The rehabilitation of George W. Bush is well nigh complete. Within mere hours of delivering a glowingly-reviewed anti-Trump speech, he was honored with the coveted Thayer Award at the United States Military Academy at West Point for all his folksy contributions to the perpetual war effort.
There is such a sudden glut of Bush revenance, in fact, that it even makes you wonder if the coordinated piling-on of Harvey Weinstein by every celebrity under the sun is being done for the express purpose of smoothing the way for Bush's own final release from political purgatory into the heavenly realm of the permanent ruling class.
Weinstein himself reportedly didn't do well during his own truncated rehab, even having the effrontery to fall asleep during luxury therapy sessions. Dubya, on the other hand, did an entire decade's worth of self-exiled penance, before finally graduating summa cum laude. His bizarre "leaked" bathtub oil paintings of his own feet in 2013 were the first tentative big toe into the rehab publicity waters before the inclusive photo-ops with psychopathic presidents of Christmases Past began popping up all year round like demented greeting cards.
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And of course it helps the Bush redemption campaign immensely that Donald Trump is so universally loathed by the liberal class that even liberals have been welcoming Dubya back with open arms. Michelle Obama gave him that famous hug last year, automatically promoting him several levels ahead to a blissful state of pre-Nirvana. At about the same time, he magically appeared on the Ellen Show to pose for insipid selfies and to crack self-deprecating jokes. It was so totally not coordinated.
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Joining the steady stream of prominent op-eds penned by a veritable army of "woke" A-List actresses recounting the horrors of the Harvey Weinstein massage, the New York Times's Frank Bruni wrote a puff piece massaging the image of George W. Bush under cover of a cozy luncheon with Barbara and Jenna, his twin daughters. It was so coincidentally placed adjacent to his paper's very approving coverage of Bush's pro-market, anti-Trump speech. The former Times restaurant critic generously topped Barbara Jr.'s pricey grilled salmon entree with globs upon globs of feel-good froth about Dear Old Dad.
So, now that we know that Goofy Pappy likes to use emojis in his emails, we can forget all about the hundreds of thousands of Americans and Iraqis who died as a result of his unprosecuted war crimes.
Trump does his own part for the cause by making the deeply reactionary words which Bush spoke at his neo-confab Thursday seem downright benign, delivered as they were with his fake Texas drawl as a syrupy counterpoint to Trump's Queens-bred bile. Bush babbled,
There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning. Some have called this “democratic deconsolidation.” Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness.McCarthyism and red-baiting are presented as moral imperatives rather than what they really were, and are: attacks on the social programs of FDR's New Deal and an excuse for billionaires and corporations to get even richer from the constant manufacture and sale of deadly weapons. This is very much a diatribe against socialism in general, and the Russian Revolution specifically, which is marking its 100th anniversary this month. It is an appeal to fear and religion as the toxic glue with which the political duopoly strives to both bind us and gag us. Notice that Bush merely bemoans the degradation of "our discourse" by casual cruelty. It's not the institutional cruelty that his regime and others have spread all over the world by way of wars and predatory International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans that bother him. It's that the propaganda which has literally allowed them to get away with murder is coming apart at the seams.
We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.
Barack Obama deserves the most credit for immediately getting the rehab ball rolling in 2009 when he ignored the Geneva Convention and refused to prosecute George Jr. and other members of the Bush administration for torture and the illegal invasion of a sovereign country. On the contrary, Obama actually ramped up Bush's wars and drone assassinations, and kept the Guantanamo Bay gulag for "enemy combatants" open. Although he banned the CIA from conducting any more direct torture, he did outsource torture to poorer countries in much the same way that pro-corporate trade deals outsource jobs to poorer countries. He suppressed the Senate's investigatory report on CIA torture, and praised the criminals as "patriots."
And, ever so coincidentally, he delivered his own anti-Trump speech on Thursday, the exact same day that George delivered his. Obama's criticism was in the guise of an endorsement speech for Phil Murphy, the multimillionaire Goldman Sachs banker and former DNC finance chairman who was appointed by Obama to be ambassador to Germany before he entered the New Jersey gubernatorial race.
Of course, both former presidents' publicists denied that the speeches were in any way coordinated. So if you thought that the twin polemics damning Trumpism were just another ploy to use neoliberal "bipartisan" harmony as a propaganda tool to get the masses of disaffected people to shut up and get with the plutocratic program, you are probably a stooge of both Trump and Putin.
