Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Screwing Over of the American People!

Et tu, Democratus?

It had been Bush's war. But with a little help from the Democratic leadership, Bush seems to have scraped off his nasty tar baby. What did the Democrats get for having sold their souls? A little salted pork! Bush is not grateful. He gloats. He prepares his triumphal procession to the forum.

It has come to this because the American people will insist upon being led around by the nose. The country is run by liars, focus group experts and crooks. But this latest outrage is different! This is venal betrayal! This is a Faustian pact!

Clearly, times are weird when one finds himself in agreement with Pat Buchanan who wrote:
Remarkable. If the Republican rout of 2006 said anything, it was that America had lost faith in the Bush-Rumsfeld conduct of the war and wanted Democrats to lead the country out.


Yet, today, there are more US troops in Iraq than when the Democrats won. More are on the way. And with the surge and retention of troops in Iraq beyond normal tours, there should be a record number of US troops in country by year's end.

- Pat Buchanan

What can be said of a party pissing away its only advantage? What can be said of politicians so utterly corrupt that they cannot, will not say no to mass murder?

The elections that gave Democrats a majority clearly demonstrated a dramatic, collapsing support for continuing the war. It boggles the mind! Overnight, 70 percent or more of the US electorate who had opposed continuing the US aggression in Iraq are entirely disenfranchised.

Buchanan charges that Democrats lack the courage of their convictions. But that sounds disingenuous in the GOP, a party more at home with talking points than convictions. Alas - convictions no longer matter. The entire body politic is rotten, corrupt, bought and paid for by lobbyists - their clients and partners in the Military/Industrial complex. Democrats in congress are, likewise, recipients of AIPAC, oil industry, and military-security complex payoffs but, apparently, they get less than Republcians.
I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one.

- Rick, Casablanca

Democrats celebrated too early, believing that their antiwar base has nowhere else to go. To call that mere cynicism is too generous. It's treachery of a truly Bush kind.

Having succeeded in corrupting the opposition, the Bush tyranny will escape a popular uprising that it so richly deserves. At this point, however, what IS the point? As the Who declared: the new boss is the same as the old boss.

Not so long ago a Democratic victory over Bush might not have been a utopian ideal but it was infinitely better than the hells and sewers into which Bush has dragged the nation and the world.

Among the fallout is a sobering thought: impeachment now is all but impossible. Bush might have been impeached on the Iraq issue alone. Forget about it now. The Democrats have conceded the moral high ground for a low road to hell.

Friday, May 25, 2007

America's "Indebted Prosperity"

The US is kept afloat not because our economy is strong but because it is not. The US may be thought of as an empire but only because the rest of the world cannot afford not to keep us afloat.
The relationship between the dollar and the yen has been affected primarily by the adverse trade balance that we have with Japan. At the last summit meeting in London, for instance, we discussed the very high positive trade balance that Japan enjoyed then. The goal established by your own leaders was that this trade balance would be reduced. Instead, it's continued to go up.

I think, as the economic market leaders have recognized, the high export of Japanese goods and the relatively low imports into Japan of other goods, the yen has strengthened in comparison to other currencies, including, of course, the American dollar.

- President Jimmy Carter, Interview with Western European and Japanese Reporters, July 11th, 1978

In the meantime, the dollar continues to lose ground against stronger currencies and fundamentally stronger economies. I remember reading recently that our dollar is worth about 4 cents on a dollar of 1895. If I am wrong about that, I am sure someone will correct me.

Most recently, my good friend, Matthew Stevenson, contributing editor of Harper's Magazine, wrote both an explanation and a history of our "indebted prosperity" while reviewing a new book [The Money Men: Capitalism, Democracy, and the Hundred Years' War over the American Dollar] for the Texas Observer. Matthew's terrific review is an essential but often ignored American History.

Matthew starts by asking you to imagine a new, sponsored Constitutional Convention. I immediately imagined electronic, animated billboards arranged around the revered meeting hall in Philadelphia. The result is the "auctioning off" of the office of President of the United States, an eventuality emobodied in Mussolini's term: corporatism.

