We all know President Bush vacationed excessively, spending 1,020 days of his presidency on vacation. In 2001, he spent the entire month of August at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. On August 6, 2001, Bush received a briefing from the CIA saying that Al Qaeda is interested in hijacking U.S. commercial airliners. “The system was blinking red. By late July it could not get any worse.” -(CIA Director George Tenet to the 9/11 Commission). With that knowledge, he takes one of the longest presidential vacations (August 3-September 3) with some knowledge of terrorist threats.
He communicates minimally with NSA and CIA intelligence while away at Crawford and when he returns, he schedules a trip to Governor Jeb Bush’s state of Florida. Finding the agenda and “daily rundown” of Bush from Labor Day 2001-9/11 is not so easy. There is not much written on that time spent at the White House between September 3- September 9, 2001. I thought it’d be interesting to imagine President Obama in Bush’s position and venture a guess on how long impeachment hearings would commence after that awful Tuesday morning changed everything.
Consider the relative safety of the state of Florida if he suspects something may go down on 9/11. No one outside the inner-sanctum of the Bush/Cheney intelligence community suspected anything was coming so no eyebrows would be raised by the publicity trip. On September, 10, 2001: At 6:30 p.m., President Bush arrives at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida. He is in Florida as part of a weeklong effort to place a national spotlight on education and reading, and visited a school in Jacksonville earlier in the day. In preparation for the president’s visit to the resort, all guests have been cleared out of the building “to make way for the invasion of White House staffers, aides, communications technicians—even an antiterrorism unit.” Overnight, snipers and surface-to-air missiles are located on the roof of the Colony and adjacent structures, to protect the president. “The Coast Guard and the Longboat Key Police Department manned boats that patrolled the surf in front of the resort all night. Security trucks with enough men and arms to stop a small army parked right on the beach. An Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane circled high overhead in the clear night sky.” (My emphasis in bold) Whether this is a typical level of security for a presidential visit, or is increased due to recent terror warnings, is unstated. The next day, President Bush made an appearance at another school in Sarasota, Florida and we all unfortunately remember the book My Pet Goat forever.
It’s should be outrageous, but we’ve never been given full access to the findings of the 9-11 Commission. I thought it was worth a look back in history to see how things have changed when it comes to the culpability and treatment of the President of the United States. Every vacation President Obama has taken has been mired in outrage and disgust from those on the right side of the aisle. The GOP-led commotion about four dead Americans in Benghazi and the subsequent, costly hearings that have ensued levies far greater criticism and blame on the Obama Administration than the Bush Administration EVER received for not keeping us safe from terrorists in 2001.
Now an American POW has been swapped for five Gitmo detainees and the rush to judgement about the circumstances surrounding Bowe Bergdahl’s capture in 2009 have been harsh, to say the least. In fact, the right has changed their tune on the matter more radically than I initially realized. Ex-Bush administration official John Bellinger told Fox News that “we don’t leave soldiers behind” and defended Obama’s decision to make the trade. “I think we would have made the same decision in the Bush administration.”
The point is, no one ever called President Bush unpatriotic, traitorous or dishonorable. Never. Anyone who called him out on starting a war on false pretenses or advising the administration against occupying Iraq with too small a force (Shinseki) was censured and berated by the media and Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. No one could ever have imagined the inconsistent and hypocritical treatment of President Obama versus the unearned respect the Bush Administration received. It is just mind-numbing. It is just further proof the media is ANYTHING but liberal. The simple fact that a smear campaign has been launched against a POW before he has even been released from a military hospital proves that point absolutely.
Now back to Bush; how many lives, how many trillions of dollars, were lost under his “watch,” for NO legitimate reason other than to make a few very select, inner-circle, rich fat-cats even richer? It embarrassed me, you, and most Americans: the world has laughed at the U.S. for many years now. By contrast, all of Obama’s logical policy decisions are criticized incessantly and still, he keeps trying and by some miracle, he…succeeds. This is why the Republicans can’t stand this president. He can do what they cannot: govern.
