1/18/09

Bigger Than Bush

As I've pointed out to my friends at Lucianne.com many times, the political and economic policies of the Republican Party, exploiting movement conservativism, were essentially a train wreck in slow motion. It may have taken decades for the policies to to bring all matters foreign and domestic to a crisis stage, however, it had nothing to do with luck or providence...... What we see today in America is the effects of a sustained undercurrent of proto-fascist foreign policy and corporatist laissez faire economics. Even the Republican "Southern Strategy" reflects their approach to do what ever was necessary to gain and hold the reins of power, even when the policies, pushed far to the right of the political spectrum, were only acceptable by a core 20-25 percent of the authoratarian-leaning part of the population; a coalition of the very very rich, christian rightists and an amalgram of bigots. All others.... especially those who called themselves "moderate" Republicans were essentially bamboozled..... taken along for the ride down the slippery slope we find ourselves on today. They voted Republican because it was their identity, not because they perceived the direction the Party was taking. Some have awaken to see that they now belonged and were taken for granted by a Party that had little concern for their point-of-view..... Colin Powell being an excellent example.

Once again Paul Krugman taps the history and underscores the salient points of that underlying strategy, policy and wrong-headedness that is modern Republicanism......

The Republican Party should collapse completely, and re-emerge in a form that returns to their Liberal Constitutional roots.... Reaganism, Reaganonomics and movement conservativism has demonstrably failed..... they've had it all their way, and reaped only the decline of a great Nation.


New York Times, 2 January 2009

As the new Democratic majority prepares to take power, Republicans have become, as Phil Gramm might put it, a party of whiners.
Some of the whining almost defies belief. Did Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, really say, “I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror”? Did Rush Limbaugh really suggest that the financial crisis was the result of a conspiracy, masterminded by that evil genius Chuck Schumer?

But most of the whining takes the form of claims that the Bush administration’s failure was simply a matter of bad luck — either the bad luck of President Bush himself, who just happened to have disasters happen on his watch, or the bad luck of the G.O.P., which just happened to send the wrong man to the White House.
The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.

If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to “make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.”
Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. “Government is not the solution to our problem,” declared Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” So why worry about governing well?

Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.
Oh, and the racial element isn’t all that abstract, even now: Chip Saltsman, currently a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” — and according to some reports, the controversy over his action has actually helped his chances.

So the reign of George W. Bush, the first true Southern Republican president since Reconstruction, was the culmination of a long process. And despite the claims of some on the right that Mr. Bush betrayed conservatism, the truth is that he faithfully carried out both his party’s divisive tactics — long before Sarah Palin, Mr. Bush declared that he visited his ranch to “stay in touch with real Americans” — and its governing philosophy.

That’s why the soon-to-be-gone administration’s failure is bigger than Mr. Bush himself: it represents the end of the line for a political strategy that dominated the scene for more than a generation.

The reality of this strategy’s collapse has not, I believe, fully sunk in with some observers. Thus, some commentators warning President-elect Barack Obama against bold action have held up Bill Clinton’s political failures in his first two years as a cautionary tale.

But America in 1993 was a very different country — not just a country that had yet to see what happens when conservatives control all three branches of government, but also a country in which Democratic control of Congress depended on the votes of Southern conservatives. Today, Republicans have taken away almost all those Southern votes — and lost the rest of the country. It was a grand ride for a while, but in the end the Southern strategy led the G.O.P. into a cul-de-sac.

Mr. Obama therefore has room to be bold. If Republicans try a 1993-style strategy of attacking him for promoting big government, they’ll learn two things: not only has the financial crisis discredited their economic theories, the racial subtext of anti-government rhetoric doesn’t play the way it used to.

Will the Republicans eventually stage a comeback? Yes, of course. But barring some huge missteps by Mr. Obama, that will not happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. And when they do, they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.

1/10/09

Jeri Suzanne Horne, Liquid Illuzion

Liquid once wrote me an email and said she liked the music videos i left on her "music bar"..... i liked her too.
She was always nice to me......
here's another ghost for the offering....... a little video music for her music bar.... i know Suzanne would like it.
i might have another version of the same song playing on my playlist..... the playlist was an idea i stole from Liquid.
i also changed my playlist to lead with this song when when i found out Liquid was gone.
if you want to see the video, just pause the player and click the URL.

1/6/09

George W. Bush's Legacy

I have pointed out to my friends at Lucianne.com many many times; this Republican administration, in its death throws after two unfortunate terms, has been an abject failure in all matters foreign and domestic. Furthermore its failures are solidly rooted in the political and economic philosophies of movement conservativism dating back at least to the Reagan administration. In short, modern Republicanism has been a slow train wreck culminating in the failed administration of George W. Bush.

