Friday, September 14, 2007

The End of the Bush Era

I actually marked my calendar. Thursday, September 13th, 2007, George W. Bush's presidency came to an end. Not his term, but his presidency.

Much like the horrific quagmire of war and strategic failure he leaves us with in Iraq, other aspects of this administration will be felt long after this failed president rides off to whatever awaits him when his term expires. But his "Presidency", has ended.

Lyndon Johnson knew it when his Presidency had ended on the fields of the Tet Offensive. Richard Nixon knew it when his Presidency had ended in 18 minutes of silence on an Oval Office tape. One truly wonders if George W. Bush knows his Presidency ended with admission by his surrogate, General David Petreus that he honesty did not know if the billions of dollars and thousands of American lives spent in Iraq had made America safer or not.

It was painful to watch. The American Presidency reduced to a desperate plea to a diminished base consisting of only those Republicans who would support him regardless. Not out of any real affection for him, or belief in his policies, but simply out of hatred for those who disagree with him.

The purpose of the speech to the nation was clear. It was George W. Bush trying to make one last pitch of a multi level marketing scam, to people who has already bought into it, and are now stuck.

The President knew he was not going to convince the American People to support his war. A war begun on lies and fought on ego. The American People have moved on. They know reality carries no weight with George W. Bush. For the vast majority of Americans mislead by their President, failed by their Congress, it is come down to waiting for January 20th 2009.

By cowering in fear of their own electoral mandate, Congressional Democrats have chosen to allow the continued death of American soldiers out of fear of being painted in campaign ads as "soft on terror" or "not supporting the troops. As a result, there is little chance that anything will change before 2009 . The President made it abundantly clear he knows that too, when he spoke not about the reality on the ground in Iraq, but rather spoke of the fantasy-Iraq that he alone sees, and clings to like addict clinging to his fix.

In the long strange trip of George W. Bush, He sees Iraq as a nation of people yearning for democracy, George Bush's democracy. He sees a war against Al-queda where he leads a grand coalition of 36 nations in the battle to save the Iraqi people. A people who really do want to get along, they just are being mislead by "terrorist killers and extremists". And all of Iraq looks with hope to their central government to lead the way , and all we need to do is just stay there long enough and "victory" will happen.

In his speech the President at long last admitted that for him, staying "long enough" is an open ended timeline. In admitting his vision of war beyond his term, George W. Bush finally told the truth.

Beyond the simplistic catch phrases of good versus evil. Beyond the endless repetition of the bold-faced lie that Iraq is somehow connected to the events of 9/11. Beyond the billions of dollars wasted, and yes even beyond the thousands of American, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives lost , beyond all that, lies the true legacy of George W. Bush.

The desperate need to never allow for the idea that he might not be right. Regardless of the facts and regardless of the costs. The final act of the Bush Presidency was to say to this nation and the world, that George W. Bush will not lose face , regardless of how many people have to die to make sure of it.

In the last 500 or so days of this President's term , we as a nation will have to come to terms with those costs. And the real question to ask anyone who would seek to succeed the sad failed Presidency of George W. Bush , is not just how and when do we bring our troops home, but also how do we restore the nation we would bring them home to.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The time has come to stop "Playing"

I am always amazed by Keith Olbermann's clear, concise empassioned honesty. He is the heir to Edward R. Morrow, and once again, his "special comment" speaks for us all. Watch it, then send it to everyone you know.


Text Transcript:

Finally tonight, a Special Comment about Mr. Bush's trip, and his startling admission of the true motive for this war, which was revealed in his absence.

And so he is back from his annual surprise gratuitous photo-op in Iraq, and what a sorry spectacle it was.

But it was nothing compared to the spectacle of one unfiltered, unguarded, horrifying quotation in the new biography to which Mr. Bush has consented.

As he deceived the troops at Al-Asad Air Base yesterday with the tantalizing prospect that some of them might not have to risk being killed and might get to go home…

Mr. Bush probably did not know that, with his own words, he had already proved that he had been lying… is lying… will be lying.... about Iraq.

He presumably did not know, that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper's book "Dead Certain."

"I'm playing for October-November," Mr. Bush said to Draper.

That, evidently, is the time during which, he thinks he can sell us the real plan.

Which is, to quote him: "To get us in a position where the presidential candidates, will be comfortable about sustaining a presence."Comfortable” -- that is -- with saying about Iraq, again quoting the President, "stay... longer."

And there it is, Sir.

We've caught you.

Your goal is not to bring some troops home -- maybe -- if we let you have your way now;

Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal;

You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, playing at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and another, and anon.

Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal -- perpetuating this war indefinitely.

War today, war tomorrow, war forever!

And you are playing at it!


A man with any self-respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country!

You have no remaining credibility about Iraq, Sir.

