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Time to Go Forward

January 2, 2009 | 24 Comments

Dear Mr. Keillor,
As a long time admiring fan of PHC and your writing, I was dismayed to read your suggestion to President-Elect Obama that he "might pardon his predecessor and his vice."

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney need to be held accountable for their actions. If the powerful are not subject to the consequences of our laws, then our laws are of no consequence and the American experiment with democracy has failed.

Say it ain't so Mr. K!

John H.
Pittsboro, NC


The economy is staggering under trillions in debt, we need to rebuild this country after eight years of blind willful indifference and destructive politics — and we are going to start out by conducting a prosecution of the outgoing administration for war crimes? I have no doubt that a determined prosecution could make a case against the Current Occupant and his Vice, but pursuing it would be sheer insanity and would plunge us into yet another ugly hopeless chapter such as the impeachment of Bill Clinton. The verdict on Mr. Bush was rendered in November and now is the time to go forward and do the essential things. Shore up the economy, fix the tax system, end the bloody war, and save the planet from our own excesses. Retribution is not what we need.


Hallelujah! Forward momentum with sound back beat.
Thanks GK for your wisdom! The train wreck is over. Let's pick up the pieces.

Thank you Mr. Keilor for your wisdom. I agree that Pres. Bush and his vice have mishandled many of their duties but don't agree that prosecution of them is in the best interest of our country. Onward and upward, leave the past behind.

I agree with Garrison, prosecuting the Bush administration would only serve to further embarass our country. We have better ways to spend our time & money than to continue to deal with what has obviously been a failed presidency. History has already started to deal W his biggest blow, and I doubt he will be dealt with any kinder in the future. GWB already seems to know that, you can see it in his face. Regardless of what he says or does in public, you can see the resignation in the man's eyes - he knows how he will be viewed for generations for come.

Our laws mean nothing if they apply only to some and not to others. This is supposedly what our country is based upon. The world is watching.....and I believe that the administration should be held fully accountable for all crimes against both our constitution and humanity. Better that we do it ourselves than leave it to the world court.

It is truly scary that so many citizens are willing to turn their backs on the Constitution. Among other crimes, Bush and his operatives have started a war based on lies, outed a CIA operative, publicly stated that they were not illegally spying on citizens while they indeed were illegally spying on citizens and then when they were caught illegally spying on citizens, stated that the program was legal, and most horribly and egregiously, sent the United States of America back into the Dark Ages by removing the 800-year-old tradition of habeas corpus, and, oh, yes, shall we mention the torture? In 2005, Bush claimed that he could do whatever he wanted, that the Constitution was, "just a goddamned piece of paper!" If we do not hold these people accountable for their criminal actions, then Bush was correct, the Constitution is just a piece of paper.

Let me preface by saying I am one of those who swing from side to side depending on the issues. I disagreed with CONGRESS (led by the President, but CONGRESS) for the Iraq war, but once there I wholeheartedly disagreed with any proposal that included a timetable for withdraw. I don't have nearly enough space to address Frank P's ridiculous accusations and complete misinterpretation of facts and the Constitution. 9-11 ushered in a new world that the current laws and procedures would not keep us safe. President Bush, along with Congress and the judicial branch led us forward to the best of their capabilities. Were they the best policies? In hindsight, certainly several could have been improved. Certainly they are guilty of a poor definition of torture. But they were not illegal. In each and every case, there was a legal review. Congress was brief or voted on all of them. The judicial branch reviewed them all. That, my friends, is how our country's system works. It makes it legal. Let's all get over the crazy blogs of prosecution. It makes my heart ache that citizens hate our country that much to even suggest such non-sense.

Too bad PHC seems beset by liberals who hate GWB with what seems illogical fervor. I am a moderate to conservative w/m southerner who feels GWB was an effective president. He did prevent further terrorist attacks in the US, topple a dangerous tyrant, and defeat the Taliban, cripple Al-Qaeda, all despite faulty intelligence and a less than supportive Democratic congress. Bush was not reelected in 2008 because he did not run. He has never plea bargained to perjury like WJC and he needs no pardon. Am I glad that OHB would pardon Bush? I think that is irrelevant. I enjoy PHC and even the political humor but a measure of Fairness is certainly needed in this string

Luther R Walley

And then after we have taken care of your list of essentials, we go for retribution! A Vietnam veteran, I'm ashamed to claim I'm an American in light of the egregious excesses of Bush/Cheney et al.
Once Obama and friends clean up the various and sundry messes created by the retiring administration, let the Potomac Trials begin!

