Thursday, January 29, 2009

Too Funny

Joan Walsh at has it right about the current ridiculous and inconsequential Rush Limbaugh / Obama administration flap in her account of the recent skirmish she had -- and decisively won -- with discredited ignorant sexist blowhard former US Representative Dick Armey. I have to say, I'm suffering serious stomach cramps lately from laughing at the precipitous implosion of the Republican party. They've long run out of feet in which to shoot themselves; they now appear to be aiming their guns at their own heads, hearts and... well, I was going to say "souls," but everyone knows Republicans don't have anything even resembling such a thing.

Anyway, it's a great read, not least because of these particular paragraphs:

My heart goes out to Rush and Dick, seriously. And even more to poor, de-pantsed Phil Gingrey, a Republican congressman from Georgia. A few days ago Gingrey tried to tell Rush to back off, to stop criticizing congressional Republicans because he can't know how hard they have it, but within 24 hours he'd phoned in to the radio host's show to apologize to Limbaugh. "I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments (laughs) and I just wanted to tell you, Rush, and -- and all our conservative giants who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it and get back this majority, that I regret those stupid comments." Talk about grabbing your ankles.

Limbaugh, Armey and Gingrey are lost. They have no ideas for the economy (Armey kept babbling "tax cuts, tax cuts" on "Hardball" yesterday), they're captives of a narrow base ("real people" who love Limbaugh, Armey called them; narrow-minded people mysteriously obsessed with who might make them grab their ankles, is how I'd put it). Guys like Gingrey can't get reelected in their districts if they do the right thing for the country. But in most of the country today, they can't get elected if they don't. Their time has passed, and they know it.

(Emphasis mine.)

You go, Joan. You go. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this new day, new age, new era. All of you reading this, I urge you to check out the full post by the estimable Ms. Walsh. Because in my world, there are few things more heartening than seeing the people who brought this country to its knees with their wrong-headed, bankrupt policies suddenly foundering and sputtering and wondering why the American public is no longer buying their bullshit by the ton.

Their time has passed, and we all know it.

**UPDATE** I should have included a link to this excellent article by Mike Madden as well. Ahhh, Republicans in disarray... does it get any better than that?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Got A Job?

I know a whole lot of people are out of work right now, and that's a terrible thing. There's one guy in particular that I know of -- you may have heard of him -- who just lost his position and is looking for something new. Take a look at his resume, maybe somebody out there can make a recommendation for him.

How Do We Get There From Here?

This is the universe *I* want to live in...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Feel Like I Just Woke Up...

Over at Categorical Aperitif, my good friend nashtbrutusandshort has a post that deserves to be spread far and wide. Thank whatever deity you pray to (or don't believe in) that a new era has finally come.

Feelin' That Way, Too

Michael Tomasky, on Obama's apparent willingness to ditch the ridiculous "war on terror" rhetoric that's covered up so much stupidity and so much evil for so many years:

Bravo. And of course it logically follows that if we're not in a perpetual state of war, the executive can't arrogate to itself limitless power for unspecified periods of time.

I live at the same address I always did, but I've moved back into the United States of America.

Amen. And don't miss this overview of Obama's first 100 hours. Ending torture, encouraging FOIA requests, overturning the Gag Rule—I'd forgotten what it was like to contemplate the actions of my president and not feel a mix of shock, shame, and outrage. These new confusing.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Thanks to my pal Carmen for this one!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Day We've All Been Waiting For

I'm still pinching myself. I'm still not sure it's really true, though by all appearances it is. George W. Bush is no longer the president... wait a minute, I think I have to say that again, with a little more emphasis:


...and Barack Hussein Obama, the first African-American president in our history, has been sworn into office. Our long national nightmare, as Gerald Ford once (incorrectly) said, is over. Bush and Cheney are out of office. There was no October surprise, no unexpected declaration of martial law and subsequent suspension of the election, no last-minute machinations in an attempt to hold onto power for just a few days or months or years longer. There was an orderly transition, a return of the reins of our country to its citizens. There is no doubt that we have a monumentally huge job ahead of us trying to clean up the mess that the Republicans have left for us, but for today, at least, let's celebrate.

