Today's thirteen weeks since brain surgery, and I still have no inclination to write the lists that crowded my head and writing (and this blog) in one way or another throughout my life.
But last night in thinking about that before I fell asleep, I decided I'd try a very simple list, not anything too challenging in terms of alphabets or triplets etc. I thought it's time I commented on the passing of a decade, something I was still too deep into recovering from the operation to take much note of at the end of last year. So here's one perspective on that decade:
1. In 2000, Al Gore has been writing and speaking out about the degradation of the environment and its consequences for many many years. The rightists and the main stream media not only make fun of him for this "tree hugging" (and his "stiffness") in this election year, but also for his constant harping in speeches and debates about putting Social Security into a "lockbox" so that politicians (mostly Republican) in Congress can no longer raid the Social Security fund to pay for their pet projects, and thus Social Security will remain solvent.
2. In November Gore is elected president of the United States by popular vote. He also wins the electoral vote according to all exit polls, which up until this election have always been accurate. But after a call from George W. Bush to his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, that state suddenly recounts its votes and declares Bush the winner.
3. The conflict over Florida's electoral votes goes to the courts and eventually the Florida Supreme Court approves a recount. The Bush machine contests this every step of the way, ultimately convincing the U.S. Supreme Court's right-leaning wing to vote a precedent (that they write in their ruling should never be followed again!), that despite this same wing of the Supreme Court's (and the right in general) arguments for the power of individual states to define their own laws, and despite their arguments against so-called "liberal" judges for "interpreting" the Constitution rather than just applying it, this Republican dominated court rules against the will of the people as expressed in the popular vote, and against the Constitution in terms of the rights of states among other things, and against the state of Florida to hold a recount etc. and CHOOSES Bush as president.
4. Bush chooses to ignore warnings from the outgoing Clinton/Gore administration that Al Queda is the number one security threat and should be monitored closely as they're planning attacks on the U.S. (When Clinton tried to kill Osama Bin Laden by bombing his operations in Afghanistan the right and its Republican politicians overwhelmed the media with their claim that Clinton's attempts to protect the security of the U.S. from Bin Laden was just a way to distract the media from the more important matter of whether he lied about an affair.)
5. Bush takes the longest vacation (the entire month of August) of any president since before the Great Depression. A few days after he returns to Washington it, and New York, are attacked by agents working for Bin Laden and Al Queda. Almost 3000 people are killed and the twin towers are destroyed.
6. Bush inherited the largest surplus in history for the U. S. Treasury, but in his first year the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history to that date is a warning sign about the negative effects of deregulation. The bankrupt company, Enron, was led by a close Bush friend and supporter. Bush's solution to this problem: the placement of rightwing appointees in government regulatory agencies who see that corporations aren't regulated even when required by law. And a tax cut for the rich.
7. The terrorist attack on 9/11 is carried out by men from Saudi Arabia under the direction of the Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden. But the Saudi ruling family has had close tie with the Bush family for many decades, both benefiting from the relationship including from oil profits etc. So the Bush/Cheney administration ignores the Saudi support of militant jihadist training and the spread of its ideology through Saudi supported schools and organizations throughout the Middle East and instead decides to invade Iraq, a plan drawn up before the Bush/Cheney machine even entered the White House and well before 9/11, even though Sadam Hussein despises Bin Laden and the religiously based militant jihadist movement and rules over one of the most secular societies in the Middle East. But Hussein has oil reserves coveted by Bush/Cheney and has been a thorn in Bush Jr's, side ever since Bush Sr. decided it was too risky to invade Iraq and depose Hussein after the first Gulf War.
8. In March of 2003, the Bush/Cheney machine ignores reports they requested from their own intelligence agencies, including military intelligence, that said Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction nor was it involved in 9/11 nor would U.S troops be welcome nor would the limited amount of troops Donald Rumsfeld requested be enough. The media ignores all this and reports the invasion in the terms Bush/Cheney dictate, with only a few exceptions.
9. On the eve of the invasion I read a long poem at a reading to protest the invasion. The poem, MARCH 18, 2003, includes information from the limited sources covering the reality of the the invasion of Afghanistan. In it I recount stories of torture in that country by American troops, connect the impending invasion of Iraq to family and political interests of the Bushes, predict some outcomes that in time come true. But many in the audiences I read this poem to over the coming months dispute my allegations, unable to believe that U.S. troops would torture, in some instances to death, anyone, or that Bush/Cheney would lie about the evidence for weapons of mass destruction or Iraqi connections to 9/11.
10. While the people of Iraq and some of their most successful and prestigious institutions (like museums etc.) are left to suffer death and destruction, the Bush/Cheney machine makes certain all Iraqi Oil facilities get the protection of the U. S. military.
11. Bush declares "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.
12. in 2004 the U.S. troop death toll in Iraq hits 1,000, but there's no accounting for the deaths of Iraqis caught in the conflict nor of all the "contractors" used by the Bush/Cheney administration, making this the first U.S. war in modern times to employ large numbers of mercenaries, as well as secret budgets, and political appointees running the war who have no experience with either the military or the nation-building aspects and ignore military advice, including disbanding the Iraqi military leaving unemployed military-trained men with nothing to do except resent the presence of foreign troops in their homeland.
13. The invasion of Iraq increases recruiting for Al Queda and therefore attacks against U.S. troops as well as U.S. allies (terrorist train bombing in Madrid claims close to 200).
13. In 2005 the U.S. military death toll passes 2000. The terrorists numbers increase and suicide bombers attack London subways and a bus killing over 50.
14. Hurricane Katrina mostly misses New Orleans and leaves the city feeling lucky, until the levees break, levees the federal government had been warned wouldn't hold. Over 1,500 people die and many are left stranded and eventually homeless.
15. After surveying from a plane one of the worst man-made disasters in U. S. history (man made because it was the faulty levees not the hurricane that caused the damage and loss of lives), ignoring the devastation and still suffering survivors getting no help from the government, Bush tells his man in charge of disasters "Heck of a job"—heck of a job indeed.
[to be cont'd]