George W. Bush: One of Our Greatest Presidents?
No Need for a Deep Throat in Bush Administration
The Petty Administration
August 9th: Anniversary of Nixon Resignation
Complete Victory: Will Dubya’s action figure have the kung fu grip?
The Bush Agenda: Is there a Bush Agenda?
World According to Me:
The Making of a Genius: The NFL Way
Favre Not Alone Among Great Quarterbacks with less than Favorable Finishes
NFL Draft 2009: Team Grades and Brief Analysis
NFL Draft 2008: Team Grades and Brief Analysis
T.O. gets medicine to help him in playoff game; Clemens gets called before Congressional Committee for Injection in His Butt
Addendum: News surfaced over the weekend that 50 Cent, Wyclef Jean, Timbaland and other rap stars had been implicated in a steroids investigation.
NFL Draft 2007: Team Grades and Brief Analysis
Past and Future Damage
or Don't Let the Door hit you on
the way out
-- December 30, 2008
There have been several editorials throughout the media in the past few weeks regarding the slippery exit of George W. Bush from office and the lack of uproar over his unprosecuted crimes and damage he's done to the country.
We may well be judged as a civilized, law-abiding people by how we failed to hold "W" accountable for his crimes, but to attempt a lengthy, costly prosecution at this time with the outcome in doubt and success unsatisfying and insufficient at best is as distasteful as it is unproductive in solving the problems he left us with.
In addition, and perhaps, most persuasive of all, the entire endeavor would require us to keep him around to haunt and sicken us indefinitely rather than allowing him to slink off into oblivion where he should have remained the last eight years.
We could impeach a President for authorizing a bungled burglary. We could impeach a President for a sexual indiscretion. But we couldn't come close to impeaching a President who committed treason against us, sabotaged our legal protections, bankrupted our economy, and showed criminal negligence and categorical ineptitude in the face of disaster, and all because he wrapped himself in the flag, drew his saber to raise a jingoistic paranoia and split the populace along lines of loyalty to him rather than to the ideals on which the our country had been built and on which it had endured.
From The Lord of the Flies by William Golding: (the most politically astute novel ever)
"He's going to beat Wilfred."
Robert shook his head doubtfully.
"I don't know. He didn't say. He got angry and made us tie Wilfred up. He's been"-he giggled excitedly- "he's been tied for hours, waiting-"
"But didn't the chief say why?'
"I never heard him."
The chief was sitting there, naked to the waist, his face blocked out in white and red. The tribe lay in a semicircle before him. The newly beaten and untied Wilfred was sniffing noisily in the background. Roger squatted with the rest.
"Tomorrow," went on the chief, "we shall hunt again."
He pointed at this savage and that with his spear.
"Some of you will stay here to improve the cave and defend the gate. I shall take a few hunters with me and bring back meat. The defenders of the gate will see that the others don't sneak in."
A savage raised his hand, and the chief turned a bleak, painted face toward him.
"Why should they try to sneak in, Chief?"
The chief was vague but earnest.
"They will. They'll try to spoil things we do. So the watchers at the gate must be careful. And then-"
The chief paused. They saw a triangle of startling pink dart out, pass along his lips and vanish again.
"-and then, the beast might try to come in. You remember how he crawled-"
The semicircle shuddered and muttered in agreement.
'Roid Rage: Who Has it Worse
The Sportswriters, Sports Talk Radio Hosts or the Clueless Fans and Politicians?
By Dale Jellings
Let me state categorically, before I even begin my own well-thought out, well-informed dialogue on the subject, that I do not use, do not endorse, and do not condone the use of anabolic steroids by athletes. My diatribe here deals primarily with the ignorant, overblown, illogical reaction to this issue by the media, the fans, and most alarming, politicians.
First, let's deal with illogical: What exactly are the arguments against steroids? The most often blathered about is also the most incongruous.
They're performance-enhancing substances.
Can this actually be what people mean when they make this argument? As an athlete, and especially a professional athlete, shouldn't everything I do be designed to enhance my performance? Shouldn't I eat high quality protein, fresh fruit, grains. Drink milk and fruit juices. An athlete's diet chocked full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to build and keep a body strong.
Yeah, but steroids aren't natural.
