Friday, January 23, 2009

Mary Shelley's Worst Nightmare

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The products of technological advance are, themselves, neutral. What we do with rocks, sharp sticks or nukes, however, is a moral issue. The emergence of 'artificial intelligence' carries implications for warfare --'automated nukes' and 'robotized warfare'. The word 'Frankenstein' has come to mean 'monsters of our own creation', monsters beyond our control.

Until Isaac Asimov's seminal "I, Robot", most robotic oriented sci-fi could be summed up in a sentence: Robots were created and destroyed their creator.

Some Sci-fi authors imagined an advanced race taming both its own destructive impulses as well as those of its robots. The fifties classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, is premised upon the use of robotic power to impose peace. [See: Sci-Noir: The Day the Earth Stood Still (Again!)]

Asimov attempted to 'create' a 'noble' robot that could not harm a human being. Thus was born in his 1942 short story "Runaround", Asimov's 'Three Laws of Robotics'
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
The very word 'Frankenstein' has come to mean 'monsters of our own creation' but more generally, monsters beyond our control. 'Frankenstein' has come to symbolize the Faustian bargain made by man with his own technology. The '50's Sci-Fi classic, Forbidden Planet, echoed Shakespeare's The Tempest which, likewise, dealt with the same theme. [See: Monsters From the ID]

The film, Rowing with the Wind, is set near Geneva, Switzerland in the summer of 1816. It was then that Lord Byron challenged Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, and her stepsister Claire to write the ultimate horror story. Mary Shelley's response to the challenge made literary history: Frankenstein.
It was a brilliant piece of work for someone so young. But it came out of a hotbed of post-industrial-revolution intellectuals, steeped in a rising concern over what science and industrialization were doing to the world.

Her young protagonist, Victor Frankenstein, tells us early on that

My reluctant steps led me to M. Krempe, professor of natural philosophy, an uncouth man, but deeply imbued in the secrets of his science.
And under Krempe's instruction, Frankenstein's Faustian quest for knowledge takes him to the terrifying secret of life. His product, the monster, is more articulate, more intelligent, and more able to feel pain than his human maker. The monster produced by Frankenstein's intelligence and creative drive had Frankenstein's intelligence and sensibilities, but in a kind of grotesque parody.

--Dr. John Lienhard, Frankenstein
In Rowing with the Wind, Mary Shelley fears that the 'monster' of her fertile imagination has become, in a sense, real as she witnesses a series of tragedies befalling the people around her.

The 'monster' of this film is not the one of her famous story --Frankenstein. The 'monster' of this film is seen throughout but never actively causing deaths. It is the vehicle with which the film explores the four disparate personalities, their intellects, their eccentricities, their fears and passions, their 'monsters from the Id'.

The film takes place near Geneva, where Byron had made his challenge, where Mary Shelley birthed her 'monster'. The photography is scenic and colorful; the costumes recall the era; the dialogue is witty and of the period.

Unless there is a dramatic and universal change of attitudes, mankind will fall victim to its own robotic weapons of mass destruction. Already, sophisticated 'robots' have been built and tested. A 'second generation' will make Robocop look antique. Future generations may utilize exotic or nuclear power. They may fly, see through buildings, target victims with a panoply of high-tech detection technologies not dreamed of today. This is truly 'Frankenstein' beyond Mary Shelley's worst nightmares.
Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

--William Faulkner, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1950

Why Barack Obama Must Insist Upon the Prosecution of George W. Bush for Capital Crimes

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Bush never represented the people of this country. He represented a handful of billionaires and richer for whom the US was a cow to be milked, a pool of cheap labor to be enslaved, an entire continent of suckers to whom they would sell a Ponzi scheme called 'supply-side economics' otherwise known as 'trickle-down theory', otherwise known as 'free enterprise'!

First George W. Bush laid waste to the great Lonestar State of Texas.[See: 'Corporate Prisons': the GOP's Formula for More Crime, Declining Education, and Slave Labor; Texas: The Gulag Wasteland Bush Left Behind ] The US in his wake is an economic ruin, his 'base' of rich, elite vultures feeding upon the carcass.

