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September 13th, 2005, 05:46 PM
End of the Bush Era

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Washington Post - Page A27


The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realize that, the better for them -- and the country.

Recent months, and especially the past two weeks, have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans the truth that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this.

The Bush Era did not begin when he took office, or even with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It began on Sept. 14, 2001, when Bush declared at the World Trade Center site: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon." Bush was, indeed, skilled in identifying enemies and rallying a nation already disposed to action. He failed to realize after Sept. 11 that it was not we who were lucky to have him as a leader, but he who was lucky to be president of a great country that understood the importance of standing together in the face of a grave foreign threat. Very nearly all of us rallied behind him.

If Bush had understood that his central task was to forge national unity, as he seemed to shortly after Sept. 11, the country would never have become so polarized. Instead, Bush put patriotism to the service of narrowly ideological policies and an extreme partisanship. He pushed for more tax cuts for his wealthiest supporters and shamelessly used relatively modest details in the bill creating a Department of Homeland Security as partisan cudgels in the 2002 elections.

He invoked our national anger over terrorism to win support for a war in Iraq. But he failed to pay heed to those who warned that the United States would need many more troops and careful planning to see the job through. The president assumed things would turn out fine, on the basis of wildly optimistic assumptions. Careful policymaking and thinking through potential flaws in your approach are not his administration's strong suits.

And so the Bush Era ended definitively on Sept. 2, the day Bush first toured the Gulf Coast States after Hurricane Katrina. There was no magic moment with a bullhorn. The utter failure of federal relief efforts had by then penetrated the country's consciousness. Yesterday's resignation of FEMA Director Michael Brown put an exclamation point on the failure.

The source of Bush's political success was his claim that he could protect Americans. Leadership, strength and security were Bush's calling cards. Over the past two weeks, they were lost in the surging waters of New Orleans.

But the first intimations of the end of the Bush Era came months ago. The president's post-election fixation on privatizing part of Social Security showed how out of touch he was. The more Bush discussed this boutique idea cooked up in conservative think tanks and Wall Street imaginations, the less the public liked it. The situation in Iraq deteriorated. The glorious economy Bush kept touting turned out not to be glorious for many Americans. The Census Bureau's annual economic report, released in the midst of the Gulf disaster, found that an additional 4.1 million Americans had slipped into poverty between 2001 and 2004.

The breaking of the Bush spell opens the way for leaders of both parties to declare their independence from the recent past. It gives forces outside the White House the opportunity to shape a more appropriate national agenda -- for competence and innovation in rebuilding the Katrina region and for new approaches to the problems created over the past 4 1/2 years.

The federal budget, already a mess before Katrina, is now a laughable document. Those who call for yet more tax cuts risk sounding like robots droning automated talking points programmed inside them long ago. Katrina has forced the issue of deep poverty back onto the national agenda after a long absence. Finding a way forward in -- and eventually out of -- Iraq will require creativity from those not implicated in the administration's mistakes. And if ever the phrase "reinventing government" had relevance, it is now that we have observed the performance of a government that allows political hacks to push aside the professionals.

And what of Bush, who has more than three years left in his term? Paradoxically, his best hope lies in recognizing that the Bush Era, as he and we have known it, really is gone. He can decide to help us in the transition to what comes next. Or he can cling stubbornly to his past and thereby doom himself to frustrating irrelevance.

September 13th, 2005, 08:36 PM
If you're looking for something to do with your time...

Fire George on 9/24

www.FireGeorge.org (http://www.firegeorge.org/)

Spread the word: www.firegeorge.org (http://www.firegeorge.org/)

Bushville, DC (http://bushville.org/)

and the 9/24 March

will join in a

Massive Act of Nonviolent (http://www.thekingcenter.org/prog/non/6principles.html) Civil Disobedience.

This is pure grassroots activism.

No leaders, no media or government control.

Let’s take control of the agenda.

Visualize a Fired George

Exercise your rights as an American:

Constititution of the United States (http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html): 1st Amendment, Bill of Rights (http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Amend.html) :

“Congress shall make no law respecting

an establishment of religion, or prohibiting

the free exercise thereof; or abridging

the freedom of speech, or of the press; or

the right of the people peaceably to assemble,

and to petition the Government

for a redress of grievances.”

September 13th, 2005, 08:47 PM
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/400/alfredw.jpg (http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/1600/alfredw.jpg)

September 13th, 2005, 09:15 PM
http://unitedforpeace.org/img/original/monument.jpg (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/septmarch)


TLOZ Link5
September 13th, 2005, 09:40 PM
See you in 2006. I'll just have to hold my nose when I vote for Hillary.

September 14th, 2005, 09:00 AM

As he prepares a blueprint to respond to the storm damage and to spend the billions of dollars that doing so will cost, Mr. Bush is confronting the likelihood that the rest of his agenda will have to be put on hold until next year.

A Republican ally of Mr. Bush who has been briefed on the administration's thinking said the White House's hope for the rest of this year was to deal with the hurricane and to win confirmation for Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice of the United States (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedstates/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and for a second nominee, not yet selected, to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Next year, the ally said, Mr. Bush would return to issues like overhauling the tax code and the immigration laws that he had hoped to get a start on this year.

After the outcry over scenes of poor, black victims of the hurricane suffering and dying in New Orleans, White House officials continued on Tuesday to try to shore up support among the president's conservative African-American supporters, who have not all rallied to his side. Bishop Charles E. Blake of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, a major African-American supporter of Mr. Bush, said this week that he had declined an invitation to meet on Sept. 6 at the White House with Mr. Bush, black leaders and charitable organizations because he was too busy.

"It's a four-hour flight, it's a $2,000 ticket, I do have heavy responsibilities here," Bishop Blake said in a telephone interview.

Asked if the government's response to the hurricane had changed the way he felt about Mr. Bush, Bishop Blake responded: "I cannot say at this time. I'm holding the issue open until I can understand the dynamics involved and the delays that have been experienced."

September 14th, 2005, 09:52 AM
The Bush Era can't be over. They haven't finished dumping the drowning victim's bodies in unmarked mass graves yet. The medicaid and food stamp cuts are due this week. And, Adolph Hitler Jr hasn't yet been nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. They still have lots to do.

Oh, and, besides, Bill O'Reilly says this presidency is stronger than ever.

TLOZ Link5
September 14th, 2005, 11:35 AM
With less than a 40% approval rating? Billy's getting more delusional by the day.

September 14th, 2005, 12:29 PM
It is possible that he has already done enough and changed enough laws in his favor, that will allow him to keep doing what he does. It seems as though the Pentagon is about to allow him more nuclear weapons capability, by a draft that he himself proposed.Nuclear protocols can be easily redirected, and the current rule seems to be a warning shot across the bow of a couple of ships named Iran and North Korea. Laws become ingrained into society, and have a greater impact.

Rather than Fire George Bush, the message should be Fire Those That Support his Vision. Don't ask me what that vision is - I'm completely confused. Maybe he just likes the job, with the long vacations. Mid-term elections are important to set the tone of the next presidential election.

Given the history of how Supreme Court justices do not necessarily follow the mandates of the administrations that nominate them once they have the lifetime job, it will be interesting to see if a public rejection of the Bush agenda has any influence on Roberts, should he be confirmed.

September 14th, 2005, 12:35 PM
Bill O'Reilly is a jerk, nothing he says should be considered

September 14th, 2005, 09:39 PM
OK... Just how old is GW, anyway? Check this out:


http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/us/nws/p/reuters120.gif (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/reuters/brand/SIG=pd7i95;_ylt=AoGidKg3790aLJBTt8J7pxvmWMcF;_ylu= X3oDMTA3bXNtMmJ2BHNlYwNzc3M-/*http://www.reuters.com)


U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit
and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York
September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize
the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls
short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want,
persecution and war.

REUTERS/Rick Wilking


September 15th, 2005, 03:41 PM
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/400/bushdummy21.jpg (http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/1600/bushdummy21.jpg)


Support for Bush Continues to Drop, Poll Shows

September 15, 2005

By TODD S. PURDUM (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=TODD S. PURDUM&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=TODD S. PURDUM&inline=nyt-per)
and MARJORIE CONNELLY (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=MARJORIE CONNELLY&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=MARJORIE CONNELLY&inline=nyt-per)


WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 - A summer of bad news from Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), high gasoline prices, economic unease and now the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has left President Bush with overall approval ratings for his job performance and handling of Iraq, foreign policy and the economy at or near the lowest levels of his presidency, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

For the first time, just half of Americans approve of Mr. Bush's handling of terrorism, which has been his most consistent strength since he scored 90 percent approval ratings in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. More than 6 in 10 now say that he does not share their priorities for the country, 10 percentage points worse than on the eve of his re-election last fall, while barely half say he has strong qualities of leadership, about the same as said so at the early low-ebb of his presidency in the summer of 2001.

More Americans now distrust the federal government to do the right thing than at any time since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And the poll revealed a sharp racial divide. While half of all respondents disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled the aftermath of Katrina, nearly three quarters of blacks do. (Mr. Bush won only about 10 percent of the black vote last year.)

The hurricane, alone, does not appear to have taken any significant toll on Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating, which remains stuck virtually where it has been since early summer. But the findings do suggest that the slow federal response to the hurricane has increased public doubts about the Bush administration's effectiveness. Fifty-six percent of Americans said they were now less confident about the government's ability to respond to a terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Taken together, the numbers suggest that a public that has long seen Mr. Bush as a determined leader, whether it agreed with him or not, has growing doubts about his capacity to deal with pressing problems. More than 6 in 10 said they were uneasy about his ability to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq, and half expressed similar unease about his ability to deal with the problems of the storm's victims.

Mr. Bush's support remained strong among Republicans, conservatives, evangelical Christians and those who said they voted for him last fall. Nearly twice as many people - 63 percent - said the country was "pretty seriously" on the wrong track as those who said it was headed in the right direction, equal to the worst level of Mr. Bush's presidency during a spate of bad news last year.

Over all, 41 percent of respondents approved of Mr. Bush's performance in office, while 53 percent disapproved. Those figures are in line with other national polls conducted in the last week, roughly equal to the worst ratings Mr. Bush has ever received, comparable to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton's worst ratings, but well above the worst ever posted by the president's father, Jimmy Carter and Richard M. Nixon.

The Times/CBS News Poll was conducted Friday through Tuesday with 1,167 adults, including 877 whites and 211 blacks. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all respondents and whites, and seven percentage points for blacks. The survey was mostly completed before Mr. Bush said on Tuesday that he accepted responsibility for flaws in the federal response to the hurricane.

Dan Bartlett, Mr. Bush's counselor and chief communications strategist, said the White House was not especially surprised by the poll's findings.

"Obviously, as we have said, with a sharp increase in the cost of gasoline and anxiety about the war, that is obviously reflected in the polls, and then we have a sustained amount of heavy coverage of what has been described as a major failure of government at all levels, it shouldn't surprise people that that would be reflected in the poll numbers on the president, and particularly on terrorism," Mr. Bartlett said.

"The president is going to continue to focus on his responsibilities as not only president but commander in chief, when it comes to making sure we do everything we can to help the people hit by Katrina, as well as continue to conduct the war on terrorism in an aggressive way," he added.

While the poll found that 70 percent said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was too slow in responding to the aftermath of the hurricane, 53 percent said the agency was now doing all it could reasonably be expected to do.

The same did not hold true for the Bush administration itself; 68 percent said it had not yet developed a clear plan for finding housing and jobs for people left homeless by the hurricane. Mr. Bush is to address the nation from New Orleans on Thursday night to elaborate on the government's planned response to the disaster.

Before the storm hit, polls had shown that rising gasoline prices were becoming increasingly worrisome to a majority of Americans, and the hurricane has only worsened that concern. Almost half the public said the economy was deteriorating, the worst that number has been in four years. Fifty-six percent expect the economy to decline as a result of the hurricane, and nearly three-quarters anticipate taxes will rise for the same reason.

The poll also pointed up starkly different attitudes toward Mr. Bush and the government among blacks and whites that were not so much caused by the storm as laid bare by it. While two-thirds of all Americans said Mr. Bush cares at least somewhat about the people left homeless by the hurricane, fewer than one-third of blacks agreed. Two-thirds of blacks said race was a major factor in the government's slow response to the flooding in New Orleans, while an almost identical number of whites said it was not.

Storm victims had to wait for a week for help to arrive, said Allison McKinney, 33, a housewife and former teacher in Fort Bragg, N.C. "I don't think that would happen to any other city, because New Orleans is a poor city." Ms. McKinney, who is black, grew up in New Orleans and was among those who agreed to be interviewed after participating in the poll. "It took Katrina for people to realize that the city had a major impact on the rest of the country. I think it's sad that you would wait for the total devastation of a city to come to that realization."

But Juanita Harrington, 78, a retired Verizon employee and Bush supporter in Larkspur, Colo., said critics of the president "focus everything as if he were a magician and could wave a magic wand and change things."

She added: "The people that were there locally didn't take care of matters there, either. I'm talking about the mayor of New Orleans, I'm talking about the governor, I'm talking about that crazy woman senator from Louisiana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/louisiana/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) - she was an idiot. He may not have succeeded totally, but nobody else did, either."

The poll suggested the cumulative effects of months of bad news from the continuing insurgency in Iraq. Exactly 50 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Bush's handling of terrorism, for example, and while that figure is the single worst ranking since the question was first asked four years ago, it is only slightly worse than it was early this summer. But that is 11 points worse than it was in February, just after the first successful round of elections in Iraq.

The data also suggest that the residual support that has steadily buoyed Mr. Bush in the four years since the Sept. 11 attacks may have reached its limit, for now. Fifty-three percent of Americans still say he has strong qualities of leadership, down 9 percentage points since he was re-elected and essentially equal to his all-time previous low in the summer of 2001, when his presidency seemed becalmed before the attacks.

At the same time, 45 percent of Americans now say Mr. Bush does not have strong leadership qualities, six percentage points more than last fall, and the highest percentage since the Times/CBS poll first asked the question during Mr. Bush's initial campaign in 1999.

Those general impressions now extend across the board in reviews of Mr. Bush's handling of particular issues. Thirty-eight percent of Americans approve of his handling of foreign policy; 35 percent of his handling of the economy; and 36 percent of his handling of the situation in Iraq. All those are at or roughly equal to his all-time lows - and below his all-time highs by double digits.

Some of the pessimism seemed clearly fueled by higher gasoline prices. Nearly two-thirds of those polled said they had cut back on household spending as a result of higher prices, and 8 in 10 said the administration had no plan for keeping prices down, though more than 6 in 10 said the price of gas is something a president can do a lot about.

A majority of the public is willing to pay more in taxes to assist hurricane victims with job training and housing; about 4 in 10 said they would be willing to pay as much as $200 a year more to help out with the storm's aftermath.

Megan Thee and Fred Backus contributed reporting for this article.

TLOZ Link5
September 15th, 2005, 04:55 PM
The whole "working vacation" at his 9,000-acre ranch in Crawford was such a bad idea. It made him look completely out of touch, along with his Yale education, the silver spoon in his ass, and a wife whom Oscar de la Renta counts as one of his best customers.

And they didn't like Kerry because he windsurfed.

September 15th, 2005, 06:02 PM
GOP lawmaker on Social Security reform:
'It's Over'

RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/)


Roll Call reports today that Republican lawmakers are considering abandonment of the Social Security reforms that were to be the cornerstone of Bush's second-term agenda. The story, by Ben Pershing and Emily Pierce, quotes "one Senior Republican lawmaker," as saying flatly, "It's over." Excerpts follow:


Fearful that tackling Social Security reform could cripple his party in the 2006 elections, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) plans to recommend to his fellow leaders that they shelve the issue for the remainder of the 109th Congress.

"Reynolds told [Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill] Thomas that he would recommend to the leaders that we not proceed with Social Security this year because it did not appear there was any chance it would be passed into law by the Senate, and we'd be forcing our vulnerables to walk to the plank for nothing," said a source familiar with Reynolds' comments.

While Reynolds made reference only to not doing Social Security this year, the source said it was widely understood that "if it doesn't happen now, it's not happening in 2007."


Reynolds strong desire to abandon Social Security reform is reflective of widespread nervousness among GOP campaign strategists about how the issue will play out next November. Republican sources said that the results of the party's internal polling and focus groups on Social Security have made the GOP's political operatives nervous about proceeding, especially since the party's approval ratings and generic ballot performance are already low.


The full, registration-restricted story is available at Roll Call (http://www.rollcall.com/pub/1_1/breakingnews/10506-1.html).

September 15th, 2005, 06:09 PM
Check this out:


http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/us/nws/p/reuters120.gif (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/reuters/brand/SIG=pd7i95;_ylt=AoGidKg3790aLJBTt8J7pxvmWMcF;_ylu= X3oDMTA3bXNtMmJ2BHNlYwNzc3M-/*http://www.reuters.com)

PHOTO CAPTION: U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice

Reuters Explains Photo Of Bush Bathroom Note

September 15, 2005
By Daryl Lang (dlang@pdnonline.com)


Don't blame the photographer.

That's the message from Gary Hershorn, a picture editor for Reuters, about the photo yesterday that shows President George W. Bush writing an all-too-human note during a UN meeting.

Bush is shown writing: "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible."

The photo, which quickly became fodder for blogs and e-mails among friends, was taken by Rick Wilking, a contract photographer based in Denver who recently covered the flooding in New Orleans.

Hershorn, Reuters' news editor for pictures for the Americas, says he's responsible for zooming in on the note and deciding to transmit the photo to Reuters clients. He says Wilking didn't know what the note said when he shot the picture.

"I'm so adamant that Rick has nothing to do with this. He was just the guy who pushed the button," Hershorn says.

In response to the attention the photo is getting, Reuters' spokeswoman in London released a two-sentence statement about the picture: "The photographer and editors on this story were looking for other angles in their coverage of this event, something that went beyond the stock pictures of talking heads that these kind of forums usually offer. This picture certainly does that."

So how did the picture happen?

According to Hershorn, Wilking was one of several photographers covering the United Nations Security Council meeting between about 11 and noon yesterday. He was part of a pool stationed on a balcony that faced Bush's back; a group of White House photographers was on a balcony facing the president.

Wilking shot about 200 images and sent two memory cards to the press room at the U.N., where Hershorn was working. Hershorn looked at the images on a computer and initially decided not to send any of them.

But a few hours later, he started to wonder about a note that Bush was seen writing in three of the pictures. Out of curiosity, he zoomed in to see if he could read it.

Once he saw what it said, Hershorn decided the note was interesting and worth publishing. The white parts of the picture were overexposed, so a Reuters processor used Photoshop to burn down the note. This is a standard practice for news photos, Hershorn says, and the picture was not manipulated in any other way.

Around 4:30 p.m., Reuters transmitted two versions of the photo, including one that was tightly cropped around the note and Bush's hand.

The caption says that Bush was writing the note to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; Hershorn says Wilking saw Bush write the note and hand the note to Rice.

Hershorn says heads of state seldom attend Security Council meetings, and it's possible that Bush was simply asking his secretary of state what the proper protocol was to be excused.

Online, some accused Reuters, and the media in general, of being insulting or juvenile. A letter writer to Editor & Publisher (http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001137484) wrote, "You ought to all be ashamed of yourselves for this stupid trivia and childish focus."

It's unclear how widely the picture was published; Hershorn says The (Toronto) Globe and Mail published it but he wasn't sure of any other outlets. Hershorn says he decided to transmit the picture because it was interesting.

"There was no malicious intent," he says. "That's not what we do."

TLOZ Link5
September 15th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Clinton had his healthcare reform debacle. Now Bush has his Social Security reform debacle.

September 15th, 2005, 06:38 PM
Bush’s Crony Capitalism Shows G.O.P.’s True Face

By Joe Conason

Politically as well as physically, the destructive force of nature can rip away surfaces and expose layers of decay. With the floodwaters of Katrina receding, we can see beneath the veneer of modern conservatism and gaze upon its rotten center.

For in the nation’s capital, at least, that traditional philosophy of society and statecraft appears to have degenerated into a public-relations scam.

The obvious fact is that Republicans are the party of big spending, big deficits and big government, no matter how indignantly their leaders profess to despise all those terrible things. Yet the history of the Bush administration and the G.O.P. Congress makes it equally obvious that they’re also incompetent at governing. So the question that Americans now confront is why these fakers should be allowed to waste hundreds of billions of dollars, adding to the hundreds of billions they have already squandered, when the results of their exertions are so unsatisfactory—and so self-serving.

Although George W. Bush is universally acknowledged to be the most conservative President in recent memory, he is now doing exactly what he and his ideological allies have always mocked liberals for doing. In the classic right-wing cliché (which isn’t heard much these days), he is “throwing money at the problem” of the hurricane’s aftermath.

According to journalists familiar with the panicky deliberations inside the White House, the President and his aides are ready to jettison their cherished principles of federal frugality and limited government, with little ceremony and few regrets. Time magazine reports that they will pursue a simple approach in hopes of reviving the Bush Presidency: “Spend freely, and worry about the tab and the consequences later.”

There probably isn’t any other way to relieve suffering and restore civilization down there. But knowing what we know about this administration, there can be little confidence that those billions will be spent wisely and competently.

In fact, there is every reason to worry that far too much will be wasted on partisan patronage and no-bid contracts. The flaming right-wingers who have controlled Congress since 1995 long ago proved eager to grease their friends with federal money. Their excesses make the old-line Democratic pols who used to run Congress look stingy.

The money quote on this topic was uttered by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. Asked once why his revolutionary Republican comrades were consuming so much more federal pork than the Democrats ever did, the Texas conservative replied smugly: “To the victors go the spoils.” (He now leads Freedomworks, a national organization advocating limited government and lower taxes.)

The Bush conservatives resolve the contradiction between their ideology and their compulsion to spend by channeling public funds to their corporate cronies. Such corrupt logrolling hardly qualifies as traditional conservatism, but that is what currently defines governance in the White House, the Capitol and along K Street.

The Medicare prescription-drug benefit, designed to entice elderly voters, disguised a massive subsidy to the pharmaceutical industry—which returns many millions to Republican causes and conservative institutions. The energy bill provided still more enormous subsidies to the oil and utility industries, which likewise recycle millions to right-wing candidates and think tanks. Thanks to Republican tax policies, the money to grease these highly profitable corporations comes increasingly from middle-income families, redistributing national income upward.

All the boodling might be less troubling if they were using public money to accomplish an important public purpose. Waste and corruption accompany almost every major enterprise. But crony capitalism—the governing philosophy of the Bush family—is a notoriously inefficient way to run a government.

Enormous sums have simply disappeared in Iraq, where Halliburton has battened on its cozy relationship with the White House and the Pentagon by billing for hundreds of millions of dollars in “questioned” and “unsupported” expenses. How has the Bush administration punished its favorite firm for those abuses? By almost instantly awarding Halliburton new contracts for cleaning up the Gulf Coast destruction, with the prospect of much more to come.

Emphasizing the Halliburton embarrassment was the presence in New Orleans of the company’s “consultant,” Joe Allbaugh, a longtime Bush staffer and friend who also happens to be the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the man responsible for the elevation of Michael D. (Brownie) Brown, the unqualified pretender who just resigned in disgrace from that same FEMA post.

The story of the FEMA buddies offers a paradigm of public service in the Bush era. Behind their anti-government rhetoric, the Republicans have learned how to make government work for them, by employing the unemployable and enriching the super-rich. Critical needs are left unmet, and gigantic deficits are left to posterity.

This isn’t conservatism, but a con—and they’re taking us all for suckers.

September 15th, 2005, 09:11 PM
This site has some great posts. The one below has some info
on the Rove Administration -- oops, the Cheney... dang it,
the Bush Administration:

http://billmon.org/archives/newlogo.jpg (http://billmon.org/)

Command and Control

September 15, 2005

Not surprisingly, the post-Katrina autopsy is focusing fresh attention on the Cheney administration's bold "disinventing government" initiative -- although in this case I probably should call it the Rove administration's initiative, since it's been more Karl's pet project than the veep's.

If Cheney had his way, there wouldn't be any government left to disinvent -- just a service desk for the pipeline companies (http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=40633) to call when they need to get the power back on. And Halliburton could easily handle that.

Rove, on the other hand, recognizes that government agencies have their uses, especially now that "to the victor go the spoils," has been firmly reestablished as the operative principle of the federal personnel management system. Let dweebs like Al Gore worry about making government work, the Rovians understand that the important thing is to make it work for them.

Paul Krugman (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/12/opinion/12krugman.html) and Matt Yglesias (http://www.prospect.org/web/printfriendly-view.ww?id=10238) both have a go at describing Rove's achievements -- with Yglesias reviewing the political resumes of various cabinet secretaries, past and present, and Krugman looking at the effect the modern spoils system is having further down the totem poll, among the senior career executives who generally keep the lights on and the water running at most agencies, or try to.

But the most interesting take comes from Mark Schmitt, a fellow at the newish Democrat New America Foundation who also blogs as The Decembrist (http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/). In a post over at TPM Cafe (http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/9/14/14023/4583)(I know the attribution is getting thick, but bear with me here) Schmitt argues that the real problem isn't the quality of the political appointees, but the fact that the Rovians apparently believe that controlling even the most minute bureaucratic functions directly from the White House is an adequate substitute for competent management at the agency level. He points to this line from Mike Allen's piece in Time (previously discussed here):

"Katrina has shown the incredible weakness of the notion that you can have weak players in key spots because the only people who matter are in the White House," said a lobbyist who is tight with the Administration. "You can't have a Mike Brown at FEMA unless you can guarantee that there isn't going to be a catastrophe." (emphasis added) This is, of course, a crazy way to run a $2.5 trillion enterprise -- unless your idea of administrative excellence is the old Soviet central planning monster, Gosplan. But it's a very good way to take political control of decisions that are supposed to be made through the regulatory process, whether that's approving the "morning after pill" at the FDA, updating fuel economy standards at NHTSA, or issuing ergonomic safety rules at OSHA. In a sense, what the Rovians have created is a parallel government, in which the real channels of power run through the party apparatus, not the organizational charts of the various departments and agencies. This, says Schmitt, is the real story -- not the creative resume writing skills of guys like Mike Brown:

That's why it's so important to . . . focus some attention on the system that made it all possible -- a radical, unprecedented system of centralized, politicized control that is guaranteed to fail.Radical, yes. Unprecedented, no. While the Rovians have taken centralization and party control to new extremes, I saw some of the same trends at work during the Reagan administration, which I covered as a cub reporter for a small trade paper that specialized in issues affecting the federal civil service -- or "the govvies," as we used to semi-affectionately call them.

It was Reagan, after all, who created the infamous Office of Regulatory Review, which allowed the White House to step in and review the economic impact of any proposed regulation. This became known as the "black box" of OMB (because it worked in total secrecy) and as "the roach hotel" (because regulations checked in, but never checked out.) The Reaganauts also tried, albeit with little success, to give OMB greater control over both agency budgets and budget-related policy decisions.

But the Reagan administration also wasn't the first GOP team to try to bring the federal beast to heel. While I was on the "govvie" beat, I came across a book called The Plot that Failed: Nixon and the Administrative Presidency (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0471630659/qid=1126819726/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-3265054-5709408?v=glance&s=books), which recounted Tricky Dick's efforts to neuter his cabinet and gain direct control over the bureaucracy. This struggle took various forms -- including the creation of OMB, upstaging cabinet secretaries (like Kissinger's end runs around the State of State Bill Rodgers), inserting Nixon loyalists in key subcabinet postitions, and impounding appropriated funds (to show the agencies they couldn't cut their own deals with Congress.)

As the title of the book suggests, the campaign ultimately foundered on the rocks of Vietnam, Watergate and Nixon's own paranoia, which led him to do completely wacky things like sending his personal hatchet man to count the number of Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which Nixon suspected was cooking the unemployment stats to make him look bad.

It's easy to see a common thread here. Ever since the New Deal, successive GOP administrations have regarded the federal government as hostile territory to be occupied and, if possible, pacified. Under Nixon and, to a lesser degree, Reagan, cabinet secretaries were seen as unreliable, and prone to "go native" -- especially since many of them were ideological moderates, who were appointed to mollify powerful interest groups with a vested interest in the status quo.

For conservatives, this made the White House the political equivalent of the Green Zone -- a fortified command and control center beyond the reach of the insurgent bureaucrats. And out in the agencies, hard-edged conservative subcabinet appointees began to take on something of the role of political commissars in the Soviet military, monitoring both their nominal superiors and their career subordinates for signs of disloyalty.

Like I said, the Rovians may have taken these trends to new extremes, but they didn't invent them. What is radical and unprecedented about the Rovian machine -- what makes it stand out from previous GOP efforts at bureaucratic control -- is that it stands completely outside the normal structure of government.

Nixon and Reagan tried to centralize administrative control within the Executive Office, and OMB in particular. Rove has made it an explicitly political function -- a kind of branch operation of the Republican National Committee. Not since FDR's famous order to "clear it with Sydney" (Sydney Hillman (http://www.nps.gov/elro/glossary/hillman-sidney.htm), the CIO's political director) has so much bureaucratic power been vested in a presidential fixer.

Which means that in the Cheney administration, policy, particularly domestic policy, is simply a basket of hot button issues -- stem cells, climate change, grazing fees, wetlands regulation -- that have to be managed on behalf of the various interest groups that make up the Republican coalition. Even the big domestic initiatives, like Social Security "reform," are treated more like election campaigns than serious policymaking exercises. (The one exception, energy policy, was controlled by Cheney, and was treated like a Soviet state secret.)

Outside of these political hot spots, the federal bureaucracy has been floating in a vaccum -- ignored not just by the Rovians and their pet president, but by the media, the public and, it seems, by many of the dispirited, apathetic career executives laboring under the hard-eyed scrutiny of the political commissars. Until the hurricane hit.

In a sense, we were warned that something like this might happen, way back when John DiIulio -- Bush's first faith-based initiatives czar -- coined the phrase "Mayberry Machiavellis" to describe the kind of people he encountered in Rove's world.

DiIulio's letter (http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/DiIulio.html) to Ron Suskind, which became the basis for a revealing piece (http://www.ronsuskind.com/newsite/articles/archives/000032.html) in Esquire magazine, is worth rereading now:

In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical, non-stop, 20-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but, on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking -- discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue. . . . This gave rise to what you might call Mayberry Machiavellis -- staff, senior and junior, who consistently talked and acted as if the height of political sophistication consisted in reducing every issue to its simplest, black-and-white terms for public consumption, then steering legislative initiatives or policy proposals as far right as possible. These folks have their predecessors in previous administrations (left and right, Democrat and Republican), but, in the Bush administration, they were particularly unfettered.

One passage in particular has a sharp resonance now. It's DiIulio's description of the political manuevering that led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security:

Contrast that, however, with the remarkably slap-dash character of the Office of Homeland Security, with the nine months of arguing that no department was needed, with the sudden, politically-timed reversal in June, and with the fact that not even that issue, the most significant reorganization of the federal government since the creation of the Department of Defense, has received more than talking-points caliber deliberation. This was, in a sense, the administration problem in miniature: Ridge was the decent fellow at the top, but nobody spent the time to understand that an EOP entity without budgetary or statutory authority can't "coordinate" over 100 separate federal units, no matter how personally close to the president its leader is, no matter how morally right they feel the mission is, and no matter how inconvenient the politics of telling certain House Republican leaders we need a big new federal bureaucracy might be. (emphasis added)The point is not that the Rovians were wrong to oppose the creation of the DHS. In hindsight, they may have been right. It might have been wiser to leave bad enough alone. But if DiIulio is correct, the initial decision, and the subsequent flip flop, had little or nothing to homeland security, and everything to do with preserving Bush's political capital.

It's weirdly appropriate that DiIulio, in the best tradition of the Stalinist show trials (or like John Cleese, being hung by his heels out a window in A Fish Named Wanda) later denounced himself for his slanderous comments. Because what the Rovians have constructed is a kind of comic opera caricature of a totally politicized one-party state: Joe Stalin meets Huey Long meets the Wizard of Oz -- or at least, the little man behind the curtain. Previous GOP administrations only tried to control the federal bureaucracy; the Cheney administration has turned it into a running joke, like the Vogans in the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0371724/)

Which would be pretty funny, if it weren't for all the casualties.

September 16th, 2005, 12:11 AM
Not so fast, folks.

September 16, 2005
Seinfeld Who? NBC Pursuing the Heartland

By JACQUES STEINBERG (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=JACQUES STEINBERG&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=JACQUES STEINBERG&inline=nyt-per)
KENNESAW, Ga., Sept. 12 - The cash register at Goody's clothing store here flashed $106.01 - for a dress shirt and three pairs of Levi's - but as Lori Smith reached for her credit card, a nearby voice brought the transaction to a halt.

"Tell you what, why don't you let me take care of it?" said Scott Evans, his delivery as smooth as a car salesman's as he directed Ms. Smith to a partner brandishing stacks of $1 bills.

Mr. Evans explained that they were there on behalf of NBC, promoting an unscripted show, "Three Wishes," which will have its premiere on the network on Sept. 23. In the series, the singer Amy Grant travels to a different town each week in an effort to fulfill the heart's desire of needy families and community groups.

For a network that dominated the prime-time ratings for a decade with sophisticated urban comedies like "Cheers," "Seinfeld," "Frasier" and "Friends," only to tumble to fourth place last season without them, Ms. Grant's show is a radical departure. "Three Wishes" is aimed, in no small part, at a churchgoing rural and suburban audience. And its marketing plan, evocative of a red-state presidential campaign, bears scant resemblance to any NBC has crafted before.

In advance of the new prime-time television season, NBC sent more than 7,000 DVD's of the show's first episode to ministers and other clergy members, along with a recorded message to their congregants from Ms. Grant. ("At its core, 'Three Wishes' is faith in action," she tells them.) The network has also booked Ms. Grant - a pop singer who vaulted to fame singing Christian songs, crossed over to mainstream radio and recently released an album of hymns titled "Rock of Ages" - for interviews on Christian radio and taken out advertising in small-town newspapers.

And, perhaps most seductively, NBC has been stuffing cash registers at stores here like Goody's and others in or around Nashville, Salt Lake City, Des Moines and Milwaukee with tens of thousands of $1 bills used for groceries and other basics. The dollars are affixed with yellow stickers (removable, consistent with Treasury Department guidelines) that ask, "What's your wish?," and implore people to watch the show. All told, the network expects to give away 150,000 of those dollar bills in 15 cities and towns.

Though NBC hopes the show will have broad appeal - it also took its dollar bill campaign to New York and Los Angeles - Barbara Blangiardi, the network's vice president of marketing and special projects, said that "absolutely the Christian community was a target audience."

Indeed, Ms. Grant brings an established following to NBC, instantly making her one of its biggest stars. Her show is consistent with other efforts the network has made to reach viewers outside major cities, including its telecasts of Nascar races and periodic visits by the "NBC Nightly News" anchor, Brian Williams, beyond the Northeast.

Though NBC is using more conventional tactics to promote much of its lineup - advertisements for "My Name Is Earl," a comedy about a ne'er-do-well who wins a lottery, have appeared in stadiums and movie theaters - it is taking a grass-roots approach to "Earl" and several other shows in addition to "Three Wishes." These include "The Biggest Loser," a returning reality series about weight loss. Last week, the network sponsored parties for "Loser" in 1,000 homes.

Here in Kennesaw, a suburb of Atlanta with 22,000 residents and a Civil War battlefield, NBC had little difficulty finding people who had tuned out its prime-time lineup since its glory days.

"I loved 'Seinfeld,' " said Ms. Smith, 40, who works at a Hobby Lobby store. "I watched 'Cheers' and 'Friends,' " said her boyfriend, Paul Perry, 34, who is out of work while recuperating from shoulder surgery.

But when asked to name a show on the network's prime-time schedule last year, neither could.

Instead, they, along with nearly a dozen other recipients of NBC's largess, cited shows they liked on other networks, including "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (which "Three Wishes" resembles) and "Desperate Housewives" on ABC; the "C.S.I." shows on CBS; and "American Chopper," a Discovery Channel series about motorcycles.

NBC executives refused to say how much they were spending to raise the network's profile this fall, other than that it was roughly a third more than what they spent last year at this time. (The popularity of "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" on ABC last fall has been attributed in part to the network's targeted marketing, including dry-cleaning bags with the "Desperate" logo.)

One of the architects of NBC's strategy, John D. Miller, chief marketing officer of the NBC Universal Television Group, said the network had organized its priorities this year into two tiers. The first includes "Earl"; "E-Ring," a Pentagon drama; and "Surface," about organisms rising from the deep, which are each receiving more marketing support than any show last year. The second tier, also the beneficiary of heavy promotion, includes "Three Wishes," "Biggest Loser" and the Martha Stewart "Apprentice" offshoot.

Mr. Miller said he expected that "Three Wishes" (to be broadcast on Fridays at 9 p.m., Eastern and Pacific times; 8 p.m., Central time) would play a "sleeper" role in helping improve the network's fortunes. But he also said he wanted to help the show because of his emotional reaction to it. Set in Sonora, Calif., the first episode shows Ms. Grant helping a young girl recovering from a car accident, a boy seeking to thank the man filling the void left by his late father and a high school trying to replace its waterlogged football field. And yes, Ms. Grant sings - twice.

"This show makes me feel good," Mr. Miller said.

At the root of NBC's strategy for "Three Wishes" is raising its visibility in smaller counties.

It has bought advertising for the series in Sunday magazine inserts like American Profile, which appears in weekly and biweekly newspapers. The DVD copies of the pilot were distributed to churches, as well as some synagogues and mosques, through a California public relations firm, Grace Hill Media, that specializes in religious audiences. The $1 bill promotion was conceived by another California firm, this one an advocate of promotional stunts, called Impact.

Though the "Wishes" campaign has been in the works for months, the hurricane that displaced tens of thousands of people has put the network in a bit of a bind: will the wishes the show is trying to fulfill pale in comparison? NBC figures that the hurricane, by touching off a national spirit of charity, could actually draw viewers. (One wish will now concern a family devastated by the storm.)

As luck would have it, one of the people randomly picked to have her Goody's order paid by NBC - at an even $80 - was a woman who said she had promised to help about 100 children relocated to Georgia after the storm. She was Catherine Love, 36, a hairstylist, who said she was struggling to fulfill that pledge.

"I would watch 'Three Wishes' because there's so much bad going on in the world," said Ms. Love, who works at a salon, Kids Kuts, in nearby Marietta. "It's refreshing to see good things happen to people who deserve it."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 16th, 2005, 09:20 AM
Regarding that Reuters photo of the Presidential Note:

When I first saw it, I thought it was some joke from a blog. Junior high - although I don't remember any of the notes I passed to girls having anything to do with peeing.

This morning, Imus asked NBC news anchor Brian Williams a few questions about Bush's location in New Orleans as the backdrop of his speech last night, and Williams responded, "We were wondering what he was doing behind the statue of Andrew Jackson."

September 16th, 2005, 05:42 PM
Breach of a Myth

After Katrina, the country no longer believes in Bush the protector.
His presidency is ruined.

By Sidney Blumenthal

Sept. 15, 2005


Bush's America is gone with the wind. It lasted just short of four years, from Sept. 11, 2001, to Aug. 29, 2005. The devastation of New Orleans was the watery equivalent of a dirty bomb, but Hurricane Katrina approached the homeland with advance warnings, scientific anticipation and a personal briefing of the president by the director of the National Hurricane Center, alerting him about a possible breaching of the levees. It was as predictable as though Osama bin Laden had phoned in every detail to the television networks. No future terrorist attack would or could be as completely foreseen as Katrina.

Bush's entire presidency and reelection campaign were organized around one master idea: He stood as the protector and savior of the American people under siege. On this mystique he built his persona as a decisive man of conviction and action. In the 2004 election, a critical mass of voters believed that because of his unabashed patriotism and unembarrassed religiosity he would do more to protect the country. They also believed that his fervor must be strength. The criticism of Bush that he was overzealous, simplistic and single-minded only served to reinforce his image...

September 17th, 2005, 12:43 AM
It seems not much is going right for W these days...

Friday Fun with the Prez


When I saw the President stroll out wearing an open collared shirt,
I thought it looked a little odd. Mary sent me this picture from Kate/A/Blog (http://kateablog.blogspot.com/2005/09/papa-simeus.html).
I can't really tell from the broadcast if she's right, but the shirt did seem a
little unbalanced at times during his speech...


This just in!!! -- from NASA JPL Imaging Laboratory:


September 17th, 2005, 10:02 AM
September 16, 2005


http://www.perrspectives.com/images/clear.gifhttp://www.perrspectives.com/images/circle-star-w15.gifThe Bush Speech in Black and White

One of the more transparent aspects of President Bush's speech (http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/000250.htm) from New Orleans last night was its cynical outreach to African-Americans. Trying to break the stereotype of his administration and his party as modern day Confederates (http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/000192.htm), Bush spoke eloquently of race and poverty in the Katrina disaster. Unfortunately, Bush's makeover as born-again racial healer simply isn’t credible, given his own penchant for racial stereotypes.

Returning to the formula of his 2005 State of the Union address (http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/000109.htm), President Bush sought to repair the broken relationship between the Party of Lincoln and black Americans over his administration’s calamitous response in New Orleans' hour of need:

"As all of us saw on television, there is also some deep, persistent poverty in this region as well. And that poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality. When the streets are rebuilt, there should be many new businesses, including minority-owned businesses, along those streets." Media reaction to the Bush address seemed to take the President at his word. Even a New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/16/opinion/16fri1.html) editorial noted that, "He spoke clearly and candidly about race and poverty...Mr. Bush's words could begin a much-needed healing process."

Sadly, Bush's introduction to the language of racial harmony can't mask his own and his party’s recent history of stereotyping and insensitivity. Mississippi Governor and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour (http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_08_28_corner-archive.asp#074606) referred to looters as "subhuman." Just weeks ago, the current RNC chairman Ken Mehlman (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/17/le.01.html) misidentified Texan James Byrd as the perpetrator, not the victim, of one of the worst hate crimes in recent memory. (Bush's own discussion of the Byrd case during the second debate with Al Gore (http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2000b.html) was one of the more disturbing moments of the 2000 campaign.) And President Bush himself (http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/000097.htm), during a January forum seemed quite comfortable using racial caricatures while pushing his Social Security privatization plan to an African-American audience:

"Another interesting idea...is a personal savings account...which can't be used to bet on the lottery, or a dice game, or the track. "Secondly, the interesting -- there's a -- African American males die sooner than other males do, which means the system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people."

Unfortunately for President Bush, New Orleans in the wake of hurricane Katrina is not New York after 9/11. This time, the color of suffering – and heroism – is black. There is no Lisa Beamer (http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/000247.htm) for Bush and his amen corner to appropriate as the face of their compassion. As the New York Times concluded in its editorial, real racial healing in the wake of Katrina "will happen only if they are followed by deeds that are as principled, disciplined and ambitious as Mr. Bush's speech."

September 17th, 2005, 10:18 AM
America's Battered Wife Syndrome

by Gail Thomas


Dear America,

As a friend of the family I can't sit back and watch you do this to yourself without saying something. Consider this a long distance intervention.

Your man is no good. He treats you like crap, lies to you, abuses you, bullies you, exploits you, takes your money. As a friend I want to tell you that you deserve better. You deserve a person that treats you with respect, cares about your welfare, and your children's welfare, but that's not George and it never will be.

Do you tell yourself that he'll stop, or that it won't get worse? He won't ever stop, every insult, injury and death he has caused are a line that once crossed will never be uncrossed. Forget the dream. You will never have the American dream with George. You have to forget about what might have been, what George might have been, and realise that at the end of the day you are what you do, and look at George's track record...

Notice how he's alienated all your friends? Who can blame them, they can't understand why you stay with him when he treats you like shit and embarrasses you in front of everybody. The more his public behaviour overshadows yours, the more doubt creeps over them, they wonder if they knew you as well as they thought they did. You seem to have changed - if you condone his behaviour- and your silence can create the impression that you do. People are more inclined to take things at face value when they feel alienated. Your friends remember the good times you had together, the heroic battles you fought together, all of the intricate interweavings between their families and yours through time and space. Do you even recognise yourself anymore America? He is a drunken, coke-addled loser and he always will be, you should kick him out of your house today before he can destroy any more members of your family, your history, your culture, before he decimates your bank account so irretrievably that China and Saudi Arabia repossess all your stuff.

YOU CAN DO BETTER! You are an amazing country, beautiful, interesting, funny, positively glamorous, you wouldn't stay single for five minutes, you know that suitors would be competing for your affections and any one of them would be ten times better than George. And how can you stand his god-awful Stepford's answer to Marie-Antoinette mother, piping up with another casual atrocity every time she opens her mouth.

Because of George and his friends global warming is now upon us - I know what it has cost your family already, combined with George's complete uselessness and indifference in a crisis. It would probably now be possible for a mathematician to calculate exactly how much of all of our futures we are losing for every minute you stay with that sick, twisted, idiot.

I see you doing what everyone in your position does - you end up looking to the perpetrator for comfort because theres no one else left, and look at how he reacts for Christ's sake, look at what he did to New Orleans, and you should know that yet again he did it in front of all of your friends, all of us saw nothing happening whilst thousands died, all of us heard Ray Negen and the president of Jefferson Parish (I must heard him 30+ times now and I still cry every time) and all of us heard George's bloody mother. We have been trying to help and he won't let us. We are all appalled and aghast, it breaks our hearts to see him hurting you like this, and you not fighting back, you just take it and take it as it slowly spirals down into the pits of hell. What will it take America, will you let him kill you before you'll kick him out? This is not rhetoric America, he is killing you every day you stay with him. If I had described your relationship with George to you back when you were still with Bill you never would have believed me. He degrades you in little increments, every day he erodes your assets as well as your dignity, your reputation, your legacy and your life America.

All of our TV crews were rescuing survivors as they filmed the devastation because there was nobody else there to help them, all of us saw the victims being treated like some sudden new insurgency, with suspicion and hostility. Those poor people, the heart & soul of New Orleans, the very people whose culture and history made New Orleans beloved around the world, He just left your brothers and sisters to die. Can you really continue in your relationship with George after this? There is a degree at which cognitive dissonance becomes outright delusion. He is a maniac, he is destroying your life, please, please leave him, just leave him, only you have the power to make it stop.

He is selling out your family business, if you let him continue like this how are you going to live? How are you going to feed your children, what happens if you get ill? Everything he has ever touched has turned to shit, he puts any idiot that'll kiss his ass into positions of power and New Orleans is the result. Kick him out America! Do it today! I know it feels like you would be leaping into a void, but I promise you, you will be leaping out of one. Your friends will come back as soon as they see you are back to your old self, they really miss you. I know that less than 36% of your heart is still in it. Go with the 67% of you, that 36% is just that vestigial, primitive part of the brain that clings to the familiar no matter how badly the familiar sucks.

It all comes down to you, America. I know no-one likes other people passing comment on their relationships but this is an extreme situation. You are in very real danger, he is hurting you everyday and he is hurting us, your friends as well. But only you can make it stop. We are all rooting for you, although we don't get to talk to you very often anymore, because he cuts us off from you. We are on your side, we will all be over the moon the day you finally kick him out. You know he really should be thrown in jail for the things he has done to you. Him and all of his gangster friends.

Please, please, do it America, you know I am right. If not for yourself then do it for your brothers and sisters and children. Do it before he kills any more of your family or anyone else's. We are all really worried for your welfare.

