Goodbye first decade of the 2000’s

Different critics have their “best of…” lists coming out this week as we get ready to end the first decade of the 2000’s. I thought I might add what I think are the major touchstones of the decade. These are events or persons who, generations from now, will still be looked at and studied or commented on.

In no particular order:

September 11, 2001

That date will live in infamy in the history books. Over 2,000 people were murdered that day in the terror attacks that led to the destruction of the two World Trade Center towers, heavy damage to the Pentagon, and sense of numbness that took some months to work itself out.

The event also brought out the best of humankind as millions banded together in the initial days and months both to grieve and to work through the aftermath. I admit I channeled my inner cowboy wanting to get the mofos who planned it.

9/11 has also guided our country’s direction for at least this first decade and probably for many more decades to come.

Presidential election of 2000

The 2000 election was the first time that one political party, the Republicans, were able to use their control of a state government and the US Supreme Court to thwart the will of a majority of Americans and install their own guy into the White House. I hope it will be the last time. It’s very bad for democracy if one party is able to manipulate the media, state, and courts to get what they want outside of logic and reason.

George W Bush and the neocons

The installed President in 2000 was a bad influence on this country for the 8 years he held office. It wasn’t only the guy but those he had working for him, the neocons, like Vice President Dick Cheney who wanted to install their brand of “Pax Americana” on the world.

Breaking with the traditional post-world war II idea of diplomacy to solve problems in the world, Bush and his goons “shot first” and asked questions later. They believed that fighting terrorism involved imposing organized military power first rather than the usual criminal justice model of investigation and intelligence. They were mistaken that a terror group could be fought like a war between armies. Their failed policy led to a loss of prestige in the world, loss of men and women in our military, loss of scores of innocent civilian lives in areas we invaded and destroyed, and the failure to capture the major people who planned and funded the 9/11 attacks in the first place.

At home Bush and the neocons chipped away at our civil rights – always “blaming” 9/11 – by violating our privacy, detaining without charge hundreds if not thousands of Muslim aliens in this country, holding so-called enemy combatants outside the country to avoid basic constitutional protections for alleged criminals, facilitating the use of torture, and using fear mongering to keep us all in line.

Bush and the neocons, through their use of the Congress, changed laws that were meant to protect our economy and well being which helped bring about the economic crash of 2008. President Bush was alerted to the signs of collapse and basically did nothing until Wall Street started to implode on itself. Then he gave them a blank check with basically no strings attached.

Presidential election of 2008

This election was good because the system worked. The American electorate, in a stinging rebuke of the whole Bush Presidency, put the Democrats into a commanding majority in the House and Senate. It not only elected a Democrat as President but also the first African-American, Barrack Obama. The Republicans and the neocons tried their best tricks to steal another election but the public turned them away hard.


Although the jury is still out on this one, I feel a major political point of the first decade is the continued corruption of our government by the corporate lobbyist. These people give money to Congress people to buy votes that benefit their industries agenda. It was this corruption that helped bring on the economic collapse of 2008 by getting bought legislators to remove regulations installed during the Depression of the 1930’s to protect the economy from wild speculation. What happens? Wild speculation followed by collapse. *sigh*

The corruption led to Congress passing tax breaks and other laws that gave big pay days to their wealthy friends while screwing the middle class and damaging the lower income people time and time again

Corporatism has led the Democratic majority installed after the abuse of the Bush years to continue the failed economic polices and to be ineffectual in passing almost anything, like real health care reform, that challenges their masters in the board rooms around the country.

The influence of the corporation has also led to our major media outlets being held by only a few large companies and that has effected what passes for journalism today. Mainstream media protects and propagandizes for their corporate bosses, their affiliated companies, and bought legislators at the state and Federal levels.

I have a feeling, moving forward, that Corporatism will become more of an issue that could lead to a crises that an election can’t fix.

The Internet

It really came into its own during the first decade. The one area not entirely controlled by media conglomerates – yet – is the Internet. Millions of people bypassed the propaganda that passes for news on mainstream media and shared news and information directly through their computers.

The Internet has already knocked down print newspapers and severely hurt broadcast media. That is a sure sign that people want their news and information unfiltered. People also want facts and the truth not a press release that spins something according to some agenda.

Fake celebrities

The first decade of the 2000’s saw the rise of basically lazy, untalented people thinking they should be famous by participating in “reality” TV shows or for doing something stupid. When you can’t answer the question “Why should we care?” then the person is basically a fake celebrity. Historians might look on this like we do about those wacky stunts pulled in the middle 20th century like stuffing a phone booth, dance marathons, and stuffing a small car with people.

Hopefully in the coming decade, there are far more better times than bad ones.

