Lessons

So what did we learn from the Bush years ? Probably not much since voters have elected Republicans anyway. 

The Bush administration forgot the lessons of the past including Vietnam, the great depression, Watergate, or even of the American Revolution. (Remember, the Declaration of Independence does begin with 'We the People' ...not We the Corporations or George the imperial.) US inability to implement education, technology, or social programs will continue to have consequences in the loss of well-being of the US and the continuing decline in skills relative to other countries.

We embarked on two pointless wars based on lies, sunk the middle class, blew up the economy,  made torture routine, rewarded privatized prisons with the world's largest prison population, suppressed voters, busted unions, ignored massive financial corruption, rolled back civil liberties,

Iraq: the ten Commandments

Presidency

As the President has become more powerful, acts above the law, engages in human rights abuse, and makes up pretexts to go to pre-emptive war with the acquiescence of a weak Congress, it is evident that the US can easily become a fascist dictatorship.

The Presidency has become too powerful and is a threat to the Constitution. Bush claims to be a unitary President in a direct slap at the Constitution and in violation of his oath of office,  His policy of privatizing everything including Social Security, healthcare, public schools thus removing them too from public accountability, was misguided, unpopular, and reflected not only Republican's trademark incompetence,  but their insatiable grab for political power. As the unitary pResident, he makes the agenda. That's wrong.

The concept of a unitary President is a betrayal of the Constitution and should be cause for impeachment.  Bush Republican's character, supposedly Christian, includes willingness to torture, to ignore the law (in signing statements), to blithely override the will of the people (re-read the Declaration of Independence for an appreciation of this.) and certainly has no intention of protecting the checks and balances intended in the Constitution.

"Executive Privilege" and secrecy of vital information can render Congressional oversight impossible, thus destroying Constitutional checks and balances. Ignoring the Constitution, Bush in hundreds of signing statements, made it clear that he believes he is above the law. (When or if this is validated by his Supreme Court, we will officially live under a dictatorship.)

The President should be prohibited from going to war unless the US is directly attacked by another state. The Constitution is clear: the "Congress shall have power to declare war,...and make rules concerning captures on land and water."

Going to war, as Ronald Reagan did, in secret should be an impeachable offense.

Lying to make a case for war is treason. Politicians can, and do, override the judgments of 'intelligence' professionals...even though information has been gathered at staggering cost under conditions of secrecy.  Twisting intelligence should be a high crime.  However it is another tool to enable massive military budgets, war profiteering, pre-emptive war, and a 'unitary' Presidency.

Checks and balances need to be restored. Congress, even though facing a corrupt executive branch, did no oversight. Even though Bush policies were failures, the Congress ceded him even more power. Party loyalty can trump the Constitution, and it has.

The Constitution should be amended to restrain Presidential power. He should not be permitted to pardon himself for crimes he authorized.

Ideology has been substituted for reasoned policy, regulatory agencies take the side of the industries they are supposed to police. Take the case of the FCC.
 

Constitution

The Constitution embodied a number of admirable principles. Republicans have been keen to overturn all of them, especially "promote the general welfare".

  • the people are the deciders and they should determine the agenda.
  • concentration of power is dangerous and to be vigorously avoided.
  • the rights of the people ought to be protected
  • the wall between church and state needs to be shored up. Fundamentalist churches became propaganda channels for the Republican party.
  • the President should not have the power to make war at will. Corporate profiteers, cheerleading media, a warmongering administration, a fearful population, drove us to war.

War is profitable. Expect much more of it... even though it is financially ruinous nationally. Big military contractors are sited in so many states that Congressmen can't wait to spend more money on armaments. It is not about 'defense', it's about jobs. It is military Keynesianism and it is structurally a part of the US political apparatus that keeps us at war, keeps us building almost unlimited weaponry, and also keeps us from having many amenities that other developed countries find essential: i.e. healthcare, mass transit, affordable education, long-term care, social programs. Make no mistake, the cost of the world's largest military precludes democracy and the welfare of the people. Protection and enhancement of the power of the plutocracy is the Republican agenda.

When we occupy a country where the people do not want us, we cannot win. That can keep us at war indefinitely. No Accident. That's what the military-industrial complex has worked hard to perpetuate. 

Since the Constitution was written 200 years ago, it needs to be brought up to date. Media was not then as concentrated or powerful as it is today, and the law needs to be altered to construct more balanced media with diverse and competitive ownership. Properly done, there would be local accountability, many more jobs in locally owned news media and much better information

US elections cannot be trusted and considerable reform is needed. A minimum is IRV or range voting at all levels of elections.

A political party that controls all three branches of government can trump the Constitution. The Bush administration demonstrated that. With no oversight  an ideologue President  exercising his (endless) war powers can become a dictator. Republicans put us on a path to fascism.

Corporations

The Bush administration consistently represented the corporate agenda. Regulatory agencies have been staffed with administrators that serve the industries they are supposed to police. A government that serves corporations is, by definition, fascist

In the Bush administration, Corporations were the real rulers, not the people. Their agenda was privatization (removing public functions from accountability or democratic control), deregulation (removing accountability or democratic controls), and labor suppression (union busting, downsizing, outsourcing, off-shoring).

