Wednesday Mornings Without Fail
The Gift of Age

Our Country is in Deep Trouble

category_bug_politics.gif [EDITORIAL NOTE: Somewhere in the past week, I read a survey reporting that young people – teens and twenties – follow the news hardly at all. In another poll, only 40 percent of respondents of all ages knew who I. Lewis Libby is. (Sorry, I’ve lost those links.) That leaves concern and activism up to older folks.

Daily, I become more alarmed at the direction the leaders of the United States – all of them - are taking our country. In addition to the many assaults on our Constitution and liberties by this administration, last week President Bush's disdain for all but the richest citizens of the U.S. reached new heights of Marie Antoinette-ism when, in a speech in Cleveland, he declared his opposition to expansion of a public health coverage program for uninsured children:

“The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans," said the president. "I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.

So, today, I’m doing something that has not been done in the history of Time Goes By: I am reposting below a story in its entirety.

The piece is written by Jack Lessenberry, a Michigan journalist for many years, and he writes with succinctness and clarity what I have been trying to achieve for several weeks on the same topic for this blog without success.

Big time media, newspapers and television, are too timid, perhaps too beholden to corporate America, to tell it like it really is. Jack Lessenberry does. The rest of us must pay attention and we must contact our representatives, the White House, local and national candidates for office – repeatedly – and let them know we will not stand for their craven, corrupt behavior any longer.

Mr. Lessenberry’s piece, “Bush vs. America”, was first published in The Metro Times of Detroit on 11 July 2007. It was reprinted at commondreams.org on the same date.]

George W. Bush is more and more frequently referred to as "the worst president in the history of America" by those who know the background and pay attention to what's going on. However, that description may be too mild.

We may need an entirely new classification. For more than five years we've had an administration that has shown consistent contempt for the rule of law, for the Constitution, for Congress, for the American people and for the facts. They're squandering trillions of dollars, the effects of which will be felt much more severely in the decades to come.

They have failed to catch the mastermind of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and instead have helped increase that nasty band of thugs with our ham-handed tactics. We have ruined Iraq, doing far more damage to it than Saddam Hussein ever dreamed of. Hundreds of thousands are dead.

All for a war which we are doomed to lose, in a country we'll leave once somebody in Washington calculates that the voters won't put up with any more dead Americans, a number which will reach 4,000 in three months or so.

So far, the corpse count hasn't excited many Georgetown or Ann Arbor cocktail parties, because in this war, those fighting are mostly inner-city blacks, jobless rural whites and Hispanics who are trying to earn their way to citizenship.

Eventually, however, even the liberals may start to get uneasy. Last week, in what should have been a sudden epiphany for the half-asleep, this administration gave us a sharp lesson in just how thoroughly corrupt it is.

That was when Our Supreme Leader announced he was commuting the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was sentenced to 30 months in the slam after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. Libby, you may remember, was the former chief of staff for Vice President Richard Cheney.

Libby leaked to the press, presumably at his master's direction, that the blond bombshell Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent. This was printed, which destroyed her effectiveness and career, as they intended it would. Why did the Bush administration want to do that?

Simple. Her husband, a former ambassador named Joseph Wilson, had angered the Bushies by telling the truth publicly, which was that his investigation revealed that Saddam Hussein had never tried to buy uranium from Niger.

Libby was tried, convicted and duly sentenced by an experienced and fair federal judge. Previously, the Shrub had said he would do nothing till the appeals process had run its course. Something, however, happened to change his mind.

After five years of trying to govern by propaganda, George Bush suddenly decided that a strong dose of George Orwell's doublespeak is exactly what was needed instead. "I respect the jury's verdict," he said, and in his next breath showed he didn't respect the jury, or the judge, in the slightest, by adding, "I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."

Never mind that our intellectually challenged and allegedly dyslexic prexy never set foot in law school, or that the Constitution gives the responsibility for determining sentences and punishment to the courts. That doesn't matter because, as he sees it and likes to say, "I am the decider."

But why now? The normally cautious New York Times openly speculated Bush could be worried about what Libby might say once he realized he was at the tender mercies of the guards and his fellow convicts.

For a little perspective, let's compare this with what actually happened in Watergate, the only scandal that ever actually brought a president down.

What few remember now is that Watergate actually was sort of a comic-opera bugging episode in which a band of Cuban exiles, under the supervision of whacked-out former spy Howard Hunt, tried to bug the Democratic National Committee offices one night in June 1972. This was immensely stupid, since it was perfectly clear the Democratic nominee, George McGovern, was going to lose by a landslide.

They were caught in the act; Hunt was stupid enough to have the White House's phone number in his pocket. Eventually, Nixon ordered an illegal and clumsy attempt at covering the mess up — and taped himself doing it. Yes, he did other bad stuff, but what I just told you was the essence of why he had to resign. That, and the fact the tape showed he was a real potty-mouth. In that long-ago time, Americans never imagined Their President could possibly be a man who would say "cocksucker."

