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Thursday, April 25, 2013

On the travesty that is the George W Bush Presidential Museum and its opening today (guest post)

Photo: In one hour President and Mrs. Bush will commemorate the completion of the George W. Bush Presidential Center — home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. Watch LIVE

I had the misfortune to wake up to a twisted bit of logic from Ed Gillespie on "Morning Joe" today. When the very best thing you can say about the Bush presidency is 'his personal approval rating always exceeded his job approval rating,' you know something's wrong. And neither Joe or Mika called him on it. Yes, I'm sure Dubya throws a hell of a backyard barbecue, but I require competence and a steadfast adherence to logic and facts from my president - and George W. Bush displayed none of those qualities during the eight years he served as chief executive.

Ed and Joe got together to discuss the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas today and spent most of their time glossing over the impact his administration had on our country. I expect that the coverage of the event on most networks (yes, even the "progressive" ones) will largely ignore the legacy of the Bush years and simply focus on who's there, what documents are archived and what President Obama's speechwriters might find to say that's positive about the former president during the building's dedication. It's a sham.

What I remember is that George W. Bush put Dick Cheney in charge of the country's counter-terrorism task force and he spent the next nine months refusing to meet with Richard Clarke. I remember them ignoring warnings that the system was "blinking red" and that 2,977 Americans died. I remember it only took six days for the Bush administration to draft a 12-page Memorandum of Notification authorizing the CIA to create secret prisons and torture anyone they felt might give them information. We suffered a horrific wound on September 11, 2001 - and on September 17, 2001 we responded by abandoning our morals. George W. Bush did that.

I remember that our professed "Christian" president ignored all evidence from the IAEA, millions of people around the world protesting and a personal plea from the Pope to launch a war that killed 100,000 Iraqis, 4,000 Americans and wounded another 31,000. George W. Bush did that.

I remember the 1,464 victims of Hurricane Katrina - and that FEMA's director should have been fired following the botched response to Hurricane Frances. I remember the 30,000 stranded in the SuperDome. “A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered a restroom. Blood stained the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers. ‘We pee on the floor. We are like animals,’ said Taffany Smith, 25, as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/05] “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” George W. Bush said that.

I remember the Bush presidency as one of the most destructive periods of this American experience. I remember the estimated six trillion dollars wasted on unnecessary wars - and nearly twelve trillion dollars the economic collapse cost taxpayers. When you eliminate restrictions on predatory lending, capital requirements, and allow Wall Street to police themselves, bad things are going to happen - and they did. George W. Bush did that.

I remember George W. Bush for pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the International Criminal Court Treaty. I remember Valerie Plame. I remember 1,020 days spent on vacation. I remember him saying "intelligent design" should be taught to school kids because evolution is just a "theory" (completely missing the point that a scientific theory is accepted as an explanation based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning). I remember George W. Bush, but sadly we live in what Gore Vidal referred to as the "United States of Amnesia." There is nothing to celebrate today - this is a day to remember that all of our recent troubles can be traced to just one guy: George W. Bush. "They misunderestimated me."

--From the Tom Joad Facebook page today

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