Monday, December 29, 2008

Why Don't These People Blame Barney Frank?!

Related to the comments below: apparently some know the main culprit for our current malaise:

“God bless Greenspan, patron saint of pool skatin’.”

Those pool skaters, they never had it so good. All praise to The Maestro.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where George W. Bush is?

Bob Herbert
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You don’t hear much from him anymore. The last image most of us remember is of the president ducking a pair of size 10s that were hurled at him in Baghdad.

We’re still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel is thrashing the Palestinians in Gaza. And the U.S. economy is about as vibrant as the 0-16 Detroit Lions.

But hardly a peep have we heard from George, the 43rd.

When Mr. Bush officially takes his leave in three weeks (in reality, he checked out long ago), most Americans will be content to sigh good riddance. I disagree. I don’t think he should be allowed to slip quietly out of town. There should be a great hue and cry — a loud, collective angry howl, demonstrations with signs and bullhorns and fiery speeches — over the damage he’s done to this country.

This is the man who gave us the war in Iraq and Guantánamo and torture and rendition; who turned the Clinton economy and the budget surplus into fool’s gold; who dithered while New Orleans drowned; who trampled our civil liberties at home and ruined our reputation abroad; who let Dick Cheney run hog wild and thought Brownie was doing a heckuva job.

The Bush administration specialized in deceit. How else could you get the public (and a feckless Congress) to go along with an invasion of Iraq as an absolutely essential response to the Sept. 11 attacks, when Iraq had had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks?

Exploiting the public’s understandable fears, Mr. Bush made it sound as if Iraq was about to nuke us: “We cannot wait,” he said, “for the final proof — the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

He then set the blaze that has continued to rage for nearly six years, consuming more than 4,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. (A car bomb over the weekend killed two dozen more Iraqis, many of them religious pilgrims.) The financial cost to the U.S. will eventually reach $3 trillion or more, according to the Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz.

A year into the war Mr. Bush was cracking jokes about it at the annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association. He displayed a series of photos that showed him searching the Oval Office, peering behind curtains and looking under the furniture. A mock caption had Mr. Bush saying: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.”

And then there’s the Bush economy, another disaster, a trapdoor through which middle-class Americans can plunge toward the bracing experiences normally reserved for the poor and the destitute.

Mr. Bush traveled the country in the early days of his presidency, promoting his tax cut plans as hugely beneficial to small-business people and families of modest means. This was more deceit. The tax cuts would go overwhelmingly to the very rich.

The president would give the wealthy and the powerful virtually everything they wanted. He would throw sand into the regulatory apparatus and help foster the most extreme income disparities since the years leading up to the Great Depression. Once again he was lighting a fire. This time the flames would engulf the economy and, as with Iraq, bring catastrophe.

If the U.S. were a product line, it would be seen now as deeply damaged goods, subject to recall.

There seemed to be no end to Mr. Bush’s talent for destruction. He tried to hand the piggy bank known as Social Security over to the marauders of the financial sector, but saner heads prevailed.

In New Orleans, the president failed to intervene swiftly and decisively to aid the tens of thousands of poor people who were very publicly suffering and, in many cases, dying. He then compounded this colossal failure of leadership by traveling to New Orleans and promising, in a dramatic, floodlit appearance, to spare no effort in rebuilding the flood-torn region and the wrecked lives of the victims.

He went further, vowing to confront the issue of poverty in America “with bold action.”

It was all nonsense, of course. He did nothing of the kind.

The catalog of his transgressions against the nation’s interests — sins of commission and omission — would keep Mr. Bush in a confessional for the rest of his life. Don’t hold your breath. He’s hardly the contrite sort.

He told ABC’s Charlie Gibson: “I don’t spend a lot of time really worrying about short-term history. I guess I don’t worry about long-term history, either, since I’m not going to be around to read it.”

The president chuckled, thinking — as he did when he made his jokes about the missing weapons of mass destruction — that there was something funny going on.

Bob Herbert

Anonymous said...

I was pleased to see skateboarders make the front page of the NYTimes, regardless of the circumstances. Steve, I wonder if you read the whole paper because I didn't see any mention of this article buried in the back:

An article that details how all major news networks have cut their staffs covering the conflict in Iraq now that fighting has wound down and the positive developments that are newsworthy will not be covered because they aren't, so to speak, as scandalous and exciting.

It might explain your perception that we have accomplished "zilch".

Steve Hulett said...

It might explain your perception that we have accomplished "zilch".


I get to the the "z" formulation because:

A) We will have spent a trillion bucks, without much to show for it, IMHO. (A trillion $ is a lot of bread for creating a semi-democracy out of a dictatorship in a small country of 23 million)

B) We've gone from 100 suicide bombings a day to around ten. This is progress, but doesn't increase the safety of the U.S. a whole lot. U.S. troops, yes. U.S., no.

C) We've helped train Al Qaeda in two ways: 1) Providing impetus for militants to come into a dysfunctional nation-state and take up arms against us (Then weren't there when Saddam ran the place); 2) Training Iraqi soldiers and police who then turned around and killed American troops.

D) Initiated a war of choice that Rumsfeld & Co. spent 3 1/2 years (May 2003-December 2006) lousing up.

Yes, our military, a stronger Iraqi government and the buying off of Sunni militants west of Baghdad have turned things around for now.

