Say Good Night, Dick

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big picture stuff, Bush Administration, Dick Cheney

Dick

So, what are your reflections on these last eight horrible years, as our wreck of a country struggles to emerge from the dark machinations of these malicious sociopaths? My view is along the lines of Jim Kunstler‘s:

To me, GWB will remain the perfect representative of his time, place, and culture. During his years in Washington, America became a nation of clowns posturing in cowboy hats, bethinking ourselves righteous agents of Jesus in a Las Vegas of the spirit, where wishing was enough to get something for nothing, where “mistakes were made,” but everybody was excused from the consequences of bad choices. The break from that mentality will be very severe, and we may look back in twelve months and wonder how we ever fell for the whole package. The answering of that question will occupy historians for ages to come.

Kunstler’s take doesn’t begin to capture the horror I felt, of living through these last eight years, of watching much of the country go mad. Like waking up one day in a coast-to-coast version of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I remember the shock of seeing nearly everyone around me lose their minds, believing in ever more stupid things announced from on high. What was truly frightening was envisioning the trajectory of where this national insanity could take us. Didn’t we have a Constitution or something to protect us from this, or a media that would finally come forward and tell us what was really going on? The whole experience taught me how fragile the achievements of American civilization really are, and how easily and silently they can be lost (and in some cases are still lost). Fortunately the force of this madness eventually peaked, but not without huge, debilitating costs, that have yet to be fully reckoned.

But enough of my own dark memories, what are yours? What are your plans for January 20th?

My brother and I are getting together to commemorate a number of things: the New Year (belatedly), the new administration of course, and our departed mother’s birthday (Jan 20). She was a life-long New Deal Democrat and would’ve been pleased with Obama.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Doug Hughes  •  Jan 18, 2009 @8:43 pm

    My reaction to George is about the same as the Iraqi governement has to our ‘liberation’. Just go and don’t expect me to thank you for what you did to me. I’m just glad we did not elect McCain; that would have been like getting pregnant after a rape.

  2. Evan  •  Jan 18, 2009 @9:26 pm

    At 9 AM pacific time on Tuesday morning I’m popping open a bottle of good champagne. It’s early in the day to be drinking, but worth it.

    I wish I could say I found the events of the Bush years surprising, but “surprise” was rarely the emotion. It was more like an endless, horrible confirmation of all my lurking fears–like the nightmare in which all the horrors you refuse to believe in turn out to be real, and so now you’re not only being chased by zombies but you also feel like a fucking idiot for all the times you said you didn’t believe in the goddamn things.

    I used to believe, and I suppose I still do, that “the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” I used to see the bad things that happened in the world and remind myself that the human race takes more steps forward than back, that only a few hundred years had taken us from feudalism and the slave trade to the modern world of widespread democracy and freedom, and even if we did still have some distance to go, the trends looked good for our side. But then I saw America turn around and run the wrong way as fast is it could, flinging all its noble principles aside in its shrieking fear of swarthy guys with boxcutters and shoe bombs, with a psychopathic moron leading the way.

    It’s going to be hard for me ever to feel truly optimistic about human nature again. And I suppose realism is a good thing, but dammit, I liked naïveté better.

  3. khughes1963  •  Jan 18, 2009 @9:35 pm

    Great diary, and great picture, Moonbat!

    The last 8 years have been an example of the crazies running the place, and they’ve left a huge mess in their wake. Those of us who saw what would happen were ridiculed as unpatriotic, and it’s absolutely incomprehensible that Bush has as high an approval rating as he does.

  4. Scott  •  Jan 18, 2009 @10:48 pm

    I am disappointed in the unwillingness of our president elect to “overlook” the crimes committed by the Bush administration. I hear excuses for not investigating Bush, Cheney, and their henchmen coated in words like “healing,” “closure,” “not living in the past,” “looking forward,” and I would think that Obama, of all people would know there can be no closure, no healing no real movement forward unless those responsible for the as yet untabulated horrors visited on this country and the world the past eight years are brought to account. We will indeed repeat the past unless we examine it completely and resolutely and act as quickly as possible. There is nothing inconsistent with doing this now, there is no reason why the truth cannot be discovered and exposed. How will it interfere with the economic and social reconstruction necessary after the Bush era? Not to bring Bush, and those who enabled him to bring this country to the brink of a police state to justice,a shows a gross lack of courage by the new administration.

  5. Swami  •  Jan 18, 2009 @11:18 pm

    It’s been an emotional trip for me these past 8 years. My love, my faith, and my belief in America has been shaken to it’s core. No thanks to Bush and the band of low lives who couldn’t think in the positive, or couldn’t act on something greater than their own self interest. Intellectual and immoral bottom feeders who choose to drag America down rather than submit to the restrictions of our honored ideals.
    I’m reminded of Jose Padilla… If they feed him into a wood chipper tomorrow I wouldn’t be concerned, but that they dishonored his constitutional right as an American citizen tells me that my constitutional rights are not sacred or secure, but more like a subject of whim……It’s just not America as I want to know it.