I’ve never heard disapproval when we have made deals to rescue Americans POWs, until Bowe Bergdahl was released. President Reagan did it on several occasions as part of the efforts to ensure the release of the Americans and others who were kidnapped in Lebanon back in the 1980s. In this case, Sgt. Bergdahl’s reportedly deteriorating health gave the president an emergency exception to a law he signed a year ago. There simply wasn’t time to deal with an obstreperous Congress who has never acquiesced to the requests of the Obama Administration.
The nation of Israel is praised by Republicans and many Democrats as the ally who can literally do no wrong. Ironically, Israel has a long history of prisoner swaps, and the numbers have been far more lopsided than the exchange of one American for five detainees from Gitmo. After the Sinai War of 1956, Israel returned 5,500 Egyptian soldiers for four IDF POWs. On June 3, 1973, 3 Israeli Air Force pilots in Syrian captivity for three years were exchanged for 46 Syrian prisoners. In 2011, one Israeli POW was exchanged for over 1,ooo Palestinian detainees. Did the right accuse Israel of negotiating with terrorists? As far as anyone can remember they didn’t utter a peep about this.
Those of us who never served in the military don’t realize how true the expression War is Hell really is. We have no concept of the horrors that come with serving in that hostile environment and the psychological havoc it wreaks on so many of our armed forces. Senator Ted Cruz, noted saboteur of government and enemy to veterans, is labeling Bergdahl a traitor who deserted his post, and subsequently caused the deaths of soldiers looking for him. Little is known yet about the circumstances surrounding the whole ordeal, but Cruz, who’s never served, has already tried and convicted this young man.
Remember Jessica Lynch’s “dramatic rescue” from an Iraqi hospital where she was getting treatment in 2003? Where was the outrage from the media that so many people were simply IN Iraq searching for WMD that weren’t there? They gloss over the fact that over 4,000 Americans perished in a war based on lies. Lynch’s return warranted the Governor of West Virginia to declare a Jessica Lynch Day, but the Bergdahl’s son causes only disgust from our Republican friends for a man who went through unspeakable trauma .
If Bowe Bergdahl would have died in captivity, then President Obama would be labeled a murderer. Instead he’s accused of illegally rescuing an alleged traitor. The GOP hates President Obama so much, they’ll smite POWs and Veterans just to prove it. In fact, I’m sure they’ll be criminal hearings in Congress over this matter. What else will the GOP House do, take care of our veterans? Fat chance. They’re too busy blaming President Obama because they won’t fund the VA. If this makes sense to you, you probably watch Fox News.
The media is flooded with stories about Benghazi, the deficit and apathy towards the care of veterans. The GOP seems to lay all the blame at the foot of the Obama Administration. The Right is quick to accuse the current administration for the very problems they caused, while the media parrots these GOP-talking points, as if they warrant any merit. The Republicans sabotage all facets of government, so they can be the eventual overlords of the rubble and the commanders of the aftermath.
The 112th Congress cared little to protect American diplomats who were out in the trenches, serving our international interests. House Republicans voted to cut nearly $300 million from the U.S. embassy security budget. But the confusion surrounding the circumstances of the attack became the cry of outrage and incompetence when all along, the GOP was precisely at fault for leaving our diplomats vulnerable. One Utah Republican boasted, “of course we cut funding for embassy security,” but hold the administration of President Obama accountable for the incident. No one seems to mention this aspect, but we do know that we are on the EIGHTH Benghazi Hearing, with no possibility of exposing the true culprits.
The deficit is always a red meat issue Republicans seem to remember only when a Democrat occupies The White House. Forty Republican Senators vetoed a $1 billion jobs bill that would have helped our unemployed veterans. Yet this same party, who dominate the 113th Congress, want to ram a bill through the House, where $310 billion would be lost by extending more tax cuts to the rich. Of course, they have offered no way to pay for these superfluous gifts to the filthy rich.