Oops, there goes multi-vitamin tablets. Those are bad? My son's doctor recommended those. What about sports drinks, Gatorade and the like? Those are bad, too? Those have been on the sideline of every major college and pro team in America since 1965. What will we pour on coaches after a big victory? What about protein powders? Glutamine? Creatine? Amino Acids?
Some of those might be okay, but I don't know like that creatine stuff and those other powders.
Yikes, powders? Remember Tang? What happened? This stuff used to be wholesome. Astronauts. American heroes best and the brightest drank Tang. Now, its unseemly. It's a powder. Something about it just doesn't seem right.
Creatine is a natural nutrient. It is produced by the liver and then taken to the muscle cells by the blood where it is converted to creatine phosphate. Our bodies usually produce about 2 grams of creatine per day. Creatine can also be found in certain foods like red meat and fish among others. So, if I ate a dozen steaks, it'd be okay, but if I drink some creatine powder mixed with water, I'm "cheating" by using a performance-enhancing substance.
Okay, then, it's not good for the athlete.
Now, this is a nice thought. Concern for the athlete. But let's be honest, athletics are not that good for athletes, at least not most of the ones where steroids might be a factor. There is scientific data which links prolonged use and megadoses of steroids with a list of potential maladies including heart and liver disease, liver cancer, and testicular atrophy. However, there are no studies of athletes who used steroids prudently and intelligently under a doctor's supervision employing such methods as cycling on and off or rotating different types of anabolics.
The media, fans, and politicians rail on about steroids like the know-it-all at the local tavern who knee-jerks everything. To listen to these folks:
Everyone who takes steroids bulks up with big muscles or buffs down to washboard abs.
Don't strain yourself contemplating the improbability of this one. If it were even remotely true, there would be hundreds of average joes and wannabes lining up to smack a Randy Johnson fastball out of the park or rush for 100 yards against the Ravens' defense.
Steroids are not "muscles from a jar." The truth about what steroids can and cannot do is far more mundane. The most common results of steroid intake are bloating from water retention, an increase in acne, and a tendency to become irritated more easily. Sounds more like PMS, but these are about the only guarantees without many other factors. For steroids to have an impact at all, an athlete must combine steroid use with proper nutrition, hard work in the weight room, consistent rest and recuperation as well as cutting-edge physiological and medical guidance. There is a select minority of athletes who can combine enough of these elements to benefit from the use of steroids. The vast majority who try them are not disciplined enough, patient enough, or informed enough to benefit much.
The record books are tainted because players who hit a lot of home runs must have taken steroids.
This one might be a cause for concern if it were not so patently ridiculous. There are many more logical and verifiable reasons for the increase in home runs in major league baseball. Expansion has deluded talent in the majors, especially at the pitching position. Pitchers with less talent have little aptitude for pitching inside and rarely get close strike calls from umpires when facing "star" power hitters. New ballparks are constructed smaller, and older ballparks are renovated to be more homer friendly. Many studies have shown new baseballs to be wound tighter and travel farther, at least in comparison to those used in past years. If it were all steroids and bulk, how can we explain sleek fellows like Shawn Green, Brady Anderson, Richie Sexton, and Luis Gonzalez hitting 45 or more homers in a season in the last ten years.
Steroids do not hit home runs. That is akin to giving me power tools at a construction site. Sending me in the kitchen with state-of-the-art mixers and appliances will not get you a delicious meal. In fact, I might even do a worse job than if I used the old tools, and that is exactly what is more likely for an athlete who expects steroids to improve whatever game he is playing. Even if the steroid was successful in making the athlete bigger, size does not necessarily translate into strength. There have been quite a few successful bodybuilders who have packed on incredible muscle mass while lifting relatively light weights.
They're illegal, you know.
This is the best, fairest argument against the use of steroids. However, the hysteria surrounding this substance has begun to unfairly impinge upon other non-prescription substances. Makers of androstenedione have been informed by Major League Baseball that they're product will be added to the off-limits list unless they can show the product is not harmful. This is a reverse of the procedure in this country for determining if a product is dangerous or needs a prescription. Although they are under tremendous political pressure to do so, the FDA and medical doctors have not labeled this product as dangerous or harmful.
