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The Kingness of Mad George
July 30, 2003
By B. Rehak

The Founding Fathers wanted this democracy to last forever because they understood that mere empires come and go.

To that end, they established an intricate system of historic checks and balances to make sure the sort of tyranny they'd just fought to defeat never rose up again. They gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guarantee our freedoms.

Americans would never have a king, but instead a popularly elected President, and they'd always be free to openly express their opinions, especially about the government and its policies. The people would be the master of their own rulers. It was a unique experiment in liberty which evolved and endured for more than two centuries, until one day in November 2000.

The Founding Fathers never figured on the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush, and his court-appointed "Government of the neo-cons, by the neo-cons, and for the neo-cons." A self-righteous minority of ruthless profiteering ideological extremists was never supposed to dominate all three independent branches of the American Democracy. It's in your old high school civics book. Look it up.

While we were all busy with the breathless search for the elusive Iraqi A-Bomb, Mr. Bush and his handlers have apparently secretly passed the 'Freedom of Disinformation Act,' under which the Republican-controlled Senate and House have finally issued their long-delayed and heavily rewritten version of the '9/11 Report,' laying blame on everyone but the White House. Imagine that.

Imagine also that 28 key pages in that report related to Saudi Arabia were blacked out. Mr. Bush's people apparently thought that redaction was the better part of valor, considering that the bin Laden and Bush families and the Saudi Oil Princes all go back so profitably for decades. The Presidency is temporary, but big oil money is eternal.

Do you like political intrigue?

Take a moment now to envision the Republican response if a Democratic president who allowed 3,000 Americans to be murdered and never caught the man behind the plot after promising to do so, issued a softball report carefully produced by a totally Democratic Congress with key clues to the actual people responsible missing - especially those that might impact his own long-time business and political associates.

Are you envisioning?

Now envision that back on September 12, 2001, the day after the mass murder, that Democratic president had reportedly allowed a private jet to collect the closest relatives of the key man behind the murderous attack so they could leave the country ahead of any untidy FBI questioning. Imagine that same Democratic president had then tried to block an outside independent probe of the worst U.S. terrorist event in history demanded by the attack's own victims and their families.

Are you following this so far?

Now imagine that to divert attention from his botched domestic economy and his failed quest for the killer of those 3,000 Americans that this Democratic president instead invented reasons to attack a whole different country and got us stuck in a pointless holy war there costing a billion dollars and seven dead U.S. soldiers a week.

Got the picture? Can you see it?

It's a good thing the Republicans were totally in charge when all this actually happened. If it had been Mr. Clinton, we'd have never heard the end of it.

Can you imagine the bleating on neo-fascist Talk Radio across the land? Can you see Rush Limbaugh's head explode? Ann Coulter would go postal. Can you hear the calls for impeachment? Fox News would brand it treason, with good purpose. Matt Drudge would be up all night dishing online dirt about the idiot Democrats who'd foolishly allowed 9/11 to happen, covered it up, and then created Saigon on the Tigress. Bill O'Reilly would have kittens, and cable news ratings would go through the roof.

Actually, few folks seem upset. Can you really imagine the American people are so stupid they'd buy all this without question? The Republicans are banking on it.

The regents behind King George the 43rd realize that voter apathy and ignorance have become increasingly critical to their neo-conservative re-election game plan. A majority of Americans polled even mistakenly think that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. The Bush folks must figure that as national policy, stupidity works. That includes the man currently serving as President.

It's not just that the Emperor Bush has no clothes, he has no clue.

If we leave it to the enfeebled Democratic Party, Mr. Bush and his handlers will probably get away with all this, but thankfully there are good people in Washington ready to act. The Republican monolith, which had seemed invincible, is starting to show some cracks. The Cheney-Halliburton Administration is quietly running scared. This is due to a growing revolt in the single constituency that the Bush folks can't dominate: their own Republican Congress. The neo-cons apparently thought they'd bought it, but it appears now they only leased it.

On November 2, 2004 (66 weeks from today) all the members of the U.S. House and one third of the U.S. Senate have to stand for re-election, and they represent the one group that will dump Mr. Bush if they sense he's spoiling their chances to keep power. As a national Republican candidate in 2000, Mr. Bush had very short coat tails.

If you seek political change in this country, here's the key. The Republicans are the only people who can effectively defeat George W. Bush. The Nixon years ended with a coverup, but the Bush years began with one, and it apparently continues to this day.

