The Bush Administration has taught us several valuable lessons. I've decided it's important to document them so we don't forget. You definitely won't find these in your old civics book.
- The "checks and balances" in the Constitution don't provide as much protection as we may believe.
I still remember my initial reaction when Bush was elected in 2000. I thought, "Well, how much harm can he do? Congress and the courts will keep him in check."
I didn't consider his power over government agencies, like the EPA. He doesn't need congress to pass any laws to get what he wants. He can simply tell the EPA to stop investigating certain violations of environmental law. That's it. It's the same kind of discretion we all see police use when they decide not to pull someone over for speeding.
And never forget the old "slash the budget" trick.
Unfortunately, this kind of policy results in special treats, like women being warned not to eat too much fish to avoid mercury poisoning.
In addition, I hadn't considered the fact that congress would roll over and expose its tender bits, offering no resistance to the executive branch. They seem to have replaced "oversight" with "overlook". Whatever cockamamie scheme Bush dreams up, it's a Republican scheme and that's good enough for them.
The Phrase for the New Century: "The vote was along strict party lines".
- Words speak louder than actions.
People probably won't bother to follow up on what you say, so say whatever people want to hear. If you keep repeating that there's a chicken in every pot, people may not notice that they no longer even have a pot.
- Nixon's problem with Watergate was that he got caught.
- Clinton's problem was that he spoke while under oath.
Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. Never speak while under oath.
Alberto Gonzales demonstrated that you don't have to testify under oath on a subject that you've previously testified about while under oath!
My parents taught me that only liars are afraid to swear to tell the truth. If you're not under oath, anything goes. The entire Bush Administration has its fingers crossed behind its back.
- Stick to your story, even beyond the point of reason.
- We're winning the wars in Afganistan and Iraq.
- Freedom is on the march!
- Iraq is not on the brink of civil war.
- Except for the terrorists, the world loves America.
- O.J. Simpson is still searching for Nicole and Ron's killer.
"I'll probably say it three more times. See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." - George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005
- Everything can be classified.
I can't tell you why it's classified because...it's classified!
Even the president's grocery list can be classified. Let congress try to subpoena it. The president can refuse to recognize the subpoena, claiming that releasing the document will jeopardize national security. Then he won't have to explain where all that Jim Beam is going.
- In the unlikely event something cannot be classified, it must be part of an ongoing investigation.
Everyone knows you can't comment on an ongoing investigation. That'd be unethical.
- A White House Press Secretary doesn't require:
- Public speaking skills
- A soul
The only job requirement seems to be the ability to refuse to answer questions, no matter how reasonable. Eventually you declare that you've already answered that question and move on.
- Some people are so blindly loyal that you can shoot them in the face and they'll apologize for the trouble they've caused you.
- Once you're in the White House, normal laws don't apply to you.
If the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is inconvenient, unilaterally ignore it.
When involved in a hunting accident you can, much like the Gate Keeper of The Emerald City, tell the law enforcement officers who'd like to speak with you to come back tomorrow.
- During wartime, the president is Commander in Chief of everyone.
Some nancy-boys will claim he's only Commander in Chief of the armed forces, which gives him no special powers over the general public. Pish posh! The Constitution says he has unlimited wartime powers. He can't remember exactly where it says that, but it's in there somewhere.
- FISA is obsolete because it's 28 years old.
"...the FISA law was written in 1978. We're having the discussion in 2006. It's a different world." - George W. Bush, Press Conference, January 26, 2006
That moldy old Constitution of the United States of America must be totally worthless, being over 200 years old. Talk about a different world!
- During the Cold War, we knew the Soviets were an "evil empire" because they:
- Operated prisons in places like Siberia where they kept political prisoners without due process of law.
- Ignored treaties like the Geneva Conventions.
- Engaged in "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment" (a.k.a. torture) of prisoners.
- Spied on their own citizens without any type of checks or balances.
- Invaded countries that had not attacked them to impose communism.
- Suppressed many of the liberties Americans had enjoyed for years.
- Carried out their policies without regard for world opinion, not attempting to be a good world citizen.
- During the War on Terrorism, as the "good guys" we can only be safe if we:
- Operate prisons in places like Guantanamo Bay where we keep political prisoners without due process of law.
- Ignore treaties like the Geneva Conventions.
- Engage in "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment" (a.k.a. torture) of prisoners.
- Spy on our own citizens without any type of checks or balances.
- Invade countries that have not attacked us to impose democracy.
- Suppress many of the liberties Americans have enjoyed for years. (Habeas corpus leaps to mind.)
- Carry out our policies without regard for world opinion, not attempting to be a good world citizen.
- It's not whether you win or lose, it's who gets the money.
Haliburton is just as qualified as its competitors. So why not throw a few billion in business at your friends? That's called loyalty, which is of paramount importance to Bush.
Is anyone really an expert at handling unique emergencies? They've never happened before; that's why they're unique. So why not let Brownie take whack at running FEMA? He's a good guy. He'll do a heck of a job!
- Poor people don't need money as much as rich people do.
Poor people are used to living without money. After all, they're poor.
Bush knows that if you give rich people additional money, say in the form of tax breaks, they won't just hoard it or spend it on themselves. They'll reinvest it in their businesses and communities. Only the naive and uninformed think that the best way to become rich is to hang on to as much money as you can. You get rich by giving away big whopping piles of your money.
Trust the rich. They're looking out for you. They love to sacrifice profits to help the disadvantaged. They'll make sure all of their workers have affordable, quality health care. They'd never send manufacturing jobs overseas just to lower costs and increase profits. That would throw their fellow Americans out of work! Lobbying for deregulation helps everyone. Just ask a miner.
Now take your soma...