The amazing success of George W. Bush
There are so many mouths blowing so much hot air about King George's State of the Union speech that if they were all facing east, the continent might shift halfway to the Sandwich Islands, and Alaska and Siberia could be reunited.
For the moment, I'll refrain from joining the chorus, though a couple of issues about which George lied may bring me to eruption before long. A few independent thinkers, such as my friend Lydia Howell in her Tuesday commentary on KFAI radio in the Twin Cities (yes, before the speech was delivered), have gleaned what truth could be found in the situation.
Something you'll notice among the more widely distributed spoutings, is the fact that many of those given license to shill by either the right or left -- otherwise known as "oh, ohs" -- now are openly calling Bush & Co. “incompetent.”
The use of that word to describe our rulers has been growing like sunflowers on the prairies since the November election. Great courage hath our talking heads and syndicated columnists, once they're sure it's safe to be brave.
Increasingly, the mad king is described by professional analysts as “the worst president in American history.” In coming to that conclusion, the brave columnists are only a year or so behind a majority of the citizenry.
And, as usual, the “mainstream” babblers are many degrees off course.
There is another, very different assessment of Bush's presidency that is entirely valid from a certain point of view, and I'm not talking about the views of Pat Robertson or the many right-wing “think tanks” (called that because all independent and/or original thought goes quickly into the tank.)
Most of us believe George W. Bush is both incompetent and a skunk, the center of the most corrupt government ever seen in this country, and probably a war criminal.
However, at the Billionaires' Club, which is where the only public he cares about gathers, George W. Bush is the greatest president ever, a giant equal to the the legendary rulers of history. Next to him, Hannibal was a small-time adventurer and Hadrian a builder of garden walls.
In the place where martinis cost $35, and the members smoke $22 genuine Cohibas after $250 dinners (laws against importing Cuban cigars, like almost all laws, are void in the Billionaires' Club) and Grace, the waitress who's worked the dining room for 37 years, still makes $8.30 an hour, George is a hero, almost a god.
In the view of the people who now own America, Mount Rushmore should be scraped down and the old faces replaced with his smirking image.
He is far from incompetent. He and the rest of the White House crew have done exactly what was wanted and expected of them and much more. They have done it done it smoothly and brilliantly and with a stunning ability to con the dim American public into supporting the very people who are robbing them blind and turning the world into a perpetual battlefield.
It's a mark of their professionalism that Bush and his cohort captains kept from giggling into the television cameras Tuesday evening.
Halliburton Co. -- which we all know as the biggest but far from the only war profiteer – reported a net profit of $2.4 billion in fiscal 2005, up from a reported loss of $1.1 billion in its previous fiscal year.
Anybody who believes those figures show the full extent of the money Dick Cheney's company has sucked out of our pockets is more naïve than young Heidi romping through Alpine fields.
Halliburton has been caught several times flat-out stealing billions – uh, that is, it “can't account” for the missing money -- and was punished by being forced to accept huge bonuses from the Pentagon.
Don't worry; indications are that the profits of Halliburton and other war profiteers will be up substantially for fiscal 2006.
Oil companies were given billions of dollars in tax breaks to encourage them to exploit (and create environmental havoc in) off-shore oil fields, and that despite the fact they already were piling up profits at levels never before seen in history.
A new drug program for Medicare users, now being improved in rather minor ways by the Democratic Congress, was written by and for the giant pharmaceutical companies, guaranteeing them major new profits and assuring older Americans of financial stress and, in many cases, real poverty. Nobody has counted how many people have fallen into the doughnut hole, never again to emerge into solvency.
Most of you know about those things, but there are so many others it would take 20 researchers six weeks to list and briefly summarize the gifts to billionaires and abuses of our citizens and our government in just the last two months, let alone the past six years. The Bush assaults on honesty, decency and democracy continue to come at an astonishing rate – often several a day, almost none reported in the corporate “news media.”
One very recent example: On Jan. 18, as reported by Michelle Chen of The NewStandard, the White House changed a previously existing executive order, to give the president far greater power to control (that is, undermine) federal agencies that enforce health, safety and environmental protections.
