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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- With George W. Bush, a certifiable madman, in power, it shouldn't be surprising that the rest of our republic is going bonkers. Bush, our commander in sleep, has spread the virus of neo-fascist fever and the bug is gripping our nation like the flu in February. The evidence is compelling.

The national commander of the American Legion demands an end to all "public protests" and "media events" against the war. Commander Thomas Cadmus declared, at the legion's convention in Honolulu, that "it would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today."

I get it. Here's what's wrong with America these days: freedom of speech, the freedom to peaceably assemble, and the right of people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Those items found in the Bill of Rights are the scourges of our nation. Get rid of those damn

freedoms at home and the Iraqis will start tossing rose petals at our troops.

The 4,000 American Legion delegates voted unanimously for a resolution declaring, "The American Legion fully supports the President of the United States" and "our armed forces" engaged "in the global war on terrorism" and "in protecting our values and way of life."

They apparently believe the First Amendment no longer reflects "our values," but the bloody, illegal and futile occupation of Iraq does. I didn't know there was that much beer in Hawaii.

But other veterans have a more sober and sane assessment of George W. Bush. Last week, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Salt Lake City, Bush repeated the great lie of our times -- that the war in Iraq is linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that the imperial war there makes us safer at home.

"The lesson of Sept. 11, 2001, is that we must confront the threats before they materialize," Bush said in his speech.

Bush speaking to the VFW gathering is like an Orthodox rabbi offering advice on pork recipes to a cooking class. Joyfully, not all the delegates were buying his fantasies. One of them, 73-year-old Bill Moyer, wore cardboard covers over his ears labeled "bullshit protectors."

Such irreverence sent Bush into an obscene tirade, according to a report in Capitol Hill Blue, an online journal that occasionally chronicles Bush's unhinged behavior. Bush refers to those who protest his war as "motherf---king traitors" and he was so enraged when he heard reports about the "bullshit protectors" that he screamed at his aides, "Tell those VFW assholes that I'll never speak to them again if they can't keep their members under control."

Capitol Hill Blue has long dealt with a topic that the corporate media won't touch -- Bush's mental fitness for the presidency and the behavior patterns associated with his addiction-damaged personality. The journal reports Bush's doctors are trying to control his dark moods with anti-depressant drugs.

While the Busheviks have sold the myth that their man is an affable "nice guy," the reality is that he is often vile and profane. His explosive temper is increasingly displayed. At a recent strategy session, discussing polls showing most Americans are now against the war and don't believe Bush, he reportedly bellowed to his staff, "I'm the president and I'll do whatever I goddamned please. They don't know shit."

George W. takes much more after his acerbic and vindictive mother, Barbara, than his more even-tempered father. The president's pattern of blame and denial and his rattled response to the criticism of his disastrous war are manifestations of his addiction-damaged and dangerous personality, according to psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank, author of "Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President." He sees Bush's history of substance abuse shaping him into a fear-driven bully. Confrontation -- like Cindy Sheehan's vigil -- unveils the real Bush.

"Actually confront him in a clear way, to bring him out, so you would really see the bully, and you would see the fear," Dr. Frank says.

When aides suggested Bush meet with Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq, Bush screamed, "I'm not meeting with that goddamned bitch. She can go to hell as far as I'm concerned," Capitol Hill Blue reports.

No one from the White House press corps will dare raise questions about the report. Most of them are content to attend Bush's barbecue for the media at Crawford, where all discussions are off the record.

None would dare mention passing Camp Casey as vans spirited them into Rancho Wacko to enjoy grilled catfish and potato salad with the president and first lady. They won't risk expulsion by asking questions about whether George W. is having reoccurring episodes of that mysterious pretzel-choking phenomenon.

Certainly, NBC White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell would never broach such a delicate topic. She's too busy pimping for the Busheviks and repeating their talking points. As the recent guest host of MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," O'Donnell referred to Sheehan and the demonstrators outside Bush's Crawford ranch as "anti-war extremists."

