Friday, March 30, 2007

Predictable, Hell! Predicted!

by Rich Miles

March 30, 2007

It’s been going on for six years now. Six years and a few months, to be more precise. And until very recently, no one noticed. No one in the mainstream press said a word about it, with the exception of Paul Krugman and Frank Rich and Molly Ivins (may she rest in peace), David Sirota and Jason Solomon and Bob Herbert and the like, and everyone knows how easy it is to ignore or roll over all those leftie pundits.

So now that it’s become unmistakably visible, and the whole world is watching while it happens, those same folks in the national media (not the ones mentioned in the previous paragraph, but most of the rest) are shocked! shocked!! to discover that the Bush administration has been loading the judicial system at every level they can get their grubby hands on with “loyal Bushies” – people in the legal profession who are willing to subvert the laws, the very basis of this country, for political ends. Who will choose who to prosecute and who to leave alone based on what effect those choices will have on elections, and on the “unitary executive”, and on their own personal power bases.

People like John Roberts. Samuel Alito. John Ashcroft pushed out of the AG job to make room for Alberto Gonzales – the president’s own personal lawyer, given the job of the nation’s top law enforcement official. Who didn’t see that coming?

People like Kyle Sampson, credited with coining the term “loyal Bushies”, who sees no fundamental difference between “political” and “the priorities of the president”; and Monica Goodling, a graduate of not one but TWO fundamentalist Christian colleges whose aims are to insert “biblical” law back into the law of our land, and who went from fresh out of law school to being the DOJ’s White House liaison in a scant 6 years. People like – and here’s one to think hard about – the OTHER 85 U.S. Attorneys who were NOT fired. Who were presumably “loyal enough Bushies”, partisan enough, willing enough to do as they were told not to get put on that list that Karl Rove says didn’t exist. And let’s not forget Harriet Miers, so unqualified to serve on the Supreme Court that she finally forced even Bush to face reality – and who is also the great thinker who originally wanted to fire ALL 93 of the U.S. Attorneys. John Yoo. Jay Bybee. The list is just too long of people who have subverted our system of justice in the name of a “permanent Republican majority.”

And all of this was not only predictable, it was predicted. In fact, some folks have virtually SCREAMED that our courts and prosecutors were being set up to aid Republicans politically, that if things kept on as they were there would come a day when no one with even remotely leftish political leanings could ever HOPE to get a fair shake in any federal court and not many state ones, in any matter at all. And no one listened. The High Heidyuns of the American press pooh-poohed, and said, well, Bush won and he has the right to appoint whomever he wishes to these jobs, and it was the duty of the Senate to confirm them. Or, the prosecutors serve at the pleasure of the president, and he can fire them any time he wishes for any reason. Or, this is a personnel matter, and not subject to Senate oversight. Or Clinton did it too. Or – my favorite – the slipping into the Patriot Act renewal of a small codicil that allowed all this to happen without Senate confirmation was NO BIG DEAL!!!

And that’s just what the mainstream people have been saying – the rightwing nutcases like Limbaugh and Savage and Chris Matthews and Fox Noise have been saying that the Congress has no right to question anything Bush does about anything, including sending our soldiers to war on false pretenses. So he lied us into a war that’s killed 3240+ Americans and who knows how many Iraqis – so what? Whattayou gonna do about it, you wussy Democrats? This is our country now, and you can lay down and die.

But you can’t say this wasn’t predicted. You can’t say it just sneaked up on us out of nowhere. I mean, why do you think we all, those of us in the "reality-based" world, fought so hard to defeat Bush in 04? It was because we KNEW this was coming – a dictatorship, a fascist state, a hate-filled theocracy – in short, an America we could never have imagined even a decade ago, despite the fact that its roots were well-laid by then.

So listen, wingnuts - you who think this is just fine, and what's all the leftie whining about: when they come for you, don’t cry about it to me. I knew it. 49.3% of those who voted in 2004 knew it. 50.4% of those who voted in 2000 knew it, for Christ’s sake.

Why didn’t you?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not only the Worst Ever, But the Worst Imaginable

by Rich Miles

For perhaps the fifth time in the past several months , today I read an article about how the head of the GAO - formerly the General Accounting Office, now the "A" stands for Accountability - is traveling all over the country, telling everyone who will listen that the American government, under the alleged leadership of the "fiscal conservative" Republican president, is piling up a wad of debt that, quite literally, will bring this country down if it is not brought under control, and soon.

Let me sum up what GAO Chief David M. Walker said: the national debt - not the federal budget, that's another big-ass number - but the DEBT, which is a much BIGGER big-ass number - the money the American government owes to everyone who ever bought a US Treasury note or savings bond or any other loan instrument of the US government, is approaching $9 TRILLION.

