View Full Version : Trouble in Bush's America

May 8th, 2003, 08:27 AM
May 8, 2003

Trouble in Bush's America


While our "What, me worry?" president is having a great time with his high approval ratings and his "Top Gun" fantasies, the economy remains in the tank. And the finances of state and local governments are sinking tragically into ever deeper and ever more unforgiving waters.

You want shock and awe? Come to New York City, where jobs are hard to find and the budget (as residents are suddenly realizing) is a backbreaking regimen of service cuts, tax increases and that perennial painkiller, wishful thinking.

The biggest wish, of course, is that the national economy will suddenly turn around and flood the city and state with desperately needed revenues. Meanwhile, the soup kitchens and food pantries are besieged.

"This is the worst situation I've been in," said Alfonso Shynvwelski, an unemployed waiter who stood in a long line of people waiting for food at the Washington Heights Ecumenical Food Pantry on Broadway in upper Manhattan. Mr. Shynvwelski, 36, has worked at a number of upscale restaurants, including the Russian Tea Room, which has closed. He's been unemployed for a year.

"It's the first time in my life I've had to look for food this way," he said.

This lament is being heard more and more often in the city, which has an official jobless rate of nearly 9 percent. The real rate is substantially higher, which means that more than 1 in 10 New Yorkers who would like to work cannot find a job.

Last week Local 46 of the Metallic Lathers Union announced that it would allow 200 people to apply for membership, which would mean a shot at high-paying work. The line of applicants began at Third Avenue and 76th Street and almost circled the block. The earliest arrivals waited in line for three days. They slept on the sidewalk.

In George Bush's America, jobs get erased like chalk marks on a blackboard. More than 2 million have vanished on Mr. Bush's watch. There are now more than 10.2 million unemployed workers in the U.S., including 1.4 million who are not officially counted because they've become discouraged and stopped looking.

There are also 4.8 million men and women who are working part time because they can't find full-time jobs.

John Challenger, the chief executive of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, offered a cautionary word to the wishful thinkers who insist that prosperity is just around the corner. "The sharp increase in the job cuts last month," Mr. Challenger said, "should serve as a warning that it is premature to conclude that the quick end to the war in Iraq will bring a quick turnaround in the economy and job market."

The high unemployment and sharply reduced social services are having devastating consequences. In some cases people are being driven to destitution.

"This is a really spooky time for us," said John Hoffmann, who runs a food pantry and soup kitchen in the Bronx. He's faced with both a surge in demand and, because of government budget cuts, a threat to his financing.

"These are folks who are new to services like ours," Mr. Hoffmann said of his latest wave of clients. Many of them are working men and women who were struggling to support their families from one paycheck to the next. When workers in that situation are laid off, they have nothing to fall back on.

Nearly a quarter of a million jobs have been lost in New York City in the past two and a half years. Taxes are going up and services are going down — and still that is not enough. Similar scenarios are being played out in city and state governments throughout the country.

California is trying to borrow its way out of a nightmarish crisis. Texas, already near the bottom nationally in social services, is heading further south.

Two forms of help from the federal government are needed. One is direct assistance to local governments to help alleviate the disastrous budget shortfalls. The other is an economic stimulus program that really works, that boosts the economy and creates jobs through investments in some of the nation's real needs, rather than simply transferring trainloads of money to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts.

Mr. Bush has no interest in such remedies. Easing the economic struggles of poor and working families in America is not part of his agenda.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

May 8th, 2003, 04:27 PM
In an e-mail forwarded to me today.....

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our
Number One priority and we will not rest until we find him!"
- President Bush, September 13, 2001

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and I really don't
care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
- President Bush, March 13, 2002

May 8th, 2003, 06:07 PM
So what happenned here?

We're goona find or kill bin Laden.
That didn't work.
Gotta kick some Arab butt.
How about Saddam?
We didn't get him either.
Now what?

May 8th, 2003, 07:27 PM
Bush is one hugh joke. I'm sick and tired of him and his lousy administation. They're all looking for a fight.

May 8th, 2003, 07:59 PM
Quote: from ZippyTheChimp on 6:07 pm on May 8, 2003
So what happenned here?

We're goona find or kill bin Laden.
That didn't work.
Gotta kick some Arab butt.
How about Saddam?
We didn't get him either.
Now what?

Damascus, Tehran, Riyadh, repeat, repeat, repeat...

May 8th, 2003, 08:34 PM
Exactly. He only attacks Arab countries, but there are terrorists in other countries too.

May 8th, 2003, 11:12 PM
Not to mention oppression and poverty...

September 23rd, 2003, 10:55 PM
September 23, 2003

Bush Appearing More Vulnerable in Polls


Filed at 12:40 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush seems to be increasingly politically vulnerable on issues from the economy to Iraq, with the latest polls showing some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency.

With the president's standing hovering in the low 50s or just below in some polls, Democrats appear to be in a more competitive position than they have been in months, surveys suggest.

Leading Democratic candidates from newcomer Wesley Clark to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman were in a virtual tie with Bush in head-to-head matchups, in the poll conducted by CNN-USA Today-Gallup released Monday. Bush held a slight lead over Howard Dean and Rep. Dick Gephardt in the survey.

In a national poll by the American Research Group of Manchester, N.H., released Tuesday, Bush's job approval was at 47 percent with 48 percent disapproving. ARG typically focuses on New Hampshire but occasionally conducts national polls.

In the Gallup poll released Monday, 50 percent of those surveyed gave Bush high marks for his handling of the presidency with 47 percent disapproving.

Other polls still show the president's job approval in the low-to-mid 50s, far below the high ratings he enjoyed months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The public's view of Bush has changed due to growing concerns about his handling of the economy and Iraq. But they see him as a strong leader, with two-thirds approving of his handling of the campaign against terror.

The slump in the president's public support means that Democrats appear to be in a more competitive position than they have been in months, the Gallup poll suggests.

In head-to-head matchups, registered voters said if the election were held today, almost half, 49 percent, would support Clark, while 46 percent would support Bush, which is within the poll's margin of error.

Kerry had 48 percent to Bush's 47 percent; and Bush had 48 percent to Lieberman's 47 percent. Bush held a slight lead over Dean, 49-45 percent, and had a similar advantage over Gephardt.

Clark, a retired Army general, led all other Democratic candidates in the poll conducted Sept. 19-21, beginning two days after Clark announced he would become the 10th Democratic candidate for the party's nomination.

Among voters who are Democratic or lean Democratic, Clark led all Democratic candidates with 22 percent, Dean had 13 percent, Kerry and Gephardt 11 percent and Lieberman 10 percent. The remaining candidates were in the low single digits.

The battle for the party nomination will be fought state by state, and Clark's strength in early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire will be crucial. National polls at this stage tend to reflect name recognition and aren't the most accurate indicator of a candidate's viability.

Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said it's ``not uncommon to see this at this point in an administration.''

``The American people want a leader who acts decisively to meet our highest priorities. That's exactly what the president is doing,'' McClellan said.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff cautioned against making too much of the Democrats' standing in a national poll taken so far before the election.

``This off-year time is a chance for people to express frustration,'' McInturff said. ``But these off-year results can be only thinly connected to actual election results.''

Public opinion is highly unpredictable early in the election cycle since voters have not yet focused on the race, according to McInturff, who noted that Republican Bob Dole was running ahead of President Clinton the year before the election. Clinton prevailed in 1996.

Democratic pollster Doug Schoen said ``right now we're seeing a dramatic change in public opinion,'' adding that Bush's recent dip in the polls suggests that Democrats could have a chance to defeat Bush next year -- a possibility that looked very remote in past months.

The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll of 1,003 adults, including 877 registered voters, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, 4 percentage points for registered voters. The ARG poll of 1,100 adults was taken Sept. 19-22 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

September 24th, 2003, 12:14 AM

TLOZ Link5
September 24th, 2003, 11:48 AM
And he's coming to New York next year for his convention. Fun.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 04:49 PM
You all love to criticize our great President Bush, even though he is doing a dam good job. Considering the scale of the attacks on 9/11 it's amazing he averted a depression, so don't complain about the recession. Are you actually complaining that he is going too hard on Arab countries? Are you mad? Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran have been long-time supporters of terrorists. More recently, however, Saudi Arabia has been cracking down. Syria, however, may have ties to the US Soldiers detained at Gitmo. He hasn't done anything to any of those countries, and he should. He is being too leniant on them. There are also the issues of Northern tribal areas of Pakistan. He didn't want to anger the Pakistanis so we didn't root out al qaeda in that area. And he's beeing too harsh? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Not to mention his interest in creating a Palestinian state. When people say he is anti-Arab they forget to mention that. They also forget to mention that Arab media, which you all seem to be in-tune with, criticizes him constantly. After 9/11 he warned against attacking random arabs on the streets. Calling him anti-arab is just as blindly moronic as calling Clinton a good husband. But it seems the constant liberal whining and propoganda on the news actually is affecting peoples opinions of him. Our news just likes to report things that'll get people to watch, whether it's disaster, war, or criticism of the President. I turn on the TV I almost get the feeling I'm watching Al-Jazeera with the things I hear some people saying about President Bush. It seems the world is forgetting about the horrible attacks, and about the threat of terrorism. But this is just natural isn't it? We sleep until something big happens. Happened in 1941, it happened in 2001. I guess we'll do the liberal thing! Go to sleep, because we don't want to be mean to people who are killing us and cheering about attacks on us. If Gore were running in 2004 I could just imagine the campaign slogan "Everyone grab a pillow, cause it's Gore in 2004". And because democrats can't even pick the best leader amongst themselves (says something about all their leadership skills) I don't have a better example of the Democrat running in 2004. So, now is when you all spam your curse words, anti-bush rhetoric, and pro-terrorist feelings. I am anxiously awaiting the responses to this... yeah right, anxiously awaiting more propoganda :wink:

September 24th, 2003, 05:00 PM
Evidently, about 50% of the people don't agree with you.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 05:07 PM
Bush is one hugh joke. I'm sick and tired of him and his lousy administation. They're all looking for a fight.