What substances might be next? Ephedra has already been banned, not by the FDA, but by politicians. What about anabolic enhancers like 6-Oxo, a naturally-occurring aromastatic compound and Myo-blast, a myostatin neutralizer derived from exotic sea plants? These are lab-tested safe alternatives to steroids.
Why are the politicians involved in this at all? Why is George Bush harping about steroids in a nationally televised speech? The answer seems obvious: to distract from the real, difficult problems facing this nation like social security, universal health care, and the debacle in Iraq while appearing to be acting to protect us defenseless citizens from unscrupulous drug dealers.
All I'm asking here is for people to give it some thought, develop an informed opinion, and then apply it rationally to the situation.
Qu: What do a multi-vitamin tablet, a cup of coffee, a freshly-peeled orange, and an analgesic body rub like Flex-all or Ben-Gay all have in common?
A: They are all performance-enhancing substances....and each of them has been proven to be more reliably effective in enhancing performance than steroids.
These are all okay? None are against the law. There's no uproar when an athlete drinks a couple cups of coffee before a game. But if he pops a couple No Doze or Vivarin tablets, he's cheating!
If you think I am over-reacting, check out this quote:
"The ...use of ...performance-enhancing substances is detrimental to the integrity of the game and the long-term health of the athletes who use them. We in Major League Baseball are fully committed to eliminating these dangerous substances and reaching zero tolerance as soon as possible." -- Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig
The Man Who Ruined Too Much
Could it be Fay Vincent?
If there really is one guy who can be blamed for screwing up baseball, I don’t believe it’s Barry Bonds. If I’m really allowed just one guy to blame, I’ll cast my vote for Fay Vincent.
After all, he’s the guy who made a mess of the Pete Rose thing. Commissioner Giamatti had worked out a deal with Rose to get him away from baseball long enough to give the impression that appropriate action had been taken, but not so long that it would permanently besmirch the man or the game. After the first year of Rose’s indefinite suspension, he would apply for re-admission to baseball. Giamatti could grant the request if Rose held up his end of the deal not to challenge, appeal or otherwise contest the decision. It was detrimental to have the specter of gambling hanging over the game. It was a travesty to exclude the man with the most career hits and arguably the most passion for the game.
Vincent reneged on the deal, subsequently dragging both the game and Rose through decades of mud, causing a Hall of Fame controversy which has angered the vast majority of fans almost as much as the strike which many owners blamed Vincent for even though they’d forced him to resign by the time it came to pass.
Vincent is now calling for Bud Selig to hire an outside investigator to research allegations of steroid use by Barry Bonds.
"I think he should hire somebody like John Dowd or set up a committee," Vincent said Thursday. "He needs to do that, maybe headed by Mario Cuomo or George Mitchell, somebody of that ilk."
Bonds is accused in an upcoming book of using steroids, human growth hormone and insulin for at least five seasons beginning in 1998, according to Sports Illustrated, which published excerpts this week. "One of the first things to do is talk to Bonds," Vincent said. "Will he cooperate? If he doesn't, I think that leads to disaster for Bonds. The union would make a big mistake by being too defensive here. Congress could step in."
This all means that before he’s done, Vincent may well have been instrumental in banning from baseball the game’s all-time hits leader and the game’s single season and career home run leader.
And in both cases, a strong argument can be made that Vincent was motivated by personal animosity rather than objective rationale.
In the case of Barry Bonds, it cannot be stressed enough that there was no ban on or rule governing steroids in major league baseball until the 2003 season. Since testing began, Bonds has not tested positive for any banned substance. Even if there is circumstantial evidence, Bonds has not been prosecuted or indicted for any crime linked to illegal substances.
In the case of Rose, Vincent never forgave Pete for fighting back and not taking his dressing down with contrition. There are those who have speculated that he blamed Rose and his obstinance for hastening Giamatti’s death due to the stress placed on his already failing health. (One of the main reasons for the signed agreement was the success Rose’s attorneys had in persuading judges the case should be decided in federal court instead of baseball’s kangaroo court. With little chance of successfully proving the case in a court of law, Giamatti settled for Rose’s acquiescence to an agreement banning him indefinitely with an opportunity to petition for re-instatement after one year.)