Your friend,


Gail Thomas is am a British/ Australian dual national living in Sydney with her American partner. Her website is 12thharmonic.com (http://12thharmonic.com/)

September 17th, 2005, 10:36 AM


September 17th, 2005, 11:45 AM
This is a really funny vid from the "Presidential Speechalist" (satire?? or truth????) ...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/images/homepage/20050915_dick.jpg (http://y.wimp.com/v/presidential.wmv)

http://y.wimp.com/v/presidential.wmv (http://y.wimp.com/v/presidential.wmv)

Featuring Andy Dick, Arianna Huffington, and, of course, George W. Bush.

September 17th, 2005, 09:05 PM
Disney on Parade

By MAUREEN DOWD (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/maureendowd/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
September 17, 2005
NY Times



The president, as he fondly recalled the other day, used to get well lit in New Orleans. Not any more.

On Thursday night, Mr. Bush wanted to appear casually in charge as he waged his own Battle of New Orleans in Jackson Square. Instead, he looked as if he'd been dropped off by his folks in front of a eerie, blue-hued castle at Disney World. (Must be Sleeping Beauty's Castle, given the somnambulant pace of W.'s response to Katrina.)

All Andrew Jackson's horses, and all the Boy King's men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again. His gladiatorial walk across the darkened greensward, past a St. Louis Cathedral bathed in moon glow from White House klieg lights, just seemed to intensify the sense of an isolated, out-of-touch president clinging to hollow symbols as his disastrous disaster agency continues to flail.

In a ruined city - still largely without power, stinking with piles of garbage and still 40 percent submerged; where people are foraging in the miasma and muck for food, corpses and the sentimental detritus of their lives; and where unbearably sad stories continue to spill out about hordes of evacuees who lost their homes and patients who died in hospitals without either electricity or rescuers - isn't it rather tasteless, not to mention a waste of energy, to haul in White House generators just to give the president a burnished skin tone and a prettified background?

The slick White House TV production team was trying to salvage W.'s "High Noon" snap with some snazzy Hollywood-style lighting - the same Reaganesque stagecraft they had provided when W. made a prime-time television address from Ellis Island on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On that occasion, Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer, and Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraman and a lighting expert, rented three barges of giant Musco lights, the kind used for "Monday Night Football" and Rolling Stones concerts, floated them across New York Harbor and illuminated the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop for Mr. Bush.

Before the presidential address, Mr. DeServi was surveying his handiwork in Jackson Square, crowing to reporters about his cathedral: "Oh, it's heated up. It's going to print loud."

As Elisabeth Bumiller, the White House reporter for The Times, noted in a pool report, the image wizards had put up a large swath of military camouflage netting, held in place by bags of rocks and strung on poles, to hide the president from the deserted and desolate streets of the French Quarter ghost town.

The president is still looking for a tiny spot of unreality in New Orleans - and in Iraq, where a violent rampage has spiked the three-day death tally to over 200.

The Oedipal loop-de-loop of W. and Poppy grows ever loopier.

With Karl Rove's help, Junior designed his presidency as a reverse of his father's. W. would succeed by studying Dad's failures and doing the opposite. But in a bizarre twist of filial fate, the son has stumbled so badly in areas where he tried to one-up Dad that he has ended up giving Dad a leg up in the history books.

As Mark Twain said: "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Of course, it's taken Junior only five years to learn how smart his old man was.

His father made the "mistake" of not conquering and occupying Iraq because he had the silly idea that Iraqis would resent it. His father made the "mistake" of raising taxes, not cutting them, and overly obsessing about the federal deficit. And his father made the "mistake" of hewing to the center, making his base mad and losing his bid for re-election.

Bush père did make a real mistake in responding slowly to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but that blunder has been dwarfed by what the slothful son hath wrought. Because of his fatal tardiness, W. now has to literally promise the moon to fix New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, driving up the federal deficit and embarking on the biggest spending bonanza and government public works program since F.D.R.

In his address from the French Quarter, the president sounded like such a spendthrift bleeding heart that he is terrifying the right more than his father ever did.

Read my lips: By the time all this is over, people will be saying that Poppy was the true conservative in the family.

September 17th, 2005, 10:53 PM
Clinton had his healthcare reform debacle. Now Bush has his Social Security reform debacle.
It will only be one if people remember it. By November 2006, many voters will be forgetful enough to give Bush a pass, vote Republican again, and in 2007 Bush will, suprise, bring back the phasing-out of Social Security. I would suggest to Democrats in Congress to beat the GOP over the head with this so voters remember the fact that they want to gut the New Deal and anything that resembles an activist government (just look at how Bush cut FEMA for two years in a row and allowed his college buddies patronage jobs.)

September 18th, 2005, 04:50 AM
September 18, 2005

Message: I Care About the Black Folks


ONCE Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Professor Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Hurricane Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush.

The worst storm in our history proved perfect for exposing this president because in one big blast it illuminated all his failings: the rampant cronyism, the empty sloganeering of "compassionate conservatism," the lack of concern for the "underprivileged" his mother condescended to at the Astrodome, the reckless lack of planning for all government operations except tax cuts, the use of spin and photo-ops to camouflage failure and to substitute for action.

In the chaos unleashed by Katrina, these plot strands coalesced into a single tragic epic played out in real time on television. The narrative is just too powerful to be undone now by the administration's desperate recycling of its greatest hits: a return Sunshine Boys tour by the surrogate empathizers Clinton and Bush I, another round of prayers at the Washington National Cathedral, another ludicrously overhyped prime-time address flecked with speechwriters' "poetry" and framed by a picturesque backdrop. Reruns never eclipse a riveting new show.

Nor can the president's acceptance of "responsibility" for the disaster dislodge what came before. Mr. Bush didn't cough up his modified-limited mea culpa until he'd seen his whole administration flash before his eyes. His admission that some of the buck may stop with him (about a dime's worth, in Truman dollars) came two weeks after the levees burst and five years after he promised to usher in a new post-Clinton "culture of responsibility." It came only after the plan to heap all the blame on the indeed blameworthy local Democrats failed to lift Mr. Bush's own record-low poll numbers. It came only after America's highest-rated TV news anchor, Brian Williams, started talking about Katrina the way Walter Cronkite once did about Vietnam.

Taking responsibility, as opposed to paying lip service to doing so, is not in this administration's gene pool. It was particularly shameful that Laura Bush was sent among the storm's dispossessed to try to scapegoat the news media for her husband's ineptitude. When she complained of seeing "a lot of the same footage over and over that isn't necessarily representative of what really happened," the first lady sounded just like Donald Rumsfeld shirking responsibility for the looting of Baghdad. The defense secretary, too, griped about seeing the same picture "over and over" on television (a looter with a vase) to hide the reality that the Pentagon had no plan to secure Iraq, a catastrophic failure being paid for in Iraqi and American blood to this day.

This White House doesn't hate all pictures, of course. It loves those by Karl Rove's Imagineers, from the spectacularly lighted Statue of Liberty backdrop of Mr. Bush's first 9/11 anniversary speech to his "Top Gun" stunt to Thursday's laughably stagy stride across the lawn to his lectern in Jackson Square. (Message: I am a leader, not that vacationing slacker who first surveyed the hurricane damage from my presidential jet.)

The most odious image-mongering, however, has been Mr. Bush's repeated deployment of African-Americans as dress extras to advertise his "compassion." In 2000, the Republican convention filled the stage with break dancers and gospel singers, trying to dispel the memory of Mr. Bush's craven appearance at Bob Jones University when it forbade interracial dating. (The few blacks in the convention hall itself were positioned near celebrities so they'd show up in TV shots.) In 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign Web site had a page titled "Compassion" devoted mainly to photos of the president with black people, Colin Powell included.

Some of these poses are re-enacted in the "Hurricane Relief" photo gallery currently on display on the White House Web site. But this time the old magic isn't working. The "compassion" photos are outweighed by the cinéma vérité of poor people screaming for their lives. The government effort to keep body recovery efforts in New Orleans as invisible as the coffins from Iraq was abandoned when challenged in court by CNN.

But even now the administration's priority of image over substance is embedded like a cancer in the Katrina relief process. Brazenly enough, Mr. Rove has been officially put in charge of the reconstruction effort. The two top deputies at FEMA remaining after Michael Brown's departure, one of them a former local TV newsman, are not disaster relief specialists but experts in P.R., which they'd practiced as advance men for various Bush campaigns. Thus The Salt Lake Tribune discovered a week after the hurricane (http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197) that some 1,000 firefighters from Utah and elsewhere were sent not to the Gulf Coast but to Atlanta, to be trained as "community relations officers for FEMA" rather than used as emergency workers to rescue the dying in New Orleans. When 50 of them were finally dispatched to Louisiana, the paper reported, their first assignment was "to stand beside President Bush" as he toured devastated areas.

The cashiering of "Brownie," whom Mr. Bush now purports to know as little as he did "Kenny Boy," changes nothing. The Knight Ridder newspapers found last week that it was the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, not Mr. Brown, who had the greater authority to order federal agencies into service without any request from state or local officials. Mr. Chertoff waited a crucial, unexplained 36 hours before declaring Katrina an "incident of national significance," the trigger needed for federal action. Like Mr. Brown, he was oblivious to the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the convention center, confessing his ignorance of conditions there to NPR on the same day that the FEMA chief famously did so to Ted Koppel. Yet Mr. Bush's "culture of responsibility" does not hold Mr. Chertoff accountable. Quite the contrary: on Thursday the president charged Homeland Security with reviewing "emergency plans in every major city in America." Mr. Chertoff will surely do a heck of a job.

WHEN there's money on the line, cronies always come first in this White House, no matter how great the human suffering. After Katrina, the FEMA Web site directing charitable contributions prominently listed Operation Blessing, a Pat Robertson kitty that, according to I.R.S. documents obtained by ABC News, has given more than half of its yearly cash donations to Mr. Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. If FEMA is that cavalier about charitable donations, imagine what it's doing with the $62 billion (so far) of taxpayers' money sent its way for Katrina relief. Actually, you don't have to imagine: we already know some of it was immediately siphoned into no-bid contracts with a major Republican donor, the Fluor Corporation, as well as with a client of the consultant Joe Allbaugh, the Bush 2000 campaign manager who ran FEMA for this White House until Brownie, Mr. Allbaugh's college roommate, was installed in his place.

It was back in 2000 that Mr. Bush, in a debate with Al Gore, bragged about his gubernatorial prowess "on the front line of catastrophic situations," specifically citing a Texas flood, and paid the Clinton administration a rare compliment for putting a professional as effective as James Lee Witt in charge of FEMA. Exactly why Mr. Bush would staff that same agency months later with political hacks is one of many questions that must be answered by the independent investigation he and the Congressional majority are trying every which way to avoid. With or without a 9/11-style commission, the answers will come out. There are too many Americans who are angry and too many reporters who are on the case. (NBC and CNN are both opening full-time bureaus in New Orleans.) You know the world has changed when the widely despised news media have a far higher approval rating (77 percent) than the president (46 percent), as measured last week in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Like his father before him, Mr. Bush has squandered the huge store of political capital he won in a war. His Thursday-night invocation of "armies of compassion" will prove as worthless as the "thousand points of light" that the first President Bush bestowed upon the poor from on high in New Orleans (at the Superdome, during the 1988 G.O.P. convention). It will be up to other Republicans in Washington to cut through the empty words and image-mongering to demand effective action from Mr. Bush on the Gulf Coast and in Iraq, if only because their own political lives are at stake. It's up to Democrats, though they show scant signs of realizing it, to step into the vacuum and propose an alternative to a fiscally disastrous conservatism that prizes pork over compassion. If the era of Great Society big government is over, the era of big government for special interests is proving a fiasco. Especially when it's presided over by a self-styled C.E.O. with a consistent three-decade record of running private and public enterprises alike into a ditch.

What comes next? Having turned the page on Mr. Bush, the country hungers for a vision that is something other than either liberal boilerplate or Rovian stagecraft. At this point, merely plain old competence, integrity and heart might do.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

September 18th, 2005, 10:59 AM
Meanwhile the minions are desperately clutching to dying neo-con agendas:

Looking for a Corpse to Make a Case

Senators look for a wealthy casualty of Katrina as evidence against the estate tax

By MASSIMO CALABRESI (http://javascript<b></b>:void(0))

Posted Saturday, Sep. 17, 2005

Federal troops aren't the only ones looking for bodies on the Gulf Coast. On Sept. 9, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions called his old law professor Harold Apolinsky, co-author of Sessions' legislation repealing the federal estate tax, which was encountering sudden resistance on the Hill. Sessions had an idea to revitalize their cause, which he left on Apolinsky's voice mail: "[Arizona Sen.] Jon Kyl and I were talking about the estate tax. If we knew anybody that owned a business that lost life in the storm, that would be something we could push back with."

If legislative ambulance chasing looks like a desperate measure, for the backers of repealing the estate tax, these are desperate times. Just three weeks ago, their long-sought goal of repeal seemed within reach, but Katrina dashed their hopes when Republican leaders put off an expected vote. After hearing from Sessions, Apolinsky, an estate tax lawyer who says his firm includes three multi-billionaires among its clients, mobilized the American Family Business Institute, a Washington-based group devoted to estate tax repeal. They reached out to members along the Gulf Coast to hunt for the dead.

It's been hard. Only a tiny percentage of people are affected by the estate tax—in 2001 only 534 Alabamans were subject to it. And for Hill backers of repeal, that's only part of the problem. Last year, the tax brought in $24.8 billion to the federal government. With Katrina's cost soaring, estate tax opponents need to find a way to make up the potential lost income. For now, getting repeal back on the agenda may depend on Apolinsky and his team of estate-sniffing sleuths, who are searching Internet obituaries among other places. Has he found any victims of both the hurricane and the estate tax? "Not yet," Apolinsky says. "But I'm still looking."

—with reporting by Amanda Ripley/Washington

September 18th, 2005, 11:30 AM
Clinton had his healthcare reform debacle. Now Bush has his Social Security reform debacle.

It wasn't a debacle for Clinton as much as a right wing smear campaign against his wife, who took the lead on it. In retrospect, she looks brilliant with what she did with her role as First Lady as opposed to Laura Bush who changes George W.'s diapers when he doesn't get his bathroom breaks from Condi Rice.

September 18th, 2005, 07:54 PM
Bush Katrina Ratings Fall After Speech


September 18, 2005--Thirty-five percent (35%) of Americans now say that President Bush has done a good or excellent job responding to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. That's down from 39% before his speech (http://rasmussenreports.com/2005/Katrina_September%2014.htm) from New Orleans.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey shows that 41% give the President poor marks for handling the crisis, that's up 37% before the speech.

Fifty percent (50%) of Americans favor the main proposal from that speech--a federal commitment of $200 billion to help rebuild New Orleans. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are opposed and 23% are not sure.

The spending plan has not been well received by conservative voters--just 43% favor the huge federal commitment partisan while 37% are opposed. This is especially striking given how supportive the President's base has remained throughout his Administration.

The President's reconstruction plan is favored by 66% of liberal voters. Still, only 10% of liberals give the President a good or an excellent rating for handling the crisis.

Following the speech, the President's rating for handling the Katrina crisis fell eight points among Republicans (from 71% good or excellent to 63%). The President also draws good or excellent marks from 11% of Democrats and 31% of those not affiliated with either major political party.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of black voters support the federal reconstruction spending while just 17% are opposed. Among white voters, 49% favor the spending and 29% are opposed. This is the first Bush Administration proposal hat has attracted more support from black Americans than from white Americans.

Consumer confidence (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/daily.htm) has recovered from its post-Katrina lows, but not from the surge in oil prices that preceded Katrina.

TLOZ Link5
September 18th, 2005, 09:07 PM
A lot of boards I lurk or post on are full of pro-Bush drones bitching about how unfair the polls are now that their President has been cast in a negative light by the majority. They'll believe the polls when they're up but doubt them when they're down and start complaining about the "liberal media." And they say that liberals are the conspiracy theorists...

September 18th, 2005, 09:13 PM
They claim that liberals are conspiracy theorists for believing in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, but if you ever bother to read one of their fundraising letters or websites, they pump up Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore to a status within the Democratic Party, and the left in general, that they do not actually have. "Hillary is planning to take over the party and destroy all dissenters" or "Michael Moore said that the war is just a scheme to help Israel and kill some A-rabs."

September 18th, 2005, 10:19 PM


September 18th, 2005, 11:42 PM
I am looking forward to reading about when the Bush "error" is over.

September 19th, 2005, 11:15 PM
Beware of the rats as they scuttle off the sinking ship ...


That Sinking Feeling

By The Prowler (editor@theamericanprowler.org)
Published 9/19/2005 12:10:33 AM


Publicly, the White House will tell you that it intends to push ahead with two of its big legislative issues throughout the fall: making permanent the first term tax cuts and Social Security reform.

Even privately, with the political and policy debacle that the White House created with its Clintonian response to Hurricane Katrina, policy and political types at 1600 Pennsylvania insist what's left of an agenda is still viable.

But at this stage of the game, barring some imaginative political moves that bear some resemblance to the Bush Administration circa 2002, Republicans on Capitol Hill and even some longtime Bush team members in various Cabinet level departments say this Administration is done for.

"You run down the list of things we thought we could accomplish and you have to wonder what we thought we were thinking," says a Bush Administration member who joined on in 2001. "You get the impression that we're more than listless. We're sunk."

Too pessimistic? Maybe not. Rumors are flying through various departments of longtime senior Bush loyalists looking to jump, but with few opportunities in the private sector to make the jump look like anything more than desperation. Almost daily, complaints from Cabinet level Departments come in to the White House about lack of communication coordination on even basic policy matters.

"What happened was that some of the best people who were working in the Administration during the first term, but who weren't necessarily Bush campaign members or weren't particularly close to the White House, jumped when they saw opportunities being filled by under-qualified but more politically connected people," says a current Administration senior staffer in a Cabinet department. "In this department we lost three quarters of the people who should have been encouraged to stay, and most of them left simply because they had received no indication they would be considered for better or different opportunities. And many of these folks would have stayed."

But enough about the lack of a team to implement a message. Let's look at the mission.

Congressional committee sources on both sides of Capitol Hill predict tough slogging on anything of policy consequence. "Social Security is dead as far as my chairman is concerned. So are the tax cuts," says a Ways and Means staffer of Chairman Bill Thomas.

Before hurricane season wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast and in Washington, the thinking was that Thomas was poised to take up a major tax bill that might feature several critical components of the Bush Administration's Social Security reform. Now those plans appear to have dimmed considerably.

According to one school of thought, some GOP tax policy changes might have contributed to a more market-oriented approach to reconstruction efforts in the Katrina recovery. Instead, Republicans were stunned to hear about programs that read as if cribbed from the Clinton Administration.

Although Republicans on the Hill are left with a bit of wiggle room to make adjustments to the Bush proposals, they will need political cover if they are to successfully navigate a path made difficult by the Bush team's allowing the media and Democrats to paint the GOP into a corner.


Changes in the political landscape do not appear to have dramatically changed President Bush's views on a Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

As of Friday, sources close the White House said the long-standing favorite of conservatives to replace O'Connor, Judge Edith Jones, had not yet met with the President to discuss the opportunity.

When asked about the seeming lack of consideration of Jones, a White House source counseled against reading too much into it. "There have been plenty of opportunities in the last few weeks for the President to meet with people under the radar. We've done it before, we're doing it now."

Bush has met with at least one women, federal appeals Judge Priscilla Owen, though insiders say there are doubts she has the personality to accomplish the kind of PR blitz successfully undertaken by Judge John Roberts.

One reason Owen maybe be given greater consideration is the G.W. Bush's history with her, compared to G.H.W. Bush's history with Jones.

"Owen is tied to this President Bush. He fought for her, and she stood by him during that fight," says another White House source about Owen's long confirmation ordeal. "Jones is tied to the first President Bush. She was perhaps the alternate pick to [David] Souter. For this President Bush to pick the woman everyone now knows played second fiddle to his father's greatest mistake might be too much to ask for."

Another name that has moved quickly forward is former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, who would be nominated having served not a day on the bench. Thompson, though, is almost universally liked by the Bush Administration, worked closely with the President on the Corporate Fraud Task Force, and has no paper trail to speak of from his time in government.

However, Thompson, according to current and former associates, is believed by many to be a moderate Republican, with pro-abortion leanings. And while people point to his time as a scholar at the Brookings Institution after leaving the Department of Justice in 2003, there was no liberal like-mindedness in that move, according to Brookings sources. "We wanted a conservative, and Larry was someone we had targeted, particularly because of his ties to business. We thought he'd be good for fundraising," says a Brookings scholar.

Copyright 2005, The American Spectator

September 20th, 2005, 12:15 AM

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/400/bush_league_disaster1.jpg (http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/1600/bush_league_disaster1.jpg)


September 20th, 2005, 02:50 PM
The whole family is cracking up ...

Jeb Bush Reveals His “Mystical Warrior” Friend

http://thinkprogress.org/2005/09/20/jeb-bush-reveals/ (http://thinkprogress.org/2005/09/20/jeb-bush-reveals/)

Last week, after “more than an hour of solemn ceremony” swearing in Rep. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as House speaker, Gov. Jeb Bush stepped to the podium to tell “a short story about ‘unleashing Chang,’ his ‘mystical warrior’ friend.”

Below, courtesy of the Gainesville Sun (http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050918/COLUMNS/50917061/1096/editorials), are Bush’s words, “spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians”:
“Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society.

“I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.”

Bush then unsheathed a golden sword and gave it to Rubio as a gift.

‘’I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great conservative warrior,'’ he said, as the crowd roared.

http://thinkprogress.org/wp-images/upload/thumb-Chang.JPG (http://www.ocala.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050914/NEWS/209140313/1002/news02)

Jeb with Chang's Golden Sword

To find out more about Jeb’s condition, click here (http://www.babycenter.com/expert/toddler/toddlerdevelopment/11537.html).

September 21st, 2005, 09:37 AM
Curiouser and curiouser ...

Email from arrested White House official suggests powerful congressman lied about trip

John Byrne

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Email_from_arrested_White_House_official_suggests_ powerful_congressman_lied_about_0920.html

WASHINGTON -- News of David Safavian's arrest Monday ricocheted through the Washington political scene like a gunshot.

Safavian, 38, who oversaw $300 billion in federal procurement for President George W. Bush, quit Friday after an FBI operation alleged he obstructed an investigation and tried to finagle a government deal for a friend. He was appointed in 2004.

Yet what is most significant about Safavian's case isn't Safavian himself. It’s the fact that he was arrested—and that emails he sent to conservative superlobbyist Jack Abramoff indicated that those on the trip knew that a trip to Scotland in 2002 was being paid for by the lobbyist.

An email sent by Safavian appears to indicate that the powerful Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) lied when he said he was "duped" by Abramoff and lied again on financial disclosure forms when he said that a nonprofit had paid for the trip, RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) has found.

"I (along with [two] members of Congress and a few Congressional staff) have been invited by a friend and former colleague on a trip to Scotland to play golf for four days," Safavian wrote in an email to his government employer, seeking permission to go on the trip.

"The host of the trip is chartering a private jet to take the eight of us from BWI to Scottland [sic] and back. He is paying the cost of the aircraft regardless whether I go or not. In fact, none of the other guest [sic] will be paying a proportional share of the aircraft costs."

"The host is a lawyer and a lobbyist… he does all his work on Capitol Hill."

Nowhere in Safavian's email does he reference the National Center, which those involved said had paid for the trip. The email states that Abramoff personally extended invitations.

Ney, however, made up another patron.

His filings assert (http://opensecrets.org/pfds/pfd2002/N00003532_2002.pdf) that the six-day $3,200 junket from Washington, to Scotland, and then on to London, was paid for by the Center. The visit was described (http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/congtravel/sponsor_report.php?sponsor=13772) on travel forms as “Speech to Scottish parliamentarian; attend Edinburgh Military tattoo; visit British Parliament.”

His office told the New York Times that Abramoff had assured him the Center had footed the bill. He did not return a RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) call seeking comment.

Amy Ridenour, the Center's director, told a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in June that she knew nothing about the trip.

“The second golf trip is something on which I will be able to provide no information other than the fact that we don't know anything about it,” Ridenour said (http://jewishwhistleblower.blogspot.com/2005/06/june-22-2005-senate-indian-affairs.html).

Ridenour’s comments further suggest Ney knowingly falsified the sponsor of the trip on financial disclosure forms.

After the trip, Abramoff sent an e-mail (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0411-02.htm) to a senior tribal official of the Texas Tigua tribe, which had been asked to foot half the bill. He said Ney “had a great time and is very grateful but is not going to mention the trip to Scotland for obvious reasons. He said he'll show his thanks in other ways, which is what we want."

The Ohio congressman told the Times that Abramoff was lying.

Abramoff directed the tribe to contribute $32,000 to Ney in 2002, just days after Ney took steps to sponsor legislation sought by the tribe. The lobbyist hired Ney’s chief of staff Neil Volz earlier that year.

Volz, along with two of the congressman’s current aides, took Abramoff’s chartered jet on the same trip. They were joined by Christian Coalition wunderkind Ralph Reed and Ney contributor Adam Kidan.

Kidan bought the Florida-based gambling cruise line Suncruz, in 2000, after Ney inserted statements critical of the line’s previous owner into the congressional record. The previous owner was later killed in a gangland-style murder while driving through a quiet Fort Lauderdale street in his BMW.

The case remains unsolved.

When the Tigua delegation met with Ney shortly after the Scotland trip, the Tigua's leader told the Atlanta Journal Constitution (http://www.ajc.com/sunday/content/epaper/editions/sunday/news_245bb100c02ac08a0047.html), the congressman said, "I want to thank you — I had a great time. You all were so generous."

September 21st, 2005, 02:45 PM
Well, this country got what it voted for.

September 22nd, 2005, 12:28 AM

http://www.nationalenquirer.com/images/ne/208635/50921.gif (http://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/63426)

September 21, 2005


Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.

Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.

Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against "falling off the wagon" and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add.

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and shouted: "Stop George!"

"Laura gave him an ultimatum before, 'It's Jim Beam or me.' She doesn't want to replay that nightmare — especially now when it's such tough going for her husband."

Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush back to drink.

A Washington source said: "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him — but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months.

"The war in Iraq, the loss of American lives, has deeply affected him. He takes every soldier's life personally. It has left him emotionally drained.

The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to cope. "And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control."

Another source said: "I'm only surprised to hear that he hadn't taken a shot sooner. Before Katrina, he was at his wit's end. I've known him for years. He's been a good ol' Texas boy forever. George had a drinking problem for years that most professionals would say needed therapy. He doesn't believe in it [therapy], he never got it. He drank his way through his youth, through college and well into his thirties. Everyone's drinking around him."

Another source said: "A family member told me they fear George is 'falling apart.' The First Lady has been assigned the job of gatekeeper." Bush's history of drinking dates back to his youth. Speaking of his time as a young man in the National Guard, he has said: "One thing I remember, and I'm most proud of, is my drinking and partying. Those were the days my friends. Those were the good old days!"

Age 26 in 1972, he reportedly rounded off a night's boozing with his 16-year-old brother Marvin by challenging his father to a fight.

On November 1, 2000, on the eve of his first presidential election, Bush acknowledged that in 1976 he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his parents' home in Maine. Age 30 at the time, Bush pleaded guilty and paid a $150 fine. His driving privileges were temporarily suspended in Maine.

"I'm not proud of that," he said. "I made some mistakes. I occasionally drank too much, and I did that night. I learned my lesson." In another interview around that time, he said: "Well, I don't think I had an addiction. You know it's hard for me to say. I've had friends who were, you know, very addicted... and they required hitting bottom (to start) going to AA. I don't think that was my case."

During his 2000 presidential campaign, there were also persistent questions about past cocaine use. Eventually Bush denied using cocaine after 1992, then quickly extended the cocaine-free period back to 1974, when he was 28.

Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, told The National Enquirer: "I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.

"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."

(It sure as hell is)

TLOZ Link5
September 22nd, 2005, 02:04 PM
Should we believe the Enquirer, though?

September 22nd, 2005, 03:37 PM
The Enquirer has more credibility than Bush.

TLOZ Link5
September 22nd, 2005, 06:36 PM
The Enquirer has more credibility than Bush.


September 22nd, 2005, 07:07 PM
Check out this link to George's Fall:


September 22nd, 2005, 07:11 PM

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."
What's not to believe here?? I can hear her voice ringing through that ranch house now.

September 22nd, 2005, 09:33 PM
Sounds like the next chapter book in the "Curious George" series. Silly monkey.

September 22nd, 2005, 11:27 PM
Where's londonlawyer? That article is crap.

Bush White House
A Haven for Hacks
Date: 9/26/2005

Back when Republicans still behaved like Republicans and conservatives actually believed in conservatism, those worthies aspired to bring us what they considered to be “good government.” Among other things, that meant appointing officials qualified to execute their positions, maintaining fiscal responsibility and insisting on public integrity. The reality frequently failed to fulfill those aspirations, of course, but at least they tried.

Now we live under a distorted facsimile of Republican conservatism with an attitude toward government that seems cynical and fundamentally nihilistic. This approach was summed up years ago by the right-wing commander and White House advisor Grover Norquist, when he explained his movement’s long-term objective: “My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Before drowning it, however, he and his comrades will pick its pockets.

Led by George W. Bush, today’s conservatives have elevated political patronage from a universal and tolerable peccadillo to a public menace. So intent are they on providing lucrative, comfortable federal jobs to the members of their own gang that they have come to resemble the old clubhouse Democrats of Tammany Hall. (The difference is that Tammany, for all its corruption, provided employment and benefits to the poor, while the Bush White House reserves its patronage for the well-fed and well-heeled.) The result is incompetence slicked over with arrogance and inexperience guided by ideology.

Sharing the outlook of Mr. Norquist, the President has scarcely tried to find capable managers for the federal bureaucracy. He shares the radical right-wing objective of dismantling government institutions rather than managing them properly and effectively. At every level, he appoints loyal hacks who possess no relevant qualifications, so long as they share his anti-government ideology.

This is like putting the termites in charge of repairing the house.

The latest example is David Safavian, who suddenly resigned last week as the top procurement official at the White House Office of Management and Budget. On Sept. 19, he was arrested by F.B.I. agents for lying about his involvement with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whom he helped to obtain control over federal properties in the District of Columbia and Maryland. He is a former lobbyist whose partners in the private sector have included both Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Norquist.

No doubt the indicted Mr. Safavian is, like his friends, a true believer in drowning government. He had little or no administrative experience, but he had the right friends and the right-wing ideology. And like Tammany’s immortal George Washington Plunkitt, he saw his opportunities and took ’em.

Where such wanton patronage becomes terribly perilous, as we have recently learned, is in making appointments to agencies that are supposed to protect the nation. Everyone knows about the strange rise and fall of Michael D. (Brownie) Brown at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But what of Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security, who may well be as much to blame as Mr. Brown for the fumbled federal response to Hurricane Katrina?

Reporting by Knight-Ridder News Service shows that Mr. Chertoff froze when he ought to have mobilized government during the crucial hours leading up to the disaster. Among the reasons for his failure is that he, too, lacked qualifications for his job. He is a highly capable lawyer, which may have caused him to dither over legalistic questions of state and federal authority, but he has few credentials to run an enormous and critically important bureaucracy. From the perspective of the Bush White House, the outstanding item on Mr. Chertoff’s résumé is his partisan hatchet work on the Senate Whitewater Committee.

The Homeland Security chief certainly isn’t the only member of the Whitewater alumni club to find gainful employment under Mr. Bush. From James Rogan, the former impeachment manager appointed to run the Patent Office after losing his House seat, to Brett Kavanaugh, the former associate independent counsel who serves as staff secretary to the President, many who joined the G.O.P. jihad against the Clintons have since suckled on the federal teat.

Only days ago, the President named Julie Myers, a 36-year-old Republican attorney, to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency within Homeland Security. She used to be Mr. Chertoff’s chief of staff, and she also used to work for Kenneth Starr, but she has no discernible background that would enable her to oversee a law-enforcement agency with 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget.

“I will seek to work with those who are more knowledgeable in this area, who know more than I do,” she said when asked how she expected to do her new job if confirmed by the Senate. Surely she meant to sound reassuring—but in an age of terror, why wouldn’t the President appoint someone “more knowledgeable” and more experienced to oversee our borders and ports?

copyright © 2005 the new york observer, L.P.

September 23rd, 2005, 12:26 AM
A Haven for Hacks

This is like putting the termites in charge of repairing the house.
That sums it up very well.

September 23rd, 2005, 12:27 AM
Where's londonlawyer? That article is crap.

LMFAO! Jeez, that was a milk spraying out of the nose moment.

September 23rd, 2005, 09:07 AM
LMFAO! Jeez, that was a milk spraying out of the nose moment.

Funny thing is, you weren't drinking any milk.... :O

September 23rd, 2005, 09:12 AM
The very fact that the National Enquirer -- read by millions throughout the heartland -- has turned on Bush is indicative of his fall.

Who is standing up for him now? Very, very few -- compared to 6 months ago.

September 23rd, 2005, 10:19 AM
More turning on Bush (although Novak is really insufferable) ...

Bashing Bush in Aspen


Robert Novak
September 22, 2005

ASPEN, Colo. -- For two full days, George W. Bush was bashed. He was taken to task on his handling of stem cell research, population control, the Iraq war and, especially, Hurricane Katrina. The critics were no left-wing bloggers. They were rich, mainly Republican and presumably Bush voters in the last two presidential elections.

The Bush-bashing occurred last weekend at the annual Aspen conference sponsored by the New York investment firm Forstmann Little & Co. Over 200 invited guests, mostly prestigious, arrived Thursday night (many by private aircraft) and stayed until Sunday morning for more than golf, hikes and gourmet meals. They faithfully attended the discussions presided over by PBS's Charlie Rose on such serious subjects as "global poverty and human rights" and "the 'new' world economy." The connecting link was hostility to President Bush.

"All discussions are off the record," admonished the conference's printed schedule. Consequently, I will refrain from specifically quoting panelists and audience members. But the admonition says nothing about personal conversations outside the sessions. Nor do I feel inhibited in quoting myself. Even if I am violating the spirit of secrecy rules, revealing criticism of Bush by this elite group, and the paucity of defense for him, is valuable in reflecting the president's parlous political condition.

The Forstmann Little Aspen Weekend is made possible by the generosity of Theodore J. Forstmann, a doughty supporter of supply-side economics and longtime contributor to the Republican Party. Invited guests are drawn from government, diplomacy, politics, the arts, entertainment and journalism.

I was surprised that the program indicated the first panel, on stem cell research, consisted solely of scientists hostile to the Bush administration's position. In the absence of any disagreement, I took the floor to suggest there are scientists and bioethicists with dissenting views and that it was not productive to demean opposing views as based on "religious dogma." The response was peeved criticism of my intervention and certainly no support.

I do not see myself as a defender of the Bush presidency, and I am sure the White House does not regard me as such. But as a member of the second panel consisting of journalists, I felt constrained to argue against implications that Hurricane Katrina should cause the president to rediscover race and poverty. My comments again generated more criticism from the audience and obvious exasperation by Charlie Rose. Indeed, after the closing dinner Saturday night, the moderator made clear he was displeased by my conduct.

After the first two panels, I feared I was the odd man out in accepting Teddy Forstmann's invitation. But during a break, one of the president's closest friends -- who had remained silent -- thanked me profusely for my comments. That set a pattern. Throughout the next two days, men and women who were mute publicly thanked me privately for speaking up. When I said nothing during one panel discussion, some people asked me why I was silent.

Longtime participants in Forstmann Little conferences (this was my first and, after this column, probably my last) told me they had not experienced such hostility against a Republican president at previous events. Yet, they were sure a majority of the guests had voted for Bush.

This analysis was reported to me over lunch by a financier who regularly attends these events. When he thanked me for my comments and said he shared my sentiments, I asked why he did not express them publicly at a session. He replied that he did not feel able to articulate what he felt. Critics of the president who are vocal and supporters who are reticent comprise a massive communications failure.

U.S. News & World Report disclosed this week, with apparent disdain, that presidential adviser Karl Rove took time off from the Katrina relief effort to be at Aspen. He was needed as a counterweight. I settled in for serious fireworks, expecting Bush-bashers to assault his alter ego at the conference's final session. However, direct confrontation with a senior aide must have been more difficult than a remote attack on the president. It would be a shame if Rove returned to Washington without informing George W. Bush how erstwhile friends have turned against him.

©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

September 23rd, 2005, 10:31 AM
It's so hard to read anything by a man who has committed acts of treason against his country. Robert Novak deserves no less than the Rosenberg's got in the 50's.

September 23rd, 2005, 01:33 PM
I sense a scapegoat being groomed.

September 23rd, 2005, 01:44 PM
For years, seeing the face of Robert Novak always causes one word to flash through my head.


September 23rd, 2005, 04:51 PM
In just five years we've become a third world country and the world's pariah, just like the Soviet Union used to be. Never knew one person could make such a difference.

Is it getting time to be ashamed to be American?

September 23rd, 2005, 04:57 PM
You should only be ashamed of what you're responsible for. If you didn't vote for Bush, don't be.

September 23rd, 2005, 05:34 PM
During my life as an American, I have witnessed the country correct itself several times. After enduring four years of G W Bush, it seemed certain that the corrective process would send him into retirement. Much of the blame goes to Democrats, who abdicated their role as the Loyal Opposition, and were more concerned with public opinion polls than presenting a coherent vision.

Where we go from here depends on how many people understand where we are.

September 23rd, 2005, 07:59 PM
During my life as an American, I have witnessed the country correct itself several times...Where we go from here depends on how many people understand where we are.
That means not putting a gloss on the fact that the country's international reputation is at an all time low, and so is the domestic understanding of what being American really stands for.

It certainly isn't halting stem cell research, enriching billionaires through government policies or denying global warming because your buddies sell oil.

September 23rd, 2005, 09:02 PM
Is it getting time to be ashamed to be American?
Look on the bright side - at least Bush is not dancing on stage while drunk, in public, like Yeltsin did.

September 24th, 2005, 01:25 PM
Dayton endorses Federal Peace Department

Kevin Diaz, Star Tribune Washington Bureau Correspondent September 23, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In what peace activists call a milestone, Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., introduced legislation Thursday supporting a long-shot citizen lobbying effort to create a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

He is the first and, so far, only member of the U.S. Senate to publicly endorse the plan.

A remnant of the quixotic 2004 presidential candidacy of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the idea of a "Peace Department" has been derided by critics as utopian and naïve, while supporters say it is an idea whose time has come.

Almost half of Minnesota's congressional delegation -- all the Democrats but one -- have lined up in support of the campaign, which calls for a cabinet-level secretary to develop an array of policies from international conflict-resolution to reducing domestic abuse and violence against animals.

Nobody gives the plan much of a chance in a Republican Congress. But backers in Minnesota -- where Kucinich turned in one of his best electoral performances -- say their support is intended as a political statement.

"It sends the right message," said Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn. "It's about promoting justice, expanding human rights and preventing conflict."

Besides McCollum, Minnesota Democrats Martin Sabo and Jim Oberstar are cosponsoring Dayton's bill.

Minnesota is one of 12 states whose Democratic Party has endorsed the plan.

"It underscores Minnesota's forward-looking approach to government," Kucinich said. "That's what Minnesota is about. It's the one state where new ideas are welcomed."

The Minnesota Republican Party, however, is adamantly opposed, having chastised Democratic congressional candidate Coleen Rowley, who spoke at a Department of Peace conference in Washington on Sept. 11.

"Money would be taken away from the Department of Defense to fund programs such as a Peace Academy and prisoner rehabilitation," said a statement issued last week by Minnesota GOP Executive Director Bill Walsh. "The creation of a Department of Peace is a naïve and unreasonable approach to dealing with the problems of the 21st century, including international terrorism."

Detractors say that a new peace bureaucracy, along with its proposed $8 billion-a-year price tag -- pegged at 2 percent of the Pentagon budget -- is just another big government idea that will never happen. But Minnesota voters are likely to hear more about it in the coming election year.

The Minnesota GOP highlighted the Peace Department proposal to attack Rowley for joining forces with "liberal extremists." Rowley, who became a national figure for blowing the whistle on FBI shortcomings before the Sept. 11 attacks, is now challenging Rep. John Kline, R-Minn, a former Marine colonel with strong ties to the Pentagon.

Rowley dismissed the GOP's extremist tag, saying "that's their tactic. Everything they don't want to do, they call you a name."

Gregory Tenenbaum
September 24th, 2005, 06:43 PM
The Bush Era can't be over. They haven't finished dumping the drowning victim's bodies in unmarked mass graves yet. The medicaid and food stamp cuts are due this week. And, Adolph Hitler Jr hasn't yet been nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. They still have lots to do.

Oh, and, besides, Bill O'Reilly says this presidency is stronger than ever.

Hitler actually had a son?

I studied history and didn't know this. I know that Hitler had relatives who now live somewhere in the world. But you can't blame them for what he did just as much as we can blame ourselves for what our wives etc do.

TLOZ Link5
September 24th, 2005, 10:38 PM
In just five years we've become a third world country and the world's pariah, just like the Soviet Union used to be. Never knew one person could make such a difference.

Is it getting time to be ashamed to be American?

I don't think we're a Third World country just yet, but we're not far off from being the world's pariah.

I'd never be ashamed of being an American. I'm proud of my nationality, but I'm not at all proud of my current government.

If anything, I just wish that people abroad would differentiate more between the two. Where were the catcalls of the "ugly Briton" after Tony Blair the lapdog was reelected for a third term?

September 25th, 2005, 12:57 AM
Where were the catcalls of the "ugly Briton" after Tony Blair the lapdog was reelected for a third term?
I think the world views Blair as Bush's boy, so the attention / anger goes towards the master and not the puppet.

America can rebound from some of what Bush has done, but it will take a long time to undo his actions -- both at home and abroad.

Some of the changes Bush has initiated will be very difficult to undo. His failure to attend to environmental issues may be impossible to remedy.

September 25th, 2005, 01:49 PM
For the latest on Cheney's situation: Direct from the "hospital room", Cheney's own audio-blog:


September 25th, 2005, 01:50 PM
I find I think of myself less as an "American" and more as a "human." I believe in doing what is best for mankind, not what s best for America. We are living in a day when people who view themselves as "righteous" American will trample anyone anywhere in support of "national interests."

For example, Chavez in Venezuela. There is not a thing he has done in his own country that I disagree with. And, I found his address to the U.N. General Assembly electrfying and right on target.

September 25th, 2005, 05:08 PM
Is Bush a socialist? He's spending like one

Andrew Sullivan
September 25, 2005
The Sunday Times


Finally, finally, finally. A few years back, your correspondent noticed something a little odd about George W Bush’s conservatism. If you take Margaret Thatcher’s dictum that a socialist is someone who is very good at spending other people’s money, then President Bush is, er, a socialist.

Sure, he has cut taxes, a not-too-difficult feat when your own party controls both houses of Congress. But spending? You really have to rub your eyes, smack yourself on the forehead and pour yourself a large gin and tonic. The man can’t help himself.

The first excuse was the war. After 9/11 and a wobbly world economy, that was a decent excuse. Nobody doubted that the United States needed to spend money to beef up homeland security, avert deflation, overhaul national preparedness for a disaster, and fight a war on terror. But when Katrina revealed that, after pouring money into both homeland security and Louisiana’s infrastructure, there was still no co-ordinated plan to deal with catastrophe, a few foreheads furrowed.

Then there was the big increase in agricultural subsidies. Then the explosion in pork barrel spending. Then the biggest new entitlement since Lyndon Johnson, the Medicare drug benefit. Then a trip to Mars. When you add it all up, you get the simple, devastating fact that Bush, in a mere five years, has added $1.5 trillion to the national debt. The interest on that debt will soon add up to the cost of two Katrinas a year.

Remember when conservatism meant fiscal responsibility? In a few years, few people will be able to. I used to write sentences that began with the phrase: “Not since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society spending binge. . .” I can’t write that any more. Johnson — the guns and butter president of liberalism’s high-water mark — was actually more fiscally conservative than the current inhabitant of the White House. LBJ boosted domestic discretionary spending in inflation adjusted dollars by a mere 33.4%.

In five years, Bush has increased it 35.1%. And that’s before the costs for Katrina and Rita and the Medicare benefit kick in. Worse, this comes at a time when everyone concedes that we were facing a fiscal crunch before Bush started handing out dollar bills like a drunk at a strip club. With the looming retirement of America’s baby-boomers, the US needed to start saving, not spending; cutting, not expanding its spending habits.

This was one reason I found myself forced to endorse John Kerry last November. He was easily the more fiscally conservative candidate. Under Clinton, the US actually ran a surplus for a while (thanks, in part, to the Gingrich-run Congress). But most conservatives bit their tongues. Bush promised fiscal tightening in his second term and some actually believed him.

They shouldn’t have. When Bush casually dismissed questions about funding the $200 billion Katrina reconstruction with a glib “It’s going to cost what it costs”, steam finally blew out of some loyal Republican ears. When the house majority leader Tom DeLay told the conservative Washington Times that there was no fat left to cut in the budget and that “after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it down pretty good”, a few conservatives lost it.

Here’s the chairman of the American Conservative Union: “Excluding military and homeland security, American taxpayers have witnessed the largest spending increase under any preceding president and Congress since the Great Depression.” That would be correct. When you have doubled spending on education in four years, launched two wars and a new mega-entitlement, that tends to happen.

Here’s Peggy Noonan, about as loyal a Republican as you’ll find, in a Wall Street Journal column last week: “George W Bush is a big spender. He has never vetoed a spending bill. When Congress serves up a big slab of fat, crackling pork, Mr Bush responds with one big question: Got any barbecue sauce?”

Here’s Ann Coulter, the Michael Moore of the far right, a pundit whose book on liberalism was titled Treason: “Bush has already fulfilled all his campaign promises to liberals and then some! He said he’d be a ‘compassionate conservative’, which liberals interpreted to mean that he would bend to their will, enact massive spending programmes, and be nice to liberals. When Bush won the election, that sealed the deal. It meant the Democrats won.

“Consequently, Bush has enacted massive new spending programmes, obstinately refused to deal with illegal immigration, opposed all conservative Republicans in their primary races, and invited Teddy Kennedy over for movie night. He’s even sent his own father to socialise with ageing porn star Bill Clinton.” Ouch.

Conservatives have been quietly frustrated with Bush for a long time now. Honest neoconservatives have long privately conceded that the war in Iraq has been grotesquely mishandled. But in deference to their own party, they spent last year arguing that John Kerry didn’t deserve his Vietnam war medals. Social conservatives have just watched as the president’s nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court pronounced that the constitutional right to abortion on demand merited respect as a legal precedent. This hasn’t cheered them up. The nativist right, long enraged by illegal immigration, has been spluttering about foreigners for a while now. But since few want to question the war publicly, oppose the president’s nominees to the court, or lose the Latino vote, the spending issue has become the focus of everyone’s discontent. All I can say is: about time. I believe in lower taxes. But I also believe in basic fiscal responsibility. If you do not cut spending to align with lower taxes, you are merely borrowing from the next generation. And if a Republican president has legitimised irresponsible spending, what chance is there that a Democrat will get tough? This may, in fact, be Bush’s real domestic legacy. All a Democratic successor has to do is raise taxes to pay for his splurge, and we will have had the biggest expansion of government power, size and responsibility since the 1930s. What would Reagan say? What would Thatcher? But those glory days are long gone now — and it was a Republican president and Congress that finally buried them.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,549,00.html)Times Newspapers Ltd.