She made that characterization in an interview with former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, who is a Democratic congressional candidate in Minnesota. Rowley, unlike nearly all other Democrats, had the guts to visit Crawford and offer her support for Sheehan.

That prompted O'Donnell to question Rowley's decision, saying, "It was reported that Republican leaders in your state were thrilled that you had decided to align yourself with anti-war extremists. Do you think that will affect your race for Congress?"

Rowley didn't hesitate to put O'Donnell in her place. "Well, I will quickly correct the record that they are not anti-war extremists. The majority of people I saw in Crawford were actually veterans' groups," Rowley responded.

O'Donnell's pretty face looked perplexed, her vacuous mind grappling for a rejoinder.

"But, Coleen, they do oppose the war in Iraq, do they not?"

Rowley's 80-point IQ advantage over O'Donnell was apparent as she explained opposition to Bush's war does not make one an extremist. In fact, she said, the demonstrators in Crawford are "reflective of mainstream America in many ways."

Imagine the howl if O'Donnell referred to supporters of the war in Iraq as "radical warmongers." I'm sure General Electric, a major defense contractor and NBC's owner, would frown on one of its employees using such a characterization.

Remember, Coleen Rowley should have been given a medal for her courageous but frustrated efforts in trying to stop the 9/11 terrorists before they hijacked those airliners. She alerted her supervisors in the FBI about all those Saudi (not Iraqi) men taking lessons to learn how to fly jets. Her superiors ignored her warnings and the rest is tragic history.

The CIA's pre-9/11 intelligence failures are finally getting a scolding and the agency's inspector general has submitted a report to Congress on what went wrong and who was responsible. Accountability, however, is anathema in the Bush administration.

One of the big names targeted for criticism is former CIA director George Tenet. He rivals Condoleezza Rice as a slave to sycophancy and he was more than willing to do anything to please George W. Bush.

Tenet sold out his own agency when he took the rap for the bogus story that Iraq was trying to buy enriched uranium from Niger. Tenet famously told Bush that finding evidence of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction would be a "slam dunk." He fouled out on that one, as he did in ignoring evidence al-Qaeda was planning something big.

Tenet is frantically trying to keep the wraps on the inspector general's report, so history will not note his mistakes and his already-tarnished reputation won't take another body blow.

The families of the 9/11 victims want the unvarnished truth told. They're demanding the immediate declassification and release of the report. They issued a statement saying, "To shield CIA officials from accountability and to continue to cover up deficiencies in that agency puts the safety of our nation at risk."

For his intelligence failures and fabrications, but most of all for unswerving loyalty to political policy-making, George W. Bush presented Tenet with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. I'm sure the apostle of assassination, the Rev. Pat Robertson, must be in line for the same honor.

CIA Director Porter Goss and the Republicans on Capitol Hill will do their best to deep-six the report, bury the truth and please the president.

The 9/11 cover-up, Cindy Sheehan's valiant witness to the truth, the futility of "staying the course" in Iraq, even Pat Robertson's insane musing -- it's hard to find any prominent leaders in the Democratic Party saying anything about those worthy topics.

Would just one of them venture off of Martha's Vineyard and their other summer haunts to express outrage, support or indignation? We have the worst president in American history and we hardly hear a peep from the Democrats.

I can understand the neo-fascist, Christian fanatics who dominate the modern Republican Party and form George W. Bush's base. They worship power and the political value of war. But what about people who know better?

Former Democratic senator Gary Hart wrote an eloquent op-ed piece in the Washington Post last week urging leaders of his party to stand for something. He chided the "tongue-tied" Democrats, too meek to challenge Bush.

"What will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on?" he asked.

Where are senators Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman? They all voted for Bush's war.

As long as those gutless Democrats are the party's "leaders," George W. Bush will continue his senseless war. People with sense are listening to Cindy Sheehan and following her admirable leadership.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 30 2005