Thanks for the Memories, George: What Eight Years of Bush Will Do to a Country

Thanks for the Memories, George: What Eight Years of Bush Will Do to a Country

by Mike Loew

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Feeling Bushed, America?

In Thanks for the Memories, George, author and Onion contributor Mike Loew takes a humorous–yet furious–look at the last eight years of the Bush administration. From the botched evidence for the war in Iraq to the torture and violation of the Constitution to the economic crisis, this is a scathing, witty review…  See more details below


Feeling Bushed, America?

In Thanks for the Memories, George, author and Onion contributor Mike Loew takes a humorous–yet furious–look at the last eight years of the Bush administration. From the botched evidence for the war in Iraq to the torture and violation of the Constitution to the economic crisis, this is a scathing, witty review of W’s sorry legacy, including:

•How the Taliban is spending their record opium-profits, and how Iraqis have more money than we do
•Who’s who on the no-fly list, and who is listening in on your phone calls
•The price of bread, milk, bananas, Halliburton stock . . . welcome to the Meltdown
•Everyone is a suspect
•Habeas corpus, shmabeas corpus
•The welfare queens of Wall Street
•We don’t sign no stinkin’ treaties

Complete with funny and shocking charts and graphs, Thanks for the Memories, George is a timely reminder of just how we arrived at this sorry state as we struggle to put the long nightmare of the Bush years behind us.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Loew (Tough Call) offers a disappointingly stale satiric look at the Bush presidency. What passes for political commentary is familiar and fairly superficial-e.g., fake and actual charts, screeds and lists of Bush's malapropisms. It is surprising that the author, a contributor to the Onion, has such difficulty combining humor and analysis; skipping from fact to farce, the reader might have difficulty discerning where the actual accusation lies. Furthermore, Loew does not marshal new material in making his furious condemnations; instead he trots out criticisms of a variety of the Bush administration's perceived sins-everything from Bush's prodigious vacation time to the bungling of the occupation of Iraq-with familiar evidence and arguments. While the book serves as a decent catalogue of the Bush administration's (mis)handling of Hurricane Katrina and controversial positions on torture and global warming, even the most virulent Bush critics will find that this J'accuse lacks the promised teeth and laughs. (May)

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Where To Begin?

The time has come to say -good--bye to our fearless leader, George W. Bush. Here he comes now. How are you, George? This is such an honor to watch you leave office. You’re looking good, Mr. President. Haggard and senile, but good. Yes sir, good old Dubya. You always were quick to hand out the nicknames, but we’ve got a few for you, too: Flubya. Incurious George. Spurious George. Shrub. El Arbusto Pequeño. The Decider. The Commander Guy. Fi--nancial Asset of Khalid Bin Mahfouz. The Texecutioner. Head Cheerleader. -Torturer--in-- Chief. The Kinda Guy We’d Wanna Have a Beer With. Daddy’s Little War Criminal. Disaster Monkey. The Illegal Occupant. That Fucking Asshole Bush. The Bogus POTUS. Walker, Texas Danger. DUI Case Number 2342, 09/04/76, Kennebunkport, Maine. We know him by so many names, but the time has come for George W. Bush to pass on the torch of liberty, which he hath dampened with his own pizzle for eight long years. Actually, just give us the torch now, George, we’ll take it back to camp while you stay out here alone in this filthy swamp of failure that you’ve gotten us into.

George W. Bush had America by the nuts for eight years. For those Americans without nuts, allow me to explain what this feels like. The nuts are the source of vim and vigor, providing drive and motivation throughout the entire body and mind. This -nut--generated energy can be used for sexual purposes, of course, to help create the miracle of new life, but can also be applied to work, sport, art, music, finally organizing that unruly sock drawer, and a host of other worthwhile pursuits. These precious twin orbs provide the will to live, but are also extremely tender and sensitive. The clammy hand of George W. Bush clenched around the nuts of America over these eight miserable years first began with excruciating pain, which turned to outrage and panic, and finally led to a numb, dazed, zombielike existence that seemed as if it would never end. George W. Bush squeezed the very life out of America’s nuts.

