Bush Ducks! AGAIN!!!
It seemed emblematic to me of what we have seen by our present Administration when I saw the video footage of President Bush successfully ducking a couple of size-ten shoes thrown by an Iraqi journalist in Baghdad over the weekend. Our brave leader moved quickly to avoid getting hit right in the head by the two shoes. And while that seems a peculiar thing to do – lobbing shoes at a politician – come to find out it is a cultural thing. In Iraq, it is a way to show contempt for someone. However, the poor journalist is likely to spend some time in an Iraqi prison – two to seven years according to accounts this morning – for his “protest.” To his credit, President Bush said that it was okay, and used the incident to give his hosts a lesson in how free speech works in a democracy. I just hope some international human rights group keeps an eye on this guy’s treatment so that he doesn’t pay a higher price than he should for speaking out.
The whole thing actually served as the perfect metaphor for what we have seen for eight long years coming from the White House. President Bush has been ducking everything thrown at him by reporters for his entire presidency. He ducked any responsibility for falsely leading us into the Iraq War. He ducked any responsibility for Abu Ghraib and abuses at Guantanamo. He has ducked any responsibility for the throngs of parched, wretched poor people stranded without basic necessities in New Orleans as he flew over peering down on them from the window of Air Force One. He has ducked any responsibility for the leaking of a CIA agent’s name because he was angry at her husband for exposing the lies behind his claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a connection with al-Qaeda. He has denied for several years that there has been any problem whatsoever with the economy, ducking behind the statement, “The fundamentals of the economy are sound.” He has ducked any responsibility for his Administration’s failure to enforce the laws regulating banking and mortgage loans. He has ducked any responsibility for all the jobs lost to his tax breaks allowing his buddies to outsource American jobs to India and China and other third-world countries around the globe. He has ducked any responsibility for anything whatsoever that has gone wrong under his watch. He has proven to be a man without conscience.
So is it any wonder that he was able to grin like a child engaged in a pillow fight as he ducked a couple of well-aimed shoes? Of course not. This guy is a world-class ducker, dodger and spinner. He definitely quacks like a duck because he is a duck. Thank God, he’s a lame duck! And perhaps the brave Iraqi reporter has given us the cue we need as to how to bid a fond farewell to our 43rd President. Perhaps as he descends the steps in front of the Capitol on Inauguration Day, the gathered throng should “send him a farewell kiss” Iraqi style. No, don’t try to hit Gilligan in the head, just throw them at the base of the podium to let him know exactly how you feel. What’s the harm? It’s a shame we can’t give him a farewell parade where we could throw the shoes out into the street. That would be very satisfying fun to many of us.
Of course, the insanity coming out of Wall Street just keeps on keepin’ on as now we learn that former NASDAQ Chairman Bernard Madoff stiffed a bunch of powerful and rich people as well as some banks and charities out of $50 billion in a ponzi scheme. A ponzi scheme is a pyramid investment vehicle where you pay dividends to the original investors with money obtained from later investors. Of course, like all pyramid schemes, it fell down when he only had $17 billion dollars to cover $50 billion of owed investments that people needed back because of the decline in the stock market. And where was our government while all this was going on for 17 some-odd years? Ducking its responsibilities and asleep at the wheel. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating Madoff’s operation for quite some time now, but hasn’t found anything wrong. I guess they didn’t catch on to the fact that there weren’t any investments made by Madoff in any stocks whatsoever. Gee, who was doing the investigating?
I had the privilege of being a court reporter at the Securities and Exchange Commission back in the mid-1970’s, and believe me, back then, they had some teeth and knew how to use them. One of my first trips over there was to report a deposition in a case they were pursuing against The Suma Corporation over their misuse of monies in the Howard Hughes estate. There were 14 high-powered lawyers in the room besides the plucky lawyer for the SEC, and nobody was taking him lightly. He was one of a number of great young lawyers I met who took on big corporate America and its CEOs to protect their investors and the
American people’s economy. And this was during the Gerald R. Ford Administration – Republicans! What happened to the SEC? Has it been systematically starved to death by the Bush Administration and Republican-led Congresses so that it cannot do the job it was set up to do? Is it just another government agency like FEMA that isn’t up to the job because it has been flooded with political appointees who sit at desks but can’t do the job they were hired to do? Who knows exactly what’s going on. But the one thing we can be sure of is that while the SEC slept, Wall Street and the big banks literally stole billions of dollars from the American people unchecked. That’s right, the Bush Administration ducked any responsibility it had to enforce the laws against these robbers.
I’m sad to say that I did take pleasure in hearing that some of the victims included the uber-rich living the high life in places like Palm Beach, Florida. They had to sell their million-dollar-plus condos on the beach and pawn jewelry and other valuables – reportedly even a Ferrari and a yacht. Maybe now they will know what the rest of us have known for quite some time: that the economy is in the crapper and even they are not immune to the consequences of that reality. Merry Bleeping Christmas, rich people! See ya at Wal-Mart.
So the guy threw a shoe at the Master of the Duck, George W. Bush, and caused Iraq’s puppet government a little embarrassment. It may not be nice, but is it such a bad thing that he should go to prison? I think not. A shoe thrown in frustration and contempt hardly adds up to all the harm done by our President to the guy’s country and our country, too. Instead, I see it as the perfect visual metaphorical representation of what we have seen Mr. Bush do at his bully pulpit for eight long years: duck responsibility and the truth. So I, too, have a farewell kiss for our exiting king. Here’s a shoe for you, sir, and if the shoe fits, wear it.
KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!