December 7: The day after the release of the Iraq Study Group Report and nearly 24 hours of wall to wall cable news coverage of its findings.
I started this blog in order to share political ideas and news that one may not normally find in the mainstream media, especially after the media blackout following 9/11. The intention was to share information with a small group of like-minded friends and family. I started the blog after I knew something terrible had happened in Ohio in 2004, which seemed to smack of the same evil doing as that of 2000 when the Supreme Court appointed W. as President in a very close election. Everyone recalls how in 2000, the highest court in this nation shut down a recount in Florida. James Baker played no small role in this outcome.
In 2004 GOP political operatives in Ohio, namely Kenneth Blackwell, infinitely hacker friendly and pliable Diebold voting machines and a CEO who promised to deliver Bush to the White House, did indeed guarantee the worst presidency ever known in American history.
In all fairness, Kerry gave up the fight too soon. Had he prevailed and demanded a recount, perhaps we would not be in the ungodly mess we are today. The Supreme Court would have been reluctant to intervene in two elections in a row. Overly aggressive and self-serving politicians can be very dangerous monsters. So can weak and self-satisfied ones.
Now it seems that the GOP demons that took hold of us in 2000 and 2004 are holding us by our throats and will take us straight to hell if we let them.
Many of us have known from the very beginning that W. would be a disaster. He does not and will never possess the character, the integrity, high principles, the intellect or the diplomatic skills required of the highest office on the planet. W. is at best a partisan operative. There is no substance behind the rhetoric. It’s all showmanship and winning at any cost. That’s it. Nothing else exists inside that suit or behind the seemingly steely but in reality, the soulless eyes.
At best we hoped W. would be a do nothing one term president who would do little damage in four years.
But then 9/11 happened and everything changed. The U.S. took a sharp turn and steered far away from the democratic principles that have guided our nation for over 200 years. We entered a new and heretofore unknown era of darkness. Fear overtook hope and optimism. Sinister secrecy overrides transparency. Deception, mendacity, propaganda and illusion are now the standard operating procedural tools used by the White House. Our constitutional rights are seriously compromised. Domestic wiretapping is now the norm. W. and Co. fabricated a war. The principles underlying the rational for going to war are based on lies. Now the war is an abysmal catastrophe that even Daddy’s best and most qualified friends cannot fix.
I wonder why blasts from the 2000 past like James Baker and Sandra Day O’Connor are key players on the ISG committee? Those who were instrumental in visiting Bush upon us are now trying to find a way out of a Bush imposed morass.
Do Baker and O’Connor feel a prick of conscience? Remorse? Or are they merely trying to protect something, which they hold most dear? Their legacies? I mean, who wants to go down in history as delivering the worst and most catastrophic presidency known to this nation so far?
I think Baker, O’Connor and other Bush enablers are terrified for themselves and for all of us. Former President George H.W. Bush may sadly be on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of W.’s perilous fiasco.
For all of their hard work and the distinguished members’ impressive resumes, the ISG offers no concrete viable solutions. Why? Maybe because all committee members are former politicians or held a political or appointed position in Washington. Most of them likely serve on corporate boards.
According to one of the articles posted below, Bush can cherry pick phrases and sentences much like he did the intelligence on Iraq. He can spin parts of the report to maintain his disastrous and vastly unpopular course. Perhaps this is why the former President Bush publicly broke down. Perhaps he is tormented by despair.
So, what’s the solution, as right wingers will always ask me when I criticize the Bush Administration? How do we get out of this mess? The solution, my dear uninformed fellow citizens is to immediately impeach Bush and Cheney. Charge them with crimes against humanity and high treason. Prosecute both men to the full extent of the law.
Bring in the best international diplomats, distinguished Middle East scholars, those who live in the region, understand the cultures, religions and speak the languages; seasoned U.S., British and French military experts (Britain and France know boatloads about failed occupations), and ask them to come up with a plan. Leave politicians and corporate types out of it. All of them. LS
Ken sent a very frank and sobering piece by Fred Kaplan on Slate Magazine.com on the ISG entitled:
“SO MUCH FOR PLAN B”
So many careers and reputations have been ravaged by Iraq. Even James Baker, the canniest of operators, has now met his Waterloo.
The report of the Iraq Study Group—which Baker co-chaired with Lee Hamilton, that other Wise Man-wannabe—was doomed to fall short of expectations. But who knew it would amount to such an amorphous, equivocal grab bag.
Its outline of a new "diplomatic offensive" is so disjointed that even a willing president would be left puzzled by what precisely to do, and George W. Bush seems far from willing.
Its scheme for a new military strategy contains so many loopholes that a president could cite its language to justify doing anything (or nothing).
”SO MUCH FOR PLAN B" BY FRED KAPLAN
BAKER CAN GO BACK TO HIS DAY JOB ACCORDING TO BUSH
I found this article on CBS News.com via the Huffington Post.com LS
W. TO JIMMY BOY: GO BACK TO YOUR DAY JOB
THE REAL JIMMY BOY BAKER
A journalist in Austin, Mr. Robert Bryce, reminds us of James Baker's role in the outrageous S&L scandals and corruption in the 1980's. I found this piece on Counter Punch.com via Buzz Flash.com LS
In my book, Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate, I wrote about the S&L mess and Baker's role in it. I quoted William Black, an attorney who helped clean up the S&L mess while working for the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation and later, as the deputy director of the Office of Thrift Supervision. Black told me that the Reaganites were "willing to do the most outrageous, unprincipled and dangerous things to maintain the cover up" of the S&L disaster. And said Black, Baker was one of "the centerpieces of this strategy."
To be fair, Congress shares the blame for the S&L meltdown. Jim Wright, the Democratic Speaker of the House worked hard to prevent federal regulators from cracking down on S&Ls in Texas. On the other side of the Capitol building, the Keating Five, a group of senators which included 2008 presidential hopeful John McCain, ran interference on behalf of disgraced S&L boss Charles Keating, the chairman of California-based Lincoln Savings and Loan.
But none of those men were the secretary of the treasury. None of those men had their signatures on American greenbacks. None of those men had the power to appoint aggressive regulators to delve into the unfolding S&L disaster. Baker did. And yet he did nothing.
JAMES BAKER'S ROLE IN THE S&L SCANDALS AND COVERUP