Something similar occurred on March 28th, 193 AD, when the Praetorian guards, literally, sold the Roman empire to the wealthy senator Didius Julianus for the bargain price of 6250 drachmas. I haven't tried to buy drachmas (lately) but it sounds like a bargain compared to the absurdly high prices that are paid by US corporations for control of the US Presidency, indeed, the US government. Our modern day "Didius" has fared better than Julianus.
A magnificent feast was prepared by his order, and he amused himself until a very late hour, with dice, and the performances of Pylades, a celebrated dancer. Yet it was observed that after the crowd of flatterers dispersed, and left him to darkness, solitude, and terrible reflection, he passed a sleepless night; revolving most probably in his mind his own rash folly, the fate of his virtuous predecessor, and the doubtful and dangerous tenure of an empire, which had not been acquired by merit, but purchased by money.

- Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; See also: Edward Gibbon: General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West

An important point must be made here. Gibbon reports that Julianus paid for the Roman Empire in "drachmas". "Drachmas" denotes Greek currency. At that time, the basic unit of currency in Ancient Rome was a bronze coin called an as or aes. A sestertius, another bronze coin, was worth four asses. A silver coin, the denarius, was worth 16 asses. [I will not go there!]

If Gibbon is correct, it is an indication that Rome, by that time in decline, had suffered a catastrophic devaluation of its coinage. Even now "real" money is considered by some to be "gold" if anything at all has intrinsic value. That Didius Julianus would pay in Greek currency, not Roman, indicates to me that the smart money had already dumped the as, the asses, and the sestertius for drachmas. At last, bronze would seem to have little intrinsic value as "real" money unless you had enough of it to melt down for public statuary. I would wager that only very wealthy Roman aristocracy possessed denarius, which they might have held against the complete collapse of bronze coins.

Here's where everything begins to hit us where we live. Gibbon is remembered not only because he wrote a comprehensive nine volume history of the Roman Empire, he ventured a thesis: the Roman Empire, he claims, fell to barbarian invasions because of "a loss of civic virtue". The citizenry had become lazy. The empire had taken up the habit of "outsourcing" to barbarian mercenaries the more odious jobs, primarily the defense of the empire itself. By the time the Emperor Valens faced the "barbarians" at Adrianople, it is probably true that none of his some 40,000 legionaries were, properly, citizens of Rome. They were, perhaps, the 379 AD version of Blackwater, composed largely of Syrians and "barbarian" troops from Gaul. [I can't resist a trivia diversion. Gibbon, who devoted his life to his history of Rome, left London to complete his work in a less hectic environment: Lausanne on Lac Leman, otherwise known as Lake Geneva.]

Confident of his victory, Valens committed his force of barbarian mercenaries to battle but hadn't counted on the arrival of the barbarian cavalry. The Roman empire did not fall that day. But it would never regain its military dominance. Alas, among the lessons of history is the fact that no one ever learns the lessons of history.

Like many another, I have fallen into the trap of making analogies between the US and the Roman Empire. Who can resist? My good friend Matthew Stevenson, however, is much better at sticking to the point. His article is more than just a quick look at a perilous situation, it is a succinct history of our nation's "financial" founding. Many of us recall long lectures about the Constitutional Convention. But how many recall more than a cursory mention that Alexander Hamilton favored the creation of a National Bank and Jefferson, an agrarian visionary, did not? If you have time for only one "financial history" of the US, I recommend Stevenson in the Texas Observer. Where else will be found the connection between Hamilton's vision for America and our current Asian debt?
At almost every level, what is sustaining the U.S. economic miracle is Hamilton’s beloved debt. The federal government balances its books with paper laid off to Asian bondholders under the Faustian bargain that they buy our securities and
we buy their exports. Domestically, the lender of last resort is not the Fed, but the U.S. consumer, sadly as innocent about speculators as Abraham Lincoln.

