|Meet the Cunt #3: The Republican Party|
by Julian X  /  non-fiction  /  17 Sep 2009
The Republican party has vetoed its own right to be taken seriously, on any level. Anyone who remains a member of that party has, by that action, removed themselves from public discourse.
Bush got into office by a ruling so vapid that the Supreme Court said, in the ruling itself, that it should never be cited again. He ignored repeated warnings about terrorism, saying it wasn't a national priority. After 9/11, he refused the CIA plan to get bin Laden and went with the Pentagon plan, which let bin Laden cross into Pakistan.
Then he led us into a war against Iraq, under phony evidence that Iraq was about to nuke us -- literally. His government had no plan for what to do, the day Iraq fell, outside of the blind hope we'd be welcomed as liberators and all would go well. He employed big corporations to run everything from food for the troops to providing mercenaries, and these companies literally killed our own troops with defective showers, killed Iraqi civilians with impunity, and charged taxpayers exorbitant amounts for the privilege. Meanwhile, our own soldiers were left to die without body armor and armored vehicles, until Democrats forced the issue.
Our soldiers were told to pick people up off the street, but they didn't speak Arabic and had no idea who was a terrorist or who wasn't. So they paid Iraqis to tell them. Those Iraqis turned in their innocent neighbors and got paid what was to them huge sums. In the ensuing interrogations, the translators were all contracted out to big companies, which pocketed huge sums of money and hired people from India who couldn't speak English well. So our soldiers went into the interrogations not knowing what offense, if any, the person being interrogated had done -- and without any way of communicating to the prisoner. And to make matters worse, the soldiers knew that the government was spending about $100,000 a year on this private interrogator, making some corporation rich, while the soldiers themselves were making a pittance, had to pay for their own health care if wounded, had to pay for their own equipment left on the battlefield if wounded, had dirty clothes because the corporation contracted to wash them did such a shitty job, and didn't have the required body armor.
Contractors, paid by the mile, drove empty vans throughout Iraq, day after day, just to up their government-paid income. Then our soldiers, lacking the required armor, had to go in to protect these contractors. And often die, with the contractors. So that some company could get rich, doing nothing.
Some day, we'll get movies about this Iraq War. Real movies, not the pablum we've gotten so far. Movies that make Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now look like they depict really well-run wars.
Yep, Bush hated the troops. And he hated America. He didn't take the War on Terror seriously. He saw 9/11 as an opportunity to line the pockets of huge corporations, pure and simple.
But if you pointed any of this out or even questioned it, Bush and his cronies called you unpatriotic. Or guilty of treason. Or against our troops. Conservative media personalities repeated these lies, until a lot of the voters believed it.
All the major newspapers and TV news channels reported Bush's false facts about Iraq. Then, having been called treasonous for stories that mildly questioned the administration, they retreated into a sense of "balance," which meant treating the Bush party line, devoid of facts though it was, on equal footing with sane people. Every ludicrous Republican charge, like whether someone hated our troops for pointing out we had no plan in Iraq or were killing civilians, had to be debated, like it was a serious comment. Republicans took the lesson.
But this wasn't enough. Bush also tortured, and his administration openly advocated for it. Water boarding, used by Bush, had been opposed by Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and by the federal government and its military through all of U.S. history, including through far more dire wars than the "War on Terror." We'd executed people for it, after World War II. These tortures also included banging people's heads into the walls, hitting their genitals, and forcing prisoners to hold stress positions for days without sleep, until their ankles swelled up terribly. And they were often approved on a specific, case-by-case basis out of the White House.
These tortures also didn't work. In every case we've found out about, the prisoner gave up all useful information almost immediately, without torture. In most cases, it was only after this that they were tortured at all. One of the major reasons wasn't to get intelligence against terrorists, but to follow Vice-President Chaney's instructions to find information linking Saddam Hussein to bin Laden -- so as to justify a war in Iraq.
Prisoners were classified as enemy combatants, not prisoners of war, so as to give them an extra-legal status. They were not allowed lawyers or to get a hearing in court, much less to confront their accusers. When they finally did, the government prolonged the court hearings as long as possible. Then, every time a judge was finally about to issue a ruling that would have required all prisoners be allowed lawyers or court hearings, the government reclassified the particular prisoner in question, rather than allow the judge to rule. Thus was the entire court system made a mockery.
Under the Constitution, international treaties are given the same weight as the Constitution itself. Yet the Bush administration called the Geneva Convention and other anti-torture agreements "quaint." The tortures not only violated international laws that required prosecution but also our own Constitution.
But Bush uprooted the Constitution in other respects. His administration, filled with people who resented the decline in Presidential power after Watergate, advocated that the President could do just about whatever he wanted, in a time of war. Habeas Corpus, the right to know the change against you, a right the founding fathers had fought a Revolution partially about, was suspended.