Bush has been the most uncaring, deceitful, arrogant, proudly ignorant, and moronically belligerent president in our nation’s history. He managed to embody the viciousness of Richard Nixon, the stupidity of Gerald Ford, the falseness of Ronald Reagan, and the warmongering of Genghis Khan, all disguised by appearing to be as dumb as a slice of Texas toast. But perhaps we -shouldn’t be so hard on Bush. After all, he suffers from a rare form of sociopathic speech disorder. This means that whatever Bush says, he in fact means the reverse of it. For example, when Bush says “peace,” he actually means “war.” When he says “freedom,” he means “extended tours of duty.” When he says “patriotic,” he means “treasonous.” If you knew about Bush’s speech disorder and were able to translate his words with his condition in mind, your blood pressure probably stayed a little more stable over the last eight -years—-a good thing given the cost of health insurance nowadays.

As these words are written, in the fading light from the dying embers of the Bush’s presidency, there is one burning question that leaps to mind, addressed to the next generation of Americans: Is the country still standing? Kind of? Or are armed personnel carriers rolling through the streets, with Darth Vader–styled riot cops guarding the supermarkets, staring down shuffling queues of rapidly thinning consumers as they wait for their weekly rations of Doritos Collisions-Hot--Wings--and--Blue--Cheese–Flavored Tortilla Chips"? That is the overwhelming emotional state of angst and paranoia that living under the shadow of Bush has given -us—-that the sky could really, truly fall at any time. Not since the days of Herbert Hoover have Americans so obsessively checked their cupboards to see how many canned goods they have, just in case. Bush always seized upon the disasters that befell us through his neglect, such as 9/11, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crisis of 2008, to advance his agenda. If anyone raised his voice to say something like “Maybe invading Iraq is a bad idea,” Bush unleashed a storm of panic and fear, telling us that no one was safe unless we followed along exactly with what he wanted. Bush’s favorite line in a movie is from the killer police robot ED--209 in RoboCop, “You have thirty seconds to comply.”

What was the real end goal of the Bush administration? Due to its actions, it’s a world where national governments and international law have no meaning; where unjustified military invasions (including private military corporations as mercenary troops) are unleashed to steal resources; where democracy is suppressed and human rights are violated through torture, surveillance, and secret police pressure; and where common people have no defense against corporate polluters, occupying armies, or secretive financial manipulation. We got screwed repeatedly by Bush, and now we’ve all got a nasty STD.

He maintained an endlessly surprising run, all the way to the end. Even now, with only a few weeks left to go, we wonder if George still has one more trick up his sleeve. “There’s no way they can sneak in an attack on Iran before they leave office, right? Not with the way the economy has crashed. That’s like a -one--in--a--million Hail Mary shot, but you never know with these guys .?.?.” We’ve all wondered if Bush would “miraculously” capture or kill Osama bin Laden at the end of his term. Or better yet, if he dedicated his retirement to hunting Osama through the highlands of Waziristan, and finally bagged the terrorist mastermind with a -long--range sniper rifle, would anyone even care?

There is a general sense of growing intangibility in our lives. Solid things that you could once count on, like rules and contracts and jobs and paychecks, have all evaporated. You used to have to work if you wanted to get paid, but in Bush’s America, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton cronies can dump a truckload of gravel on the ground in Iraq and call it a school, while they pocket billions of U.S. taxpayer money with a sweet -no--bid government contract. Every time we voted during the Bush years, millions of ballots that were picked up, read, and rocked with the vote of a -real--live American were tossed into the trash for technical imperfections, especially in black neighborhoods. Globalist -free--trade agreements were promised to make life better for the American workers, who then watched their factories and jobs get shipped off to Mexico and Malaysia. While the CEOs of these manufacturing companies earn hundreds of millions a year, their former employees hold garage sales in an effort to make their mortgage payments.

