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A Hero & Some Zeroes

Friday, Jan. 16, 2009 3:47 AM

US Airways Pilot Chesley Sullenberger is the hero of the hour, and with good reason - he successfully guided his plane, losing power after apparently being struck by two birds shortly after takeoff, into a controlled crash in the Hudson River.

This is the kind of mentality we need in the 'post-9/11' world conservative doomsayers wail and gnash their teeth about. Professionals who get the job done quietly and calmly, without histrionics and without engendering further panic and turmoil.

And then there's last night's other news, President George W. Bush's farewell address to the nation, in which he gives us that wall-eyed stare he adopts when reading from the teleprompter. You know the look: the Guilty Widdle Boy reading an apology his Mommy forced him to write.

Bush regaled us with the story of how he remembers 9/11 ('cause he knew we'd all forget about it) and how, while we all went back to our normal lives - punctuated by color-coded alerts and other fearmongering asshattery - his life was forever changed, because he would get daily briefings on the threats to our nation. Except the presidential daily briefing is not something that started after 9/11, and routinely includes information like 'Al Qaeda Determined To Strike In U.S.'

Bush lauds Afghanistan as a place where the Taliban once reigned, but is now a young democracy fighting terror and where young women go to school. Except the Taliban is taking the place over again, and the only reason we're 'surging' there is for the same reason we 'surged' in Iraq: we didn't commit enough troops to the mission. For that matter, we didn't pay any fucking attention to the mission in Afghanistan while we were busy jerking off in Iraq.

Bush lauds Iraq as an Arab democracy and friend of the United States. Because it's so wonderful that a cleric with ties to Iran's theocratic rulers can stalemate the place for months on end via his private militia and parliamentary bloc. And, certainly, we've contributed greatly to their country through contractor fraud and paid mercenaries gunning down Iraqi civilians.

Bush actually smirks as he talks about the economic crisis, pointing out that it could have been worse, and that he led the charge to fix things. Or, rather, the charge to throw money at bank executives so they could hold retreats at posh resorts and award million-dollar bonuses.

There's always irony in Bush waxing poetic about the enemy: "... a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder." Because we just have members of Congress suggesting people should be investigated for their anti-American views, or press flacks telling us it's unpatriotic to criticize the Grand Poohbah, or where supporters of the Republican candidate yell things like, "He's a terrorist!" and "Kill him!" No, we're all about freedom in these parts, yessirree.

More unintentional comedy as Bush tells us that, "When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror." Except for the Palestinians, who held elections because we pushed them to, and promptly chose Hamas over Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.

Funding for our veterans has doubled, Bush tells us, ignoring that it was on his watch that Walter Reed Army Medical Center was a festering pit, that the suicide rate among veterans skyrocketed, and the smirking chimp repeatedly played bait-and-switch with deployment schedules.

Our air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner, Bush says. Except for the bits covered in coal sludge ('clean coal,' anyone?) and ignoring the oil spills in the wake of um ... that ... ah ... um ... uh ... really big storm.

Despite once telling us that this was the Responsibility Era, in which we were all responsible for what we say and do, Bush continues to characterize his administration as being plagued by setbacks and disappointments, rather than admitting to any errors. Of course, he'd have done some things differently, but he won't tell us what. (I have the impression it's the Mission Accomplished banner, which is the tip of the iceberg.)

Is there really a reason why Bush shouldn't be punched in the face for talking about moral clarity? His administration wantonly disregarded the Constitution, broke domestic and international law to conduct torture and rendition, launched a war on false pretenses, and more. Moral clarity isn't even in the same neighborhood.

One other note about Bush's farewell speech. Afterwards, he stops for a brief meet-and-greet among the audience, which included Cabinet members and other staff.

Contrast this to his final news conference, where he was out the door and gone before the press corps had even risen to their feet to offer polite applause.

The plea by former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle? Not guilty.

Right. Your gun just magically came out of its holster, pointed itself at a prone man, and went off.

We already know it wasn't a case of 'I thought I was grabbing my taser,' so the only argument possible is believing himself or his colleagues to be in immediate jeopardy. And that can be countered by an expert on police procedure.

Yesterday, I suggested the black community needs to step forward on the issue of the vandals going on sprees after recent protests. And I mean naming names, or seeing any of these cowards having the cojones to turn themselves in. Anonymous restitution to merchants and individuals whose property was damaged would suffice, as well.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums' solution is to hire unarmed security guards, otherwise known as sweeping the problem under the rug and hoping it goes away.

The Ministry has received 1 comment(s) on this topic.

scottski - 2009-01-16 16:05:44
i could not bring myself to watch Bush's whitewash... one more second of The Smirk would bring back the ever-present urge to splash a gin-and-tonic in his mug.