Tag Archives: president

The Pillage and Plunder President

Pillage: v. to loot, take booty

Plunder: v. to take wrongfully or by force

From a powerful post by DailyKos blogger ToqueDeville:

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I always like to say our health care system is not broken, it’s working perfectly. Just not for us. And it is true. The American health care system is doing exactly what it was designed to do – make a fortune for a few people.

You can apply this same principle to every major part of the American experience – our media is working flawlessly at keeping the vast majority of Americans misinformed. And even our government is working flawlessly at preserving its own power and protecting the interests of those it serves. It is from within this framework that we must assess George Bush’s presidency.

I have repeatedly heard people refer to Bush as a failed president. Indeed, that is probably how he will go down in history. But to be accurate, we must separate our failure, and that of our country’s, from those of the Bush administration, those who enabled him, and those whose interest he serves.

For it is from their perspective, we must admit, George Bush’s presidency was a raging success. With the help of a complicit and feckless Democratic congress, and a compliant media, George Bush got almost everything he wanted.

Here’s a very brief and incomplete list of Bushco’s successes:

In eight years, almost completely unimpeded by Democrats, and in many cases, he couldn’t have done it without them, Bush dramatically changed this country to the benefit of the parasite class. From gutting environmental policy, to ridiculous tax cuts, to numerous bills that only benefited the monied interests, Bush helped corporate America make more profit than in human history. And I’m not even including the oil, gas, and coal industry. From bankruptcy reform, the energy bill, to the the medicare bill, Bush pushed through major legislation that eliminated oversight, hurt consumers, and weakened our democracy. Then, throw in two Supremes who love corporate power and God, and all I can say is, good job George.

Probably his greatest success, however, was letting 911 happen. I don’t know how they did it, but, despite a plethora of warnings, they actually managed to let 4 planes get hijacked at once, and fly unimpeded into three major sites including the World Trade Towers. Excellent.

From that single act, Bush was able to conquer two countries, seize about 45 trillion dollars in Iraqi oil, depending on the ppb this week, and turn the country into a war mongering, war profiteering, national security police state. Oh Mr Bush, you will always be VIP at the Petroleum Club.

Yes, Bush’s base has made trillions of dollars from his actions and policies. Kudos. A very successful presidency indeed.

Who has failed on the other hand, is us.

He goes on to list OUR failures – progressives, our Democratic electeds, liberal bloggers… and of course the American people who slept on.  It’s pretty chilling. Read the whole thing.

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Pleased as Punch (P-words inadequate for EUPHORIA!)

“Pleased as Punch“: Colloquial for delighted. The phrase has unsavory beginnings with the 19th century Punch and Judy puppet shows where Punch pretty much outwits and kills everyone he doesn’t like – with great glee, each time squeakily repeating his catchphrase, “That’s the way to do it!”

Euphoria is a much better word to describe the joy that swept much of the country – indeed much of the world – last night at the declaration that Barack Obama had won the presidential election.

I stayed home until 7:45 watching CNN and MSNBC and reading the blogs, wanting to see how things were going across the country from a variety of sources. Then I drove to the Hilton in downtown Vancouver, where the Dems had rented the ballroom, complete with big screen TV. The place was PACKED, and just as I walked in, the polls in California, Washington and Oregon closed and CNN called it for Obama.

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Pandemonium broke out. We whooped and hollered and wept and hugged the nearest person, even total strangers. Even the bartenders left their posts to join the happy throng.

(I don’t know what was happening on the streets of my town, but my son in Portland and my daughter in Oakland said that happy cheering people poured onto the streets, cars honked, music blared – for much of the evening, beginning at the victory call at 8. And nobody complained about the revelry.)

Then we watched Obama’s victory speech on the big screen. Oh. My. God. We wept and cheered as if he was in the room with us. We have waited so long for a person of this much heart, intelligence, compassion, integrity and eloquence – that he is also an African-American is just frosting on the cake for me. For the African-American community it is unspeakably thrilling.

He couldn’t have been more gracious and more inclusive (when was the last time you heard a politician include gays and lesbians in a major speech).

Here’s the link to the speech video and transcript on the NY Times website.  Wactch and weep for joy!

