End of an Era
November 2, 2008Duh, This Is Sarah -- Sarah Palin takes the bait from ridiculous prank caller presenting himself to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Hilarious! But with grim overtones. Randi Rhodes Fans Blog
November 3, 2008The Only Way -- If McCain "wins" it will be fraud. Greg Palast explains how at truthout.
November 4, 2008
End of an EraThis is sweet. To see the dethroning of the Bush-Cheney machine without the installment of their chosen successor John McCain is sweet beyond words. We can discuss what it isn't at some other time. This is a great moment. It is not a sealed deal yet, but from what we are seeing at 10 to 10 East Coast time on election night, the right wing's efforts to suppress votes, wipe voter rolls, play their whole repertoire of dirty tricks has not been sufficient to defeat the Obama campaign.
There are people I know who think it doesn't make any difference -- both Obama and McCain are tools of the establishment, chosen and ordained by the shadowy masters of the world and only presented to us as a choice already chosen for us. That may have its degree of truth, but there are things that are beyond any one person's control. We are witnessing historical phenomena. Given that America as "a democracy" leaves much to be desired, we are seeing a force of nature now. We are seeing democracy as a natural force, not as an abstract set of rules handed down by the masters of society. We are witnessing real democracy, real grassroots popular strength, as opposed to the parlor game of politics. This is a remarkable event.
This is the overthrow of a power structure that has plagued the United States for the last eight years. A creature that attached itself to the republic against the will of the population, in defiance of the democratic processes set up in the country. It was like a globular alien creature that attaches itself to the neck and won't let go. They seized every public resource, department, agency, procedure and turned them into political weapons. They were so flagrant in their abuses of power, it seemed as if they would monopolize all power before anyone could stop them, bring them down, or even re-establish a lawful, democratic government.
At this point, it seems they finally pushed too far and their hold on power has been shaken. This is a tremendous event that deserves great celebration. It may be a long way from a cure for all our ills, but it's a great step. It's like being able to say goodbye to a really ugly, creepy neighbor that has plagued you for years and is finally moving out.
Yes, the system is not going to change fundamentally just because a new person will occupy the White House. But what a change! What an improvement! Sarah Palin, at the height of her power a few days after her nomination, sneered and jeered at the idea of Obama being a community organizer. "Whatever that is," she said. I think Sarah Palin just found out what that is. Obama ran a brilliant, precisely organized, elegantly strategized campaign. That is separate from the product, which is well tuned to what the body politic has been aching for.
We are saying goodbye to the Bush era, and that is a very very sweet thing. Overnight the world is changing. Practically the entire world was rooting for Obama. Only a few backward regions of the United States still can muster up a belief in the Republican agenda. Tomorrow morning, even tonight, the world is a different place. Things have changed. And it's a good change. Let's enjoy this moment. The world will look upon America differently now. The world could not understand why America had gone so wrong, had become so aggressive and stupid. The whole world needed this. It's very very dramatic watching this historical movement taking place. The democratic process, as flawed as our system may be, is an awesome force, an amazing spectacle to witness.
November 4, 2008Words from the Wise -- Advice from Abraham Lincoln, selected by Russell Bishop, to bind up the nation's wounds. "Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure." ... "My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth." huffingtonpost.com
November 5, 2008Pinch Me -- Can this be real? Is it the end of the Bush Era, without the Republicans able to extend their stranglehold over the mechanisms of power in the country, without Bush/Cheney being able to appoint their successor? Could it be, a president that actually received the most votes, who was not put into power against the express will of the people? This is an amazing moment, long awaited. This is the restoration of America to a democratically elected administration. The democratic system may be extremely flawed as it is. But at least this was not done by outright election fraud, suppression and manipulation as were the last two.
I remember 1980 when a friend said, "The morning after Ronald Reagan was elected I woke up and the world was different." For me too, the election of Ronald Reagan as president was a nightmare I could not believe could come true, and when it became evident that it was happening I wanted to be transferred to an alternate reality, a world in which Ronald Reagan being president was not possible.