What kind of joke Dominicano? A hugh joke? hugh? Huh? First of all, maybe you don't care about attacking terrorists because they didn't attack the Dominican Republic. I should change my name to AmericanNYC. We are all immigrants here. Would you like my name to be PolishNYC? You have to be more patriotic to the country you are living it. The American military is fighting every day protecting our asses and the least we can do is show some pride. It's horrible how Americans conveniently forget where they are living and remember their ancestry whenever they are on a forum or anywhere else. To everyone their old country is more important, it seems. What did the Dominican Republic ever do for you? Are they building you roads, protecting you from terrorists, etc.? No. I have nothing against the Dominican Republic, but all Americans have to realize that they live in America and the least they can do is remember that. You don't have to agree with a Republican or Democrat, but at least remember you are an American. Even if you were born somewhere else. This is the country that is giving you tax cuts right now. The country that is fighting to protect you from terrorists, and the country that is providing you with services. If you feel no patriotism towards it then feel free to leave. By the way, you are wrong again. The terrorists were looking for the fight, and much to their dissapointment, and yours they got one. I personally am sick of the liberal spin opposing every action taken against terrorism. "Oh no! The Gitmo prisoners don't have cable TV? Oh no! We are going to stop terrorists from getting on airplanes with the Terrorist Information Awareness system? Oh no! President Bush is killing terrorists?"

Well complain, complain, but you can only go so far before peoples common sense kicks back in and reminds them that terrorists are bad.
Lesson of the day:
Terrorists = Bad, evil murderers
Fighting Terrorists = Less attacks on Americans
Fighting Terrorists = Good

There. Remember those three basic principle and you maybe won't buy into all this media nonsense.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 05:09 PM
Zippy... if 50% of the people thought 2 + 2 was 1000 it wouldn't make them right. Besides, often the masses are dumb. A long time ago well over 50% of the people wanted slavery, does it make them right?

September 24th, 2003, 05:17 PM

This thread is not about Dominicano or the Dominican Republic. If you disagree with him, just state your reasons as they pertain to the topic. Your previous post was a rant, this last one was offensive.

If you continue with this tone, your posts will start to disappear.

Freedom Tower
September 24th, 2003, 05:20 PM
Zippy, like I said before. I don't have a beef with Dominicano or the Dominican Republic. I was using it to prove a point. Unless you are a native american you were not originally from the USA. My point was that if everyone just cared about their origins and not where they currently live then there would be no America at all. All of us are from somewhere else. However, some of us choose to support America. That is what I am saying. It relates greatly to the topic. Also, just becuase you disagree with my opinions on things doesn't make my opinions rant or offensive.

September 24th, 2003, 05:26 PM
I don't care about your opinion on the matter, or what you meant, or if you were rushed and "didn't know what you were typing."

Your post was offensive.

September 25th, 2003, 12:13 AM
The Presidential Bubble

Four progressive political groups sued the Bush administration this week, charging that the Secret Service is systematically keeping protesters away from the president's public appearances. They make a serious point about free speech rights, but they also point out a disturbing aspect of the Bush White House: the country has a chief executive who seems to embrace the presidential bubble.

Security concerns make it inevitable that a modern American president will be somewhat cut off from the country he leads. He cannot insert himself into any part of normal life without a phalanx of security guards.

Protesters cannot be permitted to get close enough to pose a threat, but they ought to be able to get close enough so the president can see that they are there. Sometimes seeing a glimpse of placard-wielding demonstrators is as close as the commander in chief can get to seeing the face of national discontent.

At Mr. Bush's public appearances, his critics are routinely shunted into "protest zones" as much as a half-mile away. At the Columbia, S.C., airport last year, a protester with a "No War for Oil" sign was ordered to move a half-mile from the area where Mr. Bush's supporters were allowed to stand. When the protester refused, he was arrested.

Mr. Bush and his aides also seem to go to great lengths to underline the degree to which the president closes himself off from the news media. In an interview with Fox News this week, the president said he learned most of what he needs to know from morning briefings by his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and his chief of staff, Andrew Card.

As for newspapers, Mr. Bush said, "I glance at the headlines" but "rarely read the stories." The people who brief him on current events encounter many of the newsmakers personally, he said, and in any case "probably read the news themselves."

Some of this may be a pose that is designed to tweak the media by making the news appear to be below the president's notice. During the Iraqi invasion, when the rest of the nation was glued to TV, Mr. Bush's spokesman claimed that his boss had barely glanced at the pictures of what was going on.

But it is worrisome when one of the most incurious men ever to occupy the White House takes pains to insist that he gets his information on what the world is saying only in predigested bits from his appointees.

Mr. Bush thinks of himself as a man of the people, but carefully staged contacts with groups of supporters or small children does not constitute getting in touch with the people. It is in Mr. Bush's interest, as well as the nation's, for him to burst the bubble he has been inhabiting, and take a hard look at the real world.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

September 25th, 2003, 11:25 AM

September 26th, 2003, 01:30 AM
The News Reaching the President (6 Letters)

To the Editor:

Re "The Presidential Bubble" (editorial, Sept. 25):

The right to protest peacefully is a fundamental right in a democracy, yet understandable security concerns for the president do not mean distancing the show of dissent from his eyes.

I am surprised that President Bush depends only on his advisers' briefings and only glances at the headlines of the newspapers to gauge public opinion.

We are a great democracy and a country that is lucky enough to have a vibrant media. The president needs to come out of his cocoon; he should have his finger on the pulse of public opinion.

Woodside, Queens, Sept. 25, 2003

To the Editor:

President Bush's lack of curiosity and the fact that he considers himself a man of the people are not incongruous ("The Presidential Bubble," editorial, Sept. 25). The majority of Americans also do not bother to inform themselves about the world and rely on a "ruling elite" to make decisions for them.

Mr. Bush's lack of curiosity and his desire to live in a "bubble" merely reflect the same desires and lack of curiosity of the majority of Americans he leads.

Royal Oak, Mich., Sept. 25, 2003

To the Editor:

You accuse our president of being "incurious" (editorial, Sept. 25).

Am I alone in respecting someone who is focused and undistracted, who avoids getting "his information on what the world is saying only in pre- digested bits" from The New York Times?

Holladay, Utah, Sept. 25, 2003

To the Editor:

President Bush's lack of interest in the newspapers and public opinion is no pose ("The Presidential Bubble," editorial, Sept. 25).

From his first day in office, he saw no need to court the public, despite lacking a public mandate. The only people he seeks to please are financial backers of his own class. His every measure is calculated to serve them.

When millions of people around the United States and the world protested his plans to pre-emptively attack Iraq, he said, "Size of protest — it's like deciding, well, I'm going to decide policy based upon a focus group."

No longer do we owe Mr. Bush the benefit of the doubt in this matter.

Palo Alto, Calif., Sept. 25, 2003

To the Editor:

It's true that hearing about a protest and seeing it firsthand are two different things. Everyone would agree with that. But critics of the president and his so-called bubble (editorial, Sept. 25) should ask themselves if they really want to compromise the security of the leader of the free world — and their own — so that George W. Bush can see an antiwar poster from 50 feet away.

Two years ago, I attended the commencement ceremony at Yale, where President Bush received an honorary degree. Standing on a podium before a liberal student body, he faced a sea of protest signs on topics ranging from abortion to tax policy.

That was four months before 9/11.

In going to war in Afghanistan and then Iraq, and now working so hard to rebuild this troubled region, the president must surely be working to dissolve the bubble that has been the unfortunate consequence of events of the last two years.

New York, Sept. 25, 2003

To the Editor:

Your Sept. 25 editorial "The Presidential Bubble" struck me as a little self-serving.

I'm sure that you would like to know that President Bush pores over The New York Times each morning at breakfast and saves the crossword puzzle for some intellectual exercise after his morning aerobics.

