Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bush Legacy And Reality

Frank Rich over at NYT has an article up concerning financial and other high jinks under GWB. The major thrust is the devaluation of ethics that is not only tolerated but the norm, to the extent that new revelations that dwarf previous and historical official malfeasance cause less than a ripple. A short list of Rich's complaints:

to the $117 billion spent (as of mid-2008) on Iraq reconstruction — a sinkhole of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and outright theft

Back in 2003, Powell said, the Defense Department just “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week!

next to big-ticket administration horrors like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and the politicized hiring and firing at Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department, the wreckage of Iraq reconstruction is what Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners” would dismiss as “a mere bag of shells.” The $50 billion also pales next to other sums that remain unaccounted for in the Bush era, from the $345 billion in lost tax revenue due to unpoliced offshore corporate tax

had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne spent $235,000 from taxpayers to redo his office bathroom

The tentative and amorphous $800 billion stimulus proposed by Obama last week sounds like a lot, but it’s a drop in the bucket when set against the damage it must help counteract: more than $10 trillion in new debt and new obligations piled up by the Bush administration in eight years,

Yes, it certainly sounds like a mess. You could add to these economic factors no realistic resolution of illegal immigration/illegal hiring, tax policies favoring off shoring manufacturing, tax policies favoring wealth, drug company give-aways...

It is when the beneficiaries of this behavior become obvious that the real stink begins. Take Dick Cheney's former CEO-ship of Halliburton, going into 2000 HAL stock plummeted from $54/share to $17 thanks to asbestos liabilities in companies Cheney acquired for Halliburton. In 2008 the high was $57/share and currently in the face of falling oil prices it stands at $27. If you follow the market philosophies of the Republicans and trace profit as motivation it begins to be reasonable to propose that a war in Iraq was started for the benefit of Halliburton. Tracing oil prices over the last 8 years one would begin to believe that the Iraq war and Iranian "crisis" were instigated for the benefit of the oil industry, Exxon has done quite nicely out of it. Market demands (China, etc) do not track similarly. But mentioning China brings up issues regarding its profiteering under Bush.

It is estimated that of the $350 billion bailout banks planned to use $10 billion for bonuses. Banks that were on the verge of failing are on a bank buying spree and credit is still frozen. As unemployment rates spiral upward the banks that were too big to fail use taxpayer dollars to get bigger. If you stop to think that $10 billion in bonuses was for failure in one year, what does that say about bonuses in the years of reckless behavior before the show hit the wall?

Does anyone wonder where the hundreds of billions per year in Iraq went? You certainly don't think it was primarily wages or bullets. It was the high dollar mechanisms being paid for and those flowed to a handful of military industrial companies and support systems like uber right winger Eric Prince's Blackwater and ... um ... Halliburton.

You have an economy in tatters and two wars and political corruption on an unheard of scale today. For six years people have been pushing back and until the last couple years these people were labeled as traitors and Bush Derangement sufferers. That labeling was not narrowly held by Republican loons, Republican prosecutors were dismissed for not finding prosecutable Democratic vote irregularities by the highest levels of government. Media went along with every Republican trashing of those attempting to restore some kind of reality in government. Media has reported the news as though there were two sides to it, not analysis where it is a matter of opinion, but the stories themselves. Shill organizations like Fox put the least credible left representative they could find up against their experts. The media couldn't find enough combat pictures to suit it as they regurgitated government propaganda and hired government propaganda tools as analysts. The media did not push back until the utter bullshit they spouted was demonstrated as untrue and the public began to rebel in the face of it. The concentration of media ownership and its corporatising under Bush is an unremarked upon phenomenon. It is unremarked because they toe the plutocratic line.

The mental and ethical health of this nation is in crisis. Things that historically would have resulted in revolt are seen as the lesser problems. Thirty years of Republican propaganda taken as common wisdom have driven this mess. People who would blame Bush alone forget that he is simply the embodiment of those policies unrestrained. You can draw a straight line from Reagan to today, Clinton may have put half-hearted brakes on the process, but Bush was enabled not only by Congress, but by the media and the public. Today is the what the Reagan Republican Party is all about. Go ahead and try to find a "left" US government that put us in this state, for all the scare tactics Republicans use.

George Bush certainly is not responsible for the existence of Ronnie Reagan Republican policies, he is responsible for them unbound - no amount of spin will change history's judgement on that score. The question that now remains is whether his enablers will pay. McConnell and Boehner are still in Congress - and in positions of power, Halliburton still exists, the media is still consolidating, and wealth is weathering the storm quite nicely - thank you. And by the way, my left Democrat stance still engenders spit flecked rhetorical spray from the powers that be. Think about it.

1 comment:

The Intellectual Redneck said...

E-Verify Program for employment is threatened

The department of Homeland Security has a great new program that allows employers to almost instantly determine employment eligibility. About 99.6 percent of all work-authorized employees verified through E-Verify are verified without having to take any type of corrective action. This is a program that works well. If every business in America used this system, all illegal immigrants would become unemployable and have to return to their homelands.