The Rant 

George Bush has been making the rounds lately,

trying to convince everyone that he wasn't that bad, but at every turn

he continues to step on his dick. Bush said to Fox "News": "I didn't compromise my

soul to be a popular guy." What soul? And now that Senator Carl Levin has mentioned the potential for indictments

concerning cases of state torture and violating the Geneva Conventions, Bush can look forward to possibly being a very popular guy in federal prison. Leaked GOP talking points encouraged Bushies to say that he "maintained the honor and dignity of the office." I guess that means he didn't diddle an intern on his desk. But I would have much preferred that he had screwed his secretary instead of the Constitution. We're all the blue dress now. Fortunately, George picked up some Iraqi shoes to match.

The shoe-dodging video is like a good Beatles album, where you recognize something new with every listening — in this case, viewing. My initial reaction was shock and outrage. After all, Goober is my president, too. And although I detest the man, his smug, willful ignorance, and the wreckage he has created in the world, I never wished him personal harm. I've often thought that perhaps if someone had kicked his ass 35 or 40 years ago, it might have done wonders for his humility problems, but what purpose would that serve now? After all, the shoe-tosser might have heaved something more dangerous while the Secret Service was having a coffee klatch in the back room. I understand they scanned the crowd for weapons and the Iraqi journalist was known by the people in attendance. They said the same thing about Jack Ruby.

Bush passed it off as a messy expression of democracy. In true democracies, however, you don't hear the protester's screams in the next room, while the prime minister's bone breakers assure him an extended stay in the hospital. Now, the Iraqi journalist/shoe-tosser is a folk hero in the Arab world, and even much of the Western world, for one reason: He is the only outraged civilian Bush has had to face in eight years. There are millions of angry people in the world who would literally die for proximity to Bush, and the true miracle of the Secret Service's protection is that the only harm done to the president in his entire term was by a pretzel.

For eight years, Bush audiences have been carefully screened and included supporters, big-money donors, and the military. If he'd faced a cross-section of the public, he couldn't have gotten a word out over the shouts and boos. His bubble is so thick he hasn't so much as been heckled in public, and yet he continues to portray himself as merely a victim of circumstance. All those bad things — war, rendition, wiretapping, corruption, economic collapses, hurricanes, 9/11 — just happened to take place while Bush was busy doing the nation's business. Only that one lonely protester in New Orleans who shouted, "Go fuck yourself, Mister Cheney," got through to this gang. Cheney is so contemptuous of the public and the law, he's admitted approving "harsh interrogation techniques," including waterboarding, against detainees. In effect, Cheney is saying to the next Justice Department, "Bring 'em on." Thus far, Cheney has been accountable to no one, so let the investigations begin, the subpoenas fly, and the chips fall.

This group still believes that in 10 years, if Iraq is self-governing, that they will be vindicated by history. Kissinger thought that too about the carpet bombing of North Vietnam. In the end, it's the casualties that can never be forgiven, and to date, there are 4,209 U.S. soldiers confirmed dead and another 30,000 wounded. JustForeignPolicy.org estimates 1,284,105 dead Iraqi civilians. (Other estimates run from 100,000 to 2 million. The figure is not officially recorded.) An additional 2.5 million people have been displaced. In that light, "a kiss goodbye from the Iraqi people" in the form of a flying shoe is a fairly mild protest for a "dirty dog." It's just a good thing that when someone yells "lame duck," Bush takes it literally.

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