But if I had to read the depressing news about a less than robust economy and the quagmire in Iraq, I would prefer my news filtered, too.

Fairfield, Conn., Sept. 25, 2003

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

September 26th, 2003, 03:37 PM
Is Switzerland a nice place to live, Christian? I'd imagine it's difficult attain citizenship -- I don't really have a trade yet. I often feel like my country is spiraling out of control, like I'm going to wake up one day and it's just going to be too far gone for me to take.

September 26th, 2003, 04:27 PM
Take heart. Its nowhere near the state it was in during say:

1. McCarthyism
2. Vietnam
3. Iranian Hostage Crisis
4. Reaganomics and the Evil Empire

If you're memory doesn't go back much farther than Clinton its pretty bad but its certainly not all that horrid in the farther view.

September 26th, 2003, 07:45 PM
Excuse me Freedom Tower, but I am not a Dominican immegrant. I'm call my-slef DominicanoNYC because I am of Dominican descent. I am not offended though, but please watch what you say.

September 26th, 2003, 08:45 PM
Often the masses are dumb, Freedom tower? Is that the case? So if you or me are one of the masses we are dumb? And never was slavery considered acceptable in history. It's just back then that people were too afraid to speak out against it in fear of retribution from thier "rulers." We know terrorists are bad people, but how would you know if one is a terrerist or not, simply because their last name is Muhammed or they wear a hijab? There must be a line drawn between cracking down on terrorists and cracking down on Islam.

Freedom Tower
September 26th, 2003, 10:09 PM
Yes, in America at one point slavery was considered acceptable. Study American History, I will not teach it to you. That is how the masses were dumb. They almost all agreed at one point that there was nothing wrong in having slaves. They were sold like products and used for farming. I will not go into further detail. Stop pretending this is a fight against Islam. It is not. You are making it that. I never said it was. However, when you hold religion above moral standards, such as killing is good for jihad or against an infidel, then it is fundamentalist islam and that is not good. I don't know why most Muslims like to chant it is a war against islam. There are plenty of mosques in this country. It is not a war against Islam. Don't forget who declared the war either. Bin Laden declared war, and it's amazing we were able to distinguish between islam and fundamentalist islam becuase bin laden said the attacks were in the name of Islam. We all knew it wasn't though. In fact we haven't gone hard enough on terrorists becuase we were afraid to insult their culture. There have been mosques that supported the terrorists in this country, but they're not being investigated because they claimed it was all in a religious capacity. In addition, Gitmo prisoners have been given prayer time. Stop whining. Islam is not being threatened. America is being threatened.

Freedom Tower
September 26th, 2003, 10:12 PM
JMGarcia, just what was so good about Clintons time? The economy was up yes, but he was not the cause of that. In fact the economy started slumping towards the end of his term in office. In addition, he could have done something for this country besides Monica. Then he lied to the entire country, the country he was President of when he said he didn't do it. He could've said its his personal business, but he LIED to his country. In addition, he did nothing about the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, and did little in 1993 WTC bombing, and wasn't WACO so much fun? Not to mention he signed something promising not to arrest the terrorist that hijacked the achille lauro. He made the military smaller and less prepared, cut back on our overseas intelligence gathering, all this helped lead up to 9/11. But since we don't like to sound bad he had a good term right? WRONG.

September 26th, 2003, 10:55 PM
Clinton did it to Monica. Dubya is doing it to all of us.

September 26th, 2003, 11:27 PM
Clinton did it to Monica. Dubya is doing it to all of us.

Very true Zippy! But I think you might have misspelled, isn't it DUHbya? :wink:

Freedom Tower
September 27th, 2003, 08:19 AM
It's not true. And it's this false crap that is ruining our country. President Bush is doing his best to help us. He is fighting terrorism, trying to improve schools with the "no child left behind", he tried to fight affirmative action, a very racist program, but the supreme court is slightly liberal so racist it shall stay. He is giving tax cuts so Americans will have more money to spend, and then when they do spend it the economy will improve. You all complain the "rich" people are getting the tax cuts, maybe for a good reason. Like Zippy said, if he was given a tax cut he'd just save it. So we need to give it to people who will spend it. The real problem today is that democrats will say anything, ANYTHING to make President Bush seem a bad guy so they will win the 2004 elections. The fact is, Clinton did lie to us, and did monica the whole time. And your little simile is wrong, don't make what Clinton did seem less bad. Do you want a President that will lie to you? No, so Clinton was a bad President.

September 27th, 2003, 08:47 AM
Bush may have lied about the reasons for the war in Iraq.

You still do not understand the theory behind tax cuts. Tax cuts are not implimented just to give people a few extra bucks. If that was the case, they would always fail. Tax cuts reduce government revenue. The theory is that the economy is expanded, and the government gets it's revenue back. If the economy is not stimulated, what you are left with is a revenue shortfall (deficit). Something has to give. The federal government can just print money, but since that is a loan, interest maust be paid. This has long-term negative effects. The other choice is to cut programs. This problem gets passed along to state and local governments. Since it is difficult for municipalities to cut services (you gotta collect the garbage), taxes or charge for services are raised - things like bridge tolls and parking fees.

The end result is that extra paycheck is given right back. The danger is that the person who actually thought he had extra money to spend and did spend it is wondering why he has more debt than the year before.

September 27th, 2003, 05:17 PM
when have I ever held religion above basic moral standards?
All presidents have also lied before, including Bush. The accusation that plutonium was being smuggled from niger truned out to be false, as also was the accusation that Iraq was trying to obtain high strength steel tubes for uranium centrifuges.

October 3rd, 2003, 07:04 PM
October 3, 2003

Poll Shows Drop in Confidence on Bush Skill in Handling Crises


The public's confidence in President Bush's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis has slid sharply over the past five months, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll has found. And a clear majority are also uneasy about his ability to make the right decisions on the nation's economy.

Over all, the poll found, Americans are for the first time more critical than not of Mr. Bush's ability to handle both foreign and domestic problems, and a majority say the president does not share their priorities. Thirteen months before the 2004 election, a solid majority of Americans say the country is seriously on the wrong track, a classic danger sign for incumbents, and only about half of Americans approve of Mr. Bush's overall job performance. That is roughly the same as when Mr. Bush took office after the razor-close 2000 election.

But more than 6 in 10 Americans still say the president has strong qualities of leadership, more than 5 in 10 say he has more honesty and integrity than most people in public life and 6 in 10 credit him with making the country safer from terrorist attack.

By contrast, the Democratic presidential contenders remain largely unknown, and nearly half of Americans — and a like number of registered voters — say the Democrats have no clear plan of their own for the country.

A summer of continuing attacks on American soldiers in Iraq, the failure so far to find weapons of mass destruction there and Mr. Bush's recent request for $87 billion to pay for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a toll on public support for his administration's Iraq policy and on views of his ability to handle such issues in general.

The poll found that just 45 percent of Americans now have confidence in Mr. Bush's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis, down sharply from 66 percent in April, and half now say they are uneasy about his approach. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say the war in Iraq is still going on, and 6 in 10 say the United States should not spend as much on the effort as Mr. Bush has sought. Three-quarters of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say the administration has yet to clearly explain how long American troops will have to stay in Iraq, or how much it will cost to rebuild the country.

"I am very uneasy because of the war," said Joyce Austin, 69, a retired nurse's aide in Readstown, Wis., who was reinterviewed after the poll was conducted. "I don't think the Bush administration had a good plan for ending the war, and for what was going to happen afterward. I don't think they realized how much it was going to cost." Mrs. Austin paused and added, "Maybe they knew and just didn't tell us."

The nationwide telephone poll of 981 adults has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The poll, taken Sunday through Wednesday, was in progress when the Justice Department announced that it would investigate accusations that someone in the White House may have leaked the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer.

As the week progressed and news coverage of the investigation intensified, respondents were somewhat less likely to credit the Bush administration with bringing heightened honesty and integrity to the workings of the White House, compared with past administrations. In the end, just over one-third of the respondents said the administration had brought more honesty and integrity, while 18 percent said it had brought less and 43 percent said it was about the same as other administrations.

For months, Americans have been critical of Mr. Bush's handling of the national economy, and they remain so, with just one in five saying the administration's policies have made their taxes go down and a near-majority saying the policies have had no effect on them personally. Half of the respondents said the federal tax cuts enacted since 2001 had not made much difference in the economy, and the rest were about evenly divided on whether the tax cuts were bad or good. Just 40 percent of voters expressed confidence in Mr. Bush's ability to make the right decisions about the economy, down from half in April, while 56 percent said they were uneasy, up from 42 percent in April.

During Mr. Bush's tenure, a majority of Americans say, jobs have been lost and not created, there has been no easing of the high cost of prescription drugs and schools have not improved. Six in 10 Americans — and 4 in 10 Republicans — say the economy is worse than it was when Mr. Bush took office. Four in 10 of those polled were worried that someone in their household would lose his job in the next year.