And yet, yesterday at Al-Asad, Mr. Bush kept playing -- and this time, using the second of his two faces.

The President told reporters, quote -- "They, (General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker) "tell me if the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces."

And so, Mr. Bush got his fraudulent headlines today.

"Bush May Bring Some Troops Home."

While the reality is, we know from what he told Draper, that the President's true hope is that they will not come home; but that they will stay there, because he is keeping them there now, in hope that those from his political party fighting to succeed him, will prolong this unendurable disaster into the next decade.

But, to a country dying of thirst, the President seemed to vaguely promise a drink from a full canteen -- a promise predicated on the assumption that he is not lying.

Yet you are lying, Mr. Bush.


But now, we know... why.

You gave away more of yourself than you knew in the Draper book…

And you gave away more still, on the arduous trip back out of Iraq -- hours in the air, without so much as a single vacation.

"If you look at my comments over the past eight months," you told reporters, "it's gone from a security situation -- in the sense that we're either going to get out and there will be chaos, or, more troops. Now, the situation has changed, where I'm able to speculate on the hypothetical."

Mr. Bush, the only "hypothetical" here is that you are not now holding our troops... hostage.

You have no intention of withdrawing them.

But that doesn't mean you can't pretend you're thinking about it, does it?

That is your genius, Sir -- as you see it, anyway.

You can deduce what we want -- we, the people, remember us? -- and then use it against us.

You can hold that canteen up and promise it to the parched nation.

And the untold number of Americans whose lives have not been directly blighted by Iraq -- or who do not realize that their safety has been reduced and not increased by Iraq -- they will get the bullet points: 'Bush is thinking about bringing some troops home. Bush even went to Iraq.'

You can fool some of the people all of the time, can't you, Mr. Bush?

You are playing us!

And as for the most immediate victims of the President's perfidy and shameless manipulation -- those troops, yesterday sweating literally as he spoke at Al-Asad Air Base...

Tonight, again sweating figuratively in The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death...

The President saved, for them, the most egregious "playing" in the entire trip.

"I want to tell you this about the decision, about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground -- not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media."

One must compliment Mr. Bush's writer.

That, perhaps, was the mostly perfectly crafted phrase of his Presidency.

For depraved indifference to Democracy, for the craven projection of political motives onto those trying to save lives and save a nation, for a dismissal of the value of the polls and the importance of the media… for a summary of all he does not hold dear about this nation or its people -- nothing... could top that.

As if, Sir, you listened to all the "calm assessments" of our military commanders --rather than firing the ones who dared say The Emperor Has No Clothes, and The President, No Judgment;

As if, Sir, your entire presidency was not a "nervous reaction", and you yourself, nothing but a Washington politician;

As if, Sir, "the media" does not largely divide into those parts your minions are playing, and those others who unthinkingly and uncritically serve as your echo chamber, at a time when the nation's future may depend on the airing of dissent.

And as if, Sir, those polls were not so overwhelming, and not so clearly reflective of the nation's agony... and the nation's insistence.

But this President has ceased to listen.

This President has decided that night is day, and death is life, and enraging the world against us, is safety.

And this laziest of Presidents, actually interrupted his precious time off to fly to Iraq to play at a photo opportunity... with soldiers... some of whom will... on his orders... be killed before the year... maybe the month... is out.

Just over 500 days remain in this Presidency.

Consider the dead who have piled up on the battlefield.... in these last 500 days.

Consider the singular fraudulence of this President's trip to Iraq yesterday, and the singular fraudulence of the selling of The Petraeus Report... in these last 500 days.

Consider how this President has torn away at the fabric of this nation in a manner of which terrorists can only dream... in these last 500 days.

And consider again how this President has spoken to that biographer: that he is "playing for October-November"… the goal in Iraq is "To get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence"… and consider how this revelation contradicts every other rationale he has offered... in these last 500 days.

In the context of all that… now, consider… these next 500 days.

Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end.

Even if it means your resignation.

Even if it means your impeachment.

Even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term.

Even if it means a Democratic Congress -- and those true Patriots among the Republicans -- standing up and denying you another **penny** for Iraq, other than for the safety and the safe conduct home of our troops.

This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country... in the next 500 days…

Not while you, Sir... are playing.

Good night, and good luck.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Go See Jersey Boys!

I will be honest, I really didn't get excited about "Jersey Boys" when it first hit Broadway, and actaully never really understood all the hype. Probably because I had never gotten into the music of The Four Seasons. So when we went to see it last night here in San Francisco I went expecting it be two hours of my life I would never get back.

WOW was I wrong.

The show quite simply is amazing! I now understand why it won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Hardly a conventional "Juke Box" show, "Jersey Boys" tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The national tour is here until the end of September then it heads out on the road. If it comes to your town GO SEE IT.

Here is a sneak peak...