When this is all sorted out, the original crimes will doubtless pale in comparison to the misdeeds of those trying now to rewrite reality into a winning patriotic saga. When it starts to go bad all the 'good' Republicans will book. The smart money never goes down with the ship. Never.

Consider the following. Over the weekend, two key conservatives went public as they calculated the diminishing electoral potential of the Cheney-Halliburton Administration.

Richard Shelby, Alabama's senior U.S. Senator and Chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, is a top Republican investigating intelligence failures before 9/11. He's openly criticized White House pressure to censor the 9/11 report. Mr. Shelby said he'll dig into the financial connections between governments and terrorist groups. You can reach him at http://shelby.senate.gov/.

Even more telling were the words of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana on NPR Saturday, who said the White House knows there's a big price tag for rebuilding Iraq, "But they do not wish to discuss that." Lugar supported the war but now admits U.S. post-war planning was inadequate, and he estimates the rebuilding alone might cost $30 billion. You can reach Senator Lugar at http://lugar.senate.gov/.

These two men are hardly lefties, and their public shift away from Mr. Bush is something of a sea change in conservative willingness to distance the President's actions from those of other Republicans. Interesting.

Meanwhile, the "father" of the stalled Iraq war, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was all over TV on Sunday defending the invasion as a prime example of how the Administration must be prepared to act on "murky intelligence" in the war on terrorism. Odd that many inside the CIA reportedly think the Bush people are a lot more "murky" than the Intel, which was apparently extensively "refined" until it "made" the case for war. More than 200 American kids have thus far died for "murky."

Also, there's one other place the dreaded Iraqi WMD is missing: from Mr. Bush's new speeches.

Rising to Mr. Bush's defense is Ed Gillespie, the new GOP chairman who reportedly told the 165-member Republican National Committee that the Democrats are feeding Americans "a steady diet of protest and pessimism" in absence of real solutions to the economy and Iraq, according to Reuters. If you're the parents of a U.S. soldier who was killed in Iraq or one of the over 3,000,000 people who've lost their jobs in the 919 days of the Bush reign, perhaps you are getting a little pessimistic.

This brings us to Admiral John M. Poindexter, Ronald Reagan's former national security adviser, a principal in the Iran-Contra Affair, and the resurrected head of something called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is reportedly setting up an online futures trading market, where speculators could bet on forecasting terrorist attacks, assassinations and coups. In response to growing howls of laughter, the White House has since apparently altered the Web site at http://www.policyanalysismarket.org. Mr. Bush sought $8 million through 2005 for the project. This is a real story, although we must admit that the Admiral's adventures always sound like something written for 'The Onion,' or 'The Daily Show.' [Editor's note: the Pentagon announced yesterday that the plan for a "terror futures market" has now been scrapped.]

Finally, there are press reports today that indicate Al-Qaeda, those same great folks who helped bring you 9/11, and whom Mr. Bush never quite found time to actually defeat on his way to Iraq, are openly planning more high flying mischief. Maybe they have the WMD.

Let's face it. It's becoming very clear that Dick Cheney and his ilk are really running the show. To be charitable, Mr. Bush, were he the son of anyone other than George Herbert Walker Bush of Midland, Texas, who got him a legacy admission to Yale, would be lucky to rise to middle management at Wal-Mart.

As more of the blood of our brave, believing, faithful kids irrigates the fields of Babylon, a lot of folks are starting to ask some very untidy questions. We've sent our best young people to fight and die for oil in Iraq, while many of their young families at home subsisted on food stamps, and got screwed out of a child income tax credit that Mr. Bush gladly gave other Americans.

We now have the best Government corporate money can buy, and that's the problem. The people behind Enron and WorldCom and Halliburton are encamped along the Potomac and fully in charge. It's good the folks who fought for and set up this country are all dead. An hour watching America today as reported by Fox News would kill them anyhow.

If any of this bothers you, the solution is available 66 weeks from now. Get organized. The people who don't care and never bother to vote must be motivated to go to the polls. If we give the neo-cons four more years, the Canadians will have to fortify the border to keep all of the impoverished refugees out.

This is no longer about liberal or conservative, or party, or ideology. If the American people want a country to come home to, they'd better take it back for themselves.

Our favorite observer of the Bush Imperial Presidency is the great Roman Historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD). He had an eye for this sort of thing and two thousand years hasn't dimmed his vision. He said, "In stirring up tumult and strife, the worst men can do the most, but peace and quiet cannot be established without virtue."

If you think the search for the WMD is tough, try finding virtue in any of this.


B. Rehak is a writer in California, and can be reached at mail@columnleft.com.

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