September 28th, 2005, 12:46 PM

Story: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=66907&postcount=12

TLOZ Link5
September 28th, 2005, 01:29 PM
Hitler actually had a son?

I studied history and didn't know this. I know that Hitler had relatives who now live somewhere in the world. But you can't blame them for what he did just as much as we can blame ourselves for what our wives etc do.

...no, Hitler didn't have a son. "Hitler Jr." refers to John Roberts, who has been nominated as the new Chief Justice.

September 30th, 2005, 08:28 AM

October 1st, 2005, 10:11 AM
Another blow to the Bushies, but apparently this ruling has no teeth, unless the government takes further action (hmm, GOP controls Exec. / Leg. / SCOTUS so what are the chances of that?) ...

Buying of News by Bush's Aides Is Ruled Illegal

By ROBERT PEAR (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=ROBERT PEAR&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=ROBERT PEAR&inline=nyt-per)
October 1, 2005


WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 - Federal auditors said on Friday that the Bush administration violated the law by buying favorable news coverage of President Bush's education policies, by making payments to the conservative commentator Armstrong Williams and by hiring a public relations company to analyze media perceptions of the Republican Party.

In a blistering report, the investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, said the administration had disseminated "covert propaganda" in the United States (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedstates/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), in violation of a statutory ban.

The contract with Mr. Williams and the general contours of the public relations campaign had been known for months. The report Friday provided the first definitive ruling on the legality of the activities.

Lawyers from the accountability office, an independent nonpartisan arm of Congress, found that the administration systematically analyzed news articles to see if they carried the message, "The Bush administration/the G.O.P. is committed to education."

The auditors declared: "We see no use for such information except for partisan political purposes. Engaging in a purely political activity such as this is not a proper use of appropriated funds."

The report also sharply criticized the Education Department for telling Ketchum Inc., a public relations company, to pay Mr. Williams for newspaper columns and television appearances praising Mr. Bush's education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act.

When that arrangement became public, it set off widespread criticism. At a news conference in January, Mr. Bush said: "We will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."

But the Education Department has since defended its payments to Mr. Williams, saying his commentaries were "no more than the legitimate dissemination of information to the public."

The G.A.O. said the Education Department had no money or authority to "procure favorable commentary in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition" in federal law.

The ruling comes with no penalty, but under federal law the department is supposed to report the violations to the White House and Congress.

In the course of its work, the accountability office discovered a previously undisclosed instance in which the Education Department had commissioned a newspaper article. The article, on the "declining science literacy of students," was distributed by the North American Precis Syndicate and appeared in numerous small newspapers around the country. Readers were not informed of the government's role in the writing of the article, which praised the department's role in promoting science education.

The auditors denounced a prepackaged television story disseminated by the Education Department. The segment, a "video news release" narrated by a woman named Karen Ryan, said that President Bush's program for providing remedial instruction and tutoring to children "gets an A-plus."

Ms. Ryan also narrated two videos praising the new Medicare drug benefit last year. In those segments, as in the education video, the narrator ended by saying, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

The television news segments on education and on Medicare did not state that they had been prepared and distributed by the government. The G.A.O. did not say how many stations carried the reports.

The public relations efforts came to light weeks before Margaret Spellings became education secretary in January. Susan Aspey, a spokeswoman for the secretary, said on Friday that Ms. Spellings regarded the efforts as "stupid, wrong and ill-advised." She said Ms. Spellings had taken steps "to ensure these types of missteps don't happen again."

The investigation by the accountability office was requested by Senators Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/newjersey/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/massachusetts/index.html?inline=nyt-geo), both Democrats. Mr. Lautenberg expressed concern about a section of the report in which investigators said they could not find records to confirm that Mr. Williams had performed all the activities for which he billed the government.

The Education Department said it had paid Ketchum $186,000 for services performed by Mr. Williams's company. But it could not provide transcripts of speeches, articles or records of other services invoiced by Mr. Williams, the report said.

In March, the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel said that federal agencies did not have to acknowledge their role in producing television news segments if they were factual. The inspector general of the Education Department recently reiterated that position.

But the accountability office said on Friday: "The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual. The essential fact of attribution is missing."

The office said Mr. Williams's work for the government resulted from a written proposal that he submitted to the Education Department in March 2003. The department directed Ketchum to use Mr. Williams as a regular commentator on Mr. Bush's education policies. Ketchum had a federal contract to help publicize those policies, signed by Mr. Bush in 2002.

The Education Department flouted the law by telling Ketchum to use Mr. Williams to "convey a message to the public on behalf of the government, without disclosing to the public that the messengers were acting on the government's behalf and in return for the payment of public funds," the G.A.O. said.

The Education Department spent $38,421 for production and distribution of the video news release and $96,850 for the evaluation of newspaper articles and radio and television programs. Ketchum assigned a score to each article, indicating how often and favorably it mentioned features of the new education law.

Congress tried to clarify the ban on "covert propaganda" in a bill signed by Mr. Bush in May. The law says that no federal money may be used to produce or distribute a news story unless the government's role is openly acknowledged.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 1st, 2005, 12:20 PM
We need to revisit the punishments for these things. A fine just doesn't cut it anymore.

October 2nd, 2005, 04:30 PM

October 2nd, 2005, 05:12 PM

http://billionairesforbush.com/newstore.gif (http://billionairesforbush.com/store.php)

October 3rd, 2005, 01:12 AM
Another sign of the end of the "Neo - Con Era" ?

EXCLUSIVE: Secret paper links Thatcher to freebies probe

By Bob Roberts Deputy Political Editor
3 October 2005


A DOCUMENT linking Margaret Thatcher to a US corruption probe is so explosive civil servants have been asked to ensure it remains "sealed".

The 79-year-old former Premier is said to have met Congressman Tom DeLay in Britain while he was on a suspected favours-for-freebies scam.

In return for his free holiday, DeLay - who resigned as Republican leader of Congress last week after being accused of laundering political funds - allegedly backed legislation favourable to lobby groups.

Disclosing that US authorities were seeking aid from UK counterparts, a secret Home Office briefing says: "One visit to the UK involved a meeting with Mrs Margaret Thatcher.

"Evidence is sought from her about that meeting and her involvement in the alleged deception and violation of US criminal laws."

Police will "sensitively" investigate the meeting, which took place in May 2000.

In the dossier headed "Secret...wider circulation strictly forbidden", civil servants then warn ministers: "There would be considerable press interest in this case if it were to become public knowledge.

"We have been asked by the US to keep this request 'sealed', which we take to mean as confidential as possible. This has been relayed to the Crown Office and Metropolitan Police.

"Our normal line is that we neither confirm nor deny the existence of any request until it is in the public domain and there is no reason to change that course of action here."

The revelations will be a body-blow to Lady Thatcher's reputation and dash Tory morale on the opening day of its crucial party conference.

If Lady Thatcher is found to have been involved in the alleged scam she could face a criminal probe in the US or even be banned from travelling to the country.

Her spokesman confirmed police had been in contact about the DeLay meeting. But he insisted there was no question of wrongdoing.

The document, leaked to the Mirror, informs ministers there has been an official request for "mutual legal assistance" from the US Department of Justice in Washington.

It said the request was part of a deception investigation "involving high-profile American and UK-based individuals, including a leading Congressman and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher". At the centre of the probe is high-profile lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is already under investigation in the US.

The document says: "US officials are investigating whether Abramoff was involved in obtaining legislative assistance from public officials in exchange for arranging and underwriting trips to the UK."

Investigators are also probing whether the public officials filed false reports relating to the trips.

The holidays involved playing golf at St Andrews in Scotland, dinner with unnamed members of the Scottish Parliament, theatre trips in London and luxury hotel accommodation.

Mr DeLay's staff also scheduled a meeting with Lady Thatcher.

The briefing adds that police investigating the meeting "have been asked to handle these inquiries sensitively given the nature of the individual concerned and the background to the request". Members of the Scottish Parliament will be questioned concerning any contacts they may have had with Abramoff, DeLay or members of their party.

Scottish police will collect hotel record, bills, invoices, and statements.

Lady Thatcher's spokesman said last night: "An approach was made to her office to confirm the bare details of the particular meeting. At this stage we are expecting nothing further.

"Lady Thatcher met Mr DeLay as as one politician meeting another. It was in no way a business meeting."

... A Home Office spokesman said: "We neither confirm nor deny receipt of requests of legal assistance."

October 3rd, 2005, 11:17 AM
Could this be one of those "If we've lost Walter we've lost the country" moments (LBJ to an aide after Walter Cronkite reported that the Vietnam War was a hopeless cause)?

The segment is "must viewing" (go to CBS Streaming Video below), if nothing else for the clip of Eisenhower warning Americans about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex ...

Andy Rooney Rails Against
Iraq War & Military Spending

Guest blogged by David Edwards


http://www.edwardsdavid.com/media/cbs/images/cbs_60min_andy_rooney_iraq_war_051002a2.jpg (http://www.wakahiru-me.com/media/vid/cbs/cbs_60min_andy_rooney_iraq_war_051002a.wmv)

In a moment of true clarity on CBS's 60 Minutes,
Andy Rooney says what many Americans are thinking
about the Iraq war and the threat of the military-industrial complex.

Andy begins his rant asking:

I'm not really clear how much a billion dollars is but the United States — our United States — is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into.

We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today.

Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what?

Reading the transcript (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/09/30/60minutes/main892398.shtml) may help if you find yourself in a state of shock or disbelief after watching this clip.

CBS Streaming Video in Windows Media format... (http://a1815.v8488e.c8488.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1815/8488/v10030000/cbscomstor.download.akamai.com/8605/cbsnews/2005/10/02/video897631.wmv)

Video in Windows Media format... (http://www.wakahiru-me.com/media/vid/cbs/cbs_60min_andy_rooney_iraq_war_051002a.wmv)
Video in QuickTime format... (http://www.wakahiru-me.com/media/vid/cbs/cbs_60min_andy_rooney_iraq_war_051002a.mov)
Audio in MP3 format... (http://www.wakahiru-me.com/media/vid/cbs/cbs_60min_andy_rooney_iraq_war_051002a.mp3)

October 3rd, 2005, 11:42 AM
Some much needed humor in these trying times:


(Written and recorded by Marc Evan Jackson)

Cheney's Blogcast:

"This is not a scandal. This is leadership."

TLOZ Link5
October 3rd, 2005, 01:46 PM
In this case, those two sentences are becoming increasingly redundant.

October 3rd, 2005, 01:59 PM
"Well, Ike was right. That's just what’s happened."

October 3rd, 2005, 05:54 PM
I remember one of the big rallying cries during the anti-war movement (Vietnam War) was "Beware of the Military / Industrial Complex".

At that time many viewed that as just plain crazy.

Ike WAS right.


October 3rd, 2005, 06:11 PM
Oct. 3 @ 6:10 PM ...

CNN has just reported:


October 3rd, 2005, 06:21 PM
DeLay indicted again for money laundering

RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/)

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted on a second count of money laundering by a Texas Grand Jury. More to come.

AP: "A Texas grand jury indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on a new charge of money laundering Monday, less than a week after another grand jury leveled a conspiracy charge that forced DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader.

"Both indictments accuse DeLay and two political associates of conspiring to get around a state ban on corporate campaign contributions by funneling the money through a political action committee to the Republican National Committee in Washington.

"The RNC then sent back like amounts to distribute to Texas candidates in 2002, the indictment alleges.


October 3rd, 2005, 06:30 PM
Statements by K12 Inc. and William J. Bennett Regarding Bennett's Resignation from the K12 Board of Directors


McLean, VA -- October 3, 2005

K12, Inc. today announced that William J. Bennett has resigned as an employee, and as Chairman and member of the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately.

K12 Inc. said the Board accepted his resignation, thanking him for his contributions to the company. K12 Inc. said that it has no relationship with, or involvement in, Dr. Bennett's radio program. The opinions expressed by Dr. Bennett on his radio program are his and his alone.

Dr. Bennett, in a separate statement said: "I am in the midst of a political battle based on a coordinated campaign willfully distorting my views, my record, and my statements. Given the controversy surrounding the remarks I made on my radio show, I am stepping down from my positions at K12, so that neither the mission of the company, nor its children, are affected, distracted, or harmed in any way."

About K12 Inc.

K12 Inc., an education company based in McLean, VA, is a leading provider of high quality curricula and learning programs. K12 has created a nationally acclaimed learning program which includes thousands of lessons in traditional subjects, academic assessments, and planning and progress tools delivered through the innovative and powerful K12 Online School. The learning program also incorporates many traditional learning materials including books, workbooks, classical stories, K12 PhonicsWorks tile system, math and science supplies, maps, art books and tools, instruments, music CDs, and much more.

The K12 curriculum and learning program was developed by a team of education experts using extensive research to identify the best learning methods and materials.

More than 70,000 students nationwide are currently using the K12 learning program in a variety of learning environments, including traditional public school classrooms, virtual (online) public schools, and homeschools.

More information on K12 can be found at http://www.K12.com (http://www.K12.com).

October 4th, 2005, 11:57 PM

October 5th, 2005, 02:11 PM
^^ But at least somebody in the Bush Administration is doing their job ... read on:

Wal-Mart developers turn in
student photo of Bush to police

RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/)
Oct. 5, 2005

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/WalMart_developers_turns_in_student_photo_1005.htm l

Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students. But that’s what happened on September 20, The Progressive reports Wednesday...

Their site went down Wednesday morning; RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) has posted excerpts here.


Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,” she says. One student “had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb’s down sign with his own hand next to the President’s picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on a poster."

An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the Secret Service.

October 5th, 2005, 02:27 PM
The secret service, after laughing their collective arses off, put on their game face and arrested the boy, his family, and anyone that sold him thumbtacks.

After 16 hours of casual "questioning" the boy was released, starry eyed, to his waiting parents.

The thumb tack dealers have been deported to Turkey. Said one thumb tack salesman "We are not even FROM Turkey!!!"

October 5th, 2005, 07:19 PM
^^ Hee hee

To sober you up a bit -- this next item is really disturbing.

I mean, here we have the most controlling gang in the history of the USA (maybe I'm overstating) and this guy slipped through? In Cheney's world? Shows that the White House gang isn't quite as smart, throrough, vigilant as they might like us to believe.

Anyway, this guy (guilty or not) is dead meat. Cheney will have his butt ... but, wait ... I thought the Bushies cleared out all the Clinton kids when they moved in in '01??

Unless there's something else entirely going on here:

Espionage Case Breaches the White House

Accused Marine Worked in Vice President's Office



Oct. 5, 2005 — Both the FBI and CIA are calling it the first case of espionage in the White House in modern history.

Officials tell ABC News the alleged spy worked undetected at the White House for almost three years. Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, was a U.S. Marine most recently assigned to the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney.

"I don't know of a case where the vetting broke down before and resulted in a spy being in the White House," said Richard Clarke, a former White House advisor who is now an ABC News consultant.

Federal investigators say Aragoncillo, a naturalized citizen from the Philippines, used his top secret clearance to steal classified intelligence documents from White House computers.

In 2000, Aragoncillo worked on the staff of then-Vice President Al Gore. When interviewed by Philippine television, he remarked how valued Philippine employees were at the White House.

"I think what they like most is our integrity and loyalty," Aragoncillo said.

Classified Material Transferred by E-Mail

Officials say the classified material, which Aragoncillo stole from the vice president's office, included damaging dossiers on the president of the Philippines. He then passed those on to opposition politicians planning a coup in the Pacific nation.

"Even though it's not for the Russians or some other government, the fact that it occurred at the White House is a matter of great concern," said John Martin, who was the government's lead espionage prosecutor for 26 years.

Last year, after leaving the Marines, Aragoncillo was caught by the FBI while he worked for the Bureau at an intelligence center at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

According to a criminal complaint, Aragoncillo was arrested last month and accused of downloading more than 100 classified documents from FBI computers.

"The information was transferred mostly by e-mails," said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie at the time of Aragoncillo's arrest.

Since that arrest, officials say Aragoncillo has started to cooperate. He has admitted to spying while working on the staff of Vice President Cheney's office.

Aragoncillo began working at the White House in 1999. Officials are now trying to learn how he landed the job, when he started spying, and how he escaped detection for so long.

"Of course, it is a source of embarrassment when you find out that this kind of activity has been carried out literally right under your nose," said Martin, the former espionage prosecutor.

According to friends, in addition to his work for Cheney and Gore, Aragoncillo claimed he also worked with President Clinton and Condoleezza Rice when she was the national security advisor.

ABC News' Vic Walter and Avni Patel contributed to this report.

************************************************** ***


I guess that's a proper response for what appears to be a bit of political pilfering.

October 6th, 2005, 10:22 PM
Halliburton Given Contract To Rebuild Cheney
October 5, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC—Halliburton was awarded an $85.5 million contract to rebuild damaged U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney Monday. "We are proud to serve the executive branch in their hour of need," CEO David J. Lesar wrote in a statement released later that day. "Due to our vast experience with oil-well fires and refinery mishaps, we are well-versed in the sort of reinforcement, rewiring, and exoskeleton refitting Mr. Cheney so desperately needs." The Department of Ways and Means defended awarding the contract to Halliburton on the grounds that they had done the original work on Cheney in the 1970s.

The Onion

October 6th, 2005, 10:50 PM
^ I don't see how anybody could do this for less than an even $100K :p

October 7th, 2005, 09:46 PM
Maybe the Bush Era isn't over ...

One of GW's biggest fan's is waving the flag for the POTUS: http://bettybowers.com/vivian.html

Listen to what Vivian Freep has to say: http://bettybowers.com/respect.ram

(She also has some uplifting words about children: http://bettybowers.com/children.ram )


October 8th, 2005, 06:15 PM
Before the "Bush Era" truly ends there is still a chance to land one of those cushy insider jobs...



The jobs are so easy to get!! And they even give you an outfit ...


thongs too !!!!!



October 11th, 2005, 10:24 PM
So much speculation, so few facts ( but who can resist the possibility of this big time break-up? ) ...

Fun with Dick and George:

The biggest story of 2005 is hiding in plain sight

October 11, 2005

No one in the mainstream media seems to be working on this, but the big story -- the one that could dramatically change the course of the next three years -- is right under their collective noses.

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush don't like each other anymore.

And a war between these two superpowers could be the political version of MAD: Mutually assured destruction. But this time, the fallout could make America better in the long-run.

Or not.

What hard, inside information do we have? None. The evidence is circumstantial, but it is getting stronger by the day. And you don't need the National Weather Service (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05253/569133.stm) to know which way the wind's blowin'.

Sometime this summer, the vice president all but disappeared off the face of the earth. This time, not to his undisclosed location, but mainly to his retreat in Wyomng. You may recall that even when Hurricane Katrina caused the biggest crisis in Washington since the start of the invasion of Iraq, Cheney was not seen for days.

At first, there was just speculation. Earlier in September, Nora Ephron wondered aloud on the Huffington Post why Cheney had been absent from the initial days of the Katrina fiasco. She speculated there was lingering resentment from the incident in May of this year when a private plane strayed too close to the White House: Cheney was rushed to a bunker while a bicycling Bush (http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/archives/001844.html) wasn't informed, even though his wife was in the White House at the time, Ephron compared Cheney to "the dog that did not bark" and wrote (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nora-ephron/the-curious-incident-of-t_b_7189.html):

So I can only suppose that something has gone wrong. Could the President be irritated that Cheney helped con him into Iraq? Oh, all right, probably not. Could Cheney – and not just his aides -- possibly be involved in the Valerie Plame episode? Is Cheney not speaking to Karl Rove? Does the airplane/bicycle incident figure into this in any way?A few days later, Jeralyn Merritt over at TalkLeft moved the story from the land of speculation into the arena of gossip. Cheney had told a friend that he was tired of Bush's screw-ups (http://talkleft.com/new_archives/012290.html):
A few months ago, I heard of a lunch conversation that Cheney had with a political type in Wyoming. I have no idea if it's true or not, but it makes some sense. Here's the tale:

Cheney has been getting tired of being called upon to fix Bush's mistakes. Cheney said Bush is almost incapable of making any decision. He waffles and waffles. Then, once he makes a decision, he refuses to change it. Because of his born-again faith, he says "It's in the hands of G-d now" and washes his hands of it. Then Cheney is called in to repair the damage.

If this story is even remotely true, this may have been the final straw for Cheney, and he decided to let Bush try to wiggle his way out of his Katrina inaction on his own.

Perhaps. We believe the two have fallen out, and the reason is a much more pressing one: Who's to blame for the Valerie Plame CIA-outing scandal, which is threatening right now to topple either Bush's closest aide, Karl Rove, or Cheney's closest aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, or both.

Here's the best history and timeline (http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/10/6/134032/231) of the Plame scandal that we have read so far. It points to a 2004 article by Joe Wilson that lays out the origins of the tension between POTUS and the veep:
Apparently, according to two journalist sources of mine, when Rove learned that he might have violated the law, he turned on Cheney and Libby and made it clear that he held them responsible for the problem they had created for the administration. The protracted silence on this topic from the White House masks considerable tension between the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President.

And that was a year ago. Now, it's starting to remind us of Watergate, and that famous Time cover with all the president's men in the Nixon White House pointing fingers at each other. The latest report is that the Bush administration is becoming more balkanized, with Rove on the outs and chief of staff Andrew Card and communications chief Dan Bartlett -- not the sharpest tools in the political shed -- guiding Bush.

And where in the world is Dick Cheney? His location is more undisclosed than ever. Raw Story has the latest (http://rawstory.com/news/2005/As_Vice_President_ducks_dinner_buzz_1010.html):
Vice President Dick Cheney was noticeably absent from a landmark dinner held last Thursday for the 50th anniversary of the conservative National Review magazine, Roll Call will report in Tuesday editions, RAW STORY can reveal...
While guests raved about the gourmet food served at the National Review’s 50th anniversary party Thursday night, they couldn’t take their minds off who wasn’t there: Vice President Cheney. His absence dredged up the question that dominated the blogosphere in recent months: Where’s Dick?

“Not here,” was the short answer. “Scheduling conflict,” the party line.

What does it all mean? Well, the good news that the information monolith that is the White House may fall apart as the different factions duke it out. Remember, Valerie Plame isn't the only secret this administration holds, and it isn't the biggest one, either. Where will an aggressive prosecutor take all the finger pointing? Who knows?

The downside is the White House isn't the place where you want a power vacuum, either. With anything from North Korea to the avian flu to the next hurricane ready to break out at any moment, you don't want two hands on the same button.

Hopefully, some news organization that covers the White House will get to the bottom of this. Maybe the New York Times, as soon as they finish their Judy Miller opus -- any day now (http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/archives/001844.html).


October 11th, 2005, 11:31 PM

October 12th, 2005, 12:15 AM
History Repeats Itself?
__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

The last public execution in Washington, D.C. took place on July 7, 1865 on the grounds of the Old Arsenal Penitentiary.
The four persons executed were convicted of conspiracy / accessory / murder for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Only 200 passes for the viewing of the event were printed, thus dashing the hopes of thousands who had hoped
to watch the dastardly villains meet their end.

What should be the punishment for conspiracy / accessory / murder regarding the assassination
not of a single man but of the Constitution of the United States?

Would not public hanging be too good an end for criminals of this sort?
And, yet ... perhaps twisting in the wind is exactly what is called for.

But whatever the means -- should the villains of this later crime ever be brought to justice -- there is no doubt
that far more than 200 public passes would be needed to satisfy the citizens who have been so deeply wronged.

And very likely that a gallows-built-for-four would hardly be large enough to fulfill the necessary task:
Cleanse the Capital of the clique of treacherous traitors responsible for sucking the very heart from the Constitution
and bringing the Republic to her knees.
__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________


__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

October 12th, 2005, 09:51 AM
Poll: Americans Want Bush Impeached

by David Swanson

By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans say that President Bush should be impeached if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org (http://www.opednews.com/articles/AfterDowningStreet.org), a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs (http://www.ipsos-na.com/pa/us/), the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 8-9.

The poll found that 50% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."

44% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 3.1% margin of error.

Those who agreed with the statement were also more passionate: 39% strongly agreed, while 30% strongly disagreed.

"The results of this poll are truly astonishing," said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob Fertik. "Bush's record-low approval ratings tell just half of the story, which is how much Americans oppose Bush's policies on Iraq and other issues. But this poll tells the other half of the story - that a solid plurality of Americans want Congress to consider removing Bush from the White House."

Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups

Responses varied by political party affiliation: 72% of Democrats favored impeachment, compared to 56% of Independents and 20% of Republicans.
Responses also varied by age and income. Solid majorities of those under age 55 (54%), as well as those with household incomes below $50,000 (57%), support impeachment.

Majorities favored impeachment in the Northeast (53%), West (51%), and even the South (50%).

Support for Impeachment Surged Since June

The Ipsos poll shows a dramatic transformation in support for Bush's impeachment since late June. (This is only the second poll that has asked Americans about their support for impeaching Bush in 2005, despite his record-low approval ratings.) The Zogby poll conducted June 27-29 (http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1007) of 905 likely voters found that 42% agreed and 50% disagreed with a statement virtually identical to the one used by Ipsos.

Support Impeachment
Ipsos 10/8-9................50%
Zogby 6/27-29.............42%
Net Change..................+8%

Oppose Impeachment
Ipsos 10/8-9................44%
Zogby 6/27-29.............50%
Net Change..................+6%

Impeachment Margin
Ipsos 10/8-9...............+6%
Zogby 6/27-29.............-8%
Net Change................+14%

After the June poll, pollster John Zogby told the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/02/AR2005070200972.html) that support for impeachment "was much higher than I expected." At the time, impeachment supporters trailed opponents by 8%. Now supporters outnumber opponents by 6%, a remarkable shift of 14%.

Support for Clinton Impeachment Was Much Lower

In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton (http://democrats.com/clinton-impeachment-polls (http://democrats.com/clinton-impeachment-polls)). Only 36% supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.

Impeachment Support is Closely Related to Belief that Bush Lied about Iraq

Both the Ipsos and Zogby polls asked about support for impeachment if Bush lied about the reasons for war, rather than asking simply about support for impeachment. Pollsters predict that asking simply about impeachment without any context would produce a large number of "I don't know" responses. However, this may understate the percentage of Americans who favor Bush's impeachment for other reasons, such as his slow response to Hurricane Katrina, his policy on torture, soaring gasoline prices, or other concerns.

Other polls show a majority of U.S. adults believe that Bush did in fact lie about the reasons for war. A June 23-26 ABC/Washington Post poll (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/27/AR2005062700270.html) found 52% of Americans believe the Bush administration "deliberately misled the public before the war," and 57% say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."

Support for the war has dropped significantly since June (http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm), which suggests that the percentage of Americans who believe Bush lied about the war has increased.

Passion for Impeachment is Major Unreported Story

The strong support for impeachment found in this poll is especially surprising because the views of impeachment supporters are entirely absent from the broadcast and print media, and can only be found on the Internet and in street protests, including the large anti-war rally in Washington on September 24.

The lack of coverage of impeachment support is due in part to the fact that not a single Democrat in Congress has called for impeachment, despite considerable grassroots activism by groups like Democrats.com (http://democrats.com/impeach (http://democrats.com/impeach)).

"We will, no doubt, see an increase in activism following this poll," said David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org. "But will we see an increase in media coverage? The media are waiting for action in Congress. Apparently it's easier to find and interview one of the 535 members of Congress than it is to locate a representative of the half of the country that wants the President impeached if he lied about the war. The media already accepts that Bush did lie about the war. We know this because so many editors and pundits told us that the Downing Street Memo was 'old news.' What we need now is journalism befitting a democracy, journalism that goes out and asks people what they really think about their government, especially George Bush."

The passion of impeachment supporters is directly responsible for the Ipsos poll. After the Zogby poll in June, activists led by Democrats.com (http://democrats.com/taxonomy/term/283) urged all of the major polling organizations to include an impeachment question in their upcoming polls. But none of the polling organizations were willing to do so for free, so on September 30, AfterDowningStreet.org posted a request for donations to fund paid polls (http://afterdowningstreet.org/polling (http://afterdowningstreet.org/polling)). As of October 10, 330 individuals had contributed $8,919 in small donations averaging $27 each.

AfterDowningStreet.org (http://afterdowningstreet.org/polling) has commissioned a second poll which is expected soon, and will continue to urge all polling organizations to include the impeachment question in their regular polls. If they do not, AfterDowningStreet.org (http://afterdowningstreet.org/polling) will continue to commission regular impeachment polls.


1. AfterDowningStreet.org (http://www.opednews.com/articles/AfterDowningStreet.org) is a rapidly growing coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups that was created on May 26, 2005, following the publication of the Downing Street Memos in London's Sunday Times on May 1. The coalition is urging Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war.

2.Here are the complete tables (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/IpsosTables.pdf) from the Ipsos poll, plus the definitions of regions (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/Regions.pdf) used by Ipsos and the U.S. Census Bureau.

3. Zogby asked: "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him through impeachment."

4. Pollsters have offered various reasons for refusing to poll on impeachment. For example, Gallup (http://www.opednews.com/articles/gallup-drop-dead) said it would do so "if, and when, there is some discussion of that possibility by congressional leaders, and/or if commentators begin discussing it in the news media."

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:

Ask Media to Cover Public's Views on Impeachment (http://www.usalone.net/cgi-bin/oen.cgi?qnum=37)

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers (http://www.usalone.net/cgi-bin/transparency.cgi?qnum=oen37)


DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.

TLOZ Link5
October 12th, 2005, 11:37 AM
Someone call Deborah Voigt and tell her that she's on in five.

October 12th, 2005, 11:57 AM
could it be? this crew is goin' down ....

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October 12th, 2005, 01:16 PM
Bush To Appoint Someone To Be In Charge Of Country
October 12, 2005 | Onion Issue 41•41

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to increasing criticism of his handling of the war in Iraq and the disaster in the Gulf Coast, as well as other issues, such as Social Security reform, the national deficit, and rising gas prices, President Bush is expected to appoint someone to run the U.S. as soon as Friday.

"During these tumultuous times, America is in need of a bold, resolute person who can get the job done," said Bush during a press conference Monday. "My fellow Americans, I assure you that I will appoint just such a person with all due haste."

The Cabinet-level position, to be known as Secretary of the Nation, was established by an executive order Sept. 2, but has remained unfilled in the intervening weeks.

"I've been talking to folks from all across this country, from Louisiana to Los Angeles, and people tell me the same thing: This nation needs a strong, compassionate leader," Bush said. "In response to these concerns, I'm making this a top priority. I will name a good, qualified person as soon as possible."

Among the new secretary's duties are preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States, commanding the U.S. armed forces, appointing judges and ambassadors, and vetoing congressional legislation. The secretary will also be tasked with overseeing all foreign and domestic affairs, including those relating to the economy, natural disasters, national infrastructure, homeland security, poverty, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The secretary will report directly to the president.

For weeks, members of both political parties have been urging Bush to fill the post.

"Every day the president waits is another day he's accountable for needless deaths at home and abroad, the stagnating economy, and the threat of terrorism," Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said. "This post is far too vital to be left vacant. Mr. President, there is no reason to delay."

"I applaud the president's decision to find a strong leader for our country, but it's imperative that he make his selection soon," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), adding that he and all Democrats hope to work closely with the new national executive.

"In the spirit of bipartisanship, we will welcome the new secretary," Reid said. "Together, we will strive for a new dawn of American politics, one unmarred by partisan bickering between Congress and the White House."

According to a nationwide poll conducted by the Cook Political Report, the majority of U.S. citizens find the question of national leadership to be highly significant, with 61 percent of respondents "strongly" believing that the country is suffering from a leadership vacuum. Fifty-four percent said they trusted Bush to find an appointee who will be able to effectively manage the country.

While many Beltway insiders have named senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) as likely candidates, White House sources revealed that Bush may be leaning toward a stalwart loyalist. The list reportedly includes fellow Yale graduates, Midland, TX business associates, and various GOP fundraisers with connections to the Bush family.

"Despite their inexperience in government, they've clearly passed the Bush character test," said a White House staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "I think the president is looking for someone he's comfortable with and can trust, above all else. A [former FEMA director] Michael Brown type, or maybe even Brown himself."

Bush said the creation of the Secretary of the Nation post directly addresses the increasingly complex and sometimes overwhelming challenges facing the executive branch in the 21st century. Although he acknowledged that the tasks facing the new appointee will be extraordinary, Bush ended his announcement on a positive note.

"As your president, it is my duty to see this nation through any crisis, no matter how severe. And as your president, I pledge to you that I will find a man capable of doing just that," Bush said. "I will not—I repeat, I will not—let you down."

October 13th, 2005, 02:19 PM


October 13th, 2005, 10:27 PM


Bush Remembers His Lines (http://www.wonkette.com/politics/george-w-bush/bush-remembers-his-lines-130881.php)

Today's video conference between the President and "the troops" shows that the White House has learned a lot from its mistakes. Namely, if you have a question-and-answer session, make sure everyone knows both the questions and the answers before hand. By the set-up of the stage, the conference also suggested that the White House has learned a lot from CNN's "Situation Room." And make no mistake, it was a production, the awkwardness of the event captured by the way the President's podium cheated toward the press cameras with one quarter turn.


Bush's actual speech didn't address the soldiers, either. He said he was thanking them, but most of what he had to say was meant for ears on this side of the world: "We're facing an enemy that is ruthless and cold-blooded, an enemy that actually has a philosophy, and the philosophy is so opposite of ours," he said. I am fairly confident our soldiers on the front lines know exactly how ruthless and coldblooded the enemy is.

They could, in fact, probably teach Bush a thing or two about that. And though he was the one asking questions, that isn't what Bush wanted to know. The pool reporter at the event overheard an administration official prepping the soldiers ("Who are we going to give that [question] to?"), and no one did much to hide the interview's lack of spontaneity as it actually took place. Bush dutifully asked questions slanted toward emphasizing progress ("[G]ive us a sense... of what life was like when you first got there, and what it's like today?") and then a captain would direct it to the appropriate soldier, whose rehearsed answers wobbled only when the President got in the way:

And is it possible to give us a sense, kind of a calibration of what life was like when you first got there, and what it's like today?

CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Mr. President, Master Sergeant Lombardo will answer this question.

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Good morning, Mr. President. I'm Master Sergeant Corine Lombardo, with the Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty, from Scotia, New York. First, I'd like to say that this is a pleasure to speak with you again. We had the honor of your visit in New York City on November 11th, in 2001, when you recognized our Rainbow Soldiers for their recovery and rescue efforts at Ground Zero.

THE PRESIDENT: Were you there?

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: We began our fight against terrorism in the wake of 9/11, and we're proud to continue it here in North-Central New York -- North-Central Iraq.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to New York?

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Yes, I was, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: I thought you looked familiar.

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Well, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: I probably look familiar to you, too.

SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Yes, you do, Mr. President. I can tell you over the past 10 months we've seen a tremendous increase in the capabilities and the confidences of our Iraqi security force partners...

Perhaps they didn't want another "body armor" moment, a spontaneous admission of reality onto the Bush stage set.

Whatever the reason for clamping down so tightly on their message, we can't say that propaganda like this says much for "American-style democracy."

Two thumbs down.

President Addresses U.S. Troops in Iraq in Video Teleconference (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051013.html) [WhiteHouse.gov]

WH Pool Report: Soldiers Knew Questions In Advance (http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2005/10/wh_pool_report.html) [Hotline on Call]

October 13th, 2005, 11:19 PM
More ...

Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged

Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 13, 7:18 PM ET

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051013/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_iraq;_ylt=AjtBeCPZLw3fus7hO0kIx5es0NUE;_ylu=X 3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

WASHINGTON - It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions Prsident Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.

"This is an important time," Allison Barber, deputy assistant defense secretary, said, coaching the soldiers before Bush arrived. "The president is looking forward to having just a conversation with you."

Barber said the president was interested in three topics: the overall security situation in Iraq, security preparations for the weekend vote and efforts to train Iraqi troops.

As she spoke in Washington, a live shot of 10 soldiers from the Army's 42nd Infantry Division and one Iraqi soldier was beamed into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building from Tikrit — the birthplace of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"I'm going to ask somebody to grab those two water bottles against the wall and move them out of the camera shot for me," Barber said.

A brief rehearsal ensued.

"OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"

"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.

"Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.

"Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.

And so it went.

"If the question comes up about partnering — how often do we train with the Iraqi military — who does he go to?" Barber asked.

"That's going to go to Captain Pratt," one of the soldiers said.

"And then if we're going to talk a little bit about the folks in Tikrit — the hometown — and how they're handling the political process, who are we going to give that to?" she asked.

Before he took questions, Bush thanked the soldiers for serving and reassured them that the U.S. would not pull out of Iraq until the mission was complete.

"So long as I'm the president, we're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory," Bush said.

The president told them twice that the American people were behind them.

"You've got tremendous support here at home," Bush said.

Less than 40 percent in an AP-Ipsos poll taken in October said they approved of the way Bush was handling Iraq. Just over half of the public now say the Iraq war was a mistake.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Thursday's event was coordinated with the Defense Department but that the troops were expressing their own thoughts. With satellite feeds, coordination often is needed to overcome technological challenges, such as delays, he said.

"I think all they were doing was talking to the troops and letting them know what to expect," he said, adding that the president wanted to talk with troops on the ground who have firsthand knowledge about the situation.

The soldiers all gave Bush an upbeat view of the situation.

The president also got praise from the Iraqi soldier who was part of the chat.

"Thank you very much for everything," he gushed. "I like you."

On preparations for the vote, 1st Lt. Gregg Murphy of Tennessee said: "Sir, we are prepared to do whatever it takes to make this thing a success. ... Back in January, when we were preparing for that election, we had to lead the way. We set up the coordination, we made the plan. We're really happy to see, during the preparation for this one, sir, they're doing everything."

On the training of Iraqi security forces, Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo from Scotia, N.Y., said to Bush: "I can tell you over the past 10 months, we've seen a tremendous increase in the capabilities and the confidences of our Iraqi security force partners. ... Over the next month, we anticipate seeing at least one-third of those Iraqi forces conducting independent operations."

Lombardo told the president that she was in New York City on Nov. 11, 2001, when Bush attended an event recognizing soldiers for their recovery and rescue efforts at Ground Zero. She said the troops began the fight against terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and were proud to continue it in Iraq.

"I thought you looked familiar," Bush said, and then joked: "I probably look familiar to you, too."

Paul Rieckhoff, director of the New York-based Operation Truth, an advocacy group for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, denounced the event as a "carefully scripted publicity stunt." Five of the 10 U.S. troops involved were officers, he said.

"If he wants the real opinions of the troops, he can't do it in a nationally televised teleconference," Rieckhoff said. "He needs to be talking to the boots on the ground and that's not a bunch of captains."

Copyright &#169; 2005 The Associated Press

October 14th, 2005, 02:20 AM
The Grand Dame of the Neo-Cons Strikes Back:

Thatcher reveals her doubts
over basis for Iraq War

By Andrew Grice
14 October 2005


Baroness Thatcher has criticised Tony Blair for taking Britain to war in Iraq on the basis of flawed evidence about Saddam Hussein's weapons. The former prime minister's embarrassing criticism emerged as Mr Blair was among the 670 guests who attended a party to mark her 80th birthday.

Although Lady Thatcher remains a strong supporter of the decision to topple Saddam by invading Iraq, it is the first time she has questioned the basis for the war. Yesterday's Washington Post reported that when asked whether she would have invaded Iraq given the intelligence at the time, Lady Thatcher replied: "I was a scientist before I was a politician. And as a scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof - and then you check, recheck and check again."

She added: "The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return."

October 14th, 2005, 09:03 PM
Armstrong Williams contract referred to U.S. attorney

Questions about work for Education Department

Friday, October 14, 2005


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Investigators at the Education Department have contacted the U.S. attorney's office regarding the Bush administration's hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams to promote its agenda.

The action was disclosed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, who has pressed for a criminal fraud investigation focused on questions about whether Williams actually performed the work cited in his monthly reports to the Education Department.

Last month, congressional auditors concluded that the Education Department had engaged in illegal "covert propaganda" by hiring Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind Act without requiring him to disclose that he was being paid.

In an October 6 letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Lautenberg and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said questions of fraud remained. Lautenberg also asked the Education Department's Office of Inspector General to more fully investigate the contract.

The inspector general's office told Lautenberg in a letter released Friday that it was working with the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia.
"It's bad enough the administration bribed a journalist to promote their policies, but now it looks like taxpayer dollars were handed over for work that was never done," said Lautenberg.

Williams, a conservative black commentator, was paid to produce ads promoting the education program, and to provide media time to department officials and persuade other blacks in the media to discuss the law.

GAO auditors could not find the work Williams listed or could not connect the work they found to his contract.

Williams' spokeswoman Shirley Dave said the commentator had not been informed about the latest development and had no comment. She had said previously that Williams was negotiating with the department to return part of the money he was paid.

The deal occurred during the tenure of former Education Secretary Rod Paige. Education Department spokeswoman Susan Aspey had no comment on the work of inspector general's office, which operates independently. Inspector General Counsel Mary Mitchelson also declined comment.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press (http://www.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html#AP).

October 15th, 2005, 12:27 AM

October 16th, 2005, 08:24 AM
October 16, 2005


Bush's Ancestors


Ever since Ronald Reagan's election in 1980, the strength of American conservatism has largely confounded historians and intellectuals. Before then, a generation of influential scholars claimed that liberalism was the core of all American political thinking and suggested that it always would be. Well into the 1970's, many observers wondered whether a Republican Party that allied itself with the conservative movement could long survive.

History has, to say the least, disproved these judgments. Yet many prominent liberals continue to see contemporary conservatism as a rhetorical smoke screen intended to deceive the masses - even as conservatives often trace their movement back no farther than William F. Buckley Jr.'s founding of National Review in 1955, fusing religious and pro-business-minded voters. Such thinking, however, slights the coherence and durability of conservative politics in America. The blend of businessmen's aversion to government regulation, down-home cultural populism and Christian moralism that sustains today's Republican Party is a venerable if loosely knit philosophy of government dating back to long before the right-wing upsurge that prepared the way for Reagan's presidency. A few pundits and political insiders have likened the current Republicans to the formidable, corporate-financed political machine behind President William McKinley at the end of the 19th century. The admiration Karl Rove has expressed for the machine strengthens the historical connection. Yet neither conservatives nor liberals have fully recognized that the Bush administration's political and ideological recipe was invented decades before McKinley by a nearly forgotten American institution: the Whig Party of the 1830's and 40's.

The Whigs arose in 1834 to oppose Andrew Jackson's anti-elitist Democratic Party. Furious at Jackson's destruction of the privately controlled, all-powerful Second Bank of the United States (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedstates/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and his forceful claims for presidential authority, the Whigs built a national following dedicated to protecting business and reducing federal economic regulation. Enriching the rich, they proclaimed, would eventually enrich everyone else. By combining a pro-business conservatism geared to the common man with an evangelical Christian view of social virtues and vices, they won the presidency twice in the 1840's and controlled either the House or the Senate for most of the decade. In the Senate, the legendary Henry Clay of Kentucky (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/kentucky/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/massachusetts/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) magnified the Whig Party's influence far beyond Capitol Hill with the power of their oratory. Insofar as perennial themes shape our politics, it is remarkable how so many of contemporary conservatism's central ideas and slogans renovate old Whig appeals.

The Opportunity Society and the Attack on Big Government: Modern conservatism rests on the proposition that Democrats and liberals thrive on a huge, wasteful federal bureaucracy that discourages individual initiative and lavishes public money on the liberals' shiftless political base. In his first Inaugural Address, Reagan denounced "government by an elite group," by which he unmistakably meant parasitic liberal Democrats.

In the 1830's and 40's, Whigs said much the same about the Jacksonians. They charged that President Jackson had established an executive tyranny, while Jackson's followers, as the Whig journalist Horace Greeley wrote, had turned government into "an agency mainly of corruption, oppression and robbery." In defiance of Jacksonian despotism, one North Carolinian declared in an 1835 editorial, the Whigs rallied "in defense of LIBERTY against POWER." The Whigs particularly objected, like Reagan and his successors, to federal regulation of business and financial matters. A typical Whig editorial from 1837 denounced the Democrats for warring on "the merchants and mercantile interests" in order to support federal power.

A century and a half before Reagan's election, the Whigs worked out the basic ideas of supply-side, trickle-down economics. They acclaimed the romance of risk and private investment and a compelling but simplistic view of America as, in one widely used Whig phrase, "a country of self-made men." These views would reappear in Reagan's and Newt Gingrich's (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/newt_gingrich/index.html?inline=nyt-per) celebrations of a coming "opportunity society," later reformulated by George W. Bush (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/george_w_bush/index.html?inline=nyt-per) as the "ownership society." The Whigs also dismissed the Jacksonians' attacks on the privileged classes as demagogic - much as Bush, running in 2000 as a unifying "compassionate conservative," labeled his opponent's criticisms of corporate power and tax breaks for the wealthy a mean-spirited effort "to wage class warfare to get ahead."

Of course, there are significant differences between the Whigs and today's conservatives. Governing in an age before giant private corporations, the Whigs saw federal spending on the nation's infrastructure as imperative to economic development. On this point, modern G.O.P. dogma departs from Whig principles - a difference that has recently caused the Bush administration severe embarrassment.

Conservative Populism: Modern conservatives present themselves as the party of the oppressed taxpayer and small businessman - citizens Reagan lionized as "hard-working Americans." Similarly, leading Whig operatives, like the New York wire-puller Thurlow Weed, refined a vocabulary and a public image befitting a party of the toiling American majority pitted against selfish politicians.

Whig rhetoric departed fundamentally from the aristocratic hauteur and gloominess that old-line conservatives inherited from the defunct Federalist Party. On the political stump, the example of the buckskinned Whig congressman and Tennessee (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/tennessee/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) rifleman Davy Crockett was widely imitated. Even classical-style orators like Webster learned to put aside their Cicero on the campaign trail, declare themselves rip-snorting Democrats - and threaten to punch out anybody who said otherwise. The Whigs also invented new satirical characters who, in newspapers and onstage, ridiculed politicians who "manage to git hold of the money of the people and keep turning it to their own account." While they cast themselves and their rich supporters as just plain folks, the Whigs portrayed the Democrats as smooth-handed, Champagne-drinking, out-of-touch professional politicians. The appeals helped the Whigs win the presidency in 1840 with their famous "log cabin and hard cider" campaign, presenting their well-born presidential candidate, William Henry Harrison, as a plebeian hero who lived in a humble abode and drank the common frontiersman's brew.

Today's Republicans have repeated the makeover. In the 1970's, the conservative movement's adoption of the sunny-tempered Hollywood cowboy Reagan as its leader in place of the dour, bespectacled Barry Goldwater was the great breakthrough of modern conservative populism. Thereafter, the transformation of the Massachusetts-born patrician George H.W. Bush into a lover of pork rinds and of his Andover-, Yale- and Harvard-educated son into a rugged Texas (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/texas/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) pioneer extended the conservative populist theme. The Democrats, meanwhile, remain trapped in the public's image of them as effete "brie and Chablis" liberals.

Moralism, Self-Reform and the Culture War: Today's Republican Party owes a great deal to its political alliance with resurgent conservative evangelical Christians, part of a wider conservative attack on liberals as the enemies of traditional morality. That attack reinforces the fundamental idea of the "opportunity society": personal failure stems not from economic and social inequalities but from the moral failings of thriftless, heedless, lawless, libertine and lazy individuals - precisely the sorts of people (conservatives charge) liberals want to coddle with needless, destructive social spending.

