Wednesday, January 21, 2009



In 1999, wealthy political investors known as 'pioneers' came up with the idea of, and financed, the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, son of former President George H.W. Bush, who was at that time holding the largely ceremonial Governorship of Texas.

Under the ruthless and brilliant direction of Karl Rove, and with the aid of a news media intent on ridiculing the awkward but competent Al Gore, and with the aid of a Nader candidacy sucking voters disenchanted with Clinton's centrism, the candidacy of George W. Bush manuevered itself into striking distance of the Presidency.

With the aid of the President's brother, Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, and Katherine Harris, Secretary of State of Florida and state chair for the Bush campaign, Voter rolls were liberally cleansed of African American and other likely Democratic groups of voters. An extremely close election in Florida was called by the networks for Bush, despite the fact that a recount was likely and that recounts tend to add more votes from poorer, more Democratic districts due to their inferior voting machines.

With a complicit news media and a Secretary of State acting in Bush's favor, Gore had to go to the Florida Supreme Court to try to get a recount, while fighting a public relations battle to convince people he was not being a sore loser. The Florida Supreme Court (who should be given medals for patriotism) came down with a sensible decision on how to recount the votes, based on Florida law which clearly favored determining voter intent.

With a recount likely to end up favoring Gore, the United States Supreme Court shockingly agreed to review Bush's case. Then even more shockingly, they ruled that the recount must stop. For the U.S. Supreme Court to meddle in a state's election, even for a national office, was shocking and unprecendented. Their logic was flawed. And yet they stopped the recount and gave the election to George Bush. Months later, findings were released which indicated that had a full recount based on determining voter intent been undertaken according to Florida law, Gore would have emerged with more votes, and would have won the Presidency. And yet, he did not, due to the astounding, anti-democratic and unpatriotic actions of Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, and 5 Supreme Court Justices, all of whom derelicted their duties as Americans in order to install their preferred candidate in the White House. Let us name them. William Rehnquist. Antoin Scalia. Sandra Day O'Connor. Anthony Kennedy. Clarence Thomas.

Once President, the administration of George Bush, largely run by Vice President Dick Cheney, proceeded to hand out large sums to the 'pioneers' in the guise of a number of disingenous policies - policies whose effects were usually contradictory to what their names described. No Child Left Behind. Clear Skies Initiative. Regulations were dismantled and industry exectives were appointed to regulate (or to not regulate) their own industries. The Alternative Minimum Tax was abolished - retroactively, and taxes already paid were returned to large corporations that financed Bush's campaign. Meanwhile, Neo-Conservatives from the Project for The New American Century were shaping foreign policy.

Before September 11, 2001, the Bush Administration ignored warnings from the Clinton Administration and from subsequent intelligence that indicated that Al Qaeda was capable of and was planning an attack on American soil. On that day, over 3000 Americans died in the attacks. The Neo-cons' PNAC document stated that a 'New Pearl Harbor' might be necessary to garner public support for its foreign policy goals. With 9/11, that event happened. And what the Bush Administration did after 9/11 is exactly what the Neo-Cons proposed.

They used the good will and sympathy from the nation and the world to enact more policies which enriched the 'Pioneers'. They used that good will to go to Afghanistan, where a pipeline opposed by the government there soon got underway. They used that good will to sell the nation and mainstream news media on a war in Iraq, which helped them to control the world's energy supply, and allowed them to funnel still more money to Halliburton and other 'pioneer' companies such as Blackwater. Meanwhile, they ran the national deficits up and ballooned the national debt. With all the money going into their contributors' pockets. Meanwhile thousands of American soldiers died. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, and millions suffered as the infrastructure of Iraq was destroyed. Here in America, the infrastructure crumbled. Laws protecting ordinary working Americans disappeared. Those people got poorer. But the pioneers got richer, and this was all that mattered to them. This was a grift. This was organized crime on a huge scale. They stole our surplus, then they borrowed money and stole that. It was the joining of Corporate and Political power - the very definition of Facism.

Slowly, more and more Americans began to wake up and notice that something was wrong. This was not an administration. These were not conservatives. These were not moral Christians. The geniality of Bush fooled people for a long time. People trusted Bush to be decent. They believed him, and if someone like him was in control, it seemed unlikely that evil was being done. But Bush was not in control. He was never in control. He wasn't interested in being in control. That's why he was the perfect front man for this operation.