  6. maha  •  Jan 18, 2009 @11:49 pm

    Scott, please don’t anticipate what Obama is or is not willing to do. I am sick to death of people crabbing about the Obama Administration when it hasn’t even started yet.

  7. Scott  •  Jan 19, 2009 @7:07 am

    maha,

    I’m just taking the man at his word to date. Neither has he sent clear signals about rolling back the security state that has been put in place. Is that to be allowed to just go on? Or are we just suppose to forget about that too?

  8. maha  •  Jan 19, 2009 @7:59 am

    Scott — I know what his word to date is. Yes, he’s being vague. That doesn’t necessarily mean the actions you want to take won’t be taken, but more likely that he will remain in the background and let others carry those efforts forward. I’ve been through a whole lot of new administrations; stuff the president-elect says during this period bears very little relationship to what actually happens in the new administration.

    We are not supposed to “forget” anything, and once the administration actually exists and begins to, you know, DO stuff, criticize away. Until then, stop being hysterical. Thanks much.

  9. Dave S  •  Jan 19, 2009 @9:44 am

    What amazes me most about the last eight years is how very few people it took to subvert the constitution. Maybe dozens of true believers in charge and ten times that following orders and the whole thing comes tumbling down.

    Given that all three branches were under control of the same party for six years (yes, I’m including SCOTUS), I blame the press most. They’re supposed to watch-dog this mess. Is anyone concerned now about all the major press outlets being owned by a handful of corporate entities?

  10. Raenelle  •  Jan 19, 2009 @10:56 am

    Beautifully put. I was especially taken by your insight about how startling/frightening it was to realize the fragility of American civilization.

    Two memories. First, after the 2000 election but before 9/11, I found the left net. Media Whores Online. I still miss it . . . and Steve Gilliard. How I wish he were here. They made sense, and eloquently, when few others seemed to.

    Second, Michael Moore. I went to a book signing for “Stupid White Men.” Moore had to give two talks that evening, because there were so many people there they wouldn’t all fit in the small auditorium. What I remember is that he talked a lot about how large and positive the response was to his book. Then he said: “You’re not alone,” and I started sobbing. He had gone to the core of the fear that had settled on everything for me–that the rest of the world had gone crazy in a very bad way. Hearing him say that was the first time I began to feel hope. I will always love him for that.

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 19, 2009 @12:13 pm

    It will take me a while to feel like I’ve gotten out of the rabbit hole that our country dove into. I often felt like when I was looking in the mirror, what I wanted to do was focus my gaze and try to go through the looking glass, since I didn’t recognize the image of my country that I’d seen in the mirror. Maybe it was better on the other side of the glass…
    Alice didn’t have much more of a strange trip than we Liberal’s and Pregressives have been through.
    We’ve been ruled by a cabal of Tweedle-dum’s and Tweedle-dee’s.

    There’s a lot of work to be done. Let’s enjoy tomorrow, but after that, let’s roll up our sleeves.

  12. Pat Pattillo  •  Jan 19, 2009 @1:45 pm

    Despite having seen a war based on the premise of a domino theory which telgraphed the message that “they’ll come take what you have too someday if we don’t stop them over there”, I’d never realized the extent to which fear could be used to induce otherwise critical minds to shun examination of the facts. The lesson is that circumstances, real or engineered, cause people to confront their own mortality then they can be easily herded in the direction that authority wishes. People will revel in tales of heroism and bravery to bolster their own confidence but will rarely exhbit these same qualities by bucking any trend even when the evidence suggests that they should. However, they will, line up to sacrifice their lives in efforts to destroy anyone deemed the enemy by authority. They will do this without hardly a question as if blind alliegance gives credence to the cause, making them better people on account of their veracity.

    Humans are susceptible to a pack mentality which, due to our supposedly higher consciousness which enables us to reflect and imagine, is based on “realities” of the pack which are never directly known or experienced but rather imagined or suggested. Cultural survival instincts have served mankind well but can also be exploited by small men in leadership positions as a means of sustaining their position of authority.

