Don Williams
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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

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Fannie Mae fiasco is just the latest layer on a tottering, perverse cake
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   07/14/2008)

This is not the icing on the cake of the Bush Administration. That's still to come.

Rather, the sticky mess we're mired in-as Feds ponder ingredients of their soon-to-come Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout on top of the IndyMac fiasco, second largest bank failure in American history, not to mention the Bear Stearns bailout-is only the latest layer in a tall leaning cake historians will someday deconstruct like archaeologists at a dig to try and figure out how we could've allowed such a chef as George W. Bush in the kitchen to begin with.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Things could get much worse. The icing on the cake comes later. Just wait. President Bush is not the sort to go quietly into that good night. He'll put off allowing anyone else the last word, especially historians, scientists and financial experts, possibly until the last syllable of recorded time, to quote Hamlet.

So, expect more from this tragicomic president, possibly something big. Maybe the icing on this particular cake will arrive in the form of a mushroom cloud over Iran. Perhaps it'll be some unspeakable insider crime against Democrats. Maybe it'll just be a spectacular string of bank failures or some other predictable result of putting foxes in charge of hen houses. Whatever it is, more and more congressmen might come around to the notion that only by demanding Bush's impeachment can they salvage something of their own reputation, integrity and legacy.

Of course, it's too late for that. So much damage has been done, that, looking back layer by layer it's hard to find a single thing Bush did right. OK, he made funds available for fighting AIDS in Africa, at least to the satisfaction of Bono. Besides that, it's pretty much a mess.

Oh, how the layers stack up. Digging through them layer by layer, we encounter…

1. The Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, IndyMac, Bear Stearns fiascoes, of course.

2. Historic high oil prices.

3. The re-arming of Sunni warlords in Iraq—a layer we've yet to taste, but we will, we will….

4. Ratcheting up war fever against Iran, which makes silent diplomacy almost impossible.

6. Politicizing the Justice Department.

7. Allowing the cover-up of details surrounding Dick Cheney shooting the old guy in the face with impunity.

8. Failure to rescue New Orleans as Katrina drowned a thousand of her citizens and otherwise laid waste to the city.

9. Allowing ethnic cleansing—that too polite phrase by which one means the murders of thousands-by Shia and Sunnis in Iraq.

10. Emasculation of the EPA and sabotage of lawsuits against polluters.

11. Creating a matrix for gulags, kidnappings, torture, murder and other evils in the name of fighting terror.

12. Permitting the Navy to use deep sonar off the coast of California that results in bleeding ears, disorientation and unknowable pain in whales and dolphins. Yes, this counts too.

13. Sabotaging investigations into 9/11 by limiting testimony and access to evidence.

14. Destruction of humanity's common cultural heritage by allowing the plunder of priceless artifacts from the cradle of civilization along banks of the Tigris and Euphrates.

15. Shock and awe against Iraq based on a pack of lies.

16. Allowing the smearing of reputations in the 2002 and 2004 elections, as Republicans compared patriots like Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden for opposing the war in Iraq.

17. Doing nearly nothing, until now, to stop the genocide in Darfur.

18. Illegal spying on Americans

19. Destruction of habeas corpus, open testimony, trial by jury and other human liberties on which our nation was founded.

20. Allowing top Taliban and al-Qaeda—possibly including Osama bin Laden-to escape the noose at Tora Bora and flee to Pakistan.

21. Lying about stockpiles of weapons, phony connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein and much else in Iraq.

22. Using bribery, torture, distortion, character smears and other suspect means of gathering evidence to bolster the case for war against Iraq.

23. Distorting the news through Orwellian language, intimidation, phony stories, planted shills, outright lies, exaggerations, paid sources, and threats of violence against international news agencies.

24. Covering for Dick Cheney as his office publicly identified and smeared CIA operative Valerie Plame.

25. Being asleep at the wheel on 9/11 and failing to protect our nation.

26. Refusing to meet with anti-terrorism experts appointed by Bill Clinton, despite repeated requests.

27. Unparalleled lying and cover-ups regarding global warming.

28. Secret meetings with top energy companies, arms manufacturers and others before formulating an energy policy that would make us more dependent on foreign oil and contribute to momentum carrying us to war.

29. Placing foxes in charge of hen houses throughout the government.

30. Governing as if he had an overwhelming mandate despite losing the popular vote in 2000.

31. Making outrageous promises not to engage in nation building, to promote a green presidency, to reach across the aisles, and many others that he began breaking as soon as selected president by Republicans on the Supreme Court.

32. Allowing Karl Rove's associates to smear the names of good men (including John McCain in South Carolina) in the 2000 campaigns, with lies and innuendos.

A mere eight years or so later, Chef Dubya's cake is incomplete.

The icing's yet to come.