Thank God he's now a lame duck president.
I'm a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, having lived most of my life in the Land of the Maple Leaf. It's given me a painful perspective, watching what's happened to America for the past 8 years.
Even the euphoria of electing their way out of the abyss doesn't seem to free Americans from saying what they want to say about George W. Bush. Believe me - it won't take long for history to record him as the worst thing to happen to the United States of America in its 232-year history.
Here are 13 reasons among many that I'm counting the days until George W. Bush is outta here:
1 - George W. Bush was named the 43rd president only after the state of Florida - presided over by his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush - delivered it to George following several recounts.
"Al Gore had a nearly three-to-one majority among 56,000 Florida voters whose November 7 ballot papers were discounted. A second survey showed that Mr Gore had a majority of 682 votes among the discounted ballots.
In each case, if the newly examined votes had been allowed to count in the November election, Mr. Gore would have won Florida's 21 electoral college votes by a narrow majority. Instead, Mr. Bush officially carried Florida by 537 votes after recounts were stopped.
In spite of the findings, no legal challenge to the Florida result is possible in the light of the US supreme court's 5-4 ruling in December to hand the state to Mr. Bush. But the revelations continue to cast a cloud, to put it mildly, over the democratic legitimacy of Mr. Bush's election." - Martin Kettle, The Guardian, UK
2 - International Reputation
Since January 20, 2001, when he was first sworn in as president, "public opinion around the world about the U.S. has plummeted. Respondents viewing America favorably dropped from 58.3% to 39.2%." - Dan Brown, The Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2008
"This is more than just a public-relations problem. National prestige is diplomatic capital; the more unpopular America becomes, the higher the price of foreign support." - Jonathan Rauch, ReasonOnline
Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel endures a shoulder rub from President Bush at a 2006 G-8 summit (CBS News)
3 - The National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program "monitors phone calls, e-mails, Internet activity, text messaging and other communication and is provided total, unsupervised access" to domestic citizens' private conversations.
The American Bar Association denounced the warrantless domestic surveillance program, accusing the President of exceeding his powers under the Constitution. (Wikipedia)
Graphic from lilith-ezine.com
4 - "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Despite being warned by officials of the impending doom of Hurricane Katrina, George W. Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
Photo by Mannie Garcia
Apparently Kanye West was the only person prepared to say it like it is: "You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.' "
Hurricane Katrina claimed 1,836 lives, with 705 people missing and unaccounted for.
Photo by Times-Picayune
5 - My Pet Goat
"Minutes of silence that should live in infamy: as Americans leapt to their deaths from the Twin Towers, George W. Bush sat in a Florida classroom until his handlers could figure out what to do with him.
"He calmly listened to a pet goat story and complimented the children on their reading skills as Americans and foreigners burned alive. He did not ask a question of Andrew Card (Julia's note: Bush's Chief of Staff who interrupted Bush's reading session to inform him of the second plane flying into the south tower) or seek any further information on the terrorist attack on America.
"He chose to continue a photo-op with black children designed to give him the image of a 'compassionate conservative', concerned about their education - this was of more importance than the national security of the United States." - BuzzFlash
6 - The US Department of Justice opened a criminal fraud investigation into Enron Corporation on Jan. 9, 2002.
Five days later on Jan. 14, 2002 President George W. Bush choked on a pretzel.
Nine days later Enron CEO Kenneth Lay resigned.
Photo: George W. Bush, Nancy Lazar (International Strategy and Investments) and Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, Jan. 2001 (photo by Jeff Mitchell)
"When the history books are written, the debit side of the Bush Era ledger will include a line labeled 'Kenny Boy.' That’s the nickname Bush gave the guy he later claimed he barely knew." - Howard Fineman, msnbc
"The White House announced in January 2002 that Bush's National Economic Council had directed a review the previous October, to see whether an Enron collapse could have a strong impact on the American economy. Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said 'It shows that the administration did a lot of thinking about the fact that the company was going to collapse. But they did absolutely nothing to make sure that 50,000 Enron employees would not lose their life savings.'
Lawrence B. Lindsey, head of the National Economic Council, had been a paid consultant for Enron, receiving $50,000 in 2000. He was just one of several top White House and Republican Party officials who had close Enron ties.
Robert Zoellick, former US trade representative, sat on an Enron advisory board in 2000.
Marc Racicot, onetime chairman of the Republican National Committee, worked as an Enron lobbyist.
Karl Rove, senior White House political strategist, held more than 1,000 Enron shares before selling them in June 2001." - Jason Leopold, Truthout
"President George W. Bush set off a White House scare when he fell off a sofa on Jan. 14th, after passing out briefly from having choked on a pretzel - while watching a National Football League playoff game on TV, White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb told the Associated Press. The physician, an Air Force colonel, said Bush had felt 'a little off his game'. Tubb said that the incident did not appear to be stress-related." - Stephen M. Silverman, People.com
7 - The Plame Affair
"The Plame Affair refers to the identification of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer.
