The Death of a Nation (a retrospective on the W. Bush era, Part 10: END PAPERS)

The George W. Bush presidency ended on January 20, 2009 with the inauguration of the 44th American President, Barack H. Obama. Hope sprang eternal that times had finally changed, that the American electorate had finally awakened from the fog of its deep sleep, that a new era had indeed finally dawned. Unfortunately, such was not to prove the case. The Republican Party immediately went on the defensive and vowed, essentially, to use every last shred of their power, their influence, to cause Obama to fail . . . the more miserable the failure, the better. It was an act of national disloyalty, perhaps bordering even on treason, the likes of which no living American had ever seen, much less pondered. And while Obama did manage to implement a few meaningful projects and programs in his first couple of years, the Republicans were, by and large, successful in their opposition.

Then, in 2010, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Citizens United case and declared, in effect, that corporations were ‘people’ with all attendant rights and privileges. Days later, the final purchase of the government by private funds began in earnest. In November of 2010, the small Democratic majority in the House of Representatives was overturned, and the filibuster-resistant Democratic majority in the Senate was reduced sufficiently to virtually guarantee that no significant legislation could be passed for at least the balance of Obama’s first (and, in the hopeful eyes of the GOP, his ONLY) four year term.

Today, the processes implicit in the Death of a Nation continue to accelerate without pause as we again stand on the edge of an electoral abyss not at all dissimilar to those of 2000 and 2004. The current Romney-Ryan Republican ticket supports without hesitation or critique virtually each and all of the nonsensical policies of George W. Bush, including unlimited aggressive war, the destruction/elimination of every vestige of the social safety net, the eternal task of improving the financial status of the extremely rich at the expense of everyone else, and state level imposition of whichever manner of voter suppression or voter fraud might be required to guarantee for all time an enduring Fascist-theocracy (aka ‘conservative’ Republican) style of American “governance”, the Constitution be damned.

The bottom line is simple: tomorrow — Tuesday, November 6 2012 — we shall learn, finally and for certain, the precise percentage of mental incompetence which has come to define the American  electorate.

Meanwhile, below are a few closing comments alongside a wealth of quotations on the matter of national death and its consequences. From Gandhi to John Denver with plenty of George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler (among numerous others) in between, a summation lurks.

**********

End Papers
(April, 2005)

The United States of America clearly stands on the precipice, on the very edge of a deep and dark chasm in which lie the ruins of those who have come before us, now forever gone.  On previous pages here, we have (barely) skimmed the essences of America’s current dilemma and made some note of current players, agendas, and the realities their combination have so far imposed. Others, too, have watched these same forces at work and have added their comments.  Perhaps a review of a few – in no particular order – can assist in clarifying the moment by looking at opinions, past and present, which have bearing on what has been and what is now, in order to help predict what might yet come our way.  To some, the list may seem long, but they should rest assured it is exhaustingly abbreviated and is by no means complete – yet its words paint a picture, a frightening picture.  Read on, that which others have said; I shall add a brief comment at the end.

“Western democracy, as it functions today, is diluted fascism . . .”
~Mahatma Gandhi

“The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” ~Treaty of Tripoli, signed on June 10, 1797, by President John Adams.

“An evil exists that threatens every man, woman, and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland.” ~Adolph Hitler

“It is not terrorism that motivates George [Bush], or patriotism, or even profiteering. It is fear, pure and simple: Fear of the truth, fear of the world, fear of any data that collides with his faith-based bubble-encapsuled worldview, and fear most of all of the people he would represent.” ~Daniel Ellsberg

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”  ~Adolph Hitler; My New World Order, Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin, 1 February 1933

“He [George W. Bush] prefers to squander his personal energy trying to take apart the New Deal and throwing red meat to right-to-life fanatics. What a waste of a presidency. How will future historians explain it?” ~Thomas Friedman, NYT, 3/27/05

“Everywhere you look, the culture is fractured and divisive and mean. Everywhere you look it’s war and pollution and more toxins, red versus blue, good versus evil, more garbage and less concern where to shove it, fewer restrictions on industrial polluters and fewer controls on corporate abuse and an administration that has so shamelessly leveraged the worst tragedy in American history to further its brutal and hawkish right-wing agenda it would embarrass Mussolini.” ~Mark Morford, S.F. Chronicle

“The Republican philosophy might be summarized thus: To hell with principle; what matters is power, and that we have it, and that they do not.” ~Pat Buchanan

“God is not on the side of any nation, yet we know He is on the side of justice. Our finest moments [as a nation] have come when we faithfully served the cause of justice for our own citizens, and for the people of other lands.”  ~George W. Bush

“I will fight them [the religious right] every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of `conservatism.'” ~Barry Goldwater, 1981

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it’s gonna happen? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” ~George W. Bush’s mother Barbara on ABC/Good Morning America, March 18, 2003

“A day will come when this crazed war music will stop, and the American people will hear the judgment that the Germans heard at Nuremberg—that, in Justice Robert Jackson’s words, they had supported a regime which had committed ‘acts which have been regarded as criminal since the time of Cain.’ They will also be astonished to hear that, although they thought they were free, they had in fact been terrorized and enslaved by their own government in order to follow in Cain’s footsteps—as the German people heard.” ~Luciana Bohne (instructor of film and literature at Edinboro University, Pennsylvania.)