As the levees crumbled in New Orleans and Katrina drowned the city and its poorer residents, the last of the veneer began to strip away. Throughout history, faced with this dilemma, Fascist dictators became more and more desperate and would crack down harder and harder. And they would not reliquish control until it was pried from their dead hands. However, in this peculiar form of American Facism, the unmotivated and empty vessel of a leader had no power or interest in maintaining power to the end. In typical Bush fashion, they prepared to leap overboard with their profits as the ship sunk. Like rats, off they went in their lifeboats, with one last bailout of the institutions whose unregulated malfeasance caused the economy to collapse. And they rowed away, waiting for a day when the people once again trusted their Goverment and their news media. And when that day comes, they will once again try to exploit the public trust for private greed. Meanwhile, they will buy up the desperate nation's resources for pennies on the dollar. They are desperate for wealth and power, and they think this makes them better than the rest of us. In fact, they are sick, deranged human beings, who think it perfectly acceptable for others to suffer and die so that they can have more and more.

A new day is upon us. A new generation of leaders, led by the decent and earnest Barack Obama, has gained power and tilted the balance once more toward a vision of the public good. As we continue to feel the effects of this Bush hurricane which has leveled our nation, we will all suffer and we will all have to work together to restore what we have lost. To rebuild on a solid foundation of teamwork and mutual respect. Power will once again belong to those that have earned it in the eyes of their fellow citizens.It will be hard, and it will be good.

But I, for one, will never forget what those bastards did to us. What they did to our soldiers. To the residents of New Orleans. To the people of Iraq. Whether Bush and Cheney and everyone else who was a party to this scheme spends the rest of their lives in a jail cell or sipping margaritas in Paraguay doesn't matter to me anymore. But I want the people of this nation to know what happened. I want the details to be exposed, and publicized. We should know exactly what they did and how they did it, so that next time, more of us will see the warning signs, so that people like Dick Cheney, who by all rights should have lived his life muttering to himself at the last seat of some bar, will remain there, and leave the rest of us to build the best life we can for our families and our communities.

To George Bush and Dick Cheney and the Pioneers: Fuck off and die.


Peter Fuhry

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I'm going to go a bit against the grain here. Why exactly, now more than any other time, is Harry Reid being Mr. Tough Guy about Blagojevich's appointment of Burris to Obama's Senate seat?

If he calls a vote to exclude Mr. Burris, he's on shaky Constitutional ground. If they seat Mr. Burris and then try to expel him, he needs a 2/3 vote, which may be difficult to get. Why invite a lawsuit and a big hubbub? And why all the posturing, threatening not to seat a Blago appointment? Now that Blago has called your bluff, you have to step to the plate.

Meanwhile the Illinois secretary of state threatens that he won't certify the appointment. On what authority?

Everyone is falling all over themselves to prevent this guy from making an appointment. Meanwhile, though it may be clear that he isn't an honorable fellow and isn't fit for office, he has yet to be convicted of anything - he has yet to be impeached, and he is still, legally, the Governor of Illinois. Everyone is getting their panties in a bunch over this guy, but they're making the mistake of posturing and threatening. And they don't have the power to follow through.

Read it: We don't have the power to easily and ethically stop Blagojevich from appointing Burris to the Senate.

And what is the big deal anyway? So Burris, who seems to be at least somewhat qualified, serves out Obama's term. Then, he probably loses the primary in the next election, as he has before... Unless he distinguishes himself and distances himself from the Blagojevich stink.

I think Reid will cave on this, as he caves on most things after talking tough. But I think he picked the wrong thing to talk tough about. Of all the things!

I would like to see Reid step down. He's shown bad judgment in the way he's handled this. This is like bad parenting. You make threats and yell and scream, and then capitulate. How about staying quiet and calmly enforcing rules and pushing your agenda as best you can? How about calling the Republicans' bluff like everyone calls yours?

How about Russ Feingold replacing Harry Reid? Shit, even John Kerry would be better.

* * *

And another thing. Diane Feinstein will never whine about Big Business ruling America and stealing from the treasury. But appointing Leon Panetta to head the CIA? Hissy fit. I think Diane Feinstein is an idiot.

This is a ballsy move for Obama. I like it, because it's confrontational. It says "I'm going to change the culture at the CIA," and that's a dangerous thing to do. It's also a scary thing for Panetta to do. But it speaks to a conviction and a dedication to reversing the torture ethos, and removing the stink of providing 'intelligence' to satisfy a political need. Panetta has a history of being principled.