    But there is hope in the recognition :

    – that something dysfunctional has been imposed on the body politic and that this could be more dangerous than any externally imposed threat

    – of the basic fallacy of supply side economics that favors produces while so decimating the economic power of consumers that they are no customers

    – that unrestrained free markets are not self-correcting and that without regulation they become self-destructive

  13. D.R. Marvel  •  Jan 19, 2009 @1:48 pm

    Sorry Maha, be we ain’t outa the fucking woods yet…

    I’m not hysterical…Had my Hysterical-ectomy a long time ago…But I’ll make you as prediction…

    Obama, if he ever had any worthwhile notionins in the first place, is gonna get Punked by the Heather Antoinettes of D.C. Early and often…Same as it was with Jimmy Carter…(Of course, Clinton being a punk when he hit town made it MUCH easier)…

    Real Democrats don’t last long in Wahington…Andy Jackson was about the last to survive the place, intact…

  14. A Canadian Reader  •  Jan 19, 2009 @2:08 pm

    I will be travelling tomorrow–a one-day round-trip to northern Ontario for an afternoon meeting–so I won’t be able to catch any of the events, unless I can get on the Internet at some point in the day in one airport or another.

    I’d just like to congratulate my neighbours to the south on this wonderful day. Hopefully, it will be the beginning of a return to sanity for your country and the world.

  15. maha  •  Jan 19, 2009 @2:21 pm

    Obama, if he ever had any worthwhile notionins in the first place, is gonna get Punked by the Heather Antoinettes of D.C. Early and often…Same as it was with Jimmy Carter…(Of course, Clinton being a punk when he hit town made it MUCH easier)…

    Oh, we’re never “out of the woods.” This is the nature of existence. I’m just saying let’s not declare the Obama Administration to be a failure just yet. Give it a couple of weeks, OK?

    Re punking — Yeah, and some of it will stick, and some of it won’t. But The Right has lost a huge amount of credibility these past eight years, and I think a huge chunk of the population that might have been fooled before are now tuning them out. I think Obama is smarter than Carter and has good political instincts, so he’s got a shot at being effective. We’ll see.

  16. D.R. Marvel  •  Jan 19, 2009 @3:06 pm

    Dunno ’bout Obama being smarter than Carter…

    I just pray he ain’t as politically tone-deaf…

  17. Dave S  •  Jan 19, 2009 @3:09 pm

    Pat #12 – I think scared people tend to follow the leader. Example: After Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt was able to rally the nation to fight for the common cause of freedom and democracy. Bush had that opportunity immediately post-9/11 and squandered it; I think most Americans would have rallied to any cause those days.

    It strikes me that pre-9/11, Americans died to protect the constitution. Post-9/11 under Bush, the constitution died to protect Americans. That’s attributable not to fear, but to the poor quality of the “leadership” we’ve had.

  18. joanr16  •  Jan 19, 2009 @3:46 pm

    I’d hoped to take a vacation day tomorrow so I could sit at home and watch TV and get all sniffly, but then I missed several days of work due to illness. So I’ll be at my post tomorrow, working hard to keep those capitalist wheels a-turning (yay? boo?). I’ll try to sneak downstairs a few minutes before noon EST, to watch Obama take the oath on the big-screen TV in the break room. No matter what, I’ll think of it as a Very Good Day.

  19. Sunny Jim  •  Jan 19, 2009 @6:09 pm

    I have been reading Clusterfuck Nation for a long time. I skim over it now, just to see what Kunstler’s up to. He is often good for a laugh, but be forewarned:

    You will not find anyone with a more cynical, dour, doomsday, Chicken Little outlook. You will find his talking points repeated over and over in his Monday blog posts, his books and his lectures.

    Maha, your outlook is way more positive than Kuntsler’s can ever hope to be!

    Cheers.

  20. moonbat  •  Jan 19, 2009 @8:23 pm

    Sunny Jim #17 – yes, you do have to take Kunstler with a grain of salt. But not too big of one.

  21. joanr16  •  Jan 19, 2009 @8:57 pm

    The Dick will not go quietly….

    Apparently he was “injured” attempting to shift the various corpses concealed under the carpeting in his office, and will attend the Inauguration in a wheelchair….

    Yeah, right. “Wheelchair.” More like Mobile Command Center for Pure Evil. He really is starting to resemble that insane scientist who created the Daleks….

    Exterminate! Exterminate!

  22. Nancy Chester  •  Jan 19, 2009 @10:10 pm

    I strongly recommend Al Giordano’a analysis at The Field, Narconews for learning how to analyze the news and remain calm. http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield

    Al is an ex-patriot New Yorker living “somewhere in America” who occasionally comes up north to do teachings in community organizing for change. Al predicted way back in the fall of 2007 in a Boston Phoenix article that Obama would be the next president of the U.S. He made this prediction by his analysis of Obama’s internet fund raising and the fact that Obama’s roots are in the field of “Community Organization”. He held many of us together when we were worrying about the primaries, through the election and now though the inauguration.

    Al blogged last week about Hillary’s following Obama’s lead at her confirmation hearings and pointed out areas that were different from her campaign positions. So many at Daily Kos & other sites seem to be in a twitter about this or that or he’s betraying the left via his appointments. Al pointed out in the Hillary article his view that some of this panic is a subtle form of racism. That many people just assume the white Rahm Emmanuel, etc will really be the one running the show and don’t quite believe that it’ll be the black man.