Let me say it again, this time as a number: $9,000,000,000,000!

If you don't know what that means, first of all you're too stupid to live in America, and second, here's what it means. And as has been said many times by those far more educated about fiduciary matters than I, an unbelievable lot of that $9 TRILLION of debt is in the hands of people who are not Americans, and who don't have the best interests of America at heart. Like China, and Russia, and even Japan.

You ever know someone whose mortgage got called? Someone who had their home repossessed and sold at auction to strangers? That's what happens people don't pay their debts.

Can you even imagine what happens when a country doesn't pay ITS debts? Who repossesses? Who goes to the auction to buy it? You think this is impossible?

Imagine 100 million pissed-off Chinese who can't cash in their U.S. Treasury bonds because there is NO MONEY TO PAY THEM WITH.

Seeing this - the $9 TRILLION debt figure - said yet again by Mr. Walker, and knowing that the likelihood is great that no one will pay any more attention to it this time than they did the other several times, it brought to the surface a thought that I've had many times:

Not only is George W. Bush the worst president in the history of America, he is the worst IMAGINABLE president that America COULD have at this particular point in history. Here's part (and only a small part) of what I mean:

- Even before 9/11, our relations with governments and peoples in the Middle East were fraught with danger and misperceptions of our intent for them. So we elect a man who set out almost from day one not to make those problems better, but to make them worse - to assert his manhood, and in the process make the people of that region hate and fear us even more than they did. At this task, he has succeeded beyond the wildest imaginings of his neo-con handlers.

- At just the moment in time at which it becomes clear that human activity is contributing greatly to global warming, in a way that is no longer negligible or able to be put off to another generation, we have a president who not only will do nothing about the problem, and not only depends on the sale of fossil fuels for his and his family's fortune - he even denies that the problem exists for several years, while it gets worse. What could we have done to at least start to correct some of the damage in those years? We will never know.

- At precisely the moment in history when medical science starts making exponential leaps toward eliminating or greatly reducing all manner of human suffering and disease, we have a leader of the most powerful nation on Earth whose religious "faith" prohibits him and his followers from aiding that science with government support.

- At the moment in history when America had become the only superpower, and was beginning to see signs that actually meant something for peace in the world, along comes a government who seems almost hell-bent on destroying our armed forces by overuse and neglect, and weakening us to a point where our enemies - of whom there are now far more than there used to be - might actually get bold enough to attack us unprovoked.

- And right after a brief period of prosperity for our country unlike almost any other in our history, when the federal government has surpluses for the first time in decades, and looks like reducing the national debt to a manageable size after the excesses of the Reagan and Bush 41 years, we elect a president who plunges us into a staggeringly costly and unnecessary war, while cutting taxes to keep himself in power and to enrich his political base, and turning a blind eye to cronyism, war profiteering and incompetence, and after six dedicated years of listening to NO ONE who tells him otherwise, our national economy is on the verge of bankruptcy if action is not taken VERY soon to right the ship of state as it lurches toward insolvency.

I could go on and on. But in short, above are a few arguments as to why everything Bush stands for and does is the exact opposite of what America and Americans need at this exact time in our national life.

Not only the worst president ever, but the worst possible president for the times in which we live. And the damage this man and his administration are doing to America is not over yet.

We'll be lucky to come out of it alive.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Parsing the Obvious, When No One Else Will

by Rich Miles

You know what my biggest weakness is as a political commentator and writer?

OK, other than that...

It's that I don't trust my instincts.

I think things that to me, seem so obvious that I simply can't bring myself even to commit them to paper, or bandwidth, because surely everyone KNOWS that already. So I don't say it, but then, neither does anyone else, and so I assume that it's just SO obvious that everyone already knows it.

But several times in the past, and lately an awful LOT, I've been seeing respected voices say the things I've been thinking for years, as if they were new ideas, or novel observations that no one had ever thought of before.

And when that happens, it really pisses me off that I didn't say it when I first thought of it. Here's an example:

Andrew Kohut, he of the Pew Research Center, agreed with me today. He said something that I've been saying since at least the middle of 2004, and I may have thought it sometime in '03.

Here's what he said: that Bush won in 2004 because the country was still being affected by the attacks on 9/11.

Now, isn't that the most obvious thing to say about that election? That a president who had actually lost the popular vote in 2000, and who may have jiggered the vote to steal the election in Florida, was helped to a 50.7% popular-vote victory because the voters were still reeling from the most horrific attack ever committed on American soil? Is that not so axiomatic as not to merit mention?