Shortly after Vincent took over from Giamatti, a rule was added that anybody placed on the "banned for life" list would be ineligible for the Hall of Fame. With the timing and the specific impact it had, it’s hard not to presume this particular rule was aimed at Rose.
As the pretentious confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito continue without much suspense or surprise, I keep hearing Democrats and liberal pundits harping about how Alito will be nothing but an extension of and a pawn in the Bush Agenda.
What agenda? I have yet to hear anyone explain or quantify or delineate what the Bush Agenda might be. An agenda, as it is used in this context, seems to require both physical as well as philosophical designs and outcomes. Given this Administration’s actions and rhetoric, I am unable to discern either. As close as I can figure, if there is a Bush Agenda, it has something to do with getting rich people richer, weakening the laws keeping many of those same rich people from laying waste to this planet’s environment, and a failed attempt to re-write history to portray all non-Christians as the cause of every perceived woe of this country and the world. (Hitler didn’t even blame that many people for everything as the Jews made up only 1% of the German population. Recent polls show between 17% and 20% of Americans identify themselves as non-Christian.)
I know for certain that helping Americans beset by trouble or tragedy is decidedly NOT on the agenda. If it were on the Bush Agenda, then the families of victims of September 11th or of Hurricane Katrina would have received swift and adequate assistance. If it were on the Bush Agenda, then workers in this country would have found assistance when their pensions were unilaterally yanked from them or their jobs and their futures were destroyed because of scandalous business dealings of companies like Enron or Worldcon. If it were on the Bush Agenda, then this country would have a public education system which strove for academic excellence rather than fiscal acuity and slight-of-hand budgeting tricks. If it were on the Bush Agenda, then the richest, supposedly most advanced country in the world would have a universal health care system at least as good as powerhouse countries like Switzerland, Austria, and Finland; all who have more CT scanners and MRI machines than the United States.
“...every other country in the industrialized world insures all its citizens; despite those extra hundreds of billions of dollars we spend each year, we leave forty-five million people without any insurance. A country that displays an almost ruthless commitment to efficiency and performance in every aspect of its economy—a country that switched to Japanese cars the moment they were more reliable, and to Chinese T-shirts the moment they were five cents cheaper—has loyally stuck with a health-care system that leaves its citizenry pulling out their teeth with pliers.”
-- MALCOLM GLADWELL, “THE MORAL-HAZARD MYTH: The bad idea behind our failed health-care system,” New Yorker Magazine
Okay, so I think I have a firm grasp of what the Bush Agenda is NOT. The only constant in the trail of erratic activity from the Bush White House these five odd years has been a penchant for swift and horrible retribution against anyone who dares to question, criticize or illuminate the Administration’s foibles and excesses.
So, until, someone can come up with a clear and comprehensible depiction of an actual Bush Agenda, I’ll just have to assume it’s a mystery along the same lines as “How is this guy not being impeached?”
Will Dubya’s action figure have the kung fu grip?
"Against such an enemy, there's only one effective response: We never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory."
--President Bush (from his most recent televised speech to the nation)
Shouldn’t we be out of Iraq then? Because I seem to remember an aircraft carrier adorned with a huge banner, and President Bush parading around in a flight suit, an image that was later recreated as a toy action figure for children and childlike American adults who believe whatever their TVs tell them. I even found a plethora of headlines around February 5, 2003 much like this one:
Bush declares victory in Iraq
In the battle of Iraq, the US and allies have prevailed!
Several of these articles actually did mention, however, that it was only the “combat phase” of the war which was over. Apparently, the much more deadly and drawn out “U.S. soldiers as sitting ducks” phase, sometimes known as the “fish in a barrel” phase, or the “flies in a klein bottle” phase was yet to be completed. Whatever you call it, this phase of continuous senseless deaths of U.S. soldiers is meant to be accompanied by conservative political rhetoric about the final throes of the insurgency causing this ongoing carnage of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
During this long, drawn out phase, new headlines have begun appearing in the press around the world:
Worse Than Saddam
Sometimes these articles refer to U.S. torture of Iraqi prisoners. Sometimes they deal with the interim government’s treatment of civilians taken from their homes, detained, and tortured without charges. Whatever the specifics, the sentiment is clear. The United States presence in Iraq was bogus to begin with, has affected no positive change, and is causing irreparable harm to the future of the country and its people.
Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss recently commented while helping to promote the "American Experience" PBS documentary adaptation of his 2003 book, "They Marched Into Sunlight:"
"War doesn't go away when the bullets stop," observed Maraniss. "Vietnam still is as relevant today as it was then."
If he were correct in this assumption, the United States would have been out of Iraq by now. It is much more likely that Vietnam is no more relevant to the adolescents and young adults of this country than World War II and Korea were to the youth of the1960s. Although the documentary of Mariniss’s book may be valuable in getting the discussion started, as it was in the 1960s, it will take a bridging of all ages and ideologies before the United States will accept another exit without “complete victory” or, as it was known in Vietnam, “unilateral surrender.”
If the lessons of Vietnam were truly valid today, the citizens of the United States would have overwhelmingly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This seems almost impossible, and I believe I know why. When I asked my son, a junior in high school, what he had been taught about Vietnam in all his various history classes, he replied, “Nothing, really. We never get much passed World War II before the end of the year.”
The Petty Administration
By Dale Jellings
The word is petty. I have to use it.
Even though it bothers me that some talented folks I respect like Tom Petty,
Kyle Petty, Norman Petty, and others I’m probably forgetting share their names
with this adjective, I have to use it to describe the current administration
because it is so perfect and relevant. Check out the definition:
pettier, superlative pettiest)
1. Of small importance; trivial: a petty grievance. 2. Marked by narrowness of mind, ideas, or views. 3. Marked by meanness or lack of generosity, especially in trifling matters.
There is no other word which better describes the actions, attitude, and intentions of this administration.
Cases in point:
After Senator Jim Jeffords, a life-long Republican, overwhelmingly re-elected in Vermont, had the temerity to oppose Bush’s original, even huger and more unwise and unfair tax cuts for the wealthy, the President and his arrogant, smug advisers (read: Karl Rove and Nick Calio) began playing political hardball expecting the Vermont senator to fall in line.
The New York Times reported:
The strategist said that when Mr. Jeffords refused to give White House officials unconditional love, they responded in a fashion that left him feeling "constantly dissed, ignored, embarrassed, not treated with the kind of respect you would accord a senator, let alone a Republican.
Despite Ari Fleischer’s insistence that no one in the Bush Administration, least of all Karl Rove and Nick Calio, the New York Times also reported:
But several prominent Republicans said that hardball was exactly what the administration had played. It did so, they said, by cutting Mr. Jeffords, chairman of the Senate education committee, out of the loop on the administration's education proposal, by withholding its support for a Northeastern dairy compact important to him and by quietly putting out the word to reporters that Mr. Jeffords would learn to rue his rebelliousness.
Bush and his strong-arming tacticians totally misjudged Jeffords by stepping up their strategy of retribution by stalling the president’s support for his patient’s bill of rights and then overlooked inviting him to a White House ceremony honoring a Vermont teacher as "Teacher of the Year."
Apparently the final straw came when the President had Budget Committee Chairman Domenici inform him that there would be nothing in the president’s education bill for Jefford’s special education proposal. With the Senate balanced on a 50-50 party split in his first term, Jeffords surprised Bush and his bullies by leaving the Republican Party to become an independent, thus throwing the balance of power in the Senate back to the Democrats.
With politicians snubbed at social functions because of their voting records, reporters kicked off of Air Force One because of editorials run by their papers, and administration members frozen out of meetings after making public statements against Bush policies, proposed plans, the pettiness of the Bush administration supercedes all other decision-making apparatus.
With the Downing Street memo and several other recent revelations, it’s plain Bush’s reasons for invading Iraq had more to do with pettiness, hubris, and personal gain than terrorism or WMDs. However Bush has reserved his fervent petty wrath for anyone who dares to oppose this folly of a war.
When Richard Clarke, Bush’s National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and the President's principle counterterrorism expert, went public with his version of pre-9/11 anti-terrorism activity or lack thereof, the Bush Administration tried to diminish his position and discredit the weight of his official documentation by referring to him as a Clinton Administration holdover.