At what point beyond the ballot box do we hold our leadership accountable?

You would think a college professor would get at least one fact right, but Frank Paiano never came close to any of them. He believes the silliness he reads.

God have mercy on our children if this is an example of those who teach them.

A pardon isn't needed, and a trial would be foolish.

Please don't forget - just because a President is a foremost citizen, he isn't the man in charge. President Bush didn't do half as much as people accuse him of - Congress did.

If you're going to send anybody to Hell, please condemn the entire package - the President, the Vice President, the entire Cabinent, the Congress. . . Oh, and the nation that voted for him. Don't just foist your problems and worries off on one man.

That's the biggest problem with this nation today. Nobody is willing to stand up and say "this is my fault". It's always somebody else's fault - the media, video games, the president, God - instead of laying blame where it truly belongs. Right on our own doorsteps.

As a great fan of PHC, I've always had to bite my tongue on the political leaning of the show.
I think GK has put great thought into his views, and I appreciate his honesty.
I also think that Jennifer, Luther, Dan and others present an honest argument to hold more than one person accountable for actions of all.

It's also amazing to me that several, on both sides accuse each other of ignoring the constitution. (Frank P on one side, Dan on the other).

GK is 100% wrong on this one. I have just lost a lot of respect for Mr. Keillor on this one. The idea that we should allow the Bush admin to get away with it is laughable and exactly what is wrong with this country. And I've got news for you...Obama is the new boss, same as the old boss. Give it time.

I don't think anyone is looking for retribution, but rather accountability. If one is allowed to get away with lying to start wars, suspending the US Constitution for their own political/ideological purposes and so on and so on, on the claim that "well, it's in the past. We need to move forward," then of what value is the law in the first place? If I defraud people in a investment scheme, should I then also be not prosecuted on the basis of "well, it's in the past now. We need to all move forward?" I tend to agree a lot with Garrison, but on this I TOTALLY disagree! The Clinton impeachment was a joke not because there was an impeachment trial, but because it was based on a non-issue (keeping quiet about a consensual extra-marital affair). The non-prosecution of Bush will be a blatant slap in the face to democracy. Ignoring high crimes against the nation, the constitution and the killing of thousands in illegal wars because "it's in the past," is an outrageous insult to civilization! Of course, I'm realistic enough to know that it will never happen, but that's my observation.

"If one is allowed to get away with lying to start wars, suspending the US Constitution for their own political/ideological purposes..."

No evidence exists that Bush "lied" to start a war. We gave Iraq weapons to aid them in their struggle against Iran. If he had sold any of them to terrorists to use against us, the irrational hatred you people have for Bush would be directed at his failure to keep us safe. Addressing this with you is pointless of course, just as its pointless to point out that FDR suspended the constitution when he rounded up Japanese Americans in the WWII era, locking them away behind barbed wire. I imagine the world looks a little different through the eyes of one responsible for the security of a nation, the health of its economy, and the prosperity of its people. You have the luxury of second-guessing every decision, and the benefit of hind-sight. You bear no responsibility for consequence. Reading your vitriol its clear that trying to lead you is like herding a mass of bratty, spoiled children. Who would want to lead you? You side with any enemy that stands against us.

Jennifer, you got it right. If nothing else, the election of 2004 lays the culpability for much of the mess we're in directly on our own heads. Driven by fear, and abated by a fear-mongering leadership in the administration and in Congress, we chose our path, and are responsible for it.

Just because we're a self-governing people doesn't make our decisions good, only popular. Hopefully we'll learn a lesson from this god-awful episode and become the better for it.

It's long past time to make a basic decision on our future: do we want to continue down the path of empire, forcing our way of life on populations who didn't ask for it, and whose only fault seems to be possession of resources we need? Or do we want to rejoin the company of nations and lead, if at all, by example?

I can respect the difference of opinion reflected here. Varying views and open discussion is a good thing. I take issue with Dan B. saying I hate my country because I believe GWB and DC should be prosecuted for exposing an intelligence operative tracking nuclear WMD in a time of war, and for knowingly gaming intelligence to get a war authorized under false pretenses. That is not hate, that is wishing for the exercise of the rule of law, and I resent the accusation much as I resent the habit of this current bunch of yahoos to accuse anyone who doesn't go along with them of being unpatriotic. That is the kind of garbage I hate.

