May 3, 2004
I've quit writing about politics because what I would have said is already being said better than I could say it. However, as the Administration's chickens come home to roost, I'll reiterate what I said three years ago: that the current administration may well be viewed a few years from now as the worst administration in U. S. history. Apparently, from what I'm reading now, George W. Bush is behaving with reckless abandon because he believes that God is personally guiding him.
I believe that most people with seasoned religious views don't subscibe to the belief that God is personally telling them what to do. Most of them don't ignore conventional medical attention to rely solely on the power of prayer. They know it won't work, or at least not reliably. (Those that do depend solely upon it have probably already died.)
An even scarier idea is that President Bush is informed by an eschatological view of the Second Coming of Jesus... something which far-right Christians consider anathema. Notions about "the End Times" are, I suppose, based upon the Chapter "Revelations" in the Bible, attributed to the apostle John, which has one-third of the stars in the sky falling down upon the ground, and then another third of the stars in the sky falling down upon the ground, and so forth. Insofar as I'm aware, mainstream Christian religions, including far-right denominations, reject attempts to interpret this in present-day terms, or to attach a time-scale to future events. The idea that anyone should attempt to fulfill a Biblical prophecy that armies of the East and armies of the West will meet for a final conflict in the Valley of Armageddon is blasphemy. It isn't up to human-kind to arrange this, but awaits the will of God to bring about... or words to that effect.
I don't want to suggest that the Democrats don't have their own skeletons in the closet. LBJ lied flagrantly to Congress in order to secure the passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. However, thinking about it, the Republican Party seems to have had more trouble coloring within the lines than the Democrats. The Republican Party began with Abraham Lincoln, but then passed into the hands of Andrew Johnson (an alcoholic) and Ulysses S. Grant (another alcoholic). Control remained largely in Republican hands through the term of William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Howard Taft. It was during this era that the United States embarked upon a program of imperialism, and committed the first genocide of the twentieth century.
The Democrats recaptured the White House through the two terms of Woodrow Wilson, followed by the Republicans Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and the Great Depression, brought on by government ineptitude.
The Democrats, under FDR, pulled us out of the depression and led us through World War II.
The Republicans regained control with Dwight D. Eisenhower, and, I think, behaved well through the 50's.
JFK took possession of the White House in 1960, followed by LBJ, and then by Nixon and Watergate.
After that came Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, the first George Bush, and the Clintons, with Monica Lewinsky, and a call for impeachment.
And now we have George W. Bush and the Neocons..
The American public has signed up for trillions of dollars of indebtedness that, I'm afraid, is going to weigh down the U. S. economy for the next decade or two. One of the most insidious moves has been the Federal Reserve's dutiful priming of the pump by "printing" money at an inflationary rate in order to support the Republican Party's bid for re-election. In fairness to the Fed, the three+-year recession of 2000 - 2003 was cause for a lenient monetary policy. However, the added inflationary pressure of higher oil prices seems to me to possibly threaten the kinds of boom-bust monetary moves seen in the 1970's and 1980's. (My impression is that this practice was curtailed in the early '80's when bond buyers caught the drift, and demanded higher and higher interest rates on federal bonds.) The end result of this in the 70's and early 80's was economic stagnation.
The five o-clock news tonight observed that pharmaceutical companies are raising drug prices now so that they will be able to offer them at a "discount" and end up profiting as much or more from their drugs as they do now. Any savings will be illusory. The only beneficiaries of the new Medicare program will be the big, campaign-contributing pharmaceutical companies.
Every trillion dollars in indebtedness the U. S. public takes on will cost the average household (assuming 100 million households) $10,000.
Perhaps the worst move the Bushites have made is the abrogation of the nuclear treaties that have kept nuclear proliferation in check for forty years. Not only did the Bush Administration renounce these treaties: it also snnounced its intention to develop new nukes that could be used routinely in brushfire wars, poisoning the world for generations to come, and laying the gorundwork for World War III. (Note that Russia has an estimated 18,000 nuclear warheads. Note also that the United States entered into a treaty a year or two ago to reduce the size of its nuclear arsenal, but has just renounced this treaty, making it clear that treaties are just window-dressing, to be broken whenever it's convenient.)
This is reminiscent of Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler was most impressed with Allied propaganda during World War I, and employed propaganda with great effectiveness, portarying himself as a kind and loving avatar of Christ, with Mein Kampf portrayed in store windows next to a cross and a Bible. (He compared himself to the stern Christ who overturned the tables of the money changers.)
As I write this, the former Ambassador to Iraq and Nigeria, Joe Wilson, is being interviewed on Larry King Live in connection with the torturing of Iraqi prisoners. It's being pointed out on Larry King Live that the Bush administration pledges full cooperation with various investigations and probes, and then nothing ever happens. They know that the American public has a one-day attention span for anything except Lacie Peterson and Michael Jackson, and that if they ignore something until media attention is directed elsewhere, it will all be forgotten within a fortnight. The spotlight is on the ambassador because he has just published yet another book telling about what goes on in the Bush Administration.
What isn't being mentioned on Larry King Live are the effects of using depleted uranium throughout Iraq. "If the experience of Basra is played out in the rest of the country, Iraq is looking at an increase of more than 300% in all types of cancer over the next decade." So far, every form of cancer except bone and skin cancer, have risen at least 10% in Baghdad. U. S. and British troops stationed in Iraq are also being exposed to the radioactivity emanating from this vaporized uranium. (In deference to the truth, I need to point out that the quotation above and the article from which it was extracted came from Al-Jazeera, which might have its own news agenda. Still, there were warnings about using depleted uranium before the war began. This will undoubtedly all be sorted out over time )
I have also learned that the upheaval in Fallujah began when U. S. occupation forces closed one of Fallujah's newspapers. (Of course, I don't know what their motivation was, but the newspaper may have been fanning the flames of resentment. Hard to know what to do in a situation like that.)
What's happening in Afghanistan? Funny! You never hear about it anymore.
I think that the damage done to the world by the Neocons over the past three years is incalculable. It's hard to see the world trusting the United States again any time soon. The U. S. military-industrial complex has, in my opinion, succeeded in launching an international arms race at terrible cost and with terrible consequences for the future of the world. The idea that we are going to create a world hegemony through military might is turning into a sick joke. As the world's most detested and least admired nation, we aren't going to lead anyone anywhere.
That's my cheery thought for tonight.
The full and unbiased story will probably have to await an analysis by historians.