Probably why Bush has agreed to a "time line" to get out.

But things have also "turned around" because Baghdad neighborhoods are now walled off and the ethnic cleansing has been pretty much completed.

The cost-benefit to the U.S. over the past six years has been negative. Our world standing has declined, AQ is still active and stronger overall, and we're now a billion dollars poorer.

That's what I mean by "zip." If we hadn't gone into Mesopatamia, I believe we'd be demonstrably better off today. (Yes, it's impossible to prove a negative, but that's my opinion.)

Reading your posts, I gather you believe the reverse, that because the Iraqi situation has improved and stabilized from the disaster it was two years ago, we've gained some quantifiable victory in the Middle East.

I don't. (But of course, I'm looking at this from a "cost-benefit" perspective.)

Prior to our invasion, there were no suicide bombings in Iraq; prior to invasion, we had hundreds of billions of dollars we don't have now, and we are, IMO, less safe and more despised worldwide than we were prior to the Spring invasion in 2003.

Prior to invasion, our military was in better shape.

To your previous point: whether thousands of Iraqis were dying because of world economic sanctions (pre 2003) is lamentable, but a weakened Iraq wasn't a threat to the U.S. And we didn't invade to stop Iraqi deaths, we invaded to rid Iraq of WMDs ... that weren't actually there.

You think -- or seem to think from your posts -- the Iraq invasion was money well spent. I respect your right to think that. It's a free country.

Further, I don't believe you're "stabbing the troops in the back" or "hate the troops" because you believe that. I just maintain that you're wrong.

Final thought: I also don't think you "hated the troops" or were "stabbing our military in the back" when you believed that the Iraq war was botched, and a mistake back in the day.

See, I just don't link patriotism to support for this or that war the American government chooses to fight. And I don't associate non-support for a government policy to hating the folks in the lower ranks who carry the policy out.

I'm funny that way.

Steve Hulett said...


It's fascinating how you drag the Iraq war into a post about skate boarders.

It's less fascinating that I respond to it.

Anonymous said...

It's important to remember that we didn't invade Iraq because of WMD's.

We also didn't invade Iraq to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq or the Middle East.

We invaded, according to Donald Rumsfeld, in response to 9/11. Except that Afghanistan didn't offer any targets of significance. So we invaded Iraq, just to show that "we can't be pushed around."

For all the worst reasons. As for sanctions--actually, Robiscus, the UN sanctions against Iraq were on the verge of being lifted, when the US started its warpath.

Ultimately, whether or not Iraq was a good idea can best be answered by the shoe that was hurled at Bush by an Iraqi. I think that sums up how the Iraqis feel about the invasion. And in the end, whether Iraq was a success or not will be determined by how Iraqis feel, not us.

Certainly we never gained anything by it.

Anonymous said...

One unelected person's actions speaks for all of Iraq?

What a staggeringly genius deduction you have made!
And by that I mean, how desperate and flimsy your argument has become. It isn't even worth responding to.

Steve, I was just wondering if you saw the article because it strongly suggests that it will be very difficult to get complete coverage of the developments from Iraq. But you've made up your mind already. How sad and -excuse me but - ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Wow...Robiscus has just changed his status from Douchebag to Douchenozzle. Good job!

Anonymous said...

I think the saddest thing about all this is the "new" cabinet being put together for Obama. Has anyone else noticed they are all re-tread warhawks just like the current Bush administration.

Mark my words, more wars will be fought under Obama than under Bush. Watch for what happens in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan over the coming 4 years. When are people going to see both parties are exactly the same?

Don't forget, Bush said all of this change stuff too when talking about the previous administration.

In 2000 while running for office, George W. Bush said,

"Somalia. Started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission, and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price. And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building."

So much for "Change" huh?

Anonymous said...

The latest conservative attempt at justifying the worst President ever. Predict that Obama will be even worse and he's just the second coming of W.

Really amazing isn't it?

Does anyone ever hold Rush and his acolytes up for ridicule all the times that their wrong? Unfortunately their 'audience of morons' don't understand enough to know they're being made sport of.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Talk about drinking the Obama cool aid.

You do realize that no where in that post did I say that W was good, or justified, or even serviceable as a president. In fact, George Bush is THE worst president in the history of the US. No one has ever done more harm to our country than that guy.

But, instead of having your loyalties toward a party or person...why not start comparing all these guys to the constitution and what this country was supposed to be. You will quickly see that for some odd reason the unconstitutional policies these guys implement once in office are all the same (regardless of party).

How is it that every president runs on "change" to fix what the other guy broke...yet once they get in they just continue the same policies?

Here is the litmus test for Obama. If he will...

1) Cut spending (balance budget)
2) Repeal the Patriot Act
3) Abolish warrantless wiretapping
4) Close down Gitmo
5) Bring our troops home
6) Have no preemptive/illegal wars
7) Repeal the Real ID act

...then he will be what he says he is and I stand corrected.

George Bush did more to destroy liberties, privacy, and freedom than any in history. He completely trampled on the constitution. These things listed above would reverse all that.

Let's see what Obama does or doesn't do with it.

And btw, I hate Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox News, etc. I don't fit in the neat little box you try to put people in. Start studying some history to see what is really going on from both parties.

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