Even worse news for the president was that Americans have also become critical of his handling of foreign policy, which had been been seen as his strength for most of his presidency. The latest survey found that 44 percent of those polled approved of Mr. Bush's overall handling of foreign policy, down from 52 percent in July, and that 47 percent approved of his handling of the situation in Iraq, down from 58 percent in July.

Polls last winter showed that public support for the president's decision to go to war in Iraq was sharply divided along partisan lines, with broad indications of reluctance. Now there are growing doubts about whether the results were worth the loss of life and other costs involved. Only 41 percent said it was, while 53 percent said it was not. When the question was asked using Saddam Hussein's name, the results were almost reversed, with about half those surveyed le saying it was worth removing him from power, and 41 percent saying it was not.

Over all, 51 percent of the respondents approved of Mr. Bush's performance. That is down from the high 80's after the Sept. 11 attacks, and from the high 60's at the beginning of the Iraq war. Just over 4 in 10 voters now have a favorable opinion of the president, compared with more than 6 in 10 in mid-2002, and just over 3 in 10 now have an unfavorable opinion compared with 2 in 10 in July 2002.

Nearly half said they believed that removing Mr. Hussein from power was the main reason for taking military action in Iraq. About a quarter said the main reason was to protect the oil supply, and one-fifth said the goal was to stop Iraq from manufacturing weapons. But only about 4 in 10 said they now believed that Mr. Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, compared with about 5 in 10 who said so in April.

More than half of Americans said relations between the United States and its European allies were worse than when Mr. Bush took office, and fewer than half said leaders of other countries around the world had respect for Mr. Bush.

Mary Preble, 46, a registered nurse and a Republican in Sugar Land, Tex., said: "I don't feel George W. Bush has a grasp on what the public is really interested in." She added: "I wasn't happy about the invasion in Iraq. We shouldn't have attacked before anything was proven. There seem to be no nuclear weapons.

"Right now he is trying to rally everyone around to the cause and give money to rebuild Iraq. But why should other countries kick in cash when he didn't wait until the U.N. said we're behind you? The other countries don't believe he has the leadership skills he should have."

The poll showed an electorate that remains narrowly divided. When all registered voters were asked whom they would vote for next year, 44 percent said Mr. Bush and 44 percent said the Democratic candidate. But regardless of how they intend to vote, half of registered voters said they expected Mr. Bush to win.

While Mr. Bush's standing has fallen, the poll showed that the Democratic presidential contenders are still largely unknown, and a majority of those who are planning to vote in their states' Democratic primaries or caucus next year have not formed opinions of the candidates.

Opinions of Democratic primary voters are so unformed that the mere mention of a person's title changes the dynamic. When voters were asked which candidate they would choose, without mention of titles, 17 percent said Gen. Wesley K. Clark, 11 percent said Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and 10 percent said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. The other candidates were all in single digits.

"I think the Democrats have a plan, but I'm not sure what it is," Laurel Halsey, 34, a personnel manager in Oakland, Calif, said. "The Democrats' plan is never as clear as the Republicans' because the Republicans focus on the very narrow goal of laissez-faire government and capitalism. The Democrats try to incorporate a broader base of social issues."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

February 4th, 2004, 01:06 AM
03 Feb 2004 17:44:43 GMT

Bush's problems mount: is he vulnerable?

By Alan Elsner

WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush is going through a rocky patch at home and abroad, leading some pundits to question earlier assumptions that he is a shoo-in for re-election in November.

Bush is now suffering the lowest job approval rating of his presidency as measured by the Gallup poll at 49 percent. Optimism about the economy is fading, as is support for the war in Iraq. In mid-December, just after the capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Bush's approval stood at 63 percent.

"In some sense, this is to be expected. The Democratic presidential candidates are out there every day bashing Bush and the president has not yet started campaigning," said Dean Spiliotes at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

"But coverage of the weapons of mass destruction issue and the continued casualties in Iraq are also taking a toll. Meanwhile, the economy is not generating enough new jobs and the budget deficit is a growing issue," he said.

Bush has been hurt by the disclosure by former top U.S. weapons hunter David Kay that Iraq probably did not have weapons of mass destruction before last year's U.S. invasion and that there had been a massive intelligence failure.

After resisting the idea, Bush on Monday said he would appoint a bipartisan independent commission to investigate what went wrong. The intention is for the commission not to report its findings until after the presidential election.

At home, Bush's State of the Union Address last month did little or nothing to boost his ratings. His $2.4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2005, with its projected $364 billion deficit, ran into criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the political divide when it arrived in Congress Monday. Liberals are upset that many programs would be cut or eliminated. Some conservatives complained the deficit was still too high.

"The Iraq issue ties directly to the deficit. People are asking, why are we spending so much on Iraq when there were no weapons of mass destruction there in the first place and when we don't have enough jobs, health care and good schools right here at home," said Arthur Miller, a political scientist at the University of Iowa.


Just a few months ago, Bush seemed all but invincible. Most experts still believe he should be favored to win re-election, but many are now predicting a close race.

"If people thought he was a shoo-in for re-election, they were overstating the case. He remains a good bet but certainly no shoo-in. He has plenty of obstacles to overcome," said Pollster Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center.

A recent USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll had Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, defeating Bush 53 percent to 46 percent, a lead outside the poll's margin of error.

Pollster John Zogby said the country remained ideologically divided down the middle as it was in the 2000 election campaign which ended in a virtual dead heat.

"This is going to be a competitive election. Re-election for Bush is not a certainty at all," he said.

As soon as a Democratic presidential nominee emerges, Bush is certain to go on the political offensive and his fortunes may well revive. He has raised over $140 million for his re-election and most of that money is sitting in the bank waiting to be unleashed against his eventual challenger.

"It's not that unusual for an incumbent president to look weak at this point in the election cycle," said University of Cincinnati political scientist Alfred Tuchfarber.

"There has been a cascade of negative news for Bush but I don't think it means that much for what will happen in November," he said.

AlertNet news is provided by Reuters

Freedom Tower
February 4th, 2004, 08:25 PM
when have I ever held religion above basic moral standards?
All presidents have also lied before, including Bush. The accusation that plutonium was being smuggled from niger truned out to be false, as also was the accusation that Iraq was trying to obtain high strength steel tubes for uranium centrifuges.

President Bush did not create that report about niger. He received it from an intelligence agency. It most likely wasn't a lie, but rather a mistake. I also wonder why the discovery of a 7 pound block of cyanide was not so highly publicized. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110372,00.html
Cyanide is a deadly chemical agent. And chemical weapons are WMD. Why was this not shown to inspectors? This is proof saddam had WMD. Besides, we gave him some of the dam stuff.

In response to holding religion above moral standards -

You have a problem with the more careful screening of Muslims boarding airplanes, correct? That is a religious issue. You don't want Muslims to be screened more carefully or looked at more closely because you are a Muslim and you feel its discriminatory. There is one obvious fact you are overlooking. EVERY HIJACKER ON 911 WAS A MUSLIM. Im not saying all muslims are bad, definately not. What I am saying, however, is al qaeda's "jihad" is only carried out by muslims for killing "infidels". If we know that a possible al qaeda terrorist hijacker would most likely be muslim, because al qaeda claims they are fighting to save islam, then why shouldnt we be more careful? I'm not saying we should take them all and tell them never to get on a plane. But if the hijackers are all muslims, then it is perfectly acceptable to be extra careful, it is to save lives! You are trying to make a comparison to the racial profiling of black people, to make it sound wrong. There is no group of people claiming to "rob, or commit crimes, in the name of african americans", therefore stopping their cars or pulling them over based on skin is ridiculous. But there IS a group, that has killed thousands of americans, who fights in the name of islam. There is no reason that we shouldnt screen muslims a little more carefully without actually violating any of their liberties.

February 5th, 2004, 02:06 PM
So, are you saying that all blacks should be watched more carefully since most violent blue collar crime in city areas is committed by blacks?

That is the comparison.

As for the block of cyanide, come ON man, you need more than that to start a war!!!

February 6th, 2004, 04:28 AM
February 6, 2004


Tuning Out the G.O.P.'s Siren Song


Maybe it's too much to hope for. But I wonder if we aren't watching the beginning of a decline in the effectiveness of the Republican Party's divide-and-conquer strategy.

For nearly half a century the G.O.P. has displayed an unparalleled mastery of the ugly art of devising campaigns that appeal to the very worst in us. It's always the whites against the blacks, the middle class against the poor, the conservatives against the hated liberals, with the word "liberal" spat out with the kind of disgust that's usually reserved for child molesters.

The party's at it again this year with talk of defacing the Constitution with its first discriminatory amendment, a ban on gay marriage.

But there are other currents moving through this election season that may tend to pull some diverse segments of the population closer together politically. For example, there are few things worse for a president seeking re-election than large numbers of jobless voters. Even in a state as solidly pro-Bush as South Carolina, the No. 1 issue on the minds of voters is a staggering loss of jobs.