“When you step back and look at it, the collective tax-cutting psyche of Mr. Bush and his partisans appears to border dangerously on the grandiose. How else to explain their relentless profligacy in the face of the unprecedented Bush-era swing from budget surplus to deficit, the unmistakable long-term trend of a rich-get-richer, poor-get-poorer income distribution, the ballooning costs of war, the weaker dollar, rising oil prices and record deficits in trade and investment – which now require the United States to borrow $2.1 billion a day from abroad? It’s time for the people, the ultimate referees in a democracy, to call a timeout.”  ~from NYTimes editorial; March 20, 2005

“Democracy is an ideal that every people has to realize for itself. But when the banners of “freedom” and “democracy” are hoisted over a crusade by an avaricious and irresponsible super-power, the results can be catastrophic. ~Uri Avnery; Israeli writer and peace activist

“Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground [than the foundation of the Ten Commandments]. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

“We need to execute people like John Walker [the American Taliban] in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors.” ~ Ann Coulter (conservative columnist)

“Hitler’s originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.” ~ Sen. Robert Byrd (Dem. WV)

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“We have become a culture of Pharisees. Instead of practicing an authentic spirituality of compassion, nonviolence, love and peace, we as a collective people have become self-righteous, arrogant, powerful, murderous hypocrites who dominate and kill others in the name of God. …  We have become a mean, vicious people, what the bible calls ‘stiff-necked people.’ And we do it all with the mistaken belief that we have the blessing of God.” ~ John Dear, Jesuit priest, author/editor

“The Bush administration lied about the need for war. It also lied about the expected benefits from that war. The fact that it lied about the war is consistent with its track record. Bush lied to get elected. He lied to get selected. He lied about the need for a tax cut. He lied about who was getting the tax cut. He lied about the benefits of a tax cut. His administration lied about the need for media consolidation. It lied about the benefits to the country from media consolidation. Virtually every policy statement the administration had made has been disingenuous.” ~ Paul Corrigan

“But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy & it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.  Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism & exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in every country.”   ~Hermann Goering (1893-1946)

What luck for rulers, that men do not think.  ~Adolph Hitler

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people – and neither do we.”  George W. Bush (August 5, 2004)

“Now the face that I see in the mirror,
More and more is a stranger to me;
More and more I can see there’s a danger,
Of becoming what I never thought I’d be – “
(Lyric by John Denver)

Speaking of the face in the mirror, what does one see in America’s reflection these days?  It may stand revealed in what may well be that the most poignant of all the quotations included above, by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. wherein he compares what are essentially the ‘antics’ of the Bush administration to the methods – and the intent – of Adolph Hitler in the early years of Nazi Germany.  There’s a curious fact, a detail from the past, no doubt a fortuitous happenstance, one we’ve noted above: it was George W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush and his great grandfather, George Herbert Walker, who teamed up as two of the American financiers who made a fortune helping Nazi Germany obtain the hard currency she needed to rebuild her war machine.  In the aftermath of Germany’s defeat in the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles, without Western financial assistance it’s unlikely Germany would have been able to rearm as she did; whether Hitler himself could have ascended to the Chancellor’s chair in the absence of rearmament is anyone’s guess.  I mention that link not to imply that George himself was complicit – that’s not possible, of course, since he was born in 1947, two years after the end of the Second World War and five years after grandfather Prescott’s business interests with the Nazis were shut down through the auspices of the Trading With The Enemy Act.  But I do believe there remains a different sort of thread, one which is embedded and invisible, but nevertheless a thread which links George, his father George H. W. Bush, Prescott Bush, and George Herbert Walker to this nation’s current dilemma.  In each and every case, each of those listed has acted as if their assumption of familial privilege, their presumed attachment to some imagined American hierarchy or aristocracy, has granted them a functional immunity from the consequences of rewriting the affairs of ordinary men, that instead they were the ones to lead and to, eventually, recreate an America which recognized the blessing of their presence.  And to hell with the Constitution, that outdated document which insisted that Laws, not men, define America.  Theirs has been a boastful and haughty attitude, and we may be, today, witnessing the final consequence of bloviator enthusiasm run amok.

Personally, I think it’s too late; I think the ‘fat woman has sung’, so to speak.  I suggest that it’s the wise man who packs his bags and leaves this country, perhaps for good, because she has become an evil presence, a rogue state among states; whether she’s been captured, stolen, or sold out is not the issue.  That this could have happened in just five years is, of course, an overstatement; it’s been building for a long time.  But facts are facts, and the unthinkable has happened.  The remaining question is how badly the Constitution has been damaged: is it still repairable, or is it compromised beyond the point of no return?  America’s doors and windows to the world are closing, one-by-one: is the purpose to keep potential intruders out – or to keep us – the captives – in?

My best advice to Americans:  Prepare yourselves to face the consequences of terminal Constitutional abrogation.  These people will never relinquish that which they’ve gained through their lies and electoral chicanery.  It will, I fear, require a revolution to regain our country, our Constitution.

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