Antony J. Blinken, a contributing op-ed Times writer and Democratic national security expert who has lately pushed for a surge in the proxy war against Russia in the interest of Joe Biden's financial interests in Ukraine, was the centerpiece of a coordinated article written by fellow Timesman Peter Baker:
Translation: with the waning of American influence around the world, and the destruction of social programs here at home, the continued profits and power of the ruling elites are in jeopardy. Telling citizens that their discontents and sufferings are mostly a result of Russian "meddling" into our so-called democracy is falling about as flat as Bush's oil-painted feet.“The two presidents speaking out so forcefully and eloquently is a warning that some basic principles of democracy that both parties have long supported at home and abroad are in jeopardy,” said Antony J. Blinken, who served as Mr. Obama’s deputy secretary of state and attended Mr. Bush’s speech on Thursday.The bipartisan apprehension was illustrated by Mr. Blinken’s presence. As managing director of the newly formed Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement led by Mr. Obama’s vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Blinken attended to kick off a joint project with the George W. Bush Institute and Freedom House to counter the erosion of support for democratic principles and institutions at home and abroad.
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As I mentioned above, it wouldn't be a successful rehab without a glittering awards show to complement the speechifying and the selfies. During the same week that Harvey Weinstein finally got his bogus W.E.B. Dubois medal stripped right off his massaged chest by Harvard University, West Point honored George W. Bush with its own signature award, which glorifies patriotic non-graduates who epitomize the USMA slogan, "Duty, Honor, Country."
In a photo-op reminiscent of the "Mission Accomplished" bomber jacket monstrosity taken at the very beginning of the Iraq War debacle, Bush rode to the ceremony in a military jeep as prelude to a grandiose parade held in his honor.
Ever the hokey war criminal capitalist, Bush humbly poked fun at himself, to many loud guffaws and much applause from the Corps of Cadets, those budding generals and corporate CEOs in service of Forever War.
"Col. Thayer founded the dialectic society in order to foster debate and dialect, which makes my selection for this honor somewhat puzzling,” he said to laughter and loud applause.He even hilariously quipped about "outlaw regimes" without once mentioning the names of Dick Cheney, John Yoo, or Donald Rumsfeld.
“Laura and I had dinner with Lorne Michaels, the creator of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ and during the course of the dinner, he told me something very disturbing,” the 43rd president said.
“He said he put his best writers on me while I was president, and they came up with ‘strategery.’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me? All those years I thought I was the guy who came up with that.’ I said, ‘Did your writer come up with ‘mis-underestimate?’
Now, just in case you were wondering where Hillary Clinton is in all of these speeches and awards shows, never fear. Because it will finally be "her turn" this week. when the Democratic veal pen's Women's Media Center will honor her with its first-ever "Wonder Woman" prize, just for existing in the world as Hillary Clinton. Her name (along with those of prima Harvey Weinstein accuser Ashley Judd and journalistic Trump nemesis April Ryan) was added to the prize list literally at the very last minute, not having been included in the original roster of winners announced in September.
Hillary, far from apologizing for a career which has included agitating for wars and orchestrating the impoverishment of millions of women under welfare "reform," doesn't feel the need to enter into even a phony personal rehabilitation program like Weinstein and Bush. Skipping the mea culpas, she's going straight to the awards stage at the exclusive Capitale club in Manhattan's Upper West Side this week. Her prize is, of course, totally not coordinated with her ongoing global blame tour and book-selling spree.
From the gushing press release:
The Women’s Media Center is presenting its first—and only—WMC Wonder Woman Award to Clinton as she is a hero to millions in the United States and around the globe for her extraordinary accomplishments and public service. Like Wonder Woman, she seems to have superhuman strength, resilience, and courage. She also blazes new paths so that everyone has equal opportunity to pursue their dreams, and she has done much of it in the face of enemy fire.Who can ever forget her trip to Bosnia under all that heavy sniper fire?
I hereby nominate Hillary to receive the next Thayer award, with full military parade honors, in acknowledgment of her duty to the oligarchs, her honoring of the Orwellian slogan "War Is Peace", and her devotion to No Country For the Bottom 99 Percent.
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