Corporate money can buy the Congress. This possibility makes it important to allow multiple parties to exist without being spoilers.

Corporate governance, as seen in absurd CEO compensation or outlandish accounting tricks, is out of control and has spoiled the investment climate.

Corporate control of media makes them extremely powerful politically and they can strongly influence the outcome of elections as well as oversee the selection of candidates.

Corporations are NOT people, and should be closely regulated. It is clear that US corporate governance is dysfunctional and needs considerable reform. Here again, people's rights need some respect.

The lasting Bush legacfy is a Supreme Court, packed with partisans, corporate supremecists that treasonously gave government to corporations instead of the people. The Citizens United decision assured the loss of our republic.

It is corporations that motivate the surge for empire.

Media

Media has been consolidated into a few conservative activist entities that no longer deliver information that makes democracy possible. Corporate consolidation has been used as a way to take over media, the first step in any regime change.

Democracy cannot exist where information streams are polluted.

Without media reform, it is unlikely that we will reverse our course toward empire, economic decline, militarization, continued cuts in social programs, financial instability, and decline in standard of living.

US media was a major enabler of the war in Iraq. That should be an indictment of the major corporations that has come to control our concentrated media. Balanced media would include some that is public, and that has no self-interest in promoting war. Political campaigning should be confined to public media. Whatever the reasons or delusions that led to the war in Iraq, US media, the PR face of corporate profiteers, were cheerleaders.

Corporate news reports what high-level people want with very little attempt made to check veracity. Investigative reporting is expensive, risky, and upsetting. Anyway, alternative views are largely ignored and may actually be punished. Internet news sources are more varied, more environmentally friendly, less filtered, more democratic, and more truthful. It is no accident that newspapers and other media are weakening: as they downsize, compete with the internet, and become ever more right-wing, they are alienating readers. Corporate owners have an agenda which is to keep the public ignorant and in a high state of fear. This enables a willingness to fund and participate in endless wars for empire. (GE contracts in Iraq are said to exceed the entire budget of NBC which it owns.)

A partisan Supreme Court, having decided the election of 2000, has demonstrated its ability to assure that the Courts become even more partisan and abandoned its moral authority. Bush appointees have made it even more right wing and as a result it favors the corporate agenda even more.

Religion can (and does) undermine science education and public policy. Global warming, biodiversity, public health, energy policy, population explosion, and the very habitability of the earth have been clouded in contrived controversy. The wall between church and state has been damaged. Media has facilitated this disinformation.

9/11 was a new Pearl Harbor. Fear was exploited to further the neocons agenda. We surrendered many of our civil liberties, went to war under false pretenses, and dismantled programs that actually benefit people.

The dire warnings about climate change from scientists do not get time from US broadcasters.

Economy

There IS class warfare.  The upper class is winning, Republicans belong to them and so does mainstream media. The US has one of the poorest distributions of income in the developed world. Bush Tax cuts were regressive. CEOs have offers they cannot refuse. The repeal of the inheritance tax will benefit the upper 2 % of Americans including the Bush family. The Waltons, owners of Wal-Mart, will get a $35 billion tax break. Did you ask why you can't have a sensible healthcare system ?

The US Comptroller, David Walker, assures us that the immense debt being accumulated is unsustainable. He advocates cutting Social Security or healthcare even though our military is the most expensive in the world. Joe Stiglitz estimates the cost of the war in Iraq at between 3 and 4 trillion dollars. Walker, a true Republican, doesn't think we can afford to provide support for our own people, but he never considers mammoth military expense a problem. The Republican quest for world dominance and empire make the military the most important spending priority. Even more important than the well-being of the nation.

In other developed nations people not only get government health care, short work weeks, vacations, large pensions, high minimum wages, mandatory paid time off, subsidized childcare, ... Why not the United States ?

Because Republican policy is regressive: austerity, deregulation, privatization, corporate concentration, lowered minimum wage, private health care, union busting, downsized social programs, flat taxes, all shift burden from the wealthy producing unprecedented income inequality ... and suffering.

As automation claims more jobs, the weakness of our social safety net will translate to misery. Don't expect Republicans to deal with this issue either.

Republicans climate change denial is unpardonable. So is their opposition of the Presidents meager humanitarian relief for immigrants.

Political Parties

US elections are rigged.

The two party monopoly was not part of the Constitution and should be remedied. Early in the Bush administration, Republicans controlled  all of the branches of government and there were NO checks and balances. War was an excuse to make the Presidency more powerful and a compliant Congress did no oversight. The results have been disastrous.

Agenda

Who makes the US agenda ? In the Declaration of Independence it is clear that it was supposed to be the people. But that's not how it is now. A s'elected' pResident pretty much does what he wants once in office. My right wing newspaper prints Krauthammer, who assures us that we now have a king. That says we lost the American Revolution.

What is the possibility of reform ? or survival ?

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