George W. Bush is a man who has constructed secret prisons and authorized torture — not only here but in other countries. He started a war and lied about why. He has invaded our privacy illegally, authorizing wiretaps in a way forbidden by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. When all that was needed was to ask a secret court for rubber-stamp permission, he didn't even do that.

What America — what all of us — needs to ask now is this:

  • Why isn't Congress — right now — authorizing committees to investigate what this president and vice president knew and when they knew it? (House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers: Your move, sir.)
  • Why aren't journalists in America demanding an investigation to what seems to be an organized cover-up and obstruction of justice?
  • Why doesn't someone — Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, say — demand the White House explain its strategy for the Iraq War?

That strategy seems to consist of having our soldiers drive up and down the roads, getting blown up, until one day the insurgents adopt democracy.

We have a world crisis and a sick democracy at home, and our puppet masters are cleverly amusing us to death with Paris Hilton.

You really might want to do something - while you still can.

[On a lighter note, today at The Elder Storytelling Place, Susan Fisher tells a marvelously funny story about an experience most of us lived through when we were about 15 in Driving Lesson.]


Comments

Thank you! I have long shared your thoughts and concerns regarding regarding Bush and his partner in crime, Dick Cheyney. I constantly exhort my small readership to write their Congress Critters and ask them to pay attention and actually DO something. When I receive responses from them, I'm appalled because they don't seem to have a clue. In the meantime, I'm watching presidential candidates on both sides seemingly cut from the same cloth. We need a savior and we need one fast so it would behoove us to start asking hard questions of our leaders demand that they stop playing fast and loose with the tenets upon which this country was founded.

The outrageous abuse of power just keeps growing. From today's Washington Post...

To add to this discussion I suggest, rather passionately urge, each person to watch or read the transcript of Billy Moyer's Impeachment Panel "Togh Talk on Impeachment" with Bruce Fein and John Nichols on July 13. AMAZING! You can find it at the PBS site in the Bill Moyers Journal Archives.
Judith

Every elected official who has supported George W and his posse should also be held responsible for the tremendous moral and ethical failures of this administration. While blathering endlessly about moral values, Bush's supported voted again and again to permit actions that are morally corrupt, ethically distasteful, hypocritically greedy, self-serving, and damaging to the common good. Any official whose voting record shows support for Bush's policies also needs to be held to account for pushing our country into this sinkhole.

Our "Let Them Eat Cake and Use the Local ER" President has gotten away with more criminal behavior than is believable.

Is the American public truly that numbed? Dumbed? Overstuffed with petit fors?

Great post, Ronni.

How about the latest bit of arrogance and irresponsibility that just made the news: formaldehyde in the FEMA trailers causing death and illness and nobody in the administration cares. After all, those people who have to live in the trailers aren't part of the people who count. See the New York Times article here

For the last six years, all of us except for the inner circle of Bushies have been treated like the staff at the country club that has suddenly started to get uppity. The Decider has taken steps, as he deems necessary, to put us in our place. We apparently are in need of forceful and repeated reminders that some people are are just, well, better than we are.

At the same time Republicans are beginning to understand that he also holds them in contempt. He has no further office to run for. There will be no more campaigns. He no longer needs his "base" for anything. Nothing remains to do except to wield the power of the mightiest office on earth in order to protect and reward the faithful in his innermost circle.

I really don't know what to call this because it seems to be beyond cynicism, beyond corruption. This administration doesn't have a legacy. What will be left when they're gone will be more like a residue.

Watch the upcoming Congressional campaigns to see the various strategies by which Republicans, up for re-election, including Maine's own Sen. Susan Collins, will seek to distance themselves from their President.

I can only add Amen. Ironically, I wrote about much the same thinking this morning. It's building to a pressure point. Do the American people care?

There is alot of politics being voiced here that I dont necessarily agree or disagree with. But I wanted to add my voice to the apprent lack of concern of the young people of our country. I look at my 2 children that are in thier 30's and I dont see this lack on concern on thier part. But in general, I think that the young of this nation dont care. I wonder who is at fault about this. Did the parents not talk about it at home, thinking it would just rub off on them? I know that we kept politics in our conversations. Oh not daily but at least a couple times a month. I look at my teen gandkids and I know that my daughter is involving them in what is happening to our country, yet I am afraid that what is being taught them in school is way stronger then what is coming from home. THIS scares me. Children are made to feel ashamed if they do not agree with the teachers point of view and my granddaughter has been ridiculed by her teacher in front of the class for her stand on issues. This is NOT right.

Anyway, any candidate that I see running for president is far from our "savior". We as a people need to stand up and make our veiws known and not allow the media to run this country.