Clarke told CNN: "I'm told that the White House has decided to destroy me," he told CNN at the end of a week of being attacked. He added, "The issue is not about me. The issue is about the president's performance in the war on terrorism. And because I had the temerity to suggest he didn't do much of anything before 9/11, and by going into Iraq he's actually hurt the war on terrorism after 9/11, the White House has geared up this personal attack machine and is trying to undermine my credibility."
Joe Wilson refused to allow the Bush Administration to “fix” the details of his official government report showing Hussein was not trying to buy nuclear material from Niger, someone in the Bush Administration (Karl Rove? Dick Cheney? Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby?) retaliated by exposing the undercover identity of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, a CIA operative.
Finally, there was former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was first fired for questioning the need for tax cuts and later pummeled for telling insider stories in a book.
And it continues to this day, August 19th, reports are surfacing that the Bush Administration has decided to cut aid to some two dozen nations that refused to sign immunity agreements to shield Americans from the fledgling International Criminal Court in The Hague, which was intended to be the first permanent tribunal for prosecuting crimes like genocide and war crimes.
Just as a coincidence, maybe, August 19th is also the anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s 1934 seizing of sole executive power in Germany as Fuhrer.
The 37th President Is First to Quit Post
-- I received this 31 year-old news story in my e-mail and it was like when my father used to reach over and just cuff me on the back of my head, a snap-out-of-it, cut-it-out sort of gesture. I knew I had to write something about it.
Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, announced tonight he had given up his long, arduous fight to remain in office and would resign, effective at noon tomorrow. At that hour, Gerald Rudolph Ford, whom Mr. Nixon nominated for Vice President last Oct. 12, will be sworn in as the 38th President, to serve out the 895 days remaining in Mr. Nixon's second term.
Okay, never mind. I was going to write an article about how even Nixon was a better president than Bush because after all his dubious decisions, transparent lies, and cover-ups, he at least had enough intestinal fortitude to resign for the good of himself and the country. But I keep forgetting about DICK Cheney!
Less than two years after his landslide re-election victory, Mr. Nixon, in a conciliatory address on national television, said that he was leaving not with a sense of bitterness but with a hope that his departure would start a "process of healing that is so desperately needed in America."
"I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so," he said.
Puts 'Interests of America First'
"I have never been a quitter," he said. "To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body." But he said that he had decided to put "the interests of America first."
Only a president as dishonest, self-serving, and ineffectual as George W. Bush could make a pariah like Richard Nixon look innocent and honorable by comparison.
As he has many times in the past, Mr. Nixon listed what he considered his most notable accomplishments of his five and half years in office -- his initiatives in foreign policy, which he said had gone a long way toward establishing a basis for world peace.
"(The nation’s) entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home."
If it could be said, and it would be a stretch, that George W. Bush had any great issues, they apparently do not include those expressed by Nixon in his final speech as President.
I believe sometimes the people around Bush have to remind him that he is President. The pressures and responsibilities seem an awful nuisance to our current President.
In perspective, Nixon was facing almost certain impeachment. Yet, he could have fought it and bogged the government and the entire country down with the trial. I have seen it expressed often recently on this black-eye anniversary that we should stop calling the Watergate break-in a “third-rate burglary.” But it most assuredly was just that. A botched attempt at political intrigue. An act that, even if successful, would have had little if any impact on the country or the election. And yet, at the time, a “third-rate burglary” and its concomitant cover-up were more than enough to guarantee the impeachment of a President.
HOW FAR WE HAVE COME as a nation and a society when a President can justify us into a war by having intelligence and facts fixed to show the conjunction of terrorism and WMDs in Iraq; when a President ignores and defends members of his administration revealing the identities of undercover Central Intelligence Agency operatives; when a President can detain American-born citizens as well as citizens of other countries for long, indeterminate lengths of time without benefit of indictment, counsel, or trial. In contrast these crimes have cost thousands of lives and destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in this country and around the world. When all that are indisputable facts, and we can still not even raise the specter of impeachment for such a criminal. Compare that to such a vilified crook as Nixon, and think about HOW FAR WE HAVE COME as a nation.