The Whigs portrayed the Jacksonians in very similar terms. "Wherever you find a bitter, blasphemous Atheist and an enemy of Marriage, Morality, and Social Order," The New-York Daily Tribune under Greeley charged, "there you may be certain of one vote for [the Jacksonians]." Upon enlisting in the Whig Party in 1835, Representative John Bell of Tennessee sounded like a forerunner of William Bennett, declaring that "we have, in truth, in the last 8 or 10 years, been in a continual state of moral war." Jackson's successor as president, Martin Van Buren, a widower, came in for special abuse as a man of dubious morals, including fantastic Whig charges that he held secret orgies in the White House.

The Whigs were drawn disproportionately from devotees of the enormous wave of evangelical revivalism known as the Second Great Awakening. Evangelicalism quickly led a minority of Northern Whigs into the crusade against slavery. But mainstream Whigs despised anti-slavery politics and were preoccupied by evangelically inspired efforts to enforce public morality with coercive temperance and Sunday blue-law campaigns. Democrats opposed these efforts, upholding the separation of church and state in order to prevent Congress, one Kentucky Jacksonian wrote, from becoming the "proper tribunal to determine what are the laws of God."

Fate was unkind to the Whig Party. Its first president, Harrison, took sick on his frigid Inauguration Day in 1841, died one month later and was succeeded by a Virginia (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/virginia/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) ex-Democrat, John Tyler, whom some in the party considered to be no Whig at all. The other Whig elected to the presidency, Zachary Taylor, a retired general, lasted only slightly longer than Harrison, felled by an attack of acute gastroenteritis in 1850 after just 16 months in the White House. In between the Tyler and Taylor presidencies, the acquisition of vast Western territories from the war against Mexico (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/mexico/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) led to severe wrangling over the extension of slavery, which neither of the major parties could handle. The Democrats wound up losing their anti-slavery Northern partisans in the 1850's and became dominated by Southern slaveholders. The Whig Party collapsed completely: its anti-slavery wing joined with the Democratic bolters to form the Republican Party in 1854; its Southerners either enlisted in the pro-slavery Democratic fold or floundered in vain attempts to restore sectional comity.

The party's sorry demise helps explain why today's Republican conservatives who study history resist any comparison to the Whigs. If they look back before the McKinley era to the 1830's, as Karl Rove has done on occasion, they prefer to liken themselves to the Jacksonians, sticking up for "the little guy" against the federal government. But the Jacksonians, unlike conservatives then and now, also battled against the country's financial and mercantile elites and sought to reduce the power of what Jackson called "associated wealth" over the nation's economy and politics. Rove's argument distorts the nature of contemporary conservatism's political achievements.

By lashing Whig principles to Southern states rights dogma, and updating them both, modern conservatives have created a new mutation far more tenacious than the old Whig Party. Invigorating the core Whig tenets about trickle-down opportunity, the Republicans have enriched a plutocracy of Americans unimaginable in the early 19th century and won their financial support as well as their political allegiance. By relying on the Southern version of evangelicalism, stressing personal holiness more than the do-good reformism of Northern evangelical Whigs and enlisting the Christian right in their culture war, they have built a larger and more loyal political base than the Whigs ever enjoyed.

Of course, today's conservatives shouldn't be complacent about the future of their movement. Bad luck aside, sectional tensions between Northern anti-slavery Whigs and Southern Whig slaveholders finally proved the party's undoing. And even at their high tide, the Whigs had to paper over conflicts between the party's hard-drinking populists and its teetotaling moralists, its moss-backed bluenoses and its more flexible officeholders and party managers. Thurlow Weed's closest political friend, the New York Whig (and later Republican) William Henry Seward, despaired in the early 1840's that "my principles are too liberal, too philanthropic, if it not be vain to say so, for my party." Modern conservatives cope with similar fault lines, including divisions between the old Confederate states and the old Union states, which have placed many "moderate" Northern Republicans like Lincoln Chaffee and Christine Todd Whitman (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/christine_todd_whitman/index.html?inline=nyt-per) at odds with the party's hard-line directorship.

And yet modern conservatism has outlived every expectation of its demise. Even today, unsettled by hurricanes, scandals and an increasingly unpopular war, the G.O.P. nonetheless stands for conservative principles and speaks a political language readily understood by voters. Those principles and that language are venerable and, as proclaimed by today's Republicans, more compelling than the confused and uncertain message coming from their opponents. As inadequate, or worse, as the G.O.P.'s privatizing policies may appear, the conservatives' often misunderstood connection to the American past may yet carry them successfully into the future.

Sean Wilentz is a professor of American history at Princeton. His new book, "The Rise of American Democracy," is out this month from W.W. Norton.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 16th, 2005, 09:15 AM
Bush's Ancestors

... neither conservatives nor liberals have fully recognized that the Bush administration's political and ideological recipe was invented decades before McKinley by a nearly forgotten American institution: the Whig Party of the 1830's and 40's.

It seems that some of those inside the Bush Administration are aware of the connection to the Whigs: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=68808&postcount=66

... The investigation into who leaked the officer's name to reporters has now turned toward a little known cabal of administration hawks known as the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which came together in August 2002 to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG operated out of the Vice President’s office and was chaired by Karl Rove, Bush's senior advisor.

October 16th, 2005, 09:18 AM
^ Superb history, but insufficiently courageous to venture a prediction.

A reason to study the past is to better predict the future.

October 16th, 2005, 02:03 PM

October 16th, 2005, 07:00 PM
More WHIG news ...

It seems that some of those inside the Bush Administration are aware of the connection to the Whigs: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=68808&postcount=66

It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby

Op-Ed Columnist
October 16, 2005


THERE hasn't been anything like it since Martha Stewart fended off questions about her stock-trading scandal by manically chopping cabbage on "The Early Show" on CBS. Last week the setting was "Today" on NBC, where the image of President Bush manically hammering nails at a Habitat for Humanity construction site on the Gulf Coast was juggled with the sight of him trying to duck Matt Lauer's questions about Karl Rove.

As with Ms. Stewart, Mr. Bush's paroxysm of panic was must-see TV. "The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts," Dana Milbank wrote in The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/11/AR2005101101577.html). Asked repeatedly about Mr. Rove's serial appearances before a Washington grand jury, the jittery Mr. Bush, for once bereft of a script, improvised a passable impersonation of Norman Bates being quizzed by the detective in "Psycho." Like Norman and Ms. Stewart, he stonewalled.

That stonewall may start to crumble in a Washington courtroom this week or next. In a sense it already has. Now, as always, what matters most in this case is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney.

Mr. Wilson and his wife were trashed to protect that larger plot. Because the personnel in both stories overlap, the bits and pieces we've learned about the leak inquiry over the past two years have gradually helped fill in the über-narrative about the war. Last week was no exception. Deep in a Wall Street Journal account of Judy Miller's grand jury appearance was this crucial sentence: "Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group."

Very little has been written about the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG. Its inception in August 2002, seven months before the invasion of Iraq, was never announced. Only much later would a newspaper article or two mention it in passing, reporting that it had been set up by Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff. Its eight members included Mr. Rove, Mr. Libby, Condoleezza Rice and the spinmeisters Karen Hughes and Mary Matalin. Its mission: to market a war in Iraq.

Of course, the official Bush history would have us believe that in August 2002 no decision had yet been made on that war. Dates bracketing the formation of WHIG tell us otherwise. On July 23, 2002 - a week or two before WHIG first convened in earnest - a British official told his peers, as recorded in the now famous Downing Street memo, that the Bush administration was ensuring that "the intelligence and facts" about Iraq's W.M.D.'s "were being fixed around the policy" of going to war. And on Sept. 6, 2002 - just a few weeks after WHIG first convened - Mr. Card alluded to his group's existence by telling Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times that there was a plan afoot to sell a war against Saddam Hussein: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."

The official introduction of that product began just two days later. On the Sunday talk shows of Sept. 8, Ms. Rice warned that "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," and Mr. Cheney, who had already started the nuclear doomsday drumbeat in three August speeches, described Saddam as "actively and aggressively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons." The vice president cited as evidence a front-page article, later debunked, about supposedly nefarious aluminum tubes co-written by Judy Miller in that morning's Times. The national security journalist James Bamford, in "A Pretext for War," writes that the article was all too perfectly timed to facilitate "exactly the sort of propaganda coup that the White House Iraq Group had been set up to stage-manage."

The administration's doomsday imagery was ratcheted up from that day on. As Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post would determine in the first account of WHIG a full year later, the administration's "escalation of nuclear rhetoric" could be traced to the group's formation. Along with mushroom clouds, uranium was another favored image, the Post report noted, "because anyone could see its connection to an atomic bomb." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A39500-2003Aug9?language=printer) It appeared in a Bush radio address the weekend after the Rice-Cheney Sunday show blitz and would reach its apotheosis with the infamously fictional 16 words about "uranium from Africa" in Mr. Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address on the eve of war.

Throughout those crucial seven months between the creation of WHIG and the start of the American invasion of Iraq, there were indications that evidence of a Saddam nuclear program was fraudulent or nonexistent. Joseph Wilson's C.I.A. mission to Niger, in which he failed to find any evidence to back up uranium claims, took place nearly a year before the president's 16 words. But the truth never mattered. The Bush-Cheney product rolled out by Card, Rove, Libby & Company had been bought by Congress, the press and the public. The intelligence and facts had been successfully fixed to sell the war, and any memory of Mr. Bush's errant 16 words melted away in Shock and Awe. When, months later, a national security official, Stephen Hadley, took "responsibility" for allowing the president to address the nation about mythical uranium, no one knew that Mr. Hadley, too, had been a member of WHIG.

It was not until the war was supposedly over - with "Mission Accomplished," in May 2003 - that Mr. Wilson started to add his voice to those who were disputing the administration's uranium hype. Members of WHIG had a compelling motive to shut him down. In contrast to other skeptics, like Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner), Mr. Wilson was an American diplomat; he had reported his findings in Niger to our own government. He was a dagger aimed at the heart of WHIG and its disinformation campaign. Exactly who tried to silence him and how is what Mr. Fitzgerald presumably will tell us.

It's long been my hunch that the WHIG-ites were at their most brazen (and, in legal terms, reckless) during the many months that preceded the appointment of Mr. Fitzgerald as special counsel. When Mr. Rove was asked on camera by ABC News in September 2003 if he had any knowledge of the Valerie Wilson leak and said no, it was only hours before the Justice Department would open its first leak investigation. When Scott McClellan later declared that he had been personally assured by Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby that they were "not involved" with the leak, the case was still in the safe hands of the attorney general then, John Ashcroft, himself a three-time Rove client in past political campaigns. Though Mr. Rove may be known as "Bush's brain," he wasn't smart enough to anticipate that Justice Department career employees would eventually pressure Mr. Ashcroft to recuse himself because of this conflict of interest, clearing the way for an outside prosecutor as independent as Mr. Fitzgerald.

"Bush's Brain" is the title of James Moore and Wayne Slater's definitive account of Mr. Rove's political career. But Mr. Rove is less his boss's brain than another alliterative organ (or organs), that which provides testosterone. As we learn in "Bush's Brain," bad things (usually character assassination) often happen to Bush foes, whether Ann Richards or John McCain. On such occasions, Mr. Bush stays compassionately above the fray while the ruthless Mr. Rove operates below the radar, always separated by "a layer of operatives" from any ill behavior that might implicate him. "There is no crime, just a victim," Mr. Moore and Mr. Slater write of this repeated pattern.

THIS modus operandi was foolproof, shielding the president as well as Mr. Rove from culpability, as long as it was about winning an election. The attack on Mr. Wilson, by contrast, has left them and the Cheney-Libby tag team vulnerable because it's about something far bigger: protecting the lies that took the country into what the Reagan administration National Security Agency director, Lt. Gen. William Odom, recently called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

Whether or not Mr. Fitzgerald uncovers an indictable crime, there is once again a victim, but that victim is not Mr. or Mrs. Wilson; it's the nation. It is surely a joke of history that even as the White House sells this weekend's constitutional referendum as yet another "victory" for democracy in Iraq, we still don't know the whole story of how our own democracy was hijacked on the way to war.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 21st, 2005, 01:46 PM

"The wheels are coming off the wagon" of the Bush Administration ...

"Decisions made in the first term are unraveling and are now coming back to haunt them ... "


An incredibly damning analysis from former Presidential advisor David Gergen on CNN / Lou Dobbs (10.20.05)




October 21st, 2005, 06:26 PM

October 22nd, 2005, 01:24 AM
Late breaking news ...

October 27th, 2005, 06:59 PM
The man clearly has no respect for either the law or the flag ...

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/400/bush_flag_desecration.jpg (http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4990/1180/1600/bush_flag_desecration.jpg)

TLOZ Link5
October 27th, 2005, 07:18 PM
Quotes from when Clinton committed troops to Bosnia:

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Funny thing is, we won that war without a single killed in action.

October 27th, 2005, 07:22 PM
Yeah, but the idiot democrats voted to allow Bush to play his war games ...

October 28th, 2005, 08:35 AM
October 28, 2005
News Analysis

A Long, Rocky Road With 39 Months to Go

By TODD S. PURDUM (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=TODD S. PURDUM&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=TODD S. PURDUM&inline=nyt-per)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - George W. Bush (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/george_w_bush/index.html?inline=nyt-per) has been in the White House for 248 weeks, through a terrorist attack, two wars and a bruising re-election. But it seems safe to say that he has never had a worse political week than this one - and it is not over yet.

"I think all bets are off," said former Senator Warren B. Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/newhampshire/index.html?inline=nyt-geo). "Who knows what's next?"

The biggest question for Mr. Bush now is what he can make of the 39 months remaining in his presidency. For this horrible week has been months - even years - in the making. The 2,000th American fatality in Iraq (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iraq/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) was just the latest daunting milestone in a war that will soon be three years old. The C.I.A. leak investigation that threatens to indict a top White House aide or two on Friday grew out of the fierce debates over the flawed intelligence that led to that war.

And Harriet E. Miers's (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/harriet_e_miers/index.html%20?inline=nyt-per) withdrawal of her nomination to the Supreme Court is the bitter fruit of Mr. Bush's own frailty in the wake of all those storms - and Hurricane Katrina - and of his miscalculations about how her appointment would be received.

His effort to avoid a fight by choosing a nominee with a scant public record (whose conservative fidelity only he could vouch for) instead prompted a ferocious backlash from the conservative activists he has courted for years.

"There's all this talk about the Republican base and the conservative base of the Republican Party, and the conservative base of the president and how it's important to play to the base and please the base and fawn over the base," said former Senator John C. Danforth, the Missouri (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/missouri/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) Republican who was Mr. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations.

"And look what it gets President Bush," Mr. Danforth continued. "It just gets him a kick in the rear. That's what they've done to him, and they've done it to him at a time when he's vulnerable, and they've done it at the expense of a perfectly fine human being."

Some scholars and Republican elders say it is now time for Mr. Bush to do what Ronald Reagan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/ronald_wilson_reagan/index.html?inline=nyt-per) did when the Iran (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/iran/index.html?inline=nyt-geo)-contra scandal threatened to derail his second term: shake up the White House staff, retool his domestic and foreign policy agenda and move on. But most say they see few signs that Mr. Bush intends to do so.

"Assume there are several indictments," said Richard Norton Smith, the head of the Abraham Lincoln (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/abraham_lincoln/index.html?inline=nyt-per) Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill., and a biographer of several prominent Republicans.

"The question becomes: Is there a Howard Baker moment?" Mr. Smith added, referring to the former Tennessee (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/tennessee/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) senator whom Mr. Reagan tapped as chief of staff to clean house. "And if there's a Howard Baker moment, who's Howard Baker? There aren't as many 'wise men' around Washington as there were 20 years ago."

Ms. Miers's withdrawal is all the more remarkable because Mr. Bush so seldom backs down. Again and again, he has racked up legislative victories that once seemed improbable, or at least managed to save face. His instinct, abetted by Vice President Dick Cheney (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/dick_cheney/index.html?inline=nyt-per), will once again be to grind out advances where he can find them.

In that sense, the abandonment of Ms. Miers seemed deliberate, an effort to shift the spotlight, however briefly, from the expected actions of the special prosecutor investigating the leak of a C.I.A. agent's identity, and reposition the president for a new confirmation battle with conservatives by his side.

But the president's second term legislative agenda is at a standstill on matters large and small. His hopes for overhauling Social Security are dead for this year; the goal of reshaping the estate tax stalled with Hurricane Katrina; and his administration was even forced to backtrack this week on its post-Katrina suspension of a law that requires paying locally prevailing wages for construction projects financed by federal money.

The White House had argued that suspending the law, the Davis-Bacon Act, could speed hurricane repairs. But critics, including some Congressional Republicans, complained that the administration was taking advantage of the disaster to upend a law important to unions.
Mr. Bush blamed Ms. Miers's withdrawal on Senate demands for information about her views on constitutional and legal questions during her service as White House counsel and in other top staff jobs.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House, disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Mr. Bush said in a statement.

That seemed more a rationale than a reason, but Mr. Bush's articulation of it now effectively precludes his naming Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Ms. Miers's predecessor as White House counsel, to the court, as some aides have long suggested he might like to do.

"They're not reaching out; they're in a bunker mentality," said one veteran Republican familiar with the thinking in the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of offending the president.

"The idea that they're going to blame the Senate process for her going down says to me there's no introspection going on."

Second-term presidents are notoriously insulated from second-guessing, and Mr. Bush has never been one to invite private criticism, or confess public error. His high premium on staff loyalty may well have led him to misjudge how his nomination of Ms. Miers - by all accounts the ultimate loyalist - would play.

"In the end, I always thought the thing that would bring her down was that she was his lawyer," said Mr. Smith, the historian. "That makes people uncomfortable. It's just too inside."

Lyndon B. Johnson's (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/j/lyndon_baines_johnson/index.html?inline=nyt-per) nomination of his longtime confidant Abe Fortas to be chief justice collapsed in 1968 partly for the same reason.

Richard D. Friedman, an expert on Supreme Court history at the University of Michigan Law School, said Ms. Miers's withdrawal reflected the reality that modern confirmations had become "so contentious that the president has an incentive to pick somebody whose ideology he believes is compatible with his but about whom little is known," while the Senate "then feels duty-bound to find out what it can about the nominee's ideology."

He added, "The nominee and the administration put up a wall, but in this case, it crumbled," in part because of doubts in both parties about Ms. Miers's stature.

The conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/patrick_j_buchanan/index.html?inline=nyt-per) wrote in Human Events Online that, by withdrawing, Ms. Miers "may just have helped" Mr. Bush "save his presidency." In the same journal, Ann Coulter allowed, "Bush has us back on the team, ready to cheer for him unreservedly."

But former Senator John B. Breaux, a Louisiana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/national/usstatesterritoriesandpossessions/louisiana/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) Democrat who is pressing for the nomination of his home-state candidate, Judge Edith Brown Clement of the United States (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/unitedstates/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, had a much different view of what Ms. Miers's withdrawal portends for Mr. Bush's power to influence his own party, much less the opposition, for the rest of his term.

"It means," Mr. Breaux said, "that the fear factor is gone."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

October 30th, 2005, 10:36 AM
A Time To Regroup

Bloodied by scandal, setbacks and casualties, Bush is looking for fresh troops and a new battle plan

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2005


You have to wonder sometimes why Presidents even run for re-election, given how things usually turn out. Second terms have a way of veering into wild and menacing terrain, spiked with indictments and scandals and betrayal and grief. Some friends become less friendly because they know you are on your way to retirement while they are on their way to the next campaign. Your team gets tired, the ideas stale, and the fumes of power more toxic. It was through those badlands that President George W. Bush trudged last week, and for once he was walking alone. "The problem is that the President doesn't want to make changes," says a White House adviser who is not looking for a West Wing job, "but he's lost some of his confidence in the three people he listens to the most."

Those three are his Vice President, Dick Cheney, whose top aide, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, has been charged with brazenly obstructing the investigation into who leaked the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame; Bush senior adviser Karl Rove, who while not indicted has still emerged as a player in the scandal; and chief of staff Andrew Card, who gets some of the blame for bungling the response to Hurricane Katrina and even more for the botched Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers.

"All relationships with the President, except for his relationship with Laura, have been damaged recently," the White House adviser says. The closest aide who is undamaged is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—who is off minding the rest of the world—and, of course, Bush himself.
"The funny thing is everybody's failing now, in which case perhaps it's time to look at George Bush's relationship with George Bush."

Especially since, above all things, Bush values loyalty, both to his friends and to his own beliefs. He does not abandon either easily, so these next weeks pose an interesting dilemma. The thing about the wilderness is that if you stay there, you die. That's why the worst week of Bush's presidency actually brought with it a quiet sense of relief among some of his restless aides. "This has wakened them from their notion of infallibility," says a Bush adviser. Those who have been arguing for what would count in this White House as radical change—fresh faces, shiny plans, a wider exchange of ideas—felt that at last they had some leverage because Bush could no longer insist that everything was working just fine.

What no one can know but everyone can spin is whether this week marked a point of no return or a turning point. Top advisers have all but written off the rest of the year as a loss. The aim is to relaunch Bush's presidency in January with a new agenda rolled out in his State of the Union address, now that Social Security reform lies crumpled in a ditch. But to do that, he would need to adapt the style and system that served him well for four years but has now demonstrably failed; add new blood to a team that functions as a palace guard but not as an early-warning system or idea factory; and summon the charisma from his days as a candidate to reconnect with Americans in what has become his last campaign.

The Week from Hell

Knowing that the week was likely to produce a convergence of public relations catastrophes, Bush's staff gave him a very busy, very public schedule. He was a patient audience member at a daylong conference that First Lady Laura Bush held on Helping America's Youth, and he worked the crowd in one hotel ballroom for so long that a veteran cameraman said it was like having Bill Clinton back. Bush palled around with Democratic luminary Vernon Jordan at a luncheon and invited a group of military wives to suggest a gift for his 28th wedding anniversary. "Sorry I asked," he quipped when urged to give diamonds.

But there was no escaping or disguising what had happened. More than anything else, it was the Miers meltdown that dissolved once and for all the image of a President whom no one defies and whose luck never runs out. The whole debacle, even Bush insiders say, reflects the problem of a leader who doesn't hear from enough people. "This was entirely avoidable," says an adviser involved in the process. "After Katrina, after Michael Brown, the issue of cronyism was already on the table and a negative. It was incredible to try this."

Although Miers did not formally call Bush with her decision until Wednesday night, by then the deed was all but done. Her meetings with Senators were not winning her any support. One who attended them described her as "smitten by the President," talking endlessly about her admiration for him in her soft Texas drawl. She was unfailingly gracious, but she faced a tough crowd, and the private prep sessions were just as shaky. By that time, conservatives were so riled, even a Bush win would have been a loss. The cost would have been permanent, unforgiving fury from a whole swath of his base—and a Democratic Party smelling blood.
Instead, Bush hopes that if he gives his allies a profound sign of respect and acknowledgment of their righteous power, they will agree to unite behind him for the fights ahead.

The Libby Meltdown

In many people's minds, the epic fiasco that was the Miers nomination could not have happened if Rove had been at full strength. Tortured by kidney stones, distracted by a circling prosecutor, Rove was not in top form during the 24 days that the nomination was collapsing.

There was "a weariness to him you didn't see before," an associate says. "He's very strong, and it's the first time since I've known him that he was fighting for his own political life and not his candidate." It was only after his fourth appearance before the grand jury that aides sensed "a burden off his shoulders," as though Rove judged from the line of questions that he might yet escape.

But whether or not he's in trouble with the law, friends say, he's certainly in trouble with Bush. Rove will continue managing the intersection of politics and policy in the White House but will have to regain the unfettered powers he once held. "The President's relationship with Karl has been damaged over the scandal," a Bush friend says. A source close to Rove says when Bush asked Rove whether he was responsible for leaking Plame's CIA identity to columnist Robert Novak, Rove told him "absolutely not." While that may have been strictly true, Fitzgerald's indictment suggests that Rove did at least discuss Wilson's wife with Novak, as he did with TIME's Matthew Cooper. As for Cheney, who retained Libby as the scandal unfolded and did not follow the advice of some to move him out five months ago, his relationship with Bush has suffered "a strain, not a rupture," says a presidential adviser. That much was clear when the White House let it be known that Card had called Cheney to inform him of the choice of Miers. In earlier times, he would have been intimately involved in such a decision.

Cheney's standing has suffered mainly because Libby emerges as such a liability. Fitzgerald threw the book at him not for anything he said to reporters but for what he said to the FBI and the grand jury. The indictments suggest that the aide whose aim was to spin the war might have tried to spin the prosecutor. "Lying was a remarkable act of stupidity on Libby's part," says Richard Nixon's former White House counsel John Dean. "He's old enough to know better. He watched Watergate and Iran-contra. To try to pull the leg of the grand jury was really quite remarkable."

As expected, Libby promptly resigned, and Bush and Cheney expressed their regrets and followed with the inevitable promise to focus on the nation's business. By itself, the departure of Libby won't necessarily affect Bush Administration policy toward Iraq. Although Libby was one of the earliest and most urgent proponents of the war, he doesn't seem to have been as influential in charting U.S. policy since the invasion. But the indictments once again cast light on the Administration's case for invading Iraq and come against a backdrop of growing discontent about the war and where it's headed among some of Bush's former allies.

Until recently, the doubts about Bush from the right have focused on the mismanagement of the war rather than on the decision to go to war. But even before the Libby indictments, the wall of silence had been crumbling. First there was the Oct. 19 speech by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, in which Wilkerson charged that a "cabal" of Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had "flummoxed" a President who is "not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either." Even more stinging was the interview given by Brent Scowcroft—National Security Adviser to Bush's father during the first Gulf War—to the New Yorker, in which he not only questioned the wisdom of invading Iraq but also criticized the wider Bush doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East.

But neither man belongs to the White House inner circle and neither has a better plan. Wilkerson rejects an idea that close to 50% of Americans support: beginning a withdrawal of U.S. troops now, whether the Iraqis are ready or not. The fact that even some of Bush's critics continue to advocate staying the course in Iraq helps explain why there doesn't seem to be much urgency in the Administration for speeding up the exit strategy. Notes Leslie Gelb, former Council on Foreign Relations president: "All Washington political insiders are saying the writing's on the wall, the troops are coming out. I don't think they're factoring the President into account. He's not running for re-election. He's a true believer."

The Reset Button

There's a theory going around Washington about why this year has gone so haywire, one that goes to Rove's essential strength. "These guys are very good at campaigning," says an outside adviser to the White House, "and not so good at governing." As long as there is an election on the horizon, they function like a humming machine and their coalition stays in line. But in an environment where that isn't there, they fall apart.

The year's successes—an energy bill, the highway bill, bankruptcy reform, a free-trade agreement—all came before the Category 5 bad news of the fall. But a well-received court nominee could help Bush turn the corner. He will be traveling to South America and Asia before the holidays, which is why the White House road map to recovery starts in earnest in January. "It is fundamentally a question of reconnecting with the American people," says a senior member of the Bush team. "One of the good things about being President of the United States is that even when you're down, you have the ability to control your own destiny through the bully pulpit."

Bush officials are literally going back and reading his campaign speeches. Aides say they have a "back-to-basics" strategy focusing on such traditional Republican issues as spending restraint. As part of the search for a fresh agenda, groups of Bush aides are working on new immigration and tax-reform policies for possible rollout. But immigration is an issue that splits the party's base, and the recommendations of Bush's tax-reform commission, most notably doing away with the mortgage-interest deduction, are universally viewed as a nonstarter. To try to lower energy prices, the White House is considering taking steps—legislative, diplomatic or jawboning. But in a global economy, getting prices down is easier said than done.

As for a shift in the lineup, Card could be named Treasury Secretary by the beginning of the year. Among his possible replacements are White House budget director Joshua Bolten, former Montana Governor Marc Racicot and deputy budget director Clay Johnson III. An adviser says the personnel shifts will be gradual: "They don't want to communicate panic because they're not panicked."

It won't help that Bush's main enforcers on the Hill are themselves in a defensive crouch. Cheney could find himself a witness in a criminal trial, House majority leader Tom DeLay had to step down to fight indictments for money laundering, and Senate majority leader Bill Frist is under investigation for possible insider trading. The party's ambitious comers are not running as Bush's allies and heirs, and the 2006 campaign promises to be an epic battle. G.O.P. pollster Bill McInturff says the percentage of people who define themselves as "very interested" in the 2006 elections is already at 57%, compared with 39% in October 2002, a month before those midterm elections.

History is certainly not on Bush's side. Since 1966, if a President's approval rating dipped below 50% at a midterm election, his party lost an average of 42 seats in the House—which next year would be enough to put the Democrats back in power. Still, optimists at the White House have reached the point that they are taking comfort from the example of Clinton, who came back strong after his party's shellacking in the 1994 elections and wound up popular despite his own, very different set of scandals. Next thing you know, Bush will be calling himself the Comeback Kid.

Copyright © 2005 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

October 30th, 2005, 11:08 AM
Clinton, who came back strong after his party's shellacking in the 1994 elections and wound up popular despite his own, very different set of scandals.
Miss that guy.

October 31st, 2005, 11:10 AM
Well, I for one am waiting for George W to get himself to a 12-step program. Once he does, then we can expect an apology for all these wrongs he has committed. But, I don't think there's an Assholes Anonymous in DC, is there?

November 2nd, 2005, 04:33 PM
City High School Students Stage Walk-Out
To Protest Bush Policies

November 02, 2005


Hundreds of city high school students staged a walkout Wednesday, gathering in Union Square as part of a national day of resistance against the Bush administration.

Some students, who are not even old enough to vote, started walking out of class late Wednesday morning to show support for the group The World Can't Wait.

The group is urging people across the country to stand up against President George W. Bush. Many students say the war in Iraq is their main cause for concern.

“I don't think Bush knows what he's doing at all. I think he's completely made a huge mess and I'm completely against him. So whatever I can do to express that to people and spread the word so that people understand that,” said one participant.

“I came out here because I feel there are much more important issues going on that passing science. I think that what Bush is doing is completely, completely wrong. I think that the situation in Iraq is just totally messed up. I mean there are children and babies being bombed,” added another.

Students from all five boroughs looking to exercise their voices are taking part in Wednesday’s rally. The Department of Education had no comment about the event.

November 2nd, 2005, 05:15 PM

Walking out of work is one thing. You LOSE something for doing it, you are making a sacrifice.

But walking out of class? You think half these kids are there because of politics or because they did not want to go to school today?

November 2nd, 2005, 05:18 PM
I know when we walked out of high school classes during the Viet Nam war it was to make a point ... not just to cut class.

I think it's great to see that these students are organizing to get their opinions known.

TLOZ Link5
November 2nd, 2005, 05:25 PM
I was there for about half an hour, and then I had to go meet a friend. I thought it was fantastic.

I didn't miss any school, either, since my class ended at 10:45 and the rally started at noon. So yay.

Any estimates yet as to the size of the crowd? I saw hundreds of people in Union Square, but I couldn't stay long. I'm hoping that it grew, especially when they went to Times Square.

November 2nd, 2005, 09:06 PM
It looks like this was a national student action ...

Students walk out to protest war, recruiting

James Walsh
Star Tribune
November 3, 2005


MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL -- More than 1,000 students, many of them from 40 Twin Cities area high schools, protested today against the war in Iraq and military recruiters on campus.

The crowd rallied at Coffman Memorial Union on the University of Minnesota campus before marching through campus, stopping traffic along Washington Avenue and ending up in front of the Army and Navy recruiting offices on Washington Avenue and Oak Street.

University Police Greg Hestness estimated the crowd at about 1,000 people.
Protest organizer Ty Moore put the crowd closer to 1,500. Hundreds of people stood to the side as the students marched past, taking photographs or making cell phone calls to friends. Some applauded. A group of 25 to 30 counter-protesters across the street blared "Stars and Stripes Forever" from a pickup truck.

After winding through campus, marchers strode down the center of Washington Avenue. While the group didn't have permission to block off streets, Hestness said, university police went ahead of the marchers to divert traffic for several blocks. Hestness said the event was peaceful.

The walkout is part of a nationwide protest organized by Youth Against War and Racism. The Minnesota event includes the rally and march, followed by a teach-in.

At Bloomington Kennedy, about 20 students walked out to join the protest. Most said they had excused absences; a couple said they didn't have excuses but were going anyway. Minneapolis South reported about 100 students participated.

Kennedy Principal Ron Simmons said that today was the second day of end-of-quarter tests at Kennedy. Any student who walked out without permission would not be able to make up work they miss today and their grades would be affected, he said.

Andrew O'Brien, 17, a Kennedy senior and one of the organizers of the school's walkout, was disappointed that more students weren't participating.
He said the timing of the protest during the testing period was a problem. In addition, he said it's been difficult to get Kennedy students interested in the issue. Students are apathetic about politics in general and about the war specifically, he said.

Last week, Moore and other supporters of the protest accused some schools of threatening students who walked out with failing grades. Most schools responded that they would follow their normal policies for absences: If students are excused by a parent, they will be allowed to make up work they miss.

Moore said his group would mount a "pressure campaign" against schools if students are disciplined or are not allowed to make up work as a result of the walkout.

November 2nd, 2005, 09:22 PM
More Reports from THE WORLD CAN"T WAIT : http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=40&Itemid=90


2500 - 5000 people at Union Square, according to initial estimates. Outernational opened rally. Huge numbers of students walked out from high school. Elected officials Deborah Glick, Margarita Lopez, Tom Duane at the rally. Jeremy Scahill (journalist and Democracy Now producer/ war correspondent) spoke.

Video: CBS News in New York Covers Rally http://wcbstv.com/topstories/local_story_306153653.html

LA Times Reports Street Closures Due to Protests

Kiro TV Seattle - Hundreds March Against War

Washington DC
300 people rallied in front of the White House today.
Students from 3 high schools: Duke Ellington & School Without Walls in DC,
and Woodlawn from Arlington VA, and Howard students came out. Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, and David Swanson from Progressive Democrats of America spoke, along with others. 60 people marched up the Capitol afterward.

500 in ATLANTA:
About 500 people and just starting to gather. More coming in groups. Mostly high school, middle school and college students. One school declared an “intruder alert” and locked students in their classrooms. When the alert was lifted, students walked out despite an attempted lock-down and threats of detention.



Chicago 12:30 MST: Rally just started with about 2,500 people.
Columbia College brought a very spirited contingent with over 100 people.
There was also a feeder march from UIC to the rally.
Students at Clemente High School were locked into their school and not being let out, and told they don't have a right to join the protest

100 + students walked out from Princeton High School in New Jersey.
Reporter called into rally from the Princeton Times.

PHOENIX: http://www.loyolaphoenix.com/media/paper673/news/2005/11/02/Discourse/An.Open.Letter.From.World.Cant.Wait-1042181.shtml

November 2nd, 2005, 09:29 PM
The Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime

Sign the call now! (http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=19)

Your government, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights.

Your government is openly torturing people, and justifying it.


Your government puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.

Your government is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.

Your government suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.

Your government is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.

Your government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

Read more... (http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11&Itemid=20)

November 2nd, 2005, 10:19 PM
I'm not signing anything. I want him to stay right where he is, until light bulbs click on over the heads of all the Red State people, and they think,

"Now I get it. When we give the job of President to a dimwit, we're supposed to fire him four years later."

CBS News poll:

Bush's approval rating now 35%, lowest at this point in a second term of any recent president except Richard Nixon.

Cheney'sapproval rating is 19%.

Complete poll results (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/11/02/opinion/polls/main1005252.shtml)

November 2nd, 2005, 11:52 PM
^ Devastating Poll numbers all around :eek: ( ;) )

November 3rd, 2005, 08:42 AM
I know when we walked out of high school classes during the Viet Nam war it was to make a point ... not just to cut class.

I think it's great to see that these students are organizing to get their opinions known.

I know that 1/4 of the students where I went would have the same opinion. Another 1/4 cared about it, but would not be active participants, about another 1/4 would be against it, and 1/4 would just cut class.

Like I said, kids RARELY appreciate school until they see how much they miss by not going. It took me until my junior year in college before I started DREADING snow days because it ended up costing me about $100 a CLASS for the missed time!

So I am not saying that there are not kids in the class that honestly believe in what they are protesting, but still lofter, you had NO shirkers in your group back in the day?

November 3rd, 2005, 08:44 AM
Students are apathetic about politics in general and about the war specifically, he said

As they are about everything.

They learn from their parents you know.....

November 3rd, 2005, 08:49 AM
The Call to Drive Out the Bush Regime

Sign the call now! (http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=61&Itemid=19)

Your government, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights.

Your government is openly torturing people, and justifying it.


Your government puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.

Your government is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.

Your government suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.

Your government is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.

Your government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

Read more... (http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11&Itemid=20)

I agree with some of the statements here, but I always get annoyed when things, although valid complaints, get lumped together under one blanket.

Case in point: Torture of prisoners and Abortion Rights. How do these fit together other than they are both things that the current admin has problems with?

Also, starting off with things that are obvious, but not easily proven as directly responsible (the torture) to things that are opinion ("enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance").

That is not a valid complaint. That is just plain starting a fight.

November 3rd, 2005, 09:33 AM
...you had NO shirkers in your group back in the day?
Oh, heck yeah ... but shirking is / was a protest in itself.

I had one sociology professor (tenured, of course) who told us all on the first day of class that the best thing we could learn from him: for a real education, quit college now & head out into the world.

TLOZ Link5
November 3rd, 2005, 05:56 PM
Loved this one:


November 4th, 2005, 07:39 AM
I heard an unsubstantiated rumor that Bush has requested asylum in Argentina.

November 4th, 2005, 10:53 AM
First he asked Venezuela, but he's just too popular there to live in peace.

TLOZ Link5
November 9th, 2005, 03:23 PM

Democrat wins signal trouble for Bush
Wed Nov 9, 2005 2:54 PM ET

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on Wednesday celebrated hard-fought wins in governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey that underlined the political troubles of President George W. Bush and Republicans heading into next year's congressional elections.

Democrats retained governor's offices in conservative Virginia and Democratic-leaning New Jersey on Tuesday after sometimes nasty campaigns. They also dealt California's Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger an across-the-board defeat on four ballot initiatives he had championed.

The loss in Virginia was a personal setback for Bush, who put his declining political capital on the line with an election-eve visit on behalf of Republican former attorney general Jerry Kilgore -- only to see him soundly defeated by Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine.

With Bush's popularity at the lowest level of his presidency, the results helped giddy Democrats claim momentum one year before elections to decide control of both chambers of the U.S. Congress and 36 governorships.

"Yesterday the election was a shot across the bow to George Bush," said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic Senate campaign committee, who called the results "a clear repudiation of Bush" and the Republican agenda.

Republicans cautioned against reading too much into the results, saying the elections produced no signs of widespread anti-incumbent sentiment. Redistricting initiatives that could have hurt incumbents in Ohio and California went down to defeat and no governors' offices changed parties.


"There is not a big anti-incumbent movement building out there," said Carl Forti, spokesman for the House Republican campaign committee. "This is a snapshot in time that doesn't mean a lot."

Historically, the governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey have been particularly bad indicators of future party performance, said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Republicans won the Virginia and New Jersey governors' races in 1997 only to lose seats in both chambers of Congress the next year. In 2001, Democrats won the two governors' races and lost seats in Congress in 2002.

"The elections were decided on local and state issues and the candidates and their agendas," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "I do not think you can conclude it represents any larger trend whatsoever."

But Democrats were heartened on several fronts. In addition to the hit in prestige suffered by one-time rising Republican star Schwarzenegger a year before he seeks re-election in California, social conservatives lost several key votes.

In Dover, Pennsylvania, where a court battle rages over the teaching of an "intelligent design" alternative to evolution, voters ousted eight of the nine incumbents on the local school board who supported that curriculum.

Voters in Maine approved the state's law protecting homosexuals from discrimination, although Texas backed a ban on gay marriage.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, incumbent Democratic Mayor Randy Kelly was ousted by voters a year after endorsing Bush, with polls showing the endorsement was a big factor in the loss.


Kaine, the Virginia Democrat, won the rapidly growing outer suburban areas of Washington, D.C., where Republicans earned solid majorities in 2004. Kilgore's poor showing could give pause to Republicans considering calling on the president for help in the 2006 elections.

"I think it would have been closer if the president hadn't gone in there," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told reporters.

"It really is a disaster for Bush," said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, who called the results "the logical consequence of Bush's growing unpopularity."

"Virginia is Southern and conservative and that's the Republican base," Sabato said. "If they start losing their base, it's easy to imagine both houses of Congress going Democratic."

The Virginia result also was a boost to the presidential prospects of Democratic Gov. Mark Warner, who was barred by law from seeking a second term but actively campaigned for his deputy Kaine, who promised voters he would continue Warner's policies.

"May I just say I'm looking forward to standing with you at your next victory party," Kaine told Warner at the Tuesday night victory celebration.

(Additional reporting by Patricia Wilson)

© Reuters 2005. All rights reserved.

November 12th, 2005, 11:51 AM

Let’s Try Baloney

The White House is way off track. Only something radical can rally Bush’s presidency.

By Eleanor Clift (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4900886/site/newsweek/)
Updated: 1:42 p.m. ET Nov. 11, 2005

Nov. 11, 1005 - Things aren’t getting better in Bush land. They had a horrific week with the election results. Virginia, a Red State, elected a new governor, Tim Kaine, a Democrat to the left of current Gov. Mark Warner, who’s now a hot presidential prospect as a Democrat who can bridge the divide between Red and Blue America.

Events were no better elsewhere. Bombings of hotels in Amman, Jordan, begged the question: Why can’t we capture Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born insurgent leader in Iraq suspected of carrying out the attacks—or Osama bin Laden for that matter? Al-Zarqawi moves beyond the borders of Iraq to become a regional threat while Vice President Dick Cheney, a veteran of multiple draft deferments, battles Sen. John McCain, a former POW, for pushing an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that puts the U.S. government on record opposing torture.

Something is deeply askew in the White House when the priorities are so off kilter. Unless events conspire to save President George W. Bush—Iraq turns around, the economy improves for average workers (not just oil execs), and the price of energy comes down—he is heading for a full meltdown, a scary prospect when you realize he’s president for three more years. What’s needed now is the political imagination to change direction, the way President Bill Clinton did after losing both the House and Senate in 1994.

Bush went on the offensive Friday, saying in a Veteran’s Day speech that critics of his Iraq policies are undercutting American soldiers on the front lines. He also attacked Democrats who claim that pre-war intelligence was manipulated by the White House. But evidence to the contrary will make this a hard sell.

The people who most want Bush to succeed are the alumni of his father’s administration, and they are in despair over the state of the White House. One former diplomat after three glasses of wine at an embassy dinner confessed that he has a recurring image of the White House as a crab with seven atrophied legs and one over-developed leg, which would be Karl Rove, pulling everything along. “If he goes, there’s nothing left.” Exhausted and demoralized Bush aides are turning on each other and leaking stories to the press, a breakdown in discipline that was common in the Clinton White House, but new to the Bush operation.
Friends of the senior Bush are blaming Cheney for usurping too much power, but that’s why they wanted him there, as a minder for the man-child who should never have been made president.

This is a battle between the Bushes of Kennebunkport and the Bushes of Crawford, and who prevails will determine which direction Bush 43 goes for the rest of his term. The Connecticut crowd is headed by Bush 41 with Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser, speaking for the father, James Baker the consigliore, and chief-of-staff Andy Card their mole. Scowcroft has terminally offended the White House with his anti-Iraq war views. “He might as well be dead,” says the former diplomat. “If you say anything publicly, you’re frozen out. You have to show comity toward them, or they won’t listen to you.”

Suiting up on the Crawford side is Rove, and of course Bush 43, who reinforce each other. If Bush sticks with Rove and goes to the right, there’s a ceiling on his popularity at best of 45 percent. If he moves to the center, like the Bush 41 crowd would like, the base collapses and he doesn’t necessarily pick up votes in the center. The administration is too far gone, the problems intractable.

When Clinton got into trouble, he reached outside his White House and secretly consulted with pollster Dick Morris, whose strategy of “triangulation” positioned Clinton between the Democrats and the Republican Congress, and revived his presidency. The elder Bush’s allies are pushing to bring in two or three people who can talk to Bush and help fashion fresh approaches to the nation’s problems in the State of the Union address early next year. Who might those people be? After a long silence, the diplomat suggested Jim Baker, who has come to the rescue before, but who is better suited to working behind the scenes. The Right distrusts him and would rebel if they saw Baker’s fingerprints.

The other name offered was Condoleeza Rice, who Bush calls “mother hen.” She spends time with him—biking, pumping iron and taking walks—or at least she did when she was national security adviser and didn’t travel so much. “He needs people who affirm him,” said the diplomat, recalling Harriet Miers’s note to then Gov. Bush that he was “deserving of the greatest respect.” In this diplomat’s assessment, having known the Bush family, respect is the key word. Bush for years was the ne’er do well son of a respected, duty-bound father, and he’s still playing catch-up in the family Oedipal drama.

Talking to Bush requires what diplomats call the “baloney sandwich approach.” It works like this: Your spouse has run up the credit cards. Confronting her will provoke a fight. So you flatter her, tell her what a great wife and mother she is; then present this teeny little problem the two of you can work together to solve because you love her so much. Bush’s world has collapsed in on him. It’s time to try something new, even if it’s baloney.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10005266/site/newsweek/page/2/ (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10005266/site/newsweek/page/2/)

November 12th, 2005, 01:35 PM
Newsweek poll:
Just 36 percent of Americans support Bush

RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/)

From a release issued to RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/).


MAJORITY BELIEVES BUSH 'WON'T BE ABLE TO GET MUCH DONE FOR THE REST OF HIS SECOND TERM'New York -- A majority of Americans polled disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president-an all time low in the Newsweek Poll.

After recent events, such as the withdrawal of the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination and the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, 58 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of his job -- a five-point decrease in approval since the September 29-30 Newsweek Poll.

On the topic of how Bush is handling certain aspects of his job, 60 percent of those polled disapprove of the way he is handling the economy, 32 percent approve. Seventy-three percent disapprove of Bush's handling of oil prices, 20 percent approve.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time, a seven-point drop in satisfaction since the last Newsweek Poll. Only 26 percent are satisfied. Forty-two percent of those polled say that they disapprove of Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court; 42 percent approve. Forty percent say that Samuel Alito should be confirmed to the Supreme Court, 26 percent say he should not be confirmed, 34 percent don't know.

When asked if they think Bush can be an effective president during his last three years in office, a 56 percent-majority say the President 'won't be able to get much done.'

The president and his administration are also suffering an emerging credibility gap: 42 percent of those polled think the phrase 'is honest and ethical' describes Bush, 50 percent disagree.

When asked if the same phrase describes Dick Cheney, 55 percent said no, it does not, and 29 percent said it did. In the role that the vice president has played in this administration, 34 percent said he has been given too much power by the president, 45 percent say he has been given the right amount. When broken down by political party, 72 percent of Republicans say that Cheney has been given the right amount of power, 12 percent say he has been given too much; whereas 47 percent of Democrats say he has been given too much and 32 percent say it has been the right amount.

Fifty-two percent of Americans believe that Cheney was part of a cover up to try to prevent the special prosecutor from getting the truth about who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to the news media, 27 percent do not believe he was involved.