Now, interestingly, Dubya thinks that he and his administration will be vindicated byhistory. That is mainly because of his unfortunate overindulgences with alcohol and possibly other drugs in his youth..... obvious brain damage.

Here is a nice article to set the record straight...... the record that history, undoubtedly, will not ignore:

Published on Monday, January 5, 2009 by The Guardian/UK
George W. Bush's Legacy of Failure

The president's defenders are puffing his record in a positive light - but reality keeps getting in the way

by Cliff Schecter

With only days left until his term expires, it appears that the Bush legacy project, an attempt by the usual corps of serial sycophants to rehabilitate the lame-duck generalissimo's image, is falling upon the deaf ears and self-gouged eyes of an American public sickened by the last eight years.
Yes, the Bush cabal just couldn't clear out of town without trying to complete one last propaganda project for the Gipper, or the Decider, if you will. Karl Rove, the genius who predicted a permanent Republican majority right before destroying a temporary one, and Karen Hughes, who likes to create mutual understanding in the Middle East
by explaining that God appears in the US constitution, have been unleashing a wave of their finest shock and awe talking points. To listen to them is to hear how black is white, up is down and Bush has been more Churchill than Ceausescu.

Condi Rice, the very Siren Song of Security who thought a 2001 presidential daily briefing entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" meant the al-Qaida leader was thinking of investing in beachfront property in the greater Fort Lauderdale metro area, has also added her prescient voice to the chorus.

Our fearless chief diplomat's latest missive,
reminding us that "the war on terror has failed to eliminate al-Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden, but the US-led coalition and Iraq are close to defeating the group's Iraq branch", would be pretty cool if it weren't for the tiny hiccup that there was no "Iraq branch" of al-Qaida until she and her superiors chose to idiotically invade that country, and then do everything just short of providing al-Qaida in Iraq with an infusion of venture capital.

But the biggest problem for defenders of Bush's vast array of "accomplishments" is not even the cast of nincompoops trying to portray him as the "misunderestimated" heir to President Harry Truman. Their biggest obstacle appears to be reality itself. The American people have a way of getting it right, if not always immediately, and Bush's handlers haven't quite been able to force us all into the Matrix. Yet.

Right on time, CNN has come out with a poll that proves we know more than Mr Permanent Majority after all.

When asked whether Bush was "tough enough for the job", 49% of Americans responded yes, and 51% said no (even though he cleared brush in a very forceful manner! And wore a really tight flight suit! And said "Bring 'em on!"). That, by the way, is the best he performed on any question.

Is the president a person you admire? Seventeen percent yes, 72% no, but perhaps Bush legacy project peddlers can win over that 1% still thinking about it. Does Bush inspire confidence? Twenty percent said yes, and 80% said no. Did he manage the government effectively? Only 25% think he did, while 75% said not so much. Finally, did Bush bring the kind of change the country needed? A whopping 13% answered in the affirmative.

This is the way the rest of the poll goes. Whether it is about "getting things done" or "uniting the country" - two of Bush's campaign pledges - he is lucky to approach a 33% positive score. Saying these numbers ain't pretty is in the same range of euphemistic happy-talk as claiming the economy has hit a rough patch or the Cubs haven't won a World Series recently.

So when their two-page document of talking points comes your way reminding you that "Bush kept us safe after 9/11" (except for the anthrax attack, the shoe-bomber plot foiled by alert airline passengers and the more than 4,000 American kids unnecessarily killed in Iraq) and "Bush lifted the economy with tax cuts after 2001" (try Googling in succession: "sub-prime mortgages", "Bernie Madoff" and "Enron" for Bushenomics in action), much like CNN poll respondents, you can take the antidote by just refusing to close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears and scream "nah, nah, nah, nah nah" until no longer cognisant.

As for history exonerating Bush 43 (as Laura Bush claims will soon occur), Herbert Hoover somehow doesn't elicit evocations of ecstasy 80 years later, and LBJ is still remembered more for a very bad war than his landmark legislative accomplishments. Now try combining starting a stupid war with overseeing an economic meltdown.

See where this is going, Laura?

Just two months ago, I met with Julie Blust, communications director for the National Bush Legacy Bus Tour sponsored by Americans United for Change. Upon it's arrival in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, she took me aboard this 45-foot long, 28-ton monument to Dubya's impact on the country and planet, from Katrina to corrupt no-bid contractors, economic destruction to "enhanced interrogation techniques".

Upon seeing the real record, as it appeared in video, picture and chart form on the walls of the Bush bus, it would be impossible to draw any other conclusion than that this man was a one-man wrecking crew (well, two and a half if you include Cheney). And that he'll saunter up alongside James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Warren Harding as the very definition of Oval Office calamity.

There is really only one arguable legacy of Bush's White House tenure that is a step forward for the US and all mankind. It's called President Obama.

Cliff Schecter is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Why Independents Shouldn't.