If we go by dates, today is three months since the brain surgery (Nov. 13th). And I still have no inclination to write lists. But I did come up with a way to sort of force myself into one, which I did the first half of yesterday, summing up one aspect of the last decade. Here's the other half:
16. in 2006, with Republicans controlling all three branches of the U. S. government for six years, the results are almost universally bad. The prestige of the U.S. around the world is at an alltime low. The enormous surplus (largest in history) left by the Clinton/Gore administration is being turned into what will become the largest deficit in history. Many bad statistics that had been going down (crime, teenage pregnancies, etc.) during the Clinton years, start going back up. Etc.
17. The economy is riding on a housing bubble, and though there are beginning to be warnings about that and the necessity for regulating financial institutions and their new and almost impossible to understand ways of making enormous profits that don't benefit anyone but the rich, the Republicans in charge ignore it all and refuse to pass any bills that will help with growing healthcare costs, corporate control of the government (for the first time in history, an administration and its minions in the Republican controlled Congress allow corporations to actually write the laws they pass favoring their industries, like banking, oil, etc.), or that will help the military/veterans, etc. (not to mention, which I didn't yesterday the Republican Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandal).
18. In 2006 U.S. military deaths in Iraq pass 3,000.
19. In November of '06 Republicans lose their majority in Congress and as a result Rumsfeld is replaced as Secretary of Defense and finally Congress in the next two years under the Democrats pass bills to help our veterans and troops in the field (it's Democrats who finally get military vehicles, in particular Humvees, the armor they went to war without, and get vets the benefits they and the Dems have been fighting for and deserve, but the rightwing Republicans use their mastery of spinning the media to convince uneducated or uninterested or ideologically frozen citizens to continue to mistake the Republicans as caring about our troops or our national security beyond defense contracts etc.).
20. In 2007 the global financial crash begins.
21. The U. S. is hit hard by the worldwide financial crash in part because of the Bush/Cheney Republican machine cutting taxes for the rich and waging two extremely costly wars—much of that cost going to graft and unaccountable "private" contractors—and the continuing rise in the price of oil (benefiting the Bush family business as well as Cheney's), etc.
22. By 2008 the U.S. death toll in Iraq alone exceeds 4,000 (again, not counting mercenaries or "private" contractors—"private" meaning taxpayers pay for somebody else to make a profit on these wars).
23. I forgot to mention in yesterday's list for 2001 the fact that Osama Bin Laden was trapped in a cave and allowed to go free for reasons that still remain highly questionable if not mysterious. By 2008 he has not only regrouped and extended his influence, but the Al Queda networking system for increasing terrorist attacks has expanded into other areas besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, i.e. Somalia and Yemen etc. So actual terrorism and the number of terrorists pursuing it has grown exponentially since the Bush/Cheney machine invaded Iraq.
24. Also in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapses and so does the stock market, down close to 31% for the year, the worst since The Great Depression. Most economists and CEOs of major "financial institutions" predict and/or fear a depression worse than that of the 1930s.
25. And the Bush administration through Hank Paulson creates a giant bailout package for banks and financial institutions "too big to fail" etc.
26. Oh, and Barack Obama is elected president.
27. In 2009 he takes office under the worst circumstances any president has faced since FDR (two wars and the biggest deficit in history plus a collapsed economy worlwide etc.) according to many historians, a few even suggest the worst conditions since Lincoln took office!
28. Three days into his tenure, rightwing commentators and leaders are already attacking Obama, some calling him, (already!), "the worst president in history"! (You can look them up, this is a blog not a history book, but one prominent example is the Bush Jr. speechwriter Marc Theissen.)
29. In his first weeks, before he even has a chance to change anything (and with Republicans already trying to block every attempt Obama makes to change the previous administration's policies) rightwingers blame the continuing decline in the stock market on Obama, but refuse to credit him when that decline stops after he institutes some major measures including a stimulus package that has many more restraints on it than the earlier Bush/Cheney bailout.
30. As he heads toward the end of his first year in office, Obama is beset on every side by criticism and a poll shows that only 12% of the population even realizes Obama cut taxes for "the middle class" already, as well as stopped wasting money and federal agents and resources on closing down medical marijuana centers in California and other states where they are legal (another instance of rightwing Republicans picking and choosing their constitutional defenses, i.e. states rights when states want to oppress a minority or thwart a change that might benefit someone other than their corporate pals, but no states rights when it comes to deciding that doctors should be the ones who determine whether a patient can use marijuana for medical reasons etc.), or that Obama's administration increased the number of children and others who can get healthcare etc. Though in many ways, just by addressing the many mistakes of the Bush/Cheney regime, Obama has already, before his first year is even up, turned many things around, like the reputation of the U.S. around the world, the precipitous decline in the stock market and the economy in general, avoided another Great Depression, changed the topic for many from burning flags and hostility to gays and abortion and etc. to helping people who are unemployed without healthcare and ending the two wars that have become the longest in our history. (And he caught a fly in his bare hand without missing a beat while being interviewed on TV expressing himself eloquently, with humility and good humor. Something the previous president couldn't even do well with a a microphone hidden in his jacket telling him what to say).
That's just a brief and perhaps oversimplified perspective on the past decade, but you know it's true.