It looks like Osama hit the trifecta. . . . with the help of his new best friend, George W. Bush. He's destroyed the security fabric of American life; he's set up Iraq and the United States for war, and he's conned Colin Powell and GW Bush into broadcasting his coded message to his associates. That is, if you believe Bush's order from last fall to the networks to not broadcast any Osama tapes, for fear they contain coded messages to his stateside supporters. Deeper thought reveals Osama may have achieved a quad, considering our president has done more to undermine American way of life in the name of national security, than Osama, Saddam and the quaint old Soviet Politburo ever did.
GW Bush thought he hit the trifecta with the September 11 bombings. Or so he proclaimed shortly after hearing the news. If that isn't the most cynical comment from any president in history, name me one other president who has viewed the slaughter of 1000's of Americans as the cue to implement his dream agenda of a Constitution-free police state.
Had September 11 never occurred, we might still have the Patriot Act without even knowing it. Last week brought the news that Attorney General John Ashcroft had drafted Patriot Act II, called "The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003." Now there's a comfortable euphemism for you, "Security Enhancement." That is the code for:
1.. The right of the government to arbitrarily revoke citizenship and all the constitutional safeguards that implies;
2.. Secret arrests of American citizens;
3.. New death penalty statutes;
4.. A reduction in judicial oversight of surveillance.
The problem with Patriot Act II is that we weren't supposed to know about it yet. Ashcroft was saving it as a war gift to the American people after another (God forbid) terrorist attack, or as a morale booster during the upcoming invasion of Iraq. But someone in the Justice Department leaked it, maybe because they find the concept to be problematic. Had the September 11 tragedy never occurred, we would still have Patriot Act I, but you would not know it unless you were being detained. And your family would just worry about you and eventually have you declared legally dead.
Before September 11, the media was at summer camp as GW Bush provided daily guffaws with his language butchering, malapropisms and non-sequitar statements. It had become obvious that Bush Sr. had chosen Dan Quayle as his VP because Quayle is so much like Junior.
All the media outlets suddenly changed their portrayal after Bush's first speech to Congress after the attacks. Suddenly the references to Bush's underachieving, plutocratic background were no longer newsworthy, and he was anointed a "great leader" with staggering approval ratings. So where did CBS/NY Times pollsters find the 1,001 Americans who account for this sudden popularity reversal? They didn't call anybody I know.
Once in a while, a credible reporter will blurt something out that proclaims, "I am a stooge." All the fawning over Bush in the aftermath of his first post-September 11 speech looked and sounded like the lockstep fawning that the media of Iraq and North Korea heap upon their leaders in times of crisis. That turnaround was even quicker than the one the media did for the Impeachment Festival. One week they said Henry Hyde wasn't fit to judge because of his own extramarital record; the next week a network reporter actually said, "Wow, when you hear 'hear ye, hear ye' on the floor of Congress, you know this is serious." His female colleague chimed in, "Oh yes, Bob, you can sense that we're at an important moment in history." Stooges.
Would Bush's popularity surge have occurred if his trifecta comments had been known at the time? If America knew that Bush received the news of September 11 with such cynical glee, would they have bought into the fodder of his speech?
September 11 was the most tragic and traumatic event in American history since World War II. Our victimization earned us the sympathy and support of the entire world. Now, we have so squandered that good will, that two of our greatest allies, France and Germany have all but turned their backs on us. It's not just that most Europeans and their leaders view Bush as a reckless cowboy lacking the complex grasp of issues to be an effective president. But that he's come to represent the worst of Reagan, his father, Lyndon Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt's gunboat diplomacy.
Bush resolved to get the attackers but they've proved elusive. So he targeted a less threatening enemy in Iraq, and proclaimed a specious link between Saddam and al-Queda. But no one outside the Beltway and a few focus groups have bought into it, least of all France and Germany.
Bush has whipped part of the country into a war frenzy to the point where his media stooges and Republican operatives now strain to compare him to Churchill. But Bush forgot one little detail about our upcoming war: to include it in the budget.
Bush's proposed budget calls for:
-A $304 Billion deficit for next year
-More tax cuts for the highest income earners,
-An elimination of taxes on stock dividends
-A major cut in appropriations for state and local governments who are somehow expected to make up for federal cuts in social services.
(Now I get it; if you cut taxes and federal revenues, cut social services including food and medicine for the needy, cut money for local governments, then that leaves the churches. So Bush pares the options to "Faith-based" and "Faith-based", to help get rid of that pesky old church-state separation thing.)
But the new budget doesn't account for paying for the war in Iraq. And now the troops are mustering out. Bush and the chickenhawks are pining for a war that nobody in the Pentagon wants to fight. Perhaps we'll pay for it with seized mineral rights. Ronald Reagan introduced America to double-speak; accusing the opposition of his own crimes, placing people in charge of government department whose purpose is to destroy the interests they are charged with safeguarding, and choosing judges based on ideology. In hindsight, Reagan was a kinder, gentler version of Bush, Jr. Bush's attempt to ram Miguel Estrata through the judiciary committee raises questions, because while Bush has his people chairing all the committees, he is trying to bypass procedure. Rather than nominate candidates who could enjoy bi-partisan support, Bush has nominated candidates whose politics and judicial records are offensive to all but the most far right Members of Congress. When Democrats and moderate Republicans raise questions about candidates and insist on following constitutional procedure, Bush and Sen.Orrin Hatch call them "obstructionist."
In the days after September 11, Bush said to Budget Director Mitch Daniels, "Lucky me, I hit the trifecta." Since then he has repeatedly uttered that comment at Republican fundraisers. What did he mean by that? Previously, Bush had said that he would only raid Social Security in case of recession, war, or national emergency. Bush started his own recession, and his budget ensures that it will be a long one. He and Osama teamed up for the other two. They're doing each other's bidding.