Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

You really have to give this sitting US president credit where credit is due: no other president in recent memory has had the ability to rip defeat out of the jaws of victory more often and more consistently than George W. Bush.

How can that be, you ask? Let’s take a stroll down the path of recent events, shall we?

On October 7, 2001, the United States, in what can only be defined as a justified act of self-defense, invaded Afghanistan after suffering the worst attack on American soil in the history of the USA, on September 11, 2001

With its vastly superior military and technological power, it was a certainty that US forces would quickly defeat the Taliban, which harbored Al Qaeda,the terrorist organization headed by Bin Laden, which was responsible for the 9-11 attacks. The Taliban controlled the Afghan government and its people. They were subsequently forced to flee into the rough mountainous terrain of the Afghan countryside where American forces began a systematic hunt for them. For most of the world, which supported the USA with good will and sympathy in its efforts to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice, it was simply a matter of time before Osama, Al Qaeda, and what was left of the Taliban were brought to justice.

We were also going to have the Afghans begin growing profitable crops instead heroine poppies and provide the marketing infrastructure for them to sell their new produce.

Just stay the course, get the job done…

Enter G.W. Bush and his master plan of world peace through force-fed democracy building, American-style. Ol’ G.W. Bush decided that since it was just a matter of time before Osama was swinging at the end of a rope, he would divert US military forces from Afghanistan to Iraq, to get rid of that pesky, WMD-welding Saddam Hussein. After all, Saddam couldn’t stand up to the superior military and technological American forces, and hey, we could have a double bad-guy hanging before Christmas 2003! Oh, yeah, and we’d control tons of oil, too!

Just go in, and then out….

Well, that’s was almost five years ago, but that’s not exactly what happened, is it? Oh, we got Saddam, all right, but

1. We didn’t get Bin Laden;

2. We didn’t get any WMD in Iraq (because there weren’t any);

3. We lost the good will and respect of the rest of the world;

4. We never established a self-sufficient enduring democracy in Iraq;

5. We lost the window of opportunity on Afghan crops and they grow more poppies than ever;

6. We lost most of Afghanistan back to a reconstituted Taliban (many now trained in Iraq):

Meanwhile, after seven years of abject neglect on his part, Bush has suddenly turned his attention to the mid-east peace process. With his approval ratings hovering around 33% for two years in a row, he has decided to get directly involved in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. This week the US is hosting a peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have renewed pledges to do their very best to achieve a peaceful solution to the troublesome issues between them.

And Bush is going to help by being an official judge of fairness and compliance….

Who among peace-loving people would not wish them, and even G.W. Bush, who today appeared in public with them before the press, every success toward the achievement of lasting peace and prosperity? And, in fact, who would deny G.W. Bush his credit due for hosting this conference in the US, even at this late date?

But some cautious advice and a word to the wise to the good folks directly involved in the negotiations: If you want to maximize your chances for success, hold most of your negotiations where you’re certain ol’ G.W. isn’t directly involved. His track record on such things as future strategic planning isn’t exactly what one would take to the Superbowl.

Thanksgiving in America

“Thanksgiving day”, which occurs this year on Thursday, November 22, 2007, is the day that Americans express thankfulness for gifts of plenty, bounty, family, safety, fulfillment, and the joy of life itself. The celebration loosely springs from a day of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest by pilgrims in early colonial America, in a custom they actually adopted from the native Americans (see Thanksgiving history here)

This American holiday has morphed over the centuries from the harvest celebration to the expression of thankfulness it is today. Depending upon one’s station in life, virtually everyone from the richest to the poorest among us can find something to be thankful for. For example:

George W. Bush: Here is a man who can be thankful that he has achieved the ultimate American dream, i.e., to grow up to be American president. Additionally, he and his family are independently wealthy, owning untold oil assets in the US and Saudi Arabia, and they will never ever want for anything ever again.

Osama Bin Ladin: One might imagine that the leader of Al Qaeda is, in a twisted sort of way, thankful for George W. Bush. After all, were it not for GW Bush’s incursion into Iraq, it might have been Bin Ladin instead of Saddam that went swinging at the end of a rope earlier this year.

L. “Scooter” Libby: He is thankful to GW Bush like the plant is thankful for rain. This former aide to vice-president Cheney man would today be the “bitch” of a large lifer inmate named “Thud” had GW Bush not commuted his two and a half year prison sentence. Scooter was found guilty of federal obstruction of justice and perjury charges earlier this year as he desperately attempted to fall on the sword to protect his white house bosses’ conspiracy to out CIA operative Valery Plame.

Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister: He is so very thankful to GW Bush for the many, many young Americans who are sacrificing their lives and limbs and the many other Americans who are sacrificing their hard-earned tax dollars so that he and his buddies may stay in power as long as possible so as to stay in power as long as possible and achieve the staying in power for as long as possible. After all, he likes us.

