Every media will proclaim the victory of Mr Barack Obama as the wonderkind of 2008, change and the future, however the person that had the most impact on the year was really George W Bush…Bush!, I can see you already pulling your face in disgust and picking up your shoe, but the story is that George W is the reason Barack is now President-elect and not anyone else, as timing in Politics is the same as in comedy, it is knowing when to say something or when to shut up, or when to be in the right place at the right time and when not too be, Barack was the star performer, Bush the worst….and because of the collapse of his Administration, his office, and that he created such a vortex of catastrophic failures during his two terms and as they all came to a decisive conclusion at one single point in time, he was the Person of the year 2008…the one person who had made the biggest impact on the world in that single year.
As Harry Truman said “The buck stops here”…at the desk of the President, and George W was sitting at that desk.
But it is the tragedy of George W Bush that will haunt the world for many years, right down to you and me on the street, and proves that not everyone with the wish should or could be a President of a major superpower, at least we are still here, George at least didn’t do the really really stupid thing, but the feeling is that is only because some West Wing staff member locked the nuclear keys in a drawer, then forgot about them and went home, and because of that, Iran and us can now breath a little easier at least in the new year.
This Journal is not here to Bush bash or anti American bom bahing, but facts are facts and we and history will have to live with the created mess everyday, but the reality of the last eight years has brought the world to its knees, its time to look at how and why it happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again..and how Barack Obama can thank his lucky stars, that the 43rd President was George W Bush.
Every country has several faces it shows to the world, I am of British decent and is proud of its achievements, its history and its people, however we as a nation had some dark spots, Colonialism, Slavery, Cricket to name a few, we also introduced the Industrial Revolution and created the advancements that made the modern world it is today, but at the same time created atrocious housing and inhuman working conditions to fill the employment of the Northern Mills, and just to make the proprietors rich…and so what George W Bush created was the other side of the American Dream, the dark side..it was always there, it just needed the right vessel to become mainstream, hopefully these lessons will be absorbed not only by the new administration, but by all Americans in that we all have several makeups to our characters, its just some should be repressed or dissolved for good..we the British have to live with some aspects of our past…but we have learn’t from the mistakes and made our country stronger.
But Bush created almost something new, the aspect of uncontrol by doing things that would seem right but are dangerous to unleash, most decisions were made by one dimensional thinking, not taking stock of other outcomes, weighing up the for or against, they are almost all reactive in their conception, if i do this, this will happen, but in this world there are several aspects or more to every situation, most politicians understand this, that is why most decisions are compromises not the whole ticket. So how did a man that thought this way or could be persuaded to simple logic to allowed to run for such an important office..
Carl Rove, Bush’s maestro Campaign manager is a master of manipulation and demographics, and found that if Bush used most minority extreme groups like the Christian Evangelical Right, Gun Lobby, Pro Life and every other party angry about their extreme minority causes he could get elected, dangerous, of course it is, but there was some very powerful people behind all this rabble as well, and we will get to them soon, This and a hand on the heart of extreme patriotism got George W to the line but but not quite over it in the November 7th 2000 election, because some discause had broken out in Florida, were his brother Jeb Bush was Governor, that after the 3rd recount that had went back and forth from the Florida Court to the US Supreme Court, the tally from the final machine recount stated that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast, but many voters were not allowed to vote or others were not even counted, fair in an democratic country, and most of the abstained votes were black, isn’t that racist?..but George however was over the line and into the office of the President of the United States Of America…power not a vote had bought George W Bush to office, but the problem for W, was the fact he was now in a situation were as there were a lot now of people saying to him,” your in kid, now you are going to do this for us”, and the…them were the dark side of everything that should be kept under control, in other words they had control of the country and not the President, So you had a Supreme power not incontrol of his power, a recipe for disaster and so what slowly unfolded over the last eight years was…power out of control.
