Archive for category Guest Writer
Sometimes others say it better than I. I’d like to add one more culprit…OK, about fifty million culprits; every uninformed idiot that voted for him the second time too.
Sorry, Mr. President, But Your Legacy Is More Awful Than You Think
Posted June 11, 2008 | 04:57 PM (EST)
h/t Huffington Post
Rest assured, Mr. President, that despite what you told the Times Online today you won’t be remembered solely as a war mongering president.
“Look, I think that in retrospect, you know, I could have used a different tone.”
Different tone? Ya think?
War mongering is a significant aspect of your legacy, but I think we can conclude, and without much debate, that your legacy will also be one of criminality, failure and a degree of incompetence rarely achieved by any American president, much less one whose deficit of character is rivaled only by his nearly unprecedented lack of humility in the face of his unprecedented roster of inadequacies.
As it turns out, you won’t have much control over your legacy and the history of your administration anyway. You might have some cursory input, but no-one really takes you seriously anymore and anything you put forth will be taken as just another work of fiction; another bit of propaganda.
Your legacy will ultimately be written by those of us who have been actively documenting your presidency in real time — millions of voices authoring the narrative of your awful regime and preserving it with digital clarity one trespass at a time.
And everywhere we look, we can plainly observe your smirking, affectless footprint.
Death, poverty, war, pain, ignorance, blind patriotism, joblessness, and abandoned homes. And guess what? We’re writing it down on the Internets. Your history, Mr. President, is being written at this very moment by those of us who are watching our homes collapse in value and our friends and relatives sent to places like Ramadi and Fallujah and, in some cases, Walter Reed or worse. Your history, Mr. President, isn’t going to be settled and published decades from now. It’s being published immediately and without the fog of memory to obscure the ugly details.
These ugly details are exhaustively researched and easily accessible.
And as they congeal into a single eight-year narrative, it’s my hunch that every tragedy experienced during this dark ride will be regarded as a means to a specific end: your election to a second term and the election of successors who will carry on with your sinister tradition. The centerpiece of this tradition — the throughline of your presidential narrative — has been, simply put, endless war for the sake of re-election.
In fact (and contrary to your present lamentation) you wanted war even before you took office. War, by your own definition, would all but guarantee a second presidential term. You told your pre-2000 autobiographer, Mickey Herskowitz:
“One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief… My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it…If I have a chance to invade…if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”
Four years later, as you ramped up your re-election campaign, you told Tim Russert:
“I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind.”
You didn’t sound ashamed of your tone back then — when you were running for your second term. Everything you managed to accomplish during your presidency was directed towards maintaining this manufactured “war president” façade. Without it, you would have been either defeated in 2004 or impeached a long time ago.
So how did you do it? History will show that you bought off the American people with $300 checks and massive tax cuts for Paris Hilton and Dick Cheney. You ruthlessly exploited the deadliest foreign attack on American soil and, subsequently, terrorized this nation and its corporate media into giving you more latitude than you otherwise deserved. You attempted to dumb down our public schools because, in your view, an educated electorate is a dangerous electorate — less susceptible to war mongering and propaganda, right? You ignored the destruction of an entire American city because the majority of its residents probably didn’t vote for you or contribute to your campaign for war in the first place. And your entire foreign policy has been constructed around deliberately inciting anti-American sentiment, thus fueling more war.
It turns out, Mr. President, that your only success is something which you appear to be walking back: your war mongering — your cynical, self-serving and bloody “bring ’em on” legacy — and, with it, your re-election in 2004.
If you were half the man your dwindling supporters claim that you are, you would own this actual legacy of yours, Mr. President.
If you were a better man, you would own the horror you’ve created for yourself and generations of Americans to come. You would take responsibility for more than your pathetic “tone” and “rhetoric” — you would take responsibility for all of it: the lies, the casualties, the mistakes, the crimes and the cover-ups. Instead you’re presently flying around the world saying that you “wanted to solve this … in a diplomatic fashion” when we all know, based on numerous reports from insiders ranging from Scott McClellan to Richard Clarke that this is simply not true.
