Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bush Cronyism, the shameful legacy

Many years from now when historians look back on the Bush years, one of the issues thoroughly analyzed and discussed will be the nepotism, cronyism, and lobbyist dollars that permeated all levels of his administration and defined its policies.

The major topic will be the path of lies and deception two Texas oilmen paved with greed and bigotry in order to take the country to war for oil. They had help from old friends like Ken Lay and Enron:

"Curtis Hébert Jr., Washington's top electricity regulator, said he had barely settled into his new job this year when he had an unsettling telephone conversation with Kenneth L. Lay, the head of the nation's largest electricity trader, the Enron Corporation.

Mr. Hébert, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said that Mr. Lay, a close friend of President Bush's, offered him a deal: If he changed his views on electricity deregulation, Enron would continue to support him in his new job." read more

Historians will describe how Bush and his Texas Mafia buddies used the prejudices of the dumbest and most poorly educated Americans to support their personal enrichment program. One of the ways was using cold war tactics of fear and bigotry to polarize the country. And to further insult the poor stooges who lined up to choke down those free hot dogs at pro-war rallies, they borrowed these tactics from the Russians.

"During the 1990s, Russian energy companies were notorious for cooking their books, defrauding their shareholders — and using political connections to cover shadowy deals. So, readers of Russian newspapers were not at all surprised over recent stories about an energy giant that was misbehaving in this manner. What was unusual was that the company in question was Enron — as quintessentially American as the Texan heartland where it is based." read more

But the story will also be about the dangers of allowing greedy asshats to define public policy based on their own self-interests . It will be about the incompetence of people owed favors and put in charge of agencies they knew nothing about. It will be about the lack of compassion that comes with a job that one considers payback and not a responsibility to uphold. The examples of this are endless and the words Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Enron will forever stain the Bush presidency. Here's an interesting list of Bush Mafia appointees: Bush Cronyism

But the victims of these cruel policies based on nepotism and greed will not receive the same attention because they are powerless to object loud enough to be heard. They will join the list of sad statistics buried under the weight of so much evil that history measures it by the group instead of by the individual.

And if there's one thing the Bush Mafia excels at, it is beating down the victims of its policies. They do this in many ways, but mostly by turning away and ignoring problems they create but don't care enough about to feel any guilt whatsoever. When Barbara Bush, the matriarch who birthed this cruel and incompetent litter of psychopaths, commented that she didn't want to pollute her beautiful mind with thoughts of all the dead killed by her sadistic son, she spoke for all of them, for their policies, for their incompetence and cruelty.

from her Wikipedia page:

"On March 18, 2003, two days before the beginning of the war on Iraq, ABC's Good Morning America asked her about her family's television viewing habits; she replied:
I watch none. He [former President Bush] sits and listens and I read books, because I know perfectly well that, don't take offense, that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we're talking about the news. And he's not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or that or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that, and watch him suffer.[8]

While visiting a Houston relief center for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Bush told the radio program "Marketplace,

"Almost everyone I've talked to says, 'We're gonna move to Houston.' What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas... Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality, and so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway. This is working very well for them".[9][10]

In 2006, it was revealed that Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund on the condition the charity do business with an educational software company owned by her son Neil Bush.[11]"

Hurricane Katrina will be remembered as the first American city lost by a sitting President, and also for how FEMA came to define the type of inept payback cronyism the Texas Mafia brought to the White House. This first link, The Truth About FEMA is a blog post by a woman on one of the mailing lists I'm on, Child-Free By Choice. It describes her attempt to get help from FEMA after flooding destroyed her home. She's still waiting.

As I was reading it I found myself wondering if FEMA personnel were just incompetent, or if they simply didn't care enough about people to hold positions helping disaster victims. This blog entry, FEMA sucks major butt, by someone who went through the certification process, shows it may be a combination of the two: they're incompetent and they don't care, which is why they were chosen for the job in the first place.

Then there's the kind of cronyism that demands only payback for political contributions and favors without regard for the effects such incompetence will have on real human beings. For example, FEMA knew the trailers they bought from some well-connected crony were harmful. But holding someone accountable meant taking back an owed political favor, so people had to get sick instead.

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency since early 2006 has suppressed warnings from its own field workers about health problems experienced by hurricane victims living in government-provided trailers with levels of a toxic chemical 75 times the recommended maximum for U.S. workers, congressional lawmakers said yesterday." read more

This kind of cruelty and incompetence is what happens when political favors determine appointments. It removes the objectivity of political appointees in favor of paying back lobbyists, large donors, and friends of the family who may hold twisted and pathological ideals that have to be ignored, like Barbara's disdain for body bags.

For example, what kind of fascist mentality created this situation where victims of a natural disaster are treated like inmates in a prison camp?

I'm extremely depressed to report that things seem to only be getting sadder concerning the people so devastatingly affected by Katrina last week. Two car loads of us headed over to Falls Creek, a youth camp for Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma that agreed to have its facilities used to house Louisiana refugees. I'm afraid the camp is not going to be used as the kind people of the churches who own the cabins believe it was going to be used.