Without any goods being manufactured in the United States, our leading industry has become -finance—-the ma--nip-ulation and gambling of other people’s money. Credit deriv-atives are endlessly swapped back and forth, until we are told that it’s all worthless and that our life savings that we spent the best years of our lives to build are now slashed in half. (Hopefully that last phrase won’t be too painfully dated a few weeks from now.) Everywhere you looked in Bush’s America, there was the growing sense that we were just being written out of the equation here. We -didn’t matter anymore. We - didn’t count, especially on Election Day in 2000 when the majority of us voted for Al Gore. If you weren’t in the secret strike force of George W. Bush’s military/intelligence/governmental/financial elite, the message over the last eight years is that you might as well just shut up and fuck off. The joyous celebration over Barack Obama’s victory was the sound of a nation of ghosts gleefully reassuming their warm, -red--blooded bodies again, if only for one night.

Think of this volume as a heartwarming scrapbook of the Bush years. It’s been a very important time in all of our lives that we should cherish. You can fold your newspaper clippings from 9/11 into this book, or appliqué your old keys to your home in New Orleans that still hasn’t been repaired. This book is the perfect place to display a photograph of your husband who hasn’t come back from Iraq yet. How about a decorative border made from your 401(k) statements, showing a steadily dropping balance? A receipt from a gas station when it cost half as much to fill up your tank can make for an attractive bookmark. Don’t forget to include a bit of duct tape and plastic wrap from your home protection kit against anthrax. Memories really are important.

This book collects all the low points, as well as the abysmal points, of the last eight years. We must take the time to reflect upon the treaties that have been broken, the invasions that have been launched, the people who have been tortured, the globe that has been warmed, and the elections that have been stolen. Let us sail back through the memories, floating on the slapping waves of corruption that Bush left in his oily wake. It’s a salty, sloppy ride, but take heart. It is crucially important that we remember George W. Bush very clearly. The more you look at Bush’s record, the more you realize how much we’ve lost. And Bush tried so hard to make us forget what it was that we had lost in the first place. The Iraq War is still a rotting albatross around our neck, but Bush’s “surge” was touted as a way to make us not mind the smell so much. It’s hard to think back to a time before this stinking corpse was thrown over our shoulders, we’ve all grown so used to it. But when you remember that distant moment in the past, you realize what Bush has taken from you, and you get angry. You want to bring back the good old days, when this nation -wasn’t at war, torturing prisoners, spying on Americans, and bombing the shit out of poor villages with unmanned Predator drones. Never let them convince us again that the best way to stop foreign terrorists who hate America is by unleashing bloodshed and panic across the globe.

As outlined in their 1997 policy paper, The Project for the New American Century, Bush and his neoconservative elite plotted nothing less than total domination of the planet Earth. They advocated the unlimited use of U.S. military power anywhere in the world, in order to dominate natural resources and prevent the rise of any nation that could rival them. They even wrote of the usefulness of researching biological weapons that could target specific racial genotypes of humans. But they acknowledged that the American people might be reluctant to take on this role of -world--killers. They stated that “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor.” As soon as they got their Pearl Harbor on September 11, 2001, the Bush administration crashed onto the world stage with a shocking application of military -force—- then slowly staggered and crumbled once those conflicts -didn’t end, but kept going and going and going.

George W. Bush has one arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol. Not to be outdone, Dick Cheney has two -drunk--driving busts on his permanent record. Both Bush and Cheney brought solid, - real--world experience to the White House of getting wasted, hopping behind the wheel of a car, and roaring off down the road. This is as perfect a metaphor as any to describe the nightmare of the Bush -years —-he and Cheney are drunk off their asses driving the SUV, while you’re trapped in the backseat, eyeballs bulging in terror as you rocket down the road. Incredibly -painful--looking problems loom in front of you on the highway, which Bush ricochets off of. The glancing collisions tear off chunks of your vehicle; you hear terrible grinding noises and smell burning rubber. You can’t move, with ten seat belts strapping you down. Through the front windshield, you see the road is about to end, right in front of a bottomless chasm. Bush hits the gas. The SUV soars off the cliff. George and Dick look at each other with a devilish grin, simultaneously yelling “Bailout!” Bush slams a button on the dashboard, and he and Cheney pop out of the top of the car in ejector seats. Golden parachutes open above them as they float away, cackling.