And here are the Democratic precinct officers for Clark County WA precincts 460 and 470: my neighbor Laurel and me – both wearing our Obama bling:

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President Obama!!! America finally practicing what it preaches.

President: n.  Barack Hussein Obama, 44th elected leader of the United States of America. First African American elected to the highest office in our country. [Here insert whoops, hollers, tears, leaps and twirls, happy pandemonium from the elated public!]

Practice: v.t. to carry out, apply

Preach: v. to advocate earnestly, to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action

In America, we like to say that anyone with a strong will and consistent effort can realize their dreams. But that’s never been true except for white heterosexual Christian males. Blacks, gays, atheists, women, Muslims, need not apply. If you read Obama’s first book, The Audacity of Hope, you will understand how difficult a path Obama trod to reach last night’s historic victory.

EJ Dionne of the Washington Post:

Above all, it is time to celebrate the country’s wholehearted embrace of democracy, reflected in the intense engagement of Americans in this campaign and the outpouring to the polls all over the nation. For years, we have spoken of bringing free elections to the rest of the world even as we cynically mocked our own ways of conducting politics. Yesterday, we chose to practice what we have been preaching.

And what America has had to put up with in the meanwhile was truly the worst elements among us. Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman of the NY Times:

Last night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.

What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.

And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was “shrill.”

Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least, they’ve been banished to the wilderness.

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Palin: Pretty, premature, precipitate, precarious pick

Premature: adj. too hurried and impulsive, born after too short a gestation period

Precipitate or precipitous: adj. acting with excessive impulse; lacking due deliberation

Precarious: adj. dangerously lacking in security or stability

When it’s possible that your vice-president might, by circumstance, suddenly become President, you’d think that a wise presidential candidate would make a very careful choice of running mate. You would want him/ her not only to be knowledgeable of international affairs, but also to have a clean past which you would thoroughly investigate before making your choice.

Not John McCain.

His choice for VP proves his lack of judgment: it was a premature, precipitate and precarious pick. He has not only chosen someone with only 20 months of governing experience above the village level, he has chosen someone that he and his team never bothered to vet!

Oh, he sort of knew Sarah Palin was in a legal pickle over the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan but probably figured that it would get swept under the rug the way so many Republican scandals do.

What is mind-boggling is that nobody on his staff ever bothered to go to the newspaper in her home town of Wasilla and see what the locals were saying. The Valley Frontiersman has no online archive so the only way to do the research is on site. (The Anchorage Daily News already has plenty dirt.)

Three days AFTER picking Palin, McCain sends 8 staffers to Wasilla to check her out.

Even if they turn up NOTHING unsavory (they wish!) is this the way a President McCain would conduct the business of the United States? Act NOW, think LATER.

The implications are ominous.

Presidential Qualifications: Primary edition

The Clinton and McCain camps like to say that Obama is young and lacks experience. Musician Tom Rush has some thoughts on that:

There’s a story I like about how Henry Ford wanted his engineers to come up with a certain carburetor design. They worked and worked, and reported that it couldn’t be done. So he took the job to two guys from the mail room, with no engineering training whatsoever, and they worked and worked, and did it.

They talk a lot about Obama’s lack of experience, but I’m thinking that, to the extent that it’s true, it might be a good thing. It seems evident that all of our current problems were carefully (or carelessly) crafted by people with lots and lots of experience. Tons of knowledge about The Way Things Should Be Done have led us into all kinds of very bad situations. Maybe we need someone who doesn’t know how it’s done, or that it can’t be done, to have a try at straightening things out.

Others say that a president must have had prior executive experience. Well, maybe, but if the current occupant is our standard, maybe not. It is important to note that it takes a skillful executive to run a grueling and costly presidential campaign, which involves policy, media, money, and a volunteer army, plus a good measure of damage control skill. For all her brains and experience, Clinton has managed her campaign very poorly and they’ve got serious financial problems. McCain barely has his act together.

Quite apart from his skills as an orator, Obama has run an extremely well-organized and executed campaign. He’s got foot soldiers on the ground all over the country, he’s raised beaucoups de bucks, and when the Rev. Wright issue exploded he faced it with grace and power.

Presidential qualifications? Vote Obama.