- Matthew Stevenson, The Best Government Money Can Buy, The Texas Observer

Exploding budget deficits had their beginning with what is correctly called the "parlous economic stewardship of Ronald Reagan". Reagan cut the marginal tax rate for the very wealthy from 70% to 38% amid raised expectations that wealth would "trickle down". It didn't. The many presentations by Dr. Daniel Weinberger at the Census Bureau make the convincing case that the reverse occurred. Wealth did not trickle down. It flowed up!

Reagan's promises of an "orgy of investment" that would drive the economy to new heights failed to materialize for all but about one to five percent of the population. As even his Budget Director, David Stockman, would later admit amid his public recantations [See: Atlantic Monthly, The Education of David Stockman], “supply side economics” produced the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Bush pushed through Congress a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts. Like Ronald Reagan, Bush has waged a "war on terrorism" during which acts of terrorism increased. The final numbers have not yet been tallied for Bush. Again, like Reagan, the result is that after 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, the budget deficit ballooned.

The phrase "debtors death spiral" is used to denote what happens when borrowers have to borrow to cover just the interest on previous loans. When new debt compounds old ones, bankruptcy is just around the corner. Many writers have speculated that the US has already entered such a spiral. What keeps us afloat? A "Carvellian" quick response is simply: the rest of the world which cannot afford an American black hole.

Will the American economy blink out in a big bang or Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound"? Whether a bang or a whimper, Herbert Stein, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Richard Nixon, may have summed it up: “Things that can’t go on forever, don’t.”

In the last six years, to pump liquidity into the market, the government has not only run record deficits but laid off further indebtedness on its citizens, who have been forced to borrow against the equity in their houses just to pay for college. Mortgage debt is now almost $11 trillion, up from $6 trillion in 2001. More than half of this debt floats with interest rates, leaving borrowers exposed to a credit squeeze. The same is true of consumer credit, which in the last 10 years has increased from $1.1 trillion to $2.4 trillion. (Popular T-shirt: “I can’t be overdrawn. I still have more checks.”) No wonder candidates for president are judged as collection agents.

So long as the carousel of indebted prosperity keeps turning, consumers can buy a new car every few years, and the executives of major investment banks can pay themselves salaries and bonuses that routinely exceed $15 million annually. The winners from this great wheel of fortune are the financial intermediaries—banks, investment houses, hedge funds, and stockjobbers—that issue credit cards, securities mortgages, collect monthly payments, package bonds to pension funds, and process payments at the mall. (As Mark Hanna crowed when William McKinley was elected: “God’s in his heaven; all’s right with the world.”) When the merry-go-round stops, the well paid executives will have retired to Boca Raton, but citizens will be left holding IOU bags that put their houses financially underwater and their government hocked to the Chinese. At that point, leasing the country to Hamilton’s speculators will not look like much of a deal.

-Matthew Stevenson, The Texas Observer, Matthew Stevenson is a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine. His books are available at Odysseus Books .

At this point, it is impossible to talk about how the US continues to finance its spiraling deficit without some consideration of the billions wasted in the pursuit of phantoms, delusions, and outright lies. Here's a pertinent presentation by Congressman Henry Waxman of Santa Monica, CA:

Qui Bono? An answer:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot

By Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Carl Sagan left us a precious legacy. The Cosmos. And also a poignant reminder of the fragility of our own "pale blue dot", the fleeting ephemeral nature of all that is beautiful and worthwhile.

When Carl, if I may be so familiar, warned us about greenhouse effects and global warming, we listened. And not just because the beautiful Pachelbel's canon in D major played so persistently beautiful in the soundtrack. Sagan illuminated our world all too briefly and briefer still when measured against the cosmological eons about which he spoke so movingly.

We could do far worse than "getting caught up" in his vision. In retrospect, it seems mundane to say that he made of science an adventure. Rather, he made of evolution a symphony, of astronomy a sonnet. With his signature phrase "billions and billions", Sagan evoked for me my own childhood amid the vast expanses of West Texas where one could look up into a velvety black sky far from city lights where "God" had flung "billions and billions" of sparkling diamonds.