The state of the US economy had been planned and, sure enough, the GOP and its base of co-conspirators have enriched themselves upon the economic misfortunes of every American who is now hard-pressed by yet another GOP 'depression'. As commenter Damien pointed out in early November:
Al Martin says that the inside money (especially the GOP faithful) are investing big time in oil puts. Their belief is that oil will decline by $20-$30 a barrel causing several nations to default on their international debts. He insists that the next 9 months or so will bring massive meltdown. He's not alone. Another commenter I have always found tremendously helpful on this is Karl Denninger at Market Ticker. Just saying, the nightly financial media bromides are pure fantasy, this is the mother of all meltdowns coming. Hope you're getting on well despite the impending gloom. Perhaps your great commentary on the criminality of this Bush regime is getting through where it matters but sadly it may be too little too late for most Americans.
Many of those executing those 'puts' may have earlier made fortunes short-selling AA and UA stocks just prior to 911. Unlike the Mikado, I cannot imagine a punishment that adequately fits the many crimes and atrocities perpetrated upon the people of the United States by the GOP in cahoots with the Bush family crime syndicate. Honestly, I don't have the time or the energy to list every GOP/Bush crime or outrage. Will you settle for the short list, a Carvellian 'quick response'? If so, here goes:
  • Bush turned the US into a debtor nation as Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr had done before him. We should call the current 'financial crisis' what is really is: a heist! It is the deliberate GOP bankruptcy of the United States. Significantly Bush's 'bailouts' are rewards, pay backs to the crooks and GOP accomplices who brought it all about. Like 'trickle down tax cuts', most if not all of the 'bailouts' have wound up in offshore tax havens. You have been robbed!
  • GOP 'outsourcing' reduced the US to 'third world' status. The 'current account' measures the value of US imports vis a vis its exports. The ratio often reflects the financial health of a nation, in this case, the US. According to the CIA, the US 'current account balance puts the US at the very bottom of a list of nations with a NEGATIVE balance of $-731,200,000,000. That's NEGATIVE 731 BILLION dollars. China tops the list in the black with $ 372 billion. The US position mirrors that of China but more so! [See: Rank Order - Current Account Balance.]
    If the US net investment position continues to turn more negative, prospects increase that the positive US net income receipts will turn negative as US income payments overwhelm US income receipts. In such a case, the US economy will experience a net economic drain as income that could be used to finance new US businesses and investments will be sent abroad to satisfy foreign creditors. Such a drain likely will be small at first relative to the overall size of the CRS-14 10 Weisman, Steven R., A Fear of Foreign Investments. The New York Times, August 21, 2007. economy, but it could grow rapidly if the economy continues to import large amounts of foreign capital.
    --CRS Report for Congress, The United States as a Net Debtor Nation: Overview of the International Investment Position [PDF]
  • Bushco looted the US Treasury and the combined wealth of everyone not a member of his 'base' --a tiny elite of the super, super rich.
  • It was deliberate. A gang of GOP crooks, not content to loot the US Treasury, deliberately impoverished millions of Americans with a calculated and predictable program of unfair taxation from which only the top one percent of the nation benefited. This one percent now owns more than some 90 percent of everyone else. This is the mechanism by which Reagan, Bush Sr and Bush the lesser made their 'pay off' to GOP elites for their support. As the utterly failed Bush debacle wound down, the GOP conspired with banks and Wall Street to loot the nation, grabbing what had not been nailed down, grabbing whatever had not been stolen and funneling to banks billions of dollars under the rubric of a bailout! One wonders --how many of your dollars are now in someone else's bank account offshore? Simply, 'tax cuts' which benefit only the tiny elites is just a fancied, government approved money laundering scheme. It's the perfect cover for political 'payoffs'. The 'bailout' --we were to suppose --would just 'trickle down'. But like all those other GOP 'trickle down' frauds, this one got hijacked by the privileged elites. That was by design. I believe the money has been largely pissed away and stolen. There is no rational defense of 'elitism'. GOP elitism is why we are where we are and where we are is NOT where we ought to be!
    Half of the bank bailout is being paid out as dividends ! These bastards are shameless!
    US banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three years.
  • Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes. GOP polices and most prominently those of Ronald Reagan and Bush Jr made the US a target of real terrorists, not merely the hired CIA 'assets' who pulled off 911 for the axis of Mossad/CIA. Also see: NTSB Flight Data: Flight 77 Could Not Have Crashed into the Pentagon
  • The Bush administration is complicit in an act of mass murder, high treason and terrorism. 911!
  • George W. Bush committed Capital Crimes for which he must be held to account.
    (a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