Bush lawyers used twisted logic to claim that the President could spy on anyone he wanted, justifying a massive unconstitutional wiretapping program. Companies were forced to provide confidential information and were glad to do so, rather than face the government's might and charges of being in league with terrorism (as opposed to being in league with the Constitution, which would have been more accurate).
But the groundwork was laid to go much further. Chaney had the military perform operations on U.S. soil, violating the Constitution's prohibition against this. Bush lawyers drafted opinions claiming that the President could order a military strike against anyone, on U.S. soil, against U.S. citizens, without any judicial recourse.
This wasn't just an unconstitutional government. It was tyranny.
But Bush's sins were far more extensive.
No fiscal conservative, Bush led us into the biggest debt the nation had known. Hey, paying companies to kill our own troops, in a war for which we had no plan, doesn't come cheap.
No "compassionate conservative," like he claimed in his 2000 run, Bush presided over the biggest increase in the gap between the rich and the poor in U.S. history. Sure, Reagan had championed the ridiculous and already-disproved theory that helping the rich magically helped the poor, causing jobs to "trickle down." As opposed to, say, helping the door directly and trusting that they'll spend money, which will help the rich too. But under Bush, the poor actually got poorer. They lost real income, while all their costs went up. Meanwhile, the rich got way, way richer, increasing their income astronomically. Which isn't good for the economy, nor the vast majority of Americans.
No champion of small government, he helped create the Department of Homeland Security, a massive bureaucratic mess that allocated money to states with little regard to likelihood of terrorist attack -- and allocated more money to corporations. Its major contribution was color-coded terrorism warnings, which no one knew how to interpret.
Bush gutted the environment. He literally let Enron come into the White House and draft environmental legislation, which he proposed to Congress verbatim.
He lessened restrictions on financial institutions, encouraging the unregulated transfer of high-risk loans that would plunge the entire country into recession and mass home foreclosures, by the end of his second term.
But this went far beyond incompetence. It should not surprise us that Bush's tyrannical, theocratic tendencies were seen throughout his administration.
His Department of Justice, traditionally a non-partisan arm of the executive branch, started to purge non-believers. The best lawyers, who had been there for decades, were first marginalized and then forced out. Their replacements, with little experience, were forced to answer questions about their personal and political beliefs. And they often came from obscure little religious universities, instead of the best law schools. This is what's called a purge, and it's common to tyrants.
The Department of Justice refused to investigate cases where blacks and other likely Democratic voters were deprived of their right to vote, which happened widely in the 2000 and 2004 elections. It dropped most civil rights cases. Instead, it targeted only cases where it might hurt Democrats. It even went after some Democratic politicians, without evidence, to get them to lose key elections.
The goal, as some Republicans had openly advocated, was to ensure decades of one-party rule. To destroy the Democratic party.
Even the Department of Homeland Security got into the mix. It was told to increase terrorism warnings before the 2004 elections, ostensibly based on an old and discredited report. In fact, the real goal was to scare voters into voting for the party in power, which was demonizing Democrats as somehow coddling terrorists.
A lot of this partisan manipulation of the basic mechanisms of government was theocratic or ideological. Federal education dollars, without which every state in the union would go bankrupt, were now tied to teaching "abstinence only" sex education. This is a horrible religious dogma that results in more ignorance, more pregnancy, more guilt over sexuality, and more kids with disease. It also came with a lot of abuse -- for example, as teachers told students that they could get AIDS or could get pregnant from oral sex. Foreign aid money suddenly got tied to the same abstinence policy, so starving and dying people in Africa couldn't get their aid without repeating American religious lies and spreading sexual ignorance, ensuring that more Africans would be ravaged by AIDS.
And don't forget that Bush alienated the entire world. After 9/11, outpourings of support for America came from around the world. Many were quite moving. Then Bush started campaigning for a war in Iraq, which most people around the world didn't think made sense. So Bush forced a bunch of largely poor nations to join a "coalition," largely by threatening their governments with economic consequences. In many of these countries, this was widely reported, but it never hit the American news.
To this, Bush and his cronies said that it wasn't important to be liked. They mocked Democrats for wanting to be liked by Europe. And they accused Democrats of being willing to give up U.S. sovereignty. Because not being a dick to everyone (and an incompetent to boot) is the same thing as telling them to come in and take us over.
Finally, there was hurricane Katrina. Every previous President had sent the national guard to the borders of the hurricane zone, so they could swoop in afterward and save people. Bush didn't do anything. He was on vacation and didn't see a need to interrupt it. Meanwhile, refugee centers were ignored for days, filling with feces and turning into centers for crimes like rape. Volunteers were turned away, and the news media had no trouble getting around the city, but help never came. It was only after aides played the same news footage Americans had been watching for days that the President finally acted. Thousands died.
