Saturday, January 17, 2009

President-Elect Obama's Saturday Address

Keith Olbermann reviews this disastrous presidency

A Daily Kos diarist provides us with a transcription:
George Walker Bush. 43rd president of the United States. First ever with a criminal record. Our third story tonight, his presidency: eight years in eight minutes.

Early in 2001 the U.S. fingered Al Qaeda for the bombing of the USS Cole Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke had a plan to take down Al Qaeda. Instead by February the NSC had already discussed invading Iraq,and had a plan for post-Saddam Iraq.

By March 5 Bush had a map ready for Iraqi oil exploration and a list of companies. Al Qaeda? Rice told Clarke not to give Bush a lot of long memos: not a big reader.

August 6, 2001: a CIA analyst briefs Bush on vacation, "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." Bush takes no action tells the briefer—quote all right, you've covered your ass now.

Next month Clarke requests using new predator drones to kill Bin Laden; the Pentagon and CIA say no.

September 11th: Bush remains seated for several minutes to avoid scaring school children by getting up and leaving. He then flies around the country and promises, quote, a full scale investigation to find those folks who did it.

Rumsfeld says Afghanistan does not have enough targets; we've got to do Iraq. When the CIA traps Bin Laden at Tora Bora, it asks for 800 rangers to cut off his escape. Bush outsources the job to Pakistanis sympathetic to the Taliban. Bin Laden gets away.

In February, General Tommy Franks tells a visiting Senator Bush is moving equipment out of Afghanistan so he can invade Iraq. One of the men who prepped Rice for her testimony that Bush did not ignore pre-9-11 warnings later explains, quote, we cherry picked things to make it look like the President had been actually concerned about Al Qaeda. They didn't give a bleep about Al Qaeda.

July and Britain's intel chief says Bush is fixing intelligence and facts around the policy to take out Saddam.

January 03: Bush and Blair agree to invade in March. Mr. Bush still telling us he has not decided telling Blair they should paint an airplane in UN colors fly it over Iraq and provoke a response, a pretext for invasion.

The man who said it would take several hundred thousand troops fired. The man who said it would cost more than a hundred billion fired. The man who revealed Bush's yellowcake lie smeared, his wife's covert status exposed. The White House liars who did it and covered it up not fired. One convicted; Bush commutes his sentence.

Then in Iraq, stuff happens: Iraq's army, disbanded the government, de-Baathified 200,000 weapons, billions of dollars just lost, foreign mercenaries immunized from justice, political hacks run the Green Zone, religious cleansing forcing one out of six Iraqis from their homes, Abu Ghraib, the insurgency, Al Qaeda in Iraq. Other stuff does not happen: WMD, post-war planning, body armor, vehicular armor.

The payoff? Oil and billions for Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies while Mr. Bush denies VA healthcare to 450,000 veterans, tries to raise their healthcare fees, blocks the new G.I. Bill, and increases his own power with the USA PATRIOT Act with the Military Commissions Act. Public orders exempting himself from a thousand laws and secretly from the Presidential Records Act, the Geneva Conventions, FISA, sparking a mass rebellion at the Justice Department, secret star chambers for terrorism suspects, overturned by Hamdan v Rumsfeld, denying habeas corpus, overturned by Boumediene v Bush. 200 renditionings. Sleep deprivation abuse.

Rumsfeld warned in 2002 that he was torturing that it would jeopardize convictions out of 550 at Gitmo, hundreds ultimately go free with no charges, dozens are tortured, eight fatally, three are convicted.

On U.S. soil twelve hundred immigrants rounded up without due process, without bail, without court dates, without a single charge of terrorism.

It wasn't just Mr. Bush no longer subject to the rule of law: he slashed regulations on everyone from banks to mining companies, appointed 98 lobbyists to oversee their own industries, weakening emission standards for mercury and 650 different toxic chemicals. Regulators shared drugs and their beds with industry reps.

The Crandall Canyon mine owner told inspectors to back up because his buddy, Republican Mitch McConnell, was sleeping with their boss. McConnell's wife is Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao her agency overruled engineer concerns about Crandall Canyon and was found negligent after nine miners died in the collapse there

Mr. Bush's hands off as Enron blacks out California doubling electric bills after months of rejecting price caps/ Mr. Bush bows to pressure. The blackouts end.