The historical record of your presidency has unequivocally verified that, even now as you attempt to Windex the crap off your legacy, you’re lying about the war. But what’s worse is that your administration’s objective of fostering endless American warfare continues in Iraq and elsewhere while being endorsed by Senator McCain who has hugged-out any conflicts he might have had with your policies. And, if you and Senator McCain are lucky, the corporate media will crack open its Election Year Mad Libs script and paint Senator Obama as somehow more dangerous to the future of America than you ever were.
Your legacy, Mr. President, isn’t just about war mongering. We’re going to see to it that your legacy is almost entirely about how you lied us into an unnecessary war as part of an almost unspeakably horrible strategy for re-election — as a way to mask over your inadequacies as a leader and to somehow delude future Americans into believing that your two-term presidency deserves special renown.
So good luck with all of that “different tone” crap. It’s not going to work. Sorry.
Salt Lake City citizen Rocky Anderson has organized this Utah greeting for Chimpy The Decider. Hope to see you there!
All My Babies Are Gone Now
By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author
All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief.
I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.
Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves.
Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education — all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations — what they taught me, was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay.
No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.
When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent, this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr.Brazelton’s wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants:average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged?
Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine.
He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the “Remember-When-Mom-Did” Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language — mine,not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed.
The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, “What did you get wrong?” (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs.
There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done.
Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
by Katie Halper
The following is a true story, which happened last year.
When my grandma called my mom to tell her she was feeling dizzy and faint, we rushed out the door and hailed a cab to pick up Grandma Bea and take her to the hospital. The second she entered the cab, my mom struck her typical autophobic pose, her body twisted, her head facing backwards, her left hand clutching the door handle to her right.
She occasionally looked forward, before wincing in fear and resuming her default passenger pose. Compared to the hysterics that possessed her when my father would, while driving, clap his hands to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or pick up a journal article, this was calm. Alert to the machismo that affected most men and most cab drivers, my mom had developed a technique to implore caution without emasculating speeding drivers or directly challenging automobile-related chauvinism: “Sir, can I ask you to slow down a bit?” she would ask. “I have a broken back.” The cab was gaining speed, and I waited for her words.
But tonight was different. Read the rest of this entry »
Alberto Gonzales might not make it to Utah- or out of Washington alive. But the list of Bush administration flunkees running to Utah to look busy is obvious and somewhat frightening. The Bush “Mod Squad” of Gonzales, Education Secretary Spellings and HHS head and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, is due to come here Friday to investigate(?) the Trolley Square shootings. Vice-Doofus Cheney of Fools is here today to fertilize the young, growing minds of BYU’s class of 2007 with his patented right-wing drivel. And first bimbo Laura Bush visits Zion National Park to get back to Nature and dedicate the new historic center there. Utah appears to be the last, safe place administration officials feel they can go and not get bombarded with criticism or negative images of local protestations against Iraq, abortion, stem cell research, the environment, Rocky, you name it. But as the linked articles show, even Utah is getting wise to the dog-and-pony shows the Bush Circus is staging. Polls show that, despite the regime’s enduring popularity here, even Utahns are growing skeptical of their competence. If moral values are the reason they’re popular, then the administration has failed their loyal constituents here. All of the big shots scheduled to visit Utah- Gonzales, Cheney, Spellings, Leavitt- except Laura, are connected to some ongoing corruption investigation. It’s clear Utah is important to the administration but what have they done for Utah in return? What is the benefit of Utah’s loyalty? Gas prices keep going up, federal support of Utah’s vast public lands is disintegrating. The ICE stormtroopers have chosen Utah to execute their illegal immigration crackdown where we already have problems filling jobs. The truth is rising through the cracking crust of Bush propaganda. The good news is they’ve only got a couple of years left. The question is whether Utah will hang on long enough to throw them a farewell parade.