But once it became a manifest reality, one had to pick up the shovel and get going again. There was no alternative. Much as I hated the fact, Reagan had won and in no uncertain terms. Seeing the democratic process in action was awe-inspiring, even when it produced a result I could not imagine living with. And indeed, the world was different that morning. Everything had shifted. Everyone, no matter where they were coming from, had made whatever psychological changes they had to make to accommodate the new reality, and the world continued in its newly set direction. We all had to find our path through the newly formed world.
Many of the problems that have come to a head under Bush II can be traced back to that time. It was the beginning of a new era of extreme deregulation, a new level of bolstering corporate America and trodding on the faces of the less fortunate. It was the beginning of the launching of aggression in Central America, carried on in secret and in defiance of the law. It was a season when it was suddenly acceptable to proclaim the glory of greed and selfishness and the blatant unconcern with the fate of others. These were the fundamental tenets of a Darwinian capitalism, and therefore good for the health of the system. The system would work best if we all strove only for our own good without concern for a single other soul, or so went the theory. Every man for himself, and don't talk to me about care for the environment or any of that tree-hugging bullshit. We're here to make money! If you've seen one redwood tree, you've seen them all, Reagan said.
I hear from people who are rabidly hateful of Obama, and they have their points. I am just so relieved to have had a relatively legitimate election in the U.S., to be able to hold our heads up in the world and say this country is not forever lost in the stone age. The neocon attempt to pull America back into a 19th century Bible thumping, imperial feudal state is forestalled. I'm happy to be able to show the world that we can have a popularly elected president, even if the democratic process is still very flawed, that we can elect a person of intelligence and vision, who can speak to the issues of today appropriately.
I'm happy that the style of the country will change. Instead of a dry drunk born again sadist who can barely utter a coherent sentence, a well-born aristocrat who squandered the best education and opportunities in the world to relish ignorance and unconcern, we will now have a poised, intelligent, well-spoken, humane person who worked his way up from the bottom of the barrel to assume the reins of leadership of this country. He's a man who is where he is because he articulated a vision that touched a nerve with the American people. It is a dramatic demonstration of the grassroots power of the people who brought on this change, who forced it because of their deeply seated discontent with the people who had hijacked the government and turned America into an ugly, arrogant, mean country.
Everything changes. Well, not everything. Many things will stubbornly stay the same. But it will all be seen in a slightly altered perspective now. The problems left by the Bush administration, who just tore down this country until there was barely anything left to steal, are daunting. But who can measure the force of a small psychological change multiplied millions and millions of times over. The lifting of the Bush nightmare off the shoulders of the people of America and around the world is huge.
Obama has taken many positions and actions that I disagree with vehemently. Still, it cannot be denied that there is a huge difference between him and Bush, or him and McCain, as there was between Bush and Gore or even Bush and Kerry. There is a more significant difference with Obama than with any of the others mentioned. It is a very significant difference. In 1960, many complained that the two candidates, Kennedy and Nixon were virtually indistinguishable. They were both young organization man types, had served in the House and Senate together, held very similar positions in many ways. The argument could be made that they weren't much different. But in that case we have both examples as manifest realities, the Kennedy administration and the Nixon administration. Obviously they were at different times, in different social and political environments. And there were still similarities. But there were certainly significant differences.
I'm very glad that Obama won the election. I'm sure many trials are ahead. I'm sure I'll disagree with him much in the future as I have in the past. He is not my mirror image politically. I do not see him as The Saviour. But I am very much relieved that the oppressiveness of the Bush administration is now being lifted, and there is at least an opportunity to try to build a new world on top of the ruins left by Bush and Cheney. Glory hallelujah!
November 7, 2008The First Elected President of the 21st Century -- Jackson Thoreau reported that the exit polls this time were close to the official results. This is the first time this has happened in the last three presidential elections. Exit polls, in which voters are interviewed as they leave the polling places, have historically been so accurate they have been used to judge whether election tampering is going on in third world countries when the U.S. or the UN monitors elections. But during the Diebold/Bush years, exit polls no longer worked in this country. The networks actually adjusted their exit polls in 2004 to fit the official, fraudulent result. But this time, the numbers fell back into line. Obama won both Florida and Ohio, which had been handily delivered to the Republicans in '04 and '08 by corrupt secretaries of state who were also the heads of the Republican campaigns in their respective states.
