Iraq, Iran, Katrina and now Rita
has President Bush and friends by the nuts,
and the republic is on the line
The singularity draws closer. The storm is not merely brewing; it's chewing up American coastal real estate (not to mention U.S. economic fortunes) at an increasingly torrid pace. And the Great American Catharsis is sprouting mighty muscular legs ready-made to run the longest marathon in American history.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration gives the appearance of breezing happily forward on two tracks, working in tandem:
- ignoring (or pretending to ignore) crises before they are realized or as they wreak havoc, and
- frothing at the mouth to start a military action or funnel money to their cronies or apply right-wing formulas to "fix" the problems resulting from the crises.
This dual track approach has been the administration's MO from the very beginning. But what makes this especially interesting now is that we are beholding a "perfect storm" that involves so many elements outside the administration's control, Bush and his minions are tripping over themselves and inadvertently revealing their true, ugly nature. Even worse is that this administration and its economic and foreign policy parasites are steering the nation into what is increasingly looking like a deathtrap.
What we have today is an administration that is politically trapped, mostly by its own doing, into a pattern of action—including acute tendencies toward opaque government, cronyism, military misuse and out-of-control borrowing and spending—that seemingly worked well (at least for Republican Party politics) the first four and a half years. But after a summer of discontent over Iraq (mounting casualties, Downing Street Memo, Plamegate, Cindy Sheehan), capped by the Katrina disaster, what worked before and is still being pushed today by Bush and far-right stalwarts is looking extremely out of touch and counterproductive from almost any political perspective.
As the nation approaches a "no way out" point, the global locusts, a conspicuous collection of neocons, global corporatists and other ultra-right-wing players, are trapped by an administration that can no longer effectively tow the road for them, let alone protect them from tax and other policy reversals to come. Bush will try to "have his cake and eat it too" for a time, but current and approaching events are determined to tie his hands, if not present choices he sees as "impossible" without taking wildly drastic actions that will assuredly bring the country to its knees.
Setting aside Bush administration neglect in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for this discussion, this administration is approaching reconstruction in the Gulf region in a similar manner as to what they're "accomplishing" in Iraq. And this is not a good thing. Congress initially passed an aid bill throwing $60 billion at the recovery effort, with lax accounting for where the money is spent. Bush is yet again handing out no-bid contracts to the same group of crony corporations (Halliburton, Bechtel, etc.) his administration hired to complete work in Iraq. Bush is promising upwards of $200 million more for reconstruction, and if we make comparisons to the Iraq drama, this immense outlay is just for starters.
How this puts Bush in a bind is that there's no real revenue funds available to cover these new expenditures, and he adamantly refuses (as always) to consider tax increases (which would really be reversals of recent tax cuts). His budget cut proposals are feeble, but this is not unusual for an administration far more hell-bent on new spending than cutting any programs (so much for conservatism!). Many of his planned cuts even affect military support programs, particularly at a time when he needs the backing of the military set the most. If he gets his way, Bush will ultimately "pay" for all this reconstruction with new borrowing. China and other countries will be paying for reconstruction now, and our children and grandchildren will be paying China back later. And this is all before Rita's destruction is taken into consideration!
Interestingly enough, the biggest potential budget cut of all being demanded by the American people to pay for all this disaster recovery is to curtail or end the occupation of Iraq. But Bush, of course, is being Bush on this concept: he totally rejects it, even as the calls for getting out of Iraq amplify. Perhaps the question of the day is whether Rita will be strong enough to finally nudge Bush on this.
However, for Bush and the global locusts, revenue enhancements are all but inevitable, as true fiscal conservatives balk at more borrowing and U.S. Treasury Bonds become more difficult to sell to an already saturated bond market. Further, the fallout from these hurricane disasters is wreaking havoc on gas prices and availability and thus the overall economic picture. Consequently, Bush will again be pushed up against the wall to "do something" about gas prices, unemployment and other problems that are destined to worsen considerably in the near future. The politically powerful will be trapped into either being responsible (raising revenue and targeting spending to enhance job creation) or being historically irresponsible (borrowing endlessly and letting economic issues fester without any response).
Another area of concern is how the Bush administration is dealing with the so-called Axis of Evil nations, particularly Iraq and Iran. Of course, we know now that the rationale for attacking Iraq was cooked, but beyond an assumption that the war was "all about oil," a pinpointed real reason for the war didn't emerge from the fog until the administration started ramping up rhetoric to spur a war with Iran.
Here's the gist: Iran is soon to be participating in a new international oil bourse, which is a stock exchange of sorts for handling oil-related transactions. The problem for the Bush administration and for U.S. economic hegemony is that the bourse will operate using the euro, displacing the U.S. dollar, which formerly held sway. This will deflate the value of the dollar even further and lead to untold economic issues for the U.S., but, alas, nobody can state within reason that Iran does not have the right to switch oil trading currencies.
Nevertheless, what we're witnessing now is an administration trying to build a false case about Iran possessing nukes in the near future, even though reasonable estimates from respected authorities suggest they won't possess them until a full decade from now—even paleoconservative Pat Buchanan realizes this! So why is the Bush administration attempting to build yet another false case for WMDs in an Axis country? Hold onto your hat. It's because of what Saddam Hussein did back in November 2000: he started trading his oil using euros instead of dollars. And presto change-o, directly following the U.S. invasion a few years later, Iraqi oil trading went back to using dollars, thanks to a Bush executive order.
How this puts Bush in a bind is that global locusts and his minions are pushing for another war that he cannot rationally defend in front of the American people, most of whom already realize that the reasons for the Iraq war were falsehoods. But Bush's people see the economic fallout from the Iranian oil bourse so destructive to his base as well as the nation's deteriorating economic hegemony, that they are mortally bound to find some way to attack Iran. There is even much chatter on the blogs that the administration intends to create a fake terrorist strike that will be used as an excuse to hit Iran. Note: this is not all tinfoil, as it has been publicly exposed that Vice President Cheney has already drawn up such plans to blame Iran if such a strike occurs.
As evidenced by this unusual amalgam of monumental events, the bottom line is that an administration that sees itself as trapped, being pressured by its parasites, con-warped policy wonks and extreme sycophants who themselves don't want to be trapped by the inescapable reality of our times (by way of potential administration or international policy shifts), presents a clear and present danger to the republic.
What is becoming crystal clear is that with all these epic challenges facing the nation, an administration, by sheer incompetence, or worse, deliberate choice, still possessing the great power to rule by executive fiat, will indeed plunge this great nation into ruin. Are the American people therefore going to find the will to push for the end of this administration in the nick of time? Do we wish our beloved republic to bounce back and succeed again, or drown in a bathtub? (Memo to Norquist, the feeble-minded: when you destroy government, you destroy the nation.)
That this singular choice is tough to many contemporary "Americans" could very well constitute the primordial soup of everlasting political cynicism, if not tyranny. It's not just "choose or lose a little." It's choose, or democracy and freedom are greatly imperiled.
NOW is the time for real patriots to stand up and demand that President Bush resign, BEFORE the damage to the nation greatly intensifies. This is a trap from which the republic can break free, if only its people would make a loud demand for new adult leadership.
Perhaps September 24 will be the beginning of the end of this madness.