Today I lift my glass to Barack Obama, and toast with all of you. Today, we celebrate. *clink!*

Monday, January 19, 2009

Buh-Bye, Asshole

Seen on the corner just outside my building this morning (and no, I'm not the one who put it there, though I do heartily agree with the sentiment and commend the artist).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Even A Blind Groundhog Finds An Acorn Once In Awhile

Well, what do you know? The SF Chronicle actually published a letter I wrote. Check it out -- you'll have to scroll down to the penultimate letter on the page (or buy a copy of today's Chron). I was reading the Insight section here at home, and reading through all the letters before mine when I got to the opening line and realized, oh yeah, this is from me!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Bring It On

More like this, please:

Katon Dawson wants to be the new head of the RNC, and in this short video clip, he spells out why. This is exactly the same tired partisanship and mouthing of meaningless talking points that got them where they are today -- in minority, and declining, status. No mention of policies that might help the nation recover from the dreadful position it now finds itself; no talk about moving forward or finding common ground or making the country a better place for all Americans; just more lame rhetoric about giving hell to the "Democrat (sic) Party."

It seems to me that the American people have aready decided just how much they like that approach; it was summed up in a little event called the 2008 elections. But you go, Katon. You keep on swinging away. Seriously, buddy, you need to work this like a hungry dog with an old hippie's leather boot. And the rest of you Republicans, you know what? I really, truly, honestly think you should -- no, I fervently hope and pray that you do nominate Sarah Palin to be your presidential standard-bearer in 2012. And again in 2016. And 2020, 2024, 2028...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Glennzilla On Why Bush And His Gang Of Criminals Will Not Be Prosecuted

Establishment Washington unifies against prosecutions

By Glenn Greenwald

Thursday, Jan.15

(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV)

The Washington Post's David Ignatius today does what he does best: serve as the spokesman for the Washington establishment's most conventional wisdom in a way that really illuminates what it is:

To underscore the message, Obama indicated that he would oppose retrospective investigations of wrongdoing by the CIA and other agencies, arguing: "When it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed [to] looking at what we got wrong in the past." This is the kind of realism that will disappoint liberal score-settlers, but it makes clear that Obama has a grim appreciation of the dangers America still faces from al-Qaeda and its allies.

The word "liberal" has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last eight years. All that has been necessary to qualify is a belief in such radical, exotic and fringe-leftist concepts as search warrants before the Government can eavesdrop on our communications; due process before the state can encage people for life; adherence to decades-old Geneva Conventions restrictions which post-World-War-II America led the way in implementing; and the need for an actual, imminent threat from another country before we bomb, invade, occupy and destroy it.

Now added to the pantheon of "liberal" dogma is the shrill, ideological belief that high government officials must abide by our laws and should be treated like any other citizen when they break them. To believe that now makes you not just a "liberal," but worse: a "liberal score-settler." Apparently, one can attain the glorious status of being a moderate, a centrist, a high-minded independent only if one believes that high political officials (and our most powerful industries, such as the telecoms) should be able to break numerous laws (i.e.: commit felonies), openly admit that they've done so, and then be immunized from all consequences. That's how our ideological spectrum is now defined.

The more important development highlighted by Ignatius' name-calling is how important it has obviously become to establishment media and political figures to vigorously argue against investigations and prosecutions for Bush crimes and even to rehabilitate Bush officials as well-intentioned leaders who, at worst, went a little overboard in protecting us. Digby raised this question the other day: given that there is virtual unanimity among our political and media elites that we do not and should not hold American political officials accountable when they break the law and (especially) when they commit war crimes -- indeed, outside of civil liberties groups and a few political advocates here and there, it's virtually impossible to find anyone advocating that Bush officials should be criminally investigated -- why has it become such a priority for establishment figures to defend Bush officials and urge that there be no prosecutions? As Digby put it:

I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't more to all this than is obvious. I don't honestly think anyone wants to deal with the torture regime, and it doesn't seem to me that there is a huge public clamor for it. For most people, it's probably enough that the president has promised to end the policy. So, I'm a little bit surprised that it remains so prominent on the radar screen. Something doesn't scan.

I'm not sure I know the answer exactly, but there seems rather clearly to be two primary factors at play:

First, Bush officials didn't commit these crimes by themselves. Virtually the entire Washington establishment supported or at least enabled most of it. It isn't merely that leading Congressional Democrats were, to one degree or another, complicit in these acts and are therefore hamstrung in investigating crimes of which they were aware and did nothing to stop, though that is true. The enabling of all of this extends far beyond the leadership of the two parties.