Mr. Bush further deregulates commodity futures, midwifing the birth of unregulated oil markets which just like Enron jack up prices to an all time high until Congress and both presidential candidates call for regulations, and the prices fall. Deregulating financial services and lax enforcement of remaining rules created a housing bubble, creating the mortgage crisis, creating then a credit crisis, devastating industries that rely on credit from student loans to car dealers. Firms that had survived the Great Depression could not survive Bush. Those that did got seven hundred billion dollars no strings, no transparency, no idea whether it worked, unlike the auto bailout which cut workers' salaries. A GOP memo called it a chance to punish unions.

But Bush failed even when his party and his patrons did not stand to profit. Investigators blamed management cost cutting communication for missed warnings about Columbia.

Bush administration convicts include sex offenders at Homeland Security, convicted liars, every kind of thief in the calendar, and if you count things that were not prosecuted, the vice president of the United States actually shot a man in the face. The man apologized.

Mr. Bush faked the truth with paid propaganda in Iraq, on his education policy, tried to silence the truth about global warming, rocket fuel in our water, industry influence on energy policy, politicized the truth of science at NASA, the EPA, the National Cancer Institute, Fish and Wildlife, and the FDA.

His lies exposed by whistleblowers from the cabinet down. "Complete BS," the treasury secretary said of Mr. Bush on his tax cuts. Rice's mushroom cloud. Powell's mobile labs. Iraq and 9-11.

Jack Abramoff. Jessica Lynch. Pat Tillman. Pat Tillman, again. Pat Tillman, again.

The air at Ground Zero: most responders still suffering respiratory problems. Global warming. Carbon emissions. A Clear Skies initiative lowering air quality standards. The Healthy Forests initiative increasing logging.

Faith-based initiatives. The cost of medicare reform. Fired US attorneys. Politically synchronized terror alerts. The surge causing insurgents to switch sides. That abortion causes breast cancer. That his first recession began under Clinton. That he did not wiretap without warrants. That we do not torture. That American citizen John Walker Lindh's rights were not violated. That he refused the right to counsel. Heckuva job, Brownie. Some survivors still in trailers New Orleans still at just two-thirds its usual population.

The lie that no one could have predicted the economic crisis except the economists who did. No one could have predicted 9-11 except one ass-covering CIA analyst or thirty. No one could have predicted the levee breach except literally Mr. Bill in a PSA that aired on TV a year before Katrina. Bush actually admitted that he lied about not firing Rumsfeld because he did not want to tell the truth.

Look it up.

All of it, all of it, and more, leaving us with ten trillion in debt to pay for 31% more in discretionary spending, the Iraq War, a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut, median income down two thousand dollars, three-quarters of all income gains under Bush going to the richest one percent, unemployment up from 4.2 to 7.2 percent The Dow, down from 10,587 to 8,277. Six million now more in poverty. Seven million more now without health care.

Buying toxic goods from China, deadly cribs, outsourcing security to Dubai, still insecure in our ports, and at our nuclear plants, more dependent on foreign oil. Out of the international criminal court, off the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Military readiness and standards down, with two unfinished wars, a nuclear North Korea, disengaged from the Palestinian problem, destabilizing eastern European diplomacy with anti-missile plans, and unable to keep Russia out of Georgia.

Two thousand miles of Appalachian streams destroyed by rubble from mountaintop mining. At his last G-8 summit, he actually bid farewell to other world leaders saying, quote, goodbye from the world's greatest polluter.

Consistently undermining historic American reverence for the institutions that empower us; education, now "academic elites;" and the law, "activist judges;" capping jury awards.

And Bin Laden? Living today unmolested in a Pakistani safe haven created by a truce endorsed and defended by George W. Bush. And among all the gifts he gave to Bin Laden: the most awful, the most damaging, not just to America but to the American ideal, was to further Bin Laden's goal by making us act out of fear rather than fortitude, leaving us with precious little to cling to tonight, save the one thing that might yet suffice: hope.
Our mission henceforth is not just to save the country from what George Bush has done. The revisionists are going to come. Our mission is to resist them. We must make sure with our dying breath that people know what has transpired here that we may never repeat this disaster of a presidency.

What at least some Republicans are thinking

Politico reports that Barack Obama is attempting to seduce Republicans, but while is goes about his task, the new President should not forget this ilk of Republican who has designs on his failure:

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Not Like We're Not Popular

Really. So will Democratic leaders finally grow a spine & do something?

I had to destroy America to save it

The Prince Jackass last evening gave his valedictory in a speech that I note the press barely mentions in its morning coverage of the news of the day. Monkey Boy last night defended what he did during the last eight insufferable years, eight years which nearly wrecked the United States. (In fact, on reflection, it is not clear yet that he didn't wreck the country; only time will tell if we ever recover from this unmitigated disaster of a presidency.)

