Bush boarded Executive One.
He left town.
Flying back to Texas to clear some brush.
Badly shaken but still standing our nation
begins the earnest work of reconstructing the republic.
Fortunately the foundations of our nation remain strong.
Our constitution, our Bill of Rights, our rule of law,
tolerance, economic liberty and spirit of the people endure.
Thank you for your service to our country.
Goodbye Mr. Bush.
You Tube Video:
Alvin Lee, I’m Going Home
Risk: peaceful transition
A question confronting our nation is how do we process and come to terms with the Bush Administrations 8 years of mismanagement and abuses of power? Do we set up commissions and special hearings to root out the miscreants to get to the root of how these problems arose so we don’t repeat them? Or do we take a cue from Gerald Ford as he did with his pardon of Nixon and offer the Bushies a kind of absolution for their flagrant abuses of power, falsification and gross mismanagement so we can put this “national nightmare” behind us. President Obama certainly thinks its the latter. President Obama and the nation has a lot on its plate, and to till the soil of the Bush’s Administrations politicization of government we run the risk of losing focus for the task at hand to rebuild and heal our deeply wounded nation.
Obama believes we should move on. But before we sprinkle holy water on a blanket absolution for Bush’s high crimes and misdemeanors spawned by 8 years of Republican rule and excessive nationalist ideological zeal; we must offer a comment concerning the hiring practices at the much maligned Justice Department.
It is particularly disturbing to learn that the hiring practices at the Justice Department were guided by an applicants ability to demonstrate that they were an RTA, (Right Thinking American). The degree to which the Bush Administration has politicized government is striking. The Justice Department above all others needs to recuse itself from politics if it is to remain an objective arbiter in defense of our constitutional republic and the rule of law. The administration of justice needs to be conducted without prejudice or malice. It must be free from any ideological predisposition of political parties. Nazism, fascism, theocracies and other dictatorial forms of government use political ideology to administer justice unencumbered by the protections offered by constitutions and citizen bills of rights. It is the deeply held respect for the the rights of individuals that make the “great experiment” of the USA a light to the nations of the world.
Most disturbing are the anecdotal testimonies of civil servants providing insights into the extent that the Bush Administration placed the protection of political considerations over the pursuit and presentation of the truth. We are reviled by stories of the suppression of reports on global warming by the National Science and Technology Council because it would undermine Bush’s opposition to the Kyoto Accords. RTAs know that ordinary thinking Americans need protection from the truth about global warming and climate change. RTAs know that the disclosure of truth and transparency are dangers to a representative democracy.
Equally appalling were Bush’s legislative initiatives to deny equal rights to gays under the Federal Marriage Amendment. The law sought to define a marriage as exclusively the union of man and woman. RTAs know that ordinary thinking Americans need guidelines concerning acceptable life partners who can enjoy the right to marry. RTAs know that civil rights for every citizen is not in the best interest of the country.
RTAs also sought to bring an enlightened curriculum to the public schools through their control of the Department of Education. RTAs fought hard to have intelligent design added into the science textbooks of public schools to combat the pernicious liberal influence of Darwinism, evolution and the Big Bang Theory. RTAs know that ordinary thinking Americans must not concern themselves with scientific inquiries free from the context of theology and religious dogma. RTAs know that their concept of God needs to be accepted and worshiped by all Americans.
RTAs in the regulatory agencies fought hard to live by a laissez faire approach to business and commerce; thus protecting corporations from unfair and cumbersome regulations. The result, a world wide banking crisis, numerous cases of corporate governance breakdowns, environmental justice violations and obscene wealth accumulation for a very select chosen few. RTA know that the social contract first and foremost protects the powerful corporate interests. Whats good for large political contributors is most certainly in the best interests of ordinary Americans.
Most disturbing is how RTAs justified the right to use torture to extract information from the perceived enemies of the republic. RTAs know that it is right and just to use any means necessary to defend the Fatherland against terrorists and evil doers. RTAs fail to understand that America is a special place because we respect the right of individuals and the sanctity of life. If RTAs have their way, the great American Experiment will be DOA as we seek to confront the challenges of the 21st century. Thankfully like Bush, the RTAs are vacating their positions within the departments of government. They’ll be moving on to claim their great reward by putting their RTA skills to good use as lobbyists on K Street.
As a nation lets move on, but let us not forget.