And so, I didn't mention it. And apparently, neither did anyone else, or at least no one else whose voice was heard in any real way, until Mr. Kohut said it today.

So here's another "obvious" observation that I've never seen anyone else utter aloud or on paper:

Bush started a war, now clearly on false pretenses, so he could then say, "You can't get rid of me - we're at war, and you endanger our country if you change leaders in the middle of a war."

See how it works? See what Bush and his thugs have done to this country?

Now why aren't we impeaching him?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Decider, or Out of the Loop?

by Rich Miles

OK, so let me see if I've got this right:

George W. Bush is the Decider. He doesn't need to read newspapers because he has the best sources of information in the world right there with him - his White House staffers. He knows what's going on everywhere because he has such wonderful people telling him everything.

And now, for the Congress to insist that (at least) two of those advisers - Karl Rove and Harriet Miers - testify publicly and under oath, would mean that he could no longer get full and honest and open counsel from these advisers, because they would constantly be second-guessing themselves for fear they'd be hauled before a congressional committee and forced to justify themselves and tell what they advised the "Decider" to do. That's the current dodge Bush et al. are using to keep the truth from the American people. (Well...that and the bogus claim of executive privilege.)


Bush knows nothing. Nothing at all, nothing to see here, let's move on.

Despite an incomplete paper trail of emails, which even in its incompleteness shows pretty conclusively that SOMEone inside the White House was deeply involved in the efforts to fire at least 8 US Attorneys and replace them with "good Bushies", or as they're better known "political cronies", the President of the United States was not one of those people. He didn't know about it in advance, he wasn't consulted about this, it was all someone else's fault.

So which is it? Is he the Decider, who has his finger on every pulse on every topic, or is he the guy the WH staff keeps in the dark so they can protect him from his rightful culpability when the shit hits the fan, as it's doing now in ProsecutorGate?

Because he can't be both. He can't know everything and nothing at the same time. So the question boils down to this: what did the President know, and when did he know it?

Why does that sound so familiar?

Remember the Iran-Contra Affair? Google it if you don't, because there are some alarming similarities in the actions of the father and the son. Remember "I was out of the loop"? Remember that Bush the Elder was the first US President EVER to issue a pardon to anyone for any reason on the eve of the start of a trial?

But mostly, remember "I was out of the loop"?

Maybe it's not totally true that Little George won't do ANYTHING his daddy did.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Geez, people! Get a freakin' grip!

by Rich Miles

Author's Note: The following piece was originally posted as a comment on on March 10, 2007 at this permalink: When Losers Talk About Victory and Supporting the Troops

I'm getting just about fed up with this stuff about what "The Democrats must" do!!

Have we already forgotten that it took SIX YEARS to get us into this mess? Not just Iraq, that's only the worst of it - but the whole stinkin' neocon mess in which America now is mired?

Have we forgotten that for FOUR of those years, Bush was still more or less liked by somewhere in the range of 50.001% of America? And was having his bloody way with us, with virtually no resistance, ALL that time?

And left-leaning folks all over the web, including here, want it all cleared up and cleaned up in only two months! Hell, even if you count the Dems as being in control of Congress since Election Day, which we can't, it's only 4 months!

And people piss and moan about how the Dems haven't "done" anything yet - what the hell do you think they're supposed to do, storm the Oval Office and drag the bastard out kicking and screaming? As soul-satisfying as that mental picture might be to many of us, it just ain't gonna happen that way.

We are in the midst of a process - a very difficult and delicate process, and one that our leaders on the Left are a little unfamiliar with, since the Repugs essentially shut us out of government in 1994.

So lighten up a little, OK?

Yes, I want our soldiers out of harm's way ASAP if not sooner. Yes, I want impeachment proceedings to start. Yes, I want Bush and Cheney and the whole lot of them not only removed from office, but humiliated and punished, lest some other tinpot tyrant in the future decide to try this again, since there were no serious consequences this time.

But it's gonna take a while, and for our side - the Reality-Based Side - to whine about how long it's taking to undo 6 years of tyranny and its concomitant effects just PLAYS INTO THE HANDS OF THE NEOCONS, fer cryin' out loud! They say the same things, because they're too effin' stupid to simply shut up and let the Dems destroy themselves - which is exactly what we're headed for if we don't get it together, and support our people as they get their bearings and figure out where the toilets and the dining room are on Capitol Hill.

Frankly, I think they're doing pretty damn good so far - but they're not miracle workers, and we - the PEOPLE - need to remember that!

Keep at it. Work toward 2008. But don't take down our people the way the criminals in power are trying to! Have a little patience. As much as it hurts to do so.