Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jeb Bush is rightly considered to be the better Bush, but considering his father’s and his brother’s records, that is not saying much. For me to even consider him in 2016, he must speak honestly about both his brother’s record in office and President Obama’s record. I will accept neither “mistakes were made” nor the usual GOP lies. The only words I will listen to are honest ones.

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The big game

English: Official photograph portrait of forme...

English: Official photograph portrait of former U.S. President George W. Bush. Português: Foto oficial de George W. Bush, presidente dos Estados Unidos da América. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every four years, administration teams play a game of football to determine which team represents the worst president in US history. The winning team is awarded the Black Cup, for Buchanan’s Attorney General Jeremiah S. Black, which it retains until the next game to be played by a team representing a president who has completed a full four or eight year term. If a president has not served a full term, then there is no game played that year. The first game was played between teams representing Presidents Pierce and Buchanan in 1860. That game was won by the Buchanan administration and the Buchanan team went undefeated for 148 years until it was defeated by the George W. Bush team in 2008.

There were several close games in the years that followed 1860. The Grant team managed to send the game into overtime in 1876. The Harding team was expected to perform well in 1924, but Harding passed away in 1923. Hoover gave Buchanan a rough time in 1932. Because of WW2, no game was played in 1944, and FDR was too ill to participate anyway. George W. Bush gave the Buchanan team a scare in 2004, but Buchanan maintained his undefeated, untied string of victories until being blown away in 2008. Bush won easily in 2012. The GOP are trash talking President Obama now for the 2016 game. However, if they succeed in impeaching him, there will be no game in 2016. That will mean the next game to determine the worst president will be held in 2020. George, your possession of the Black Cup is secure for now.

Natural and unnatural disasters

Australia

Australia (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

What is an unnatural disaster? It is a natural disaster made much worse by the actions or lack thereof of conservatives in government.

Case in point, the fires near Sydney, Australia, in New South Wales state. It is spring Down Under during a prolonged drought and not yet the summer and fall high season for wildfires. The thinking person’s response would be to increase fire preparedness. Is that what the conservative government of NSW did? No, they cut the fire prevention budget for no good reason. The Great Recession in Australia is over, defeated several years ago by the traditional Keynesian remedy of adequate stimulus by the national government. Something that hasn’t happened here because the GOP are punishing us for electing Barack Obama in 2008 and re-electing him in 2012.

Another case in point, the destruction of New Orleans in 2005 by Katrina. We are now 8 years after that event and New Orleans still has not recovered. George W. Bush knew that the levees needed to be strengthened and he did nothing for 4.5 years, spending money on dredging a seldom used canal rather than budgeting for levee maintenance in New Orleans. Conservatives tend to be penny-wise and pound-foolish when it comes to government spending for the common good. Today, they decry the national debt when they should be stimulating the economy to increase economic activity and increase tax receipts. But that would redound to President Obama’s credit and they cannot abide that.

The Predator State

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shares a ...

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shares a laugh with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney during his farewell parade at the Pentagon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Predator State, How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K. Galbraith published in 2008. The predator state is the marriage between large corporations and government.

“Republican (with a small “r”) government, with its checks and balances, exists to limit the abuse of power. It is a matter of negotiation, compromise, the making of public arguments, and of listening to private dissent. Modern corporate decision-making structures exist, on the contrary, to permit senior executives to do what they want. This is the culture that Richard Cheney brought back into government from Halliburton, that George bush imbibed at his minor perches at Harken Energy and the Texas rangers. The operational result is a government by cliques operating in secret, indeed with their very membership unknown outside. Cheney’s 2001 Energy Task Force is a characteristic example. The neoconservative capture of foreign policy inside the Bush administration is another. The drive by Karl Rove‘s political office to direct the U.S. attorneys into political prosecutions is a third. The advance and defense of torture as a method of interrogation in secret prisons run by the CIA is a fourth. The program of warrantless wiretapping, which evidently amounts to the blanket capture by the National Security Agency of all Internet communications, is a fifth. The list could go on, but the practice is clear: we live under a government that as a matter of principle does what it wants.”

Petty and small-minded

English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States Español: Escudo del Presidente de los Estados Unidos Македонски: Печат на Претседателот на Соединетите Американски Држави. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barack and family are on vacation this week and Chris Hayes and Bill O’Reilly were on vacation last week, so naturally Barack’s time away from the White House was discussed by both men. Continuing the FOX News policy of petty and small-minded 24/7 criticism of everything the President says and does, Bill O’Reilly criticized the expense of the President’s vacation. Putting the trip in context, Chris Hayes listed the days of vacation of Presidents Reagan to Obama. Only Bill Clinton had taken fewer days of vacation at this point in his presidency. Ronald Reagan took a lot more vacation days at his ranch, and GW Bush took roughly 4 times as many days of vacation as President Obama has taken to date. Considering the difference in the quality of information offered, I wonder why anyone watches O’Reilly when they could be watching Chris Hayes at the same hour.