It is because the air is so crystal clear and so far removed from city lights that UT's famous McDonald Observatiory (pictured above) is located in the Davis Mountains near Fort Davis, just north of Big Bend. The Milky Way, our own spiral galaxy, is not cloud-like at night. It is as if Carl Sagan's "billions and billions" of stars could be seen individually in one panoramic sweep from Guadeloupe Peak to Santa Helena. It is no cliche that the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. Science was no longer study, it was the merging of one's own life and being with a cosmos vaster than could be imagined. That is my childhood recollection of our own cosmos. It is also Carl's legacy.

Watch and enjoy.

Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot

Carl Sagan's phrase "Pale Blue Dot" is now a part of the language. Not just a handy description of a tiny planet in a vast cosmos, it has changed the way we think about our precious and fragile vessel - Earth.

Obviously, Ted Turner's questions were posed before George W. Bush would attack and invade Iraq, perhaps destablizing a volatile Middle East in the process. Sagan referenced Mikhail Gorbachev. Surely it is remembered that it was Gorbachev who put total nuclear disarmament on the table at Reykjavik. It was Ronald Reagan who blinked. It is the Ronald Reagan legacy that George W. Bush keeps alive at our peril. Clearly, the most powerful people on earth had not listened to Sagan. And they are not listening now.

The following excerpts are Carl at his best - debunking superstition even as he celebrates the precious fragility of the home planet.
That's here, that's home, that's us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was lived out their lives ... lived there on a node of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

Choreographed Victory, Dishonorable War

Americans must go abroad to learn the truth about America, about Bush's war of aggression against Iraq, about the nature of a failed and illegitimate regime. The truth is rarely spoken in the American media if at all. The truth is Bush's tar baby war is lost.

Bush still talks of winning, a tactic designed to divide his opposition into cheerleaders for war or "defeatists" should they fail to climb on board the Bush war and propaganda machine. It's a despicable tactic and only a failed party or a failed regime would resort to it.

The litmus test is al Qaeda. The fact that al Qaeda has become active in Iraq but only after the US attack and invasion is evidence of the US de facto loss. Violence has begotten violence. "Terrorists" have been made stronger. Al Qaeda has even penetrated the "safe" Green Zone.

There is a price to be paid for waging vainglorious war and losing. Monies blown up fighting phantoms and civilians in Baghdad is money that might have been spent improving education in a nation whose President perpetrated an Education hoax called the "Houston Miracle".

It's time to make a point about the liars at the Fox Network. According to Fox, things are just hunky dory in Iraq.

I believe Bill Moyers. I cannot believe Fox. I wouldn't bet on Native Dancer if the tip came from Fox. Fortunately, Fox can be summed up in a single word. Bullshit!

Fox credibility is typified by one Bill O'Reilly who, despite the controversy, continued to accuse American troops of the Massacre at Malmedy.

Here is what really happened as reported by an eyewitness:
On December 17th, men from Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion were ordered to move from Schevenhutte, near Aachen, to St Vith in the Ardennes. Their route took them near to the town of Malmédy.


Clearly outgunned by the Germans, the men from B Battery surrendered after Sternebeck's attack. Peiper himself went to the Baugnez Crossroads and brusquely ordered Sternebeck to move on. The 113 American prisoners-of-war who had survived the attack were assembled in a field near the Café Bodarwé at the crossroads - this figure included eight Americans who had already been captured by Peiper. A young Belgium boy witnessed what happened next.

At about 14.15, soldiers from the 1st SS Panzer Division opened fire on the 113 men who were in the field. The firing stopped at about 14.30. Soldiers from Peiper's unit went around the field and shot at close range anyone who seemed to be alive - or clubbed them to death as later autopsies showed. Incredibly, some prisoners did get away after feigning death. It was three of these escapees that came across Pergrin.

Colonel Pergrin had heard the attack by Sternebeck and went to investigate, first in a jeep and then on foot. Near Five Points, three Americans rushed up to Pergrin. It was these men who first alerted the Americans that something had gone on at the crossroads. Pergrin took the wounded men to Malmédy and at 16.40 contacted the First Army's headquarters to inform them that some sort of massacre had taken place at Five Points.