The top of every newscast is laden with the incompetence of General Shinseki, the Secretary of the VA, and the Veterans Administration’s failings. Back in February, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) sponsored a bill that would have allowed for COLA (Cost of Living Adjustments) and that would enrich health, education and job-training programs for the nation’s 22 million veterans. 56 Senators voted in favor of the measure, yet 41 pernicious Republicans vetoed, so the bill went down. Maybe the VA is operating without the proper funding needed to care for our wounded warriors, so the likelihood of mismanagement is much greater. These men and women, many who served in the Iraq War (a conflict based on lies of the Bush Administration), are treated like an afterthought when they should be treated like royalty.
We must look at who allocate the funds and what they deem important. Never do they approve bills to help veterans, but instead a plethora of religiously motivated legislation that hurt the poor, minorities, children, elderly and LGBT Americans. The latest grotesquely contorted marching order out of RNC headquarters is how government can’t run anything, like the single-payer VA, so how can it run Obamacare? They distort the truth like a fun-house mirror by pushing the idea that the ACA is government-run healthcare, not the regulation of private insurance companies which is the basis of Obamacare. They have contorted the President’s efforts to keep insurance companies from behaving in a manner that isn’t grossly unethical and cruel to something as horrific as slavery.
Canada has a law preventing lying in broadcasting while it seems their neighbor to the south offers more protection for liars than truth-tellers. It’s disgraceful how Republicans abuse those with less power and influence while blaming the people who are fighting for the marginalized. The media is not liberal. The media is run by conservative-owned sociopaths with an aversion to facts and honesty.
On a typical weekday afternoon in Mesquite, Nevada, a young girl and her grandma are sitting in a local Subway sandwich shop. In walks two men with rifles slung over their shoulders and a firearm on either side. Neither has bathed in several days. The young girl says, ‘grandma look at their guns!’ One of the disheveled men says, ‘we are fighting for liberty and freedom!’ So the young girl, clearly frightened says, ‘I think I should call the police,’ so she picks up her cell phone and dials 911 and the two men scurry away like cockroaches in a newly-lit kitchen. Perhaps these self-appointed soldiers have rap sheets that are as long as their automatic weapons? Citizens of the Virgin Valley are tired of the fifty or so self-appointed militia-folk who have descended upon their quiet Southern Nevada community on behalf of a law-breaking, tax-evading cattle rancher. These Bunkerville militia members are not exactly good for tourism, the primary draw to the Gold Butte National Conservation Area. If you look a little more closely at the Mesquite, St George, Colorado City tri-state area (NV, UT, AZ) you’d notice something a little different about the folks frequenting the shops in the area: a disproportionate number of very young women all holding babies, dressed in modest pattern dresses. You guessed it, you’ve stumbled upon one of the communities populated by the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS). These are the original “settlers” of the area and because he is related, Bundy claims he owes no federal fees.
Senator Dean Heller, yes, that’s right, Senator Heller (R-NV), a United States Senator, has essentially condoned this lawless, criminal behavior not only by Cliven Bundy, but by all the unhinged militia members whom he calls “patriots.” These folks, who are in desperate need of a shower, are simply waiting for the government to say “boo” and they’ll react by placing their womenfolk at the front lines to take the first hits. But seriously, how important are women in a Mormon community like Bunkerville? You must understand the LDS faith: women are not worthy of holding the priesthood according to scripture and their only function is to multiply, much like Cliven’s freeloading herd of cattle.
You’d think a crowd as obsessed as the Republicans are with the marriage is between one man and one woman concept would be as vehemently opposed to polygamy as they are to same-sex marriage. Strangely enough, the area’s FLDS-dominated communities, are seldom harassed by the dreaded government who has the audacity to demand taxes from Cliven. The area is truly an oddity, very isolated and will most likely remain so while Mormonism dominates. If you go to any number of these rural towns, expect to be followed by a pick up truck or two. They don’t take kindly to strangers. The area is so laden with polygamous families, one of the neighboring towns has a median age of 12.7 years! There would be far too many orphans created if these communities were raided, so they are left to the misogyny and abuse of the FLDS.