November 12th, 2005, 04:59 PM
The president and his administration are also suffering an emerging credibility gap:
42 percent of those polled think the phrase 'is honest and ethical' describes Bush, 50 percent disagree.


November 15th, 2005, 08:01 AM
Another Set of Scare Tactics

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005; A21

Mr. President, it won't work this time.

With a Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll finding 57 percent of Americans agreeing that George W. Bush "deliberately misled people to make the case for war with Iraq," the president clearly needs to tend to his credibility problems. But his partisan attacks on the administration's critics, in a Veterans Day speech last week and in Alaska yesterday, will only add to his troubles.

Bush was not subtle. He said that anyone accusing his administration of having "manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people" was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. "These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will," Bush declared last week. "As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them."

You wonder: Did Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the Valerie Plame leak investigation, send the wrong signal to our troops and our enemy by daring to seek the indictment of Scooter Libby on a charge of perjury and obstruction of justice? Must Americans who support our troops desist from any criticism of the use of intelligence by the administration?

There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.

The current President Bush did the opposite. He pressured Congress for a vote before the 2002 election, and the war resolution passed in October.

Sen. Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat who is no dove, warned of rushing "pell-mell" into an endorsement of broad war powers for the president. The Los Angeles Times reported that Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, protested in September: "We're being asked to go to war, and vote on it in a matter of days. We need an intelligence estimate before we can seriously vote." And Rep. Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, put it plainly: "This will be one of the most important decisions Congress makes in a number of years; I do not believe it should be made in the frenzy of an election year." But it was.

Grand talk about liberating Iraq gave way to cheap partisan attacks. In New Mexico, Republican Steve Pearce ran an advertisement against Democrat John Arthur Smith declaring: "While Smith 'reflects' on the situation, the possibility of a mushroom cloud hovering over a U.S. city still remains." Note that Smith wasn't being attacked for opposing the war, only for reflecting on it. God forbid that any Democrat dare even think before going to war.

Marc Racicot, then chairman of the Republican National Committee, said about the late Sen. Paul Wellstone's opposition to the war resolution: "He has set about to diminish the capacity of this nation to defend itself. That is a legitimate issue." Wellstone, who died in a plane crash a few days before the election, was not intimidated. But other Democrats were.

The bad faith of Bush's current argument is staggering. He wants to say that the "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate" who "voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power" thereby gave up their right to question his use of intelligence forever after. But he does not want to acknowledge that he forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.

By linking the war on terrorism to a partisan war against Democrats, Bush undercut his capacity to lead the nation in this fight. And by resorting to partisan attacks again last week, Bush only reminded us of the shameful circumstances in which the whole thing started.

postchat@aol.com (postchat@aol.com)

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


TLOZ Link5
November 22nd, 2005, 02:46 PM

Gallup: Bush Approval Rating at 37% as He Slides Far Behind Clinton on 'Trust'

By E&P Staff

Published: November 14, 2005 5:20 PM ET

NEW YORK A new Gallup Poll this afternoon showed President Bush's approval rating sliding to a new low of 37%, and his "trust" rating slipping far below that of his predecessor Bill Clinton.

Some 53% say they trust what Bush says less than they trusted previous presidents. In a match-up with President Clinton, those surveyed say they trust Bush less, by 48%-36%.

Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues.

The 37% approval rating is consistent with all other major polls, including one by Fox News.

In addition, a record high 60% say in the Gallup survey, taken this past weekend, that going to war in Iraq was "not worth it," and 54% say it was "a mistake" to send troops there.

A new high for Republicans who disapprove of the job Bush is doing, 19%, has appeared, but still dwarfed by the 2 in 3 indepednents and 91% of Democrats.

For the first time — by 49%-48% — a plurality disapprove of the way Bush is handling the issue of terrorism. Six in 10 disapprove of the way he's handling foreign affairs, the economy, Iraq and immigration, and 71% disapprove of him on controlling federal spending.

©Copyright 2005 E&P

November 25th, 2005, 08:21 AM
Graphics showing the American public's loss of confidence in Bush et al ( http://www.bradblog.com/ ) :

http://www.edwardsdavid.com/media/brad/images/USR5_bush_approval_cart_051122a.jpg (http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50StatePOTUS1105SortbyState.htm)

Approval statistics by Survey USA (http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50StatePOTUS1105SortbyState.htm)

http://www.bradblog.com/Images/RedBlue_ApprovalMap_112205.gif (http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2005/50StatePOTUS1105SortbyState.htm)

November 27th, 2005, 03:47 PM
"No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq.
But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future.
Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so..."

Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
Sunday 27 November 2005

George W. Bush is so desperate for allies that his hapless Asian tour took him to Ulan Bator, a first for an American president, so he could mingle with the yaks and give personal thanks for Mongolia's contribution of some 160 soldiers to "the coalition of the willing." Dick Cheney, whose honest-and-ethical poll number hit 29 percent in Newsweek's latest survey, is so radioactive that he vanished into his bunker for weeks at a time during the storms Katrina and Scootergate.

The whole world can see that both men are on the run. Just how much so became clear in the brace of nasty broadsides each delivered this month about Iraq. Neither man engaged the national debate ignited by John Murtha about how our troops might be best redeployed in a recalibrated battle against Islamic radicalism. Neither offered a plan for "victory." Instead, both impugned their critics' patriotism and retreated into the past to defend the origins of the war. In a seasonally appropriate impersonation of the misanthropic Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life," the vice president went so far as to label critics of the administration's prewar smoke screen both "dishonest and reprehensible" and "corrupt and shameless." He sounded but one epithet away from a defibrillator.

The Washington line has it that the motivation for the Bush-Cheney rage is the need to push back against opponents who have bloodied the White House in the polls. But, Mr. Murtha notwithstanding, the Democrats are too feeble to merit that strong a response. There is more going on here than politics.

Much more: each day brings slam-dunk evidence that the doomsday threats marshaled by the administration to sell the war weren't, in Cheney-speak, just dishonest and reprehensible but also corrupt and shameless. The more the president and vice president tell us that their mistakes were merely innocent byproducts of the same bad intelligence seen by everyone else in the world, the more we learn that this was not so. The web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House. The real point of the Bush-Cheney verbal fisticuffs this month, like the earlier campaign to take down Joseph Wilson, is less to smite Democrats than to cover up wrongdoing in the executive branch between 9/11 and shock and awe.

The cover-up is failing, however. No matter how much the president and vice president raise their decibel levels, the truth keeps roaring out. A nearly 7,000-word investigation in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/la-na-curveball20nov20,1,6788510.story?ctrack=1&cset=true) found that Mr. Bush and his aides had "issued increasingly dire warnings" about Iraq's mobile biological weapons labs long after U.S. intelligence authorities were told by Germany's Federal Intelligence Service that the principal source for these warnings, an Iraqi defector in German custody code-named Curveball, "never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so." The five senior German intelligence officials who spoke to The Times said they were aghast that such long-discredited misinformation from a suspected fabricator turned up in Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations and in the president's 2003 State of the Union address (where it shared billing with the equally bogus 16 words about Saddam's fictitious African uranium).

Right after the L.A. Times scoop, Murray Waas filled in another piece of the prewar propaganda puzzle. He reported in the nonpartisan National Journal (http://nationaljournal.com/about/njweekly/stories/2005/1122nj1.htm) that 10 days after 9/11, "President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda."

The information was delivered in the President's Daily Brief, a C.I.A. assessment also given to the vice president and other top administration officials. Nonetheless Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney repeatedly pounded in an implicit (and at times specific) link between Saddam and Al Qaeda until Americans even started to believe that the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by Iraqis. More damning still, Mr. Waas finds that the "few credible reports" of Iraq-Al Qaeda contacts actually involved efforts by Saddam to monitor or infiltrate Islamic terrorist groups, which he regarded as adversaries of his secular regime. Thus Saddam's antipathy to Islamic radicals was the same in 2001 as it had been in 1983, when Donald Rumsfeld, then a Reagan administration emissary, embraced the dictator as a secular fascist ally in the American struggle against the theocratic fascist rulers in Iran.

What these revelations also tell us is that Mr. Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 Congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Mr. Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Senator Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Al Qaeda collaboration.

The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie? The situation recalls Mary McCarthy's explanation to Dick Cavett about why she thought Lillian Hellman was a dishonest writer: "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.' "

If Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney believe they were truthful in the run-up to the war, it's easy for them to make their case. Instead of falsely claiming that they've been exonerated by two commissions that looked into prewar intelligence - neither of which addressed possible White House misuse and mischaracterization of that intelligence - they should just release the rest of the President's Daily Briefs and other prewar documents that are now trickling out. Instead, incriminatingly enough, they are fighting the release of any such information, including unclassified documents found in post-invasion Iraq requested from the Pentagon by the pro-war, neocon Weekly Standard. As Scott Shane reported in The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/31/politics/31war.html) last month, Vietnam documents are now off limits, too: the National Security Agency won't make public a 2001 historical report on how American officials distorted intelligence in 1964 about the Gulf of Tonkin incident for fear it might "prompt uncomfortable comparisons" between the games White Houses played then and now to gin up wars.

Sooner or later - probably sooner, given the accelerating pace of recent revelations - this embarrassing information will leak out anyway. But the administration's deliberate efforts to suppress or ignore intelligence that contradicted its Iraq crusade are only part of the prewar story. There were other shadowy stations on the disinformation assembly line. Among them were the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group, a two-man Pentagon operation specifically created to cherry-pick intelligence for Mr. Cheney's apocalyptic Iraqi scenarios, and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), in which Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and the Cheney hands Lewis Libby and Mary Matalin, among others, plotted to mainline this propaganda into the veins of the press and public. These murky aspects of the narrative - like the role played by a private P.R. contractor, the Rendon Group, examined by James Bamford in the current Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/8798997) - have yet to be recounted in full.

No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq. But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future. Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so. Indeed, they do so even in the same speeches in which they vehemently deny having misled us then - witness Mr. Bush's false claims about what prewar intelligence was seen by Congress and Mr. Cheney's effort last Monday to again conflate the terrorists of 9/11 with those "making a stand in Iraq." (Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for Centcom, says the Iraqi insurgency is 90 percent homegrown.) These days Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney routinely exaggerate the readiness of Iraqi troops, much as they once inflated Saddam's W.M.D.'s.

"We're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," the vice president said of his critics. "We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them." But according to a Harris poll released by The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, 64 percent of Americans now believe that the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends." That's why it's Mr. Cheney's and the president's own words that are being thrown back now - not to rewrite history but to reveal it for the first time to an angry country that has learned the hard way that it can no longer afford to be without the truth.

November 27th, 2005, 05:17 PM
Bush Lost.

November 27th, 2005, 05:51 PM
^ But that sure as hell didn't stop him and his cohorts from mucking things up for you, me & the grandchildren of everyone who reads this.


November 28th, 2005, 09:42 AM
^ But that sure as hell didn't stop him and his cohorts from mucking things up for you, me & the grandchildren of everyone who reads this.

I guess I should not read this then!!!!


November 28th, 2005, 11:05 AM
^ lol - unfortunately "head in sand" position offers no immunity to Bush fallout...


December 1st, 2005, 11:58 PM
December 1, 2005

Plan: We Win

We've seen it before: an embattled president so swathed in his inner circle that he completely loses touch with the public and wanders around among small knots of people who agree with him. There was Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's, Richard Nixon in the 1970's, and George H. W. Bush in the 1990's. Now it's his son's turn.

It has been obvious for months that Americans don't believe the war is going just fine, and they needed to hear that President Bush gets that. They wanted to see that he had learned from his mistakes and adjusted his course, and that he had a measurable and realistic plan for making Iraq safe enough to withdraw United States troops. Americans didn't need to be convinced of Mr. Bush's commitment to his idealized version of the war. They needed to be reassured that he recognized the reality of the war.

Instead, Mr. Bush traveled 32 miles from the White House to the Naval Academy and spoke to yet another of the well-behaved, uniformed audiences that have screened him from the rest of America lately. If you do not happen to be a midshipman, you'd have to have been watching cable news at midmorning on a weekday to catch him.

The address was accompanied by a voluminous handout entitled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," which the White House grandly calls the newly declassified version of the plan that has been driving the war. If there was something secret about that plan, we can't figure out what it was. The document, and Mr. Bush's speech, were almost entirely a rehash of the same tired argument that everything's going just fine. Mr. Bush also offered the usual false choice between sticking to his policy and beating a hasty and cowardly retreat.

On the critical question of the progress of the Iraqi military, the president was particularly optimistic, and misleading. He said, for instance, that Iraqi security forces control major areas, including the northern and southern provinces and cities like Najaf. That's true if you believe a nation can be built out of a change of clothing: these forces are based on party and sectarian militias that have controlled many of these same areas since the fall of Saddam Hussein but now wear Iraqi Army uniforms. In other regions, the most powerful Iraqi security forces are rogue militias that refuse to disarm and have on occasion turned their guns against American troops, like Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

Mr. Bush's vision of the next big step is equally troubling: training Iraqi forces well enough to free American forces for more of the bloody and ineffective search-and-destroy sweeps that accomplish little beyond alienating the populace.

What Americans wanted to hear was a genuine counterinsurgency plan, perhaps like one proposed by Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a leading writer on military strategy: find the most secure areas with capable Iraqi forces. Embed American trainers with those forces and make the region safe enough to spend money on reconstruction, thus making friends and draining the insurgency. Then slowly expand those zones and withdraw American forces.

Americans have been clamoring for believable goals in Iraq, but Mr. Bush stuck to his notion of staying until "total victory." His strategy document defines that as an Iraq that "has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency"; is "peaceful, united, stable, democratic and secure"; and is a partner in the war on terror, an integral part of the international community, and "an engine for regional economic growth and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region."

That may be the most grandiose set of ambitions for the region since the vision of Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, who saw the hand writing on the wall. Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969 Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for the Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not much different from Nixon's plans - except Nixon admitted the war was going very badly (which was easier for him to do because he didn't start it), and he was very clear about the risks and huge sacrifices ahead.

A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon needs to get out more.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

December 2nd, 2005, 11:08 AM
The New York Times editorial page ahs always been critical of Bush. Maybe there's a real reason to critisize him now, but they have no credibility.

December 2nd, 2005, 11:25 AM
There's always been a real reason to criticize Bush - his ineptitude didn't begin just recently.

December 2nd, 2005, 11:32 AM
It's a good idea to read a variety of newspapers, with different editorial leanings. Along with the NYTimes and Wash Post, I read the WSJ and NY Sun.

Do you agree or disagree with the opinions expressed in the editorial? That's more important than justifying your views to the newspaper...or vice versa.

December 2nd, 2005, 11:54 AM
Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969 Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for the Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not much different from Nixon's plans
The comparison goes further.

Vietnamization meant less U.S. troops on the ground. When air-power was used to make up the shortfall, the U.S. was viewed more as an aggressor, fighting from a distance. The Viet Cong avoided bombings by crossing into Laos and Cambodia. Eventually, those countries were also subjected to air-strikes, so while the number of troops decreased, the war expanded.

An expansion of the war could easily occur in Iraq. While the possibility of ground troops moving into Syria and Iran is remote, air-strikes across the borders is easier to justify politically.

December 5th, 2005, 01:02 PM

By Richard Reeves
Dec 2, 2005

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucrr/20051203/cm_ucrr/isgeorgebushtheworstpresidentever;_ylt=AqBSp.Ea9lh XHB8ZaXQlm5.QWxIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBidHQxYjh2BHNlYwN5bnN 0b3J5

PARIS -- President John F. Kennedy was considered a historian because of his book "Profiles in Courage," so he received periodic requests to rate the presidents, those lists that usually begin "1. Lincoln, 2. Washington ..."

But after he actually became president himself, he stopped filling them out.

"No one knows what it's like in this office," he said after being in the job.
"Even with poor James Buchanan, you can't understand what he did and why without sitting in his place, looking at the papers that passed on his desk, knowing the people he talked with."

Poor James Buchanan, the 15th president, is generally considered the worst president in history. Ironically, the Pennsylvania Democrat, elected in 1856, was one of the most qualified of the 43 men who have served in the highest office. A lawyer, a self-made man, Buchanan served with some distinction in the House, served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and secretary of state under President James K. Polk. He had a great deal to do with the United States becoming a continental nation -- "Manifest Destiny," war with Mexico, and all that. He was also ambassador to Great Britain and was offered a seat on the Supreme Court three separate times.

But he was a confused, indecisive president, who may have made the Civil War inevitable by trying to appease or negotiate with the South. His most recent biographer, Jean Clark, writing for the prestigious American Presidents Series, concluded this year that his actions probably constituted treason. It also did not help that his administration was as corrupt as any in history, and he was widely believed to be homosexual.

Whatever his sexual preferences, his real failures were in refusing to move after South Carolina announced secession from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter, and in supporting both the legality of the pro-slavery constitution of Kansas and the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott class declaring that escaped slaves were not people but property.

He was the guy who in 1861 passed on the mess to the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan set the standard, a tough record to beat. But there are serious people who believe that George W. Bush will prove to do that, be worse than Buchanan. I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents.

There are some numbers. The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than Buchanan.

This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:

He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;

He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;

He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;

He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;

He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign (Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);

He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;

He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;

He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.
Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.

Copyright © 2005 Yahoo! Inc.

December 5th, 2005, 01:48 PM
many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney

Oh!!!! SNAP! ;)

December 10th, 2005, 09:04 AM
This opinion piece expresses some fundamental changes taking place in Chile and which further mark the end of an era ...

Señora Presidente?

Santiago, Chile
Op-Ed Contributor
New York Times
December 9, 2005


CHILE is one of the more conservative countries on a continent that is not especially renowned as tolerant, forward thinking or democratically minded. Divorce was legalized here just last year, and abortion continues to be a taboo subject even for the most progressive of politicians. Our social codes and racial prejudices are deeply engrained. We are an overwhelmingly Catholic country with a history that has been marked - and continues to be marked - by the power of its military.

Given this context, it is nothing short of extraordinary - even revolutionary - that the clear front-runner in the presidential vote being held on Sunday is Michelle Bachelet, a divorced mother of three who is an atheist and a member of the Socialist Party.

Polls show Ms. Bachelet, a former defense minister, far ahead of her rivals, Sebastián Piñera, one of Chile's wealthiest businessmen; Joaquín Lavín, the ultraconservative former mayor of Santiago; and Tomás Hirsch of the Communist Party. Although a runoff is likely, the prevailing opinion here is that Ms. Bachelet will be the ultimate winner.

If she is, she will be the first woman in the Americas to be elected president not because she was a wife of a famous politician, but because of her own record. That this is a probability is even more astonishing when one considers that nothing like it has occurred in countries like the United States or France, where the democratic tradition is far more stable and feminism's impact presumably far greater. Curiously, American television is now running a series that revolves around the "novel" idea of a female president. What is fiction in the United States may well become reality in Chile.

The twist is that the Chilean candidate is a far more interesting character than the female president portrayed on American TV: as defense minister, Ms. Bachelet oversaw the successors and subordinates of the men who killed her father and tortured her and her mother during the darkest moments of the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

How has this happened? Chile, more than ever, is proving itself to be the polar opposite of Lampedusa's Sicily: in order for things to change, they have to stay the same - or rather, they have to look as if they are staying the same.

That is the best way I can describe the spirit with which the country seems to be anticipating the elections: people are aware that no matter what the outcome an unprecedented cultural, political and social revolution is taking place. And at the same time, they seem surprisingly unfazed by it all, observing these sweeping changes with ease, aplomb, even delight.

Perhaps this is because Chileans have by now grown accustomed to wild fluctuations in the country's political fortunes. This past year, the Chilean people saw rightist leaders - until recently General Pinochet's staunchest allies - renouncing all ties to him. General Pinochet is now under house arrest, held not only on human rights charges but also for his alleged role in a financial scandal involving millions of stolen dollars.

In countless other ways, the Pandora's box of Chilean politics has been flung wide open: nowadays it isn't at all strange to see an ultraconservative Catholic candidate signing his name on a transvestite's legs as a publicity stunt, nor is it odd to hear Ms. Bachelet talk about how hard it is to find Mr. Right.

For decades, even centuries, Chilean politics have largely been of the old-boy's-network variety, in which an all-male group of power brokers have run things on their own terms, within a select inner circle, forging alliances with one another and making deals with the press behind closed doors, far removed from the citizenry they represent.

Change in Chile has come at a breakneck pace in recent years, as justice is finally being delivered to dozens of dictatorship-era cronies, and the pillars of the church and the political elite have been shaken to their foundations by a wave of pedophilia scandals involving both.

The changes are abrupt and the contradictions are evident. Thanks to the country's growing economy, Chileans have access to more creature comforts than ever before, and yet prosperity somehow hasn't dulled their sensibilities: the populace that benefits from free-market economics also turned out in droves to pay tribute to Gladys Marín, the president of the Communist Party, when her coffin was carried through the streets of Santiago in March. People may be gulping down Starbucks and coveting iPods, but they are also devouring highly irreverent political magazines like The Clinic (for which I write) and flocking to politically oriented movies like "Machuca," which is about the 1973 coup led by General Pinochet.

Some analysts think that the free-market economy is responsible for this unprecedented change in Chile's political and social landscape. But other countries that follow that economic model (Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States), seem to be slouching in the opposite direction toward a retrograde, hard-line conservatism. Economics, then, clearly do not tell the entire story.

Other analysts attribute the change to the current president, Ricardo Lagos, who has concentrated on reconciling Chile with its tortured past. Even so the general consensus is that nobody - not Mr. Lagos, not the Chilean intelligentsia, and certainly not the power elite - was prepared for the seismic social and political shift represented by Ms. Bachelet's thriving candidacy. I don't think anyone would have predicted 10 years ago that we would ever arrive at this moment, but it seems that Chile is eager to usher it in. For us, political and economic stability - despite being so recent and so precious - is not enough.

Just as in 1970, when they went to the polls and elected a Socialist president, and again in 1988, when they rejected their dictator, Chileans have proved themselves to be far more daring with their vote than their lifestyles.

Perhaps this is because when they vote - in secret, where nobody can judge or criticize them - they reveal their truest colors, their passion for change, for improvisation and for leadership in a world that seems hell-bent on moving in the opposite direction.

Rafael Gumucio is a columnist for El Diario in New York and for newspapers in Chile. This article was translated by Kristina Cordero from the Spanish.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

December 13th, 2005, 08:24 AM
It Takes a Potemkin Village (http://deadissue.com/archives/2005/12/11/it-takes-a-potemkin-village/)

Dec. 11, 2005


WHEN a government substitutes propaganda for governing, the Potemkin village is all. Since we don’t get honest information from this White House, we must instead, as the Soviets once did, decode our rulers’ fictions to discern what’s really happening. What we’re seeing now is the wheels coming off: As the administration’s stagecraft becomes more baroque, its credibility tanks further both at home and abroad. The propaganda techniques may be echt Goebbels, but they increasingly come off as pure Ali G.

The latest desperate shifts in White House showmanship say at least as much about our progress (or lack of same) in Iraq over the past 32 months as reports from the ground. When President Bush announced the end of “major combat operations” in May 2003, his Imagineers felt the need for only a single elegant banner declaring “Mission Accomplished.” Cut to Nov. 30, 2005: the latest White House bumper sticker, “Plan for Victory,” multiplied by Orwellian mitosis over nearly every square inch of the rather “Queer Eye” stage set from which Mr. Bush delivered his oration at the Naval Academy.

And to no avail. Despite the insistently redundant graphics - and despite the repetition of the word “victory” 15 times in the speech itself - Americans believed “Plan for Victory” far less than they once did “Mission Accomplished.” The first New York Times-CBS News Poll since the Naval Academy pep talk, released last Thursday, found that only 25 percent of Americans say the president has “a clear plan for victory in Iraq.” Tom Cruise and evolution still have larger constituencies in America than that.

Mr. Bush’s “Plan for Victory” speech was, of course, the usual unadulterated nonsense. Its overarching theme - “We will never accept anything less than complete victory” - was being contradicted even as he spoke by rampant reports of Pentagon plans for stepped-up troop withdrawals between next week’s Iraqi elections and the more important (for endangered Republicans) American Election Day of 2006. The specifics were phony, too: Once again inflating the readiness of Iraqi troops, Mr. Bush claimed that the recent assault on Tal Afar “was primarily led by Iraqi security forces” - a fairy tale immediately unmasked by Michael Ware, a Time reporter embedded in that battle’s front lines, as “completely wrong.” No less an authority than the office of Iraq’s prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, promptly released a 59-page report documenting his own military’s inadequate leadership, equipment and training.

But this variety of Bush balderdash is such old news that everyone except that ga-ga 25 percent instantaneously tunes it out. We routinely assume that the subtext (i.e., the omissions and deliberate factual errors) of his speeches and scripted town meetings will be more revealing than the texts themselves. What raised the “Plan for Victory” show to new heights of disinformation was the subsequent revelation that the administration’s main stated motive for the address - the release of a 35-page document laying out a “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq” - was as much a theatrical prop as the stunt turkey the president posed with during his one furtive visit to Baghdad two Thanksgivings ago.

As breathlessly heralded by Scott McClellan, this glossy brochure was “an unclassified version” of the strategy in place since the war’s inception in “early 2003.” But Scott Shane of The New York Times told another story.

Through a few keystrokes, the electronic version of the document at whitehouse.gov could be manipulated to reveal text “usually hidden from public view.” What turned up was the name of the document’s originating author: Peter Feaver, a Duke political scientist who started advising the National Security Council only this June. Dr. Feaver is an expert on public opinion about war, not war itself. Thus we now know that what Mr. McClellan billed as a 2003 strategy for military victory is in fact a P.R. strategy in place for no more than six months. That solves the mystery of why Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey of the Army, who is in charge of training Iraqi troops, told reporters that he had never seen this “National Strategy” before its public release last month.

In a perfect storm of revelations, the “Plan for Victory” speech fell on the same day that The Los Angeles Times exposed new doings on another front in the White House propaganda war. An obscure Defense Department contractor, the Lincoln Group, was caught paying off Iraqi journalists to run upbeat news articles secretly written by American Army personnel and translated into Arabic (at a time when American troops in harm’s way are desperate for Arabic translators of their own). One of the papers running the fake news is Al Mutamar, the Baghdad daily run by associates of Ahmad Chalabi. So now we know that at least one P.R. plan, if not a plan for victory, has been consistent since early 2003. As Mr. Chalabi helped feed spurious accounts of Saddam’s W.M.D. to American newspapers to gin up the war, so his minions now help disseminate happy talk to his own country’s press to further the illusion that the war is being won.

The Lincoln Group’s articles (e.g., “The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq”) are not without their laughs - for us, if not for the Iraqis, whose intelligence is insulted and whose democratic aspirations are betrayed by them. But the texts are no more revealing than those of Mr. Bush’s speeches. Look instead at the cover-up that has followed the Los Angeles Times revelations. The administration and its frontmen at once started stonewalling from a single script. Mr. McClellan, Pentagon spokesmen, Senator John Warner and Donald Rumsfeld all give the identical answer to the many press queries. We don’t have the facts, they say, even as they maintain that the Lincoln Group articles themselves are factual.

The Pentagon earmarks more than $100 million in taxpayers’ money for various Lincoln Group operations, and it can’t get any facts? Though the 30-year-old prime mover in the shadowy outfit, one Christian Bailey, fled from Andrea Mitchell of NBC News when she pursued him on camera in Washington, certain facts are proving not at all elusive.

Ms. Mitchell and other reporters have learned that Mr. Bailey has had at least four companies since 2002, most of them interlocking, short-lived and under phantom names. Government Executive magazine also discovered that Mr. Bailey “was a founder and active participant in Lead21,” a Republican “fund-raising and networking operation” - which has since scrubbed his name from its Web site - and that he and a partner in his ventures once listed a business address identical to their Washington residence. This curious tale, with its trail of cash payoffs, trading in commercial Iraqi real estate and murky bidding procedures for lucrative U.S. government contracts, could have been lifted from “Syriana” or “Glengarry Glen Ross.” While Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. McClellan valiantly continue their search for “the facts,” what we know so far can safely be filed under the general heading of “Lay, DeLay and Abramoff.”

The more we learn about such sleaze in the propaganda war, the more we see it’s failing for the same reason as the real war: incompetence. Much as the disastrous Bremer regime botched the occupation of Iraq with bad decisions made by its array of administration cronies and relatives (among them Ari Fleischer’s brother), so the White House doesn’t exactly get the biggest bang for the bucks it shells out to cronies for fake news.

Until he was unmasked as an administration shill, Armstrong Williams was less known for journalism than for striking a deal to dismiss a messy sexual-harassment suit against him in 1999. When an Army commander had troops sign 500 identical good-news form letters to local newspapers throughout America in 2003, the fraud was so transparent it was almost instantly debunked. The fictional scenarios concocted for Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman also unraveled quickly, as did last weekend’s Pentagon account of 10 marines killed outside Falluja on a “routine foot patrol.” As the NBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski told Don Imus last week, he received calls within hours from the fallen’s loved ones about how the marines had been slaughtered after being recklessly sent to an unprotected site for a promotion ceremony.

Though the White House doesn’t know that its jig is up, everyone else does.

Americans see that New Orleans is in as sorry shape today as it was under Brownie three months ago. The bipartisan 9/11 commissioners confirm that homeland security remains a pork pit. Condi Rice’s daily clarifications of her clarifications about American torture policies are contradicted by new reports of horrors before her latest circumlocutions leave her mouth. And the president’s latest Iraq speeches - most recently about the “success” stories of Najaf and Mosul - still don’t stand up to the most rudimentary fact checking.

This is why the most revealing poll number in the Times/CBS survey released last week was Mr. Bush’s approval rating for the one area where things are going relatively well, the economy: 38 percent, only 2 points higher than his rating on Iraq. It’s a measure of the national cynicism bequeathed by the Bush culture that seeing anything, even falling prices at the pump, is no longer believing.

TLOZ Link5
December 13th, 2005, 09:51 PM


Death of an American City

We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum.

We said this wouldn't happen. President Bush said it wouldn't happen. He stood in Jackson Square and said, "There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans." But it has been over three months since Hurricane Katrina struck and the city is in complete shambles.

There are many unanswered questions that will take years to work out, but one is make-or-break and needs to be dealt with immediately. It all boils down to the levee system. People will clear garbage, live in tents, work their fingers to the bone to reclaim homes and lives, but not if they don't believe they will be protected by more than patches to the same old system that failed during the deadly storm. Homeowners, businesses and insurance companies all need a commitment before they will stake their futures on the city.

At this moment the reconstruction is a rudderless ship. There is no effective leadership that we can identify. How many people could even name the president's liaison for the reconstruction effort, Donald Powell? Lawmakers need to understand that for New Orleans the words "pending in Congress" are a death warrant requiring no signature.

The rumbling from Washington that the proposed cost of better levees is too much has grown louder. Pretending we are going to do the necessary work eventually, while stalling until the next hurricane season is upon us, is dishonest and cowardly. Unless some clear, quick commitments are made, the displaced will have no choice but to sink roots in the alien communities where they landed.

The price tag for protection against a Category 5 hurricane, which would involve not just stronger and higher levees but also new drainage canals and environmental restoration, would very likely run to well over $32 billion. That is a lot of money. But that starting point represents just 1.2 percent of this year's estimated $2.6 trillion in federal spending, which actually overstates the case, since the cost would be spread over many years. And it is barely one-third the cost of the $95 billion in tax cuts passed just last week by the House of Representatives.

Total allocations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terror have topped $300 billion. All that money has been appropriated as the cost of protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. But what was the worst possible case we fought to prevent?

Losing a major American city.

"We'll not just rebuild, we'll build higher and better," President Bush said that night in September. Our feeling, strongly, is that he was right and should keep to his word. We in New York remember well what it was like for the country to rally around our city in a desperate hour. New York survived and has flourished. New Orleans can too.

Of course, New Orleans's local and state officials must do their part as well, and demonstrate the political and practical will to rebuild the city efficiently and responsibly. They must, as quickly as possible, produce a comprehensive plan for putting New Orleans back together. Which schools will be rebuilt and which will be absorbed? Which neighborhoods will be shored up? Where will the roads go? What about electricity and water lines? So far, local and state officials have been derelict at producing anything that comes close to a coherent plan. That is unacceptable.

The city must rise to the occasion. But it will not have that opportunity without the levees, and only the office of the president is strong enough to goad Congress to take swift action. Only his voice is loud enough to call people home and convince them that commitments will be met.

Maybe America does not want to rebuild New Orleans. Maybe we have decided that the deficits are too large and the money too scarce, and that it is better just to look the other way until the city withers and disappears. If that is truly the case, then it is incumbent on President Bush and Congress to admit it, and organize a real plan to help the dislocated residents resettle into new homes. The communities that opened their hearts to the Katrina refugees need to know that their short-term act of charity has turned into a permanent commitment.

If the rest of the nation has decided it is too expensive to give the people of New Orleans a chance at renewal, we have to tell them so. We must tell them we spent our rainy-day fund on a costly stalemate in Iraq, that we gave it away in tax cuts for wealthy families and shareholders. We must tell them America is too broke and too weak to rebuild one of its great cities.

Our nation would then look like a feeble giant indeed. But whether we admit it or not, this is our choice to make. We decide whether New Orleans lives or dies.

©International Herald-Tribune, 2005

December 14th, 2005, 09:05 AM

NO needs to let itself be rebuilt. Not in a sense of just leaving these people out there in the rubble, but taking the areas of extremely low income individuals and just moving them further north, ABOVE sea level.

I know people cry about "home" and all that stuff, but looking at these neighborhoods even BEFORE the storm, they did not have a hell of a lot to talk about.

The community may be one thing that we have to try to save, but save it by relocating it in an area that is not prone to another catastrophic incident like this.

Restore the old town of NO, and get rid of the stuff that was built all around it that needs these levees to survive.

Find a way to curb the destructive industrial means and methods we have been incorporating to get the most $$ out of the delta (oil extraction/ shipping channels/ over farming of shrimp, etc....).

As for Bush doing anything about this, well.... It aint Texas, so I would not hold my breath.

Hell, if it was Alaska we would have had the National Security team building the town on buoys already!!! ;)

December 16th, 2005, 12:59 PM
Another choice piece of work from the boys at Jib Jab ...


http://content.jibjab.com/assets/images/205/205.jpg (http://javascript<b></b>:PlayMovie(123))

December 30th, 2005, 09:30 AM
The view from Europe ...


In defending the sexually explicit posters recently stricken from hundreds of billboards throughout Austria, artist Carlos Aires says he had no desire to offend anyone, "I suddenly had this image of three decision makers who are having an orgy while everything around them collapses."

Hey, we're only offended we weren't invited to the orgy.


'Porno posters' pulled from Vienna-wide project

Billboards depicted political leaders in a sex act

December 29, 2005


VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Depictions of the U.S., French and British heads of state naked and engaged in a sexual act will be removed from hundreds of billboards across Vienna after causing a national uproar, the artists decided Thursday.

Besides two images showing nude models wearing masks of President Bush, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and French President Jacques Chirac, another work also will be yanked, the Austria Press Agency reported.

That picture showed the lower torso of a woman in a suggestive pose and wearing nothing but EU-blue panties emblazoned with the stars symbol of the 25-nation European Union.

The work of "euroPART," an independent artists' group, had embarrassed the government just days before the country assumes the EU's rotating presidency Sunday.

Germany's "The Financial Times Deutschland" reported on the controversy under the headline "European Group Sex in Austria," and Italy's "Corriere della Sera," in its online edition, described the images as "not necessarily the height of good taste."

Austria's political opposition claimed the project had been at least indirectly financed by the government through an agency that disburses subsidies for cultural programs. Joseph Cap of the opposition Social Democratic party said the posters were backed in part by nearly $600,000 of taxpayers' money.

Aides to Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, seeking to contain the damage, described the posters as an "independent project" and said he was unaware of the subject matter being displayed.

Carlos Aires, the artist who created the two posters, denied his works were meant to offend, telling APA when asked for his motivation: "I suddenly had this image of three decision makers who are having an orgy while everything around them collapses."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press (http://edition.cnn.com/interactive_legal.html#AP)

January 17th, 2006, 08:14 AM
Bush Doctrine Needs Fixing, Critics Say

BY BRIAN McGUIRE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 17, 2006
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/25961

WASHINGTON - The strong showing for Iranian-backed Islamists in last month's Iraqi election and the expected gains by the Islamic terrorist group Hamas in the Palestinian Arab elections scheduled for later this month are prompting backers of the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East to call for refinements in implementing the policy - but not for its wholesale abandonment.

"The Bush Doctrine is correct, but the implementation is lousy," a former staff adviser on Iran and Iraq in the office of the secretary of defense and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Rubin, wrote in an e-mail from Iraq earlier this month. "The U.S. aid projects exist largely on the drawing board, while Iranian-backed parties are giving out welfare from offices spread across southern Iraq."

Another resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Ledeen, called for expanding the democratization push to Iraq's neighbors.

"What I've always said is that you cannot win a regional war by conducting it in just one place," Mr. Ledeen told The New York Sun. "With regard to Iraq, our failure to deal with Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran, and just focus on Iraq by itself was doomed from the beginning. And I said that before we went into Iraq."

Mr. Ledeen, who wrote the 2002 book "The War Against the Terror Masters," said he stands by the Bush strategy of promoting democracy as an antidote to terrorism despite what he regards as its flawed implementation. "I agree entirely that the way to defeat the terror masters is by the spread of Democratic revolution," Mr. Ledeen said. "But you can't do it this way. In the abstract, it's hard to imagine a representative government in Iraq without what we call fundamentalists in it. They are part of the population. They will participate. But that they are radical Islamists who want what Iran wants - that seems to have been avoidable. But only if we fought the broader war. It means supporting the enemies of the Islamic regime of Iran in Iran. My view is that if we supported that from the beginning, the Iraq elections would have been different."

Another scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA specialist on the Middle East, said the ascendance of a religious faction is to be expected even in democratic elections in Iraq and other predominantly Muslim countries.

"I am pretty much of the opinion that for democracy to succeed in the Middle East, it will inevitably include Islamic fundamentalists in the process, if not the cutting edge," Mr. Gerecht said. "It is fair to say that there are those in the Bush administration who are certainly uncomfortable with the fact that religiously defined parties of varying levels of militancy will obviously do better as the democracy grows. But I'm not much discomforted by that, because I think it's an essential part of the process of the collapse of bin Ladenism in the Middle East."

Many of those who have embraced the Bush Doctrine as an antidote to terrorism make a distinction between free elections and free societies. They say that if they have one major criticism of how the doctrine has been implemented, it is the Bush administration's focus on elections above all else. Ron Dermer, who, with an Israeli politician and former Soviet refusenik, Natan Sharansky, co-authored the book "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror," said the expected success of Hamas in the January 25 election in the Palestinian Authority says more about a lack of freedom among Palestinian Arabs than it does about the effectiveness of the Bush Doctrine.

"I think there are a lot of Palestinians who live in fear and don't express themselves freely, but for one reason or another their survival depends on support for Hamas or the PA," Mr. Dermer said. "I think if the PA was an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people rather than cozying up to terrorist organizations, the whole situation would be different. Hamas's success is a result of continued oppression within Palestinian society."

Mr. Bush has endorsed "The Case for Democracy" as a summary of his thought. Mr. Dermer said he still supports the Bush Doctrine.

"I think if I have any criticism, it's that the whole doctrine has come to mean having elections as soon as possible, and that's not what this is all about," Mr. Dermer said. "I don't want to in any way discount what has happened in Iraq, because I think the amazing thing there is how many people went out to vote. ... But I don't think you want to micromanage change. The important thing is to focus on ensuring that there is more freedom. The focus now has to be not on the composition of the government, but how it treats its own people.Is it working to expand and protect freedom among Iraqis?"

Mr. Dermer said, "The results may not have been exactly what the U.S. wanted, but the question is do you have an increased space for freedom?"

The president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Clifford May, said the Bush Doctrine is better than any of the alternatives.

"I continue to believe that, as a matter of both policy and morality, America should support those in the Middle East who are pro-freedom, pro-Democracy and pro-human rights. That does not guarantee they will succeed," Mr. May said. "But our support for their oppressors is a proven failure, a policy to which we should not revert. Is there another serious alternative?"

January 20th, 2006, 02:22 PM
Can't wait for the fall out from Abramoff.

Meanwhile: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=79861&postcount=32

January 22nd, 2006, 09:38 AM
Bush and Abramoff—Say Cheese?

online Washingtonian

White House press secretary Scott McClellan admits that the White House has been on a search mission for any photos showing President Bush with toxic lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is cooperating with the Justice Department on its investigation of a wide-ranging lobbying scandal.

At a press conference, McClellan said if there were pictures, which officials hadn’t found, they might have been taken at a Christmas-party line, where the President poses with hundreds of people. “The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him,” McClellan said.

The comment about searching raised images in the press room of a “White House plumbers” operation looking for incriminating photos.

If the White House can’t find the photos, prosecutors already know where to look. The Washingtonian has seen five photos of the President with Abramoff or his family. One photo shows the President and Abramoff shaking hands at a meeting in the Old Executive Office Building, where a bearded-Abramoff introduced Bush to several of the lobbyist’s native-American clients.

Abramoff was named a “pioneer” in the Bush presidential campaign, collecting more than $100,000, in $2,000 maximum increments, for his campaign in 2004. Bush has returned $6,000 of Abramoff’s contributions, the part that would represent the legal limit for Abramoff; his wife, Pam; and a client.

Sources say the photographs are being kept safe. Abramoff would tell prosecutors, if asked, that not only did he know the President, but the President knew the names of Abramoff’s children and asked about them during their meetings. At one such photo session, Bush discussed the fact that both he and Abramoff were fathers of twins.

Copyright ©2006 by Washington Magazine Inc.

January 22nd, 2006, 09:47 AM
Pix Fix: Are the photos of Bush and Abramoff just several
of thousands of "clicks" taken of the President or evidence
of a deeper acquaintance?

When George Met Jack

White House aides deny the President knew lobbyist Abramoff,
but unpublished photos shown to TIME suggest there's more to the story

By ADAM ZAGORIN AND MIKE ALLEN (http://javascript<b></b>:void(0))

TIME Magazine
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2006


As details poured out about the illegal and unseemly activities of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, White House officials sought to portray the scandal as a Capitol Hill affair with little relevance to them. Peppered for days with questions about Abramoff's visits to the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said the now disgraced lobbyist had attended two huge holiday receptions and a few "staff-level meetings" that were not worth describing further. "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him," McClellan said.

The President's memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed. While TIME's source refused to provide the pictures for publication, they are likely to see the light of day eventually because celebrity tabloids are on the prowl for them. And that has been a fear of the Bush team's for the past several months: that a picture of the President with the admitted felon could become the iconic image of direct presidential involvement in a burgeoning corruption scandal—like the shots of President Bill Clinton at White House coffees for campaign contributors in the mid-1990s.

In one shot that TIME saw, Bush appears with Abramoff, several unidentified people and Raul Garza Sr., a Texan Abramoff represented who was then chairman of the Kickapoo Indians, which owned a casino in southern Texas.

Garza, who is wearing jeans and a bolo tie in the picture, told TIME that Bush greeted him as "Jefe," or "chief" in Spanish. Another photo shows Bush shaking hands with Abramoff in front of a window and a blue drape. The shot bears Bush's signature, perhaps made by a machine. Three other photos are of Bush, Abramoff and, in each view, one of the lobbyist's sons (three of his five children are boys). A sixth picture shows several Abramoff children with Bush and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is now pushing to tighten lobbying laws after declining to do so last year when the scandal was in its early stages.

Most of the pictures have the formal look of photos taken at presidential receptions. The images of Bush, Abramoff and one of his sons appear to be the rapid-fire shots—known in White House parlance as clicks—that the President snaps with top supporters before taking the podium at fund-raising receptions. Over five years, Bush has posed for tens of thousands of such shots—many with people he does not know. Last month 9,500 people attended holiday receptions at the White House, and most went two by two through a line for a photo with the President and the First Lady. The White House is generous about providing copies—in some cases, signed by the President—that become centerpieces for "walls of fame" throughout status-conscious Washington.

Abramoff knew the game. In a 2001 e-mail to a lawyer for tribal leader Lovelin Poncho, he crows about an upcoming meeting at the White House that he had arranged for Poncho and says it should be a priceless asset in his client's upcoming re-election campaign as chief of Louisiana's Coushatta Indians. "By all means mention (in the tribal newsletter) that the Chief is being asked to confer with the President and is coming to Washington for this purpose in May," Abramoff writes. "We'll definitely have a photo from the opportunity, which he can use." The lawyer had asked about attire, and Abramoff advises, "As to dress, probably suit and tie would work best."

The e-mail, now part of a wide-ranging federal investigation into lobbying practices and lobbyists' relationships with members of Congress, offers a window into Abramoff's willingness to trade on ties to the White House and to invoke Bush's name to impress clients who were spending tens of millions of dollars on Abramoff's advice.

Abramoff was once in better graces at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, having raised at least $100,000 for the President's re-election campaign. During 2001 and 2002, his support for Republicans and connections to the White House won him invitations to Hanukkah receptions, each attended by 400 to 500 people. McClellan has said Abramoff may have been present at "other widely attended" events. He was also admitted to the White House complex for meetings with several staff members, including one with presidential senior adviser Karl Rove, one of the most coveted invitations in Washington.

Michael Scanlon, who is Abramoff's former partner and has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a Congressman, in 2001 told the New Times of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that Abramoff had "a relationship" with the President. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one," Scanlon said. Nonsense, say others. A former White House official familiar with some Abramoff requests to the White House said Abramoff had some meetings with Administration officials in 2001 and 2002, but he was later frozen out because aides became suspicious of his funding sources and annoyed that the issues he raised did not mesh with their agenda. A top Republican official said it was clear to him that Abramoff couldn't pick up the phone and reach Bush aides because Abramoff had asked the official to serve as an intermediary.

The White House describes the number of Abramoff's meetings with staff members only as "a few," even though senior Bush aides have precise data about them. McClellan will not give details, saying he doesn't "get into discussing staff-level meetings." During a televised briefing, he added, "We're not going to engage in a fishing expedition." Pressed for particulars about Abramoff's White House contacts, McClellan said with brio, "People are insinuating things based on no evidence whatsoever." But he said he cannot "say with absolute certainty that (Abramoff) did not have any other visits" apart from those disclosed. Another White House official said, "The decision was made—don't put out any additional information." That reticence has been eagerly seized upon by some Democrats. Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada wrote to Bush last week to demand details, saying Abramoff "may have had undue and improper influence within your Administration."

Garza, the bolo-wearing former chairman of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, has fond memories of his session with Bush, which he said was held in 2001 in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House.

According to e-mails in the hands of investigators, the meeting was arranged with the help of Abramoff and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. In an April 18, 2001, e-mail to Abramoff, Norquist wrote that he would be "honored" if Abramoff "could come to the White House meeting."

Garza—known in his native Kickapoo language as Makateonenodua, or black buffalo—is under federal indictment for allegedly embezzling more than $300,000 from his tribe. Through his spokesman, Garza said that during the session, Bush talked about policy matters and thanked those present for supporting his agenda, then took questions from the audience of about two dozen people. Garza told TIME, "We were very happy that Jack Abramoff helped us to be with the President. Bush was in a very good mood—very upbeat and positive." No evidence has emerged that the Bush Administration has done anything for the Kickapoo at Abramoff's behest.