This is the Bush record. We will doubtlessly find out more, in the coming years, that will horrify all sane people even further.
The United States of America has just emerged from a very frightening experiment with tyranny and with fascism. Fascism means rule by corporations, and it's often misused simply as a term for authoritarianism. But whether it's environmental legislation or contracting out our wars or deregulating the markets, the shoe fits.
It's worth pointing out that Bush wasn't very good at achieving any results. He took an already bankrupt nation and drove it so far into the ground that it may never recover. He got us embroiled in two unwinnable wars, without an end in sight. He didn't stop any terrorism. And he managed to wipe a U.S. city off the map without any terrorist help. He didn't convince the nation that abstinence was the right thing to do, or that civil rights cases shouldn't be prosecuted, or that Democrats should be criminalized and allowed to be deprived of their votes. If anything, he convinced the nation that it needed a Democrat.
What Bush was good at was changing the rhetoric of the debate, so that the insane sounded sane. It was Orwell.
Alienating the world? That was a good thing. We shouldn't be a satellite of Europe.
Torturing people? If you've got a problem with it, you're pro-terrorist. Anyway, it's not torture, it's "enhanced interrogation."
Forcing abstinence-only education on states and the world? If you're against it, you're in favor of promiscuity.
Purging the Department of Justice and trying to create a one-party state? Well, that's just good politics. Don't blame Republicans because Democrats pull their punches. If politics is a dirty game, Republicans just learned to get dirtier. Way dirtier. Dirty like responding to policy disagreements with changes that you hate America. That kind of dirty.
And Katrina? You can't pretend that was a good thing. But you have to understand: Republicans see government as intrinsically evil and suspect. The government not saving people's lives, not taking the hurricane seriously, even in the aftermath... well, that's just good government. Which is to say less government. And Katrina has already been cited, by many Republicans, as an example of how government can't be trusted.
There's a logic there that requires twisting your brain into a pretzel to understand.
Ignorance is a virtue. Incompetence is a recommendation. They've made a religion out of doing the wrong thing and doing it poorly.
Republicans did learn some things, though. They learned to fight harder than ever before. They learned to just throw out every ridiculous charge they could and get the media talking about it. It doesn't matter if it's true. It dominates the debate and distracts from any real analysis of the issues.
Let's say there's a Democrat trying to get the flood waters out of New Orleans, right after Katrina. Everyone knows it's going a disaster, and people are still dying. The public is in favor of his plan. If you're a Republican, you accuse him of being a socialist, just because he'd be using government money. You get all the other Republicans to repeat this charge. Some go further, calling the Democrat a Nazi or Stalin. Then the media, while trying to cover the disaster, spends time talking about whether there's any truth to these charges. Even in the rare instance of actually discussing the Democrat's plan, reporters have to ask if he's a socialist or a Nazi or Stalin, if only to get his response. And that becomes the story.
Republicans have lost their privilege to be taken seriously.
You'd expect that, in the wake of Bush, Republicans would tread lightly. After all, many of them have committed crimes against humanity and against the Constitution. It's the duty of the U.S. government to prosecute those crimes, under those same treaties and our Constitution.
Usually, once a tyrant as bad as Bush is gone, there are prosecutions and hearings into the widespread illegality of the regime. And the tyrant's party is ostracized to such a degree that most eagerly hide their association with that party. If it ever comes back, it takes decades to do so.
That's what should happen. If you supported Bush and certainly if you supported him even towards the end, you've invalidated your public speaking credentials. You should be a social pariah. You shouldn't be able to find a microphone that will accept you, after what you did.
You'd think that Republicans, now free from their perceived obligation to defend the Bush regime, would at least hang their head. A lot of the officials are: even during Bush's administration, they rushed to publish books distancing themselves from Bush's policies, knowing that history would not judge them well.
But that's not what most Republicans are doing.
Instead, in the wake of Obama's election, they've only escalated these tactics of slander. Instead of addressing reality, they've focused on conspiracy theories that say Obama's not a citizen, or a secret Muslim, or the anti-Christ. They accuse him of socialism and compare him to Hitler and Stalin, despite that Obama's views are quite reasonable and moderate. They hold protest rallies and talk about succession from the union. They talk about their country dying and warn that it won't exist in a few months, if something isn't done. And this sort of madness has become the only discourse coming out of the Republican party.
In other words, Republicans aren't hanging their heads. They're louder and crazier than ever.
Which means they're done. As a party. Done.
If you are still a Republican by the end of 2009, with all of this hatred of Obama and lack of shame over what Bush did and how strongly the party defended it... well, you're just a horrible person. Or at best, a person too ignorant to be anything but a joke.
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