The Republican Party did control the senate as well, helpless Democrats were reduced to fractions and the one thing Republicans do well is big business, corruption and adorn themselves with every trophy they can shower upon themselves that their elevated position can deliver, plus they could use all the power they could muster inside the White House and in Washington generally, power inside the White house was cornered by not the President, but by the Vice-President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, Carl Rove and Ralph Reed and be the “them” of other powers that put George W in the Oval Office, Cheney is a hawk in the extreme, or a bully would be more of a description, Cheney consumed power like a nuclear bomb consumes cities, and all that was needed was a spark…and it wasn’t long in coming..Sept 11 2001.
The details of the terrorists involved are debated in another blog coming, but here it was an excuse to show American arrogance to the extreme and an opening in the darker side to the American Character, Cheney, Dept of Defense Head Rumsfield and their merry Neo-Con band were not interested in Al-Qaeda and Bin-Laden, they were to them mere pebbles on a beach even though they had left a large hole in lower New York City, Iraq was more to their liking, and for many reasons, one was its Oil, which is a giant money exporter and a desirable consumable in the USA, so why not just hand it over to the Texans to which George W was one of their kind, The Saudi’s were getting more difficult in their demands everyday and getting use to using their rising power; and it left the world’s most gulping consumer vulnerable and exposed to their demands, Second was that to eradicate Saddam Hussein and to put a puppet government in control would also strengthen Israel’s precarious position in the Middle East, Third, Cheney’s former post was as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, a so called energy company that had its fingers in many pies, including the US Military.
So now you have to understand how the US goes to war in this day and age to see the big picture on how Iraq was a great business deal first and a moralistic help on saving the Iraqi population second, first the strike was done, Shock and Awe was started March 20th 2002 and completed with a victory on the 1st May…then the corporations moved in, their task was to rebuild Iraq, at a cost to the American Tax Payer and to the ownership of the Iraq’s themselves, everything in the American Logistical Command is put out to private tender, so the people working in Iraq are not Military but civilians, even security firms were not soldiers but civilian armed guards, the rest were builders, suppliers, truckers, fast food joints, IT workers, just ordinary Americans just doing a very well paid job in an Middle Eastern Country or now the 53rd State of the Union, making not peace but money, and a lot if not all of it went went back into the Republican Party’s Senators coffers and their large Company Banks, including Halliburtons or KBR.. a major construction company which was another subsidiary or Brown & Root Services another division and so on…The War is and was only about profit for America and not peace, but the problem was The White House didn’t expect the Iraqis to fight back and why shouldn’t they, it was imperialism in its extreme, and so a prolonged tactical insurgency took hold and pulled the Americans down into a quagmire of incompetence, complete loss of authority and loss of respect of American Military Might.
Now at the same time that Business Iraq was opening its doors, The Bush Administration decided that there was still way too much regulation around Wall Street, Bullish that the markets had survived the greed of the Dot.com bubble, and hoping it was not going to spread too far (down) in losses, there then was the de-regulation for the markets, de-regulation was started by the Clinton Administration to create a smaller more efficient Government, but it was soon seen more as a cash cow by the Bush Administration, so they put their foot on the accelerator, Energy was one that was ripe for picking, and soon it was game on, it lasted a year with Enron already in court for the so called accountancy misdemeanors, then came WorldCom, a few…no a lot more and more were then hauled before the courts including Halliburtons, and for more and more infringements of corporate law.
From The White House there was nothing but silence…Greed is good, don’t rock the boat, now all was in place for everything to go stratospheric, and it did…for years…Alan Greenspan the Chairman of the Federal Reserve first dropped interest rates from 3.5% to 3.0% then again then again to 1.0% after the self inflicted energy accounting scandals to try to stimulate the housing market, fair enough but with no real checks and balances from Washington, Wall Street then went on to the biggest bull boom of its life, so Wall Street started its Sub-Prime lending boom, almost giving loans and credit away, and reaping billions in rewards, companies thrived in an free market place with no restrictions…Oil was so cheap it was thrown away, Credit so available that children could get credit cards (A couple of dogs got their cards dropped in the mailbox too)…it was hysteria in a buying spree like no other, and Americans and the world lapped it up…..it was almost like George was on the street handing out $100 bills, but only to the very rich, and they gave them unreasonable Tax breaks too…Under Bush to be rich was good, to be very very rich was better.