In early 1973, as Nixon ended American military involvement in the Vietnam war and as he moved to strengthen the powers of his office in a multitude of ways, his popularity rating in the Gallup Poll registered 68 per cent. But as the Watergate disclosures broke his rating dropped quickly and was below 30 per cent before the end of the year.
If there is one glimmer of hope for us in today’s United States, it may be that as hard-headed as we are as a nation, eventually we do catch on. Recent polling numbers show Bush’s approval rating hovering in the low 40% range, his lowest ever, and for the first time since 9/11 over 70% of those polled disagreed with his handling of the war on terror and over 65% believed they are less safe now than when George W. Bush began his second term. Let the light of the truth touch us all and never go out – but don’t expect any media coverage.
(Excerpts used from “Nixon Resigns” By JOHN HERBERS, Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES)
George W. Bush: One of Our Greatest Presidents?
In the past several weeks, I have been flabbergasted to hear and read accounts of George W. Bush being bandied about as one of our greatest presidents in history. Now, I believe Republicans and other such narrow-minded, shallow Americans should feel free to exercise their rights as U.S. citizens to proclaim their support for their president, his politics and his policies, but before someone starts making rash comparisons to Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, and Clinton, I believe they need to cite some accomplishments and consider the failures.
George W. Bush...
...turned a 5 trillion surplus into a 5 trillion debt in just over 5 years.
...shattered the record for the biggest annual deficit in history.
...set an economic record for the most personal bankruptcies filed during a two-term presidency (and it’s only 5 + years in).
...set a record for most Americans losing their jobs during a two-term presidency (and it’s only 5 + years in – even more than during the Great Depression).
...cut unemployment benefits for more out-of-work Americans than any other president in US history.
...cut health care benefits for war veterans.
...dissolved more international treaties than any president in U.S. history.
...imprisoned between 700 and 900 men and boys at a Guantanamo Bay Detention Center for over three years without charging them, most without access to legal counsel or a schedule for indictment.
...caused the deaths of 2000 (and counting) U.S. and coalition troops during an unjustified act of aggression against the sovereign nation of Iraq.
Now, there’s some big negatives in that list, some impeachable offenses in other past administrations and other past time periods. I didn’t even include anything about the Bush Administration and Bush election campaign using tax money to produce video news spots and to pay pundits and talk-show hosts to hawk the President’s agenda.
On to those accomplishments: ?
? (cricket, cricket)
Seriously, are there any? No Child Left Behind is a disaster. As an unfunded mandate, it has caused the laying off of teachers, increased class sizes, and the dropping of valuable educational programming. The so-called tax cut helped only the wealthy, and its major result was to send the country deeper into the red when it most desperately needed to replenish the coffers.
And what about the great man’s War on Terr? First, he avenged 9-11 by crushing the Taliban, a socio-political party in Afghanistan which had no connection to Al Qaida other than Osama Bin Ladin lived in their country. Employing a shrewd balance of arrogance and incompetence, Bush’s military commanders let Bin Laden slip through their fingers and still haven’t found him. Then Bush had his intelligence people fix information around a connection between Al Qaida and Iraq -- that and the whole WMD lie -- so he could attack Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. The removal of Hussein and the long U.S. occupation has only served to make allies of the insurgents and Al Qaida, thus increasing the terrorist presence in Iraq.
You can be a Bush sympathizer. You can be a Bush supporter. You can be a Bush apologist. You can say how much you trust him. You can say how decisive you thought he was before the election. You can say how he has cleared the way for his friends, relatives, and cronies to put tons of money in their pockets while the rest of America goes broke.
BUT... you cannot say he is one of our greatest presidents. The only alternative universe where that debate could even be considered is the one where everyone's’ tongues are firmly planted in their cheeks.
No Need for a Deep Throat in Bush Administration:
This Emperor Doesn’t Even Pretend to Have Clothes
A recent political cartoon by Jim Borgman of the Cincinnati Enquirer cast a clarifying light on the decades of change which have re-shaped both the media and the government in this country since the downfall of the Nixon Administration in the early 1970s. The cartoon, set in a parking garage, features a modern-day Deep Throat revealing White House secrets to a reporter. “Cheney had Lucky Charms for breakfast.” “Rumsfeld has a haircut Tuesday at 4 pm.” The reporter thinks, “Man, nobody can penetrate this administration.”