Bill Clinton was roundly accused of being a bad influence on the moral fiber of the nation. His sexual shenanigans may have contributed to an increase in oral sex among teenagers, which was a source of distress to all segments of society (except teenaged boys). But is George W. Bush to blame for an even more corruptive attack on the morals of America? Bush is a rule bender, a lawbreaker, a guy who does a terrible job but touts phony symbols of achievement while he’s off on the side working toward his own selfish goals. Bush always cheated the system, ignoring the -old--fashioned expectations that you try to do a good job, you pull for your team, and then get paid fairly for your work. Bush is opposed to the idea of America as a meritocracy and has lashed out against it repeatedly, always preferring to enrich his -well--connected cronies instead of doing anything to better the nation.

You see this kind of -Bush--inspired behavior everywhere now in this country: stockbrokers selling phony wealth; school systems inflating grades to pass federally required test scores; our government going into trillions of dollars of debt to China with no collateral; our military exaggerating terrorist KIA lists (how many second lieutenants does Osama bin Laden have?); even our athletes juicing up on steroids to unfairly dominate on the field. This is the Win at Any Cost mentality (WAAC, pronounced “wack”), where the severe risks of crashing the financial system, killing thousands of civilians, or shrinking your own testicles into dry little raisins are ignored. The only thing that matters to the WAAC is grabbing as much money and power as they can, which they will have all to themselves. Then they get to sit alone in the deepest chamber of their secret Skull and Bones fraternity, smirking at all the barbarians out there while they stroke the skull of Geronimo, which their grandfather stole, and admire the size of their bank account balance. Good times.

We’ve all been dragging our feet for years now, overwhelmed by Bush fatigue. But now that he’s finally gone, we have to take a hard look at the wreckage that we’re in. It’s like those moments in your life when you lose your way for a while. Maybe you got divorced, or maybe you lost your job, and the empty pizza boxes have really piled up, when suddenly you have that moment when you realize, Hey, I don’t have to be miserable anymore. And Christ, I really have to clean up all this shit that’s lying around my house. It’s time to dig down into that clogged garbage disposal, time to clear out Bush’s slimy hair balls from the shower drain of America.

Born into extreme wealth and privilege, Bush is all about making messes and waltzing off. Someone else has to clean up after him, just like they always have. It feels like our entire nation has been transformed into little George’s personal staff of maids. That would make Barack Obama the -maid--in--chief, and he’s already calling for a period of mandatory national service for American youths to clean up after Bush’s dirty diapers. Bush is just like whoever spilled a pint of -half--and--half all over the condiments cart at the coffee shop and -didn’t wipe it up, even though there’s a whole box full of goddamn napkins right there. Of course, Bush -doesn’t just spill milk on a counter, he’s more on the level of spilling radioactive uranium into our rivers or trashing the entire economy.

No matter how bad it got, Bush always looked like he was having a great time. He came across like a carefree, smirking chimpanzee, although his hairy finger was the one on the -nuclear--war button. His shoulders would bob up and down when he cackled with glee, like a badly animated cartoon villain (Skeletor comes to mind). It was all cute nicknames and slaps on the back, while people were actually dying because of him. Yeah, you sure are doing a heck of a job, Brownie. George W. Bush always had a gift for saying the most inappropriately cheerful thing at the worst possible time:

Those who don’t know their fabulousness are doomed to repeat it. Let’s look carefully at the presidency of George W. Bush, so we can always remember how truly fabulous it all really was.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Meet the Author

MIKE LOEW is a contributor to The Onion and the author of two previous books, Tough Call and Citizen You! He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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