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani prime minister: He is everlastingly thankful that GW Bush has said and done…nothing. After all, what are friends for?

Saudi Arabian King Abdullah: Many thanks to the American president for being the friendly, crack-like-oil-addicted, weapons providing, luxury-item providing, non-critical nod-nod-wink-wink buddy-buddy who knows how to keep his mouth shut and stay out of the Saudis’ internal affairs. Moreover, many more thanks to the American president for knowing what is good for himself, his family, and his American oil company buddies, and who doesn’t want Saudi Arabia to in any way fiddle with the obscene profits they all make.

American women: They are so very, very thankful for not being Saudi women. After all, it was a Saudi woman who was gang-raped after being kidnapped at a shopping mall, and then was treated like a criminal by the Saudi justice system. She was later sentenced to 90 public lashes with a bamboo cane and six months in prison. When she appealed the sentence, the judges punished her audacity by more than doubling her sentence to 200 lashes and doubling her prison sentence!!

The only reaction the Bush administration could muster upon hearing the news of this gross violation of human rights by their nod-nod-wink-wink Saudi buddies (the ones pushing the wheel barrows to take their money to the bank with oil at almost $100 a barrel) was relegated to a lowly departing state department flunky who stated meekly for the record, “It’s astonishing!!”

Many think that the Bush administration’s non-response to the issue is “astonishing”.

These selfsame American women are also thankful that the Bush administration will be history in only 425 days as of this writing.

As stated at the beginning of this article, practically everyone can find something to be thankful for.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving if you have a reason to celebrate such events!

Make War, Not Love

Although it has been two weeks since the last blog article, make no mistake about it: G.W. Bush, the “decider” guy, has been busy making sure that everyone out there knows he is still the “decider” guy. In fact, last week he tried a bit too hard and the US Congress had to gently snap him back a bit with their first veto override of the democrat-sponsored water-projects bill

And who can forget the “decider” recently vetoing the democrat-sponsored SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) bills twice, even though increasingly numbers of republicans are voting in favor of SCHIP. After all, these GOP congressmen and senators are facing increasingly hostile voters in re-election bid next November, and the “decider” guy isn’t helping them with his “decider” decisions, is he?

But just yesterday, the “decider” guy G.W. Bush may have gone too far again. He vetoed another really necessary appropriations bill that would have funded health, education and labor, restoring US$4 billion that he had cut from the budget plus adding an additional US$ 6 billion, claiming that this is just another example of those pesky “tax and spend” democrats in Congress. That was US$ 10 billion more than the “decider” guy wanted to spend. He’s looking out for the the rest of us, isn’t he?

Or is he?

Because what this “Do as I say, not as I do” incredibly arrogant and hypocritical “decider” guy didn’t want you, me or anyone else to know was that at the same time he was comparing the democrats to “teenagers with a new credit card”, he was signing into law a US$ 470 billion non-war defense spending bill with lots of pork and special spending projects in it for his defense contractor buddies.

That’s right, folks. This $470 billion wasn’t going to equip our troops with the latest in bullet-proof gear and laser-guns….it was going for non-war defense “projects”. $470 billion!!!!!  But because the health, education and labor bill was $10 billion more than Bush requested, he vetoed it. And because the SCHIP bill was more than he requested, he vetoed it. Twice. After all, what do poor kids need good health for anyway??

During the republican-controlled Congress in the first six years of Bush’s reign of drunken-sailor spending, he never once vetoed a spending bill, and the budget deficit skyrocketed. In fact, in all that time Bush only issued one veto, on a stem-cell research bill. Yet, in the ten short months since the democrats have controlled Congress, Bush has issued no less than five vetoes, with the promise of many more to come. It doesn’t matter that education suffers, infrastructure suffers, or that children suffer in the richest nation in the world; the “decider’ guy has already decided that we’ll make war if we have to kill them all.

However, the final kick in the teeth to the American people, or at least to the middle class, is perhaps the cruelest and most telling of them all, for the ‘decider” guy has already said he will veto this if it gets to his desk:

Middle class relief from the Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT).

The AMT is a tax imposed in the early 1970s to ensure that the very rich paid income tax even if tax loopholes hid most of their income. At the time, only about 9,000 taxpayers were affected by the AMT. But the AMT law did not take inflation into account and now, if no change to the law is made, over 33,000,000 taxpayers will be forced to pay the AMT by 2010.

Bush has already promised to veto any measure that exempts the middle-class families from the AMT by raising taxes on financial managers, equity fund managers and multi-national corporations. These folks, of course, are among the top 1% money-earners in the nation.

Feeling the love? No??

Are you angry? YES??

Well, then: Make war, not love!!!! It’s the “decider” way!