George W Bush spent a decade as the record-holder for the worst US president in modern history: a stupid man who weaponized a lie to start a pointless war that rages to this day, the "Heck of a Job, Brownie" president, the "You forgot Poland" president, the "Freedom Fries" president, the torture president, the mass surveillance president, the climate denier, the chimp-faced coked up draft dodger who was a modern hereditary princeling -- probably not even much fun to have a beer with.
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Whenever we drive on the Ronald Reagan Expressway, my daughter asks me to remind her what Reagan was famous for, and I have to recount as much as I can recall: brought us to the brink of nuclear extinction, murdered a generation through homophobic indifference to the AIDS crisis, put the War on Drugs on overdrive, funded terrorists throughout Latin America, grew the national debt by trillions, and literally allowed astrology to steer the course of the nation.
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After WWII, the US launched the Marshall Plan to help Europe rebuild, spending about $120B in inflation-adjusted dollars on the project, which lifted the war-stricken European nations out of disaster and launched them into post-war prosperity; the US has spent even more than that on rebuilding projects in Afghanistan since the official cessation of hostilities there, but Afghanistan remains a crumbling, corrupt, failed state where violence is rampant, opium exports are soaring, and soldiers and civilians alike are still dying. Read the rest
It's one thing for the CIA to hack the Senate committee investigating Bush-era torture, but then director John Brennan told a bald-faced lie, under oath, to the Senate Intelligence Committee (his bosses!) about it. Read the rest
The leaked secret strategic plans of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi -- who served in the Iraqi army under Saddam and later masterminded the Islamic State -- reveal the surveillance at the heart of Islamic State's military success. Read the rest