Because of the nature of the Battle of the Bulge, no one side could claim the land that the dead men lay in. It was only from January 14th, 1945, on that the Americans could lay claim to the area around the crossroads and claim the bodies. 71 snow-covered bodies were recovered. The freezing weather had done a lot to preserve the bodies and that made the autopsies easier, especially as some had been covered in snow.

On December 17th, 21 survivors of the massacre made statements to the American authorities in Malmédy. Their accounts were remarkably similar despite the fact that they had had little time to discuss their experiences.

When the massacre took place, Peiper had left the area around Five Points and had moved on. He was not at the scene when the shooting started. However, on December 12th, it is said that Hitler had issued an order which stated that no prisoners were to be taken and that a "wave of terror" was to descend on the Allies who stood in the way of the offensive. However, in the trial at Dachau no written evidence was produced to substantiate this and, as evidence, the court ignored it.
No one expects Bill O'Reilly to have an understanding of American and European history comparable to that of Henry Steele Commager or the great British military historian, Liddel Hart. One does expect him to keep his mouth shut when he clearly doesn't know what he's talking about.

It not enough for Fox to rewrite history, to simply make up news or lie about the news that it has not made up, it attacks those who don't goosestep with its every pronouncement.

O'Reilly had tried to "frame" the debate but, in fact, the war is lost. Instead of asking questions that might lead to an intelligent discussion of options, O'Reilly posed a false dilemma around the highly emotional word "win". That Fox normally gets away with such shameless and transparent tactics is an indication of just how far the America conglomerate media has devolved.

At last, terrorists and terrorism will not bring down America. It is, rather, O'Reilly who is but a symptom of the intellectual decadence that will be the end of us and our bloody oil empire.
The downfall of civilized states tends to come not from the direct assaults of foes, but from internal decay combined with the consequences of exhaustion in war.

- Sir Basil H. Liddel-Hart

Monday, May 21, 2007

Impeachment: A Legitimate Check Against Imperial Power

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Those favoring the impeachment of George W. Bush must guard against GOP efforts to frame impeachment as an illegitimate effort to usurp the government. That would be the GOP way, after all. Democrats must make the legitimate case that the founders intended impeachment to be a check against unbridled executive power. Therefore, impeachment must be pursued with all due diligence and vigor. What Jimmy Carter said about the Bush regime was, in fact, quite moderate and restrained. In fact, Bush has departed widely from American values and has committed crimes in the process. He must be impeached.

Historically, impeachment movements have reigned in "out-of-control" executive branches just as the founders had intended. Often, the mere threat of impeachment has had beneficial effects. In Bush's case, only impeachment, trial and removal will do.I will go further than Carter: Bush is a rogue "President" who believes himself above the law, above supervision by Congress, beyond the power of the courts.

Then why do Democrats appear reluctant to pursue this remedy when now more than ever, the executive has clearly repudiated basic American values?
"The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

- Former President Jimmy Carter, quoted by Associated Press

Predictably - because the "President's" very legitimacy is threatened - the Bushies have activated a full court press. The code words du jour are "sad", as in, it is sad that Carter has chosen to characterize Bush's regime in terms like "worst President ever". The most compelling code word, however, is "irrelevant", as in, Carter is "irrelevant", a text book ad hominem attack typical of a party whose consultants teach this odious tactic. Clearly, if Carter, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize were irrelevant, a failed regime would not find it necessary to so remind the world.

If there are any members of the GOP still supporting this utterly failed and criminal administration reading my blog, let me put it to you this way: the Bush administration is even worse than said by Carter. It is not merely failed, it is un-American. It has challenged and subverted the very principles of our founding. It has flouted the founders, the Constitution, the rule of law, due process of law, and the separation of powers. Impeachment is long overdue. It is not "sad" that Carter chose to speak. It is, rather, a ray of light amid a new dark age. Carter is not "irrelevant"; he is a statesman while the current occupant of the White House is a criminal awaiting impeachment, if not imprisonment for his crimes against the people of the United States, the people of Iraq, the people of the world.