Mormons stick together, apparently that includes the fringe element of the cult. Whether it is rural polygamous families or prominent Mormons like Senator Heller, the cult rules over the laws of the land. Even though Cliven and his gang are violating Federal law, his actions will be defended by people who believe in a “higher power” than the government whose flag they seem to love to fly. We sure dodged a bullet when we rejected Willard Romney, as he would have ruled the United States based on Joseph Smith’s fables and not the Constitution these patriots all claim to love.
Las Vegas is an attractive destination for all sorts of expositions; with its abundance of convention space as well as the shows, gambling and adult entertainment. The weekend of November 2-3, 2013 was no different. This was one of the three Rocky Mountain Gun Shows, held each year in Sin City. Based out of Salt Lake City, held at The Southpoint Hotel, the show attracts a heavily conservative crowd with self-professed Libertarian values. In other words, these are not just gun collectors, these are radically right-wing ‘patriots’ wishing to stockpile weapons and ammunition. After all, President Obama is ushering in the End Times, and what better way to prepare for the battle between good (gun-toting, Republican patriots) and evil (any Democrat or supporter of liberal causes) than to arm oneself to the teeth.
I thought it was a a great opportunity to get a look into the minds of these folks by asking what they thought of the Second Amendment, Obama and guns in general. I wrote down some questions for a friend working at the gun show and, not surprisingly, she found a few folks more than eager to share their opinions on these topics.
Tables and tables of ammunition and powerful weapons fill the ballroom where folks can come and sell their guns and purchase others with only a minimum of scrutiny. The NRA and GOP seem to follow the same playbook, through their magazines, talk radio and internet publications, they provide stock answers to typical questions. I must mention the questions were geared to comply with the mindset of the typical gun show attendee. Here are just a few examples of the marching orders they receive from NRA-sponsored sources. It’s no surprise, these gun shows are a hazard to a functioning society as they legitimize armed insurrection against a democratically elected government.
The first question: I am concerned we are becoming a nation of big government. Are you afraid our gun rights will be revoked?
- The government’s mindset is control. (except the government has not passed one new gun-control measure)
- The only thing keeping big government in check is the (proliferation) of guns. (Can the average citizen seriously compete with a Hellfire Missile or a Stealth Fighter Jet?)
- Crime rose in Australia 300% after revoking gun rights. (crime did not rise more than any other year in 1997, the year of the gun buyback)
- The anti-gun groups hated the Bill of Rights (how in the hell could they possibly know that? The guns at the time were muskets and bayonets)
- The Second Amendment was designed to keep the government in check. (The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This means owning a firearm is designed for the purpose of forming a well-regulated militia. With the help of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R), the NRA successfully marketed the second amendment to suit the greed of the gun manufacturers for whom they answer. He helped form the NRA-ILA,
- Gun owners often compare gun deaths to other causes of death. They feel baseball bats and cars are valid comparisons to gun deaths.
Since some people have been beaten to death with a baseball bat and many have perished in auto accidents, why don’t we remove the right to use these items as well? Last I checked, there are millions of Americans who play baseball and millions more who somehow manage to drive every day without intentionally running someone over. This is a ridiculous comparison since a firearm is brandished only to render lethal force to harm and/or kill someone.
Next question asked: Why would an average citizen need a semi-automatic weapon?
- Naturally, the first response was ‘self-protection.’ A family must protect themselves from home invasions. Because when you want someone dead, they’d better be really, really dead.
- The media is giving these weapons a “bad name.” This statement is laden with so much stupid, I don’t know where to begin.
- If you want to go hog hunting, you can kill many more hogs in a shorter amount of time. Apparently, wild hogs travel as a family unit, rarely seen in large groups of that would justify 3 rounds a second. If you need a semi-automatic weapon to kill hogs, you must be feeding a large village. Don’t we have supermarkets in America?
- Every gun owner needs to have proper training on each gun they own as each gun has unique features. That statement unfortunately omits the thousands of untrained children who find a firearm and accidentally kill or injure someone.
