Monday, January 02, 2006
2005 (Jan-Mar) Division, Deception, & Hypocrisy
U.S. Military Casualties in Iraq: January - 107, February - 58, March - 35
RIP: Johnny Carson (Jan. 23), Ossie Davis (Feb. 4), Sandra Dee (Feb. 20), Terri Schiavo (Mar. 31)
As former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were called to head a charity drive for victims of the December 2004 tsunami, G. W. Bush's second inauguration approached with an estimated 40-60 million dollar price-tag for the festivities. Dick Cheney continued to bellow "mandate" and Bush vowed "to spend political capital." In other words, do whatever they wanted regardless of the will of the American people. Thus began a bad year for the White House.
During a speech following the controversial November election, Bush remarked:
"So today I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."However, 2005 would find the President more and more isolated and detached, critical of those who opposed, resisted, or offered alternative ideas to his agenda. During his series of tax-payer funded "conversations" on Social Security "reform", dissenters were blocked and removed as Bush presented his misleading, inaccurate program to pre-screened audiences.
On January 12th, the White House somewhat quietly announced that the search for WMDs in Iraq had ended, the prime reason for going to war in Iraq the first place. Yet during the February 2nd State of the Union address, this fact was not mentioned. As a late January election approached in Iraq, violence erupted resulting in over 100 U.S. Military casualties. Although the election was lauded as a milestone, many derided the outcome and the legitimacy of a election "imposed" during an occupation. The Shiites as expected won the majority, and Iraq appeared to be headed in the direction of drafting a Constitution controlled by an Islamic Republic.
Condoleezza Rice was confirmed as Secretary of State (replacing Colin Powell) after receiving a well-deserved grilling by California Senator Barbara Boxer, who questioned Rice's integrity due to Rice's promotion of fear, danger and lies to help sell the Iraq invasion. Bush would continue to appoint and promote controversial candidates for security and law enforcement positions including Elliot Abrams, Alberto Gonzales (nominated in Nov, 2004) the "Honduran Butcher "John Negroponte and John Bolton. By continuing to populate the administration with past Reagan and Bush Sr. neo-con hacks, the president was making a clear statement of his agenda. With the exception of Bolton (more to follow in future posts! lbb ), the Senate essentially rolled over and rubber stamped most of the nominees.
More 9/11 facts were released on February 9th, when a previously classified report (conveniently withheld from the August 2004 9/11 Commission Report) confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration had received 52 warnings before the 2001, terrorist attacks specifically mentioning al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden plans to use hijacked airplanes and conduct suicide bombings. The 9/11 Commission Report was basically a whitewash in which Bush resisted, withheld documents, sent Rice to testify only after pressured, then withheld this key information until well after the November election, the January Inauguration and the 2005 State of the Union address. What was he trying to hide?
Without a doubt, the most insidious, pathetic and controversial political misstep during the first quarter of 2005 was the Terri Schiavo incident. Seemingly pandering to fanatical religious extremists, the Congress injected itself into this delicate issue, by introducing legislation to prolong Schiavo's life by preventing removal of her feeding tube. Bush flew in late night, cutting short one of his many vacations, to sign off on the ill conceived, politically motivated bill. Michael Schiavo, who had been simply respecting his wife's wishes, was painted as a demon by disgraceful right wing opportunists. The clown prince prick of propaganda, Sean Hannity, with his hospice vigil and disingenuous "reporting" furthered a personal agenda through smear and lies. Senate Majority leader (and physician) Bill Frist, disgraced himself and his office by offering a "diagnosis" of Schiavo based on a video excerpt. Not only was his conclusion unethical and illegal, it was also fraudulent.
A stream of charges complaining about "activist" judges ensued, culminating with former House Majority leader Tom Delay issuing threats. All in all, this farcical 'culture of life" exercise backfired. The majority of Americans strongly disapproved of the government's meddling with this private family matter and felt that Congress had overeached. The right wing moralists, who touted the sanctity of marriage during the 2004 Presidential campaign, apparently had no respect for the sanctity of the Schiavo's marriage. They also were cruel to Terri's parents, by continuing to give them false hope. If any good came out of this fiasco, it increased awareness of the importance of a Living Will, while exposing the hypocrisy and fringe madness of religious extremists, and the lengths they will go to to force their agenda on everyone else. Values voters my ass.