In response to the attack on him by George W. Bush and the evil minions of the GOP fascist, crime syndicate, here is Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter:

Bush is worst-ever president, Carter says

FORMER PRESIDENT BLASTS DIPLOMACY, ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY Former President Carter says President Bush's administration is "the worst in history" in international relations, taking aim at the White House's policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.

The criticism from Carter also took aim at Bush's environmental policies and the administration's "quite disturbing" faith-based initiative funding.

"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," Carter told former Herald-Leader religion writer Frank Lockwood in an interview for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Carter spoke while promoting his new audiobook series, Sunday Mornings in Plains, a collection of weekly Bible lessons from his hometown of Plains, Ga.

"Apparently, Sunday mornings in Plains for former President Carter includes hurling reckless accusations at your fellow man," said Amber Wilkerson, Republican National Committee spokeswoman. She said it was hard to take Carter seriously because he also "challenged Ronald Reagan's strategy for the Cold War."

Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Carter's comments as unprecedented.

"This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president," Brinkley said. "When you call somebody the worst president, that's volatile. Those are fighting words."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I am mad as hell and I am not gonna take this anymore

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Rarely have journalists written such a succinct lead: "It's gloomy out there!". That was found in Yahoo news which cites the latest poll revealing that 75 percent of us think the country is headed in the wrong direction, if not oblivion. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not "gloomy"! I am mad as hell and I am not gonna take it anymore. Men and women, whites and minorities are war-weary and fed up. It's a pessimism seldom shared across the demographic spectrum. It is not surprising to find women and minorities are less content than men and whites. But this time around, the nation has not been so gloomy since the end of the Bush Sr regime.

Like today, America had reason to be gloomy. The back to back administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. had left the nation polarized, divided into haves and have nots, a nation exporting jobs, a nation offering no hope to middle class working whites or minorities. Why the gloom? That's easy. The war and piss poor leadership. I want you to get mad. I want you to go your window, stick you head out! I want you to yell as loud as you can:

I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

Though the Reagan-heads had promised that wealth would trickle down, it trickled up instead. It created the ruling elite. The trend continues unabated to this day save for a brief period in Bill Clinton's second term. Even a cursory perusal of the material at the Census Bureau will confirm my point. Check out the many Census Bureau breifings by Dr. Daniel Weinberg.

The rich have gotten richer. The poor have gotten much poorer. Death and sickness rates among the poor are disproportionately high and rising. The policies of the GOP, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and now, George W. Bush are to blame.

I am mad as hell about that and I am not gonna take it anymore. Nor should you. Chronic "glumness" is easily traced to the fact that the fed up with Bush's war of aggression against the people of Iraq. Even so, because Bush's big lie machine has been so effective, it is still necessary to remind everyone. Again --go to your window, stick your head out! Yell as loudly as you can until everyone gets it:

Iraq had nothing to do with 911.It's Bush's evil war crime. He wanted it. He lied about it and threw tantrums to get it. When the public decides to throw the bums out of the office they stole, the bums will have deserved the anger, the venom, the whirlwind which they earned and will eventually reap.

The right wing likes to use the term "traitors" to describe those good people who do not subscribe to or support right wing idiocy, imperialism and dictatorial bullshit! The American people, they say, simply do not "understand that terrorists had already launched the war against them." Alas --that is not what happened. Terrorism has increased since Eisenhower and, later, Ronald Reagan's invasion of Lebanon. Terrorist acts against U.S. interests tripled during that period of time in which Ronald Reagan waged his great war on terrorism. That assertion is based upon FBI stats compiled and published by the Brookings Institution.

American and British interventionism are at the very root cause of terrorism. Since World War II, our various interventions have always lead to guerilla resistance to our meddling and unwelcome presence. That response is conveniently called "terrorism" by GOP demagogues. For whom are we "intervening"? That's easy! The answer is found in a speech by then President Dwight David Eisenhower, who, as America's number one general in World War II knew what he was talking about. The culprit, according to Ike, is the Military/Industrial complex. The MIC is STILL the culprit!