Three attendees who spoke to TIME recall that Abramoff was present, and three of them say that's where the picture of Bush, Abramoff and the former Kickapoo chairman was taken. The White House has a different description of the event Garza attended. "The President stopped by a meeting with 21 state legislators and two tribal leaders," spokeswoman Erin Healy said. "Available records show that Mr. Abramoff was not in attendance."

—With reporting by Massimo Calabresi/ Washington From the Jan. 30, 2006 issue of TIME magazine

Copyright © 2006 Time Inc. All rights reserved

January 22nd, 2006, 07:12 PM
The Bush family will use the millions they made supporting the Nazis and the billions they made selling out the American people to corporate and foreign interests to buy each of those pictures at a premium.

Let's see which news outlet has the balls to print them. Reporting that you "saw them" means nothing. People reported they saw aliens and the Loch Ness Monster. News outlets, particularly the network news, Fox, CNN amd just about every print news outlet has lost considerable credibility over the last six years to have anyone worried about what they aren't reporting.

January 22nd, 2006, 11:30 PM
Why you kickin' on GHWB?

Isn't he a great American?

Just 'cuz he was in Dallas on that fateful day means nothing ....


January 22nd, 2006, 11:45 PM
It seems like many people on this forum are happy that our president is in toruble. I cannot say that I am huge fan of pres. Bush, but he is not as bad as some of these postings imply.

January 23rd, 2006, 09:50 AM
Actually, he is worse.

January 23rd, 2006, 09:55 AM
It seems like many people on this forum are happy that our president is in toruble. I cannot say that I am huge fan of pres. Bush, but he is not as bad as some of these postings imply.

You are right.

He is not horrible, he is just plain BAD.

And most of his cabinet is the same, as well as his associates.

Sometimes the combination of several bad things can be more catastrophic than the inclusion of a single horrendous one.

January 23rd, 2006, 10:11 AM
Ninjahedge: Wouldn't you think that many people just as smart and just as knowledgeable as you are can say that at least some people in GW's administration are not bad at all, and some of the his administration's policies may be good for the country in the long term? Personally, I have serious doubts about the war in Iraq (as do many Americans) and his administration's commitement to responsible spending (spending more than you earn is no way to govern). But GW's administration had to define a new way to deal with terrorism after 9/11 and some of its efforts were, I think, successful. Low capital and divident taxes did help in our economic development, at least somewhat. Just saying "he is bad and everyone in his circle is bad" does look an an objective assessment. Who is your pick for pres. for 2008?

January 23rd, 2006, 10:45 AM
Who is your pick for pres. for 2008?

Insert choice below ...

January 23rd, 2006, 10:50 AM
Ninjahedge: Wouldn't you think that many people just as smart and just as knowledgeable as you are can say that at least some people in GW's administration are not bad at all, and some of the his administration's policies may be good for the country in the long term? Personally, I have serious doubts about the war in Iraq (as do many Americans) and his administration's commitement to responsible spending (spending more than you earn is no way to govern). But GW's administration had to define a new way to deal with terrorism after 9/11 and some of its efforts were, I think, successful. Low capital and divident taxes did help in our economic development, at least somewhat. Just saying "he is bad and everyone in his circle is bad" does look an an objective assessment. Who is your pick for pres. for 2008?

You want me to outline them?


How about Medicare and Social Security?

What about the military budget being spiked, and spending on a myriad of different projects which have only small lines of seperation between him, his interests, and his collegues interests, being increased while he keeps lowering taxes (net) which only see a profound relief to, again, corporate interests.

He is selling us out, he is a No-tax and spend Neo-con. A dangerous combination that seems to think that money will be magically produced if we lower taxes enough.

Trickle down economics does not work in the US, it just trickles offshore.

January 23rd, 2006, 11:06 AM
some of the his administration's policies may be good for the country in the long term?For instance?

But GW's administration had to define a new way to deal with terrorism after 9/11 and some of its efforts were, I think, successful.In what new way? As I see it, he entered a country that had little, if any, relationship to terrorism, thus diverting resources from the real fight against terrorism. We are now viewed as occupiers in Iraq, and get blamed for everything that goes wrong. It has become a recruiting poster for A l Qaeda.

Hundreds of billions spent, and now we can't afford to protect passenger planes from shoulder-launched missiles. Port facilities and chemical plants are still not secure. Our readiness was well demonstrated by the response to as hurricane we knew about a week earlier.

Low capital and divident taxes did help in our economic development, at least somewhat.Bush is the only president to continue to lower taxes while fighting a war. Now we have record deficits which will hurt our ability to make major economic investments in the future.

Bush has squandered all of the diplomatic standing the U.S. has accumulated over the last half-century, and we are now seen as a roadblock to solutions.

In 2000, Bush's campaign stressed openness, cooperation, no corruption, and reduced government. Today, we have the opposite. We elected a man (twice) who admitted he views his presidency as a messianic mission, and that he doesn't read much.

Without a doubt, the worst administration, Republican or Democrat, in my lifetime.

January 24th, 2006, 09:27 AM
Not quite Abramoff ... yet ...

White House press secretary Scott McClellan admits that the White House has been on a search mission for any photos showing President Bush with toxic lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is cooperating with the Justice Department on its investigation of a wide-ranging lobbying scandal.

Photograph shows Bush meeting now-Governor of Marianas Islands, who helped Abramoff get millions

John Byrne and Ron Brynaert
Raw Story
Published: January 23, 2006

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Photograph_shows_Bush_meeting_nowGovernor_of_0123. html


On the heels of a Time Magazine article (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1151784-2,00.html) revealing the existence of photographs of President George W. Bush with fallen conservative superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) has found another photograph of Bush with a leading Abramoff client.

The President appears in a snapshot with Beningo Repeki Fitial, then-Speaker of the House for the Northern Marianas Islands. Fitial is vice president of Tan Holdings – the family conglomerate which owns numerous clothing factories on the islands that were a routine stop for Abramoff-flown lawmakers. Tan Holdings was one of the firms which made up the Saipan Garment Manufacturers’ Association, an Abramoff client.

He was also, incidentally, chairman (http://www.cnmicovenant.com/bios/ben.html) of the Bush for President Committee for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The photograph appears to have been taken the same day Bush met Raul Garza Sr., the former chairman of the Texas Kickapoo tribe who Time says was photographed with Bush. Abramoff, once the largest lobbyist in Washington, pled guilty to bribery charges earlier this month and his work has drawn new scrutiny to D.C.'s $4 billion (http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/010406J.shtml) lobbying business.

The White House could not be immediately reached for comment. When speaking to Time, a spokesman said, “The President stopped by a meeting with 21 state legislators and two tribal leaders. Available records show that Mr. Abramoff was not in attendance."

The White House omitted Fitial’s attendance.

Fitial was photographed at a May 9, 2001 event hosted by Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative anti-tax group led by longtime Abramoff friend and conservative heavyweight Grover Norquist, and the photograph appeared in a circular (http://www.atr.org/content/pdf/pre2004/summer2001tr.pdf) produced by the group. Norquist led (http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/37/11309) Abramoff’s successful campaign to become chairman of the national College Republicans in the 1980s.

The event raised the hackles of investigators when it emerged that Abramoff had arranged for one of his Indian tribal clients, the Louisiana Coushattas, to pay $25,000 to “sponsor” the event as a means of getting face time with President Bush. The Democratic Party has trumpeted this revelation, asserting that Abramoff sold access to the president.

It’s not known whether Fitial, the garment manufacturer’s association or the Marianas government paid to attend the event.

What is known is that two Tan family companies gave (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-05-06-abramoff-bush_x.htm) $25,000 each to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2002 elections, and that Marianas donors contributed $36,000 to President Bush’s reelection campaign.

What’s also known is that the garment manufacturer’s association paid Abramoff’s Greenberg Traurig lawfirm $460,000 in 2001 to represent them in Washington. Furthermore, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas themselves spent an additional $1.1 million that year on Abramoff’s team.

Both the islands and the garment manufacturers lobbied for the same goal, according to their federal lobbying reports (http://sopr.senate.gov/cgi-win/opr_gifviewer.exe?/2001/01/000/431/000431380|8): to “prevent enactment of legislation to impose federal controls over local labor and immigration rules.”
Abramoff’s work for the islands and the manufacturers stifled several efforts to impose U.S. minimum wage laws on the islands, which are a U.S. protectorate, and yielded at least $2 million in federal funds.

The Marianas minimum wage—albeit weakly enforced—was $3.05 in 1998. Saipan's regulatory limbo (http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/05/09/real.delay/) has helped to fortify the bottom lines of popular U.S. clothing brands; Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein and Liz Claiborne have all benefited from the island's dearth of labor laws.

Lobbying efforts, money yielded access to Bush officials

According to the Associated Press, the Marianas’ lobbying efforts achieved far more than just a photograph.

The AP reported last May that records show Abramoff’s Marianas lobbying team met members of the Bush Administration at least 195 times (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-05-06-abramoff-bush_x.htm) between February through November 2001.

“The documents show his team also had extensive access to Bush administration officials, meeting with Cheney policy advisers Ron Christie and Stephen Ruhlen, Ashcroft at the Justice Department, White House intergovernmental affairs chief Ruben Barrales, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles and others,” the AP wrote (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-05-06-abramoff-bush_x.htm).

A month before Bush was photographed with Fitial, the president appointed Patrick Pizzella, a former Abramoff lieutenant, as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor. Pizzella had aggressively worked the Marianas account with Abramoff, leaving his retinue just months before. According to the New Republic, the former conservative lobbyist handpicked Pizzella for his Marianas lobbying team.

A 2001 report (http://web.archive.org/web/20010622081128/http://www.tnr.com/061801/foer061801.html) by The New Republic indicates Pizzella made a whirlwind number of trips with congressmen to the islands, saying he extended personal invitations to at least 11 members of Congress. The Wall Street Journal estimated that 100 representatives visited the islands during Pizzella's tenure. It's unknown who paid for these trips, or even who these congressmembers are.

Abramoff praised Bush’s appointment of Pizzella in a letter to the Commonwealth. Notably, Abramoff seemed to reference Pizzella’s new post in a January 2001 letter (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-05-06-abramoff-bush_x.htm) even though he wasn’t officially appointed until April 2001.

"Our standing with the new administration promises to be solid as several friends of the CNMI (islands) will soon be taking high-ranking positions in the Administration, including within the Interior Department," Abramoff wrote.

Former DeLay aides, Fitial got Abramoff Marianas contract

Along with two former aides to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), Fitial helped Abramoff sink the Marianas lobbying deal.

“Using promises of U.S. tax dollars as bartering chips, [former DeLay chief of staff] Edwin A. Buckham and Michael Scanlon traveled to these remote Pacific islands in late 1999 to convince two local legislators to switch their votes for speaker of the territory's 18-member House of Representatives,” the Los Angeles Times revealed (http://www.political-news.org/breaking/10077/two-former-aides-to-delay-paved-way-for-lobbyists-deal.html) in May 2005. “They succeeded.”

Benigno Fitial was “an underdog contender” for speaker of the House, the Times wrote. DeLay’s former aides targeted two key members of the legislature and promised to help get money for needed projects, ensuring their support for Fitial.

Soon thereafter, the Fitial-led House passed two resolutions enjoining the island’s governor to hire a lobbyist, “including a July 26, 2000, resolution calling for selection of Abramoff's firm,” the Times wrote.

A few days later, the island’s governor, Pedro Tenorio, hired the firm for $100,000 a month.

Fitial defended Abramoff earlier this month

The photograph of Bush and Fitial is sure to drag the president into a new firestorm over his connections to Abramoff and his clients.

The Marianas have since accused (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,151875,00.html) Abramoff and his staff of overcharging the islands for some $1.2 million in unsupported expenses. The charges included travel, telephone, photocopy, computer research and outside-professional fees. Pizzella was not named by auditors, though was among the most traveled members of Abramoff’s group.

But this didn’t stop now-Governor Fitial from defending Abramoff just last week when asked if he regretted working with the lobbyist. “I will not comment about what Abramoff did outside of the commonwealth,” Fitial told (http://www.pacificislands.cc/pina/pinadefault2.php?urlpinaid=19494) the Marianas Variety Online. “But if you ask me what he did for the commonwealth, (Abramoff) protected our Covenant.”

Covenant is Fitial's political party. Fitial was elected governor of the Northern Marianas in November.

Copyright © 2004-06 Raw Story Media

January 24th, 2006, 09:43 AM
It is not the Bush era anymore, it is more a "hedge" era (no relation).

Oh, BTW, did you see Gonzoles on CNN this morning? "The president was within legal bounds in the wiretapping of Alqueda Associated Terrorist Suspects".

They are still tying everything in terrorism to one faction and one attack and trying to justify it to the American people by relating it to the people that died on that day....

It is getting weaker and weaker and I hope it backfires on them.

January 24th, 2006, 09:57 AM
The administration has been trampling civil rights in the name of the "fight against terrorism", yet we have seen no convictions on any terrorism related charges. Lots of people held as meterial witnesses, but no convictions on terrorism charges.

On another vein, the head of the agency charged with overseeing mine safey walked out on a Congressional hearing into the latest mine disaster citing "pressing commitments." According to Republican, Arlen Specter, it was "unprecedented." I think this executive branch is in for a showdown with Congress.

I think we'll see impeachment hearings.

January 24th, 2006, 10:14 AM
This will all get secondary attention.

The media always searches for the subject that makes a politician most uncomfortable. When they find it, they stay with it.

I'm an old cowhand...


January 24th, 2006, 10:47 AM
Who gives a crap about Brokeback.

If we start focusing on Gay Marriage again when this (Patriot Act/Wiretapping/etc.) is something that can effect all 100% of our lives and freedoms I am going to.......

Sit here and fume on an intenet message board... :P


January 29th, 2006, 09:26 AM
President Jonah

A Dig led by Gore Vidal (http://www.truthdig.com/about/staff/39)
January 25, 2006


While contemplating the ill-starred presidency of G.W. Bush, I looked about for some sort of divine analogy. As usual, when in need of enlightenment, I fell upon the Holy Bible, authorized King James version of 1611; turning by chance to the Book of Jonah (http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/bib3210h.htm), I read that Jonah, who, like Bush, chats with God, had suffered a falling out with the Almighty and thus became a jinx dogged by luck so bad that a cruise liner, thanks to his presence aboard, was about to sink in a storm at sea. Once the crew had determined that Jonah, a passenger, was the jinx, they threw him overboard and—Lo!—the storm abated. The three days and nights he subsequently spent in the belly of a nauseous whale must have seemed like a serious jinx to the digestion-challenged whale who extruded him much as the decent opinion of mankind has done to Bush.

Originally, God wanted Jonah to give hell to Nineveh, whose people, God noted disdainfully, “cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand,” so like the people of Baghdad who cannot fathom what democracy has to do with their destruction by the Cheney-Bush cabal. But the analogy becomes eerily precise when it comes to the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at a time when a president is not only incompetent but plainly jinxed by whatever faith he cringes before. Witness the ongoing screw-up of prescription drugs. Who knows what other disasters are in store for us thanks to the curse he is under? As the sailors fed the original Jonah to a whale, thus lifting the storm that was about to drown them, perhaps we the people can persuade President Jonah to retire to his other Eden in Crawford, Texas (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/02/AR2005080201703_pf.html), taking his jinx with him. We deserve a rest. Plainly, so does he. Look at Nixon’s radiant features after his resignation! One can see former President Jonah in his sumptuous library happily catering to faith-based fans with animated scriptures rooted in “The Simpsons.”

Not since the glory days of Watergate and Nixon’s Luciferian fall has there been so much written about the dogged deceits and creative criminalities of our rulers. We have also come to a point in this dark age where there is not only no hero in view but no alternative road unblocked. We are trapped terribly in a now that few foresaw and even fewer can define despite a swarm of books and pamphlets like the vast cloud of locusts which dined on China in that ’30s movie “The Good Earth.” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0028944)

I have read many of these descriptions of our fallen estate, looking for one that best describes in plain English how we got to this now and where we appear to be headed once our good Earth has been consumed and only Rapture is left to whisk aloft the Faithful. Meanwhile, the rest of us can learn quite a lot from “Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire” (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&tag=truthdig-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&path=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F 0393058662%2Fqid%3D1138043114%2Fsr%3D8-1%2Fref%3Dsr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14%3Fn%3D507846%26s%3Db ooks%26v%3Dglance) by Morris Berman, a professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

I must confess that I have a proprietary interest in anyone who refers to the United States as an empire since I am credited with first putting forward this heretical view in the early ’70s. In fact, so disgusted with me was a book reviewer at Time magazine that as proof of my madness he wrote: “He actually refers to the United States as an empire!” It should be noted that at about the same time Henry Luce, proprietor of Time, was booming on and on about “The American Century.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Century) What a difference a word makes!

Berman sets his scene briskly in recent history. “We were already in our twilight phase when Ronald Reagan, with all the insight of an ostrich, declared it to be ‘morning in America’; twenty-odd years later, under the ‘boy emperor’ George W. Bush (as Chalmers Johnson refers to him), we have entered the Dark Ages in earnest, pursuing a short-sighted path that can only accelerate our decline. For what we are now seeing are the obvious characteristics of the West after the fall of Rome: the triumph of religion over reason; the atrophy of education and critical thinking; the integration of religion, the state, and the apparatus of torture—a troika that was for Voltaire the central horror of the pre-Enlightenment world; and the political and economic marginalization of our culture…. The British historian Charles Freeman published an extended discussion of the transition that took place during the late Roman empire, the title of which could serve as a capsule summary of our current president: "The Closing of the Western Mind. (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&tag=truthdig-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&path=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F 1400033802%2Fqid%3D1138063412%2Fsr%3D8-1%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_1%3Fn%3D507846%26s%3Dbooks%26v%3D glance)" Mr. Bush, God knows, is no Augustine; but Freeman points to the latter as the epitome of a more general process that was underway in the fourth century: namely, ‘the gradual subjection of reason to faith and authority.’ This is what we are seeing today, and it is a process that no society can undergo and still remain free. Yet it is a process of which administration officials, along with much of the American population, are aggressively proud.” In fact, close observers of this odd presidency note that Bush, like his evangelical base, believes he is on a mission from God and that faith trumps empirical evidence.

Berman quotes a senior White House adviser who disdains what he calls the “reality-based” community, to which Berman sensibly responds: “If a nation is unable to perceive reality correctly, and persists in operating on the basis of faith-based delusions, its ability to hold its own in the world is pretty much foreclosed.”

"Finally, we shouldn't be surprised at the antipathy toward democracy displayed by the Bush administration.... As already noted, fundamentalism and democracy are completely antithetical. The opposite of the Enlightenment, of course, is tribalism, groupthink; and more and more, this is the direction in which the United States is going.... Anthony Lewis who worked as a columnist for the New York Times for thirty-two years, observes that what has happened in the wake of 9/11 is not just the threatening of the rights of a few detainees, but the undermining of the very foundation of democracy. Detention without trial (http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2004/05/04_403.html), denial of access to attorneys, years of interrogation in isolation--these are now standard American practice, and most Americans don't care. Nor did they care about the revelation in July 2004 (reported in Newsweek (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5411741/site/newsweek/)), that for several months the White House and the Department of Justice had been discussing the feasibility of canceling the upcoming presidential election in the event of a possible terrorist attack." I suspect that the technologically inclined prevailed against that extreme measure on the ground that the newly installed electronic ballot machines could be so calibrated that Bush would win handily no matter what (read Rep. Conyers' report (http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf) (.pdf file) on the rigging of Ohio's vote).

Meanwhile, the indoctrination of the people merrily continues. "In a 'State of the First Amendment Survey (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6888837/)' conducted by the University of Connecticut in 2003, 34 percent of Americans polled said the First Amendment 'goes too far'; 46 percent said there was too much freedom of the press; 28 percent felt that newspapers should not be able to publish articles without prior approval of the government; 31 percent wanted public protest of a war to be outlawed during that war; and 50 percent thought the government should have the right to infringe on the religious freedom of 'certain religious groups' in the name of the war on terror."

It is usual in sad reports like Professor Berman's to stop abruptly the litany of what has gone wrong and then declare, hand on heart, that once the people have been informed of what is happening, the truth will set them free and a quarter-billion candles will be lit and the darkness will flee in the presence of so much spontaneous light. But Berman is much too serious for the easy platitude. Instead he tells us that those who might have struck at least a match can no longer do so because shared information about our situation is meager to nonexistent. Would better schools help? Of course, but, according to that joyous bearer of ill tidings, the New York Times, many school districts are now making sobriety tests (http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40C14FF3B590C708CDDAA0894DD4044 82) a regular feature of the school day: apparently opium derivatives are the opiate of our stoned youth. Meanwhile, millions of adult Americans, presumably undrugged, have no idea who our enemies were in World War II. Many college graduates don't know the difference between an argument (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=argument) and an assertion (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=assertion) (did their teachers also fail to solve this knotty question?). A travel agent in Arizona is often asked whether or not it is cheaper to take the train rather than fly to Hawaii. Only 12% of Americans own a passport. At the time of the 2004 presidential election 42% of voters believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11.

One high school boy, when asked who won the Civil War, replied wearily, "I don't know and I don't care," echoing a busy neocon who confessed proudly: "The American Civil War is as remote to me as the War of the Roses."

We are assured daily by advertisers and/or politicians that we are the richest, most envied people on Earth and, apparently, that is why so many awful, ill-groomed people want to blow us up. We live in an impermeable bubble without the sort of information that people living in real countries have access to when it comes to their own reality. But we are not actually people in the eyes of the national ownership: we are simply unreliable consumers comprising an overworked, underpaid labor force not in the best of health: The World Health Organization rates our healthcare system (sic--or sick?) as 37th-best in the world, far behind even Saudi Arabia, role model for the Texans. Our infant mortality rate is satisfyingly high, precluding a First World educational system. Also, it has not gone unremarked even in our usually information-free media that despite the boost to the profits of such companies as Halliburton, Bush's wars of aggression against small countries of no danger to us have left us well and truly broke. Our annual trade deficit is a half-trillion dollars, which means that we don't produce much of anything the world wants except those wan reports on how popular our Entertainment is overseas. Unfortunately the foreign gross of "King Kong," the Edsel of that assembly line, is not yet known. It is rumored that Bollywood--the Indian film business--may soon surpass us! Berman writes, "We have lost our edge in science to Europe...The US economy is being kept afloat by huge foreign loans ($4 billion a day during 2003). What do you think will happen when America's creditors decide to pull the plug, or when OPEC members begin selling oil in euros instead of dollars?...An International Monetary Fund report of 2004 concluded that the United States was 'careening toward insolvency.' " Meanwhile, China, our favorite big-time future enemy, is the number one for worldwide foreign investments, with France, the bete noire of our apish neocons, in second place.
Well, we still have Kraft cheese and, of course, the death penalty.

Berman makes the case that the Bretton-Woods agreement of 1944 institutionalized a system geared toward full employment and the maintenance of a social safety net for society's less fortunate--the so-called welfare or interventionist state. It did this by establishing fixed but flexible exchange rates among world currencies, which were pegged to the U.S. dollar while the dollar, for its part, was pegged to gold. In a word, Bretton-Woods saved capitalism by making it more human. Nixon abandoned the agreement in 1971, which started, according to Berman, huge amounts of capital moving upward from the poor and the middle class to the rich and super-rich.

Mr. Berman spares us the happy ending, as, apparently, has history. When the admirable Tiberius (he has had an undeserved bad press), upon becoming emperor, received a message from the Senate in which the conscript fathers assured him that whatever legislation he wanted would be automatically passed by them, he sent back word that this was outrageous. "Suppose the emperor is ill or mad or incompetent?" He returned their message. They sent it again. His response: "How eager you are to be slaves." I often think of that wise emperor when I hear Republican members of Congress extolling the wisdom of Bush. Now that he has been caught illegally wiretapping fellow citizens he has taken to snarling about his powers as "a wartime president," and so, in his own mind, he is above each and every law of the land. Oddly, no one in Congress has pointed out that he may well be a lunatic dreaming that he is another Lincoln but whatever he is or is not he is no wartime president. There is no war with any other nation...yet. There is no state called terror, an abstract noun like liar. Certainly his illegal unilateral ravaging of Iraq may well seem like a real war for those on both sides unlucky enough to be killed or wounded, but that does not make it a war any more than the appearance of having been elected twice to the presidency does not mean that in due course the people will demand an investigation of those two irregular processes. Although he has done a number of things that under the old republic might have got him impeached, our current system protects him: incumbency-for-life seats have made it possible for a Republican majority in the House not to do its duty and impeach him for his incompetence in handling, say, the natural disaster that befell Louisiana.

The founders thought two-year terms for members of the House was as much democracy as we'd ever need. Therefore, there was no great movement to have some sort of recall legislation in the event that a president wasn't up to his job and so had lost the people's confidence between elections. But in time, as Ecclesiastes would say, all things shall come to pass and so, in a kindly way, a majority of the citizens must persuade him that he will be happier back in Crawford pruning Bushes of the leafy sort while the troops not killed or maimed will settle for simply being alive and in one piece. We may be slaves but we are not unreasonable.

One way that a majority of citizens can help open the road back to Crawford is by heeding the call of a group called the World Can't Wait (http://www.worldcantwait.org/) (see their website, worldcantwait.org). They believe that the agenda for 2006 must not be set by the Bush gang but by the people taking independent mass political action.

On Jan. 31, the night of Bush's next State of the Union address, they have called for people in large cities and small towns all across the country to join in noisy rallies to make the demand that "Bush Step Down" the message of the day. At 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, just as Bush starts to speak, people can make a joyful noise and figuratively drown out his address. Then on the following Saturday, Feb. 4, converge in front of the White House with the same message: Please step down and take your program with you.

Truthdig (http://www.truthdig.com/)

February 14th, 2006, 12:28 PM
Bounce-free ...

Bush Job Rating: No SOTU Bounce

Mystery Pollster
February 14, 2006


Four organizations have now reported conventional national surveys since the State of the Union, and collectively they show little or no movement in the job rating of President George Bush. Once again, the annual address to Congress has produced no "bounce."

The table that follows shows the most recent results from the four pollsters, plus their comparable results from early December and early January. None of the surveys showed statistically significant differences in the Bush job rating, and the small changes the report in approval appear random in their direction (Fox and Pew were slightly higher, Gallup slightly lower and AP/ISPOS unchanged):


An "apples-to-apples" average of the polls done during the first nine days of February shows a one point increase since January. However, Gallup followed up with a second survey that shows a slight drop (from 42% to 39%) that appears too small to MP to be statistically significant. Nonetheless, if we average the two Gallup surveys and use that to calculate an overall February average, it would be 41% approve -- unchanged since December.

For those who would like to dig deeper into the data, here are links:

Fox News/Opinion Dynamics: story (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,184362,00.html), results (http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/poll_020906.pdf)
Gallup/CNN/USAToday 2/9-12: CNN story (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/13/poll.iran/), USAToday story (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-02-13-usat-poll_x.htm) & results (http://www.usatoday.com/news/polls/2006-02-13-poll.htm)
Gallup 2/6-9: Gallup release (http://poll.gallup.com/content/?ci=21415)
Pew Research Center report (http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=269), topline questionnaire (http://people-press.org/reports/questionnaires/269.pdf), complete PDF (http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/269.pdf)
AP/IPSOS: topline results (http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/client/act_dsp_pdf.cfm?name=mr060210-1topline.pdf&id=2969)

February 22nd, 2006, 10:12 AM
Sad and sick that Fukuyama took so long to come to this conclusion ...

Money quote:

... [ NEOCON ] advocates are Leninists who "believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practised by the United States"
Neocon architect says: 'Pull it down'

The Scotsman
Tue 21 Feb 2006


NEOCONSERVATISM has failed the United States and needs to be replaced by a more realistic foreign policy agenda, according to one of its prime architects.

Francis Fukuyama, who wrote the best-selling book The End of History and was a member of the neoconservative project, now says that, both as a political symbol and a body of thought, it has "evolved into something I can no longer support". He says it should be discarded on to history's pile of discredited ideologies.

In an extract from his forthcoming book, America at the Crossroads, Mr Fukuyama declares that the doctrine "is now in shambles" and that its failure has demonstrated "the danger of good intentions carried to extremes".

In its narrowest form, neoconservatism advocates the use of military force, unilaterally if necessary, to replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones.

Mr Fukuyama once supported regime change in Iraq and was a signatory to a 1998 letter sent by the Project for a New American Century to the then president, Bill Clinton, urging the US to step up its efforts to remove Saddam Hussein from power. It was also signed by neoconservative intellectuals, such as Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, and political figures Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the current defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

However, Mr Fukuyama now thinks the war in Iraq is the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

"The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues.

"Although the new and ominous possibility of undeterrable terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction did indeed present itself, advocates of the war wrongly conflated this with the threat presented by Iraq and with the rogue state/proliferation problem more generally."

Mr Fukuyama, one of the US's most influential public intellectuals, concludes that "it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention itself or the ideas animating it kindly".

Going further, he says the movements' advocates are Leninists who "believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practised by the United States".

Although Mr Fukuyama still supports the idea of democratic reform - complete with establishing the institutions of liberal modernity - in the Middle East, he warns that this process alone will not immediately reduce the threats and dangers the US faces. "Radical Islamism is a by-product of modernisation itself, arising from the loss of identity that accompanies the transition to a modern, pluralist society. More democracy will mean more alienation, radicalisation and - yes, unfortunately - terrorism," he says.

"By definition, outsiders can't 'impose' democracy on a country that doesn't want it; demand for democracy and reform must be domestic. Democracy promotion is therefore a long-term and opportunistic process that has to await the gradual ripening of political and economic conditions to be effective."

&#169;2006 [I]Scotsman.com (http://www.scotsman.com/)

February 22nd, 2006, 10:51 AM
demand for democracy and reform must be domestic. Democracy promotion is therefore a long-term and opportunistic process that has to await the gradual ripening of political and economic conditions to be effective."
Sounds like we're in for a long wait.

Some of us will have checked out.

February 22nd, 2006, 10:56 AM
However, Mr Fukuyama now thinks the war in Iraq is the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.Maybe Denmark would have been better.

February 24th, 2006, 06:38 PM
Another Conservative pounding yet another nail in the Bush Era coffin ...

It Didn’t Work

William F. Buckley, Jr.
National Review
February 24, 2006


"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes — it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats.

A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.

The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.

This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail — in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take? It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.

(c) 2006 Universal Press Syndicate

February 25th, 2006, 10:15 AM
Iraq is not like post WWII Japan or Germany. More like Yugoslavia.

If this internal violence escalates further, I think the Kurds in the north will just form Kurdistan - and that will be the end of a democratic Iraq.

February 25th, 2006, 10:34 AM
Torie Clarke (Former Pentagon Spokewoman and architect of the "embedded reporters" scheme in Iraq: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A2221-2003Jun16&notFound=true , now a CNN "analyst" ) was on Charlie Rose last night and specifically stated that it was erroneous for the US to call the process in Iraq a move toward Democracy. She now labels it a move toward "Representative Government", and noted that is a big mistake -- given the history of the region and the allliances that exist there -- for anyone to assume that the forms that a duly elected government might take in Iraq would have any direct corollaries to our own governmental process.

However it seems that the interview was taped before the bombing of the Golden Mosque, as it was not mentioned -- and Clarke seemed very up-beat but realistic about the progress being made in Iraq.

February 25th, 2006, 10:55 AM
it was erroneous for the US to call the process in Iraq a move toward Democracy. She now labels it a move toward "Representative Government", and noted that is a big mistake -- for anyone to assume that the forms that a duly elected government might take in Iraq would have any direct corollaries to our own governmental process.Should we have to remind Torie Clarke that the US model is a Representative Government?

What was a mistake was the assumption that a representative government in Iraq would have the same built-in mechanisms for minority opinion as the US.

February 26th, 2006, 01:18 PM
US leader crashed by trying to 'pedal, wave and speak at same time'

The Scotsman
Feb. 26, 2006


HE MAY be the most powerful man in the world, but proof has emerged that President George Bush cannot ride a bike, wave and speak at the same time.

Scotland on Sunday has obtained remarkable details of one of the most memorably bizarre episodes of the Bush presidency: the day he crashed into a Scottish police constable while cycling in the grounds of Gleneagles Hotel.

The incident, which will do little to improve Bush's accident-prone reputation, began when he took to two wheels for a spot of early-evening exercise during last year's G8 summit at the Perthshire resort.

After a hard day's discussion with fellow world leaders, the president was looking for some relaxation. Instead, he ended up the subject of a police report in which the leader of the free world was described, in classic police language, as a "moving/falling object".

It was "about 1800 hours on Wednesday, 6 July, 2005" that a detachment of Strathclyde police constables, in "Level 2 public order dress [anti-riot gear]," formed a protective line at the gate at the hotel's rear entrance, in case demonstrators penetrated the biggest-ever security operation on Scottish soil.

The official police incident report states: "[The unit] was requested to cover the road junction on the Auchterarder to Braco Road as the President of the USA, George Bush, was cycling through." The report goes on: "[At] about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle.

The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.

"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers... then assisted both injured parties."

The injured officer, who was not named, was whisked to Perth Royal Infirmary. The report adds: "While en-route President Bush phoned [the officer], enquiring after his wellbeing and apologising for the accident."

At hospital, a doctor examined the constable and diagnosed damage to his ankle ligaments and issued him with crutches. The cause was officially recorded as: "Hit by moving/falling object."

No details of damage to the President are recorded from his close encounter with the policeman and the road, although later reports said he had been "bandaged" by a White House physician after suffering scrapes on his hands and arms.

At the time Bush laughed off the incident, saying he should start "acting his age".

Details of precisely how the crash unfolded have until now been kept under wraps for fear of embarrassing both Bush and the injured constable. But the new disclosures are certain to raise eyebrows on Washington's Capitol Hill.

Jim McDermott, a Democrat Congressman, last night quipped: "Not only does he break the law over here on eavesdropping and spying on our own citizens, but it seems he can't even keep to your law when it comes to riding a bike. It's another example of how he can't keep his mind on the things he should be thinking about."

Bush often takes to two wheels for exercise, after pain in his knees forced him to give up running. He regularly rides at secret service training facilities near Washington, and the G8 accident is just one in a long list of mishaps. In May 2004, he fell off his mountain bike, grazing his chin, upper lip, nose, both knees, and his right hand, while riding on his ranch in Texas. In June 2003, he fell off his hi-tech Segway scooter.

In Scotland, an accident such as the one at Gleneagles could have led to police action. Earlier this year, Strathclyde Police issued three fixed penalty notices to errant cyclists as part of a crack-down on rogue riders. Legal experts also suggested lesser mortals could have ended up with a fixed penalty fine, prosecution, or at least a good ticking-off from officers.

John Scott, a human rights lawyer, said: "There's certainly enough in this account for a charge of careless driving. Anyone else would have been warned for dangerous driving.

"I have had clients who have been charged with assaulting a police officer for less than this. The issue of how long the police officer was out of action for is also important. He was away from work for 14 weeks, and that would normally be very significant in a case like this."

No-one was available for comment from the White House.

©2006 Scotsman.com (http://www.scotsman.com/)

February 27th, 2006, 09:46 AM
And one more smack down from the Conservative wing:


Another Conservative pounding yet another nail in the Bush Era coffin ...

February 27th, 2006, 10:34 AM
US leader crashed by trying to 'pedal, wave and speak at same time'

Bike riding and eating pretzels, two of the most difficult things to master.

February 27th, 2006, 08:03 PM
Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2006(CBS) The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they're opposed to the agreement.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that now it turns out the Coast Guard had concerns about the ports deal, a disclosure that is no doubt troubling to a president who's chosen the less popular side of an issue that so directly speaks to the nation's security.

The troubling results for the Bush administration come amid reminders about the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina and negative assessments of how the government and the president have handled it for six months.

In a separate poll, two out of three Americans said they do not think President Bush has responded adequately to the needs of Katrina victims. Only 32 percent approve of the way President Bush is responding to those needs, a drop of 12 points from last September’s poll, taken just two weeks after the storm made landfall.

Mr. Bush's overall job rating has fallen to 34 percent, down from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of the job the president is doing.

For the first time in this poll, most Americans say the president does not care much about people like themselves. Fifty-one percent now think he doesn't care, compared to 47 percent last fall.

Just 30 percent approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the Iraq war, another all-time low.

By two to one, the poll finds Americans think U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going badly – the worst assessment yet of progress in Iraq.

Even on fighting terrorism, which has long been a strong suit for Mr. Bush, his ratings dropped lower than ever. Half of Americans say they disapprove of how he's handling the war on terror, while 43 percent approve.

In a bright spot for the administration, most Americans appeared to have heard enough about Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident.

More then three in four said it was understandable that the accident had occurred and two-thirds said the media had spent too much time covering the story.

Still, the incident appears to have made the public's already negative view of Cheney a more so. Just 18 percent said they had a favorable view of the vice president, down from 23 percent in January.

Americans were evenly split on whether or not Cheney's explanation of why there was a delay in reporting the accident was satisfactory.

Full poll - Bush, Iraq, the ports (http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_bush_022706.pdf)

Full poll - Katrina, six months later (http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/poll_katrina_022706.pdf)

©MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

February 27th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Missing: Republican Spine ...

March 2nd, 2006, 08:11 AM
The Case for Impeachment

Why we can no longer afford George W. Bush

By Lewis H. Lapham (http://harpers.org/LewisLapham.html#TheCaseForImpeachment)
Harper's Magazine.
Monday, February 27, 2006.
Sources (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#)


A country is not only what it does — it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates. — Kurt Tucholsky

On December 18 of last year, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D., Mich.) introduced into the House of Representatives a resolution inviting it to form “a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.”

Although buttressed two days previously by the news of the National Security Agency's illegal surveillance of the American citizenry, the request attracted little or no attention in the press—nothing on television or in the major papers, some scattered applause from the left-wing blogs, heavy sarcasm on the websites flying the flags of the militant right. The nearly complete silence raised the question as to what it was the congressman had in mind, and to whom did he think he was speaking? In time of war few propositions would seem as futile as the attempt to impeach a president whose political party controls the Congress; as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee stationed on Capitol Hill for the last forty years, Representative Conyers presumably knew that to expect the Republican caucus in the House to take note of his invitation, much less arm it with the power of subpoena, was to expect a miracle of democratic transformation and rebirth not unlike the one looked for by President Bush under the prayer rugs in Baghdad. Unless the congressman intended some sort of symbolic gesture, self-serving and harmless, what did he hope to prove or to gain? He answered the question in early January, on the phone from Detroit during the congressional winter recess.

“To take away the excuse,” he said, “that we didn't know.” So that two or four or ten years from now, if somebody should ask, “Where were you, Conyers, and where was the United States Congress?” when the Bush Administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that “somehow it escaped our notice” that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law.

A reason with which it was hard to argue but one that didn't account for the congressman's impatience. Why not wait for a showing of supportive public opinion, delay the motion to impeach until after next November's elections?
Assuming that further investigation of the President's addiction to the uses of domestic espionage finds him nullifying the Fourth Amendment rights of a large number of his fellow Americans, the Democrats possibly could come up with enough votes, their own and a quorum of disenchanted Republicans, to send the man home to Texas. Conyers said:

“I don't think enough people know how much damage this administration can do to their civil liberties in a very short time. What would you have me do? Grumble and complain? Make cynical jokes? Throw up my hands and say that under the circumstances nothing can be done? At least I can muster the facts, establish a record, tell the story that ought to be front-page news.” Which turned out to be the purpose of his House Resolution 635—not a high-minded tilting at windmills but the production of a report, 182 pages, 1,022 footnotes, assembled by Conyers's staff during the six months prior to its presentation to Congress, that describes the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq as the perpetration of a crime against the American people. It is a fair description. Drawing on evidence furnished over the last four years by a sizable crowd of credible witnesses—government officials both extant and former, journalists, military officers, politicians, diplomats domestic and foreign—the authors of the report find a conspiracy to commit fraud, the administration talking out of all sides of its lying mouth, secretly planning a frivolous and unnecessary war while at the same time pretending in its public statements that nothing was further from the truth.[1] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#1-note) The result has proved tragic, but on reading through the report's corroborating testimony I sometimes could counter its inducements to mute rage with the thought that if the would-be lords of the flies weren't in the business of killing people, they would be seen as a troupe of off-Broadway comedians in a third-rate theater of the absurd. Entitled “The Constitution in Crisis; The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War,” the Conyers report examines the administration's chronic abuse of power from more angles than can be explored within the compass of a single essay. The nature of the administration's criminal DNA and modus operandi, however, shows up in a usefully robust specimen of its characteristic dishonesty.

* * *

That President George W. Bush comes to power with the intention of invading Iraq is a fact not open to dispute. Pleased with the image of himself as a military hero, and having spoken, more than once, about seeking revenge on Saddam Hussein for the tyrant's alleged attempt to “kill my Dad,” he appoints to high office in his administration a cadre of warrior intellectuals, chief among them Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, known to be eager for the glories of imperial conquest.[2] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#2-note) At the first meeting of the new National Security Council on January 30, 2001, most of the people in the room discuss the possibility of preemptive blitzkrieg against Baghdad.[3] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#3-note) In March the Pentagon circulates a document entitled “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts”; the supporting maps indicate the properties of interest to various European governments and American corporations. Six months later, early in the afternoon of September 11, the smoke still rising from the Pentagon's western facade, Secretary Rumsfeld tells his staff to fetch intelligence briefings (the “best info fast...go massive; sweep it all up; things related and not”) that will justify an attack on Iraq. By chance the next day in the White House basement, Richard A. Clarke, national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, encounters President Bush, who tells him to “see if Saddam did this.” Nine days later, at a private dinner upstairs in the White House, the President informs his guest, the British prime minister, Tony Blair, that “when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.”

By November 13, 2001, the Taliban have been rousted out of Kabul in Afghanistan, but our intelligence agencies have yet to discover proofs of Saddam Hussein's acquaintance with Al Qaeda.[4] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#4-note) President Bush isn't convinced. On November 21, at the end of a National Security Council meeting, he says to Secretary Rumsfeld, “What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq?...I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.”

The Conyers report doesn't return to the President's focus on Iraq until March 2002, when it finds him peering into the office of Condoleezza Rice, the national security advisor, to say, “F*** Saddam. We're taking him out.”

At a Senate Republican Policy lunch that same month on Capitol Hill, Vice President Dick Cheney informs the assembled company that it is no longer a question of if the United States will attack Iraq, it's only a question of when.

The vice president doesn't bring up the question of why, the answer to which is a work in progress. By now the administration knows, or at least has reason to know, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, that Iraq doesn't possess weapons of mass destruction sufficiently ominous to warrant concern, that the regime destined to be changed poses no imminent threat, certainly not to the United States, probably not to any country defended by more than four batteries of light artillery. Such at least is the conclusion of the British intelligence agencies that can find no credible evidence to support the theory of Saddam's connection to Al Qaeda or international terrorism; “even the best survey of WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile and CW/BW weapons fronts...” A series of notes and memoranda passing back and forth between the British Cabinet Office in London and its correspondents in Washington during the spring and summer of 2002 address the problem of inventing a pretext for a war so fondly desired by the Bush Administration that Sir Richard Dearlove, head of Britain's MI-6, finds the interested parties in Washington fixing “the intelligence and the facts...around the policy.” The American enthusiasm for regime change, “undimmed” in the mind of Condoleezza Rice, presents complications.

Although Blair has told Bush, probably in the autumn of 2001, that Britain will join the American military putsch in Iraq, he needs “legal justification” for the maneuver—something noble and inspiring to say to Parliament and the British public. No justification “currently exists.” Neither Britain nor the United States is being attacked by Iraq, which eliminates the excuse of self-defense; nor is the Iraqi government currently sponsoring a program of genocide. Which leaves as the only option the “wrong-footing” of Saddam. If under the auspices of the United Nations he can be presented with an ultimatum requiring him to show that Iraq possesses weapons that don't exist, his refusal to comply can be taken as proof that he does, in fact, possess such weapons.[5] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#5-note)

Over the next few months, while the British government continues to look for ways to “wrong-foot” Saddam and suborn the U.N., various operatives loyal to Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld bend to the task of fixing the facts, distributing alms to dubious Iraqi informants in return for map coordinates of Saddam's monstrous weapons, proofs of stored poisons, of mobile chemical laboratories, of unmanned vehicles capable of bringing missiles to Jerusalem.[6] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#6-note)

By early August the Bush Administration has sufficient confidence in its doomsday story to sell it to the American public. Instructed to come up with awesome text and shocking images, the White House Iraq Group hits upon the phrase “mushroom cloud” and prepares a White Paper describing the “grave and gathering danger” posed by Iraq's nuclear arsenal.[7] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#7-note) The objective is three-fold—to magnify the fear of Saddam Hussein, to present President Bush as the Christian savior of the American people, a man of conscience who never in life would lead the country into an unjust war, and to provide a platform of star-spangled patriotism for Republican candidates in the November congressional elections.[8] (http://harpers.org/TheCaseForImpeachment.html#8-note)

* * *

The Conyers report doesn't lack for further instances of the administration's misconduct, all of them noted in the press over the last three years—misuse of government funds, violation of the Geneva Conventions, holding without trial and subjecting to torture individuals arbitrarily designated as “enemy combatants,” etc.—but conspiracy to commit fraud would seem reason enough to warrant the President's impeachment. Before reading the report, I wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country's good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world's evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation's wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal—known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child's tricycle.
Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?

* * *

The above is a brief excerpt from the complete essay, available in the March 2006 (http://javascript<b></b>:void;) issue of Harper's Magazine.

&#169; 2006 Harper's Magazine Foundation

March 2nd, 2006, 11:13 AM
John Conyers is the hardest working Democrat in Washington and Joe Lieberman is the hardest working Republican.

March 2nd, 2006, 11:29 AM
Lieberman must still be smarting from the inept campaign of 2000.

March 2nd, 2006, 01:15 PM
While I personally don't like Lieberman (too righteous, too boring), he has been one of few polititians in DC that mostly stayed above politics and partisanships. He speaks his mind and votes his concience.

March 2nd, 2006, 10:42 PM
I don't think with all this negative press Bush will get reelected....oh wait......LMAO


March 2nd, 2006, 10:45 PM
Lieberman will never get any real attention because he's in the wrong party. You have to understand that us conservatives are a lot like children. Lieberman sound a lot like Liberal-man so thumbs down for him. We like bombs and money. KABOOM!


March 3rd, 2006, 12:58 AM
Jake's Dream Ticket in '08 ...

March 3rd, 2006, 10:04 AM
GOP growing increasingly angry, frightened by Bush's missteps

Knight Ridder Newspapers
March 2, 2006


WASHINGTON - President Bush, once the seemingly invincible vanguard of a new Republican majority, could be endangering his party's hold on power as the GOP heads into this year's midterm congressional elections.

A series of political missteps has raised questions about the Bush administration's candor, competence and credibility and left the White House off-balance, off-message and unable to command either the nation's policy agenda or its politics the way the president did during his first term.

This week, newly released video of Bush listening passively to warnings about the dire threat posed by Hurricane Katrina and a report that intelligence analysts warned for more than two years that the insurgency in Iraq could swell into a civil war provided fresh fodder for charges that the president ignores unwelcome alarms.

His attacks on those who questioned his administration's approval of a seaports deal with the United Arab Emirates and his ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court have angered some conservatives and Republican members of Congress.

