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…

Hatchetman Lies Again

During debates, candidates tend to fudge the facts about their adversary. In Tuesday’s Vice Presidential debate, that meant that Dick “The Hatchetman” Cheney claimed that Kerry and Edwards voted against the troops (they didn’t) and Sen. John Edwards claimed the bill for the Iraq war is $200 million (not quite).

About midway into the debate Cheney said:

“Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I’m up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they’re in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.”

Unfortunately, for the Vice President, his memory sucks. Cheney and Edwards have met on 3 other occasions for various events. Cheney attempted to smear Edwards. He wanted to insinuate that Edwards is absent from Senate sessions so much that he hasn’t met him during those sessions.

This has been one of the many charges Bush and Cheney keep repeating – that Kerry and Edwards have poor attendance records in the Senate. Cheney commented about a bill that was recently passed to extend the tax breaks Bush got passed in 2002. He said that Kerry and Edwards didn’t even vote – not noting that both were on the campaign trail at the time.

Hachetman also went dumb on his repeated comments before the Iraq war that Saddam and Bin Laden had a relationship. He went so far as to say on a Sunday morning talk show that Iraq was a center of terrorist activity and support. NONE of that was true then and we now know it was never true. Cheney claimed during the debate on Tuesday that he never made the comments. Too bad for him that it was recorded on video tape and played several times on Wednesday.

As Edwards said:

Cheney was “still not being straight with the American people.”

With a hatchet man like Dick Cheney, who needs the truth

I don’t often get angry while watching a news broadcast, but on Friday 9/24/04 I happened to catch our local newscast giving an update on the Presidential campaign, I got very angry. Angry enough to walkout of the break room just so I wouldn’t have to watch the story.

It started with a clip of John Kerry giving his 7 point plan for the war on terrorism and critiquing Bush and company for going after Saddam instead of finishing the job against Bin Laden.

“George Bush made Saddam Hussein the priority,” Kerry told a group of students and faculty at Temple University. “The invasion of Iraq was a profound diversion from the battle against our greatest enemy, al-Qaida, which killed more than 3,000 people on 9/11 and which still plots our destruction today. And there’s just no question about it: The president’s misjudgment, miscalculation and mismanagement of the war in Iraq will make the war on terror harder to win.”

“Iraq is now what it was not before the war: a haven for terrorists,” Kerry said. “I will grant no one, no country, no sweetheart relationship a free pass,” he said. “As president, I will do what President Bush has not done; I will hold the Saudis accountable.”

So then Vice President Cheney responds:

Vice President Dick Cheney complained Friday in Warrenton that the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry, suggested that Iraq wasn’t a home for terrorists before Saddam Hussein was deposed.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Saddam himself was a terrorist,” Cheney told about 1,500 people at a Republican rally at the Warren County Fairgrounds.

Cheney said Saddam had provided a safe haven for terrorists over the years, made $25,000 payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers and had a relationship with al-Qaida.

The Bush-Cheney team continue to LIE about the reasons for invading Iraq. That is why I got mad. The news allowed Cheney to spit out his untruths without ANY questioning from the press or anyone.

Taking a closer look at Iraq and terrorism finds that Saddam was considered dangerous, no one disputes that, but not an immediate threat to the US. Col. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi of Libya was more of an immediate threat to the US than Saddam. Bin Laden had ordered the killing several thousand innocent civilians in the 9/11 terrorist act yet the President shifted the focus from Bin Laden to Saddam without a resolution.

The other lie Cheney is fond of stating is that Saddam and al-Qaida had a relationship. He is then assuming you and I will connect the dots and think Saddam had something to do with 9/11. There was no relationship. Saddam was too busy keeping his grip on Iraq to help another terrorist group. He wasn’t looking for an excuse to be attacked.

Cheney is also the one who inferred that if Kerry was elected, the US would be attacked by terrorists.

Terrorism is a threat. Unfortunately, the Republicans are too busy keeping Cat Stevens out of the country and forcing book stores to tell the government what books I buy, among other civil rights abuses, to fight terrorism as it needs to be fought. Terrorism and the groups who commit terror acts are in the shadows. They have no country or army to fight. Fighting terror requires a concerted effort of intelligence agencies across the world and old fashion police work. Just ask the Italians how they broke the back of the Red Brigades, or how the British turned down the IRA troubles, or how the Germans defeated the Baader-Meinhof gang or how Japan dealt with the Japanese Red Army group.

Cheney and Bush want you to think that terrorists care who is in the Whitehouse.