Impeachment proceedings are long overdue, of both Bush and Cheyney. I realize the Democrats' Senate majority is too narrow to succeed in removing them from office, but it would force Senate Republicans to either quit voting with Bush instead of just trying to remove themselves from him politically with mild criticisms -- or defend him in Senate debate with quotes that can be used against them in their reelection campaigns next year. It would also serve to keep this administration's corruption before the electorate as we move further into 2008. I don't know what the Dems are thinking: the timidity they're showing is putting their their hard-won majority, slender as it is, at risk.

I am concerned about next year's election, though: I would it not put it past a man who so clearly demonstrates his contempt for the
Constitution to declare a national emergency (using his cherished -- and Supreme Court-protected executive privilege) and "defer" it until such time as our "crisis as a nation" has passed, and it will then be up to the "decider" to judge when that might be.

Lately, it seems we are trapped in a case of life imitating art: I keep recalling Sinclair Lewis's 1930s novel "It Can't Happen Here": the hell it can't.

Simply more leftist propaganda that would be better "blown out your exhaust pipe"
It is WJC who is forever an impeached liar!
I lived through his manure, this is roses in comparison.

Leftist propaganda, huh, Sebastian? Well, the postings aren't propaganda because they are based on provable facts, Sir. And I will make a scary prediction; if we don't impeach Cheney and Bush we will be at war with Iran before they leave office and the Iraq mess will be handed over to the next President.

In addition, WJC was impeached for lying about sex, not taking the country to a terrible war and ruining the reputation of the U.S. throughout the world. Clinton's lie pales in comparison to the lies told by this administration; the only damage done by Clinton was to his reputation and to his family. Bush has turned our constitution on it's head and done irreparable damage to the country.

Oh yeah, I guess the deficit is Clinton's fault, too. None are so blind as those who cannot see. And you can fool some of the people all of the time.

I just never understood why he was voted into office the second time.

I cannot understand why the vast majority of Americans remain so complacent about this morally and intellectually bankrupt president.

I agree with Paul. The most shocked and surprised I have ever been in my entire life was the day after the election of 2004 and GWB was declared the winner.What a jolt. I could not believe the people in this country had actually reelected him. As I delved into the election later, I do not think that they DID vote for him. I have doubts about the honesty and integrity of the results.

It is a good piece and thanks for bringing it to our attention.

One thing I can't quite understand. Why does most of the media seem to be on his "side?"

Always amuses me to see the trolls can never be bothered to leave an actual address. You would think they were truly ashamed of their opinions. Well, they should be.

And I for one don't need sick kids with the flu in the emergency room sharing their germs with those having heart attacks or trauma cases, thanks anyway, Dubya.

George W. Bush will go down in history as the president under whom the dreams that animated this country died. These had a lot of blots on them, but also vast innocent verve. Trust me, the rest of the world knows this (I'm in Mexico at the moment), even if most of our own citizens are sleep walking comfortably toward a cliff beyond which lies a very American fascism.

I see no honorable choice, nor any choice that honors our humanity alongside with the rest of the peoples of the world, but to try to claw our way back to some measure of sanity. As Mr. Lessenberry emphasizes, I keep remembering: "...while we still can."

Thanks for giving Lessenberry's piece greater exposure. It should be required reading for anyone planning to vote next year. Unhappily, the people who really need to read it won't, and we may be just preaching to the choir.

On snd On it goes-- very simple I voted for President bush to defend us-- not give me more social programs!!!!! You will all thank him one day for setting up a new program!!! If the next administration does not follow thru-- then do not blame Him---- we will go back to having our property of The USA hit again

Worse yet, there is not even a bit of free discourse left in this country. Fox News has made so many outrageous claims that even CNN has become terribly biased. Even Rupert Murdoch's Wikipedia article looks like someone is getting paid to portray him as a nice guy. God, and just imagine all the stuff WE DON'T KNOW! This makes me very sad.

A number of older women in the Bay Area of California got together last year to try to do something about the disastrous war in Iraq. We were tired of sitting in our houses feeling more and more frustrated and angry as we read the daily newspaper. We put out a call to friends and neighbors and about 75 women came to our first meeting. We have been active ever since: organizing postcard-writing campsigns, handing out leaflets about the connection between our taxes and the war, going to recruiting stations asking that the army "take us instead" of some young person. Some of traveled to Washington to speak with members of Congress. Much more, unfortunately, needs to be done. More pressure needs to be felt from all around the country.
If you are not already active, why not try starting a group of active older women in your community. We will offer advice and free materials to help you get going. Check out our web site www.gawba.org or email us at infor@gawba.org or phone us at 510-845-3815,
Working together with other women has proved for all of us personally.to be a very positive thing, a way of energizing us and making us feel useful.

If you want to get in touch with Grjandmothers Against the War, our email address is info@gawba.org
We look forward to hearing from you.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)