You Tube Video: Bruce Cockburn, Mighty Trucks of Midnight
The BBC News Hour ran a piece on US citizens reflections on the Bush Presidency. One woman from Ohio referred to Bush as “the perfect Christian gentleman.” Her point that Bush restored the morality and integrity of the Office of the President after the tidal wave of sin Clinton unleashed in the White House with his sexual dalliances and uncontrollable peccadilloes. According to this fundamentalist Christian woman, Bush achieved this do to his steadfast faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. She even cited Bush’s refusal to covert to Islam after he received an urgent appeal to do so by the Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
As a Christian and follower of Jesus Christ I take great exception to the characterization of George Bush as a “perfect Christian gentleman”. First I must say that my understanding of Christianity is that as human beings we are imperfect and need to be ever mindful of the mistakes and shortcomings we as human beings exhibit and practice every day of our lives. During the past couple of weeks Bush’ has been on a farewell media tour. He has been asked by many correspondents about any mistakes he might have made. To date Bush has not come up with anything of significance. I guess Bush believes himself to be the perfect Christian gentleman. But I believe that any cursory examination of the Bible revels that Mr. Bush has severely fallen short of the glory of God as advocated, taught and lived by Jesus Christ.
We not going to get into a theological debate concerning what a Christian is or what makes one perfect or imperfect. What I wish to convey is my understanding of what the ministry of Jesus Christ is all about and why I believe that George Bush and the rest of the religious right that thinks Jesus Christ is the Chairman of the GOP are dead wrong and misguided at best and damnable propagandists at worst for cooping a great faith tradition to serve their narrow political interests.
The first damnable indictment of Bush is his pernicious use of fear. Anyone with any knowledge of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ are aware of his consistent message of not to be afraid. Mr. Bush and his Republican party propagandists have fed the citizens of this country a steady diet of fear laden manna since 9/11 to justify their radical reactionary political agenda. Fundamentalists codify and justify their view of the world, actions and narrow beliefs with biblical certitude by citing chapter and verse. They turn the Bible or Quran into ideological dogma that protects the powerful and justifies their actions to protect their privilege. Jesus Christ took this world to task. He would not approve.
Another damnable indictment of Mr. Bush and the claim of his perfect Christian gentlemeness is his insistence on war as a means to project power and engage the world. Their are numerous examples of the Prince of Peace teaching that violence is not the chosen way Children of God engage the world. One can start with the Beatitudes and conclude with the night Jesus Christ was taken into custody in Gethsemane and one will have a pretty good insight about his position on violence and war. I often think of St. Peter greeting Mr. Bush at the gates of Heaven. I believe he’ll be asked about the lives of over 4,000 service women and men and significant collateral damage he initiated by his invasion of Iraq. He may also be asked about the 2 mn Iraqis that have been displaced by the war and the hardship it has wrought. Bush is convinced that history will absolve him for his actions. I wonder if St. Peter will do the same?
Mr. Bush’s justification of torture, his obstinate refusal to free the prisoners of Gitmo, his policies to exclude Gay people as equal citizens of our “One Nation Under God” in my opinion are additional examples of how our current president falls short in the perfect Christian gentleman category. Jesus Christ was about respecting life. “Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done to me,” he said. The idea that Bush tortured, imprisoned or excluded Jesus Christ is most unsettling.
As a Christian I am aware of the log that is in my eye. After 52 years on this earth its as big as a Sequoia and in desperate need of removal. But I am comforted in the faith and knowledge that redemption is available to everyone. All it takes is some self knowledge that we are not perfect, that we have turned from our sinful ways and we put ourselves in service to God by helping others. Mr. Bush still has a shot. I’ll be praying that he becomes painfully aware of his imperfections and takes up the task of rectifying his shortcomings. Perfect Christian gentlemen? Don’t think so, not yet anyway.
You Tube Video: Cool Hand Luke, Just a Closer Walk With Thee
Risk: myopia, fundamentalism, dogma
“The American country’s greatest presidential misspeaker and grammatically challenged gaff and guffaw prone talker had his last talk about himself ahhh as he was to leave ahhh the Office of the President held his last press conference today.”
I have used a filter on Bush press conferences for at least the last three years. At one point I couldn’t even look at him outside of Jon Stewart’s’ Daily Show. So it was unusual that I watched a bit of his news conference today. Bush’s well documented gaffs, incorrect grammar, incomplete thoughts and dangling participles would make his high school English teacher ashamed and Slip Mahoney and the Bowery Boys proud. From what I heard during today’s press conference, Bush was fluid, he made no grammatical errors when speaking, he seemed to complete most of his sentences and thoughts and he played with the press in his dead pan style. He was quintessentially glibly Bush.
Bush did speak boldly about the trap of the psychology of victimization and how he abhors it. I liked what he said. Unfortunately his point was at odds with the last seven years of his presidency as he and his Republican Party propagandists used every opportunity to use the fear of being victimized by terrorism to justify their every move.
Bush also stood firm in his assertion that history will absolve him. The unpopular president is confident that history will look kindly on his war in Iraq, his support of torture, his curbing of civil liberties, and other policy and program errors Bush resolutely denies to accept responsibility for.