Jesse Jackson was right when he said "refugees" was not the appropriate word for the poor souls dislocated due to Katrina. But he was wrong about why it is not appropriate. It's not appropriate because they are detainees, not refugees.
" read more

Or forced to live in situations that if they occurred in a third world county, the paid media propagandists
would be all over it decrying the inhumanity of it all.

"Dozens of families evacuated from a FEMA trailer park that had been plagued by sewage leaks and power outages were in temporary homes Monday, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it had requested work permits to dismantle the site this week." read more

Situations like this will only get worse with the rapid privatization of government services. Few people realize that once you privatize something, the oversight and rules are weakened and discarded. Here's an example of what happened with the privatization of the food stamp program.

"Area residents used to waiting up to one hour to talk to someone at a call center to receive Medicaid or food stamps, had to wait 90 minutes before addressing a legislative commission Thursday in Kokomo.

The legislative study commission conducted the first state hearing on problems since the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration signed a contract with a private company to handle eligibility for the two programs.
" read more

And of course, once these privatized crony companies realize the profit that can be made without actually helping people, it only spreads.

"A move in Congress to limit the role of private firms in doling out food stamps is dead for now, allowing Texas to move forward with its privatization plans.

U.S. House and Senate negotiators voted late last week against including a privatization ban in a $300 billion farm bill that lawmakers hope to finish this week. The ban would have prevented states from allowing employees of private companies to interact with people who are applying for food stamps or to decide someone's eligibility for the program." read more

Whenever you combine money, politics, and favors, what gets lost is compassion, caring, and an insight into the bigger picture that is America.

"Over 7.5 Million People Denied Medical Care by Health Plans Since Bush Took Office." read more

And the cruelty begins to take on absurd proportions when laws are passed to avoid helping the victims of these policies, such as the cities who are voting "do not feed the homeless" laws.

"Las Vegas criminalized giving food to even a single transient in any city park.

In August, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit challenging the Las Vegas ban, saying it violated constitutional protections of free speech, right to assembly and right to practice one's religion. A federal court in Nevada has prohibited the city from enforcing the ordinance until a final ruling is issued.

Advocates for the homeless feared it wouldn't be long before other cities passed similar laws.

Already, the cities of Dallas, Fort Myers, Fla., Gainesville, Fla., Wilmington, N.C., and Atlanta have laws restricting or outright prohibiting the feeding of the homeless. In Fairfax County, Va., homemade meals and meals made in church kitchens may not be distributed to the homeless unless first approved by the county. " read more

Excuse me, but hungry people are not creatures in a zoo you fucking morons!

And if you think you're immune from these kind of policies based on paying back political favors, all I can say to you is don't get too attached to water because it's the next thing on the greedy bastard's auction block.

"If adequate water for drinking and sanitation is essential for life, shouldn't we consider water a human right? Not everyone thinks so. In February, the United Nations Human Rights Council missed a critical opportunity to recognize a human right to water. As a result of lobbying by the United States and Canada, the council derailed a European-backed declaration, accepting instead a weaker resolution that actually protects a corporation's right to sell water.
" read more

And for the most ideologically motivated of Bush appointees who think it's okay to spy on it's own citizens, I have this message for you:

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Jimmie said...

It's a fine rant, but you should know that Fairfax County, Va is a Democratic enclave in Northern VA. IN the 2004 election, the county went overwhelmingly for John Kerry in 2004 and went about 60 percent for potential Obama VP choice Tim Kaine in the same election.

Of the ten members of the Board of Supervisors that runs the county, eight are Democratic.

So it's not the mean old Republicans who are depriving the homeless of food. Maybe there's another motivation there that you're not seeing because of a partisan bias.

Some Crazy Bear said...

Rot begins from the top down and when you have people who are essentially equals making judgments about whether someone eats or gets housing or medical care, then that sense of entitlement that allows one human being to to dehumanize another human being has to come from somewhere. We certainly aren't born with it.

I don't say it's because of democrats or republicans or alien abductees. I say it's because there's been a culture of greed, entitlement, lack of accountability and a total disdain for humanity that allow the policies of the Bush administration to flourish.

Much of this entitlement and privileged "I'm better than you are" can be traced back to the Reagan years when magazines ran covers of mink-draped bimbos and the mantra that being rich was cool and being poor was somehow a defect.

Those who grew up being fed this crap daily are the same selfish little fucks who think they have the right to make life and death decisions based on politics.

If you go back in time and read the history of tyranny in different parts of the world, you will discover that evil and intolerance existed because the culture allowed it to exist. It had nothing to do with party affiliation. It had to do with a sense of entitlement, a belief that one human was better than another, that one race, one culture, one economic group was somehow more exalted.

This is what the Bush Mafia has perfected as its legacy.

Oh, and also paying people to post their talking points on blogs they have no interest in except as a place to post talking points. That's just sad.

Anonymous said...

Bwaahhhaaaa....a Republican troll accusing someone else of partisan bias. That's just too funny.