Neal Thigpen, a political science professor at Francis Marion University in Florence, S.C., said he believes that President Bush will carry the state easily in the fall. But he told me: "I don't think Bush will do as well as he did four years ago. I think his stock is down a little. I'm not gonna kid you."

The Bush tax cuts and the turnaround in the economy have been a boon to folks at the high end of the economic ladder. The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Wednesday about the resurgence of lavish spending by the investment crowd. It featured accounts of giddy highfliers getting married at the palace of Versailles, stepping up their purchases of Porsches, Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces, and exhibiting "a renewed appetite for chartered jets."

At the same time, the underclass and the middle class are increasingly facing similar predicaments: job losses, hard times and an extremely uncertain future.

The blows are coming from myriad directions. On Tuesday The Times's Milt Freudenheim wrote: "Employers have unleashed a new wave of cutbacks in company-paid health benefits for retirees, with a growing number of companies saying that retirees can retain coverage only if they are willing to bear the full cost themselves."

Anxiety about jobs and the economy may be knitting together voters who in past years felt they had little in common.

Another broad issue that increasing numbers of voters are coalescing around is President Bush's credibility problems. There were no weapons of mass destruction. So why have we sacrificed the lives of more than 500 American troops and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians? What was the noble cause for which they died?

On the home front, Mr. Bush has come up with a budget that is so irresponsible and deceitful it has rattled public officials and ordinary voters on the right and the left. (The Times, in an editorial headline, called it "The Pinocchio Budget.") As presented, the budget would jack up military spending by 7 percent, to $26.5 billion. But that figure does not include the money needed to cover the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'll get those numbers later. After the election.

What the budget does include are additional tax breaks for the wealthy, along with proposals that would deal potentially crippling blows to government support for education, environmental protection, veterans programs, low-income housing, child care and the like.

What seems to be unsettling to large numbers of voters (not just hard-core anti-Bush Democrats) is the notion that events are slipping — or have slipped — out of control, that there is no endgame in Iraq, no plan to rein in runaway deficits, no strategy to put Americans back to work, and no limit to the Bush administration's willingness to shower its friends with favors and public dollars.

The Democratic primaries and caucuses have drawn record turnouts and sparked genuine excitement. Republicans are expressing concern that the administration has been thrown on the defensive. Already there is an attempt by the G.O.P. to divert attention from the real issues by chanting incessantly about gay marriages and the fact that John Kerry is — uh-oh — a liberal from Massachusetts.

That would be a travesty, and I hope the voters don't allow it.

E-mail: bobherb@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Freedom Tower
February 6th, 2004, 06:35 PM
So, are you saying that all blacks should be watched more carefully since most violent blue collar crime in city areas is committed by blacks?

That is the comparison.

As for the block of cyanide, come ON man, you need more than that to start a war!!!

No, you mis-read. I was almost saying the opposite about blacks. I meant that there is a difference between pulling over black people and screening an Arab a little more carefully. On the one hand, just pulling over a car with black people is wrong. On the other hand, checking an Arabs bag twice at an AIRPORT isn't. At an airport everyone who gets on a plane is subject to as much search as is necessary for the plane to be considered safe. When you get on a plane you give up your right to privacy so they can check for bombs, etc. When you're driving in your car police have no right to search you without a certain amount of evidence or some kind of reason to pull you over. I was just explaining that any check before someone gets on an airplane cannot be considered profiling, or racist. When getting on a plane nobody has the right to say "You cant search me, you can't search me twice, etc." If you want to fly on a plane you have to go through as many searches as security wants.

And as for the cyanide, it's just one thing we found out of the many things there are. UN Resolution 1441 said Saddam had to destroy ALL of his WMDs. That includes chemical, biological, and nuclear. He didn't have nuclear weapons in the finished form, thats obvious. However he did have chemical and biological. Cyanide is a chemical weapon. By him not showing the UN that block of cyanide he was in breach of UN resolution 1441, all that was needed to go to war. Meanwhile that hasn't been publicized at all in the liberal media.

February 6th, 2004, 06:49 PM
By him not showing the UN that block of cyanide he was in breach of UN resolution 1441, all that was needed to go to war.
So whenever a UN resolution is breached, war follows? I didn't know that. And if that is true, shouldn't it be the UN that initiates a war that breaks one of its own resolutions?

Anyway, the Washington debate has moved on to the blame game. Even Bushie has reversed himself and is now eager to find out what went wrong.

Must be an election year.

February 6th, 2004, 06:59 PM
Bush Names Panelists in Iraq Intel Probe

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
Friday February 6, 2004 10:46 PM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush appointed a conservative former judge and a moderate former Democratic senator Friday to head a special commission to ``figure out why'' inspectors haven't found the weapons that intelligence experts said Saddam Hussein was hiding in Iraq.

Bush told the panel to report back to him by the end of March 2005, well after the November elections and two years after U.S. troops invaded Iraq.

``Some prewar intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's weapon stockpiles have not been confirmed,'' Bush said in the White House briefing room. ``We are determined to figure out why.''

Democrats reacted to the new commission with skepticism. They wondered whether any panel picked by the president could be impartial, and they said its findings should be reported before, not after, the presidential election.

``To have a commission appointed exclusively by President Bush investigate his administration's intelligence failures in Iraq does not inspire confidence in its independence,'' said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Carl Levin of Michigan, senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said the commission's assignment was diluted with less-than-urgent intelligence matters at the expense of examining ``exaggerations of that intelligence by the Bush administration.''

Bush said the panel would be bipartisan - co-chaired by Chuck Robb, the former governor and senator from Virginia, and retired judge Laurence Silberman.

Robb, son-in-law of the late President Johnson, has been practicing law since leaving the Senate. Silberman, who served as deputy attorney general in the Nixon and Ford administrations, was named to the appeals court by President Reagan in 1985.

Current Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was among the five other members named by Bush.

The commission is charged with examining intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and related 21st century threats, Bush said. The panel will compare what has been found by the Iraq Survey Group, which is still scouring Iraq for information about Saddam's arms, with information the administration had in hand before U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq in March 2003.

It also will review U.S. intelligence on weapons programs in countries such as North Korea and Iran, Bush said. In addition, the panel is charged with reviewing spy work on Libya before leader Moammar Gadhafi committed that nation to rid itself of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and on Afghanistan before the Taliban rulers were ousted.

Bush also named to the panel: Lloyd Cutler, former White House counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton; former federal judge Patricia M. Wald; Yale University president Richard C. Levin, and Adm. William O. Studeman, former deputy director of the CIA. Wald, a former chief judge for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, served as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Bush said two other members could be named later.

McCain said forming the commission was a wise decision. ``In our war against terrorism, it is imperative that we guarantee the credibility and effectiveness of our intelligence capabilities,'' he said.

Wesley Clark, a Democratic candidate for president, said Bush was using the panel to affix blame to the intelligence community instead of to policy-makers, including himself, who used the information to make decisions.

``Waiting until 2005 for the commission's report simply is not acceptable,'' Clark added. ``If there is a major threat posed by these weapons, we should have that information in 90 days, not a year from now.''

Loch Johnson, a University of Georgia professor and former congressional and White House intelligence staffer, said he thought it was a mistake for the commission to broaden its inquiry beyond the focus of Iraq.

``They're going to broaden it so much that they're going to dilute the main focus and the reason we need this commission in the first place,'' he said.

He said the commission should focus on such questions as: ``How good was the intelligence and to what degree was it bent, if at all, to suit the needs of the administration?''

February 6th, 2004, 07:52 PM
While I normally would never say anything negative about John McCain - a man who actually thinks for himself, which is not common for republicans. That said, he has already claimed that he believes Bush did nothing wrong and was justified. How is that an investigation?

Moreover, Bush in staying true to his arrogance, has made this more an investigation on intelligence gathering in general, not what is truly called for - why we went to war with a country that could only harm itself?

And this is all due so we can make a decision as a people about our president....but not until March 2005. Amazing how beyond arrogant that is.

Also, just in case you weren't feeling sick yet? None of this information is required to be made public.

February 6th, 2004, 08:18 PM
By him not showing the UN that block of cyanide he was in breach of UN resolution 1441, all that was needed to go to war.
So whenever a UN resolution is breached, war follows? I didn't know that. And if that is true, shouldn't it be the UN that initiates a war that breaks one of its own resolutions?

Anyway, the Washington debate has moved on to the blame game. Even Bushie has reversed himself and is now eager to find out what went wrong.

Must be an election year.

This is what always got me: Iraq was in breach of a UN resolution, and Hawks use that as indisputible legal authority for war. But when the UN says no to war, then the Hawks say the UN's legal authority is irrelevant, and who needs those stinky old continentals anyway?