Moral issues also were discarded, Stem Cell research was crushed and (IR) Intelligent Design was pushed into schools to please the Evangelicals, Gun laws had no restrictions to please the Gun Lobby, Off shore drilling was allowed to make Texan’s richer, Kyoto was discarded, making the United States the worst polluter on the planet, not just by a little bit, but by a mile and again it was used to keep the vital company vote onside, making even China looking responsible, and soon another election was due in 2004, George W Bush had lived up to his promises, he had delivered, he was running the most greediest, most morally bankrupt, most polluting country on the planet, so they re-elected him..and then it started to go really wrong, even from the moment of his acceptance speech in January 20th 2005..in fact the facade had started to fail a year eariler in early 2004 with prison in Bagdad called Abu Ghraib, torture was permitted by the Bush Administration for intelligence on the War on Terror, thus making the Neo-Cons with another facility called Guantanamo Bay in Cuba worse in breaking the human rights rules than the same Saddam Hussein, the very person they went into the middle east to dispose of…and for the same reason given to overthrow Saddam in the first place, his awful record of basic abuse of Human Rights, it made the Administration create a rule for us and a rule for the rest of you, power out of control.
Donald Rumsfield, Secretary of Defence twice wanted to resign over the accounts and twice W Bush refused to fire him…but now the slide was starting to get steeper for W..in a case of a woman who wanted to die…Terri Schiavo.
It was a Pro-Life debate, Terri Schiavo’s Husband and guardian Michael wanted to remove a feeding tube that kept the Woman alive since a cardiac arrest that left her with serious brain damage, but for 5 years Robert and Mary Schindler her parents refused on grounds of she was conscious and that should have a right to live, then after court order after court order there was a final decision on March 18, 2005 to disconnect Schiavo from her life support, after it was carried out, Schiavo died of effects of dehydration at the Pinellas Park hospice on March 31, 2005, then it all turned weird, Republicans including a Right To Life Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay, brought the sanction of Contempt of Congress against the Florida Judge and the witnesses of Michael and the incapacitated Terri Schiavo, in fact ordering them to appear before the house dead or not or to be held in contempt against the American Congress, the final order a bill S.686 was pushed through the house and George W flew from his ranch in Texas to sign it into law on Mar 21 at 1.11 am EST, but the US Supreme Court upheld the original state order and all was finally finished, Terri already deceased was allowed to legally die…why did this madness evolve, Evangelicals, Pro-Life lobby, nothing about respect or pain and suffering, it was political madness US Style..
And then the slide became a steep cliff…George W Bush was about to meet his destiny..
On August 23, 2005, a low developed and crossed the Florida Peninsula as a Cat 1 Hurricane, while causing a few deaths and damage, after passing over Florida, Katrina lost a considerable amount of its power as it subsided and rested in the Gulf Of Mexico, but suddenly it quickly reignited and built into to a Cat 3 Hurricane and on morning of Monday, August 29 it crossed the coast in full fury in southeast Louisiana, going directly through the city of New Orleans, with this massive storm surge the city’s problematic levees collapsed and 80% of the city became flooded, Bush had created a state of emergency for Louisiana on the 27th August, but now as people were drowning and living on the roofs of their submerged houses nothing but silence came from Crawford Texas, On August 30, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff declared it “an incident of national significance”, but still nothing was done, as the days rolled by Bush flew to Washington but was still immobile to the rising catastrophe going on in his country now at least 1,836 people had lost their lives in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since 1928, finally on the 2nd Sept George finally arrived in New Orleans, things were still slow to happen but at least things were moving forward as state and federal bodies argued about how to handle the dire situation, as bodies floated in the streets and people were starving in the Superbowl, the effects and devastation is still there today, but for ineffectiveness in a time of leadership George W and his administration had failed miserably, and America finally took note…one court case at a time..