When I looked at this article in the Deseret news today and saw that although Rocky’s overall approval rating is pretty darned good, his attempt to convince anybody who would listen to the idea that Bush should be impeached, was being rejected by a majority of people, even in Salt Lake City. My optimism to go out with my “Impeach Bush” sign today was slightly hindered for the time it takes a synapse to bridge the divide between an axon terminal and a neuron.
When you think about it, the fact that I can’t elicit the slightest response from the large majority of people traveling along in their cars, it’s very encouraging that 31% of the them felt STRONGLY that Rocky is on to something here. That means that a lot of people I see probably don’t respond to me simply because they think I clutter up the road or should be producing some commodity for consumption rather then wasting my time.
A man on foot who seemed to agree with my cause even asked me what I hoped to accomplish with my sign. I asked him what HE was doing to that end. He quickly asked his wife if she had pushed the button that would stop the traffic so they could cross the street. As they waited, five cars passed by and gave me an emphatic thumbs up and friendly honk. I said, “people see me out here, and it gives them hope.”
In fact, today was another one of the best days I’ve had. It seems the subpoena power given to the Democrats by the last election has already exposed a crack in the armor of the Republican party. Wave after wave of excited supporters gave me the opportunity to shake the belief of the Bush supporters that they are winning. To rattle and annoy, for now, the willfully ignorant.
I can’t help but feel optimistic about all this commotion over Cheney’s impending visit to Provo. There hasn’t been this much turmoil since Sean Hannity was flown in to impose himself on Michael Moore’s “slacker” tour before the 2004 election of John Kerry. It’s hard to find any information on why Hannity was never invited back to host the “Stadium of Fire” events there, but I highly doubt his explanation that the show’s new producers had a “Hollywood connection.” Even Doug Wright seemed a little uncomfortable with Sean while trying to moderate a discussion with Rocky and Sean concerning the details of a debate being scheduled this May.
The Church is defending the decision to have Cheney speak at BYU’s commencement ceremony by stating:
“the invitation is seen by the university’s board of trustees as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure.”
Wow! I don’t even know what to say.
It looks like the American Legion hasn’t scheduled an invitation to have Bush address it’s congregation in Salt Lake for the third year in a row, but don’t expect them to admit Rocky or the “Nutcakes” had anything to do with that decision. It’s still worth mentioning that, by anybody’s standard, more people showed up to protest Bush’s appearance here last August, then to welcome him.
Having spent several months as Rocky’s interim communications guy, I witnessed up close and personal the viceral, organized and popular sport of Rocky bashing. I can tell you it looks no different from the inside than the outside for the simple reason that both of our major daily papers love it and facilitate it. John Hughes (D-News Editor) pushed one young reporter so hard it ruined the kid’s career. Revised: And I watched in horror the local media morph into parapazzi at the slightest opportunity to spark a new sensational furor while refusing to write about many of the important things Rocky was doing.
But we noticed and the world noticed, and this national praise and national presence reminds us once again, Salt Lake City is a world class city with a majority progressive community surrounded in part by a hostile tribe grunting in unison against rational progress and thoughtful discourse for fear of being exposed for what they are not.
Over the past seven years, Anderson has transformed the city. While outsiders who know little of the nuances of Utah politics might assume this nerve center for the Church of Latter Day Saints to be a bastion of conservatism, among those who track urban policy trends the city has become synonymous with some of the most creative urban government thinking in the country.
We can count on a jealous republican state legislature to continue to block Rocky at every turn out of a petty jealously for the fact that one out-spoken liberal has brought more benefits to this state then they ever will.
When Anderson proposed a law stating that the city would favor doing business with companies that paid a living wage to their employees, the conservative state legislature did an end run around this by passing a bill prohibiting municipalities from making contract decisions based on such criteria. He is, according to senior staff, often at loggerheads with councilmen, state legislators and the governor. Some go so far as to say that anything he supports, the legislature will oppose.
And don’t count on a responsible local media to play a role in improving our quality of life.
Case in point. the Desert Morning News did not print Professor Firmage’s letter(print version) recently because they endorse his views and believe the community will benefit from hearing his voice, but rather because it is provocative and generates letters to the editor like this, this, and this.