Freedom Tower
February 7th, 2004, 04:07 PM
Basically people who supported the war said the UN was irrelevent for the following reasons:

1) It would not act on its own resolution. The resolution said Saddam must cooperate, it is apparent that he was not cooperating. Cooperating meant either destroying WMD, such as cyanide, or at least proving that it was destroyed long ago. He did neither.

2) Instead of asking wether saddam was in breach the question turned into who was on France's side and who was on the USA's side. It was no longer the United Nations. Instead of working together the countries ganged up and insulted each other. No progress was made at all. It was all nonsense.

February 8th, 2004, 11:13 AM
Let's talk about France. Bushies love to remind everyone how we liberated them in WWII. If it weren't for the support from the French in the revolutionary war, we would all be pledging allegiance to the Queen.

Second, while it is easy to focus on France as our nemesis - this is a distraction from the truth. The truth is that most of our allies, and most of the other world's nations were adamantly against our attacking Iraq. That includes Russia, China, Germany, Canada, and the hawks' favorite "villain" France.

The UN merely reflected the world's consensus against attacking Iraq.

February 9th, 2004, 02:29 AM
February 9, 2004


Lost in Credibility Gulch


The question: What can we believe?

The president is genial enough, but it might be time for a bipartisan truth squad to follow him around, sorting out the facts from his musings, speculations, fantasies and mis-rememberings.

Iraq has shown us the trouble that can lurk in the gaps between reality and whatever it is that George W. Bush believes or says. Tim Russert, during his hourlong interview with Mr. Bush on NBC's "Meet the Press," displayed a quote from the president's address to the nation last March 17:

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

More than 500 American troops and thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war that was launched on that faulty data. And the war goes on.

"I expected there to be stockpiles of weapons," Mr. Bush told Mr. Russert.

Here at home, the president has been as wrong about jobs as he was about weapons of mass destruction. More than two million jobs have vanished on Mr. Bush's watch and the recent uptick in job creation has, by all accounts, been meager.

The tax cuts signed into law by Mr. Bush in May 2003 were euphemistically dubbed the Jobs and Growth Act. Workers are still waiting for the jobs. Despite a surge in the economy, we've actually been going backward with regard to employment. There are 700,000 fewer jobs now than when the recovery from the recession began back in November 2001.

If I were advising the president, I'd suggest he form his own truth squad to vet his policies and public statements and advise him on ways to maintain a high level of credibility. That might have helped him avoid the fiasco over the cost of his recent "reform" of Medicare.

The bill, which established a prescription drug benefit, was supposed to cost no more than $400 billion over the next decade. The White House had a hard time rounding up support from conservatives who thought even that was too much. Less than two months after the bill was signed, the administration disclosed that it would actually cost an estimated $534 billion, one-third more than the original estimate.

Last week the president unveiled a $2.4 trillion budget that hardly anyone, on the left or the right, believes is credible. Among other things, it includes an increase in military spending of 7 percent, or $26.5 billion, to $401.7 billion. But it does not include the cost of continued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan!

Those estimated costs — scores of billions of dollars — will not be made public until after the November elections.

Samuel Butler said, "I care about truth not for truth's sake but for my own."

Mr. Bush presented himself in 2000 as an honest, straight-shooting Texan, an aw-shucks kind of guy whose word, unlike that of the sitting president ("I did not have sexual relations . . ."), could always be trusted.

The credibility that he enjoyed during that campaign, and which reached a peak in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, has steadily eroded since then. He said he was a compassionate conservative, but he has hammered programs designed to assist the poorest and most vulnerable among us. His administration has taken a blowtorch to the environment. And his fiscal policies are so outlandish that liberals, moderates and conservatives are asking if he's taken leave of his senses.

During the run-up to war, the public heard ominous references to mushroom clouds and was encouraged to believe there was a link between Saddam Hussein and Sept. 11.

It's time to put an end to the fantasies and the deceit, which have landed us in a quagmire overseas and the equivalent of fiscal quicksand at home.

It's not too much to ask that the president of the United States speak the clear truth about his policies and their implications. Mr. Bush would do himself and his country a favor by establishing a closer relationship with reality and a more intense commitment to the truth.

Those Americans who have put their trust in the president deserve nothing less.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 25th, 2004, 07:28 AM
April 25, 2004


The Orwellian Olsens



It's their reality. We just live and die in it.

In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies coming home.

In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the president's leadership against terror.

In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.

In Bushworld, we can win over Falluja by bulldozing it.

In Bushworld, it was worth going to war so Iraqis can express their feelings ("Down With America!") without having their tongues cut out, although we cannot yet allow them to express intemperate feelings in newspapers ("Down With America!") without shutting them down.

In Bushworld, it's fine to take $700 million that Congress provided for the war in Afghanistan and 9/11 recovery and divert it to the war in Iraq that you're insisting you're not planning.

In Bushworld, you don't consult your father, the expert in being president during a war with Iraq, but you do talk to your Higher Father, who can't talk back to warn you to get an exit strategy or chide you for using Him for political purposes.

In Bushworld, it's O.K. to run for re-election as the avenger of 9/11, even as you make secret deals with the Arab kingdom where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

In Bushworld, you get to strut around like a tough military guy and paint your rival as a chicken hawk, even though he's the one who won medals in combat and was praised by his superior officers for fulfilling all his obligations.

In Bushworld, it makes sense to press for transparency in Mr. and Mrs. Rival while cultivating your own opacity.

In Bushworld, you can reign as the antiterror president even after hearing an intelligence report about Al Qaeda's plans to attack America and then stepping outside to clear brush.

In Bushworld, those who dissemble about the troops and money it will take to get Iraq on its feet are patriots, while those who are honest are patronizingly marginalized.

In Bushworld, they struggle to keep church and state separate in Iraq, even as they increasingly merge the two in America.

In Bushworld, you can claim to be the environmental president on Earth Day while being the industry president every other day.

In Bushworld, you brag about how well Afghanistan is going, even though soldiers like Pat Tillman are still dying and the Taliban are running freely around the border areas, hiding Osama and delaying elections.

In Bushworld, imperfect intelligence is good enough to knock over Iraq. But even better evidence that North Korea is building the weapons that Saddam could only dream about is hidden away.

In Bushworld, the C.I.A. says it can't find out whether there are W.M.D. in Iraq unless we invade on the grounds that there are W.M.D.

In Bushworld, there's no irony that so many who did so much to avoid the Vietnam draft have now strained the military so much that lawmakers are talking about bringing back the draft.

In Bushworld, we're making progress in the war on terror by fighting a war that creates terrorists.

In Bushworld, you don't need to bother asking your vice president and top Defense Department officials whether you should go to war in Iraq, because they've already maneuvered you into going to war.

In Bushworld, it's perfectly natural for the president and vice president to appear before the 9/11 commission like the Olsen twins.

In Bushworld, you expound on remaking the Middle East and spreading pro-American sentiments even as you expand anti-American sentiments by ineptly occupying Iraq and unstintingly backing Ariel Sharon on West Bank settlements.

In Bushworld, we went to war to give Iraq a democratic process, yet we disdain the democratic process that causes allies to pull out troops.

In Bushworld, you pride yourself on the fact that your administration does not leak to the press, while you flood the best-known journalist in Washington with inside information.

In Bushworld, you list Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" as recommended reading on your campaign Web site, even though it makes you seem divorced from reality. That is, unless you live in Bushworld.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 27th, 2004, 10:55 AM

This thread is not about Dominicano or the Dominican Republic. If you disagree with him, just state your reasons as they pertain to the topic. Your previous post was a rant, this last one was offensive.

If you continue with this tone, your posts will start to disappear.

Interesting thread, somethimes a bit touchy and agressive (one of my post got deleted for less than that).......

If you, my dear friends from the US, can't be aligned together concerning Bush, how do you want us to understand what is your administration doing.......In the old europe (sic) Georgie is considerated as a real bastard!
I read an interesting book about him and i hafta say: he's not so stupid....

April 27th, 2004, 01:14 PM
If you think he is not that dumb, then you have to see what the smart Americans are like... ;)

He is average. He is not a public speaker. He believes too much of what he is told. He is a puppet, not a leader really.

I do not begrudge him, he does not seem like a BAD guy, but he was not elected (hehe, he was not elected at all, but that is another topic) he was not elected to be a wartime president. We did not think there was much if any issue with anything. He was the GOP's main man moneymaker, and he did his job. His supporters got what they paid for, and now we are faced with a decision of whether or not we want to keep him anymore.

We will see what happens, but in this mudslinging politico we call America, we seem to be more concerned about extra marital affairs, questions of veracity of military accolades (rather than questions of veracity of military SERVICE) and who will win on American Idol.

PS. You're Fired.

April 28th, 2004, 02:34 AM
Tsst tsst i can't possibly be fired as i'm looking for a job :lol:

Georgie should adopt the same attitude as the new spanish gov : bring your boys back home and stop the killing....That sound so easy though... just by saying this i'm gonna have my butt beated by freedom tower...but he knows me, he knows i like him :lol:

Have a good day

April 28th, 2004, 01:36 PM
Tsst tsst i can't possibly be fired as i'm looking for a job :lol:

Georgie should adopt the same attitude as the new spanish gov : bring your boys back home and stop the killing....That sound so easy though... just by saying this i'm gonna have my butt beated by freedom tower...but he knows me, he knows i like him :lol:

Have a good day

nah, it is too late now.