"Her husband, former US Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, stated that members of President George W. Bush's administration revealed Mrs. Wilson's covert status as retribution for his op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," (Julia's note: WMD's) published in The New York Times on July 6, 2003." - Wikipedia
"The leaking of Valerie Plame's identity started a chain of events that had the White House at the center of a political firestorm. 'The CIA obviously believed there was reason to believe a crime had been committed' said her husband, because it referred the case to the Justice Department." - Mark Memmott, USA Today
"On November 15, 2008, Scott McClellan, former White House press secretary to President George W. Bush revealed to an audience at the Miami Book Fair that President Bush had confided in him that he had authorized Scooter Libby to leak the classified information in the Plame affair." - Wikipedia
8 - Mission Accomplished
"May 1, 2008 marked the fifth anniversary of President George W. Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, as heralded by a giant banner strung across the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
"Now in its sixth year, as of May 1st the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of at least 4,058 members of the U.S. military - 3,924 of whom have died since Mr. Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
"Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. The true number may never be known, since the Iraqi government does not record tallies of the dead." - CBS News
9 - Bush's Deficit Death Spiral
"The trade deficit has more than doubled from $380 billion to $759 billion." - Dan Brown, The Huffington Post
Photo by Jin Lee
"Harking back to the economic stewardship of Ronald Reagan, today's trade deficit began when Reagan cut the marginal tax rate on the wealthiest of Americans from 70% to 38%. The rich spend a much lower percentage of their income than do those who are not rich. They're also the most likely to spend what money they do on foreign luxury goods, take foreign vacations, make investments in foreign countries, or just let the money sit in the bank.
"The poor, working and middle classes spend virtually everything they earn.
"In 1980, the top 20% of income earners captured 43.7% of all national income.
By 1992, at the end of the first Bush administration, their share had risen to 46.9%.
By 2004, the end of George W. Bush's first term, it was over 49%.
"Bill Clinton reversed this course, raising taxes on the wealthy, and lowering them for the working and middle classes. This produced budgetary surpluses, allowing the government to begin paying down the crippling debt begun under Reagan. In 2000, Clinton’s last year, the surplus amounted to $236 billion.
"George W. Bush immediately reversed Clinton’s policy. Bush handed $630 billion in tax cuts to the top 1% of income earners.
"The upper middle class has suffered a decline in income from 25.0 to 23.3%. (Julia's note: remember that all classes listed here have to share out the remaining 50% of all available income not already earned by the top wage earners)
The middle class share has fallen from 16.8% to 14.8%.
The working class share has fallen from 10.2% to 8.8%.
The lowest wage earners’ share has shrunk from 4.2% to 3.5%." - Robert Freeman, CommonDreams.org
10 - The Subprime Mortgage Crisis
"In 2001, the Federal Reserve began cutting lending rates dramatically. The goal of a low federal funds rate is to expand the money supply and encourage borrowing, which should spur spending and investing. The idea that spending was 'patriotic' was widely propagated and everyone - from the White House down to the local parent-teacher association - encouraged Americans to buy, buy, buy." (Investopedia)
"Beginning October 6th, 2008 and lasting all week the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 1,874 points, or 18%, in its worst weekly decline ever." (Wikipedia)
"The Wall Street situation hits senior citizens extra hard. They're seeing a drop in fixed income investments. (Julia's note: basic employer pensions are vulnerable to the tanking economy, despite the retired worker's lifetime of paycheque contributions to the pension plan.) Some seniors are delaying retirement in order to pay for medical and living expenses." (WCTV)
What does George W. Bush think of millions of Americans taking the brunt of his administration's economic policies? His quote from the recent G-20 economic summit:
"The crisis was not a failure of the free-market system," Bush said. "And the answer is not to try to reinvent that system. History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market - but too much." But he said it would be wrong to equate the free-market system with "greed, exploitation and failure." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg, International Herald Tribune, Nov. 13, 2008
Photo by Joe Raedle
11 - "The US is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care." (Wikipedia)
The annual total health insurance premium cost has nearly doubled from $6,230 per family to $12,106 per family. (The Huffington Post)
I can't even get my head around that. A family in the United States has to shell out $1000.00 a month for health care?
"In 35 states, average premium costs for workers rose at least three times faster than average earnings from 2000 to 2004. The number of Americans who had total health costs that consumed more than one quarter of their earnings rose 23 percent. The overwhelming majority of these people (10.7 million) had health insurance." (Daily News Central)
12 - Bush's Ban on Stem Cell Research
"Under President George W. Bush, federal money for research on human embryonic stems cells was limited to those stem cell lines created before Aug. 9, 2001. No federal dollars could be used on research with cell lines from embryos destroyed from that point forward.
'The question is: Is it ethically more acceptable to destroy these embryos by pouring acid on them, or do you deploy these clusters of cells to create new cell lines that could benefit us in the future?' asks Dr. Chi Dang, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine." - Kevin Freking, Associated Press
Wasn't the study of anatomy forbidden for centuries by the Church? Just a thought.
"Strange is it, then, to note that one of the main objections developed in the Middle Ages against anatomical studies was the maxim that `The Church abhors the shedding of blood'." - The Church and Surgery During The Middle Ages
13 - This chapter in US history makes my blood boil.
The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines "told a London audience in 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, 'Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.' Maines has one regret: the apology she offered George W. Bush at the onset of her infamy. 'I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President,' says Maines. 'But I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.' " - Andrea Sachs, Time
For sharing her deep despair over a presidency she found atrocious, Natalie Maines was bombarded with death threats. Death threats.
Is America not the Land of the Free? Is she not allowed to have a view that does not blindly accept the political status quo?
For that, she and her bandmates suffered politically, financially and socially. What warms my heart about this story are three things:
She did not back down. Her bandmates stood with her. And the song they wrote about the experience - I'm Not Ready to Make Nice - won a Grammy.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thank God he's now a lame duck president.