Perspective

George Bush got a pass from history that I will never understand. He starts a war for a completely fictionalized reason, which results in hundreds of thousands of people dying, and an entire generation of war vets coming home, damaged for the rest of their lives, and you can see them on the streets. Why are they on the streets? Because George Bush started a war for no reason. Right? And then not to mention the devastation that is left over in Iraq because we started a war for no reason. Right?

…And somehow this doesn’t matter and we’re obsessing about Trump’s tweets when there is a guy in Texas…

(Larry Wilmore: You know who was against that war? Your boy Trump.)

I don’t think Trump is nearly as egregious as George Bush. I don’t think it’s even close. He started a war on the basis of a lie. A complete falsehood which he told to the American people that had nothing to do with 9-11. Which devastated tens of thousands of lives, cost a trillion dollars, and left a generation of American soldiers devastated and wounded and somehow he’s perceived as this genial guy down in Texas painting pictures and giving speeches.

What is the matter with us? There is nothing Donald Trump has done that has come even close to the human devastation of George Bush’s time. Not even close. Not even close. I mean, Trump is a deeply objectionable figure, but he has not resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people for no reason.

George Bush is a war criminal. That is what a war criminal is. Someone who enters into a disastrous conflict for no good reason. For worse than no good reason. For a completely trumped up, ridiculous reason. The choice of things that Americans get riled up about has always amazed me.

Malcolm Gladwell

Something I’ve pointed out a few dozen times myself. As much as Trump is an active threat to the proper functioning of the United States, and a fraudster that is duping us of millions of dollars for every day he is in office, he hasn’t yet descended to the level of war criminal that Bush, Cheney, et al occupy.

The Orange Hate-Monkey hasn’t gone that far down the scale of evil yet. Yet. The back and forth occurs at 40:45 in this episode of Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air.

Malcolm Gladwell on ‘Talking to Strangers’ (Live) | Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air

I also took the time to listen to It’s Been a Minute With Sam Sanders,  Best-Selling Author Malcolm Gladwell On ‘Talking To Strangers’: A Live Conversation. Both podcasts were worth the time, and you gain an insight into the personality of Sandra Bland that isn’t available anywhere else unless you just happened to run across her Youtube channel yourself, as well as why every time you call a racist a racist you are in some small way handing a victory to institutional racism.


It is worth noting that not prosecuting George W. Bush, Dick Cheney et al for their war crimes leads directly to Donald Trump becoming president. Which means that in some small part, Barack Obama is to blame for the predicament that we find ourselves in today. George W. Bush was not prosecuted for war crimes because the Obama justice department chose not to make a case of the conspiracies and lies that lead us into war in Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives lost, the foundation of DAESH (what the media in the US calls the Islamic State) hundreds of thousands of Syrian lives lost, thousands of American lives lost, more than a hundred thousand injured and disabled US veterans, trillions of dollars wasted. George Bush and his administration get a pass for all of that when all of that sprang directly from the lie that Iraq was somehow involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. President Obama gave him that pass.

Had George Bush been prosecuted. Had the known crimes against humanity committed by the Bush administration been subjected to inquiry, justice and restitution, the Republican party would not have felt that they were still in the right when it comes to their delusions about foreign policy. Their delusions about christianity. The place of the US government as part of a whole world which requires governance. Requires justice.

They would have known that their beliefs were based on lies because the criminal proceedings would have made the truth of this blatantly clear. Whether they agreed with the verdicts or not, in the end, the trial of George W. Bush for war crimes would have altered the trajectory of the Republican party if not resulted in its destruction and reformation as a viable opposing party to the Democrats.

Instead we let George Bush off the hook. And what we got for letting him off the hook was transparently racist hatred of Barack Obama and an unrepentant Republican party willing to sacrifice everything on one last chance to get their beliefs enshrined as public policy, even if that meant they had to destroy everything they pretended to hold dear in the process.

What we got for our inaction on the crimes of the Bush administration was civil war in Syria and unrest across the entire region that we refer to as the Middle East. How many millions of lives will be negatively impacted by our unwillingness to get involved in the Syrian civil war?

Morning Edition – Survivor Of Torture In Syria’s Prisons Is Telling His Story

Climate change is a portion of the reason why Syria descended into civil war. Civil war is always more complex than any one group involved in the civil war ever wants to admit. An extended drought in the region lead to crop failures and the migration of the starving farmers into cities and towns where they demanded aid and assistance from the Assad government. Instead of responding with aid, Bashar al Assad imprisoned these protestors and forced the dissident groups within his country to ally with outside forces in order to topple his government. Topple his government so that the poor in his country could be given the assistance that they needed to weather the crisis brought on by climate change.

The conservatives here in the US deny that climate change is real, and they further deny that we have any reason to think that the human tragedies occurring in Syria and elsewhere around the world are our responsibility. All while we pump out more carbon dioxide than any other country as technically advanced as our own.

How many millions of people, if not billions of people, will suffer and possibly die because of the denialism that we allow to fester in our country, when it comes to climate change? Why do we allow these people who deny science to lead our country? Why do we think that they have a right to believe things which are demonstrably not true? Will flat earthers be given a seat at the leadership table next?

Morning Edition – We Are On The Front Line Of Climate Change, Marshall Islands President Says

That is perspective. Study it closely.