Most people have their disagreeance over whether we should have gone in there or not, not whether we should stay there or not.

If we leave, we pretty much did the exact opposite of what we said we would do, provide democracy and reduce terrorist support/ basing in the middle east.

It is not an instant solution, and most of the "old boys" knew this. they also knew that once started, it would not just go away.

So Rummie and Cheney took advantage of this and pushed us in there, making 50% of the americans believe, to this day, that we were looking for WMD's that would be used by terrorists with a direct threat against our president from Saddam.

So whatever.

Regardless of how we were bamboozled, we still have to stay.

The thing that gets me are the countries that are saying "If we get attacked, wwe are leaving".

Um, your soldiers are not for combat? They are just there for decoration? ;)

April 29th, 2004, 02:29 AM
This war looks pretty much like a street guerilla, this is not a job for the army.....The United Nation (those little blue puppets) should take control of the situation: every nations have to be involved in this conflict resolution.

June 16th, 2004, 04:36 PM
Former diplomats call for Bush ouster
Foreign policy damages nation, group says

By Paul Courson
June 16, 2004

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration's foreign policy in Iraq and elsewhere has been a "disaster," and President Bush should not be re-elected, a group of former diplomats and military leaders say in a newly released statement.

The group, called Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, held a news conference Wednesday to explain why its members feel "the need for a major change in the direction of our foreign policy," and underscore that they believe their concerns are bipartisan.

A statement from the group notes its more than two dozen members include Democrats and Republicans who have "served every president since Harry S. Truman."

They contend Bush's foreign policy has failed at "preserving national security and providing world leadership."

Members expressing their opposition in the statement are former senior diplomatic, national security and military officials.

In opening remarks, spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said international respect for the United States is now "crumbling under an administration blinded by ideology and a callous indifference to the realities of the world around it."

Oakley was an assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research in the Clinton administration.

Charles Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the Bush administration has yet to articulate how it plans to depart from Iraq, and said the situation is "complicated by insults to our allies, the indifference to the views of partners in the region, and the general disdain for the United Nations and international organizations that the administration still finds difficult to conceal."

Freeman, a career diplomat, served both Republican and Democratic administrations.

At a Wednesday news conference, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher rejected the notion the United States has acted without consulting its allies.

"It's not true. We went to the United Nations on Iraq. We went to the United Nations on terrorism and 9/11. We've had four unanimous U.N. resolutions since the end of the war," he responded.

Although the group expressed alarm about the sidetracked Middle East "road map to peace" between Palestinians and Israelis, it was the U.S. handling of Iraq that helped crystallize the group's concern.

Retired Gen. Tony McPeak, a former U.S. Air Force chief of staff who had endorsed the Bush 2000 campaign, Wednesday said of Bush's Iraq policy, "Because of the Pollyannish assumptions that were made by the administration in going in there that ... bouquets would be thrown at us and so forth, we were totally unprepared for the post-combat occupation. And so you see here, unfolding in front of us, a terrible disaster."

McPeak headed the Air Force during the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

The group acknowledged it takes a partisan stand in opposing Bush, but, as member William Harrop put it, "When there is one prominent rival to President Bush in this election, obviously we think Senator Kerry should be elected, but we are not here to speak for him. We are here to say there must be a change."

Harrop, a career diplomat who retired in 1994 after 40 years of foreign service, held ambassadorships to Guinea, Kenya and the Seychelles, Zaire, and Israel.

© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

July 4th, 2004, 04:19 PM
July 4, 2004


Their George and Ours


When they first heard the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776, New Yorkers were so electrified that they toppled a statue of King George III and had it melted down to make 42,000 bullets for the war. Two hundred twenty-eight years later, you can still get a rush from those opening paragraphs. "We hold these truths to be self-evident." The audacity!

Read a little further to those parts of the declaration we seldom venture into after ninth-grade civics class, and you may feel something other than admiration: an icy chill of recognition. The bulk of the declaration is devoted to a list of charges against George III, several of which bear an eerie relevance to our own time.

George III is accused, for example, of "depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury." Our own George II has imprisoned two U.S. citizens — Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi — since 2002, without benefit of trials, legal counsel or any opportunity to challenge the evidence against them. Even die-hard Tories Scalia and Rehnquist recently judged such executive hauteur intolerable.

It would be silly, of course, to overstate the parallels between 1776 and 2004. The signers of the declaration were colonial subjects of a man they had come to see as a foreign king. One of their major grievances had to do with the tax burden imposed on them to support the king's wars. In contrast, our taxes have been reduced — especially for those who need the money least — and the huge costs of war sloughed off to our children and grandchildren. Nor would it be tactful to press the analogy between our George II and their George III, of whom the British historian John Richard Green wrote: "He had a smaller mind than any English king before him save James II."

But the parallels are there, and undeniable. "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power," the declaration said of George III, and today the military is indulgently allowed to investigate its own crimes in Iraq. George III "obstructed the Administration of Justice." Our George II has sought to evade judicial review by hiding detainees away in Guantánamo, and has steadfastly resisted the use of the Alien Tort Claims Act, which allows non-U.S. citizens to bring charges of human rights violations to U.S. courts.

The signers further indicted their erstwhile monarch for "taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments." The administration has been trying its best to establish a modern equivalent to the divine right of kings, with legal memorandums asserting that George II's "inherent" powers allow him to ignore federal laws prohibiting torture and war crimes.

Then there is the declaration's boldest and most sweeping indictment of all, condemning George III for "transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation." Translate "mercenaries" into contract workers and proxy armies (remember the bloodthirsty, misogynist Northern Alliance?), and translate that last long phrase into Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib.

But it is the final sentence of the declaration that deserves the closest study: "And for the support of this Declaration . . . we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." Today, those who believe that the war on terror requires the sacrifice of our liberties like to argue that "the Constitution is not a suicide pact." In a sense, however, the Declaration of Independence was precisely that.

By signing Jefferson's text, the signers of the declaration were putting their lives on the line. England was then the world's greatest military power, against which a bunch of provincial farmers had little chance of prevailing. Benjamin Franklin wasn't kidding around with his quip about hanging together or hanging separately. If the rebel American militias were beaten on the battlefield, their ringleaders could expect to be hanged as traitors.

They signed anyway, thereby stating to the world that there is something worth more than life, and that is liberty. Thanks to their courage, we do not have to risk death to preserve the liberties they bequeathed us. All we have to do is vote.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 18th, 2004, 09:15 AM
November 18, 2004

A Plague of Toadies



I went to see the magical "Pericles'' at the Shakespeare Theater the other night.

In ancient Greece, the prince of Tyre tires of all the yes men around him. He chooses to trust the one courtier who intrepidly tells him: "They do abuse the king that flatter him. ... Whereas reproof, obedient and in order, fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.''

Not flatter the king? Listen to dissenting viewpoints? Rulers who admit they've erred?

It's all so B.C. (Before Cheney).

Now, in the 21st-century reign of King George II, flattery is mandatory, dissent is forbidden, and erring without admitting error is the best way to get ahead. President Bush is purging the naysayers who tried to temper crusted-nut-bar Dick Cheney and the neocon crazies on Iraq.

First, faith trumped facts. Now, loyalty trumps competence. W., who was the loyalty enforcer for his father's administration, is now the loyalty enforcer for his own.

Those promoted to be in charge of our security, diplomacy and civil liberties were rewarded for being more loyal to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney than to the truth.

The president and vice president are dispatching their toadies to the agencies to quell dissent. The crackdown seems bizarre, since hardly anyone dared to disagree with them anyway and there were plenty willing to twist the truth for them.

Consider George Tenet, who assured Mr. Bush that the weak case on Iraqi W.M.D. was "a slam-dunk.'' And Colin Powell, who caved and made the bogus U.N. case for war. Then, when he wanted to stay a bit longer to explore Mideast opportunities arising from Arafat's death, he got shoved out by a president irked by the diplomat's ambivalence and popularity.

Mr. Bush prefers more panting enablers, like Alberto Gonzales. You wanna fry criminals or torture prisoners? Sure thing, boss.

W. and Vice want to extend their personal control over bureaucracies they thought had impeded their foreign policy. It's alarming to learn that they regard their first-term foreign policy - a trumped-up war and bungled occupation, an estrangement from our old allies and proliferating nuclear ambitions in North Korea, Iran and Russia - as impeded. What will an untrammeled one look like?

The post-election hubris has infected Capitol Hill. Law-and-order House Republicans changed the rules so Tom DeLay can stay as majority leader even if he's indicted; Senate Republicans are threatening to rule Democratic filibusters out of order.