Good luck to us all…

TV film alert: Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

There is a new documentary by Alexandra Pelosi that is to be shown on HBO starting Monday 2/16 about the conservative reaction the 2008 US elections.(check your time and channel in your area).

Here is the blurb from HBO:

On the day Barack Obama was elected the 44th President, more than 58 million voters cast their ballots for John McCain. In the months leading up to this historic election, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) took a road trip to meet some of the conservative Americans who waited in line for hours to support the GOP ticket, and saw their hopes and dreams evaporate in the wake of that Democratic victory. These voters share their feelings about the changing America in which they live. Premieres Monday, February 16 at 8pm (ET/PT) on HBO2.

I did a post about on my Secular Left blog that includes an interview the filmmaker did on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Friday night.

Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

Welcome and Good Luck President Barack Hussein Obama

I‘ll be honest. Before the 2008 elections I didn’t pay much attention to who Barack Obama was. I knew the name, I knew he was black, and knew he was some up and coming politician from Illinois but that was about it. After hearing his personal story and his ideas for this country, I am so glad he is taking the oath of office today. He is a mix of different races and cultures but also the child of a single mother. He is a prime example of what America is all about.

Although I always knew there was a possibility we could elect a black man as President, I just never thought it would be now. I didn’t think we were ready. Sometimes current events come together and create that single tipping point which causes a major shift in this country. 2008 and was that tipping point and Barack Obama was the catalyst.

He knew he couldn’t win because he thought he deserved to. He had to sell himself to the electorate. He knew he couldn’t seem too left or right so he preached bi-partisanship. He knew he didn’t have an established machine most major political players do so he used his organizing skills to build one from scratch. 

He knew he had some things going against him. He was black. He had a Muslim sounding name in a post 9/11 world. He was the son of a single mother with his father dying when he was a young man.

Then we had an administration that for 8 years screwed things up from foreign policy to the economy. People were ready for a change.

Through all of that Obama worked for more than two years to eventually to win the office of President of the United States of America.

Today is his day. The day he officially takes office. It is also OUR day. The US is one of the few, if the only, country who has a change of government without guns and blood in the streets. Over 200 years of mundane hand over of the office to the next person.

40 years after the lowest point in the struggle for black civil rights we have our first black President. To me it was never about his race. It was never about his resume. It was about his ideas and his personal story.

I am also a child of a single mother. My father was killed in Vietnam when I was barely a month old, so I had no father in my life. Some kids called me a bastard and some conservatives kept saying my family experience was evil and that I would turn out to be some drug addicted criminal because I didn’t have a dad in my life. It was tough to take sometimes.

With Obama taking the oath today, it will vindicate me and be at least be a major step for all those children of single parents who are normal, well adjusted, and successful in life despite our fractured family history.

I know he doesn’t have a magic wand that will solve all our current challenges but it is great that we once again have someone who is smart, thoughtful, and someone who knows about the world outside our borders in the top job. It will be a refreshing change.

TV host Craig Ferguson opens his show each night saying “This is a great day for America!” and I echo that for this day – Inauguration Day

Good luck to us and our new President Barack Hussein Obama II.

Buh-Bye George Bush

Today is your last full day. Make sure you clean out your desk and turn in your parking pass. As one of my supervisors once told me “Your services are no longer required…” Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out – and take Darth Cheney with you.

The US Supreme Court installed you in office. You won re-election because of efforts to ban Gay marriage. You started 2 wars and had no exit strategy. You allowed our rights to be trampled on because you felt like it. You and your “free market” money whores fucked the economy and ruined our nation’s rep in the rest of the world.

You refuse to acknowledge you did anything wrong and hope that history judges you better than current events.

I will give you one small tiny credit – you did get the spineless Congress to bend to your will with a lower popularity level than Nixon had during Watergate. That was impressive.

Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a “failure.” Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration’s “pursuit of disastrous policies.” In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton — a category in which Bush is the only contestant.

How does any president’s reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties — Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush — have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures — an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.

The Worst President in History?


TV Networks have very short memory

John Amato points out on Crooks and Liars that since the election, the Sunday talk shows have returned to the usual conservative bias:

It’s no coincidence that right wing/Conservative guests far outnumber the left wing guests this week on the Sunday talkers. The country just rejected Conservatives and the entire GOP and gave Obama a complete mandate, but does that matter to the networks?


Highlighted this before, but on the teevee on Sunday we have:

7 Appearances by Republican current elected officeholders
3 Appearances by Democratic current elected officeholders.
2 Appearances by Republican former elected officeholders.
1 Appearance by a Bush Cabinet Secretary.
T. Boone Pickens
Ted Turner.

Right Wingers dominate the Sunday Talk Shows

So now we not only have the “how does this hurt Democrats” but now add “How does this help the GOP…”


That’s why I refuse to watch the Sunday Talk shows. Same old same old.