I won’t get into any comedic riffs over Bush’s speech patterns. I’ll leave that to Stewart; but I did feel strangely nostalgic concerning his exit from office. Perhaps I’m concerned about the loss of the great material he nightly provides Olbermann and Stewart. Maybe its the fact that I’m 8 years older from the day this presidential disaster took office. I have to be content in the knowledge that he and his failed policies are vacating the White House. Less comedic material is indeed a minuscule price to pay for that relief.
We’ll do a more detailed exposition on Bush’s presidency in future posts.
You Tube Video: Clark Terry, Mumbles
Risk: misspoken word,
The high water mark of the Confederacy was achieved at the Battle of Gettysburg along Cemetery Ridge on the afternoon of July 3 1863. Here the futile and costly charge led by Confederate General George Pickett ended the hopes of the secessionists to extend the war north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It also signaled the beginning end of the Confederacy and their hopes to dismantle the Union.
November 19 will mark the 145th anniversary of the Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Lincolns speech is revered as an oratorical masterpiece. It ably conveyed a free people’s resolve and reverence for a representative democracy and the price free people’s must pay to secure the grace of liberty.
I bring this up because the great state of Pennsylvania is again a high water mark in the presidential battlefield of this historic election. Pennsylvania is the battle ground state whose electorate may decide who sits in the office of our next president. And as the candidates jaw on about Joe the Plumber, Six Packin Six Packers and the sacred patriotism of Hockey Moms, I hope voters continue to consider the environmental degradation that has visited this region too such terrible effect.
The town of Centralia is a scant 101 miles northeast of Gettysburg. Centralia was founded in 1840 and its residents have made a living mining the coal along the Reading Seam for over 100 years. Today however, Centralia is a ghost town. It had to be evacuated due to an underground fire that has been burning for 40 years fueled by the coal that once provided the miners and residents of the town its livelihood. The experts predict that the inextinguishable fire will burn for 250 years and its toxic emissions and danger of ground cave ins have made the town along Highway 61 uninhabitable.
The devastation of this environmental industrial disaster should be a prime issue in the campaigns of the candidates along with occupational safety, environmental protection, the provision of health care and jobs for these distressed areas. Unfortunately as the Bush Administration continues to allow strip miners to operate with impunity without regards to any environmental safeguards the devastation and degradation of small towns like Centralia will remain a real threat.
I ask my fellow countrymen in Pennsylvania to consider your vote and turn back the tide of ignorance to the real issues confronting our nation. Environmental degradation and ecological risk is a real threat to our livelihood and well being. Ask the former citizens of Centralia. Today’s video shows the devastation of the once small town of Centralia accompanied by great guitar work by Mr. Winter.
You tube Video: Johnny Winter Highway 61 Revisited
Risk: environmental, brownfield remediation, mining
On the night John Kerry ceded the election to Bush’s second term, I can still see W smirking while his smiling brain, Karl Rove looked on with smug satisfaction. Opined Bush, “I earned some political capital and I’m gonna spend it.” Spend it he did and his administration has nearly bankrupted the trust, treasure and security of this country.
As the United States limps to the blessed close of 8 years of the Bush Administration and the rule of a party that professes a disdain for government while demonstrating a striking ineptitude for governance; American’s are left holding a massive bag of bad debts reaping the painful yields of much squandered political and economic capital.
The regime that has refused to govern has left the door unguarded. Making it possible for a clique of collective interests that has the will, intelligence, verisimilitude and motive to take the reigns of state and to guide it in a dire hour of need.
Paulson’s bank bailout might just be a bloodless putsch of financial elites led by an alumni of investment and merchant bankers and their well placed confederates. The monied interests who have enriched themselves by gorging at the public troughs creating unfathomable pools of wealth for themselves are now trying to seize the country as their grandest prize. To be sure they remain hungry for returns, crave capital preservation and see the crisis as a great investment play to enlarge their riches. They smell the stench from the stinking corpse of the US banking system and are looking to claim the opportunity of a lifetime. They will go to great lengths to achieve their objectives. They are ready to employ economic blackmail to extort a massive tribute from multiple generations of US taxpayers to finance a takeover of the banking system.
This is the triumph of state capitalism. It is a similar model utilized by China, the EU, OPEC and other countries practicing the fine art of a state managed economy. This is not socialism. If this where socialism, all American’s would be receiving stock certificates and purchase warrants in the companies the Treasury is looking to finance. That is not in the cards. China is managed by a class of technocrats embedded in a centralized political party. America will now be ruled by a class of managers employed by Americas financial services whose sole goal is to maximize shareholder returns.
Is this a grand fleecing of America? The powerful and well placed are raiding the public treasury to fix past mistakes of their making and to bankroll their next bold move. When the state assets of the former Soviet Union were privatized, a class of oligarch’s arose out of the depths of the CCCP to seize control of them. The bank bailout is an event that bears similar characteristics. In Russia the private sector took control of state assets expropriating state ownership. Our bank rescue plan will provide US Treasury assets to the private sector so they can recapitalize and buy distressed bank assets on the cheap. No doubt sometime in the future, these privateers will be lauded by our elected officials as capital market heroes who single handedly rescued America by rationalizing the banking system.