In 2002, Cheney & Co. set up their own C.I.A. in the Pentagon to bypass the C.I.A. and conjure up evidence on Iraqi W.M.D. Now Mr. Cheney has sent his lackey, Porter Goss, who helped him try to suffocate the 9/11 commission, to bully the C.I.A. into falling into line.

In an ominous echo of the old loyalty oaths, Mr. Goss has warned employees at the agency that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work.''

Mr. Bush doesn't want any more leaks, like the one showing that he was told two months before invading Iraq that such a move could lead to violent internal conflict and more support for radical Islamists.

Mr. Goss has managed to make the dysfunctional C.I.A. even more dysfunctional. Instead of going after Al Qaeda, he's busy purging top-level officials who had been going after Al Qaeda - replacing them with his coterie of hacks from Capitol Hill.

Mr. Cheney is letting his old mentor, Rummy, stay on. What does it matter if the Rummy doctrine - dangerously thin allotments of forces, no exit strategy, snatching State Department occupation duties and then screwing them up - has botched the Iraq mission and left the military so strapped it's calling back old, out-of-shape reservists to active service?

Condi Rice and Stephen Hadley did not do their jobs before 9/11 in coordinating the fight against Al Qaeda, and they did not do their jobs after 9/11 in preventing the debacle in Iraq. They not only suppressed evidence Americans needed to know that would have debunked the neocons' hyped-up case for invading Iraq; they helped shovel hooey into the president's speeches.

Dr. Rice pitched in to help Dr. No whip up that imaginary mushroom cloud. Condi's life story may be inspirational. But the way she got the State Department job is not.

Not only are the Bush officials who failed to protect the country and misled us into war not losing their jobs. They're getting promoted.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 18th, 2004, 09:34 AM
The shape of things to come.

Boyfriend hits girl with bat as part of a deal and boy's mom helps bury fetus, police say.

By Edward L. Cardenas, John Wisely and Jim Lynch / The Detroit News

RICHMOND TOWNSHIP -- Investigators said a pregnant 16-year-old girl allowed her boyfriend to beat her with a miniature baseball bat to cause a miscarriage, which may lead to criminal charges against the teens and one of their parents.

The girl estimated she was four months pregnant, said Macomb County Prosecutor-elect Eric Smith. Police said the boy's mother helped transport the fetus to her home and bury it in the backyard.

Smith said the beatings were "done over a period of three weeks. It was done in an effort to terminate the pregnancy."

Neither teenager is in custody as Michigan State Police await the results of an autopsy, scheduled for today. The boy's mother could face charges of improperly disposing of a body, Smith said.

"The charges are going to depend entirely on the results of the autopsy," Smith said.

A 1999 Michigan law provides felony penalties for actions that intentionally, or in wanton or willful disregard for consequences, cause a "miscarriage or stillbirth," or cause "aggravated physical injury to an embryo or fetus." Smith said his staff is researching whether the teens could face manslaughter charges.

"This is not a black and white area of the law. It is a gray area," added Smith. "It is shocking the lengths these two teens went to terminate the pregnancy."

Under Michigan law, people under 18 need one parent's permission to obtain a legal abortion.

A minor also can receive one with a judge's permission to bypass that requirement.

The girl apparently delivered the fetus in early October and investigators learned about the incident Monday through an anonymous tip, said Michigan State Police Sgt. Gary Nesbitt. The girl appeared physically recovered from the incident, police said.

"We don't know if the fetus was live or stillborn and we don't know the cause of death," Nesbitt said. "It's too early to speculate."

Investigators said the girl gave birth to the fetus at her own home and the couple contacted the boy's mother who helped them bury the remains.

"Neither family knew about the pregnancy before it was terminated," Smith said.

State Police withheld the names of the teens, who attend Armada High School.

Investigators said they recovered the remains in the backyard of the boy's Richmond Township home Monday evening.

"They are a very nice family," neighbor Audrene Hudechek said. "They are two good kids. They were just really scared."

The young couple has dated for about seven months, said Lillian Brincefield, 19, of Armada, who knows both of them.

"They didn't know how to deal with being pregnant," Brincefield said.

Brincefield said the couple told her the boy hit the girl only once and that she miscarried later that day after being hit playing after-school sports.

While 87 percent of Michigan counties have no legal abortion providers, Macomb County does, said Rebekah Warren, executive director of MARAL Pro-Choice Michigan, a statewide abortion rights advocacy group.

A first-trimester abortion without complications costs about $300, Warren said.

Warren said she hears anecdotal evidence of forced miscarriages but those come mostly from states that require both parents approval for an abortion.

"If 16-year-olds feel that this is there only option, than we have really missed the boat on educating them about sexual health," Warren said.

You can reach Edward L. Cardenas at (586) 468-0529 or ecardenas@detnews.com.

November 18th, 2004, 11:17 AM
I think many people really underestimate how difficult it is for teenagers to access and afford birth control and abortion.

$300 doesn't sound like much to an adult, but money like that is nearly impossible for most teens to come up with on limited time.

Not to mention that teenaged girls tend to discover their pregnancies much later than adult women, due to natural menstrual irregularities and a lack of understanding the reproductive system. If a teen finds out she's two months pregnant, she's got very limited time to schedule an abortion (which takes time in and of itself) and raise the money to obtain it.

Combine this all with naivete and inexperience, and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster.

TLOZ Link5
November 24th, 2004, 03:20 AM
Published on Wednesday, November 3, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Ten Reasons Not to Move to Canada
by Sarah Anderson

Ready to say screw this country and buy a one-way ticket north? Here are some reasons to stay in the belly of the beast.

1. The Rest of the World. After the February 2003 antiwar protests, the New York Times described the global peace movement as the world's second superpower. Their actions didn't prevent the war, but protesters in nine countries have succeeded in pressuring their governments to pull their troops from Iraq and/or withdraw from the so-called "coalition of the willing."Antiwar Americans owe it to the majority of the people on this planet who agree with them to stay and do what they can to end the suffering in Iraq and prevent future pre-emptive wars.

2. People Power Can Trump Presidential Power. The strength of social movements can be more important than whoever is in the White House. Example: In 1970, President Nixon supported the Occupational Safety and Health Act, widely considered the most important pro-worker legislation of the last 50 years. It didn't happen because Nixon loved labor unions, but because union power was strong. Stay and help build the peace, economic justice, environmental and other social movements that can make change.

3. The great strides made in voter registration and youth mobilization must be built on rather than abandoned.

4. Like Nicaraguans in the 1980s, Iraqis Need U.S. Allies. After Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984, progressives resisted the urge to flee northwards and instead stayed to fight the U.S. governments secret war of arming the contras in Nicaragua and supporting human rights atrocities throughout Central America. Iraq is a different scenario, but we can still learn from the U.S.-Central America solidarity work that exposed illegal U.S. activities and their brutal consequences and ultimately prevailed by forcing a change in policy.

5. We Can't Let up on the 'Free Trade' Front Activists have held the Bush administration at bay on some issues. On trade, opposition in the United States and in developing countries has largely blocked the Bush administrations corporate-driven trade agenda for four years. The President is expected to soon appoint a new top trade negotiator to break the impasse. Whoever he picks would love to see a progressive exodus to Canada.

6. Barack Obama. His victory to become the only African-American in the U.S. Senate was one of the few bright spots of the election. An early opponent of the Iraq war, Obama trounced his primary and general election opponents, even in white rural districts, showing he could teach other progressives a few things about broadening their base. As David Moberg of In These Times puts it, 'Obama demonstrates how a progressive politician can redefine mainstream political symbols to expand support for liberal policies and politicians rather than engage in creeping capitulation to the right.'

7. Say so long to the DLC. Barry Goldwater suffered a resounding defeat when he ran for president against Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but his campaign spawned a conservative movement that eventually gained control of the Republican Party and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Progressives should see the excitement surrounding Dean, Kucinich, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton during the primary season as the foundation for a similar takeover of the Democratic Party.

8. 2008. President Bush is entering his second term facing an escalating casualty rate in Iraq, a record trade deficit, a staggering budget deficit, sky-high oil prices, and a deeply divided nation. As the Republicans face likely failure, progressives need to start preparing for regime change in 2008 or sooner. Remember that Nixon was reelected with a bigger margin than Bush, but faced impeachment within a year.

9. Americans are Not All Yahoos. Although I wouldn't attempt to convince a Frenchman of it right now, many surveys indicate that Americans are more internationalist than the election results suggest. In a September poll by the University of Maryland, majorities of Bush supporters expressed support for multilateral approaches to security, including the United States being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (68%), the International Criminal Court (75%), the treaty banning land mines (66%), and the Kyoto Treaty on climate change (54%). The problem is that most of these Bush supporters weren't aware that Bush opposed these positions. Stay and help turn progressive instincts into political power.

10. Winter. Average January temperature in Ottawa: 12.2°F.

Sarah Anderson (saraha@igc.org) is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.