Dear Garrison, It is my profound hope that the time from now until Barrack Obama is unmarred by
some clandestined Global Illuminati/CIA/NAZI/Al Queda event such as 9/11. Dick and George have it set for Martial law and dictatorship. It only takes another big lie. I suggest reading Jim Marrs
Rule by Secrecy, and watching Wag the Dog, Dave, Swordfish, Rising Sun,and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Dear W is quite profeciant at doing a little sidestep. In the event that the above doesn't occur note how many members of Obama's cabinet and staff fall into the grid of power mentioned in Rule by Secrecy. Meanwhile Nashville
seems to have forgotten that the folks who went to the Alamo started out here. There are plenty
of Mexican flags all over town its only a matter of time before the Re=Incarnation of Santa Anna Appears. In case of civil struggle have your masonic handshakes ready.

It is usually fruitless to argue with those who actually believe that Bush and his operatives are just decent men trying to do a difficult job in this time of peril. But here goes nothing.

James A. Ritchie stated above, "You would think a college professor would get at least one fact right, but Frank Paiano never came close to any of them. He believes the silliness he reads." Of course, he doesn't try to refute any of the allegations. He and others somehow believes that Bush didn't lie about Iraq. (He did. Check out the March 31, 2003, issue of Time,9171,1004567,00.html) That there were no individuals being held indefinitely without hope of ever being brought to trial. That there were no cases of illegal spying on citizens. That the administration didn't out a CIA operative illegally. That torture was only done by a few bad apples with no authorization from above. All these allegations are just silliness.

Well, today we learn that at least one of the silly allegations by those terrorist-sympathizing, fuzzy-headed, bleeding-heart LIBERALS is true.

"The alleged torture, which he detailed in a written statement, included being beaten, restrained for long periods in uncomfortable positions, threatened with dogs, exposed to loud music and freezing temperatures and stripped nude in front of female personnel." Oh, by the way, it was "authorized by the defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld."

Contrast that with the chillingly Orwellian description above by Dan B. as he states that they were only "guilty of a poor definition of torture."

And some of you want to act as if everything that happened in the last eight years was normal? Truly Scary!

Dear Mr. Keillor:

Good advice and great wishes, but unless you, I and everyone else keep our politician's feet to the fire none of this will happen. Please remember to hold the new president as much accountable for the issues brought forth as you think the present president is accountable.

How sad and disappointing that GK and so many of those responding feel we have to move on. As if we can't bring the Bush administration lawbreakers to justice without destroying the fabric of our democracy. I think we and the Constitution are made of stronger stuff than that.

Anyone who confuses the politics and divisiveness of the Clinton impeachment with the demand for justice for war crimes needs to face the fact that they have a serious situational ethics problem or are allowing themselves to be intimidated by the right wing ideologues just as Congress has been.

If Obama and the Bush apologists truly believe in change we will speak truth to authority and start to repair the system of one measure of justice for the powerful and another for the powerless.

To those who have been wronged in particular, GK's response can only be seen as callous and elitist.

It would be of no good. It would only continue to inflame, as it has done again even here. Let the Bush administration (and MANY other administrations within our recent history) remind us of our many mistakes in choosing our elected officials.

One of the greatest disservices done to our nation by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy was the frivolous impeachment of President Bill Clinton, which turned the deadly seriousness of impeachment into a political weapon to be wielded vengefully by small and vindictive politicians. I'm convinced this is why Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took impeachment off the table in 2006: they saw that if they used this now blunt instrument only 8 years after the Republicans used it against Clinton, it would set a precedent that would lead in short order to the near-automatic impeachment of every president who did not enjoy a congressional majority. This would be a constitutional meltdown that our nation would not survive.

Herzliebster brings up a disturbing (probably because it's true) point. But this brings to light another shocking, unbelievable development in our culture; the fact that the right-wing has successfully made a president violating the constitution, suspending the Bill of Rights, lying to start wars of convenience with the resulting deaths of tens of thousands of hman beings LESS of a crime than a president lying about who may have had access to his wee wee. THIS is what American society and politics have sadly morphed into...

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