One very important aspect of this change is that there was some legal action in Ohio that forced Rove IT protege Mike Connell to be subpoena'd and deposed under oath about possible vote fraud. The heat got pretty close to Connell and to Rove, and it appears the result was that they kept their hands off the controls of the voting machines this time. Take a look at this article at velvetrevolution.us, which explains very plausibly what probably happened. "Two weeks ago, Rove was confidently saying that John McCain could win ten battleground states to become President," says Velvet Revolution. "McCain was confidently telling everyone that he would win with a surge in the wee hours of election night. Well, last Friday, something important happened: Michael Connell was forced to appear before Solomon Oliver, a Clinton appointed Afro-American federal Judge in Cleveland. After Attorney Cliff Arnebeck accused Connell in open court of rigging elections for Karl Rove, the judge ordered Connell to submit to a sworn deposition 18 hours before the polls were to open. On Monday at noon, Connell was placed under oath and grilled about election fraud, Man in the Middle attacks, Trojan horse manipulations and threats from Rove. And guess what happened? Connell suddenly changed his tune. Connell said that to his knowledge there would be no tabulation manipulations of Tuesday's election. And something else, Karl Rove wrote on his blog late Monday that Obama would win by a landslide even in those states he had previously predicted McCain would win."
The most important fact to take into consideration here, in my view, is that while most Americans and most media were discounting the threat of vote machine manipulation, those who were paying very close attention and sounding the alarm, and in some cases even taking legal action, may well have saved the process this time around. In other words, the vigilance succeeded in preventing another case of massive voting machine manipulations. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who took it upon themselves to expose these frauds, specifically people like the people at Velvet Revolution, Bev Harris, Mark Crispin Miller, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Greg Palast, the Brad Blog and many more. I feel deep gratitude to all who dedicated themselves to that cause. The democratic process has renewed itself. It's an example of how democracy works from the ground up. It is not given by the masters, but taken by the people.
Without a candidate like Obama, who ran a steamroller campaign and created a landslide, the vigilance may have not been enough anyway. But Obama created an electoral margin that would have been hard to beat with election fraud.
Bush Rings Obama -- Bush said to Obama, "What an awesome night for you!" And he sounds sincere. Imagine! To really be elected, not have to have your dad's friends on the Supreme Court step in, or to have to rely an extensive vote purging scheme. How amazing to have a vision that inspires people, instead of forcing yourself on the population. Seeing all this grand, affectionate footage of Obama on TV, and then suddenly having Bush's face cut in -- eek! Suddenly this pinched face -- not just a smirk, but a kind of permanent pucker, like someone sucking on a bitter pill. It's George W. Bush. The contrast! An immediate downer. I remember people making the same kind of an adjustment when Bush followed Clinton. As some columnist said at the time, going from Clinton to Bush was a definite downsizing. The contrast between Bush and Obama is even more striking. Here's a really transcendent character, a person who brought himself up from the most humble beginnings, has set his sights on the White HOuse and achieved it very quickly. A golden boy. Bush doesn't know what any of this feels like. A New Dawn -- Rebecca Solnit, The Jubilant Birth of the Obama Era, a very thought-provoking essay on the onset of the Obama period, posted at tomdispatch.com (scroll down).