Under the new order, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs was given substantial new powers to screw with warning labels on medicines and safety standards in work places and a whole lot more.
The Bush-controlled agency can bypass Congressional oversight on things such as enforcement of pollution and public health rules. Among other things, and this is specifically written into the order, it can decide that something that obviously is hurting the public can be ignored because “market forces” eventually will bring about a correction of the problem. You betcha.
Incidentally, the original executive order, the one that didn't go far enough for the billionaires, was issued by Bill Clinton, that icon of the inside-the-Beltway Democrats.
So why the sneak attack on public health and safety now?
You know why. “Industry” wanted the change and demanded it, because regulations aimed at protecting you and me from corporate-caused pain and suffering sometimes negatively affect profits.
Such gifts to the uncaring rich pour like a mountain stream from the Bush White House.
Yet the war remains Bush's biggest success, the achievement that brings billionaires worshipfully to their knees.
The profits are beyond anything ever produced before – and they are likely to go on building for years, despite the opinions of the country's citizens as made clear in the November election, and despite the fact that virtually the entire world is set against us.
(A BBC poll taken within the past few weeks, shows that almost 75 percent of the citizens of the 25 countries surveyed oppose Bush's policies in Iraq, and more than two thirds believe the American presence in the Middle East destabilizes the region.
(In addition to the sanely negative view of the war itself, “the thing that comes up repeatedly is not just anger about Iraq,” said Steven Kull, director of the the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which participated with the BBC in the poll. “The common theme is hypocrisy. The reaction tends to be: 'You were a champion of a certain set of rules. Now you are breaking your own rules, so you are being hypocritical.'” Robert Scheer of Truthdig.com was the author of the report on the poll that I saw.)
This is difficult to comprehend for Americans who have never seen such corrupt and cruel actions on such a scale, but the fact seems clear: In addition to being a totally unnecessary war created for the sake of profit, and despite all the Bush/Cheney yammering about how we must “win,” the mess in Iraq was designed to go on and on, not to end with some sort of “victory.” Endless war means endless profits and an endless “emergency” that requires the strength of an all-powerful president to guide us.
There is much evidence to support that conclusion. The most obvious is this: Before this country invaded Iraq in 2003, Donald Rumsfeld gave orders that no military strategists were to give any thought to planning for a post-war Iraq. Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, recently retired commander of the Army Transportation Corps, said Rumsfeld declared “he would fire the next person” who so much as mentioned the need for a post-war plan.
In fact, Gen. Eric Shineski, Army chief of staff in 2003, got the boot from Rumsfeld after the general told Congress that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to “secure” Iraq after the invasion.
There never was an intention of “victory.”
By his own standards, and those of the billionaires, George W. Bush has succeeded beyond anything they could realistically have hoped. They want this success to go on forever.
In that light, think about this:
In October, shortly before the Republicans lost their total control of Congress, they slipped another of their “stealth moves” into law. The action revised the Insurrection Act, which limits, or limited, the president's power to deploy our military within our borders. It was designed to severely limit use of the military for domestic law enforcement.
The changes, sponsored by the ever-so-moderate Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, give the president the power to declare a “public emergency” and use federal troops anywhere in the country, and also to take control of National Guard units without consent of the states' governors in order to “suppress public disorder.”
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said in a statement ignored by most or all of the corporate news outfits that the law, signed by Bush on Oct. 17, a few hours after he signed the infamous “Military Commissions Act, will “encourage” the president to declare martial law.
Gee, ya think?
Of course the press ignored more than Leahy. There has been very little – almost no -- notice of the new law in our newspapers or news broadcasts, but then they've given short shrift to the Military Commissions Act. Most Americans don't know it exists, let alone what it does.
I learned of the Warner law, which was hidden in a routine bill on military appropriations and related matters, from a report on Towardfreedom.com forwarded to me by a friend. I later found another, comfirming report in Information Clearing House.
Yup. George & Co. could decide they don't want to leave in January 2009 and simply declare a national emergency and martial law. Now that's success.
Sleep tight tonight.