Here's my latest "Global Eye" column from The Moscow Times, 15 April, 2005
One thing we can all admire about George W. Bush is his consistency. From the day he hornswaggled his way into office, Bush has relentlessly – not to say robotically – followed a pre-set, hard-right agenda of crankery and cruelty, empowering ignorance, greed, aggression, deceit, corruption and malice with every appointment and policy decision. In fact, his dogged adherence to this wicked creed is so predictable that you can practically write tomorrow's news stories today. So why wait? Let's bend an ear to some echoes from the future….
Bush Signs Ban on Flu Research
WASHINGTON, April 15, 2006 – President George W. Bush signed legislation today banning all federal funding for flu research, citing the "rampant use of unsound science" in current work on infectious diseases.
"Our investigations have shown that present research methods dealing with the causes and treatment of influenza are actually based on the theory of evolution – how the virus supposedly mutates and evolves into new, more virulent forms," Bush said. "But as we all know, the jury is still out on this evolution thing. We cannot, we must not, and we will not trust the precious health of our good citizens to an unproven theory. The American people deserve better than that."
The ban is immediate, wiping out approximately $3 billion in flu funding to clinics, laboratories, universities and all federal research institutions. Bush said this "swift, pre-emptive action" is necessary to confront the growing menace of the bird flu epidemic that began its inexorable spread from Southeast Asia in late 2005 and has now claimed more than 5 million lives. The worldwide death toll could reach as high as 70 million or more if a vaccine is not found, experts say.
Bush said the $3 billion will now be given to a consortium of faith-based groups, coordinated by the Center for Human Intelligence and Moral Purpose (CHIMP), an anti-evolution think-tank based in Seattle. CHIMP is a leading proponent of "Intelligent Design" – the idea that only the guiding, purposeful hand of a divine power could account for the creation and complexity of the universe. Since 2004, advocates of ID have been successful in getting several U.S. school systems to teach the doctrine in science classes alongside the theory of evolution.
CHIMP spokesman Michael Behehehe said the center had "72 scientists with real degrees and everything" now combing the Bible – "both the Old and New Testaments, and even those Catholic bits" – for a cure. "It only stands to reason," said Behehehe. "Since God Almighty created this bird flu, the cure will not be found in test tubes or Darwinian tracts, but in the Lord's own science textbook. We're seeing some very promising results from the burnt offering of goats right now." ***
War Turns Corner, Rumsfeld Tells Soldiers
FORT KENNEBUNKPORT, Iraq, April 15, 2007 – The war in Iran has finally "turned the corner" and victory is now in sight, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today during a lightning visit to the permanent headquarters of America's Middle East Security Service (MESS).
Rumsfeld, who spent 15 minutes at the sprawling military base on his way to open the first annual Kabul International Arms Exposition, issued his upbeat assessment the day after an American victory at Abadan. U.S. forces managed to advance their trench lines 50 feet toward the border town following a 19-day battle that saw more than 200,000 casualties on both sides.
Rumsfeld denied persistent rumors that the U.S. plans to use nuclear weapons to break a nine-month stalemate along the 1,400-mile front. "Goodness gracious granny me, there's no need for nukes," he told a cadre of MESS troops, most of them recently-arrived draftees in transit to the battlefield. "Saturation bombing will do the trick. Our destruction of Iran's civilian infrastructure is sharply degrading the enemy's ability and will to fight. They're gonna roll up like a Persian carpet any day now."***
Bush Given New Tools to Protect Our Nation
CRAWFORD, Texas, April 15, 2008 – At a gala ceremony that mixed down-home barbeque and high affairs of state, President George W. Bush signed the controversial "Tools for Yoking Resources to Address National Threats" (TYRANT) Act at his ranch here today.
The 500-page bill, passed by both houses of Congress last week after a vigorous three-minute debate, gives the president broad powers to "override bureaucratic obstacles in carrying out his sacred duty to preserve the nation from all threats, foreign and domestic." The "bureaucratic obstacles" defined in the bill include "all rules, regulations, procedures, processes, laws and judicial decisions" at the "federal, state and local level."
An obscure provision on page 417 of the Act also lists "elections" as "a potential threat to civic order and national stability in wartime." The measure allows the president to cancel any election and "appoint officials of his own choosing to all legislative, judicial and administrative bodies."
Congressional Democrats said they hadn't noticed the provision when they voted for the Act, but they withdrew their objections after Bush promised to use the new power sparingly, "only when somebody gets way out of line."
Cancelling the upcoming 2008 presidential election is "out of the question," Bush assured reporters today. "I have no desire to remain in office, and the people's right to choose their leader will never be infringed – as long as they choose wisely, of course."
Administration officials later clarified the president's remarks, noting that while the November vote would not be cancelled, it would be postponed due to America's ongoing military actions in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba and Nigeria. "Once the president has seen us through to victory in these battles for freedom," an aide said, "he'll gladly step aside for someone younger, like his brother, or maybe his nephew."