November 8, 2008Pathetic Exit -- Interesting that a campaign that was built on character defamation would descend into intra-party squabbling as it fades into history. Unnamed McCain people saying nasty things about Palin, Palin answering that they are immature and unprofessional and, as if to join them in those categories, saying, "Those guys are jerks." New York Times
Turnout Flat? Now it is being reported that voter turnout in 2008 was roughly the same as in 2004. What happened? Scoop Fun with Maps -- Interesting cartographic analyses of the election results from the University of Michigan. On Emanuel -- Some worthwhile background on Rahm Emanuel. alternet.org
Sunday, November 9, 2008Not Who We Are -- Some good columns as we begin to look backward with profound relief on the horrible Bush period, even though it's not over. The new period has already begun, a new consciousness is coalescing. Frank Rich writes in the New York Times, "The post-Bush-Rove Republican Party is in the minority because it has driven away women, the young, suburbanites, black Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, educated Americans, gay Americans and, increasingly, working-class Americans. Who's left? The only states where the G.O.P. increased its percentage of the presidential vote relative to the Democrats were West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas. Even the North Carolina county where Palin expressed her delight at being in the "real America" went for Obama by more than 18 percentage points. The actual real America is everywhere. It is the America that has been in shell shock since the aftermath of 9/11, when our government wielded a brutal attack by terrorists as a club to ratchet up our fears, betray our deepest constitutional values and turn Americans against one another in the name of "patriotism." What we started to remember the morning after Election Day was what we had forgotten over the past eight years, as our abusive relationship with the Bush administration and its press enablers dragged on: That's not who we are."
Think Big -- Economic whiz and consummate level head Paul Krugman writes "Can Barack Obama really usher in a new era of progressive policies? Yes, he can. Right now, many commentators are urging Mr. Obama to think small. Some make the case on political grounds: America, they say, is still a conservative country, and voters will punish Democrats if they move to the left. Others say that the financial and economic crisis leaves no room for action on, say, health care reform. Let's hope that Mr. Obama has the good sense to ignore this advice. About the political argument: Anyone who doubts that we've had a major political realignment should look at what's happened to Congress. After the 2004 election, there were many declarations that we'd entered a long-term, perhaps permanent era of Republican dominance. Since then, Democrats have won back-to-back victories, picking up at least 12 Senate seats and more than 50 House seats. They now have bigger majorities in both houses than the G.O.P. ever achieved in its 12-year reign." RFK for the Environment -- Obama may be considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to reports. What a departure! Instead of heading regulatory agencies with people from the corporate sector whose mission it is to gut regulation, we could have a man who is genuinely concerned about protecting the environment. MLive. Churning Up Hatred -- According to the Telegraph, "Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign. The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of 'palling around with terrorists', citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers. The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling 'terrorist' and 'kill him.' until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric." The Right Wing Hate Spewing Propaganda Machine , including such distinguished figures as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, is already at work arousing viciousness against Obama. LA Times
November 10, 2008From the Spinning Head -- Barack Obama has a website for his transition operation. Jason Leopold, writing at consortiumnews.com, said that Obama "demanded that the Bush administration either submit the proposed U.S.-Iraq 'status-of-forces agreement' to Congress or leave an opening for him to change it next year." Going to the link at the site, however, the message is now "The page you requested is not available right now." So we shall see. George W. is being very ingratiating to Obama. One wonders what is going on in his head, but then it is always a mystery what goes on in his head. As a criminal with many offenses to his credit, perhaps he feels it is a good idea to get on the good side of the next president. Obama must be gracious, but careful, reserved. It's a fascinating dynamic. The Bush period was no ordinary presidential period. It was rife with crime, corruption, extortion. I'm convinced they dropped their voting machine hacking plans at the last minute, as is described in a fascinating speculation at velvetrevolution.us.
All their aces in the hole, their various methods of vote manipulation or suppression, were not enough to stop this movement, this paroxysm of the public to throw off the corrupt administration under which the country has labored since 2001. In many ways it was the worst period in American history, especially considering that the misfortune of the nation was not the result of any external threat but came right out of the White House. There were external problems, of course. Katrina was "an act of God", not of man. What happened on 9/11 is still controversial, but we know how the Bush administration used it to intimidate the citizens of the United States and people of the world, to ram through an extreme right agenda, to ravage the Constitution, to raid the treasury, to destroy the reputation of the United States around the world, to violate and dismiss the Geneva Conventions, to make the United States an aggressor nation and a torturing nation.
The right wing assault dates back to the Clinton period and it got very ruthless during the Clinton impeachment, when the Republicans used American institutions of power as tools of their own partisan power plays. That was followed by the Bush run, fraudulent in the first place, portraying Bush as a "compassionate conservative" and when he took office he became and extreme hard right wing tough guy. And the election itself was a fraud, introducing much of the voting irregularities we became used to since that time.