    --US Codes, TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441
    § 2441. War crimes
    Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice and numerous others in his administration should be indicted, arrested, incarcerated and made to stand trial for these and a myriad of other charges, having to do with the war of naked aggression against Iraq and numerous other frauds perpetrated upon the American people.
Those are enough bullet points for now. The case against Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg requires a library. Likewise, the case against the Bush gang of murderers, thieves and war criminals. I would hope that the American people will insist that the administration of Barack Obama pursue the criminal, the capital crimes case that simply must be made if the US is to ever put behind it this horrible and tragic chapter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bush’s Parting Gift: A Pox Upon Us All

By Ed Encho

What are they gonna say about him? What are they gonna say? That he was a kind man? That he was a wise man? That he had plans? That he had wisdom? Bullshit man!... Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind. He's a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he'll... uh... well, you'll say "hello" to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you. He won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a corner, and he'll say, "do you know that 'if' is the middle word in life? If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you"... I mean I'm no, I can't... I'm a little man, I'm a little man, he's... he's a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas...

-Dennis Hopper (as the crazed photographer in Apocalypse Now)

And then he was gone….

A perfect metaphor for America, the fake cowboy, a dude ranch desperado who was afraid of horses (try to find a picture of him on one) born with a silver spoon in his mouth as the latest incarnation of the John Wayne hammerhead icon that has become the archetype for all that is American. When that helicopter lifted his mangy, war criminal ass off of the Capitol grounds to the cheers of hundreds of thousands, a boisterous many chanting of "Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye", the curses of many others throughout the land and a date with historical infamy, I personally felt nothing at all. No relief, no glee, no anger, no outrage…I just watched it fly away in the same way that I would watch a garbage truck driving down the street after a pick-up. I had run the gamut of every possible emotion for the last eight years of sorrow, stupidity and disrepute and long ago reached the point of being spent over the gross transgressions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and his cadre of Mayberry Machiavellis, his neocon conquerors and their appetite for global destruction and the portable Potemkin village that was rolled out to con the rubes and suckers that there was no bankrupt, crumbling empire behind the star spangled façade.

George W. Bush, like Colonel Walter Kurtz long ago reached the end of the river and he made us all insane and has now left behind a smoking crater that will very likely not be fixed until every reader of this post has died of old age if it ever is. The economy is in advanced deterioration, capitalism has failed and all of the pundits and Wall Street shills who are telling Americans that the worst is over….well, suffice it to say that they are the same ones that were saying that the economy was sound less than a year ago…they are full of shit. The next shoe to drop will be commercial property, the rampage of unabated greed after the Bush regime dropped all premises of regulation followed by putting a rabid fox named Henry Paulson in charge of guarding the henhouse has yet to fully play out. When you drive around and see all of the for sale or lease signs, popping up like those silly fucking yellow ribbon magnets did back in 2003 it is a sign of economic apocalypse that you don’t have to be fucking Nostradamus to predict. The dismal holiday season retail sales have only begun to be announced, the bankruptcies are forthcoming along with broken lease agreements that will then begin to take down shopping malls and creating ghost malls. I simply refer people to the great article by Dmitry Orlov on the fall of the Soviet Union: Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century on what to expect.

Tuesday there was hope throughout the land but as a hardened cynic friend of me used to say “life, work and shit are all four letter words”, you can soon add hope to that list but I’ll get to that in a little bit.