As confirmed accounts emerged years ago of chronic presidential lawbreaking, warrantless eavesdropping, systematic torture, rendition, "black site" prisons, corruption in every realm, and all sorts of other dark crimes, where were journalists and other opinion-making elites? Very few of them with any significant platform can point to anything they did or said to oppose or stop any of it -- and they know that. Many of them, even when much of this became conclusively proven, were still explicitly praising Bush officials. Most of them supported the underlying enabling policies (Guantanamo and the permanent state of war in Iraq and "on terror"), and then cheered on laws -- the Military Commissions Act and the FISA Amendments Act -- designed to legalize these activities and retroactively immunize the lawbreakers and war criminals from prosecution.

So when these media and political elites are defending Bush officials, mitigating their crimes, and arguing that they shouldn't be held accountable, they're actually defending themselves. Just as Nancy Pelosi and Jay Rockefeller can't possibly demand investigations for crimes in which they were complicit, media stars can't possibly condemn acts which they supported or, at the very best, towards which they turned a blissfully blind eye. They can't indict Bush officials for what they did because to do so would be to indict themselves. Bush officials need to be exonerated, or at least have their crimes forgotten (look to the future and ignore the past, they all chime in unison), so that their own involvement in it will also be cleansed and then forgotten.

Second, and quite relatedly, is that establishment elites have, by definition, a vested interest in glorifying and protecting the Washington establishment. It's perfectly fine to have a President who is inept or even somewhat corrupt. A titillating, tawdry sex scandal is also fun, even desirable, as that keeps entertainment levels high. That's all just part of the political cycle.

But to acknowledge that our highest political officials are felons (which is what people are, by definition, who break our laws) or war criminals (which is what people are, by definition, who violate the laws of war) is to threaten the system of power which, above all else, they are desperate to maintain, as it is their role within it as royal court spokespeople that provides them with their access, prominence, wealth and self-esteem. Their prime mandate is to protect and defend establishment Washington -- most media figures are integral parts of that establishment, not outside of it -- and that means, above all else, attacking anyone who would dare suggest that the establishment has been rotten, criminal and evil at its core.

In a typically superb essay -- entitled "Flushing the Cheney Administration Down the Memory Hole" -- Billmon compares the process currently underway to how adept the Soviets were at simply erasing embarrassing and unpleasant episodes from their history:

It shows just how far the system -- specifically, in this case, the Beltway political press -- has wandered from reality.

You can see this in just about all of the transition coverage. Reporters (like the ones responsible for the journalistic abomination above) and columnists and pundits are busy cranking out the usual lame duck legacy stories, as if this were the "normal" end of a "normal" presidency, instead of the concluding chapter of a national tragedy.

There is just a yawning disconnect between the nature of the crimes allegedly committed (and, in many cases, essentially admitted): waging aggressive war, torture, secret prisons, illegal wiretapping on a massive scale, obstruction of justice, perjury, conspiracy -- to the point where it would probably take an army of Patrick Fitzgeralds and a full-time war crimes tribunal a year just to catalogue them all -- and how the story is being treated in the corporate media. . . .

And, as in late Soviet times, the absurdity of the official story line is only reinforced by the other systemic failures that surround it: in our case, financial collapse, plunging asset prices, massive fraud and a corrupt, sclerotic political system that may be incapable of doing even the most simple, obvious things (like printing and spending sufficient quantities of fiat money) to stave off an deeper downward spiral.

This being the case, I have a strong hunch the political-media complex (i.e. the Village) is going to want to move fairly quickly to the post-Soviet solution I described earlier -- skipping right over the perestroika and glasnost to get directly to the willful amnesia and live-in-the-moment materialism of mid-1990s Russia.

Which means, in turn, that Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Feith and the whole noxious crew are about to get flushed straight down the memory hole: banished fairly quickly from public discussion and corporate media coverage -- in much the way the Iran-Contra scandal (go ahead, Wiki it) was almost immediately forgotten or ignored once it became clear that the fix was in. America apparently had its big experiment with truthtelling and reform in the post-Watergate era, and the experience was so unpleasant that nobody (or nobody who counts) is willing to go there again. That would be like expecting the Baby Boomers to start dropping acid again.