One of the first things Bush Jr. did was stash away the public records of the Reagan-Bush administration, which were supposed to become available to the public the year he took office, by law. Bush was able to hide his father's crimes a little longer, but who will hide his crimes? He was hoping his boy McCain would be able to do it, a man that can always be counted on to blow whoever he needs to blow or do whatever dirty work he needs to do for the cause that rewards his ambition. The interest of Bush and Rove in McCain's election became increasingly obvious as the campaign became ever more desperate, dirty and Rovian as the season progressed.
So suddenly Bush is out there in the cold. He's going to have to give up power. He will be a private citizen. Presumably he won't be able to just do whatever he wants, disregard all laws, treaties, agreements and just do whatever he wants. Rove was subpoenaed by Congress and just blew them off. Supposedly he ignored the subpoena by order of the president. What will he do after the change of power? Will Obama somehow neutralize legal options against Bush and company and get them out of having to be accountable for their crimes? Or will he get on with more important work and let the legal process run its course. Can Bush pardon all his people in advance of being charged the way Ford pardoned Nixon, making it possible to bottle up all the crimes of that administration so that much of it is lost to history. But we are talking about real, serious crimes. It wasn't just the couple of burglaries that became public, that was the tip of the iceberg. If the justice system had been able to run its course then, we might not have been saddled with the crimes of Nixon alumna like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. I hope that doesn't happen again this time. There is no place for pardons with these crimes any more than in the case of much smaller crimes by much smaller criminals who have to pay for their crimes every day everywhere.
But of course now the really important thing is that the Bush era is now ending. It will not be extended with a McCain presidency. The American people have an opportunity to begin to rebuild an America that reflects some of its more humane, evolved aspects than we've seen over the last eight years. It's a long overdue change. Americans were shell shocked by the assault. It took a long time for the body politic to react. After taking office in a stealth attack, pretending to be a moderate and then revealing himself as an extremist in office, then came 9/11, which became the excuse for everything they wanted to do, and everything they were all ready to do. They rolled out that Patriot Act in a minute. That document was ready to roll. They kept the assaults coming minute by minute as they rolled back rights and grabbed power with blinding speed. It was an awesome display, but not in a good way. Their exercise of power was so uncompromising, so steely cold and hard, it seemed that nothing could stop them. They were effectively compromising the voting system itself, so we were losing our democratic power to reject them.
But luckily someone heard the call, saw the need and articulated the aspirations of America to break away from its hard right path. Once Obama made his vision known, he provided a channel for the massive number of people who shared the fervent desire to throw off the bums. Still, as brilliant and talented as Obama is, it is the movement of the people that is most impressive and powerful.
November 12, 2008Whew! That was quick. Yesterday these mind-blowing photographs of Bush and Obama together. What an encounter! It was like one of those movies where cartoon characters mix with regular movie footage. Superimposing two dimensions. Bush was going out of his way to seem civil. AOL ran a frontpage piece saying that "Bush shows grace during transition", then ran a poll asking, "How would you describe President Bush during this transition of power? A. He's classier than other presidents B. He's typical of other presidents C. He's less impressive than other presidents." Now today a top story on Google News is ""White House Says Obama Leaks Not Accurate -- Obama and Bush Disagree on Stimulus, Auto Help"". Gosh, what a surprise! Washington Post
November 13, 2008I must admit to those of my friends who hate Obama that I am just coasting on a cloud of euphoria lately. This cataclysmic change in the world forces me to reposition myself fundamentally. After eight years of feeling terrorized and violated by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Ashcroft (remember him?), et. al., it's insane to feel so different about things.
Yes, I'm fully aware that most of the conditions we all face are the same now as they were a few weeks ago -- much of it has gotten much worse even in that time -- and Obama is no superhuman who can save us all. ("claims for U.S. unemployment insurance rose last week to the highest level since September 2001,", "developed world in recession") In fact, his positions on things are far from what I would wish ideally. But just to be in the position where you can actually be discussing the ideal, to have to explain that the situation is not the ideal, that in itself is a huge departure, a radical change from where we were. There is hope again.
