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Bush Surging Into Oblivion

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With less than a year left in office, George Bush is scrambling to tie up the loose ends of his presidency and cobble together something he can point to as his legacy, before he leaves town. Faced with the distraction of the election and squeezed by the limited time left in his term, Bush has decided to deploy every available staffer and appointee out into the nation to effect a 'surge' of accomplishments which he can highlight in his presidential library.

All set to give his State of the Union Address Monday night, Bush is already prepared to report 'progress' and successes stretching from his continuing occupation of Iraq, to his reinterpretation of the Constitution and abuse of our democracy back home in the name of 'national security', and in his ability to hold on to the tax breaks the nation's affluent 2% have enjoyed during his presidency, at the miserly expense of the needs of the rest of the nation.

"I will report that over the last seven years, we've made great progress on important issues at home and abroad," Bush said in his radio address this weekend, telegraphing the highlights of his address. "In my speech, I will lay out a full plate of issues for Congress to address in the year ahead," he said.

Undoubtedly, Bush will lead his appeal with a defense of his stewardship of the economy. 'This economy of ours is on a solid foundation," Bush told reporters days before he admitted to himself that immediate action was needed to prop up the declining markets. What the White House and the Emperor's Democratic tailors agreed to was a package of petty bribes to American taxpayers (funded by our foreign debt-holders in countries like Saudi Arabia and China) and a pacifying lump of cash for their corporate benefactors.

Nothing, however will be broached by Bush or his congressional cohorts to address the exploding budget deficit which is forecast to rise to $219 bln in 2008, well over last years deficit total of $163 bln.. Their election year band-aid will only increase pressure on the stifled economy, promising a flood of negative effects for the next presidency as the departing administration removes their finger from the economic dike.

Bush will also be looking to orchestrate a 'surge' of activity surrounding his defense and perpetuation of his autocratic occupation of Iraq. His hapless lackey in the Iraqi regime, Prime Minister Maliki, has been openly preparing for over a week for a massive, staged military assault against Sunni communities in Mosul which government leaders have identified as 'al-Qaeda strongholds.' Obviously under Bush's direction, the new Iraqi dictator intends to demonstrate for Americans looking on that his army is capable of the same 'My Lai' type assaults on his countryfolk his U.S. military protectors have conducted; all for the presumed 'political progress' of the Iraqi regime, or for the furthering of Bush's politics back home.


Look at the grand army he's recreated with soldiers originally disbanded by the invaders. Look at how well they strike out at the specter of Bush's al-Qaeda. "We know there's been 'progress' in Iraq because we have a body count of 'insurgents' we killed in our contrived raids."

Lastly, Bush wants to keep a tight lid on the evidence of his illegal domestic surveillance, by pressuring Congress to give his telecommunication accomplices immunity from prosecution for their illegal assistance to an administration which refused to follow the law as they trolled through private phone and e-mail records. The administration insists that no laws were broken, yet, is loath to allow any of the FISA judges to review their handiwork. Bush wants Congress to waive him on as he does his predictable end run around the law, without even showing them the product of the surfing his people did through thousands of confidential records and proving their innocence.

Like the administration's torture bill -- which reached back and granted immunity from prosecution for those who engaged in administration approved torture, in defiance of clear law and regulation prohibiting the actions -- Bush wants a clean slate of approval for the wiretapping abuses his administration arrogantly engaged in, clearly defying the law and their obligation to open their activities for congressional review. All Bush has to do to continue to use wiretapping in his 'terror war', is follow the original FISA law which saw over 90% of the requests which were brought before the panel approved outright.

But, this administration, obviously, has a great deal of their activities they feel a need to conceal from the scrutiny of the American people. All they have left as a defense is Bush in his little, lame, bully pulpit. And, very few Americans are buying the arguments from an administration which has sacrificed over 4000 U.S. service-folk overseas for their political agenda; fostered and fueled a previously non-existent al-Qaeda presence in Iraq with their invasion and occupation; has been caught, red-handed, rifling through our private communications; and has destroyed the nation's economy for average Americans struggling to survive . . . Yet, Bush will try Monday night.

"When I go before Congress on Monday, I will speak more about how we can keep our economy strong and our people safe," Bush said in his weekend address.

I expect very little from Bush about his own responsibility in the decline in all of that. One of the extraordinary initiatives Bush will reportedly announce is an Executive Order directing federal agencies to "ignore" earmarks included in reconciling conference report language, but not in the actual wording of spending legislation. Once again, Bush is set to assume a privilege to ignore the intent of Congress as they do their job of appropriating money from the Treasury. Bush, in typical fashion, will attempt to dictate the intent of laws established by Congress to conform them to whatever he couldn't achieve through the normal legislative process.

That's as good as a legacy as Bush can demonstrate tonight. Bush has achieved an autocratic administration which was able to amass assumed authority through the inability or ineptness of Congress to counter his power-grabs with their own constitutional levers of accountability and justice. Whatever anti-democratic or anti-constitutional constructions he's managed during his tenure will either collapse by attrition in the wake of a change in parties in power, or, will provide a platform for the next generation of corporatist republicans to build their own petty autocracy.

Whatever Bush manages to express in his legacy address Monday night, one thing will be clear. The problems which Bush will claim to be responsive to are results and consequences of his own arrogant disregard of the will of the American people that he put aside his opportunistic militarism abroad and focus on the needs and concerns of Americans at home. The irony of a landmark presidential election to replace Bush -- drowning out his legacy appeal -- should not be lost on even one so ignorant as to escalate and highlight the agenda millions will mass together to oppose with their votes on election day.

 

Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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