The political/media establishment isn't desperately and unanimously fighting against the idea of investigations and prosecutions because they believe there was nothing done that was so bad. They're fighting so desperately precisely because they know there was, and they know they bear much of the culpability for it. They fear disruptions to their own comforts and prerogatives if any more light is shined on what happened. The consensus mantra that the only thing that matters is to "make sure it never happens again" is simply the standard cry of every criminal desperate for absolution: I promise not to do it again if you don't punish me this time. And the prevailing Orwellian Beltway battle-cry -- look to the future, not the past! -- is what all political power systems instruct their subjects when they want to flush their own crimes down the memory hole.

* * * * *

Two unrelated notes:

(1) To follow up on the Tom Friedman claim from yesterday that Hamas will lose support if Israel kills enough Palestinian civilians, The New York Times today reports that "The more bombs in Gaza, the more Hamas’s support seems to be growing at the expense of the Palestinian Authority." This was the (self-evident) point made so well yesterday by Daniel Larison: if a foreign power drops lots of bombs on a population (to say nothing of stories like this and this), they tend to become more hostile to those doing the bombing and more supportive of their own leaders, especially if those leaders vow retribution against the attackers. As Jonathan Schwarz recalls, Tom Friedman's own demented reaction to the 9/11 attacks illustrates exactly how that dynamic works.

(2) In The Los Angeles Times' Op-Ed "Dustup" feature this week, I'm debating various issues surrounding the last days of the Bush administration with American Spectator Editor W. James Antle II. The first installment (which, truth be told, wasn't all that fascinating) is here; today and tomorrow's sessions will hopefully be more probing.

UPDATE: Throughout the 20th Century, the U.S. has criminally prosecuted people for waterboarding -- both foreigners who did it and then were prosecuted as war criminals, and American law enforcement officers who did it and were prosecuted as ordinary criminals. But now, in America, MSNBC devotes three hours every day to hearing from someone -- Joe Scarborough -- who just the other day spent six minutes on television explicitly defending torture. There is something about this clip that is simultaneously repulsive and yet fascinatingly illustrative about what the country has become:

UPDATE II: The new FISA court ruling -- which The New York Times' Eric Lichtblau reported here today -- is going to be distorted and misunderstood because Lichtblau's reporting is both deeply confused and plainly inaccurate. Talk Left's Armando and Anonymous Liberal -- both lawyers -- detail Lichtblau's confusions, but I just want to add these observations:

The new ruling -- at least based on Lichtblau's reporting (it hasn't been made public yet) -- has absolutely nothing to do with whether President Bush had the authority to order the very eavesdropping which FISA prohibited. The ruling has nothing to do with whether the so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" was legal notwithstanding a Congressional statute that criminalized those activities. The ruling has nothing to do with the scope of executive power or the ability of a President to act in violation of Congressional statutes. And, contrary to Lichtblau's suggestion, it certainly has nothing to do with the constitutionality of telecom immunity, which is currently being challenged in the telecom lawsuits.

Instead, the FISA court appears (again, based on Lichtblau's description) to have addressed a very narrow (though important) question: namely, whether the warrantless eavesdropping powers authorized by Congress in 2007 when it enacted the Protect America Act are constitutional under the Fourth Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court, in the 1972 Keith case, held that the Fourth Amendment prohibits warrantless eavesdropping on Americans' communications for domestic terrorism investigations, but explicitly left unresolved the question of whether such eavesdropping would be constitutionally permissible for international terrorism investigations. The FISA court presumably said that Congress -- not the President, but Congress -- is constitutionally permitted to authorize such eavesdropping, as it did when it passed the Protect America Act, though it's likely a question the Supreme Court will ultimately decide.

None of that changes, nor even relates to, the fact that the Bush administration authorized and conducted warrantless eavesdropping for years while the law was crystal clear that anyone engaging in such activities was committing felonies. That's a fact that is never going to change.

UPDATE III: The confirmation hearing of Eric Holder for Attorney General is being held today. Marcy Wheeler is live-blogging it with her standard thoroughness, and I have watched some of it (you can view it on C-SPAN3). Holder stated emphatically that he believes waterboarding is "torture," which -- when combined with the confessions by both Bush and Cheney that they authorized it -- amounts to a statement from the likely new Attorney General that the President and Vice President committed both domestic crimes and war crimes.

