This week, in the context of mawkish obsequies for the now defunct #41, CIA darling and war criminal George Herbert Walker Bush, my 93-year-old friend called me up giggling, reminding me that in my glory days I gave #41 what the French sardonically call le geste noble, the universally recognized “street” gesture, one hand placed in the crotch of the other arm in high salute.
It was at the time of $1000 dollar a plate GOP dinner and Gulf I- the first war on Iraq as you may remember. The long defile of very black limousines crawled down San Francisco’s California Street to make a right turn past the corner where I stood. As the cortege came within 30 feet, never one to let a golden opportunity pass by, I took aim. I like to think #41 got my message, but he smiled and waved, nodding his head like a kokeshi doll, one of those pin-neck Japanese dummies that nods and nods in meaningless assent.
Why is it that the president’s club, dead and alive, which has done such inestimable harm to the country, around the world, and to the planet undergoes this celestial transformation once their members depart? If such amnesia could, it would float each one of them straight to Paradise. But a cursory review of their careers here on Earth may suggest why there might just be a traffic jam outside those pearly gates:
|The Line Up|
Let’s start with the deceased #40. The secret czar of Iran Contra, the election warping October Surprise schemer, and air traffic controller union buster, who began the cult of wealth, ignored the spreading pandemic of AIDs, and with the nomination of Clarence Thomas, laid the cornerstone of the right wing Supreme Court, oversaw the Savings and Loan scandal, and raised the national debt by nearly a trillion dollars. He terms out to
The late #41 of Willie Horton fame, a pre-curser to the dog whistling #45. His role as chief architect of US neoliberal trade policy through ushering in NAFTA helped to exacerbate global inequality and fuel the loss of over one million manufacturing jobs in the United States and Canada. An old CIA hand, he lied the nation into war and was responsible for the murder and assassination of thousands in Iraq. The first of the 40s to use “depleted” uranium ordnance, contaminating the Earth’s soils for all eternity, eventually insuring that 15 out of 100 in Basra would be born with devastating malformations.
To be succeeded by #42 who passed Wall Street deregulating measures and “ended welfare as we know it,” consigning the poorest of the poor to immiseration, who signed NAFTA into law, underselling Mexican corn, and forcing Mexicans to migrate to the U.S. or starve, ordered military “intervention” in Bosnia and Kosovo, where “depleted” uranium contaminated Yugoslavian soils for all eternity. And presided over ten years of sanctions against Iraq in which nearly half a million people died in a country which, prior to U.S. regime change policy, had had one of the highest living standards in the Middle East.
#43's likeness: 670 soldiers dead from a lie
To be succeeded by #43 of the torture memos, those workarounds that shredded the Constitution, and his invite to the members of Congress to hear the new policy, which implicated them—including Nancy Pelosi—for all time. Took the nation into the second Gulf war by lying , causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands. A bit of interruptus here, while he declared “mission accomplished” decked out in an operetta costume that cost upwards to $10,000 dollars for a war that still rages, and who opened up Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib for business.
And next to the bottom, #44 oversaw the coup that toppled democratically elected Honduran President Zelaya, which is why all those desperately poor folks are now heading north from Honduras, deported some two million of the poorest souls on Earth, and kept the Tuesday ‘Kill List” where he signed off on deaths by targeted assassination by more drones than previous presidents on people whom he didn’t know, and whose names he didn’t understand. And toppled the now failed state of Libya (with the help of his gleeful Secretary of State who crowed: We Came, We Saw, He died,” as she gloated over Gaddafi’s lynching.)
And last and most triumphal of all, racist, xenophobic #45 (still with us) cager of children, and never one to let a business deal stand in the way of a little murder. Maybe his least harmful action so far was attending the funeral of now defunct #41 where, for a moment at least, his tweets were temporarily suspended. Just this week, his antics may have caught up with him, but he’s Individual #1 and not a felon because a sitting president is sacred, and sure to be eulogized the minute he departs this Earth.
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And now for something entirely different: Newly elected President Andrés López Obrador affirms his commitment not to lie, steal, or betray the Mexican People.
Brooklyn to unveil first statue of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Alabama legislature votes 102 to 0 to proclaim Dec. 1st as Rose Parks Day, the fifth state to honor her.
California Republican concedes defeat, giving House Democrats their 40th pickup with Dem, TJ Cox.
N.Y. School installs vending machine that dispenses free books.
Unlike Al Gore, Democrat Dan McCready withdraws concession in tainted N.C. race.