A lifelong fuckup, 9/11 made him the angry and vengeful God and it made us all the hunted in the bunting draped hell, shouted down as heretics and unpatriotic terrorist sympathizers as King George and his minions used the fear and loathing generated by those attacks as though they were a thousand pound sledgehammer to be repeatedly dropped on the heads of stunned Americans who didn’t march to the beat of the devil’s drummer Karl Rove. The greatest shame is that George W. Bush took credit for ‘protecting America’ from terrorism by dragging our ideals and morality through the darkest back alleys of some third world shithole torture state and was able to pull it all off by being able to convince a large portion Americans that the ‘terrorist’ attacks that happened on HIS watch were never his fault to begin with. What else could be expected from a gullible population of overindulgent, under informed, overfed, juiced up on Jesus sheep and lemmings? George W. Bush WAS America

Primping with plastic turkeys in heavily guarded Baghdad locations, strutting and preening in a Top Gun suit and industrial sized codpiece onboard the USS Lincoln, the man who cowered as the shadow government executed their dirty coup standing atop the pile of rubble at Ground Zero as the stench of burned and rotting flesh was still fresh in the New York City air, to Karl Rove and the rest of the America hating fascist scumbags it smelled like victory. Jackbooted fascist thugs like Rush Limbaugh and his angry army milked their cocks like turkey necks over the sadomasochistic sleaze and sexual torture of the Abu Ghraib atrocities, attached themselves like leeches to the emaciated breathing corpse that was Terri Schiavo, institutionalized torture and made Rupert Murdoch’s fictitious FOX television’s skull cracking Jack Bauer their Übermensch. The running of the pigs on Wall Street, the true damage of which is only now being seen with much worse to come turned what was once a prosperous society with a thriving middle class into Elois and Morelocks, it was fuck or walk, it was shock and awe and by God the bastard is finally gone and that he wasn't crazed enough to invoke martial law and appoint himself dictator for life.

Bush’s legacy is a degenerate and rotting culture, institutionalized criminality, the largest percentage of prisoners on the planet, looming national bankruptcy, capitalism become cannibalism like the guy in the Stephen King story stranded on a deserted island with a boatload of heroin who hacks off parts of his own body to eat and kisses the dragon to do so, the markets are not unlike heroin addicts, Goldman Sachs and the leeches on our back must be saved at all costs and each dollar destroying fix to the jonesing junkies on Wall Street only feeds the monkey for a bit longer while millions are thrown out of their jobs and homes as a result. It included a land where until this past November more traditional forms of democracy were replaced by American Idol, where the news was swapped out with state sanctioned propaganda, where Jesus was weaponized and unleashed to fly an F-14 and drop bombs on children on missions for the moneychangers and most of all, a place where ignorance was exalted in a sad country that was renamed “The Homeland”, or translated into Nazispeak “Der Heimat”.

The progeny of Nazi collaborator Prescott Bush was finally gone, the Bush family has been run out of power, one time heir Jeb has been left to become some perverse inversion of Billy Carter a beautiful topsy-turvy, Bizzaro world, through the looking glass figure that is so perfect for this rotten and befouled era in American history that it should induce nocturnal emissions amongst the cockroaches, ghouls, vampires and pathetic legions of the pathologically fucked and doomed here in Der Heimat. Ah…what could have been had the true heir to the meticulously planned Fourth Reich not been usurped by his dumb-assed, drug-addled, mentally deficient and downright mean idiot bastard brother who was chosen precisely because Cheney, Rummy and the neocons could push his buttons and play him against his old man. For that I suppose we owe the PNAC boys some debt of gratitude but it’s hard to be jubilant, keep a stiff upper lip as the shit rises to neck level or find treasure among the smoking rubble left behind by this grand scale carnival of perversion, ruination and historical infamy that the Bushreich has wrought like a biblical plague of flesh eating shit locusts with a mandate to paint this fickle and fucked country red like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter coming back to paint the town of Lago red, rename it Hell and turn the keys to the place over to the lumpen Republican dregs of society just for the sheer fuck all of it so that they may chase the citizenry around to be beggared and buggered for the sake of their amusement.