Additionally, when pressed by Sen. Hatch to agree that there is a "good faith dispute" over the legality of Bush's NSA program and therefore nobody who authorized it should be criminally prosecuted, Holder refused to do so. Instead, he said that while "policy differences shouldn't be criminalized," it's also the case that "nobody is above the law," and he would need to know more about what this NSA program entailed and how and why it was implemented before knowing whether criminal prosecutions were warranted. He also said, in response to questioning from Sen. Feingold, that he does not believe there is any basis for the claim that the President, under the Constitution, had the authority to violate FISA.

The response about whether he would pursue criminal prosecutions for the NSA program was not the ideal answer, to be sure, but it's far less accommodating -- far less -- than the "let's-look-to-the-future-not-the-past" sentiments that have been pouring forth from the Beltway estabilshment and, to some extent, from Obama himself.

UPDATE IV: The FISA court ruling described by Lichtblau's article is here (.pdf). My speculation above as to what the court held was accurate: it merely concluded that the warrantless eavedsdropping powers authorized by Congress under the (now-expired) Protect America Act do not violate the Fourth Amendment because, the court found, there is an exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement for foreign intelligence gathering. It's a bad ruling (and should be reviewed by the Supreme Court), but it has nothing to do with the President's authority to override statutes generally or violate FISA specifically -- a power which the likely new Attorney General today said had no basis in law, which (at least in Holder's view) means that the President broke the law when ordering the NSA to spy on Americans without warrants.

-- From

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Moron The Bush Legacy

Dan Froomkin of The Washington Post has a huge compilation of opinions on what the Bush Legacy will be at The Bush Verdict Is In. Check it out, there are some great quotes and lots and lots of links.

On a related but somewhat different note, and just because it's easier for me to write this now, rather than start a whole new post, I have to convey some of the thoughts I've had over the past week watching Bush's whiny, self-pitying press conference and Sarah Palin's fucking up her softball "documentary" interview with a right-wing radio comedian, then complaining that she was taken "out of context." What is it with Republicans, that they drool over idiots like these two? Why do they admire them, praise them, think that they can and should be the people who lead this country? Every time I hear Sarah Palin talk, all I can think is, "What a dunce. What a dope. What a dunderhead." Every time I hear George Bush mangle syntax and display, once again, his delusional obliviousness to the world around him, all I can think is, "What an imbecile. What an idiot. What a fucking moron." The two of them together couldn't lay claim to a triple-digit IQ. They are, each of them, incurious, vacuous chowderheads with no sense of self or reality.

And yet, there is a hard-core cadre of True Believers who will go to their graves believing that Bush and Palin represent the best their party has to offer; that the two are brave, honest, intelligent and principled, and that, were it not for the evil machinations of the "liberal media," the rest of America would also recognize their brilliance and their statesmanship and worship them as well. I honestly cannot fathom this kind of thinking. Are these people simply stupid themselves, too dumb to recognize the lack of intellect when it's put directly in front of them? Or is it something else?

Because seriously, I'd like to know.

Fanmail From Some Flounder? No, This Is What I Really Call A Letter To The Editor!

The SF Chronicle announced that in this coming Sunday's edition (1/18), the Insight section where the op-eds are found will be devoted to a discussion of the Bush Legacy. They invite readers to send in their views of just what that will entail (letters@sfchronicle, if you'd like to contribute). Here's my missive, most likely bound for the cutting-room floor:

Editor --

Who knew that the disgraced Richard Nixon would turn out to be a prophet?

The Bush legacy is nothing less than the fulfillment of Nixon's above-the-law philosophy, stated so eloquently in his quote, "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal." George Bush and Dick Cheney spent eight years making criminality an art form. They defied the Constitution, brazenly broke laws and ignored treaties, then had the temerity to admit publicly that they had done so, daring Congress or the courts to stop them. Rather than acting as a check or balance to their excesses, a compliant Congress, unfortunately, continued throughout their time in office to enable them in their criminal endeavors. Witness the rewriting of FISA to retroactively approve what had been illegal wiretapping; the meek acquiescence to continued funding of a war that was entered into illegally; the condoning of torture by military personnel and the CIA, and so much more. Bush's legacy is one that should put all Americans to shame, because we shared in his criminal behavior by not impeaching him and his bloodthirsty Vice-President, but instead allowing them to stay in office and continue their morally bankrupt and ruinous policies. The Bush II term will no doubt be seen by historians as the nadir of the American presidency; it will have to be, because if we ever allow anyone worse to occupy the White House (Sarah Palin, for instance), it will surely mean the end of the United States as we know it.