It would be hard to describe the kind of daily rapaciousness we learned to live with under the Bush regime. The outrages were not occasional, but ongoing. Every day there were monstrous abuses as they tore the country to pieces, dismantling the legal, economic and moral foundation of the country -- every day for eight years. They seemed to know no bounds. Nothing was beyond their destructiveness. The Geneva Conventions were "quaint" to them as they launched enthusiastically into a program of torture and sadism.
They set up an alternative justice system so the president could put anyone in jail he chose to and never have to even file charges. They went to war based on pure fabrications, even as millions protested around the world. They gleefully stole billions for their close friends at Halliburton; Kellogg, Brown and Root; Blackwater and other cronies. They were like a band of pirates who had seized the ship of state. It was pure madness.
It was bad enough that Bush did not win the election of 2000 and they just pushed their way into power through thuggery and partisan abuse of government power. They did the same but more effectively in 2004, throwing Ohio and the election through vote machine tampering. They continued to consolidate their power and as they tightened their hold on the electoral system and perfected their manipulation of it, it appeared that we would never escape from their clutches. Rove envisioned a permanent Republican majority, a sort of Thousand Year Reich, and he had the technology to make it happen, as long as most of his opposition refused to consider the possibility that he would stoop so low as to rig voting machines. It was an extremely grim state of affairs. The list could go on forever. They committed more outrages in a day than you could discuss in a month.
So now they are gone, or almost. In both '06 and '08 they failed to control the elections. They had many systems of fraud and manipulation in place both times, but it was not enough to secure the result they wanted. Rove's last-minute turnaround in his predictions that McCain would win after his friend Mike Connell had to testify on machine fraud in Ohio seems to indicate a backing off from the electronic fraud.
Obama ran an amazing campaign and just overwhelmed everything the Republicans could put up. He articulated an alternative vision to a country that was extremely demoralized and sick of the way things had gone for eight years. Even just to have a president who actually won the election is a huge relief. Sure the election system is deeply flawed, distorted by money, tightly controlled by the corporate elite. But within that system, at least this candidate actually got the most votes without rigging.
Now all of us, those who opposed Bush as well as those who supported him, have to change our heads. We have to shift our psychological priorities and figure out who we are again, where we are going, what we are for. when Kennedy was elected, people who had made careers out of chiding the Republicans had to find new careers. The intelligencia was fascinated by Kennedy and wanted to observe him, comment on him, write about him. Sure, he was no prince of peace, he was well-entrenched in a corrupt system and many of his actions were more or less reprehensible. But he was no Dick Nixon and there was a worthwhile difference between them. He inspired the country, turned the heads of young people who never saw a politician that meant anything to them, who never cared about their country or service to it.
Obama, too, has a mark of destiny on him. He, like Kennedy, FDR and Lincoln, inspires much contemplation. His story is amazing. People will want to write about him, observe him closely, participate in this new period he ushers in. Obama seized the presidency, but he did it with style, integrity. He did it authoritatively, but maintained decorum. He didn't sacrifice all dignity to try to tear down his opponent. And for the first time in a long time, Rovian gutter politics did not prevail.
Yes, there is much to criticize, to oppose, and there will be plenty of time for that. But it's amazing to participate in the country again, to have reached a point at which you see the need for leadership, and someone takes that mantle and articulates what a majority of the people feel passionately and you welcome it. His power is that he has successfully divined the wishes of Americans, articulated and demonstrated those wishes. Now the challenge is to see how much he can satisfy those needs. But that's for tomorrow. I'm still just enjoying this today.