In It For the Power Alone

Confession time.

I enjoy the State of the Union address.  I watch it every year, without fail. Some years I can watch it straight; others I have to watch through a comedic lens. I genuinely appreciate a good speech. I enjoy the pageantry of the State of the Union, and unlike others who think it should be retired, I think this country would be less than it is without the President appearing to talk to us about his perceptions of the union, and his plans for the next year.

Youtube, President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address

The last six years have been enjoyable times.  Compared to the Presidents who preceded him, Barack Obama shines when he is speaking. Neither W nor Clinton could hold a candle to this man when he has a message and wants to talk to you about it.  Reagan is the only President in my living memory who comes anywhere close to being as magnetic a personality as our sitting President is.

Still, there is a part of the current State of the Union that I really disapprove of, and once I describe this to you, I’m betting you’ll agree with it.

I’m sitting there watching the speech, and I hear the President get to the subject of equal pay for women, and John Boehner doesn’t stand up for it. None of the Republicans stand up for it.  By their actions, they appear to be opposed to all of the policies which the President set forth, many of which deserved applause.  I was just rewatching the Nightly Show from the night of the speech; and during the “Keeping it 100” segment, Amy Holmes says she would not support the President’s call for equal pay by standing for it. She apparently thinks she should be paid less than a man for doing the same job.  Or is there another factor at play here?

THE NIGHTLY SHOW WITH LARRY WILMORE PANEL – THE STATE OF OBAMA – KEEP IT 100

There is an obvious conclusion which can be drawn from these displays of disdain for progressive causes.  They sit on their hands because they don’t want to give approval to the party in power, that much is clearly true.  They sit on their hands because they want to hold the power for themselves. That is also true.  It’s all about the power, wielding the power. It isn’t about what is good for the country, or what is good for the people in general, it is about the power and the power alone.

I can hear you now dear reader The Democrats Are No Different! and if they fail to stand and applaud for progressive causes, for things which will be for the good of the nation, then they are just as craven and should also face rejection at the polls. Having viewed the State of the Union as I have for decades, I haven’t noticed the Democratic party failing to applaud proposals they agree with.  Only the Republicans appear to feel the need to openly crave power in this fashion.

So it makes me wonder. Why exactly should we vote for these people who are in it for the power alone? Maybe we should elect people who go there to represent us?  Just a thought.

Feb. 14, 2019. Edited Youtube and Nightly Show video links, converted to WordPress.

Re-editing Huck Finn

There’s a new group out there offering an edited version of Huck Finn, Which is already one of the most censored book in history. This edited version cleans up the racist problems revealed in the book and through that erases the history of the United States’ foundation. The fact that the US was established as a nation that allowed the owning of other people.

All I have to say is, hands off my Twain, got it?

Haven’t we learned by now that removing books from the curriculum just deprives children of exposure to classic works of literature? Worse, it relieves teachers of the fundamental responsibility of putting such books in context — of helping students understand that “Huckleberry Finn” actually stands as a powerful indictment of slavery (with Nigger Jim its most noble character), of using its contested language as an opportunity to explore the painful complexities of race relations in this country. To censor or redact books on school reading lists is a form of denial: shutting the door on harsh historical realities — whitewashing them or pretending they do not exist.

New York Times Light Out, Huck, They Still Want to Sivilize You
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI JAN. 6, 2011

I’ll let Larry Wilmore elaborate more on the problem.

THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART MARK TWAIN CONTROVERSY Clip 1/11/2011

3/5th’s of a person couldn’t be mentioned either? Next thing you know they’ll pretend we never had slaves at all. Look, I get it. It’s uncomfortable admitting that you are a racist. That your country was founded on racism, that black people were less than white people. That any person of color was and frequently is still seen as less than white folks, socially. We have a black man as president, and somehow that makes racism a thing of the past.

But the United States is still racist. You are still a racist. Yes, I mean you. Hell, I’m a racist and I try every day not to be. But it’s still there. The common social othering of people who look different than you. You can alleviate this by mixing with people that don’t look like you. Fat people if you are skinny. Brown people if you think of yourself as white.

I don’t think of myself as white, as I go into here. But there is little point of denying the paleness of my skin. I simply refuse to identify as white. I don’t want to be, and don’t have to be, white. If only that was true for everyone. If only.

I refused to read Huckleberry Finn to my children as a bedtime story even though I have a deep and abiding love for the book. I refused, as their father, to utter the epithet nigger 219 times, thereby making the word sound normal to them. I encouraged them to read it to themselves, so that they could absorb the meaning of the name for themselves. To see the racism inherent in our society for themselves, in their own voices. To embrace that past and move beyond it if they can. I hope they have better luck at it than I have.

“The people whom Huck and Jim encounter on the Mississippi are drunkards, murderers, bullies, swindlers, lynchers, thieves, liars, mows, frauds, child abusers, numbskulls, hypocrites, windbags and traders in human flesh. All are white. The one man of honor in this phantasmagoria is ‘Nigger Jim,’ as Twain called him to emphasize the irony of a society in which the only true gentleman was held beneath contempt.”[2]

Russell Baker from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Feb. 14,2019 – Edited and expanded for clarity while attempting to maintain the original sentiment. I watched every episode of the Nightly Show.