"The aide (a senior adviser to President Bush) said that guys like me (reporters and commentators) were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." – Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004.
Of course not! It dawned on me. What’s to uncover? Everything’s out in the open. It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes, but with a new chapter. When the little boy points out that the Emperor is naked, the Emperor says, “No, I’m not.” End of story.And everyone believes him. Well, if they don’t, and they insist upon mentioning the Emperor’s lack of clothes, they are labeled un-American and unpatriotic and risk persecution under a new law in the kingdom called, and I’m not kidding here, “The Patriot Act” which allows the Emperor’s minions to take away a citizen’s previously cherished rights, especially those dealing with freedom of speech and dissent.
Bush lied about WMDs and Saddam being connected to Al Qaida. Only logical conclusions until recently backed by the evidence in the Downing Street Memo which showed Bush, more than a half a year before seeking congressional approval for the invasion, intended to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD with the intelligence and facts being fixed around the policy.Bush’s response: “No, I didn’t.” Blair, Bush's closest ally in the war, said that "the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all."
The intelligence and facts were, in Bush’s words, “flawed.” See, we didn’t fix the facts. We flawed them.
"See, in my line of work, you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
-- Bush in Greece, N.Y., May 24, once more explaining his Social Security plan to a town hall meeting of perfectly average citizens -- except they had all been pre-screened to allow only those who agree with him into the hall.Can anyone imagine any other U.S. president saying something like that, in those words, without being thoroughly grilled or disparaged about their intended meaning? Can you hear Carter or Clinton or even Lyndon Johnson speaking of “catapulting the propaganda?” Not even Teflon Reagan would have been so dense and cavalier.
But then, let’s face another fact which has not been flawed by the administration, Bush’s lack of clothes would never be pointed out since he has not spoken before anything but a hand-picked audience of supporters since before 9-11. No president in history has been so insulated from the United States public as this pretender who aptly goes by a single non-descript initial, “Dubya.”How is this guy not impeached?
Here’s how the stakes have gone up:Nixon covered up a botched break-in of a Democratic office. He had to resign before he was impeached. His integrity was hurt. G. Gordon Liddy claimed to have burned his hand once on purpose. But no one was killed. Clinton lied about an infidelity with an intern. He barely escaped impeachment. His privacy, not to mention that of the intern, was destroyed. A cigar may have been extinguished, but...no other casualties. No deaths. No atrocities against prisoners.
Bush lies us into an unjust war based on false, flawed or fixed intelligence and facts. His administration trashes the Geneva Conventions and condones, if not outright supports, atrocities committed by American soldiers against Iraqi prisoners. The death toll of Americans alone is in excess of 2000 and growing. No impeachment proceedings at all?Nada.
However, there may yet be reason for hope. I give you this from a column written by the Honorable Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan: (In part)
America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.
As intent as Republicans were to impeach President Bill Clinton for lying about a sexual affair, they have a blind eye for President Bush’s far more serious lies. Bush’s lies have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, injured and maimed tens of thousands more, devastated a country, destroyed America’s reputation, caused 1 billion Muslims to hate America, ruined our alliances with Europe, created a police state at home, and squandered $300 billion dollars and counting.
Abundant evidence now exists in the public domain to convict George W. Bush of the crime of the century. The secret British government memo (dated July 23, 2002, and available here), leaked to the Sunday Times (which printed it on May 1, 2005), reports that Bush wanted “to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
Why isn’t Bush in the dock?
Has American democracy failed at home?
Whoa! This Roberts guy must be a radical liberal in conservative stripes, right? Wrong! He is currently a John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He was a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute. As Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, he was credited by President Reagan and Treasury Secretary Regan as having a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. He’s a real conservative who cares about this country and its future as a democracy. He also appears to have both a sense of fair play and the nerve to espouse it.
One final thought occurred to me while pondering Borgman’s cartoon and the legacy of Deep Throat which generated it. Has anyone noticed how many members of the Bush Administration served in or had close associations to the Nixon Administration. Hmmm....
Archive 1 (2/04-6/04)