N.C. GOP open to new election in fraud-marked House race.
Michigan and Nevada pass automatic voter registration, inviting Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine and N.Y. to follow suit.
Rasida Tlaib (D), rather than joining the customary AIPAC-funded junket to Israel for freshmen congress persons, announced she would organize her own focusing on poverty, education, access to clean water and Israel’s detention of Palestinian children.
After brilliant citizen agitation in Portsmouth, N.H., Air Force agrees to pay $14.3 million to construct water treatment facility to remove PFOS and PFOA from city-owned wells.
In the absence of federal leadership, New Jersey starts to regulate PFOS and PFOA at steeply lower levels than the EPA’s.
Philadelphia joins New York as the second largest city to hike wages to $15/hr, and approve fair workweek law that requires large employers to give workers two-week up front schedules and offer predictability pay for last-minute schedule changes.
Protests urge Sen. Schumer to oppose Bernard McNamee as FERC Commissioner.
Internet refers to #45 as ‘Individual1’.
Worker Veste Jaune protests lead to police riots in ten major cities throughout France, and Belgium and the Netherlands as demonstrators take to the streets to protest against income inequality, higher taxes, and to express disgust with Macron’s austerity measures.
With a 1,035 to 720 vote, Columbia’s graduate student union agrees to a bargaining framework with the university’s administration.
Protests engulf Wisconsin Capitol as outgoing Scott Walker and GOP move to cripple Democratic power in wee hour session.
After the Supreme Court declined hearing their case, Brian Segree of The Center for Biological Diversity states center will continue opposing The Wall in the courts and Congress.
Huge Marriott Hotel strike ends with San Francisco workers winning better pay.
Senate Judiciary Committee scraps votes on #45’s judges because of Mueller probe.
Disgusted with unpaid internships, Cortez supports paying interns $15 an hour.
Members of the Connecticut immigrant rights activist community shut down Hartford federal courthouse, protesting injustices suffered by Nelson Pinos and family, victims of ICE terror.
Recent victories and grassroots organizing outline the importance of addressing state-sponsored violence as a health hazard with distinct causes and solutions.
Calling themselves “Occupy Jamie Dimon,” activists chase billionaire across the U.S.
Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib expose congressional orientation’s so-called ‘bi-partisan’ corporate sponsors.
Walmart workers confront Alice Walton outside her Manhattan penthouse with a demonstration demanding better pay.
Chicago’s largest union of striking teachers close 15 schools.
Yemen’s oil-rich Shawa Province declares independence and orders Saudi-allied government out.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers message urging North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un to pay a reciprocal visit to Seoul within the year for the summit meeting in the Capital of South Korea.
Fifteen-year-old Greta Thornberg addresses COP24: “We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”
As #45 moves to bailout it out, coal falls to levels not seen since 1979.
California becomes first state to require all new 3-story-and-under construction to install solar.
Winona LaDuke calls for indigenous-led Green New Deal.
Oglala Sioux Tribe and their allies win when federal administrative judges rule that Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff failed to take a hard look at cultural resources when they recommended renewal of a uranium mining licenses at Crow Butte Mine.
Representative Adam Smith, prospective chair of the U.S. Armed Services Committee declares “nothing endangers the planet more than nuclear weapons.”
Toshiba retreats from nuclear construction project in the U.K.
Cincinnati becomes 100th U.S. city to commit to 100% clean energy.
From wind power maintenance to energy efficiency upgrades, clean energy jobs now outnumber fossil fuel work in Midwest.
Maersk Navigation announces it will go carbon free by 2050.
In response to federal government’s rollback of longtime protections, the State of California is stepping up to protect birds.
Louisiana judge rules in favor of plaintiff suing private corporation, Energy Transfer Partners for illegally seizing their land and starting to install a crude oil pipeline on it.
Sempervivens Fund purchases 50-acre property along Highway 9 in Santa Cruz, California, one of the last unprotected holdings of Castle Rock.
In a first-ever, Virginia State Corporation Commission issues order rejecting Dominion Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan.
Dominion Energy, contending with Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals permit stay, temporarily shuts down construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Alberta’s premier announces that government will temporarily curtail province’s oil production absent sufficient pipeline capacity.
Canadians call on pension funds to stop investing in U.S. private prison firms profiting from “brutal human rights abuses” of #45.
Germany allocates $62 million to development projects in Palestine.
Neo-Nazi convicted on all counts of driving into a crowd of protesters and killing Heather Heyer.
Oncology nurse deported by #45 over a year ago wins fight to return to the U.S.