The Great American Clown observed that we might not have agreed with his decisions, but we all could agree he had to make tough decisions. I guess the next part of the syllogism he proposed would be that most of us believe he made tough decisions quite badly. But he didn't mention that.

Our National Buffoon regretted some of his decisions, but he didn't tell us which ones he regretted. I wonder if trampling on the Constitution was one of them? I wonder if his not inconsiderable part in wrecking the economy through wasteful spending on a misguided Iraqi adventure, the deregulation of the mortgage industry, or the evaporation of our national wealth through his give away programs to the rich might be things he regrets? (Viz., tax cuts for the rich, Iraqi billions of dollars of missing cash debacle, Katrina faux-recovery program, banks that decline to state what happened to the money emergent scandal.)

Gosh. Who knows what George Bush considers his mistakes.

But guess what: in the Prince Jackass's mind, all's well that ends well: we haven't had an attack on our national soil since 9/11. Now mind you, the nation is well into its third century and the only other attacks we have had on our national soil were the War of 1812 and the disaster at Pearl Harbor. Never mind that 9/11 actually did occur on his watch after he ignored the August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing that explicitly stated bin Ladin's intention to destroy the World Trade Center by using planes as missiles. Never mind that no president in the period of American hegemony and technological dominance suffered the U.S. to be attacked. In other words, never mind that the Chimp of Crawford just dropped the ball and allowed 9/11 to occur in the first place.

So what is George Bush's greatest accomplishment? After completely missing the ball on 9/11, he accomplished what almost every president does all of the time: keep the most powerful country in the world safe from a foreign attack on its soil. Wow. What a spectacular and uncommon accomplishment: destroying the Constitution to save it, trammeling civil liberties to protect them, impugning America's reputation to promote it.

What a jackass. His argument about the "success" of his presidency essentially boils down to, "I had to destroy America to save it."

Ahhh, but now comes the great relief: quietly or not, he goes in four days into that good night. At this moment of national catharsis, we all again may take comfort in Gerald Ford's observation when Ford assumed the presidency after Nixon's resignation, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our New President


This is the official portrait of the President which will hang on the walls of Federal office buildings.

Hillary's Farewell Address

House Dems Do Their Own Stimulus

And so far, this is looking much better than Obama's first proposal.

House Democrats are circulating an $825 billion economic stimulus measure that emphasizes health care, education and highway construction as well as tax cuts for individuals and businesses.
A summary of the measure shows spending totaling roughly $550 billion and tax cuts of $275 billion, although the totals are expected to shift considerably as Congress works on the bill.

Let's hope the final package looks more like this. Keep up the good work, Congresscritters!

Gay marriage tutorial

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Obama talks about the inauguration festivities

The Homosexual Agenda Post-Warren

There's been plenty of angst lately among progressives regarding how Barack Obama will advance civil rights as President. In particular, the discussion on LGBT rights has been heated since Obama selected known homophobe Rick Warren to speak at the Inauguration. And recently, the discussion has become more complicated with the revelation that Barack Obama may have flip-flopped on marriage equality.

Now I'd rather not dwell upon what Obama should have done in these past decisions. Instead, I want for us to talk about what we must do now to make sure "the homosexual agenda" is advanced on the state and national levels once Obama is inaugurated. We can't dwell upon the past, so we must start planning now to win in the future.

This is what I warned about last month. If anything, the recent fight over Rick Warren and Obama's Inauguration should show us that we can't be complacent in thinking that President Obama and the Democratic Congress will magically pass all the legislation we wants. Pols are pols, so they'll try to find an "easy way out" in delaying votes and/or watering down civil rights legislation.

We can't wait for them to act. Rather, we must act now to push our elected officials to do what we elected them to do. We must tell Obama that words aren't enough, that he needs to use his bully pulpit to push for civil rights. We must tell Congress to pass this legislation and make civil rights a priority. And closer to home, we need to work in the states to repeal marriage bans and end "legalized discrimination".

Obama himself said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." So really, what are we waiting for? Neither Rick Warren nor Washington "conventional wisdom" can stop us now. We can't allow the politicians to tell us to "wait our turn". The time is now for marriage equality. The time is now for workplace equality. The time is now for immigration equality.