Finally, most folks refer to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat Party,” which is an insult started by Senator Joe McCarthy to make sure they implied the party was anything but democratic. Every gun owner interviewed at this show said they were afraid the “Democrat Party” was interested in grabbing their guns.
It completely blows my mind how people think a Black President hasn’t sparked a resurgence in gun violence. When Right Wing Hate Radio encourages people to forget about calling 911 and try to handle emergency matters on their own or by urging listeners to take up arms against their government, we will most assuredly see an uptick in gun-related homicides. They are pathological psychopaths and they are a danger to society. The acquisition of lethal weapons by an angry, bitter segment of the population surely won’t result in a peaceful, logical society. Simply consider the George Zimmerman types who frequent these gun shows and what they have in their personal arsenal. Hate groups have doubled with the election of President Obama peaking at an all time high in 2012.
Americans for Prosperity, Freedomworks, the Tea Party Movement are organizations funded by very dark money. The name Koch is highly revered in conservative circles but most people either don’t know or don’t care how this family has risen to the prominence only billions of dollars can procure.
The benefactor of organizations that have terrorized America for decades is none other than Fred Koch , the original financier of the John Birch Society. In the 1950’s, Koch and his ultra-right wing organization preached of the evils of Socialism and its inclusivity of unions, homosexuals, colored people, Jews and moderate Republicans like President Eisenhower. In typical hypocritical GOP fashion, Koch railed against communism while making his fortune exporting oil technology to Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union in the 1920’s. Fred Koch believed the colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America. Hypocrisy is too mild a term for these monsters of mendacious manipulation. .
John Birch is not the only hate group (labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center) with which the Kochs have entangled their tentacles. The Oath Keepers, who often appear in tandem with the Heritage Foundation and John Birch Society, openly sponsored the very first GOP Presidential Debate in far-right wing heaven, South Carolina. Former President Clinton described the Oath Keepers as a “hatriot” group that embraces the same violent rhetoric that fueled Timothy McVeigh. The GOP’s War on Terror always neglects to include their own hate groups, who always stress “States’ Rights” over federal government statutes, much like the Antebellum South. Specifically, the fifth tenet of the racist organization asserts: ‘We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.’
Teabaggers desperate to focus the GOP on barbaric chauvinist policies about women and white superiority are literally dismantling their own party by primarying candidates once deemed ultra-conservative, like Kentucky’s Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. Supporters of challenger Matt Bevin have actually called McConnell a progressive liberal.
Their obvious distaste for non-whites has been painfully obvious, now more than ever. Supporters of Representative Steve King of Iowa have literally slapped DREAM Act supporters and immigrants alike so offensively, it may be impossible to win the hearts and minds of anyone of Latino descent in America ever again. They most assuredly deserve not a single vote from that segment of our population.
Voter suppression, kowtowing to the NRA and laws essentially turning women into livestock who have no other function than to pump out kids help create a society where the cycle of poverty and violence is impossible to break. Privatizing education so only the wealthy can afford decent schooling keeps the masses dumb enough (to vote GOP) and this is another facet of the Koch brothers’ diabolical scheme to create a 1% Utopia. Replacing public schools with charter schools and vouchers like the privatization of prisons, offers yet another opportunity for big corporations to get their hands into public coffers and earn a hefty profit.
With Citizen’s United permitting corporations to contribute ungodly sums of money to fund puppet candidates like Matt Bevin, the insidiously racist Koch Brothers, ALEC and their personal Supreme Court Justices can dupe untold numbers of ignorant voters to do their bidding.
Teabaggers deny they are racists, but when 99% of the group is white and they rail against the first African American president for imagined transgressions before he set his administration’s policies, it is impossible to see them as anything but racists. The Teaparty embodies racism to this day and the John Birchers and Koch adherents demonstrate that a large segment of society has been programmed to believe the white race is superior to Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. Until whites are outnumbered more significantly, we can not combat the conservative gerrymandering that keeps Congress so obstructionist and clearly misogynist and hate-motivated. Without an enthused and educated electorate, the Koch family will continue to annihilate the poor and middle class. Their sociopathic past guarantees a very bleak future.