Friday, April 26, 2013

A "Good Man"

At the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, President Obama praised “a good man” with “incredible strength and resolve”.

Maybe Obama is still under the delusion that the sentiment behind this unctuous remark will be returned by Republicans when his library is opened. Yeah, right.

The Washington post reports that Bush: joked that there was a time in his life when he “wouldn't have been found at a library, much less found one.”

That would be a joke alright, if the truth is a joke.

The Post also informed us:

Clinton joked about the newest facility in the presidential library system, calling it the “latest, grandest example of former presidents to rewrite history.”

And as I said, that would be a joke alright, if the truth is a joke.

Thanks to Bush remaining largely out of the media and silent on issues, as well as the famous lack of memory in the American public, Bush’s approval rating has gone up from the 30’s to the 40’s in percentage points.

I should add that this is due in no small part to Obama’s “looking forward” and his refusal to investigate torture and the reasons given for invading Iraq. Maybe he thinks that will cover his ass when his misdeeds are revealed. It should. Bush and Cheney have proven that an American Administration can get away with launching a war based on lies, building a surveillance state, subverting the Fourth Amendment and various other crimes against humanity and freedom.

Bush is in his glory now, praised for his “principles and “incredible strength and resolve”.

We can forget the crashed economy and skyrocketing unemployment the great “Decider” left us.


You’d think the guy actually accomplished what he claimed. Remember all that talk about defending and “spreading freedom”?

He sure didn't do that for the United States. The Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, the FISA Amendment, etc., with the warrantless surveillance of Americans and arrest and incarceration without charges and counsel haven’t exactly protected our freedom.

How about all that freedom spread over in Iraq and Afghanistan? Turns out:

Iraq’s political rights rating declined from 5 to 6 due to the concentration of power by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and increasing pressure on the political opposition, as exemplified by the arrest and death sentence in absentia of Vice President Tariq al Hashimi, the country’s most senior Sunni Arab politician.

Maliki is obviously less brutal than Saddam Hussein, but still, that’s not exactly the ideal result. As for Afghanistan, it’s a similar story. Hamid Karzai is a step up from the Taliban but the country is still “not free,” according to Freedom House.

Last Tuesday political violence in Iraq killed at least 56 people

Ugly, very ugly. But forget about all that.

Let’s go back to fantasy land; that happy world where we see Bush’s dream of building a “freedom Institute” come to fruition.

As I reported on Tuesday, September 4, 2007:

The George W. Bush Freedom Institute

As Congress returns from vacation to resume its duties of subservient ineptitude, there is nothing like a new book about our Fearless Leader and Decider to cheer us up. You just know there would be a few nuggets of truth revealed that would embarrass the administration. Journalist Robert Draper interviewed Rove, Cheney, Laura Bush, and many senior White House and administration officials. He was even granted six interviews with Bush.

In "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush," Draper writes that Karl Rove told his boss that he knew nothing about CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. This was after Rove and others leaked her identity. An indignant George even told us he would investigate and “take care” of the leaker. Draper writes, "When Bush learned otherwise, he hit the roof." Amazing. They even lie to each other.

We also learn what Bush is planning on doing after he leaves office. It’s uplifting to know that, besides his wish to "replenish the ol' coffers" by giving paid speeches, he wants to build a “Freedom Institute.” Yup, that should do quite nicely to reflect his glorious legacy. A grateful nation (or shall I say planet?) will be blessed with the George W. Bush Freedom Institute.

I can picture it all now. We approach the magnificent structure, perched like a shining city on a hill. We tingle in anticipation of beholding the many gifts of the eight-year George W. Bush Presidency. Out in front is the beautiful Fountain of Conservative Justices, reminding us that democracy needn’t be all about having more votes than the other guy.

As we first solemnly pass through the Twin Portals of Shock and Awe, we are almost overcome by our own insignificance. Then we move into the foyer where we wipe the mud from our shoes into the Bill of Rights Doormat. We check our coats at the Closet of Conservative Compassion. Be sure to notice the sign saying, “Not responsible for lost or stolen liberties.”

Fittingly, we then climb to greater heights on the Staircase of Stolen Elections. We now enter the Corridors of Unchecked Power.

As we pass through the Photo Op Gallery we see the Mission Accomplished Flight Suit Display. Gosh, it still swells us with the power of pride.

Take a hard turn to the right and we peer down the long Hall of Surveillance, ending with the Wall of Secrecy.