I'm still trying to convince myself that we haven't reached that point already.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Adios, Motherfucker!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fan Letter To The Worst President Ever

The Greatest Greatness of George W. Bush

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Columnist

George W. Bush.
George W. Bush. (Photo: Getty Images)

Take me down little Susie, take me down
I know you think you're the queen of the underground
And you can send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave ...

- The Rolling Stones

To: George W. Bush
From: Your biggest fan
Re: Your imminent unemployment

Greetings, Mr. Bush.

I was sorry to hear about the passing of your cat, India. Eighteen years is a long time for a cat - my mother has one that's 20 and still going strong, if you can believe it - and I'm sure India had a comfortable, caring life with your family.

I got to spend part of last weekend with an old friend of mine. He's a bit older than 18, and he's also a troop who recently rotated back from a tour in Falluja. He just had a baby daughter, and he will be sent to Afghanistan before too much longer. He did his duty in Iraq, dealt his share of death and saw his friends die or be ripped to shreds right in front of him.

He was hollow in a lot of places that had been full before he went to Iraq. He was not the same man we'd said farewell to. But he was alive, and if he survives his upcoming Afghanistan tour, maybe he will get the chance to have a long, comfortable, caring life with his family, just like little India.

At present, my friend's life is the polar opposite of comfortable, and he still has Kabul waiting for him just over the horizon. His life is the way it is because of you, Mr. Bush. You have been the single greatest influence upon his time in this world; you put him over there and hollowed him out, and because of you, it's about to happen again. You were the single biggest influence upon the lives of every person he knew over there, every person he saw over there, and every person he killed over there.

It's funny. I was thinking the other day about when I marched in one of the first large-scale post-inauguration protests against you in Washington, DC. It was May of 2001, it was The Voter's Rights March to Restore Democracy, and it was a few thousand people shouting down the unutterably ruinous Supreme Court decision which unleashed, just as we then feared, everything that has since come to pass. "Not my president!" we bellowed. "Not my president!"

It's funny because that memory seems so very quaint to me now. A stolen election? Pfff. To paraphrase a different president, Americans get scarier stuff than that free with their breakfast cereal nowadays. Thanks to you, governor.

My All-Time-Grand-Prize-Bull-Goose-Gold-Medal-Winning Top Five list of what you've done, in no particular order, and in my own humble opinion:

1. You were warned by the outgoing administration when you first took office. You were warned by the Russians. You were warned by the Israelis. You were warned by the Germans. You were warned in a memo given to you by your own National Security Adviser. You were warned by men like Richard Clarke. You were warned all those times that Osama bin Laden intended to strike the United States, and still the Towers came down.

(All those people working on that Legacy Project of yours should go back to bed, by the way; they are trying to salvage the unsalvageable. You protected us, they claim? Ha. You're 0-1 on terrorism and 0-2 on war)

2. Less than a month after those Towers came down, a reporter asked what you thought we should do. "We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer," you replied, "by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates." I happened to be watching television and heard you say that live into a camera. The only reason I didn't throw up on myself is because my teeth were clenched too tightly for the vomit to pass my lips. I swallowed hard, grabbed a pen, and wrote down what you said and when you said it. It was October 4, 2001, just after nine in the morning. You'd like people to remember you standing on that pile of rubble in Manhattan, you with the bullhorn and the heroic pose. I, however, will always remember you pitching tax cuts to a devastated nation while a pall of poison smoke still hung in the air over Ground Zero.

3. A few years later, you wanted hundreds of billions of dollars diverted from other areas of the federal budget and into your war in Iraq. You took more than $70 billion out of the budget used by the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisiana to fund the repair and maintenance of the New Orleans levee system. Katrina struck not long after you took that money and poured it into the sand, and the levees failed for lack of funded upkeep. Through this, along with your disinterested disinclination to help your own countrymen in their hour of darkest need, you played the very last note for that old, sad, lost American city. Reflected in those actions are the same budgetary priorities that motivated you to turn Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the hospital where I was born, into an abattoir of suffering and neglect for the wounded soldiers you tore apart for a lie.