Still - it is a mistake to blame Bush for all our woes. Bush was just an idiot who had enablers, primarily the GOP itself, no longer a party but a criminal conspiracy. That party must step up to the plate and accept responsibility for having auctioned off the US to lobbies and foreign countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Don't hold your breath! The GOP way involves blaming Democrats for everything that goes wrong even when when the GOP had controlled the White House, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court. I am mad as hell about that too! And I am not gonna take it anymore.

The GOP doesn't think like normal people. Increasingly cult-like since Ronald Reagan's misrule, the GOP thinks backward. The GOP concludes first and looks for premises and/or evidence later. They resent having to do so. For example, the late Barbara Olson, on CNN, said that Democrat Gary Condit may have been guilty of murder --not because there was evidence against him but because there was none! How bright is that? If there was no evidence, she said, he must have covered it up.

Are you mad yet? You should be mad as hell and yelling about it. Go to your window right now! Stick out your head and yell: "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!"

So --for the GOP/right-wing mentality, the absence of evidence is evidence that the accused covered up the crime; and, because he covered it up, he (or she) is guilty! Bottom line: the mentality of Republicans is totally fucked up, symptomatic of psychosis and, even more obviously, psyhopathy!

There are more tangible signs of America's long, hot season of discontent. One can put a number on most of it and we can thank Michael Ventura for having done so in America by the numbers:
  • The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
  • The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
  • Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).
  • "The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).
  • Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!
  • "The European Union leads the U.S. in...the number of science and engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D) expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).
  • "Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).
  • Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation. The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004).
  • Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28 percent last year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China. Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56 percent, Indians 51 percent, South Koreans 28 percent (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004). We're not the place to be anymore.
  • The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.
  • "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.
  • There is a palpable sense of despair throughout the "land of the free" as it becomes increasingly clear that Bush still insists upon imposing a dictatorship.

Bush Plans Dictatorship
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
George W. Bush uttered those very unfunny words on December 18, 2000. On that day the president-elect went to capitol hill to meet with Congressional leaders and emerged from the meeting flipping them and the American people this rhetorical bird.

The president is making good on those words and there hasn't been a peep out of Congress or the press. In a document released on May 9, 2007 entitled "National Continuity Policy," Bush makes good on his sick fantasy. In case of “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function” Bush will control the entire U.S. government, not just the federal branch.

It isn't really surprising. Bush decides who is an enemy combatant, a person without legal rights, and who should be spied upon.

If ever there was a moment for conspiracy theories, this is it. Will there be a phony terror attack, or a declaration of war against Iran? We don't know what the trigger will be but it is time to be afraid.

Actually it is time for impeachment. Bush's unpopularity makes him particularly dangerous. So does the acquiescence of the media and the silence of the Democrats. State legislatures have the right to begin the impeachment process but they have been smacked down by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

We are screwed. The phrase may be inelegant, but it says it all. Maybe we will all end up in Guantanamo. Who knows? The National Continuity Policy contains "classified continuity annexes." WTF!? As I said, we are screwed! Indeed, Bush has arrogated unto himself now the power to interpret the Constitution. I suppose he can now just dismiss the Supreme Court.
It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency
It's a sorry state of affairs. The American people must wake the f**k up and throw the bums out! The people should then follow up with adamant demands that the harm Bush has done be undone. There is otherwise no hope for America. Congressman Ron Paul, whom I have called the last honest Republican, sounds the same theme.

I am not endorsing Paul's candidacy for President. Not yet anyway. I merely present his video because he deserves to be heard. Certainly, Paul understands the many evils to be undone in what has been misnamed the "Patriot" Act. It should be re-named: The Bush Act of Treason Against America!

America must make a decision about what kind of nation it is to become. As Dizzy Dean would have put it: When you come to a fork in the road, you have to take it.