Moving on, we find the Permanent War Pavilion, with its two seemingly endless wings. Enter the Operation Enduring Freedom Wing or the Operation Iraqi Freedom Wing. Either way, you’ll find nothing but the fruits of freedom. Don’t get lost or mired on the way, we need to advance past the Office of Unaccountability to the largest room in the building. We gasp in astonishment as we gaze at the cavernous Library of Lies.

I’m sure by now we have gained quite an appetite, so we head over to the Cooked Intelligence Café for a taste of whatever they want to feed us.

Our tour now takes us past the Scooter Libby Monument to Obstructed Justice, and down into the lower levels.

Be careful not to fall into the Al Gonzales Memory Hole as we approach the Cheney Bunker of Undisclosed Locations. Unfortunately we are locked out of this exhibit.

As we venture deeper into the darkest recesses, we see that the Saddam Hussein Torture Chamber is closed, too. And since we’ve just eaten, maybe we will forego the Dungeon Diorama of Alternative Interrogation Techniques. Oh, well. It’s better left a secret. We don’t want to embolden the enemy, do we?

Not to worry, the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo Welcome Centers are still accepting visitors. And if you’re curious, the Texas Execution Chamber is always busy.

As we prepare to leave the George W. Bush Freedom Institute, some of you may want to stop and browse at the Millionaire Donors’ Tax Free Gift Shop. Maybe you can pick up a couple souvenirs for your friends. Don’t worry if you don’t see any price tags on the gift items. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Let’s conclude our trip down "Memory Hole Lane" with some of the wisdom and “compassionate conservatism” our great Chickenhawks left us.

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.” - George W. Bush

 “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade…, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.” – G.W.B. 1999

“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way..." – G. W. B. 4-20-04

"If we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again." – Dick Cheney’s ’04 election “advice”.


Lucky for us, Bush is “a good man”.


Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. War is Peace.

God bless America

Monday, April 22, 2013

Eek! A Mouse!

The firearm background checks bill is dead. So much for our “democratic representative republic”.

The Senate ignored “we the people” and cowered before the cash and lies of the NRA, weapons manufacturers and right wing gun nuts.

The shrill cries still echo. “Obama’s coming to take our guns!” “It’s imposing mandatory gun registration!” “Eek a mouse!”

Instead of being dead or in jail as he promised, Nutball Nugent declared Obama is “an evil and dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom.

While I’m more annoyed at Obama for his free handed war making, surveillance state and Wall Street coddling, I admit he was right about this:

"They claimed that it would create some sort of ‘big brother’ gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry. Plain and simple, right there in the text. But that didn't matter."

"The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill," Obama said. "There were no coherent arguments as to why we couldn't do this. It came down to politics."

It was about money and the “free speech” of money over the clear will of the people.

Once again our Senate has proven the majority of Americans are not who they represent. A clear majority of Americans approve of more background checks at gun shows and for internet sales. 

The House is even more anit-democratic. More Americans voted for Democratic representatives than Republican, but who cares? Not Big Money and the ruling minority of elites.

If on-line and gun show background checks dissuade criminals or unstable people from owning AR-15's then that is a good thing, right?

What's the problem with that? There wasn't. That is, until the “Black President” took office and supported the idea.

Before it became a political power game and tool for instilling fear of the Black President for weapons lobbyist Wayne LaPierre, he was on record supporting background checks. But in typical Right Wing fashion, as soon as Democrats, or especially Obama, support a GOP idea, then we see the GOP/NRA disavow their stated positions.

When will we see a coherent argument for that behavior?

Pandora ’s Box is open. There may be little we can do to prevent mass murder short of imposing a police state. But that is no excuse to not do what little we can is it?

In October 2012, a Wisconsin man who was prohibited from buying a gun because he was subject to a restraining order bought a gun from a private seller over the Internet without undergoing a background check. Two days later he used that firearm to kill his estranged wife and two other women. Four other people were wounded in the attack. The perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre specifically sought out private sellers to obtain firearms so that their straw purchaser would not have to undergo a background check.

Private commercial sales of firearms without a background check have been linked to gun crime generally. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, gun shows are "a major venue for illegal trafficking" of firearms. The ATF specifically connected this assessment to private sales at gun shows, which have been taken advantage of by traffickers who supply weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

As an April 17 New York Times article notes, online "unregulated bazaars" where private gun transactions are completed are used by individuals who cannot pass a background check. According to 2011 investigation by New York City, online private sellers had a 62 percent "fail rate" in agreeing to sell a firearm to an undercover investigator who said that he or she could not pass a background check:

In the meantime, terrorists, the mentally ill, and criminals who will buy guns without a background check, and they most certainly will, have the NRA, the Republican Party and the cowardly Democrats to thank.

When will we see a coherent argument for allowing that?