Here's a fun article on Obama by Garrison Keillor. "The world expects us to elect pompous yahoos, and instead we have us a 47-year-old prince from the prairie who cheerfully ran the race, and when his opponents threw sand at him, he just smiled back. He'll be the first president in history to look really good making a jump shot. He loves his classy wife and his sweet little daughters. At the same time, he knows pop music, American lit and constitutional law. I just can't imagine anybody cooler." We Can Dream -- See the New York Times. Goodbye and Good Riddance -- American Prospect Unprecedented -- Morford on the Obama victory. "It's smiling, laughing, actual cheering among the normally jaded and the wary whenever Obama's voice is heard, or when his name comes up on the radio, in print, in a song, on the sidewalk -- anywhere at all. It's a relatively surreal sense of Can This Really Be True? Is that young, calm, rock-solid, intellectual black guy really our new president? Are they really expecting more than a million people to attend his inauguration, the most in American history? What do you make of that?" William Rivers Pitt: Back to the Grind. truthout.org
November 15, 2008Wise Guy -- Bush, the great and wise leader who ignored warnings of 9/11 and did absolutely nothing, who launched a war on false information, who bankrupted the national treasury, who totally bungled the response to Katrina and gutted regulation to the point where capitalism devoured itself in greed and corruption and destroyed the world financial system, is now taking the opportunity of having world leaders assemble in the U.S. to lay a little advice on them about the glories of the free market system. Oh boy, aren't they thrilled. Bush, in typical clueless malappropriateness, used his triumphant moment to issue an I-told-you-so about his brand of unregulated predatory capitalism. "The crisis was not a failure of the free-market system," he declared Thursday. "We must recognize that government intervention is not a cure-all. Our aim should not be more government; it should be smarter government." At this point there is nothing Bush can say than any of them want to hear. His advice is utterly irrelevant. The whole world just wants to get on to the next phase, beyond the vacuum of leadership the world has endured for eight years, till its run down like a wobbly, slowing top. New York Daily Newsw.
The Great Relief -- Donna Marsh O'Connor, who lost her daughter in the World Trade Center on 9/11, writes of the tremendous relief of having the Bush terror regime end. And after catching one's breath and rejoicing in the overthrow of a tyrannical junta, to get back to much work that is left to be done. "Under the Bush administration, we lost access to our lofty dreams and goals," she writes. "We lost many of our civil liberties. I lost completely the ability ever to trust in government, to trust in the way a child trusts - that all other things being equal, my safety as an individual matters to those at the highest echelons of our government. Instead I am left with questions. Where was any protection for Vanessa on that morning? Where was NORAD? How could more than one plane be missing from air traffic control for eighteen minutes - eighteen minutes with no attempt at interception? Why was there no attention given on the part of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney to clear and direct Presidential Daily Briefings that read, 'Bin Ladin Determined to Attack.' Why did my 14-year-old son act more presidential than George W. Bush on that horrid day? And why, why, why did George W. Bush for one single second, even if you believe in each and all of his motives and methods and explanations, why did he say there would be no investigation and then allow only the pretense of one - the pretense that was called into question by Kean and Hamilton, co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission?" truthout.org. Trust: The Recurring Theme -- According to The Washington Post, "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said yesterday that there is 'no trust' in U.S.-Russia relations at the moment, but he expressed hope that the ties between Moscow and Washington could be repaired in Barack Obama's administration." The issue of trust is undermining practically everything in a country where the highest officers of the country are blatant liars. There is nothing George Bush can do to restore trust to the financial system because he has absolutely no credibility. Same with diplomacy and foreign policy. He's a liar and everyone knows it. Not just a liar in the sense that for politicians the truth is always conditional. He's gone far beyond the normal lies and obfuscations of politicians. He has celebrated his power to say whatever he wants and do whatever he wants without owing anything to anyone. And now everything has fallen apart. One Plus One is Zero -- Now we are being told that the turnout in 2008 was about the same as 2004. According to The Washington Post, "More people cast ballots this year than in previous elections. But preliminary reports show that the numbers paled in comparison with a surge in voter registration that has taken place since the 2004 presidential election. Turnout as a measure of registrants who voted -- a standard way of calculating the figure -- did not show dramatic increases." So the scenario now is that we had hundreds of thousands of people register to vote for the first time, an election passionately engaged in by masses of people who had never participated in politics before, but they didn't bother to vote. Barack Obama would show up and tens of thousands of people would come to see him. People reported longer lines than ever beforek, but it didn't register. The Post said, "McGhie said District officials don't have any theories to explain the numbers," and as long as you are unwilling to entertain the possibility of election fraud, which many people are, then many things will continue to be very puzzling. Drop in the Bucket -- The Denver Post reports that 44,000 voters were purged in Colorado.
-- David Cogswell