Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bush Era Remembered

In her article "Drowning our Sorrows and Lifting a Glass," the mad law professor Patricia Williams recounted the many surreal yet tragically factual elements of the outgoing Bush administration. It makes even a cynic like me take pause, and realise that even in an imperfect Obama, we've made some serious change.

Some of these are listed here, with links. Will add as my repressed memory allows me access. So in case any of you forgot the sheer horror of it all, here's what may finally be over.

*Pax Americana and the aspiration to consolidate a global American empire.

*The Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive warfare.

*Hurricane Katrina and "heckuva job, Brownie."

*The explicit rejection of the Geneva Conventions.

*John Yoo's and Alberto Gonzales's redefinition of torture.

*Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank subsidizing his girlfriend.

*Ahmad Chalabi.

*The FCC allowing greater consolidation of media.

*The outing of Valerie Plame.

*The manipulations asserting that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

*The addled handling of Harriet Miers's nomination to the Supreme Court.

More below...

*Opposition to stem cell research.

*The looting of the National Museum of Iraq, and the burning of Baghdad's National Library.

*Donald Rumsfeld's remarks that rioting in Iraq was the sign of a liberated people and that Iraq was no more violent than some American cities.

*Stacking the Civil Rights Commission with conservatives, like Abigail Thernstrom, who want to overturn sections of the Voting Rights Act.

*The shooting death of Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari and injury of journalist Giuliana Sgrena at the hands of American soldiers.

*The appointment of ultraconservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

*Cheney filling his friend with birdshot.

*The USA Patriot Act.

*Doing away with habeas corpus.

*The National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of citizens' phone calls and e-mails.

*The notion of an unchecked, unaccountable "unitary executive."

*The failure to keep official numbers of dead Iraqi civilians.

*The forbidding of photographs, or even visibility, of American military dead.

*The multilayered, high-level lying about how football hero Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan.

*Halliburton taking kickbacks from Kuwaiti oil suppliers.

*Paul Bremer dispensing billions of dollars for contracts in Iraq, which disappeared, never to be accounted for or recovered.

*Blackwater mercenaries accused of murdering Iraqi civilians.

*"Military tribunals" established outside the military justice system, with no due process or right to an attorney or to cross-examination or even to know the charges.

*The silly disparagement of the national anthem sung in Spanish.

*Bush talking directly to God.

*Abu Ghraib.

*Profiling Arab, Muslim and Latino immigrants.


*Extraordinary rendition.

*Lousy veterans' benefits.

*Lousy veterans' hospitals.

*The failure to provide soldiers with reinforced armored vehicles ("You go to war with the army you have," explained Rumsfeld).

*The refusal to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder as a legitimate condition.

*Monica Goodling's political litmus tests in hiring for nonpolitical posts in the Justice Department.

*Expelling Helen Thomas from the White House press room and putting in fake reporter "Jeff Gannon" to throw adoring softball questions.

*John Ashcroft's draping of bare-breasted sculptures in the Justice Department.

*His subpoenas of more than 2,500 records of abortions performed at public hospitals.

*Gonzales firing US Attorneys around the country for political reasons.

*Oh, and did I forget the economy?


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