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case No. 04cv2688 was a in late 2006 a landmark in the right direction, and the absurd notion that parents had to take a school board to court to defend of all things science, origin of life Darwin’s theory of evolution was put on trial, against the word of god, or as it was called Intelligent design, theorists of religion made a case that god created everything and that science itself was hookum, it was a one sided argument, but the point was Washington allowed it to happen in the first place, again to please the Evangelicals, who were caught not only with their hands in the money jar, but in the beds of adultery as well..and that worse the separation of church and state was becoming meshed and political, but one by one now the fences were falling and by 2007 the bad news was coming almost daily..
The war in Iraq was now costing lives and now serious sums of money, Afghanistan was riddled with Taliban and Islamic Freedom fighters, Bush’s answers were not working, his other domestic front against terrorism Homeland Security had millions of people stacked up at airports, not able to get into the United States but not out either, business and travel was suffering as people couldn’t work because of the high fences now surrounding their movements and the country, the national debt had risen to $11.3 trillion then the slowly the sub-prime fiasco also started to gather momentum as Countrywide Financial drew down a $11 billion line of credit and then secured an additional $12 billion bailout in September, then mid-December 2007, Washington Mutual bank cut more than 3,000 jobs and closed its subprime mortgage business, no ideas came and no solutions were forthcoming, and so the third big catastrophe started to rally take root and multiply.
Early in 2008 Hillary Clinton could do no wrong, it was a shoe-in for her to realise her political dream, but events were starting to fall against her, first she polarised everyone for or against her, and in any election you have to have everyone behind you and not half of your own party, but the real problem was that people started to realise that their world was starting to fall apart, Fuel prices started to soar, first over $100 per barrel (DPB), then headed to $147 DPB maybe soon it could be $200 DPB, Bear Stearns was bailed out in March by a gift of $29 billion non-recourse treasury bill debt assets, and still no overall action was coming from Washington, except to bailout the odd Wall Street friend, then the Sub-Prime debacle real started to bite On July 11, IndyMac, a spinoff of Countrywide, was seized by federal regulators – and they called for a $32 billion bailout; but it collapsed as investors queued to withdraw their savings. the unemployment rate soared to 6.1 percent in August, just as the Democratic convention reached its zenith on August 23, 2008, Barack Obama had been nominated as the Democratic Party’s choice as candidate for the high office of President, It is no surprise that Mr Obama rose as the catastrophe descended, his voice of change, but most of all the perception that a politician could be impartial almost non-party, not aligned with any corporate baggage or lobbyist followers, his central path of not leaning towards certain groups, Obama banged his own drum, and was everything George W Bush wasn’t, even Hillary Clinton couldn’t rise that high as she had a past political history or theatre which every way you want it, and America couldn’t or wouldn’t take that chance, it took a bigger chance of electing a clean official, a civil rights attorney, a complete break with the past, a totally clean break, but the reality was as George W Bush’s irresponsible polices came more and more home to roost, and the more he looked incapable of running an Administration, then the more Obama’s star grew brighter, If W Bush’s terms in office had been even average; there would have been no chance for an African American to go for the high office, historians surveyed by Siena College regarded Bush’s presidency as follows: Great: 2%; Near Great: 5%; Average: 11%; Below Average: 24%; Failure: 58%…the figures don’t lie, also another factor of why and only at this point in history any African American was able to progress to be a candidate for President was the fact that there is a guilt in the American consciousness of what happened in Florida in 2000 and mainly in New Orleans after Katrina, what happened here had shamed the country, was it racial that no help was forthcoming to the city?, or as I believe just that the Administration couldn’t put a right shoe on a right foot and a left shoe on the left, but the consciousness overrode such situations, the racial position was still a factor in letting Barack Obama seek the highest office, it is a plea for an apology of a nation to their own, black or white, it will be we will never know, but destiny is still a course of the unknown, but sometimes destiny is firmly rooted in its agenda, history has shown that some people are just meant to be there for their own destiny, but become part of our fabric of what is the right person in the right place at the right time, what if no African American had put up their hand for selection, how different would have been the outcome of the election, Barack Obama had a destiny already proclaimed even to the end.