Whatever ruination we may suffer as Americans we can rest assured that if there is such a being as God that the pox upon us all of the George W. Bush years was a comeuppance. It was a vicious smiting, a celestial folly and ultimately a judgment on our failure as a nation to be the force for good and for peace that we all, given our unprecedented prosperity and global influence could have been had we not bought into the flag swaddled, four flushing fascist horseshit that has been allowed since the end of WW II. The United States could have changed the planet for the better coming out of the 'good war' but was diverted from any enduring mission to spread decency and promote peace abroad as the social compact as well as our very destiny was dragged through a pool of blood and shit by high-rolling Wall Street elitists, scions of the robber barons themselves and their own personal Gestapo, the CIA. That one chance was forever squandered and George W. Bush was our reward for completely blowing it.

As the saying goes and I paraphrase, those whom the gods destroy are first made mad, and we are madder than the wildest acid laced tea-party in the garden of the Queen of Hearts and the Mad fucking Hatter himself, we were seduced by the false god of capitalism, nibbled at the apple, got dumb, greedy and lazy and eventually were chased out of the garden by the false gods of our own making. Bush among all of his other dubious ‘achievements’ proved Mencken to be a prophet because it was he who once wrote:
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
As for President Barack Obama, neither I nor history suffer fools kindly and those who think that he is any sort of a savior need only contemplate that the REAL Jesus was brutally beaten, tortured, mocked and crucified and the nail gun bearing idiots in the red states would do the same in a Tuscaloosa minute were the to return to Earth on inauguration day preaching the same commie liberal bullshit. Perdition is where we are headed and for fuck’s sake it’s where we all belong for our complicity in this travesty. There will be no saving grace either, as Dylan once sang “the Titanic sails at dawn” and we have all had our tickets punched and been booked for passage in steerage as the high rolling pigs party and dance, celebrating because it is in their nature while they remain willfully ignorant of the tragic disaster coming.

Americans have become a tragic, low-minded, self-indulgent, mean-spirited and just plain uncouth people over the past two and a half decades and like an alcoholic or drug addicted the acknowledgement of this is the first step to recovery. Economic displacement may bring about the necessary soul searching (providing Sarah Palin Republicans don’t use the misery to catapult a typically supine Democratic Congress to regenerate) to come out of this morass of murderous war and mammon worshipping avarice a better and more mature people.

But in all fairness, due to the influence of George Bush and the GOP the country has changed a lot for the better. Look at President Obama, shit if you would have told me a black man would be president I would have said - BULLSHIT - it will only happen when hell freezes over or the Cardinals are in the Super Bowl....and it's going to be in the low 30s here in Tampa tonight. I do give Bush credit though, were it not for his magnificent success at fucking up every goddamned thing that he ever touched, a King Midas in reverse then we would have likely witnessed the spectacle of an orgy of jackbooted jellyfish yesterday, fondling themselves, prowling for libruls to beat, drinking blood and celebrating the inauguration of President Rudolph Giuliani.

And he never did incinerate the planet by allowing Dick Cheney to goad him into nuking Iraq, for that alone the idiot bastard son deserves credit.
Robot apartments! invisible suburbs!
skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic
industries! spectral nations! invincible mad
houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!

- Alan Ginsberg


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

After Eight Disastrous Years, Hope!

by Len Hart

What was that collective rushing of air I just heard? I think it was a universal, global sigh of relief! Ding, Dong! The wicked douche bag may not be dead but he is at least out of the White House where I would hope the fumigators have done their jobs and the 'exterminators' have dusted for bugs.

We are in desperate need and deserving of comic relief having just escaped the guillotine. There may, indeed, be kneeslappers among those who have managed to extract their heads from a noose. Here is a soupcon of some of the most recent writers of sardonic, ironic gallows humor.
Finally. Mercifully. Astonishingly. Incredibly. The insane adventure in national suicide known as the Bush administration is at last coming to an end.