Under normal circumstances the public trust would be secured by the social compact we have entered into with our Federal Government. Tragically, our three branches of government have all failed in their fiduciary duty to protect and serve the interests of American citizens. Special interests, ideologies, privilege and the rights of the stronger has trumped and crushed the will and interest of “We the People.” We are a representative democracy; republicans all, who believe in the democratic ideal who freely give our informed consent to be governed in exchange for the protection of public interest. This trust has been grievously violated. Our consent needs to be revoked.
Chris Dodd the Senator from Connecticut emerged from a weekend meeting with his head shaking. Said Dodd on the need to bail out the banks, “they painted a picture that was absolutely frightening and devastating for America. We must do this deal.”
The monied interests are holding the promise of America hostage. They say if we don’t comply with their demands, we will not be able to send our children to school, our retirement system and social security program will collapse, interest rates will go to double digits causing a cascade of mortgage defaults and bank failures. There will be anarchy in the streets. Sovereign Wealth Funds and other well heeled global investors will liquidate their holdings in US Treasuries and place the Federal Government in default. We’ll be no better then a banana republic.
It all looks very suspicious. Hank Paulson fully in control at the US Treasury making major moves to drastically alter our nations books and ledgers. Robert Rubin, former GS Chair and current well placed executive at Citicorp is now seen escorting Barack Obama no doubt offering real time sage advice. Jon Corzine, Mike Bloomberg and Governor Paterson are all bewailing the pending doom state and city budgets will suffer. State governments all over the country are growing more concerned each day as tax revenues fall, expenditures increase and the angst of American’s grow.
I’m having a hard time with this one. If its only about writing that $1 Trillion check to acquire a bunch of worthless assets I’m down with it. It’s only funny money anyway. Whats another $1T on a Federal debt of $11T. But this rescue plan serves a special interest more then it serves the general good of the common polity. As Alexander Hamilton taught us, debtor nations cede political liberty. It is unconscionable to saddle our country with this debt burden. Doing this deal will bind future generations to cover an obligation that condemns them to a life of indentured servitude.
This is not the way of free people. There is a better way.
Music: Bertolt Brecht’s Alabama Song Performed by The Doors
Risk: Democracy, Federalism, Free Markets, Debt, managed economy, state capitalism
If President Bush sits atop the Dome of the Rock during his visit to Jerusalem and takes a 360 look around he will witness the widening concentric circles of war and violence that continue to expand throughout the region.
Looking north, Lebanon appears to be on the precipice of all out civil war. Iran and Syria are doing all they can to destabilize Lebanon’s weak government by supporting Hezbollah. They have formed some type of unholy alliance to flex their muscles with the development of a nuclear power infrastructure while they continue to extend their tentacles of influence into the civil war in Iraq.
Up the coast where Europe meets Asia, Turkey embarks on periodic bombing runs against the Kurds in Northern Iraq while Russia continues to put out pesky flareups in it’s former Black Sea Republics. To the south and down to the tip of the Red Sea, Ethiopia is being drawn into a war with Somalia and to the west the great powers of the world shadow box in Darfur, stoking the flames of a proxy war between Chad and Sudan. If Mr. Bush strains his neck, way to the east he’ll be able to see the continued disintegration of political stability of Pakistan, Islam’s only nuclear state and Afghanistan’s inability to shake the Taliban infection.
As Mr. Bush sits atop the holy space where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, where Jesus Christ proclaimed peace to the people on earth and where Solomon installed the Arc of the Covenant, it will serve the world well for him to look into his own soul and examine how his actions and inactions have contributed to the regions instability. The escalation of war and hostilities is never a harbinger of peace. War is averted and peace is won through negotiations, communications and the building of trust through the recognition and pursuit of shared interests and objectives.
As a Christian, Mr. Bush should be able to grasp the need to make sacrifices to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East. Mr. Bush’s ego may just be “the perfect sacrifice” the world needs to set the region on a track of peace. Mr. Bush can begin with a de-escalation of the rhetoric about Iran, speaking with Hamas representatives in Gaza and the immediate commencement of peace talks in line with the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group to end the war in Babylon.
Sacrifice is a sign of strength Mr. Bush. The alternative is ceding power to the regions growing conflicts. The overlapping rippling effects of these concentric disturbances threatens to immolate the entire region. Consider an Israeli bombing run on a nuclear reactor in Iran, or the fall of the Pakistani government to a Taliban friendly regime. It is time to make the perfect sacrifice Mr. Bush.
You Tube Video: Santana at Royal Albert Hall, Soul Sacrifice
Risk: Political, War, Middle East, Nuclear Exchange, Peace,