S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


The big 400: There are now just 400 days left in the presidency of our current president (OCP) George W. Bush! Are you, like me, having to sit on yourself every now and then because you're so "P.O.'d" with him that you can't stand it? (And, if you don't know what P.O.'d means then I can't help you). Tomorrow's 399 will be cause for celebration. Hang in there; the day is coming. It is actually January 20, 2009. is the little countdown image that you see in the right hand column. It has been a life-saver for me. During times of particular anger, painful awareness, political funk, piled-high frustration, and petulance, it has reminded me daily that our dark days are temporary. That little piece of code is the perfect tool for that purpose.
Particular anger -- is what I feel about OCP's abject neglect of the crucial environmental issues that affect the planet. Ever since the turn of the century corporate energy interests have had control of the president's and vice-president's agenda. Fossil fuels ruled and global warming was a fact of life absolutely denied for years. His foot-dragging was played out again in Bali this past week. An "articulate anger" blog post about it is "Three Gifts For The Carbon Lords," by Kirk James Murphy, M.D. at Firedoglake, Saturday December 15, 2007. To quote:

. . . You can't blame the Bushies - it's a Pavlovian thing. They were conditioned by Congress.

Anyway, to avoid the Bali talks collapsing without an effective agreement, the rest of the world and Baby Bushie "agreed" to conclude with a big symbolic statement and no effective agreement. Then they all declared "Mission Accomplished" and partied with their crew.

Hey - you can't blame Baby Bushie - he was conditioned. Thanks, Babs.

Painful awareness -- that my government spies on me and invades my privacy keeps me preturbed as I write this type of political commentary. But I return to the subject over and over again because readers are still very interested. One of my posts has had lingering popularity; its title is "Fifty Ways to Understand the "'Protect America Act.'" It is a glossary of terms in lay language that can help negotiate what the current legislative issues for Congress are about. The very best writer on the subject of domestic surveillance is Glenn Greenwald at His current post, The Lawless Surveillance State is a tour de force, from which I quote:

All of this -- the complete suppression of any investigation or accountability for this lawbreaking and the ongoing strengthening of this lawless surveillance state -- is about to happen with Democrats nominally in "control" of both houses of Congress, none of the presidential candidates (other than Chris Dodd and Ron Paul) demonstrating the slightest concern over any of it, and all as a result of telecom lobbyists -- led by Mike McConnell -- controlling how our government functions, what laws we have, and most amazingly, what laws we allow corporations to break with impunity. It's the same process that led our political class to decide astoundingly that it would do nothing upon learning that the President also broke the law for years in how he ordered spying on American citizens.

Political funk -- refers to what Greenwald, civil libertarians and others feel as they read about the effect of the fear-mongering too frequently present in the rhetoric of OCP. It tends to effectively whip decision makers into line by threats and insults, as well as attacks on peoples' patriotism, rather than normal leadership influence. There is another big story in the New York Times this weekend about the breadth of government spying on Americans and the significance of the help of telecommunications companies in the effort. (Hat-tip also to emptywheel at firedoglake for the link to it). To quote from the (12/16/07) NYT story by
Eric Lichtblau, James Risen and Scott Shane:

For months, the Bush administration has waged a high-profile campaign, including personal lobbying by President Bush and closed-door briefings by top officials, to persuade Congress to pass legislation protecting companies from lawsuits for aiding the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program.

But the battle is really about something much bigger. At stake is the federal government’s extensive but uneasy partnership with industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance operations in fighting terrorism and crime.

The N.S.A.’s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before, according to government and industry officials, yet that alliance is strained by legal worries and the fear of public exposure.

. . . The telecommunications companies that gave the government access are pushing hard for legal protection from Congress. As part of a broader plan to restructure the N.S.A.’s wiretapping authority, the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed to give immunity to the telecommunications companies, but the Judiciary Committee refused to do so. The White House has threatened to veto any plan that left out immunity, as the House bill does.
Piled-high frustration -- with example after example of
lies, obfuscation, hypocrisy and other forms of dishonesty exhibited by OCP. "Obama vs. Bush On How Honesty is the Highest form of Leadership," by Juan Cole at Informed Comment, compares and contrasts Mr. Bush's comments about his substance abuse problems with the recent flack about the early indiscretions of Senator Barack Obama. To quote:

But in this controversy, what is forgotten is that our current incumbent also admitted to youthful drug use:

. . . I'd say that we know from this recorded interview that Bush 1) used marijuana in his youth, 2) used "blow" or cocaine in his youth, and 3) is deliberately dishonest about both in public.

We also know that Bush was an alcoholic until he was 40 years old, . . .

So everyone reported Bush's condemnation of drug use by athletes on Friday with a straight face, and without making reference to his own drug use. (There is evidence that the alcoholism continued while he was in the White House).
Petulance -- means that it seems terribly unfair to me that no one has been held accountable for the torture policies of the current administration. Conservative Andrew Sullivan puts it bluntly in a recent Daily Dish-Atlantic post he titled, "The Freedom to Torture."

. . . the president's vow to veto legislation that simply reasserts the existing law, and upholds the Geneva Conventions is a clear assertion of the right of the president to engage in the following acts . . . [of torture]

Bush is now fully owning Abu Ghraib. That, I guess, is one helpful result of flushing out what this president has done. At the time, of course, he expressed shock at the techniques exposed by the photographs at Abu Ghraib. Now he is declaring them legal and necessary. They are not legal - and the president operating under the rule of law cannot simply invent or reinvent what is or is not the law. But of course, he is not operating under the rule of law. He is operating under the rules of the Decider.

So I had to write another post today to deal with the fact that OCP still occupies the Oval Office. The "Bush" Blogger label refers to 376 separate posts having to do with the man, in which I often vowed to stop talking about OCP, to no avail it seems. I confess to not yet getting into recovery, as the Twelve-Steppers phrase it. Perhaps I can do it when we get into the 300+ days left.
References to similar posts of the past:
  1. "Bored by Bush" ( 5/18/07)
  2. "I Feel Liberated" (7/20/07)
  3. "Liberated Means - " (8/17/07)
View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.
My links:
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is about homeless veterans.
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