And even some Bush supporters remain anxious about the economy, the federal deficit, the war in Iraq and the extent of the administration's warrantless wiretapping.

"The White House has been taking it on the chin lately, and the reverberations are being felt throughout the GOP," Republican blogger Bobby Eberle wrote this week. "From the Harriet Miers nomination to the Dubai Ports and more, the folks in charge of message strategy appear to be asleep at the wheel."

Said Republican pollster Ed Goeas: "If this environment holds, you have to assume it's going to tip for the Democrats."

That's not to say that second-term blues are unique to Bush, the environment will hold or that Republicans will lose control of the House of Representatives or the Senate in November. Polls show that Republicans still have the edge on the crucial question of which party is more trusted to defend the country against terrorists, for example.

But eight months before the election, Democrats are growing bolder, and many Republicans are getting nervous about the president's stewardship and his ability to regain the upper hand.

Bush's approval ratings remain stuck in the mid- to low 40s in two polls released Thursday. The two contradict a CBS poll earlier this week, which Knight Ridder reported, that showed it plunging to 34 percent in recent weeks.

Growing doubts about the administration's case for and conduct of the war in Iraq have kept the president from reversing his slide, and now his administration's missteps are making it even harder for him to regain his footing.

When conservatives challenged the ports deal, for example, Bush threatened to veto any legislation blocking it, then all but accused his critics of racism for opposing an Arab company.

"I've been helpful out here on the campaign trail, backing the president on eavesdropping, defending them on Iraq and Social Security, and then you have this thrown on your lap without any consideration," said Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. "Then the threat of a veto, that really took my breath away."

"I didn't think his choice of words there was really good," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. "And I thought his veto threat was untimely and inappropriate."

"It certainly is the perfect storm of aggravating or provoking congressional egos and the president getting his back up and saying the least diplomatic thing he could have said," said Michael Franc, a former Republican aide in Congress who's now a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research center in Washington.

Moreover, Bush's remarks reminded conservatives of the fact that the White House accused them of sexism when they challenged the Miers nomination. They didn't like that, either.

The president still has Republican support. The Battleground Poll found that 86 percent of Republicans approve of the way he's doing his job. It found that he's still supported by voters in the South, Central Plains and Mountain West, by men, married voters with children, conservatives and white conservative Christians. (The poll was conducted by Goeas and Democrat Celinda Lake.)

Yet Republican enthusiasm has waned, a potentially troubling trend that could hamper GOP turnout this fall.

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg found that the ranks of Republicans who say they strongly approve of Bush's job performance had dropped by 15 percentage points. Similarly, strong approval from conservatives dropped by 14 points, and approval from white married men dropped by 14 points.

"Our analysis," Greenberg said, "shows a sharp slippage among white rural voters and blue-collar men as well as the best educated and upscale married men, even before the last controversies around port security and the Iraq `civil war.'"

March 3rd, 2006, 12:08 PM
The Battleground Poll found that 86 percent of Republicans approve of the way he's doing his job. It found that he's still supported by voters in the South, Central Plains and Mountain West, by men, married voters with children, conservatives and white conservative Christians.

What on Earth would this guy have to do to wake these people? Will we have to endure a Reagan-like canonization of this creep? They might try to get his face on Rushmore.

March 3rd, 2006, 12:14 PM
It won't be until after Bush is out of office and the bills for the deficit start becoming apparent (in all sorts of big + little ways) that people will get truly pissed off -- but at that late date they will blame the new SOB sitting in the Oval Office.

History will mark him for the shameless horror that he is.

March 3rd, 2006, 12:25 PM
What on Earth would this guy have to do to wake these people? Will we have to endure a Reagan-like canonization of this creep? They might try to get his face on Rushmore.

I think some of these numbers of misleading. Plenty of republicans are concerned about the war in Iraq. Plenty more are unhappy about the run-away government spending and budget deficits. It really depends on the kind of question you ask. The latest poll indicates that Bush's approval ratings are 34% - the lowest they've been. Certainly, there are lots of republicans or those leaning republican that are not really happy about Bush and what he's doing. Or, they like his social stand and his appointment of judges to the supreme court, his handing of national security and that's what they think about when they answer those questions.

March 3rd, 2006, 12:28 PM
It won't be until after Bush is out of office and the bills for the deficit start becoming apparent (in all sorts of big + little ways) that people will get truly pissed off -- but at that late date they will blame the new SOB sitting in the Oval Office.

Congress is equally responsible for the deficits. And since this has not affected most people so far (the interest rates stayed low), this issue is not prominent and is not on the minds of most people even though it should be.

March 3rd, 2006, 02:30 PM
Congress is comprised of a solid Republican majority in the Senate and a solid Republian majority in the House it has been since 1998. As the President and Congress act as one (i.e., the President has not vetoed one single bill presented to him to date), there is no shifting the blame to others here. It is blame dead on. You are not dealing with Fox News zombies here who. The criminal, corrupt Republican Party has fiscally destroyed this country. We are sending billions to bomb, kill, imprison, torture and rain misery down on innocent people overseas, while we cut healthcare, housing, education, environmental, public health, veterans health and affairs, civil works and transportation projects at home. Asking for money to create war in Iraq in excess of the amount that is being cut for social serive programs is perverse and the embodiment of evil.

The Bush Era is Easily Defined:

Osama Bin Laden - Still Free
Axis of Evil - Countries are more heavily armed bow than in 2001
National Security - see Mexicans running acrosst he border / DPW Deal
Freedom on the March - open trade with Communist China, curfew in Iraq.

March 3rd, 2006, 07:12 PM
I'm sorry but I though America was a democracy?

YOU elected BUSH (oh yeah I forgot, Dick Cheney "hacked" the election computer)

YOU elected this SENATE


YOU elected this GOVERNOR

YOU elected this MAYOR

If you didn't vote then you just need to sit down and shut up because that just means that you missed your chance. If you voted for someone else then sorry, tough, that's how democracy works.

Let me say something that is a bit too obvious to restate.

Bin Laden wasn't born in 2000. Trade with China? Ask Clinton about that nice little deal that left our country at a 300:1 trade imbalance. Katrina? Well it's not like the fact that THERE IS A HURRICANE IN THE GULF EVERY YEAR could've told us to expect something like that. Bin Laden still free, yeah you guys are saying "find this guy in a mountainous all-muslim region but jesus, don't use the CIA for god's sake"

whatever, this is just another endless discussion. Do you think if anyone else was president that any of these tragedies wouldn't happen? Terrorism, deficits, diplomatic relations are all things that go back sometimes hundreds of years.

Yes, Bush spends too much IMO.
Yes, he doesn't behave very professionally.
Yes, he's made mistakes.

This is what will happen, a democrat will come to office in 2008 and suddenly our energy problems will be solved. ANd everyone will go "oh see! ____solved it!" without looking at the legislation that is making this happen.

He's not burning money, he's investing in the future. EVERYONE is talking about high oil costs and yet BUSH is probably the only one actually doing something about it.

EVERY president has flaws, but just because Greenday made American Idiot and it's suddenly cool to go to protests doesn't mean that they are right. How often do you see Republicans going on protests, lmao. Republicans just sit at home and laugh. Young people always protest, it's just that in the age of blogs and cheaply mass-marketed "I hate Bush" T-shirts it all suddenly seems like it's sweeping hte nation.

Many of you don't know shit about American history. Once you start looking at the end of a Marine's M16 rifle then call me because Bush hasn't even sent the military to kick the protester's ass. Pretty much most presidents in American history have.

edit: BTW, those "approval rating" polls are telephone polls that call ususally between 300-1000 people. If you think that many people faithfully represent the US of A then fine, Bush's rating is 1%. THE ONLY REAL APPROVAL RATING POLL IS AN ELECTION. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.

...and Cheney shot the ballot counters with a pellet gun and rigged the machines in Ohio. I know I know.

March 3rd, 2006, 08:20 PM
It's so easy to make fun of what you don't understand. You have a small mind Jake.

March 3rd, 2006, 10:09 PM
^I know, because you guys are so understanding.

You don't understand how people could support Bush, I don't understand how people could not support Bush. I owe much to (I don't know about the members on this board specifically but when I'm speaking I'm mainly talking to "Democrats") Clinton, but I won't exaclty admit it. Don't forget that the last few presidents have been Republican. You owe much to them as well. Republicans somehow just couldn't manage to run this country into the ground (damn we tried so hard) in all that time.

Nobody is right here. Everyone is right here. I consider myself to be open-minded and honest. "Open-minded" has somehow started to mean something strange in the last decade. I will listen to anyone's opinion, make a judment on it and accept it or dismiss it. Recently open-minded started to mean that I would listen and accept it. No, I am a rich, white, Christian, stockbroker. I consider things like foreign culture and homosexuality wrong. Is it not my right to consider them wrong? After all why aren't gays open minded? Perhaps they should listen to the argument for heterosexuality and accept it, huh?

You can question this president's decisions all you want, it is your right, but don't call him stupid. I appreciate an intelligent discussion with a bit of humor since this isn't that serious, what I can't stand is popular culture acting like it is right to force their opinion onto others. Michael Moore or Greenday have no more say in this than you or me, one vote exactly, nothing more.

It's true that Bush may behave like an idiot at nearly all press conferences but it doesn't change the fact that the man has accomplished A LOT. It's just that critics will naturally never mention things like that. Here we are concerned about Iran and yet somehow nobody comes to appreciate small thing like that fact that Libya agreed to completely disarm as a result of his policy. There's soooooooo much legislation that he wrote that it's too hard to name it all. People hate Bush, people hate taxes, yet they would've been paying a LOT more if not for Bush, war or no war.

If anyone wants to actually learn something I will list many of his policies, both those that worked and those that failed. But nooooo, this war in Iraq has become such a focus nothing else suddenly matters? Record deficit, do you people even know what that means? Do you know that this deficit doesn't include ANY money from recent legislation? Tell me this- If I give a small business a loan to expand, is that good or bad? This loan is cited in the deficit as a negative, yet this is a beneficial move, no? Yet the growth and employment this business will enjoy will fall under the future president's "accomplishments".

THis is not Bush is good, Bush is bad. It is never that simple. IMO people are looking at his public actions (wars) and absolutely ignore the things that most directly matter to their employment and standard of living (economic legislation).

Our basic differences of opinion will always be there. We have different values, different goals. Don't call Bush stupid, that just makes YOU look ignorant. Kerry not only did not complete as many levels of education as Bush but he also had lower grades in the same school in the same classes. And please don't give me "Bush's daddy was the president" crap because when Bush was accepted into college his father wasn't even in the running for the House of Representatives, much less anything higher.

Bush is the first president with an MBA, of course he'll focus on economics. If that was his platform and he was elected twice, then apparantly people find that important.

A number of websites keep saying "Bush is responsible for the single deadliest terrorist attack on US soil" and OK let's assume for a second that for some reason you CAN blame him for it. Why aren't we blaming Clinton for the WTC bombing? The Waco Cult siege? The Oklahoma City bombing? Why doesn't anyone ever mention that the Reagan-Bush combination forced our greatest enemy of the 20th century to essentially "lose" after 50 years of "war"? Another thing I find absolutely RIDICULOUS is the amount of criticism Fox News gets. YES, it's a conservative station, but hell at least they don't make up evidence, like cough cough Dan Rather and all the other guys who just jump on stuff like that right away. If Dan Rather fabricated evidence FOR Bush we'd never hear the end of it, but let's just quietly forget the whole incident....

March 4th, 2006, 12:13 AM
Why doesn't anyone ever mention that the Reagan-Bush combination forced our greatest enemy of the 20th century to essentially "lose" after 50 years of "war"?

They mention it ad infinitum, and the truth is Reagan didn't force anything on th USSR. The Soviet Union, contrary to Republicans, most certainly did not fall because of Reagan. The Soviet Union fell for internal reasons a lot more monumental and complicated than one senile President.
That is perhaps one of the most mystifying propaganda lies that right-wingers like to repeat.

Fox is not news, get that straight. It tells you what you like hearing, what is most comfortable to you and what coddles you in a cocoon of self-delusion about world events. It makes you feel good, reassures you in a big scary world. Provides you with a Goldstein and at least 5 Minutes of Hate each day. It is to real news what pro wrestling is to serious sport.

The actual truth is hard for some people, so Fox News spares them from it.

March 4th, 2006, 12:36 AM
...the truth is Reagan didn't force anything on th USSR. The Soviet Union, contrary to Republicans, most certainly did not fall because of Reagan. The Soviet Union fell for internal reasons a lot more monumental and complicated than one senile President.
That is perhaps one of the most mystifying propaganda lies that right-wingers like to repeat.
I'm no right winger -- and had to put up with Reagan as my governor as well as POTUS -- but isn't there some truth in the old story that the USA forced the Soviets to spend themselves into oblivion?

Or have I bought a load of BS?

March 4th, 2006, 12:44 AM
To credit Reagan-Bush alone with the crumble is too simplistic.It also implies that the nuclear spending frenzy was thought up by Reagan within the context of some brilliant plan other than maintaining the status quo. The Afghan War and other conflicts associated with trying to maintain such a huge empire , social unrest, religion, a million things contributed, not to mention the economic failures of communism aside from the inability to fund an arms race. I don't like to see such a huge and complicated thing oversimplified. To say Reagan brought down the Soviet Union is a radical and false oversimplification.

I think Mikhail Gorbachev might like to say he had something to do with it too.

March 4th, 2006, 12:47 AM
the USA forced the Soviets to spend themselves into oblivion

So, Reagan IS the USA from 1950-1990 ??

March 4th, 2006, 12:53 AM
From the Washington Post


Just Who Did Smash Communism?
By James G. Hershberg
Sunday, June 27, 2004; Page B01

The Economist put it most succinctly. After Ronald Reagan died, the magazine placed a photo of him on its cover with the words: "The man who beat communism." Others said much the same. A radio broadcast I heard began, "He was credited with winning the Cold War." A few minutes later, a political scientist cited victory in the Cold War and "the destruction of the Soviet Union" as two of Reagan's chief legacies. Since then, an endless stream of admirers and commentators has hailed Reagan for triumphing over the "evil empire."

Whoa, wait a minute. It's a bit more complicated than that.

Ronald Reagan's policies surely contributed to the dissolution of the Kremlin's empire, culminating in the 1989 anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe and the breakup of the Soviet Union two years later. But for the media and Reagan's hagiographers to give the 40th president all the credit is like saying a late-inning relief pitcher had "won" a baseball game without mentioning the starting pitcher, the closer or the teammates who scored the runs that gave the team its lead.

Historians abhor the idea of attributing a vast, complex phenomenon to a single cause. No one person brought down the Soviet Union, but if I had to choose the one who mattered most, that person would not be Reagan, most of whose policies fit comfortably in the Cold War tradition of containment followed dutifully by presidents from Truman to Carter.

Rather, the historical wild card was Mikhail Gorbachev, who followed a well-worn path up the ladder of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- and then turned out to be a radical reformer. Influenced by Nikita Khrushchev's short-lived "thaw" in the 1950s, Gorbachev grasped long before Reagan's election that the stultifying Soviet system required renovation. Gorbachev also committed the heresy of abandoning the aim of world revolution and the class struggle in international affairs in favor of amorphous, but much nicer, "universal human values." Above all, he refused to use the massive armed forces at his disposal to retain his party's grip on captive nations in Eastern Europe, restive nationalist republics or Russia itself -- something his predecessors Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko might have readily done had they not conked out first.

But Gorbachev cannot claim all the credit, either. The factors that doomed the Soviet Union were largely innate, not external. In his seminal 1947 "X" article in Foreign Affairs, George F. Kennan argued "that Soviet power, like the capitalist world of its conception, bears within it the seeds of its own decay, and that the sprouting of these seeds is well advanced." In early 1950, despite anxiety over the first Soviet atomic explosion, the communist victory in China and the rise of McCarthyism, Harvard University President James B. Conant predicted that by 1980 the Soviets' "absurdities and static system would cause them to grind to a stop." He wasn't far off.

Reagan essentially followed a bipartisan legacy of containment. Sure, he offered arms to anti-communist insurgencies in the Third World and fervently articulated his beliefs in freedom and democracy, but so had other presidents. In the crunch, Reagan was (understandably) no more willing to risk World War III by directly challenging Kremlin repression in Central Europe than his predecessors had been. For all the claims of clandestine aid to the banned Solidarity movement in Poland, Reagan's reaction -- rhetoric, sympathy and half-hearted sanctions -- to the Warsaw regime's imposition of martial law in December 1981 was no less tepid than Eisenhower's to Soviets' violent suppression of revolts in East Germany (1953) and Hungary (1956), Kennedy's to the construction of the Berlin Wall (1961), or Johnson's to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968).

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -- Reagan's iconic 1987 challenge in Berlin -- made a nice sound bite. But however stirring his words, Europeans living under communist rule knew from bitter experience that neither the American cavalry nor American presidential rhetoric was going to liberate them. Producers of TV memorial specials might juxtapose clips of Reagan shouting at the Wall and Berliners dancing atop it two years later, but to imply a direct causal connection is history-as-fairy-tale -- or at least history-as-gross -oversimplification.

In 1989, East Europeans knew they would have to liberate themselves. They put their own lives on the line to test the uncertain limits of Gorbachev's new "Sinatra Doctrine" (other communist countries could "do it their way") and discover whether it had really replaced the old Brezhnev Doctrine, which justified armed intervention to prevent defections from the "socialist commonwealth." Those who marched in Leipzig that October had no way of knowing that they wouldn't meet the same fate as Chinese protesters crushed just months before in a crackdown many East German leaders considered worthy of emulation.

Did Reagan's challenges elsewhere around the world speed the Soviet collapse? Reagan's support for the mujaheddin in Afghanistan hastened the Soviets' eventual defeat there and exacerbated stresses within the U.S.S.R. -- but that project had begun during the Carter administration and enjoyed bipartisan support. And Reagan's backing for the contras fighting the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua not only led to the most serious scandal of his administration, but diverted attention from more profound developments taking place elsewhere in the communist world, such as China.

Reagan admirers assert that the 1980s U.S. military buildup bankrupted the Kremlin. "By building our defenses -- rather than unleashing aggression -- Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviet Union," former Republican senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole declared in the New York Times. Politburo minutes indicate a genuine (albeit unfounded) concern about the "Star Wars" missile defense program, and sharper Soviet leaders grasped the growing disparity between the military and technological sophistication of the West, especially the United States, and that of the U.S.S.R. This intensified Gorbachev's desire to ease Cold War enmity, gain greater access to Western goods and know-how, and reallocate resources from the military to the civilian economy.

But Gorbachev also saw the absurdity of a nuclear arms race that, by the mid-1980s, had led the superpowers to hoard more than 70,000 warheads. He understood that he could make appealing offers to jump-start talks -- allowing on-site inspections or trading away intermediate range missiles -- without sacrificing the Soviet nuclear deterrent.

Thus the 1980s arms race did not cause the Kremlin's collapse. The Soviet economy was rotting from within for many other reasons. The Kremlin's warped priorities -- maintaining a cumbersome military machine while its economy and living standards lagged behind the West's -- helped implode the Soviet empire. But those priorities had been set for decades. The turning point was not Reagan's rise but Stalin's chutzpah after World War II. With his country devastated, the vozhd (boss) opted to seek nuclear weapons ("on a Russian scale") and coequal superpower status. From then on, the military consumed the "best and brightest" of Soviet science and distorted the economy.

The focus on the military also shortchanges the role that soft power played in the Soviet realm's demise. The trillions of dollars the West spent on weapons and containment ultimately proved less significant than aspects of Western life that had nothing to do with government policies -- music, movies, fashion (blue jeans!), consumer goods, "Coca-Colonization," and the prospect of a freer, tastier and more affluent life. Thanks to radio, television, Hollywood, samizdat literature and faxes, ideas and images of the West began to permeate the communist world, exerting a gravitational pull. I'll never forget the reverence with which young Russians examined a Time magazine I had taken on a backpacking trip in the 1980s, or with which Muscovites treated a Big Mac when the first McDonald's opened in Pushkin Square.

An irony worth noting is that much credit for winning the Cold War should go to the people Reagan so disliked as governor of California -- the hippies, the anti-Vietnam War protesters and counter-culture figures who in the 1960s produced the music, ideas and ethos of non-conformism that appealed to the educated youth suffocating in the communist world. Those who had the most access to the West, including the children of elite apparatchiki or professionals, found themselves drawn more to Lennon than Lenin, more to Mick than Marx.

Just ask Pavel Palazchenko, the bald, mustachioed interpreter who stood between Reagan and Gorbachev whenever they met. In the 1960s, he studied at the elite Institute of Foreign Languages in Moscow, where, he recalls in a wise, little-noticed 1997 memoir, the "stupidity of the official ideology was not even funny." For relief, he and his fellow students "scraped enough [money] together for parties with girls and a lot of drinking (vodka was cheap in those days). And we had the Beatles," he said.

"We knew their songs by heart. . . . To the Beatles, even more than to my teacher of phonetics, I owe my accent. But I and my . . . contemporaries owe them something else too. In the dusky years of the Brezhnev regime [1964-1982] they were not only a source of musical relief. They helped us create a world of our own, a world different from the dull and senseless ideological liturgy that increasingly reminded one of Stalinism. . . . I believe that only some of us in those years drew inspiration from [dissident physicist] Andrei Sakharov, for we had not yet matured enough to understand his vision. But the Beatles were our quiet way of rejecting 'the system' while conforming to most of its demands."

Not all Soviet leaders were oblivious to these subversive influences. In December 1980, the month after Reagan's election, KGB chief Andropov circulated a confidential memorandum to the Central Committee. It wasn't about the president-elect, but about the murder of John Lennon that month. Andropov reported that "in many of Moscow's establishments of higher education," anonymous posters had appeared to organize a demonstration in memory of the ex-Beatle. "The KGB has taken the necessary measures to identify the instigators of this gathering and is in control of the situation," Andropov assured the party elite.

But the KGB was not "in control of the situation." By the late '80s, an underground rock scene flourished in the land of "socialist realism." When the whole edifice tumbled to the ground, former dissidents around the old Warsaw Pact, like Vaclav Havel, hailed (and in some cases erected new statues to) such figures as Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and James Dean.

Reagan gave a push to the tottering statues of Marx and Lenin, but his role was, in all likelihood, peripheral rather than central -- it's simply premature to say with any degree of certitude. In the meantime, the outpouring of hagiographic praise of Reagan for slaying the Soviet dragon says as much about us as about him. The blend of sentimentality, Cold War triumphalism and superficial news coverage reflects the dangerous American habit of neglecting the world's complexity in favor of drawing a self-indulgent, solipsistic caricature of international affairs.

March 4th, 2006, 06:49 AM
To credit Reagan-Bush alone with the crumble is too simplistic.It also implies that the nuclear spending frenzy was thought up by Reagan within the context of some brilliant plan other than maintaining the status quo.From the article:
Ronald Reagan's policies surely contributed to the dissolution of the Kremlin's empire, culminating in the 1989 anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe and the breakup of the Soviet Union two years later.
but if I had to choose the one who mattered most, that person would not be Reagan,
Rather, the historical wild card was Mikhail Gorbachev, who followed a well-worn path up the ladder of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union -- and then turned out to be a radical reformer.
Reagan essentially followed a bipartisan legacy of containment. The article assumes an unchanging policy of arms escalation and containment by the US from the 50s to the 80s. In reality, the mood in America during the late 70s was one of disengagement.

Social turmoil at home.
A long and bitter war.
A president resigned under threat of impeachment.
B1 bomber program scrapped.
Cuban troops in southern Africa.
Iran hostages and a botched rescue attempt.
Fall of Afghanistan to the Soviets (both the CIA and KGB hotly contested the country).
Grassroots movements to remove US nuclear weapons from NATO countries.

This was a dangerous time for both the US and the USSR. There were two computer malfunctions at Cheyenne Mountain in one year (1978 I think) that brought the two countries closer to a nuclear exchange. A friend of mine was on a hunter-killer submarine at the time. There are things he still won't tell me about cat-and-mouse games with Soviet boomers.

In my opinion, the significant thing that Reagan did during his first term was reinforce Us commitment to confront the Soviet Union, a reversal of the recent trend. He authorized the building of new naval ships. He called the USSR an "Evil Empire." His "Star Wars" plan was ridiculous, given the existing technology, but Gorbachev got the message. This was contrary to the accepted political wisdom of the time.

Gorbachev, for his part, was not as radical a reformer as some would suggest. While he instituted social and economic reforms that eventually led to the dismantlement of Communism, he never willingly took the last step, the most significant difference between the US and USSR - giving up power.

March 4th, 2006, 09:58 AM
Let me see if I can make this more simple.

Here are two statements:

A. Reagan brought down the Soviet Union.

B. A confluence of many different factors brought down the Soviet Union.

Which do you think is more true? A or B? That is my point.

March 4th, 2006, 10:15 AM
...I consider things like foreign culture and homosexuality wrong. Is it not my right to consider them wrong? After all why aren't gays open minded? Perhaps they should listen to the argument for heterosexuality and accept it, huh?......

This is just juvenile. People don't argue FOR homosexuality. People ARE homosexual and, it seems from what you are writing, that you just can't let them live their lives. Gay people do not need to hear arguments FOR heterosexuality. Straight people don't need to hear arguments FOR homosexuality. Republicans and conservatives all need to mind their own business and stop trampling on the civil rights of gays. Everytime there's a crisis or a close election, Republican's yell "homo."

...You can question this president's decisions all you want, it is your right, but don't call him stupid....

He's an idiot. An absolute moron. A retard. Dumber than a box of rocks. In the dark. A buffoon. Without a clue.

... Here we are concerned about Iran and yet somehow nobody comes to appreciate small thing like that fact that Libya agreed to completely disarm as a result of his policy...

Libya isn't a threat to the U.S. It never was a threat to the U.S. It is so small as to be insignificant. Bush called three countries the "Axis of Evil." North Korea and Iran's WMD programs have accelerated and expanded under this president. That is a fact you can't defend. It is failed diplomacy and failed policy.

There's soooooooo much legislation that he wrote that it's too hard to name it all. People hate Bush, people hate taxes, yet they would've been paying a LOT more if not for Bush, war or no war.

Please unveil ONE piece of legislation that THIS president wrote. I wonder if his writing skills are up there with his other strengths: bicycle riding, finding the right exit after a press conference, and swallowing pretzels whole.

If anyone wants to actually learn something I will list many of his policies, both those that worked and those that failed.

Oh great Sage, I want to learn. I IMPLORE you please list everything and tell me which worked and which failed.

But nooooo, this war in Iraq has become such a focus nothing else suddenly matters? Record deficit, do you people even know what that means? Do you know that this deficit doesn't include ANY money from recent legislation? Tell me this- If I give a small business a loan to expand, is that good or bad? This loan is cited in the deficit as a negative, yet this is a beneficial move, no? Yet the growth and employment this business will enjoy will fall under the future president's "accomplishments".

That a great hypothetical, but it isn't real. The deficit is caused by a number of things, not the least of which is cutting taxes during wartime. There is also expanding non-war military spending, signing legislation that allows corporations to take profits off shore, where they can evade taxes. The businesses in the Gulf Coast are still waiting for those SBA loans. Also, you forgot to put cut Medicare and Medicad, cut tuition subsidies, cut food stamps, cut social services, cut head start programs among those other great things he's done.

THis is not Bush is good, Bush is bad. It is never that simple. IMO people are looking at his public actions (wars) and absolutely ignore the things that most directly matter to their employment and standard of living (economic legislation).

It's the president who places all subjects and issues in such simplistic terms as "good" and "evil", "with me" or "against me." The only thing American Voters should be looking at and critical of ARE his PUBLIC actions, unlike you and your fellow Republicans who focused SOLELY on the personal life of Clinton. All actions by a president relating to his job should be public. Employment has rebounded from 9/11, but there has been anemic growth. The standard of living for the MAJORITY of Americans has gone down. The earning power of the MAJORITY of Americans has gone down. The only people who are seeing the benefits of the Bush presidency are the rich and the filthy rich.

And as long as we are talking about presidential public actions, it is worth noting that this is one of the most secretive administrations in modern history, which consistently uses "executive privilege" and "security reasons" for not allowing the working of the adminitration to be monitored.

Also, see: Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Sccoter Libby, Bill Frist, Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney...

... Kerry not only did not complete as many levels of education as Bush but he also had lower grades in the same school in the same classes.

I'm always amazed how anyone trying to defend the policies of Bush either attacks Clinton or Kerry. Neither have anything to do with this president.

And please don't give me "Bush's daddy was the president" crap because when Bush was accepted into college his father wasn't even in the running for the House of Representatives, much less anything higher.

His one grandfather was a US Senator. His father, when W was going to college, was Abassador to China and Head of the CIA.

Bush is the first president with an MBA, of course he'll focus on economics. If that was his platform and he was elected twice, then apparantly people find that important..

Just like there are people who got medical degrees only to become doctors who crippled and killed their patients through malpractice, so our president has an MBA.

A number of websites keep saying "Bush is responsible for the single deadliest terrorist attack on US soil" and OK let's assume for a second that for some reason you CAN blame him for it. Why aren't we blaming Clinton for the WTC bombing? The Waco Cult siege? The Oklahoma City bombing? Why doesn't anyone ever mention that the Reagan-Bush combination forced our greatest enemy of the 20th century to essentially "lose" after 50 years of "war"? ..

Perfect example. We're talking about Bush, so blame Clinton and praise Reagan. Not too partisan. Very Fox News.

Another thing I find absolutely RIDICULOUS is the amount of criticism Fox News gets. YES, it's a conservative station, but hell at least they don't make up evidence, like cough cough Dan Rather and all the other guys who just jump on stuff like that right away. If Dan Rather fabricated evidence FOR Bush we'd never hear the end of it, but let's just quietly forget the whole incident....

Fox News:

O'Reilly to Barry Lynn: "You know I love you as a guest. You're one of the best. You're a paranoid crazy."
Friday, March 3, 2006 5:09PM

O'Reilly: Documentary Outfoxed "was a dishonest piece of trash"
Friday, March 3, 2006 3:23PM

Top ports deal myths and falsehoods
Friday, March 3, 2006 3:04PM

NBC, Fox uncritically reported new White House explanation for Bush levee claim, ignore evidence indicating awareness of breach threat
Friday, March 3, 2006 1:44PM

Despite lack of investigation, pundits dismissed concerns by Congress and the public over port deal
Friday, March 3, 2006 12:22PM

Angle's report on Baltimore port ignored glaring security deficiencies
Thursday, March 2, 2006 4:14PM

Media largely ignored Rep. King's allegation that Bush admin. skipped terrorism investigation during initial ports deal review
Thursday, March 2, 2006 1:21PM

Too much of a "good thing"? Fox suggested media "made up" Iraqi "civil war"
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 8:34PM

Media reach to minimize Bush's poor poll results
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 7:48PM

Fox News' Rosen misrepresented Hotline poll to suggest majority of Americans may approve of Bush
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 3:36PM

Garrett falsely reported that DPW head "didn't know" of UAE's Israel trade embargo
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 1:08PM

Olbermann named Fox's Hume "Worst Person in World" for criticizing Reid for using same word choice to describe Dubai Ports World deal as Hume previously used
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 12:16PM

Dick Morris on port deal: Trust Bush
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:37PM

Fox's Cameron, Hume criticized Reid for same word choice on Dubai Ports World issue as Hume previously used
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:23PM

Media: National security is a right-wing value
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 12:28PM

On Fox, Miniter misrepresented port controversy to charge critics with "anti-Arab bias"
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:53AM

O'Reilly: "I don't do personal attacks here"
Monday, February 27, 2006 11:29AM

Fox's Asman touted Anna Benson's "wonderful," "sexy poses" during interview on Cavuto
Friday, February 24, 2006 6:02PM

O'Reilly called for MSNBC to boost ratings by reinstating Donahue in Olbermann's timeslot, overlooking MSNBC's lower rated conservative programming
Friday, February 24, 2006 4:41PM

Only on Fox: "All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?"
Friday, February 24, 2006 11:27AM

Cavuto falsely claimed real wages have increased
Thursday, February 23, 2006 6:34PM

Cameron misrepresented Harman-Collins port ownership proposal to accuse Democrats of playing politics
Thursday, February 23, 2006 3:44PM

McWhorter falsely claimed African-American child poverty rates decreased under GOP majority
Wednesday, February 22, 2006 6:17PM

Gibson accused Gumbel of racism; Hannity misrepresented Gumbel Olympics remarks
Wednesday, February 22, 2006 5:40PM

Only on Fox: "Attacking capitalism: Have Dems declared war on America?"
Wednesday, February 22, 2006 2:40PM

With Cheney hunting accident, media again ignored pattern of Bush purporting to take high road while surrogates smear targets
Wednesday, February 22, 2006 11:55AM

Hannity refused to say if he agreed with Coulter that Democrats "have affection for ... terrorists"
Tuesday, February 21, 2006 7:08PM

O'Reilly would fire "rabid dog" Gabler for Fox News Watch comments
Tuesday, February 21, 2006 5:35PM

Fox's Hume congratulated himself for kid-gloved Cheney interview
Tuesday, February 21, 2006 12:37PM

Fox's Garrett falsely claimed that House report on Katrina "verified" his misleading Red Cross reporting
Tuesday, February 21, 2006 12:26PM

Media employ verbal gymnastics to avoid saying "Cheney shot hunting partner"
Friday, February 17, 2006 6:55PM

Media pronounce Cheney shooting story "over"; declare he "stopped the political damage," despite lingering questions, contradictions
Friday, February 17, 2006 6:20PM

Limbaugh, Fox's Angle repeated misleading claim that NSA program targeted only terror suspects
Friday, February 17, 2006 5:03PM

O'Reilly: news media "hate Bush and Cheney," but Fox will give you "the fair story"
Friday, February 17, 2006 2:55PM

Hume baselessly asserted that Cheney chose Fox for interview because of its high ratings, rather than because it is "associated with conservative causes"
Thursday, February 16, 2006 6:48PM

Media declared that Cheney took responsibility for shooting, failed to note that his supporters had first put blame on victim
Thursday, February 16, 2006 6:13PM

O'Reilly condemned Dowd criticism of Cheney, failed to note that she was right
Thursday, February 16, 2006 3:04PM

Cheney's exclusive interview with Fox pays off; FNC withholds video of Cheney's drinking acknowledgment, ignores key questions
Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:11AM

Defending Cheney, Fox's Henneberg falsely claimed that vice presidents "rarely, if ever" hold press conferences
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 4:14PM

Media figures repeat claim that disclosure rendered NSA surveillance useless
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 3:31PM

Krauthammer: Cheney did "manly thing" in withholding hunting accident info
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:39PM

O'Reilly: Five percent of S.F. police officers using excessive force "not so bad"
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:17PM

Hume noted White House claim that "video news releases" are legal, ignored that GAO thinks otherwise
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:13AM

Media find lying about illicit sex more newsworthy than lying about warrantless domestic wiretapping of Americans
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 9:29AM

Sammon called Cheney incident aftermath a "tempest in a teapot"
Monday, February 13, 2006 3:43PM

March 4th, 2006, 11:22 AM
^^ Thanks!!

Saved me ALOT of typing ;)

March 4th, 2006, 03:30 PM
Condoleezza displeaza Spike

Condoleezza Rice

Ben Widdicombe
New York Daily New
March 4, 2006


Firebrand director Spike Lee has found an unlikely new target for his latest spray: the secretary of state.

Says Lee: "I dislike Condoleezza Rice more than [President] Bush. The thing about it is that she's gotten a free ride from black people."

Oh no, he didn't.

"People say, 'She's so successful' and 'Look at her position as a black woman.' She is a black woman who grew up in Birmingham, Ala., and said that she never experienced a day of racism in her life," Lee tells the April issue of Stuff magazine.

"Condi, stop smoking that crack!"

"I know you love your Ferragamo shoes, but come on. While people were drowning in New Orleans, she was going up and down Madison Ave. buying Ferragamo shoes. Then she went to see 'Spamalot.'"

You heard the man, Madame Secretary. Put down the crack pipe.

© 2006 Daily News, L.P.

March 4th, 2006, 04:54 PM
People appreciate somebody who sets a tone, a tone that values life.
-- George W. Bush, June 5, 2000

Fact: Estimated 100,000+ Iraqi civilian deaths.

Fact: 2,506 coalition military deaths as of 3/3/06

Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life.
-- George W. Bush, Feb. 2, 2005

Fact: 16,742 American military wounded as of 3/3/06.

Fact: Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing by leaps and bounds, White House budget documents assume a cutback in 2008 and further cuts thereafter.

The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.
-- George W. Bush, June 26, 2003

Fact: At least 108 people have died in U.S. custody.

Fact: Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.

March 4th, 2006, 06:55 PM
If anyone wants to actually learn something I will list many of his policies, both those that worked and those that failed. But nooooo, this war in Iraq has become such a focus nothing else suddenly matters? Record deficit, do you people even know what that means? Do you know that this deficit doesn't include ANY money from recent legislation?

This is from the Times, so we can't believe a word of it ;) ...

I know NOTHING, but this sure sounds like GOOD news to me!

Bush Plan Would Raise Deficit by $1.2 Trillion, Budget Office Says

By EDMUND L. ANDREWS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/edmund_l_andrews/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
NY Times
March 4, 2006


WASHINGTON, March 3 — President Bush's budget would increase the federal deficit by $35 billion this year and by more than $1.2 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Friday.

The nonpartisan budget office said that Mr. Bush's tax-cutting proposals would cost about $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years and that his proposals to partly privatize Social Security would cost about $312 billion during that period.

The office also said Mr. Bush's proposals to save money on Medicare, Medicaid and most nonmilitary programs would offset about one-third of the cost of his other proposals.

The report comes as Republican leaders in Congress prepare to settle on their own budget for next year, which could differ substantially from Mr. Bush's.

They are already running into political and economic obstacles as they try to extend Mr. Bush's tax cuts, pay for the war in Iraq and squeeze spending on antipoverty programs, education and most other areas of nonmilitary spending.

Senate Republicans, nervous about their prospects in this fall's midterm elections, are balking at Mr. Bush's proposal to trim $36 billion over five years from Medicare, the government health program for the elderly.

House and Senate leaders remain bogged down over a limited extension of Mr. Bush's tax cut for stock dividends, and Senate Republicans have repeatedly failed in efforts to permanently repeal the estate tax.

At first blush, the Congressional Budget Office's report appears optimistic because it envisions that the budget deficit will slowly decline from $371 billion this year as economic growth generates more revenue and as Mr. Bush's budget cuts take effect.

Measured as a share of the total economy, the budget deficit would decline to about 1 percent in 2011 from 2.8 percent this year. Though the government would still be borrowing money each year, the annual deficit would be low by historical standards.

But the budget office noted that it had not included money for military costs in Iraq and Afghanistan after this year. The Bush administration has asked for a total of $92 billion in supplemental spending this year for those efforts.

Mr. Bush's budget also omits any cost for preventing a huge expansion of the alternative minimum tax, a parallel income tax that is expected to engulf tens of millions of people over the next several years.

Mr. Bush's budget assumes that the government will reap well over $1 trillion from the alternative minimum tax over the next decade, but Republicans and Democrats alike have vowed to prevent that from happening.

The optimistic outlook also assumes that Congress freezes or cuts the vast majority of discretionary government programs outside of military and domestic security ones.

Mr. Bush's 2007 budget would cut $2.1 billion next year from education, which had been one of the president's areas for increased spending. It would also cut money for community development block grants, low-income housing, child-support enforcement against deadbeat fathers and scores of other programs with support in Congress.

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Compan (http://www.nytco.com/)y

March 4th, 2006, 07:27 PM
Republicans and conservatives all need to mind their own business and stop trampling on the civil rights of gays. Everytime there's a crisis or a close election, Republican's yell "homo."

If you want acceptance you start behaving like a normal person. You start protests that just gives you a negative image. Gays are often smart and well-respected people, but those are NOT the people who go parading and use the "omg, he must've given me a parking ticket because I'm gay" excuse. I don't care what people do in their homes. As long as I don't see it and I don't hear it. The whole gay marriage thing is absolutely retarded. There are 3 kinds of marriages: religious, legal, and personal. If you want a religious marriage well too bad cuz those don't accept gays; if you want a legal marriage, why? For taxes? Not good enough reason; if you're gay and you really "love" somebody then you can tell your partner and be happy.

He's an idiot. An absolute moron. A retard. Dumber than a box of rocks. In the dark. A buffoon. Without a clue.

Yes! I know! I saw that article in the Village Voice too! Bush's IQ 1, Clinton's IQ 200!

Libya isn't a threat to the U.S. It never was a threat to the U.S. It is so small as to be insignificant.

lol, that is the most ridiculous statement ever. If your definition of threat is a full scale war then no, I don't think there's more than 2 countries in the world that would be a "threat" (namely China and Russia) but Libya had airplanes blown up and assasinations carried out. Libya shows primse of reform but it used to be more involved in international terrorism than Afghanistan ever was.

North Korea and Iran's WMD programs have accelerated and expanded under this president. That is a fact you can't defend. It is failed diplomacy and failed policy.

DIPLOMACY!? With kim jong-il? Hahaha, the guy would sell his mother to have a nuke. Would you have us attack him? What diplomatic ways are there in this case? The country has every sanction in the world put on them. You can't even send diplomats in. And exactly what threat are they posing? Million man army is only a threat to our interests in Japan and Korea, and those guys aren't very eager to walk over the DMZ. There is no way for a DPRK missle to even get halfway to the continetal US.

Please unveil ONE piece of legislation that THIS president wrote. I wonder if his writing skills are up there with his other strengths: bicycle riding, finding the right exit after a press conference, and swallowing pretzels whole.

Energy Bill, (let's send this thread into THAT debate, hehe)

Oh great Sage, I want to learn. I IMPLORE you please list everything and tell me which worked and which failed.

Ok , fine, you got me, I don' care enough to write a 300 page review of this administrations accomplishaments. I was wrong to post that as I won't follow up and the Rangers game is starting soon so I'll only throw out ONE (oooh only one, because naturally there aren't any more)

Bush created programs that allow the disabled to work from home or aid them in the workplace, reducing welfare necessity and increasing employment and economic productivity.

hat a great hypothetical, but it isn't real. The deficit is caused by a number of things, not the least of which is cutting taxes during wartime. There is also expanding non-war military spending, signing legislation that allows corporations to take profits off shore, where they can evade taxes. The businesses in the Gulf Coast are still waiting for those SBA loans. Also, you forgot to put cut Medicare and Medicad, cut tuition subsidies, cut food stamps, cut social services, cut head start programs among those other great things he's done.

look no further than a headline on yahoo from 5 minutes ago.


And as long as we are talking about presidential public actions, it is worth noting that this is one of the most secretive administrations in modern history, which consistently uses "executive privilege" and "security reasons" for not allowing the working of the adminitration to be monitored.

Also, see: Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Sccoter Libby, Bill Frist, Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney...

lol, THIS administration is the most secretive!? Seriously, it's not like Clinton had any secrets....hahaha. Very good Monica, very gooooood.

I'm always amazed how anyone trying to defend the policies of Bush either attacks Clinton or Kerry. Neither have anything to do with this president.

There is no perfect president, there are no perfect people. Clinton and Kerry are the people who I'm comparing him to since THERE ISN"T ANYONE ELSE IN THIS CATEGORY. Why don't you tell me who would be better suited to do his job?

His one grandfather was a US Senator. His father, when W was going to college, was Abassador to China and Head of the CIA.

True his grandfather was a US Senator, but Papa Bush was Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China (1974–1976) and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director_of_the_Central_Intelligence_Agency) (1976–1977) Little Bush graduated from college in '68 and got his MBA in '75. His father only became a representative (hardly an influential position for someone at Yale) in his senior year.

Just like there are people who got medical degrees only to become doctors who crippled and killed their patients through malpractice, so our president has an MBA.

Yes, medical school graduates just shine with stupidity!

Perfect example. We're talking about Bush, so blame Clinton and praise Reagan. Not too partisan. Very Fox News.

Liberal media are always 'fighting for freedom" while conservatives are instatntly fascists. There are no TRUE news. Everyone has an agenda. Unless you are reading your news in the form of:

-1 dead

then you are getting media bias. What do you watch and read? The holy NYT? A great newspaper as a whole but the fact/opinion line is thin there. Same goes for everyone.

Your examples of FOX news are a bit strange. Yes, FOX may be over the top but it's the only way to compensate for the other end of the spectrum. If your news source says "BUSH IS STUPID" why is it strange that FOX says "BUSH IS NOT STUPID"?

hell the headlines you stated, I agree with most of them. Who says if they're right or wrong? I watch FOX NEWS, but they don't tell me what to do, I read the Times but it doesn't tell me what to do.

March 4th, 2006, 07:54 PM
lol, THIS administration is the most secretive!? Seriously, it's not like Clinton had any secrets....hahaha. Very good Monica, very gooooood.

Do you honestly believe lying about oral sex is even in the same ballpark as lying us into a war?

The difference should be obvious to even the most partisan observer.

March 4th, 2006, 09:23 PM
I was joking...

A case can be made against every president. Everyone criticizes yet noone has pointed any true American heroes yet. They're politicians, they lie, it's obvious.

I never felt like I was lied to about Iraq, I KNEW that we were going. IMO he should've said "we're going there because we don't like them and wanna take their oil" The ends justify the means. Naturally that's a questionable statement but so are many things in life.

bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid,bush is stupid.....come on, who is immature now?

Maybe if Kerry was president we'd have sunshine and love but he isn't and I don't believe we would. What about Gore, what do you think he would do when the trade deficit problem landed on his desk?

Let's agree to disagree, that is the reasonable thing to do. People always choose to see the good in their candidate and the bad in others.

I agree Bush deserve criticism for this or that policy but we won't really know how they will work out because they will only start to take effect 10 years from now.

I for example hate Hillary Clinton, and got a very good laugh out of Laura Bush's statement about her.

Things like "Bush should be impeached" may get you laid at a college rally but are hardly respected by serious people in a position to do something.

There are democrats in Congress too you know, why are they voting for this stuff too? Democrats first approve these programs and later say how bad they are. Maybe it's a conspiracy :D.

Whatever, you'll be happy to know that Bush doesn't have that many years left in office and hopefully Russia can do the invading when we go to Iran this time. Meanwhile you should support Hillary's bid for office as she has raised far more money than any other US senator this year. With her running I feel very secure about whoever Republicans nominate.

And BTW, just to clarify, I am Libertarian, I just side with the Republican party for the sake of practicality.

March 4th, 2006, 09:44 PM
Look I can even make the great FDR look bad....

During FDR's presidency...

-longest presidency - can you say "dictator"?

-most American combat deaths in history, unlikely to be ever suprassed

-most civilian deaths in history

-worst economy in American history

-allowed the spread of Fascism, Communism, Naziism.

-allowed for the the worst war in humanity's history

-invaded France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, North Africa, Italy, China, Japan, the Phillipines, hundreds of Pacific islands and others

- ALLIED OUR COUNTRY WITH COMMUNISTS, thus making HIM a communist...lol :rolleyes:

-ALLIED OUR COUNTRY WITH FORMER FASCISTS, thus making HIM a fascist...lol again :rolleyes:

-what else what else

-had the ugliest wife in American history, unlikely to be surpassed

-created a social system that rewards the lazy and punishes the working class

-allowed for the creation of WMDs (dear god :eek:) on AMERICAN soil! (dear god, how could he!)


-allowed for America to be invaded

-was elected with least votes since 1932 (LESS THAN BUSH!)

