will hurt my business, SO BE IT! My country is WAY MORE important than my business.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Open Season on the White House

No, this isn't about the guy who drunkenly aims at fish in a barrel and shoots his friend in the face

A President dangerous to the republic becoming even more dangerous with each passing day had to expect some blowback. Well, here's your blowback, King George: It's now hunting season all across our great nation. The American people have suddenly realized they all along possessed a hunting license in their back pocket -- it's their title to "Citizenship." (Of course, I don't mean hunting in a literal manner--Geez, King George, don't send your S.S. troops out to have a little chat with me.)

A few months ago during the Katrina dust-up (heh), I wrote that I figured that the continued great damage our fearless leader was causing to the republic would cause so much trouble that the people would somehow rise up and do some pretty mad stuff. Thankfully, the American people stayed calm. Thankfully, because we wouldn't have been able to make it to February and March of 2006 when we get to watch a regime implode by its own weight.

I have some big questions that I believe indicate the ongoing implosion by way of expressing what I believe many of my fellow Americans are thinking. But first, let me review some Presidential actions of note over the past few months:

So, the obvious questions you might be expecting me to ask are "What did the President know and when did he know it?", or "What is the President hiding?", or "Is the President really this stupid or in the dark?"

Here's a more important question: Why does this President systematically lie to the American people to cover-up things he pretends he didn't know about? And his recent behaviors don't even fully underscore the rationale for this question. Look at the WMDs in Iraq that he claimed were there but are not, and look at his claims that he couldn't have foreseen 9/11, despite having seen a specific written warning on his desk weeks before that national tragedy. Bush's defenders might claim all these things were mistakes of an otherwise great leader, but even if that were so, a pattern is a pattern is a pattern. And these aren't just little white lies--these lies and the things covered up by the lies resulted in mass death and destruction.

Here's another one: Was President Bush a Manchurian Candidate in the year 2000? If I didn't know better, I would have to wonder whether this President is robotically attempting to do everything in his power to work against the best interests of the republic, at every turn. I mean, he is selling port operations to terrorist sympathizers, he was negligent with the fall storms, his minions undermine CIA operations (and thus our national security) by outing one of its spies, he craps on the Constitution with the domestic spying and many other matters. And that is all on top of his extremely high deficit spending, his elective war in Iraq, and countless other matters it would take days to list at this point. (Given another three years, it will probably take weeks to write out that same list)

And here's one related to the ports deal, and Bush's strange defiance about defending it: Did Bush run for the Presidency just to get the UAE ports deal through, while everything else coming before was just a pastime? Look, the guy is threatening to pen his first-ever veto over a plan he claims he didn't know anything about around a week ago. Think about this: Why would Bush be so defiant about this unless this is something he actually knew about all along, and something he and/or his friends/family personally gain from? This is because as the facts stand, a nation that is supposed to never deal with terrorists is now closing a deal with a country that lets the terrorists freely operate in their territory. Meanwhile, more than 70% of the American people oppose this deal. What possible principle could Bush be defending in pushing this deal down our throats? Global "free trade" (as if!) over our national security? Is Bush really suggesting this? Or, are his intentions more sinister?

Well, the American people are indeed taking the issues of the UAE ports deal, Katrina negligence and domestic eavesdropping to the level of speaking out against this President more than they ever have before. And they've got questions. Questions the President cannot answer without lying even more. And the President's poll numbers are dropping to record lows.

As the people, the media, and even more of his former Republican supporters increasingly nail the President on his many foibles, King George will definitely feel like he's being hunted. Or maybe not, because if anything, he may not even realize he is being targeted for history's dustbin--I mean, who in his regime has the balls to inform him of this?

Bush is now like a farm-raised quail. Unlucky for him, his Vice-President doesn't appear at the vast majority of these "hunts." (And when he does, he shoots at people, har har)

As bad as everything is getting with this congenital liar and sinister actor, why don't we all drop our normal discord and unite in one singular call to our elected representatives: Impeach the lying bastard or lose your jobs in November!

Let us allow Bush this one accomplishment: Uniting us in his own political demise.