I assure you if the D-News had received any intelligent critiques they would have published those. That only idiots disagree with Professor Firmage or Rocky is no excuse for legitimizing cave-level community discourse but it is par for the course around here at least for the forseeable future.
We need to get the Tribune back in the hands of Jack Gallivan and The McCarthys, and we must elect current Minority Leader Ralph Becker Mayor of SLC.
The sudden announcement from the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office that spokesman Cliff Lyon was only a temporary volunteer sit-in until the mayor can find a permanent replacement may have a rest-of-the-story tint that needs some explanation.
When Lyon first took over for Deeda Seed, fired for alleged incompetence, there was no mention that he was volunteer or temporary. He says now that he didn’t reveal that because it might make him less effective.
It seems he has done enough on his own to make himself less effective without the burden of a “temporary” label.
During the first days that Lyon was on the job, he told a Salt Lake Tribune reporter that Anderson was going to make a public apology about his perceived treatment of certain employees.
When the reporter put that information on The Tribune’s Web site, Anderson apparently didn’t like the word “apology.” So Lyon told the reporter that she, not he, got it wrong.
— “She” updated The Trib article later WITH Rocky’s public apology. — Cliff Note.
That was the first glitch in his credibility with the press.
The second was when he did a similar dance with KCPW, telling one reporter with the radio station that Anderson was making a “mea culpa” and later denying that he had said that to another reporter with the same station.
When I wrote about the fact that the City-County Building was not flying its flag at half-staff like other government buildings to honor Katrina victims and the recently deceased Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, I had called Lyon to find out why.
He said he would get back to me with the answer, then never did, although the flag was flown at half-staff the next day.
After I wrote that Lyon never got back to me with the answers to my questions, he told Anderson that he left a message on my answering machine that evening, apparently gambling that I don’t check my messages at night. Unfortunately for him, I do. He did not leave a message on my answering machine.
Lyon says he won’t apply for the permanent job because he is overqualified. If that’s true, I’d hate see the person who is under qualified.
I posted the following response:
I just googled myself and found much to my dismay, that Paul Rolly began trashing me (Cliff Lyon) long before his most recent factually-challenged column which in sum, reflect not only a Machiavellian standard of journalism, but one horribly compromised by a ritualistic passion for golf.
Should anyone wanting to prove which one of us is lying about leaving him a message about the flag at half-staff thing, you can file a GRAMA request with the city. It would confirm that I called both his office and cell phone around 4:30. The call length would show I spoke long enough to leave a message.
Unfortunately, my answer did not support Paul’s Rocky-bashing thesis and would I suppose, have required Paul to change his story or, God forbid, write about something more important. In Paul’s defense, I’m sure he counted to thirty-Mississippi back before turning off his cell phone and filing the story on his way out the door. It was after-all, a gorgeous day. I remember that as I watched the flag from my office window, waving in a gentle breeze as it was lower to half-staff.
I suppose Paul Rolly did make a difference that day.
But I am most hurt by Paul’s comment, “Lyon says he won’t apply for the permanent job because he is overqualified.”
Given the unusually vicious nature of the local anti-Rocky media culture, he might be right; a professional wrestler is probably better qualified.
Thankfully, I was a volunteer at the time. I hate to think how tax-payers would react if they knew someone on the city payroll were being paid to chase down accurate answers to trick questions from a gossip columnist.
A Yellow Cab driven by a tiny African man named Bale pulled up to the curb and the Air Port Taxi authorities pointed me to his taxi. I threw my stuff in the back seat and we headed out to the hotel. I was in Canada this week. It’s a long ride to town and I had once again climbed into the cab of a man who had lived to see his country change from a calm pastoral British protectorate to a boiling horrible dictatorship.
His didn’t happen in six years. His happened in four months.
“Where you from?”
“How long have you been here?”
In a thick accent he answered, “about 24 years.” “What brought you here?”Â Â Read the rest