This was a ride that beggars belief. Even after McCarthy and Nixon and Reagan and Gingrich, nothing prepared us for the last eight years, and I for one have difficulty finding the words that could begin to do justice to describing this historical folly of epic proportions.


If this child in the body of a man were named Putin or Castro or Kim, Americans would get it. If they were observing the country from the perspective of Zimbabwe, instead of the other way around, then they would get it. They can understand the notion of some foreign thug who means to do harm to our country. They get the idea, in other places, of a domestic thug who seeks to plunder his own country. They just can't imagine it happening here. And, therefore, they don't see that it just has.

--The Bushies Stole Us Blind ... So, How'd You Like Your Beer?, AlterNet
What is most scary is that this had very nearly happened before and --even now --few make the connection. Before Bush pre-empted him in the the areas of idiocy, 'trickle down' giveaways to a tiny elite, bluster, primitive simian chest beating, or mangled grammar, there was Ronald Reagan, who was, in his time, the very worst President in US history. Reagan has been outclassed by a brand of stupidity, cruelty, psychosis and utter 'disconnectedness' that GOPPERS of his day could only dream about. It was Reagan who took class warfare to absurd heights. It was left to the the arch fiend Bush to push everyone but the very, very rich off the summit and into the dark abyss.
The show at the Lincoln Memorial contained other moments signaling that the cultural civil war that began with the civil rights crusade, the movement against the Vietnam War, and the rise of hippie-dom was done—at least for now—and that the libs had won. Toward the end of the HBO-aired event, Bruce Springsteen, once a greaser-rocker, brought out folk music hero and activist Pete Seeger, once derided by conservatives as a commie, and Seeger led the crowd in “This Land Is Your Land.” This song is the liberal national anthem, written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 as a populist-minded response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which was too rah-rah for Guthrie’s liking. (Beyoncé then hit the stage and belted out “God Bless America.”)

--Obama's Inauguration Marks the End of America's Culture Wars
It may prove impossible to win a 'cultural war' against the axis of Reagan/Bush I/Bush II. This triumvirate of elitism pushed the envelope to the breaking point over the course of a mere 30 years --a significant amount of time in the history of a young nation. Some now approaching middle age have no other memories of this nation but those of an increasingly tiny elite, championed by the likes of Reagan/Bush, subverting the principles of our founding, transfering wealth upward, impoverishing everyone else, creating the worst 'recessions' [in fact depressions] since that of Herbert Hoover who urged poor people to sell oranges from a pushcart. Even Marie Antoinette did better. She encouraged the poor to eat cake when they could no longer afford bread.
Let's be clear what we're talking about here. It's not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation's security. The fact is that the Bush administration's abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies.

--Forgive and Forget the Crimes of the Bushies? I Don't Think So
Obama offered much to liberals, progressives, in other words, anyone appalled by the politics of fear, elitism, lies and empire. The question is: how substantially is Obama prepared to build upon the wave of goodwill that he now enjoys from that hard core cadre who ---from the 'git go' --found in Bush a threat to every principle that made America the nation our founders envisioned and articulated in a 'goddamned piece of paper'!
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

--Barack Obama, Inaugural Address
I want to know --does Obama understand that the Bush/GOP America he described is NOT the result of incompetence? It is the deliberate result of GOP intention and design. The GOP, in Texas, has deliberately subverted public education. The result: Texas has become the perfect example. Texas leads the nation in the number of students failing to graduate high school, As a result, Texas leads the nation in the number of people incarcerated for serious crimes. It is no coincidence that, at the same time, Texas pioneered the 'corporatization' of the criminal justice and prison system. Only an idiot could not make the connection. GOP policies 'leave only poor children behind', increase crime and thus incarceration rates and it is done in order to enrich the GOP 'base' of robber barons, liars, elitists, fascists and useful idiots who sold their souls.

In the meantime, I wish Obama well. He has as much to undo as do.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

--President Barack Obama, Inaugural Address

Compare and contrast.

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