The time is now for equality! So if you can, please take the time now to support good organizations like Courage Campaign and ACLU. And if you're in Southern California, please join me this Sunday as we protest in front of Rick Warren's church. The time is now, so let's stop waiting and start acting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Civil Liberties in Wartime

We've been through this before, and we're facing the aftermath again today. What to do with Guantanamo? What happens with the PATRIOT Act? What about FISA? And should we prosicute the Bushies for their war crimes?

It's appalling how, even today, most in the corporate media are still making excuses for Bush-Cheney. How can we ever fix the mistakes of the past when the media refuse to even call them mistakes? Will someone please provide the Newsweek crew with a US History lesson?

Don't Be Stingy on Our Stimulus

When President-Elect Obama first released his economic stimulus plan, I was underwhelmed. Corporate tax breaks? No undoing of the disastrous Bush tax cuts? Only $775 billion?

Fortunately, the response from Democratic Congressional leaders and progressive economists has been great. They've challenged Obama to agree to a better bill, and now we may have a better chance at seeing a better stimulus passed. Believe it or not, it often takes some pushback and a whole lot of standing our ground to get something good accomplished.

While I may not agree with him on everything, David Sirota made some great points today at Open Left on what progressives need to do to win a stimulus that actually works. We need to stand our ground in saying no to silly "entitlement reform" gimmicks that are only meant to finish what GW Bush started in privatizing Social Security & Medicare. Furthermore, we must also resist "tax relief" gimmicks that are only meant to continue redistributing wealth from the working class to the "American Oligarchs".

Of course, we can't just resist awful "ideas" from the radical right. We must also promote our own good ideas, as A Siegel has done. We shouldn't just settle for "infrastructure spending", but push for "green economy" infrastructure. We can create good jobs and reduce our carbon footprint by developing more renewable energy, building high-speed rail lines, supporting carbon neutral building, and much more. Building green will actually stimulate more green, if you know what I mean.

But is it really all that important to be so ideological when Obama wants to be pragmatic? This is a false dichotomy. The fact is , as Jane Hamsher points out so well, that progressive ideas for spending will be more effective in stimulating the economy than tax cut panders to the GOP. Now this doesn't mean that no tax cuts should be included in the final bill, but it's utterly ridiculous for a $775 billion bill to include $310 billion in tax cuts that only yield a return of about $1 for every dollar spent. This isn't about "ideology vs. pragmatism", but rather about pragmatically utilizing proven progressive Keynesian economics to provide real relief to the American people.

So what should we do to get a real stimulus passed? We need to continue pushing Obama to care less about whipping 80 Senate votes for the bill, and more about achieving more bang for our bucks. We need to keep pushing Congress to pass good legislation. Basically, we need to keep being loud & refuse to give up.

We've already succeeded in having Obama drop corporate tax breaks from his stimulus proposal. Let's keep up the good work! Now, we should push to include good spending in this bill.

Call your local Congresscritters. Write to the Obama Transition Office. Raise some hell until we get a stimulus that isn't stingy to us.

"Bored, Anonymous, Pathetic Bloggers Who Lie"

Yikes. Sarah Palin sticks her foot in her mouth again. Will she ever stop? Perhaps not, so she'll keep me laughing my @ss off. ;-)

Hillary questioned on Iran

SoS Confirmation Hearings Start

Is there any way Hillary won't be confirmed? Maybe if all the other Senators are idiots? ;-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Warren-gate Matters

Taylor Marsh said it best today. Why are the same straight white males "the wise ones" on religion? Really, why?

ExxonMobil CEO Backs a Carbon Tax?

No, I'm not kidding. So when will Obama, Reid, & Pelosi? Now's the perfect time to be bold in making real climate solutions happen.

And the Winner Is...

"Slumdog Millionaire"? Kate Winslet? Mickey Rourke? TalkLeft has a good round-up of the Golden Globes.

Did you watch the award show? I did, and I must admit it wasn't quite as fun as what I was hoping for. Still, I was glad to see "Vicky Christina Barcelona" recognized for the brilliant film it is. ;-)

Bishop Gene Robinson to Start Inaugural Celebration

Apparently, the world's first openly gay Episcopal Bishop will be delivering the invocation at the opening ceremony for Obama's Inauguration Week. It doesn't really "make up" for allowing flaming homophobe Rick Warren deliver the invocation for Obama's actual Inauguration, but I guess it's good that we're making him sweat over this. After all, bitch-slapping the people who put one into that office isn't cool.

Inaugural Call to All Angels

(From Blogger Interrupted)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Gaza Protests

Because the US corporate media hardly even talked about them, check out the reports from abroad. You'll be surprised.