4. You let Dick "Crazy-Eyes" Cheney do whatever the hell he wanted to whomever he wanted whenever and wherever he wanted, and be damned to the damned old Constitution anyway. Cheney once said the vice president's office was not part of the same branch of government as the president's office, and he said it with his bare face hanging out the whole time. Why? He didn't want to give any of his official papers over to the National Archives, as mandated by at least two federal laws. Nope, he said, my office is in Congress today, sorry about that, but be sure to come on back after you drop dead. Or words to that effect. That's about one zillionth of a percent of what he did, because you let him pick himself to be your boss.

5. On July 19, 2006, you vetoed H.R. 810. On June 20, 2007, you vetoed S. 5. Both vetoes killed legislation aimed at funding and vastly enhancing the reach and scope of stem cell research in America. The father of someone I know died of bone marrow cancer just after that first veto; he was adopted, no family could be located, so no donor match for a bone marrow transplant could be found. With stem cell therapy, doctors could have taken his own marrow and grown enough healthy, matching marrow to save his life. Two other people I know have diabetes, like millions of Americans. Stem cell research could offer them a cure. Someone else I know has multiple sclerosis, and stem cell research could very well help her, too. She'd write you a thank-you note for those vetoes, but her right hand doesn't work so well anymore. She's getting better with her left hand, so maybe that note can get written next year.

Also, you defied lawfully issued subpoenas and potentially set a precedent that could shatter the separation of powers. You told the American people Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons - which is one million pounds - of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 missiles to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, al-Qaeda connections and uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons program, even though all of that was a lie. You made a joking video about not being able to find any of it. You outed a deep-cover CIA agent who was running a network designed to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists, and you did so because her ambassador husband told the truth about you in the public prints.

You gave away our right to privacy by sending the NSA to spy on us. You turned us all into torturers and butchers in the eyes of the world with your decision to use Abu Ghraib prison the same way Saddam Hussein once did. You tried to appoint Henry Kissinger to lead the investigation into 9/11. You turned the entire Justice Department into a carnival of political hackery. You championed the economic policies and deregulation fantasies that have left the financial stability of millions in ashes. You used the threat of terrorism against your own people in order to give yourself political cover. You killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who did you nor us no harm.

You did all this, and so much more.

From a certain perspective, one could argue that you have been the most successful president the country has ever seen. Think about it, because according to your definition of "success," it's true. You came into office looking to make your friends richer, and to fulfill as best you could your most overriding personal belief: that government is the problem, so government must be damaged and denuded to the point of impotence. Through your tax cuts and your two vastly expensive boondoggle wars, you made your friends rich. By unleashing Mr. Cheney and your other minions, you tore the Constitution to shreds and tatters. You have achieved both goals in smashing style, so from that certain perspective, you have triumphed.

Could you also, from the proper perspective, be considered our greatest president?

Perhaps, someday, if we make it so.

It will be in the best interests of many powerful people if we as a nation simply dismiss you and forget you ever happened. A lot of news media people want us to forget you, because in forgetting you, we would forget the media's vast complicity in your actions and misdeeds. A lot of rich people making new fortunes from war profiteering and defense contracts want us to forget they and you even exist, as it would make it possible for them to do it all again someday. A lot of politicians who stapled themselves to you would simply adore it if we forgot about you. The Republican Party would be forever in our debt if we forgot about you.

No. We will not forget you. We will remember.

We the people are going to save you from ignominious oblivion. We will remember. You could be the president who doomed America, the worst president of all time, but we must not, will not let that happen. You will be remembered differently, because we will hold the memory of you high, and behold you, and say, "Never, never, never again." We have tasted the soot and smelled the blood on the wind; we have seen how fragile our way of government is when placed in the hands of low men such as you, and because of that, you will be remembered for all time.

Your greatness will be defined by how we rise to overcome and undo what you have done. Your greatness will stand forever if we never, ever forget the hard, bitter lessons you taught us. We are responsible for this republic, for our Constitution, and for each other. We are our brother's keeper. You taught us that by becoming our Cain. You nearly slew us, but here we stand, and we defy the place in history you would relegate us to. We defy you, and by doing so, we rise.

Something like you must never again be allowed to happen to this country, and if we save ourselves by preventing you from ever happening again, your greatness is assured. You are the tallest of all possible warnings, and a promise all of us must solemnly and stalwartly keep. If we can damn you to the past, we will save our own future.

May you live forever, you son of a bitch.

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