  23. Swami  •  Jan 19, 2009 @10:20 pm

    Yeah, Cheney will be attending in a wheelchair. If there really is a God who delivers justice than Cheney should be attending horizontally from the back of a hearse. Cheney will do anything to steal the limelight, and angle for any measure of sympathy.

    I hope his back pain is really intense.. teeth grittin”intense

  24. Mammacat  •  Jan 20, 2009 @3:44 am

    On inauguration day I’ll be wearing my Obama earrings, necklace & bracelet to work — I’ll be one of the 3 people at the rural hospital who’ll be celebrating his election. Yes, I work in the middle of the bible belt. All die-hard, god-fearing, ignorant masses, who are PROUD in their ignorance. And their guns. And their belief in the inerrancy of the bible. Social justice is a lurking threat to their power base; a non-white person as their president is poison to them. I pray for them, that one day they’ll see the light and hate no more.

  25. erinyes  •  Jan 20, 2009 @5:46 am

    Oh, where to begin…..
    How about great picture moonbat; it pretty much sums up Dick.

    The first time I laid eyes on Bush I new we were in trouble, when the party after the election(2000) featured Texas barbecue and the Texas two step, I knew we were in for a wild ride.

    Immediately after 9/11, I thought Bush did the right thing, until the bombing of Afghanistan started.
    Echos of Kipling from the past, The Man Who Would Be King, gruesome death in the mountains of central Asia.

    The war drums grew louder, prople I knew screamed for the blood of Iraqis, Get Saddam! Turn Iraq into Glass! the rapture is near! Mass insanity.

    The list of criminals like Richard Perle, “Scooter” Libby, David Frum, Doug Feith, Elliot Abrams, Frank Gaffney, John Woo, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, PNAC, AEI,AIPAC, JINSA, “the Vulcans”,
    The “fair and balanced “news” outlet.Echos of George Orwell.Music by Toby Keith and the insane clown posse.

    I NEVER thought we’d see this day, But Shrub and Dick are bruised and battered; Shrub looks like he’s been on a month long drunk.

    Since I drew my first breath, my country has been at war with someone somewhere.This behavior is unsustainable, and I think we’re getting near the breaking point.

    All those I know who were die-hard Bush supporters now loathe the man.

    Perhaps we will “walk down to Electric Avenue, and then we’ll take it higher”.

    I feel a new zeitgeist enveloping us, let’s hope its a new begining.

  26. s  •  Jan 20, 2009 @9:57 am

    cheney in a wheel chair… don’t guess it will be close to a high staircase…
    My guess is he wants to be low in the crowd for the heat and can carry a blanket too. He probably sees that as the safest position.

  27. Xecky Gilchrist  •  Jan 20, 2009 @2:24 pm

    You will not find anyone with a more cynical, dour, doomsday, Chicken Little outlook. You will find his talking points repeated over and over in his Monday blog posts, his books and his lectures.

    Yup. If you’ve read his Clusterfuck Nation manifesto, you’ve read everything worthwhile he has to say. I lost touch with his Monday blog about the time he was sneering about how awful “diversity” and open borders were, but by then almost every one of them read like “Traveled to Location X to give a speech. It’s a strip-mall hell. People listened to me and failed to comprehend. They’re all idiots.” Perhaps he’s lightened up, but I’m guessing not.

    Moonbat – thank you for this post. You nailed the feeling of the Bush years with the reference to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I’ve used the image of that final point and scream from the 70s version many times, claiming that the screech would mean “Liberal! You’re with the terrorists!”

  28. Mike G  •  Jan 20, 2009 @4:30 pm

    “It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or supprot their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people”
    — John Jay, Federalist Papers 4

    Would that all the Federalist Papers-fetishizing right wingers actually read and heeded those documents. Much like how Jesus-was-a-Republican megachurch fundie Xtian bigots seem to ignore every principle of the Bible.

  29. Sondra  •  Jan 21, 2009 @3:17 pm

    Being a political wonkette for years and after reading junior’s history of business failures and rescues by his Dad and his Daddy’s friends was my clue as to how his Presidency would go should he win.

    I couldn’t believe that none of it was covered by the press or even talked about during the campaign of 2000. No one brought it up or if someone did, I can’t remember it.

    My stunned disbelief was the one overriding emotion through out every year since then. Each outrage, each crime, each lie, each cover-up and every enabler simply moved me further and further towards almost utter despair and exhaustion.

    Still, there was always a tiny hope that people would wake up or pay attention or finally be moved to see what I had seen all along and when that moment finally came at the end of 2006, suddenly or so it seemed, the world flipped over and our collective consciousness kicked in. The instinct to survive became our common purpose and now…I feel good.



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