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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Mess that Pelosi Left for Obama

This article was originally published on on Tuesday, November 4, 2008:

If we are so lucky as to have a fair election despite the voter suppression, hackable voting machines, and intimidation, Obama is going to inherit a hell of a mess. He might have to be almost as superhuman as many of his swooning fans think he is to straighten it out, and I blame Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that the task has remained so gigantic.

She was handed her mission in Nov. 2006 and chose not to accept it. Despite her frequent claim that legislative “priorities” left no time for impeachment, under her leadership Congress did not stop the war, repeal the Patriot Act, curb global warming, protect our privacy, ensure the integrity of elections or pass other important legislation. I believe that is precisely because she refused to impeach. Her weakness emboldened Republicans and certainly encouraged the White House to thumb its nose at the legislative branch.

Since she hasn’t been impeaching and she hasn’t been passing much-needed laws, what has she been up to? It seems she has been principally devoted to posturing with superficial outrage at the Republicans, while letting things get as bad as possible so a Democrat can win the White House.

But electing Obama isn’t enough. Trusting that he won’t be like Bush and send troops off to war on outrageous lies, or spy on his own people, or censor government science, or fire U.S. attorneys resistant to voter suppression, or rebuff pleas for federal resources during an epic natural disaster, or defy the Geneva Conventions, habeas corpus, the Bill of Rights, or hundreds of new laws with ‘signing statements’ – isn’t enough. These crimes that have happened to the American people have to be answered. We deserve it and democracy requires it. Otherwise it can happen again.

Though millions of people certainly want to shake off the shackles that the radical right-wing coup inflicted on the country in 2000, there are others who actually have no idea what’s been going on for eight years. Even Oliver Stone, emerging from some sort of coma, is under the impression that Bush is just an incompetent dum-dum. A portion of the populace actually still maintains that Bush was fantastic, because they still believe Iraq was in league with al-Qaeda and involved in 9/11; they heard Bush speak many times of a link, but missed it when he finally admitted there was none. There are people who have no idea that the whole propaganda operation on the American people to authorize the Iraq War was a deliberate deception; they haven’t read the books by former prosecutors Vincent Bugliosi and Elizabeth de la Vega, and they don’t know that the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded the intelligence had been manipulated to gain support for the war – that’s manipulated, not misunderstood. The culture has settled into a kind of mythology that the war was just a mistake. Again, even Oliver Stone and his W. screenwriter Stanley Weiser believe that Bush had good intentions. This is very dangerous to leave uncorrected.

A sizeable number of crazies, hyped into a slavering frenzy by the McCain/Palin campaign, are going to raise a ruckus -- possibly on Nov. 5th – but almost certainly as soon as Obama tries to bring the troops home, close Guantanamo, halt global warming, tax the rich, or various other big changes. If he decides on talks with Iran, for instance, imagine the fuss there’ll be.

Oh, how much easier it would be for Obama if Congress first cleared the way by setting the record straight on how different the world and America really are from what Bush and Cheney have made us believe. America frequently does undergo mass delusions -- it used to believe slavery was justified, for instance, and communist witch hunts – and when these delusions are not firmly corrected on a national level, they persist for generations and lead to other delusions.

If Congress doesn’t get it on the record that so many dozens of things the Administration did were completely illegal, then there’ll be more trouble the next election and on down the line, and there’ll also be a very bad precedent that will just encourage repeats. The fact that LBJ got booed out of office but not booted out of office for leading the nation into Vietnam on the false Gulf of Tonkin incident laid the way for Reagan’s phony MIGs crisis in Nicaragua, his fabrication of a weapons cache in Grenada, and Bush Sr.’s fake claims of satellite photos showing Iraqi troops along Saudi Arabia.

Obama is very unlikely to lead any charge against the Bush criminal gang, having run on a platform of co-operation. But Rep. Dennis Kucinich has recommended a truth and reconciliation commission, and there’s still a big movement that wants to see prosecutions. Bugliosi says any state prosecutor could prosecute Bush.

I just hope that enough people in California’s 8th district vote for Cindy Sheehan to let Pelosi know that they are pissed at her. Her last opponent, running for the Greens, got 8% of the vote. If Sheehan can get more than that so Pelosi doesn’t think it’s just par for the course, if it’s a noticeable number, maybe a crack will appear in that bubble she has encased herself in so determinedly. If Pelosi would just stop standing so firmly in the way of those in Congress who want to see justice done, maybe something could happen.

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