I announced that George W Bush was the Person of the Year in 2008, because at the end and even up to the election on 4th November, his closing of his term’s as President are so completely catastrophic that he and mostly his Administrations ineptitudede has brought his own country and the world to an economic crisis; that will be felt for decades, even 9/11 in New York will not have the impact on every man and Woman and child trying to live and or feed themselves like what the mess W Bush’s administration has created, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. started the real disaster on September 7, 2008. Lehman’s closure on the 15th Sept was the catalyst for real mistrust and the banking and finance sectors went into nuclear meltdown, from that point credit, the lifeblood of business collapsed, so the system collapsed, the world system became unraveled, every country is affected, governments are putting billions into bailing out everything, from car makers to insurance, even giving people cash in hand to survive, pay bills, buy stock, the big people like Bernard Madoff took all the Jewish money and hedge funds collapsed, countries are in recession in weeks not months or years, from his appointment of President-Elect, Barack Obama’s first decision was should he start running the country and put an Administration in order to run the country straight away or wait till his inauguration on Jan 20th 2009, he had no choice, there is power vacuum in the fact the the Republican Administration is totally incapable of running the country, the world will breath a collective sigh of relief on that January Day.
The Republicans to a man (or Woman) will state they did nothing wrong, but it is their bullying rhetoric that is their own red mist, history will of course be their judge, if Iraq is free and democratic, then will they be justified in going to war, on the 19th Jan 2009, most of them will walk away, their job done, George W Bush will build his presidential library, but one that no one will visit, Vietnam was worse than Iraq, in body count and in failure, but here there has been a failure in every area, not just the wars, it is also domestic, moral, financial, religious, and racial, there was the warnings, big red flags, 9/11, Dot.Com bust, Enron..but still the money makers and the Government pushed on, wanting more and more money…part of it is the American nature of the beast, in this now globalization of the world we are all intertwined together, one now affects another; but the Republicans saw this as an opportunity to try to control the financial industry for their own making and with that became seriously undone, it is not their job to do so, and the effects have been catastrophic, never again will the world trust America with their money again, that is how much damage has been done, so when hard standing Republicans cross the floor in mass to vote in a democratic President; to get rid of their own, then there is admission that something went seriously wrong.
Politicians are elected to serve the public, not for their own self promotion and to greedily fill their pockets with gold, to let their country starve or die, to destroy the middle class into the very rich or the very poor, invade countries for their own self interests, have no control over any aspect of regulation to allow the world to be brought to its knees for lack of credit, all were greedy and all will pay the price…but the ones who really pay the price are the ones now losing their jobs, it is always the the ones at the bottom of the food chain that get the knocks, go bankrupt, die of stress, heart attacks, divorce; most of the Bush Administration will live very comfortably, with no worries on them or their families and with no guilt….should they be held accountable for the terrible mess they have created, yes they should, and history should deal out its justice, because their biggest failing was as even now they believe in their own self self-righteousness and smugness, and that is the worst aspect of all, they were there for you, elected by you, to serve you, and in that they failed in every aspect, they failed their country, ruined the American ethics of generations, and for that they should be held accountable…..
For my Person of the Year 2008, George W Bush, there will be a bigger burden, he has to carry the stigma for his Administrations failings of this significant year of generational change; for every day for the rest of his life and well into history, he made a deal with the devil to achieve his ambitions, but if you make a deal with the Lord of Darkness it can come at a terrible price..
So now as Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President, he has the world before him and if he can do the impossible in his first 100 days of office, he will no doubt earn the title of….Person of the Year 2009.