Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Deceits to Come

{I wrote this a while ago. Sound, so far. - ape}

Deceits to Come: A Predictive History of George Bush's Second Term

Before the New Year gets out of its diapers, and in the spirit of pre-emption lately so fashionable, I think it fitting to sketch out a few of the inevitable crimes, and misdemeanors George W. Bush must commit during his second illegitimate term if he is to complete the creation of the nightmare project that is his New American Century.

Deceits to Come: A Predictive History of George Bush's Second Term
By C.L. Cook
January 3, 2005

Contrary to popular belief, there's nothing spooky, or mystical about prognostication. Whether in business, government, or science, it's a routine matter of: Matching Precedent; Prevalent Conditions; and Behavioural Attitude. It's done all the time.

For example: When prominent Washington, D.C. psychiatrist, Justin Frank diagnosed George W. Bush as a "paranoid, sadistic, megalomaniac," he didn't actually put Bush on the couch, or show him Rorschach inkblots. No, Frank looked at Bush's "lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions;[and] pumping his fist gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad."

That, as George might say, is like hitting the psychiatric trifecta!

To review: Matching Precedent; lifelong streak of sadism. Prevalent Conditions; gloating over state executions (he had the power to reverse). Behavioural Attitude: pumping fist gleefully over the certain prospect of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians.

Prognosis: This is one dangerous dude, apt to carry out more crazy stuff!

That's only my prognosis; for some things, you don't need a Ph.D. Dr. Frank's opinion more ominously states: "Our sole treatment option, for his benefit and for ours, is to remove President Bush from office; before it is too late."

Too late! For what?

It could be something as trivial as the survival of civilization as we know it. Pulitzer Prize winning UCLA scientist, Dr. Jared Diamond, who has spent much of his career studying the decline and fall of civilizations throughout history, identifies five interacting factors that spell the end. Not all of these factors need be present, just a significant representation of a few could do the trick.

Diamond's five horsemen of societal apocalypse are summarized as: "the damage that people have inflicted on their environment; climate change; enemies; changes in friendly trading partners; and, the society's political, economic, and social responses to these shifts."

So, what outcomes of another Bush presidency can we predict using Dr. Diamond's checklist?

In the waning days before Christmas 2004, while most Americans were rushing about, looking for those final gifts, or stuck in security line-ups at airports, the Bush administration snuck through a bit of forest legislation. On its face, the new rules regulating the timber industry are meant to improve the condition of the nation's diminishing natural environment, thus the warm and fuzzily titled, 'Healthy Forests Initiative.' But some cynics feel the new act will make the forest decidedly unhealthier. Concern has been raised from none other than that environmental activist hotbed, the New York Times editorial page.

The long-hairs at the NYT weigh in on Bush's healing ministrations to the forest, saying: "This is a recipe for trouble. Forest supervisors have always been subject to fierce pressures from timber companies and the communities that depend upon them for jobs. Unless the law unambiguously requires them to protect nature - giving them legal cover to resist industry pressures - we could see a return to the days when what counted on a resume was not whether a manager harmonized the competing needs of nature and commerce but whether he met his annual "cut."

Of course, this could be a "misunderestimation" of the President's intent. It could also be a case of a bad law slipping through the boards. God knows, George isn't perfect! But given Bush's environmental record during his first stolen term, and as governor of Texas, the State still enjoying his leadership legacy as the nation's most polluted, the Matching Precedent here favours scepticism. But how does he fare, considering Behavioural Attitude and Prevalent Conditions for the environment?

Naturally, George has opposed Kyoto, denies Climate Change, and spent a few days following the world's worst natural disaster in living memory a-cuttin' brush down on the ranch. So, Prevalent Conditions really don't seem a big issue to him. But, what about Behavioural Attitude?

Few things epitomize the American freedom ethos like its herds of wild horses, free even now to roam the great western states. Recognizing the role played by these magnificent creatures who have never known saddle or bridle, Bush got to work on a bit of legislation to address the future of these icons symbolizing the greatness of the American spirit.

True to his humble nature, George didn't want a big fuss made, so he let the new rules slide in on the Q.T. But ex-pat journalist, Chris Floyd couldn't let George's contribution to the nation's heritage pass uncelebrated, noting for the history books: "With an obscure provision smuggled without any hearings or public notice into the gargantuan budget bill -- 3,000 pages of pork and chicanery approved, unread, by Bush's rubber-stamp Republicans and that wiggly bit of protoplasm known laughingly as the "Democratic opposition" -- Bush stripped the nation's wild horses of long-standing legal protections against being sold off, slaughtered and shipped overseas for meat."

While not as fun as an exploding frog, this legislation means the death of thousands of America's wild horses for the benefit of cattle ranchers, energy prospectors, and glue manufacturers. A pretty poor behavioural attitude.

So, getting back to Dr. Diamond's checklist to the apocalypse, remembering we don't need a five-for-five score to join the Maya, Egyptian, and other has-been civilizations. Let's review: "The damage that people have inflicted on their environment; climate change; and, the society's political, economic, and social responses to these shifts."

It's safe to say; the acceleration of a systematic despoiling of the environment, combined with the evisceration of the relatively meagre legal protections those environments effected once enjoyed, and the steadfast refusal to recognize the need to address environmental issues makes it a three-bagger for extinction for team Bush. But what about the last two items?

Enemies and Changes in friendly trading partners.

Don't get me started!

Chris Cook produces and hosts the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada at:


Prominent DC Shrink Diagnoses Bush to be a Paranoid, Sadistic Megalomaniac Capitol Hill Blue by Staff and Wire Reports Jun 14, 2004

"Trouble in the Forests"New York Times Editorial: January 1, 2005

The Ends of the World as We Know Them
By Jared Diamond, The New York Times Published: January 1, 2005

Beastly Behavior
Chris Floyd, The Moscow Times Published: December 17, 2004

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