A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
July 22, 2002
Not One Thing
I watched on 9 July in wide-eyed amazement as President Bush scolded Wall St. for their corporate ‘malfeance’ (sic). While the events of the past few months demand action, one cannot take Bush seriously when he and his highest advisors are themselves embroiled in controversy for allegedly employing the same practices while in the private sector.
Bush’s contempt for the public –- his policy of transparency for everyone but himself –- demands that we thoroughly examine his record. When one does this, any justification for his 70% 'approval' rating falls apart. Not one thing he has done warrants it. Proof? Let’s look at the facts:
Under Bush’s economic policy of giveaways to tax-dodging corporations (what he calls 'tax cuts'), the dollar has plunged, the trade deficit has ballooned, and the national debt now exceeds $6 trillion dollars ($21,000 per person). Wages remain stagnant while income inequality has reached Depression-era levels. The stock market has crashed, losing nearly 1800 points (17% of its value) since January 2001; unemployment rises (now approaching 6%) as consumer confidence falls.
These economic facts did not emerge from nowhere. They result from the same mindset that gave us destructive free trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT. These binge-and-purge policies fail wherever they’re tried. The list of adherents reads like a who's who of financial meltdowns: Latin and South America in the 70s and 80s, Russia and Eastern Europe in the early 90s, and Southeast Asia in the late 90s.
Bush's foreign policy strikes a similarly dissonant chord. He demands a military budget exceeding that of the next 15 countries combined, presumably to fight an unnecessary war against Iraq. His vacillating in the Middle East has led to a mutual escalation of violence. In South America, he winked at a coup in Venezuela, refused to aid Argentina even as they followed our economic advice to the letter, and he gave more than $1.3 billion in military aid to Columbia, the nation with the worst human rights record on the planet.
His counterproductive unilateral decisions –- rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court and the IBM treaty -– have transformed America from the world's oldest democracy into the world's newest rogue nation. The 'war on terror' has revealed itself as neither a war nor an effective means to counter terrorism. Our excursion into Afghanistan has collapsed under the weight of political assassinations and civilian deaths. We have fewer troops there right now than we do in Bosnia/Kosovo. And, citing high-level White House sources, on 16 June the New York Times reported that the bombing campaign has made us more vulnerable to terrorism than we were before it began.
Finally, Bush has stonewalled any independent investigation of the largest intelligence failure in our nation’s history. Rather than examine what went wrong, he and John Ashcroft, in the name of 'national security,' launched a full frontal assault against our Constitution, making the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments the only casualties on our soil since September. Even as hundreds of people remain indefinitely detained, with no access to lawyers or to the evidence against them, the FBI has not apprehended one member of Al-Qaeda since 11 September.
One could continue almost indefinitely. Since he took office, the Bush legacy has revealed itself as one of callow disregard for the principles upon which this nation was founded. We must dissent from these catastrophic policies that are endangering us and our future. We must face reality and make some difficult choices about our nation and our society. Either we acknowledge the self-destructiveness of this administration and address the core reasons for the problems that face us today, or we face the effects of not doing so in the near future.
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