-gave a medal to his cousin (special interest...huh..? :rolleyes:)

-less than HALF the votes BUSH got

-think damn it, think

This is what most arguments against Bush look like. Give me any name, I can do Clinton next...

March 4th, 2006, 09:47 PM
^ Damn!

We should all get our butts down to D.C. and tear down that big memorial before people start thinking FDR did anything good ...


March 4th, 2006, 09:48 PM
This is what most arguments against Bush look like. Give me any name, I can do Clinton next...
Could you do Reagan first?

March 4th, 2006, 09:55 PM
I'm amazed that you people are wasting time with three-foot repsonse to these pathetic ramblings.

Archie Bunker in Brooks Brothers.

March 5th, 2006, 12:21 AM
Let's agree to disagree, that is the reasonable thing to do.

That works for me, but the forum comes to a standstill and ideas don't get shared or debated. We get alot of opinions on WNY and that the broad brush you paint some groups with ignores the knowledge you have from here. I hardly think you're an idiot. I just am suprised by the undertones that color what you've writeen in this thread.

I'm amazed that you people are wasting time with three-foot repsonse to these pathetic ramblings.

Archie Bunker in Brooks Brothers.

I don't like Bush but I do care passionately about our future as a nation. I am as guilty of anyone in spewing some vitriol at times, but I sincerely think that both sides of the great divide must communicate to understand each other. It ain't easy, but I generally like Jake's posts and think his arguments in some instances here collapse under scrutiny.

March 5th, 2006, 02:09 PM
^Well said, I hardly think I'm an idiot too :D

All I want is some respect for Bush, this man after all is the president, elected by half the voters of the United States, and reelected. It seems like everyone is against Bush while it's hardly so. EVERY president in history has faced massive protests and some handled it much worse than others. IMO history will show Bush did a good job, we can't argue about that now, we'll just wait and see.

Liberals are a lot louder when it comes to voicing their opinion than conservatives. But neither side is holy. For ex. a conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza who wrote a number of books on conservatives and Reagan was prevented from giving a lecture at some University by protesters. If these protesters are fighting for "freedom of speech" and so on then why are conservatives excluded from this right?

Comments like Hillary's "he's the worst president ever" may be a good campaign move but are just mindless statements.

I can't really do Reagan because I'm a fan but Bush hasn't done half the stuff Reagan did, the kind of secret manipulation that Reagan pulled just may be unsurpassed but look at the fact that he didn't start WW3 and led us through some of the worst times in the last century.

Also, I look at CNN and their headlines are "Bush: Bin Laden helped me." IF this is supposed to be an objective news source as opposed to FOX, then why are they taking this headline out of context. Bush was talking about how national security concerns tend to aid incumbent politicians. Clinton also said "sex with Monica Lewinsky" yet that wasn't the headline.

Bottom line: I think both liberals and conservatives are brain washed all the time. People need to read and watch news sources from both sides and find a middle ground between them to get the "truth." Meanwhile we need to support our leaders because what's happening now is it's showing our country as weak, divided, and rotting, which it is not. We may be divided but not in the same way that say Iraq may be divided. We have 1000 times more in common than not in common. Maybe sometimes we should start acting like a country and not a wild free-for-all.

March 5th, 2006, 02:26 PM
Bottom line...find a middle ground between them...we should start acting like a country...
Problem is, the rightmost third of the country is represented and the leftmost third of the country is represented, but the third in the middle has no representation.

Anyone who founded a centrist movement would capture not only that center third but large segments of left and right as well. That would become simultaneously the majority party and the reunifier of Americans.

March 5th, 2006, 04:07 PM
I think we'd be better off in a non-bipartisan government. Unfortunately the other parties in the running Green, Libertarian, Independent are so similar to their larger brothers that it isn't prudent to vote for their candidates.

For ex. like I said I'm Libertarian, but if there is a close election between Republican and Democrat I would always vote Reoublican. I'd rather have someone similar to my political goals than the other side. I guess the same could be said about the whole situation with Nader supposably taking votes away from the Democrats.

I also think political primaries should be reformed. Essentially the primaries are more important than the national election since that's when you choose the degree of moderation or extremism in your party's candidate. I think Clark and Dean would've been far greater threats to Bush's nomination than Kerry was.

Had the choice in 2004 been between Bush or McCain I would've voted McCain.

EDIT: I just saw this pic

arrr....here comes the claw


March 5th, 2006, 05:52 PM
the leftmost third of the country is represented

oh, really? I would disagree. The democrats considered "left" are actually yesterday's centrists. The whole debate has moved so dramatically to the right that it has given you that misperception. The last time the left was represented was before Paul Wellstone's plane went down.

March 5th, 2006, 06:43 PM
I think we should draft Oprah.

March 5th, 2006, 07:53 PM
oh, really? I would disagree. The democrats considered "left" are actually yesterday's centrists. The whole debate has moved so dramatically to the right that it has given you that misperception. The last time the left was represented was before Paul Wellstone's plane went down.
MidtownGuy, I sympathize with your view, and I agree with you, except for that part about misperception.

Most folks hang with those who share their views. If you lived in the city where I live it would take you over a month to find someone who saw most things as you do. That's one of my frustrations with where I live; I've come to accept it, and I'm not in denial.

I think you're talking about the leftmost thirtieth of the country, if that.

Maybe it should be a third and maybe briefly it was a third, but currently it isn't.

March 6th, 2006, 09:31 AM
Congress is comprised of a solid Republican majority in the Senate and a solid Republian majority in the House it has been since 1998. As the President and Congress act as one (i.e., the President has not vetoed one single bill presented to him to date), there is no shifting the blame to others here. It is blame dead on. You are not dealing with Fox News zombies here who. The criminal, corrupt Republican Party has fiscally destroyed this country. We are sending billions to bomb, kill, imprison, torture and rain misery down on innocent people overseas, while we cut healthcare, housing, education, environmental, public health, veterans health and affairs, civil works and transportation projects at home.

I think talking about destruction of the country is a bit premature, don't you think? The economy is booming, the unemployment rate is one of the lowest we've had in a generation, the inflation is low. In those "terrible" Bush years, New York real estate prices went through the roof. If this country was really on the brink of destruction economically, people would not pay over 1mil for 1br apartment. I agree that the money being spent on Iraq right now would be better spent at hone. I just think you overstate the problem and exaggerate the issues that we face. At this point, the vast majority of democrats do not support the immediate withdrawal from Iraq. So, even if we assume that GW is to blame for what has happened in the past, the war in Iraq - as of now - is a collective responsibility. And by the way, what do you propose? What would you do right now - not in the past - but right now in Iraq? Should we leave right away?

March 6th, 2006, 01:57 PM
As a strong believer that going into Iraq was a completely wrong-headed move, I acknowledge that for the US to leave now -- after the actions of our government has led to a huge degree of instability in Iraq -- would be irresponsible, to say the least.

However, I am not a politician or an elected leader -- those are the people that have the job of dealing with this.

Luckily I do not have to come up with the answer (and, anyway, I admit that I don't know what the answer is regarding this mess).

I will vote for the individual(s) who can figure out a way to make this
situation work -- something that the current leadership, by all accounts, has failed to do.

An interesting take on all of this from the LA TImes:

A 19th century critique of a 21st century president

Gladstone eviscerated British foreign policy under Disraeli in 1878-79.

His arguments apply to Bush's failures too.

Niall Ferguson (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-columnist-nferguson,0,3271654.columnist?coll=la-news-comment-opinions)
LA TImes
March 6, 2006


ONE OF THE unintended consequences of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which prohibits anyone from being elected president more than twice — is that George W. Bush will never have to run on the record of his second term. This is fortunate for the Republican Party. It is a tragedy for the Democrats.

If President Bush were to run for reelection in 2008, it is not difficult to imagine the devastating indictment that might be made of his foreign policy. One reason is that the terms of such an indictment were brilliantly anticipated in Britain more than a century ago.

In 1878, William Ewart Gladstone came out of retirement to reclaim the leadership of the Liberal party and unleash a lethal rhetorical assault against his archrival, Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

In a series of marathon speeches to crowds numbering in the tens of thousands, Gladstone eviscerated Disraelian foreign policy as a disastrous mixture of vainglorious imperialism, cynical realpolitik and fiscal improvidence. His speech of Nov. 27, 1879, in which he set out his principles of foreign policy, reads amazingly well today.

Gladstone's first principle was, paradoxically, "good government at home" — to be precise, fiscal stability. "The first thing," he argued, "is to foster the strength of the empire by just legislation and economy at home." By that measure Bush's second term has been an almost unqualified failure. To cut taxes and run deficits in 2001, in the aftermath of a stock market crash, made sense. But allowing the federal government to continue to run deficits with recovery well established has left the U.S. dangerously dependent on foreign capital for its economic stability.

Gladstone's second principle was that the aim of foreign policy should be "to preserve to the nations of the world … the blessings of peace" — not something Bush will be remembered for achieving.

Principle number three reads especially well today. "Even when you do a good thing," Gladstone observed, "you may do it in so bad a way that you may entirely spoil the beneficial effect." Ring any bells? That's just the way to nail this administration without falling into the obvious rhetorical trap of arguing that we should have left Saddam Hussein in power. Yes, you can indeed ruin the effect of doing a good thing — getting rid of a brutal, potentially dangerous dictator — by doing it in a bad way: failing to preserve public order in the aftermath.

Gladstone's fourth principle was a very American one: To avoid needless and entangling engagements. "You may boast about them," he went on, "you may brag about them…. But you are increasing your engagements without increasing your strength; and if you increase engagements without increasing strength, you diminish strength, you abolish strength." Once again, spot on.

The coup de grace, however, is Gladstone's fifth principle: to acknowledge the equal rights of all nations. "If you claim for yourself," he said, "a pharisaical superiority over [other nations], then I say … [that] in undermining the basis of the esteem and respect of other people for your country, you are in reality inflicting the severest injury upon it." I defy you to name another president whose conduct that better sums up. Indeed, the evidence is that this administration has more than merely undermined "the basis of the esteem and respect of other people." It has blown it apart.

The beauty of Gladstone's attack is that it was concentrated mainly on the execution of Disraeli's policy. "The foreign policy of England," Gladstone declared, "should always be inspired by the love of freedom." That's where a Democratic challenger can agree with Bush: We share your aspiration to spread freedom; it's your implementation that stinks.

And yet it is highly unlikely that the next Democratic front-runner for the presidency will be able to deliver a modern version of Gladstone's speech. Why? For the simple reason that, unless the Republicans have lost the will to win, they will select a candidate to succeed Bush who subscribes to every single one of Gladstone's principles.

The Republicans would certainly be foolish to cling to what is left of Bush's foreign policy. Nearly all of its premises are crumbling before our eyes. The theory of a democratic peace is a chimera; give Muslims the vote and they vote for militants. Regime change in Iraq has not enhanced American security; its principal beneficiary has been Iran. As for the unipolar world….

The reality is that the occupation of Iraq and its ramifications in the greater Middle East now so dominate this administration's agenda that the one truly world-shaking event of our times — the resurgence of China — has all but vanished from view. The administration is in at least two minds about how to react, with half the signals indicating a new Cold War strategy of containment (why else help the Indians with their nukes?) and the other half continuing the older policy of conciliation.

After recklessness, ineptitude was the greatest defect of Disraelian foreign policy (although in those days it was the resurgence of Russia rather than China that was the big challenge).

Too bad the 22nd Amendment likely will prevent us from ever hearing a Gladstonian critique of today's inept imperialism.

Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times

March 6th, 2006, 02:46 PM
I think talking about destruction of the country is a bit premature, don't you think?

Actually, no, I think George W. Bush has destroyed a good portion of the country. I think much of what he destroyed, especially with respect to civil liberties, freedom and the right not to live in fear, are irrevocable.

... In those "terrible" Bush years, New York real estate prices went through the roof. If this country was really on the brink of destruction economically, people would not pay over 1mil for 1br apartment.

How many of the people buying those New York homes at skyrocketing prices are New Yorkers? Americans? Foreigners?

I agree that the money being spent on Iraq right now would be better spent at hone.

The money that they "found" to fund this war is the same money they claim they "don't have" to fund social security, medicare, medicaid, college tuitions, K-12 education. It might be better spent at home, but it wouldn't be. I'm curious what you think it would be better spent on at home? Most people who support Bush would be adamantly against spending money on area's of "personal responsibility" like healthcare, retirement, education, unemployment. So, where would you see that money go?

I just think you overstate the problem and exaggerate the issues that we face.

The problems we are facing cannot be overstated. They are so huge and unbelievable as to seem that they can be only an exaggeration. Thisc ountry has been turned on its head and we have lost a good 30 years of foreign policy advances under Bush.

At this point, the vast majority of democrats do not support the immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Why must you always talk about Democrats, when we are discussing Bush? The majority of AMERICANS support the withdrawl of troops. You are focusing on that word "immediate," something like 57% of Americans think we should withdraw.

So, even if we assume that GW is to blame for what has happened in the past, the war in Iraq - as of now - is a collective responsibility. And by the way, what do you propose? What would you do right now - not in the past - but right now in Iraq? Should we leave right away?

In Iraq, we set a hard phased withdrawl timeline. Iraqis can either pull it together within that timeline or they can descend into chaos and civil war. But as long as there is oil there, it is in THIS administration's interest to fuel chaos.

The region is lost. Worse off than before. American deaths in vain. Criminal.

Can you tell me where the WMDs are? They were the reason we went to war. They were the imminent danger we faced. You believe Bush is an honorable guy. Where are the WMDs that these American troops died to capture.

March 6th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Actually, no, I think George W. Bush has destroyed a good portion of the country. I think much of what he destroyed, especially with respect to civil liberties, freedom and the right not to live in fear, are irrevocable.

How many of the people buying those New York homes at skyrocketing prices are New Yorkers? Americans? Foreigners?

As far as I know, we have pretty much the same freedoms as we had before. Except for the Patriot Act (the new version that was recently passed), there were no changes to the liberties and freedoms that we have. We still have the 2 other branches. Even if we assume the GW wanted to "destroy" our freedoms, he would still need the other branches to be up for it. What are the freedoms that you had before and don't have now? Last I checked, we still had the 1st Amendment and the free press. I think NY times and other media dumps on GW every single day.

I would that the vast majority of new homes that peolpe buy in this city are purchased by New Yorkers, especially in the outer boroughs. In case you have not noticed, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island have enjoyed the biggest real estate boom ever. I don't think too many foreigners want to live in the outer boroughs. But even in Manhattan most apartments are purchased by New Yorkers. I don't any foreigner would be able to get approved easily by a typical co-op board. Most apartments in Manhattan are coops. While the prices have been skyrocketing, they are still not that high further away from Manhattan. I know many people who bought apartments in the past 5 years. One of my friends bought a 1br coop in Midwood 2 years ago for 160K. If you think the economy is not booming at the moment, you know nothing about economic matters. The economy is very strong right now. Maybe not as strong as in 2000, but very strong nonetheless.

Regarding Iraq: the only reason I mentioned democrats is to point out that the solution to the Iraq problem is not an easy one. Many people of good faith strongly disagree what the best option is. While you may feel that pulling out immediately is the best option, it does not make it so. I don't know what the best solution is. I see significant drawbacks in both plans. Whether we leave immediately or stay much longer, there will be problems. I would think that the military commanders and experts should make this decision. It's not an easy one and let's not simplify it.

March 6th, 2006, 03:22 PM
We still have the 2 other branches. Even if we assume the GW wanted to "destroy" our freedoms, he would still need the other branches to be up for it

Oh, they're up for it alright! The Republican Congress and Bush are practically synonymous... The Supreme Court has been stacked in his favor (anyway, they appointed him in the first place). How do you figure them as any kind of check or balance?

What are the freedoms that you had before and don't have now?

One example, dissent is being silenced and criminalized. Ever had to stand in a "free speech zone"? Used to be the whole country was a free speech zone.

I think NY times and other media dumps on GW every single day.

For about 1% of what is happening. They report some things, but they never connect the dots for people in a meaningful way. The most damaging stories are buried in back pages. The widespread dissent that is happening all over this country is unknown to readers like yourself, because it is simply not covered in those outlets. One reason, among many, is that newspapers and networks need their journalists to have access, and they know they won't get it if they piss off the administration too much. For every anti-Bush editorial you may see, there will always be people at the Times like judith Miller, writing for the regime's aims, in her case by trumping up false claims.
There are so many things happening within this administration that is not being covered. Another reason is that this presidency is the most secretive in U.S. history, so they aren't exactly open with the press.

March 6th, 2006, 03:32 PM
The Republican Congress and Bush are practically synonymous... The Supreme Court has been stacked in his favor (anyway, they appointed him in the first place). How do you figure them as any kind of check or balance?

One example, dissent is being silenced and criminalized. Ever had to stand in a "free speech zone"? Used to be the whole country was a free speech zone.

For about 1% of what is happening. They report some things, but they never connect the dots for people in a meaningful way. The most damaging stories are buried in back pages. The widespread dissent that is happening all over this country is unknown to readers like yourself, because it is simply not covered in those outlets. One reason, among many, is that newspapers and networks need their journalists to have access, and they know they won't get it if they piss off the administration too much. For every anti-Bush editorial you may see, there will always be people at the Times like judith Miller, writing for the regime's aims, in her case by trumping up false claims.
There are so many things happening within this administration that is not being covered. Another reason is that this presidency is the most secretive in U.S. history.

Last time I checked, GW appointed only 2 justices on the supreme court (out of 9). While their postions on social issues like abortion are unknown and are likely to be close to the that of the Right, their devotion to freedom and the first amendment is well-known and without question. Just because they are "stacked in his favor" on some issues, does not mean they are going to just say "yes" to everything and allows something that is unconstitutional to take place. Where is dessent being criminalized? Can you provide specific examples? if that's true I would like to know about it.

I read newspapers in other cities. I always do when I travel for pleasure or on business. You will hard-pressed to find any major newspaper that is more critical of the Bush administration (overall, save for some exceptions). You can access virtualy any US newspaper online as well. You may think that no enough about this administration is covered and you're entitled to your opinion. I personally think that it's never enough - the press needs to put pressure on the elected officials to disclose what they are doing. It's the natural desire of those in power to be secretive. It seem to me that leaks, blogs, books of public officials, TV programs and newspapers are doing their job in this country pretty well. Cheney tried to hide somethnig from the press for 1 day and you know what happened.

March 6th, 2006, 06:20 PM
FBI Document Labels Michigan Affirmative Action and Peace Groups as Terrorists (8/29/2005)

Contact: media@aclu.org

NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy group as potentially "involved in terrorist activities." The file was obtained through an ongoing nationwide ACLU effort seeking information on the FBI's use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance.

"This document confirms our fears that federal and state counterterrorism officers have turned their attention to groups and individuals engaged in peaceful protest activities," said Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney and counsel in a lawsuit seeking the release of additional FBI records. "When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern."

The document released today is an FBI report labeled, "Domestic Terrorism Symposium," and describes a meeting that was intended to "keep the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies apprised of the activities of the various groups and individuals within the state of Michigan who are thought to be involved in terrorist activities."

Among the groups mentioned are Direct Action, an anti-war group, and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a national organization dedicated to defending affirmative action, integration, and other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The FBI acknowledges in the report that the Michigan State Police has information that BAMN has been peaceful in the past.

"Labeling political advocacy as 'terrorist activity' is a threat to legitimate dissent which has never been considered a crime in this country," said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. "Spying on people who simply disagree with our government's policies is a tremendous waste of police resources."

The FBI report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of nine local organizations and individuals, including Direct Action. ACLU affiliates in 15 additional states have filed similar requests on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals.

"We're disturbed and dismayed that the FBI is misusing its power by spying on anti-war groups and monitoring political dissent to target activist groups," said 23-year-old Sarah McDonald, a member of Direct Action and recent graduate of Michigan State University. "We've protested the war, racial discrimination and the military recruitment of the high school students, but we're certainly not a terrorist group."

In addition to the state FOIAs, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court to expedite its request for FBI surveillance files on its own organization as well as other national groups including Greenpeace, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In response to the lawsuit, the FBI has revealed that it has thousands of pages of documents that mention those groups.

The ACLU launched its nationwide effort last year in response to widespread complaints from students and political activists who said they were questioned by FBI agents in the months leading up to the 2004 political conventions. The FOIAs seek two kinds of information: 1) the actual FBI files of groups and individuals targeted for speaking out or practicing their faith; and, 2) information about how the practices and funding structure of the task forces, known as JTTFs, may be encouraging rampant and unwarranted spying.

Documents previously obtained by the ACLU in response to the FOIAs include an FBI memo on Food Not Bombs, a Colorado group that provides free vegetarian food to hungry people and protests war and poverty, and a report on United for Peace and Justice, a national peace organization that coordinates non-violent protests.

March 6th, 2006, 06:21 PM

American Friends Service Committee Says Government Spying on Peaceful Protesters Undermines Principles of Democracy

For more information, contact: Janis D. Shields, Director Media and Public Relations, (215) 241-7060 AFTER HOURS 302-545-6569

Philadelphia -- February 1 -- The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) today joined in a series of Freedom of Information Act requests filed across the country to uncover exactly who the Pentagon is spying on and why.

The FOIA requests, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates, come in the wake of new evidence revealing the Defense Department has been secretly conducting surveillance of peace groups and protest activities.

"While thousands are dying in Iraq, here at home our government is waging a new war, a 'war on dissent' that threatens to dismantle the constitution and severely challenge our country's basic democratic principles of free speech and peaceful assembly," said Michael McConnell, director of AFSC's Great Lakes region, which recently found itself under Pentagon scrutiny.

"If the government has avowed pacifists under surveillance, then no one is safe," he adds.

Recent reports reveal the Government is spying on its own citizens, and mere attendance at a peace rally could merit placement on a secret Defense Department list of "potential terrorist threats."

The President now admits secretly authorizing an electronic surveillance program to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the U.S. without court-approved warrants or presenting any evidence of wrong-doing. These revelations have caused a bi-partisan outcry in Congress.

In addition to the Service Committee, the ACLU filed national Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on behalf of Veterans for Peace, United for Peace and Justice and Greenpeace, as well as dozens of local groups in Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, Maine, Pennsylvania and California. The ACLU is seeking the disclosure of all documents maintained by the Department of Defense on the individual groups. Many of the groups involved in today's action, such as the Rhode Island-based Community Coalition for Peace, have already learned that they are listed in the Pentagon's Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database.

The TALON program was initiated by former Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in 2003 to track groups and individuals with possible links to terrorism. But according to portions of the database that were leaked to the media in December, the Pentagon has been collecting information on peaceful activists and monitoring anti-war and anti-military recruiting protests throughout the United States. Following public outcry over the domestic spying program, current Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England issued a memorandum on January 13 directing intelligence personnel to receive "refresher training on the policies for collection, retention, dissemination and use of information related to U.S. persons."

At least four of the incidences of surveillance uncovered were activities coordinated or supported by the American Friends Service Committee, a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. Founded by Quakers in 1917, the Service Committee began as a vehicle for conscientious objectors to the First World War to contribute to binding up the wounds of war: by building houses for war victims, feeding hungry children, and clothing the displaced. AFSC has historically felt called to witness against war and for changing the conditions that cause violent conflict.

"How can we speak of spreading democracy in Iraq while dismantling it here at home?" asks Joyce Miller, AFSC associate general secretary for justice and human rights. "Political dissent is fundamental to a free and democratic society. It should not be equated with crime."

AFSC's work, always open and resolutely nonviolent, has been under government surveillance for decades. The Service Committee secured nearly 1,700 pages of files from the FBI under a Freedom of Information request in 1976. These files show that the FBI kept files on AFSC that dated back to 1921. Ten other federal agencies kept files on AFSC, including the CIA, Air Force, Navy, Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service, and the State Department. The CIA has intercepted overseas mail and cables in the 1950s, and some AFSC offices (and even its staff's homes) have been infiltrated and burglarized in the late 1960s into the 1970s.

Over and over again, AFSC was targeted as a subversive element, followed by investigations that established that it's a "serious pacifist organization," or a "religious, charitable, peace organization."

"We all want to be safe," Miller concludes. "However, trampling upon the Bill of Rights and dismantling our constitution will not make us more safe or secure, nor will it erase the threat of terrorism. Conversely, eroding the safeguards of the Constitution make us less safe and destroy the principles of democracy on which our country was founded."

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on National Security Agency eavesdropping starting February 6, 2006.

# # #

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

March 6th, 2006, 06:25 PM
From Democracy Now! broadcast

Anti-War Protesters Under Pentagon Surveillance Speak Out

We speak to anti-war activists in New York, Florida, California, Iowa and Ohio who organized protests listed as threats by the Pentagon. [includes rush transcript]
The Pentagon conducting domestic surveillance on peaceful protests and meetings has sent tremors though the country's anti-war movement.
Some fear a repeat of the Vietnam War era when it was revealed that the military had conducted investigations on at least 100,000 American citizens.

The domestic surveillance was so extensive that Congress placed new laws on military spying inside the United States.

On Wednesday we contacted other anti-war and anti-nuclear activists around the county to get their reaction to the news about the Pentagon's surveillance of peaceful protesters. This is what they had to say.

Chuck Fager, Quaker House Fayetteville, NC.
Snehal Shingavi, University of California-Berkeley.
Kristin Anderson, Campus Anti-War Network
Will Klatt, High School Student Organizer.
Frank Cordaro, Des Moines Catholic Worker
Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, student at New York University and member of the national coordinating committee of the Campus Antiwar Network. She helped organize a protest at NYU in February that was mentioned in the Pentagon intelligence papers.
Marie Zwicker, organizer with the counter-recruiter group Truth Project in Lake Worth, Florida. The group's November 2004 meeting at a Quaker Meeting House was described as a "threat" in the Pentagon intelligence documents.
William Dobbs, spokesperson for United For Peace and Justice.
JUAN GONZALEZ: On Wednesday, we contacted other anti-war and anti-nuclear activists around the country to get their reaction to the news about the Pentagon's surveillance of peaceful protest. This is what they had to say.

CHUCK FAGER: I'm Chuck Fager, I am Director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, near Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. We’re a peace project that's been here since 1969. We have been down the road of government and military surveillance before. In the early days of Quaker House, both military intelligence, F.B.I., and we believe the C.I.A., were spying on us. We got Freedom Information Act files released to us from both military intelligence and the F.B.I.; C.I.A. said they had a file on us, but wouldn't show it to us. These files showed infiltration of meetings, surveillance of activities going on at the House, and it's interesting to read them now, 35 years later, and though it was entirely appropriate that this kind of thing be put to stop to in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, but now it's back.

SNEHAL SHINGAVI: My name is Snehal Shingavi, and I'm a graduate student at U.C. Berkeley and a member of the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition. The report that was just released on MSNBC about a kind of scrutiny of activists around the country, who have been doing counter recruitment activity included in the list a protest that we have done at Berkeley about military recruiters, when the military recruiters showed up to campus a few months ago.

The protest itself was very peaceful. It included about 20 students who went in and confronted military recruiters about their presence on campus. And the thing that's quite striking about the report is not that they are watching anti-war and anti-recruitment activity -- we sort of suspected as much -- but it's how nervous the military has actually become by some pretty tame and pretty peaceful protests against military recruitments and against the war in Iraq. This has everything to do, in our opinion, with the fact that this has been the largely unpopular war and a war that they have had serious difficulties in recruiting young people into the military to go and fight. And it seems pretty clear to us as activists that the military is really very nervous that their ability to conduct the kind of campaign that they would like is hinging on the very thing that activists are attempting to prevent, i.e., recruiting students and young people for this war.

KRISTIN ANDERSON: Hi. My name is Kristin Anderson, I am a student at San Francisco State University, a member of the National Coordinating Committee of Campus Antiwar Network. I was involved in the May 7, 2005 rally at the San Francisco recruiting [inaudible]. That was the launch rally for the Proposition I “College, Not Combat” ballot proposition that passed this November here in San Francisco. While it is not entirely unheard of for the government to be monitoring peace groups, it is not surprising, considering the climate that we're in with the PATRIOT Act, and it takes us back to the days of the COINTEL Program that the government was engaged in.

WILL KLATT: My name is Will Klatt. I was a high school senior when we -- the Columbus Student Network helped organize the anti-war demonstration down at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. There were students, you know, like organizers as young as like 12 to 18. I was a senior, and we had no idea that the F.B.I. had listed us as a threat to, like, the state or whatever. It's just like a complete shock that, like, peaceful protests and dissent can be viewed as a threat by our own government.

FRANK CORDARO: My name is Frank Cordaro. I'm from the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community. In the protesting that we have gotten attention, at least a moment, is our efforts out at Offutt Air Force Base, formerly the strategic air command, now the strategic nuclear command in post-Cold War era. Offutt currently is the command for all of our thermal nuclear weapons and space command.

And for the last 26 years, we have been going to Offutt on a regular basis, specifically around the occasions of August 6 and 9th of each year. Those are the anniversaries of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So, the fact that we have made the list as a threat to the military only emboldens us, I guess, and maybe confirms to us that we're on the right track.

AMY GOODMAN: Some people from groups that were listed in the domestic intelligence Pentagon database that was exposed by Bill Arkin and NBC News this week. We are joined in our studio by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field -- yes, that's her real name -- a student at New York University and member of the national coordinating committee of the Campus Antiwar Network. She helped organize a protest at NYU in February that was mentioned in the Pentagon intelligence papers. Bill Dobbs also joins us, spokesperson for United for Peace and Justice, a national peace group. And on the line with us is Marie Zwicker, an organizer with the counter-recruiter group, Truth Action, in Lake Worth, Florida. The group's November 2004 meeting at a Quaker meetinghouse was described as a threat in the Pentagon intelligence documents. We welcome you all. Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, let's begin with you.


AMY GOODMAN: Hi. What do you know? What about the Pentagon observing your protest? What were these protests?

ELIZABETH WRIGLEY-FIELD: Well, to be honest, the protest at NYU was an incredibly mild one, so I was very surprised to see it on the list. We had recruiters from the Judge Advocate General, which is the legal arm of the military, coming to recruit at the law school, and we had just inside the building a group of law students from the gay and lesbian organization holding signs and handing out stickers, and just outside the building, students from the Campus Antiwar Network were petitioning in solidarity with Pablo Paredes, who is a war resistor, because we wanted to tell people that if you are recruited by JAG, what you wind up doing is you prosecuting war resistors like Pablo, who I think is doing the right thing. You know, so the idea that these stickers or these petitions were some sort of threat to the military is a little mind boggling to me.

AMY GOODMAN: And Marie Zwicker, organizer in Lake Worth, Florida, can you tell us what you did, what got your organization listed in this classified Pentagon database?

MARIE ZWICKER: Yes. Actually, the name of it is not Truth Action, it's Truth Project. And we at our meeting -- we're not really sure what attracted the attention of the military to that particular meeting. We hold open meetings, and our work, as other counter-recruiting groups do, is in the high schools to counter the – and balance the effects of the military recruiting. So, we're not exactly sure what attracted the attention of the military to our particular meeting. It was an open meeting. We continue to do our work. We have had follow-up meetings, and we are going into the high schools.

I have to say, I guess the members of the group, when this information was revealed to us, we were surprised, but not really surprised. Many of us have been peace activists for a long time, doing counter recruiting work and other peace-related work, and so some of us have been through the Vietnam War era of peace actions, and so we were not really surprised by this. We thought, ‘Oh, well, same old, same old. They're at it again.’ And so, we continue to do our work.

We -- I personally, as were other members, outraged that our government would be spying on groups like this. I mean, freedom to dissent is not only a right guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights, and you know, by our Constitution. It is an absolute responsibility of people who see that and believe that their government is acting and going in the wrong direction, it is our responsibility to stand up and speak out. So, this is what we feel that we were doing. I, too, like –

AMY GOODMAN: Marie, let me ask you a quick question.


AMY GOODMAN: In looking at this Pentagon intelligence domestic database, where it talks about the meeting that you had, it says, “Incident summary: counter-military recruitment planning meeting, Lake Worth, Florida. Incident type: threat.” It then says, "Reason discounted: discussion of surveillance against D.O.D. recruiters,” Pentagon recruiters, which could suggest there was someone in your meeting. I mean, I know these meetings are totally open, but do you have any thought that there was an infiltrator?

MARIE ZWICKER: There was a possibility. A couple, several of us had questioned -- again, it's an open meeting. We publicize it freely on the internet and through other contacts. And so, it was an open meeting. But there was a particular person there that none of us knew, and so we questioned it, the possibility. But we more or less expect that. Our meetings are open, and we're doing everything according to what we believe is our absolute right to do, and so, we -- you know, we never saw the individual before that, and we never saw the individual after that. So, there was a possibility that our meeting was infiltrated. But we don't know for sure.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Bill Dobbs, spokesperson for United for Peace and Justice. I guess if quantity were any measure of the attention of the government, your organization would be at the top of the list for surveillance given the hundreds of thousands of people you have brought out to protest against the war, but also you're familiar to some degree with the history of this, as well? This is not the first time that the government has been involved in this kind of surveillance of anti-war movements.

BILL DOBBS: No. Juan, we're -- United for Peace and Justice is a very big coalition of groups, 1,200 – 1,500 groups -- we’ve almost lost track -- across the country. And scanning just the number of sheets that have been put up on the website by MSNBC, I can see lots of actions and events that we were directly involved in or our member groups. This may be just the tip of the iceberg, and we hope that the whole 400 pages of this database is made public, because one of the ways that you can learn from these episodes is by getting it out on the record. And we're very conscious that this sort of activity by the government has made it necessary for us to not only oppose the war, but to fight for the right to dissent.

Many listeners no doubt, recall February 15, 2003, a global day of protest, of all of the incredibly large protests in major cities around the world. The one in New York was prevented by the Bloomberg administration, the NYPD and officials from the Bush administration from marching by the United Nations. So the crackdowns on dissent come in many different forms. What's alarming about the surveillance, of course, is that we don't know what sort of infiltration is going on, what sort of covert action may be taking place, and we may never know.

AMY GOODMAN: What about how this has operated in the past and now in places like Chicago?

BILL DOBBS: Some of the lessons, I think, that were learned from previous experience with covert action and COINTEL-PRO and all was that it's not good enough to just hear the government say, ‘Well, we won't do this anymore.’ Like right now we're hearing, ‘Well, we're going to review why all of these things are still in our database.’ Why were you doing it to begin with, and what kind of accountability will the law provide? There were numbers of lawsuits, the National Lawyers Guild, I'm sure the civil liberties chapters around the country were involved in them, and right here in New York, for example, the Handschu Agreement. For years I was active with Act Up, the AIDS activist group. And at the beginning of each meeting we had an incantation. If you are -- that was stated to everybody in the room -- if you are an on-duty member of the New York City Police Department or any other law enforcement agency, you are required by law to identify yourself. That's a legacy of Handschu, that there could not be --

AMY GOODMAN: Explain. Handschu is a name.

BILL DOBBS: Sorry, Handschu is the name of a lawsuit that was brought to stop the NYPD and law enforcement from, without any serious reason, surveilling political activity. And over the years, there have been many, many battles over how far we're going to be able to push the police back. That case is in court again.

I was rummaging around in a database myself yesterday, looking for examples of this, and I came across something – I think it was the late 1980s, early 1990s, where the NYPD was revealed to be taping a radio station that had a lot of African American listeners, WLIB in New York, and that they maintained a desk to monitor political activity within the black community. So, once again, we have got to be very mindful of the history, of the scope of this, and realize that we can’t let it stop us, but that we have got to push the police and law enforcement back.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, of course, the more dangerous potential is that many of the people who attend these meetings, either as undercover agents or informants, move from just gathering information to actually becoming agent provocateurs, trying to instigate the more unstable folks who sometimes come to some of these meetings to participate in illegal activities, and therefore, to then try to discredit the entire movement. And that has happened repeatedly over the year, many examples of that, especially through COINTEL-PRO, among anti-war and radical groups in that period?

BILL DOBBS: Yes. There are many examples of that. I'm reminded that Brian Glick wrote a book called War at Home: Covert Action Against U.S. Activism and What We Can Do About It. I believe the text of that book is now on the internet.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you both for being with us. Bill Dobbs of United for Peace and Justice and Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, NYU student, Campus Antiwar Network, Marie Zwicker, as well, organizer of Truth Project in Lake Worth, Florida.

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (888) 999-3877.

March 6th, 2006, 06:30 PM
More examples of the criminalization of dissent can be found here:


March 6th, 2006, 09:51 PM
As far as I know, we have pretty much the same freedoms as we had before. Except for the Patriot Act (the new version that was recently passed), there were no changes to the liberties and freedoms that we have. We still have the 2 other branches. Even if we assume the GW wanted to "destroy" our freedoms, he would still need the other branches to be up for it. What are the freedoms that you had before and don't have now?.

Here the PATRIOT Act you so admire:

Among its most severe problems, the bill

Diminishes personal privacy by removing checks on government power, specifically by

*Making it easier for the government to initiate surveillance and wiretapping of U.S. citizens under the authority of the shadowy, top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. (Sections 101, 102 and 107)

*Permitting the government, under certain circumstances, to bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court altogether and conduct warrantless wiretaps and searches. (Sections 103 and 104)

*Sheltering federal agents engaged in illegal surveillance without a court order from criminal prosecution if they are following orders of high Executive Branch officials. (Section 106)

*Creating a new category of "domestic security surveillance" that permits electronic eavesdropping of entirely domestic activity under looser standards than are provided for ordinary criminal surveillance under Title III. (Section 122)

*Using an overbroad definition of terrorism that could cover some protest tactics such as those used by Operation Rescue or protesters at Vieques Island, Puerto Rico as a new predicate for criminal wiretapping and other electronic surveillance. (Sections 120 and 121)

*Providing for general surveillance orders covering multiple functions of high tech devices, and by further expanding pen register and trap and trace authority for intelligence surveillance of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents. (Sections 107 and 124)

*Creating a new, separate crime of using encryption technology that could add five years to any sentence for crimes committed with a computer. (Section 404)

*Expanding nationwide search warrants so they do not have to meet even the broad definition of terrorism in the USA PATRIOT Act. (Section 125)

*Giving the government secret access to credit reports without consent and without judicial process. (Section 126)

*Enhancing the government's ability to obtain sensitive information without prior judicial approval by creating administrative subpoenas and providing new penalties for failure to comply with written demands for records. (Sections 128 and 129)

*Allowing for the sampling and cataloguing of innocent Americans' genetic information without court order and without consent. (Sections 301-306)

*Permitting, without any connection to anti-terrorism efforts, sensitive personal information about U.S. citizens to be shared with local and state law enforcement. (Section 311)

*Terminating court-approved limits on police spying, which were initially put in place to prevent McCarthy-style law enforcement persecution based on political or religious affiliation. (Section 312)

*Permitting searches, wiretaps and surveillance of United States citizens on behalf of foreign governments - including dictatorships and human rights abusers - in the absence of Senate-approved treaties. (Sections 321-22)

Diminishes public accountability by increasing government secrecy; specifically, by

*Authorizing secret arrests in immigration and other cases, such as material witness warrants, where the detained person is not criminally charged. (Section 201)

*Threatening public health by severely restricting access to crucial information about environmental health risks posed by facilities that use dangerous chemicals. (Section 202)

*Harming fair trial rights for American citizens and other defendants by limiting defense attorneys from challenging the use of secret evidence in criminal cases. (Section 204)

*Gagging grand jury witnesses in terrorism cases to bar them from discussing their testimony with the media or the general public, thus preventing them from defending themselves against rumor-mongering and denying the public information it has a right to receive under the First Amendment. (Section 206)

Diminishes corporate accountability under the pretext of fighting terrorism; specifically, by

*Granting immunity to businesses that provide information to the government in terrorism investigations, even if their actions are taken with disregard for their customers' privacy or other rights and show reckless disregard for the truth. Such immunity could provide an incentive for neighbor to spy on neighbor and pose problems similar to those inherent in Attorney General Ashcroft's "Operation TIPS." (Section 313)

Undermines fundamental constitutional rights of Americans under overbroad definitions of "terrorism" and "terrorist organization" or under a terrorism pretext; specifically by

*Stripping even native-born Americans of all of the rights of United States citizenship if they provide support to unpopular organizations labeled as terrorist by our government, even if they support only the lawful activities of such organizations, allowing them to be indefinitely imprisoned in their own country as undocumented aliens. (Section 501)

*Creating 15 new death penalties, including a new death penalty for "terrorism" under a definition which could cover acts of protest such as those used by Operation Rescue or protesters at Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, if death results. (Section 411)

*Further criminalizing association - without any intent to commit specific terrorism crimes - by broadening the crime of providing material support to terrorism, even if support is not given to any organization listed as a terrorist organization by the government. (Section 402)

*Permitting arrests and extraditions of Americans to any foreign country - including those whose governments do not respect the rule of law or human rights - in the absence of a Senate-approved treaty and without allowing an American judge to consider the extraditing country's legal system or human rights record. (Section 322)

Unfairly targets immigrants under the pretext of fighting terrorism; specifically by

*Undercutting trust between police departments and immigrant communities by opening sensitive visa files to local police for the enforcement of complex immigration laws. (Section 311)

*Targeting undocumented workers with extended jail terms for common immigration offenses. (Section 502)

*Providing for summary deportations without evidence of crime, criminal intent or terrorism, even of lawful permanent residents, whom the Attorney General says are a threat to national security. (Section 503)

*Completely abolishing fair hearings for lawful permanent residents convicted of even minor criminal offenses through a retroactive "expedited removal" procedure, and preventing any court from questioning the government's unlawful actions by explicitly exempting these cases from habeas corpus review. Congress has not exempted any person from habeas corpus -- a protection guaranteed by the Constitution -- since the Civil War. (Section 504)

*Allowing the Attorney General to deport an immigrant to any country in the world, even if there is no effective government in such a country. (Section 506)

Last I checked, we still had the 1st Amendment and the free press.

David Gergen is currently a professor of public service at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and director of its Center for Public Leadership. He is also editor-at-large for U.S. News & World Report. In earlier years, he served as a White House advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

David Gergen appeared on [CNN's] "Reliable Sources," this morning and said this administration is trying to put journalists in jail. Lock em' all up. More intimidation and attack the messenger tactics that the apologists are so fond of to defend the White House. Except of course-when the leak is really helpful...

KURTZ: ... and that is the story on the front page of this morning's "Washington Post" about White House effort to stem leaks. And it talks about the administration, the Bush administration, having launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. These involve federal employees being questioned on "The New York Times" story about the national security wiretaps, on the "Washington Post" story about secret CIA prisons, Valerie Plame, all of that.

Do you -- you have been on both sides of this fence. Do you see this as an administration that really is going after journalists, or just legitimately trying to stem the flow of classified information leaking out to the press?

GERGEN: I am glad you brought that up. This administration has engaged in secrecy at a level we have not seen in over 30 years. Unfortunately, I have to bring up the name of Richard Nixon, because we haven't seen it since the days of Nixon. And now what they're doing -- and they're using the war on terror to justify -- is they're starting to target journalists who try to pierce the veil of secrecy and find things and put them in the newspapers.

Now, in the past what the government has always done is go after the people who leak, the inside people. That's the way they try to stop leaks. This is the first administration that I can remember, including Nixon's, that said -- and Porter Goss said this to Congress -- that we need to think about a law that would put journalists who print national security things to...bring them up in front of grand juries and put them in jail if they don't -- in effect, if they don't reveal their sources.

I think NY times and other media dumps on GW every single day.

The only thing liberal about the New York Times is its editorial page. Actually, you can read one writer, Adam Nagourney, regularly (LIKE ON TODAY'S FRONT PAGE) either praising Bush or slamming the Democrats. Today he was slamming Dems. I'm sure you don't actually "read" the NY Times and only mention it in the same sentence as liberal-biased media. But, here you go honey...

For Democrats, Many Verses, but No Chorus

Published: March 6, 2006

You can see his other articles here: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/adam_nagourney/index.html?inline=nyt-per

He's no friend of liberals and is certainly a Bush cheerleader.

I would that the vast majority of new homes that peolpe buy in this city are purchased by New Yorkers, especially in the outer boroughs. In case you have not noticed, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island have enjoyed the biggest real estate boom ever. I don't think too many foreigners want to live in the outer boroughs. But even in Manhattan most apartments are purchased by New Yorkers.

You wrote it. Now back it up with some substantive proof. That's the challenge with you, Spice. You make these statements or counterattacks but you NEVER EVER substantiate what you write.

I don't [think] any foreigner would be able to get approved easily by a typical co-op board. Most apartments in Manhattan are coops.

This frenzied real estate market is driven by CONDOs not Co-ops and the buildings that are not CONDO are RENTALS. Are you reading old 1990's newspapers? Is that why you keep bringing up "Clinton" and Democrats, when we're talking about "the president"?

While the prices have been skyrocketing, they are still not that high further away from Manhattan. I know many people who bought apartments in the past 5 years. One of my friends bought a 1br coop in Midwood 2 years ago for 160K.

Um, that's "Midwood" and there are LOTs of different qualities and amenities in a co-op. I will just assume he's in a crap building in a crap part of the neighborhood, since you once again do not substantiate that statement with any INFORMATION that one can refer to independently, like building name, address, apartment line, co-op history, or financial solvency of the corporation.

If you think the economy is not booming at the moment, you know nothing about economic matters. The economy is very strong right now. Maybe not as strong as in 2000, but very strong nonetheless.

More declaratives with nothing to substantiate. NOTHING. Latest news from The NY Times you love to quote, I skipped the reports that the NYSE and NASDAQ were DOWN...

Sales of Existing Homes Near 2-Year Low; Consumer Confidence Ebbs
... upward measures of economic growth and inflation in the ... three major stock indicators all fell about 1 percent ... estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth to 1.6 percent, ...
March 1, 2006 - By VIKAS BAJAJ (NYT) - Business - News

Mixed Signals on Economy Send Market Indexes Lower
... Press A mixed economic picture caused stocks to tumble ... . Broader stock indicators also fell sharply. The ... Reserve speeches, economic data should continue to dominate ...
March 1, 2006 - By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NYT) - Business - News

Regarding Iraq: the only reason I mentioned democrats is to point out that the solution to the Iraq problem is not an easy one. Many people of good faith strongly disagree what the best option is. While you may feel that pulling out immediately is the best option, it does not make it so. I don't know what the best solution is. I see significant drawbacks in both plans. Whether we leave immediately or stay much longer, there will be problems. I would think that the military commanders and experts should make this decision. It's not an easy one and let's not simplify it.

Always quick to state that others are over simplifying it.

Here you go. Some military experts from a Washington Post article in 2004. Guess we weren't listening then. How are we doing TWO YEARS later?

Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy
U.S. May Be Winning Battles in Iraq But Losing the War, Some Officers Say

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 9, 2004

Deep divisions are emerging at the top of the U.S. military over the course of the occupation of Iraq, with some senior officers beginning to say that the United States faces the prospect of casualties for years without achieving its goal of establishing a free and democratic Iraq.

Their major worry is that the United States is prevailing militarily but failing to win the support of the Iraqi people. That view is far from universal, but it is spreading and being voiced publicly for the first time.

Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the year in western Iraq, said he believes that at the tactical level at which fighting occurs, the U.S. military is still winning. But when asked whether he believes the United States is losing, he said, "I think strategically, we are."

Army Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first director of strategic planning for the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad, said he agrees with that view and noted that a pattern of winning battles while losing a war characterized the U.S. failure in Vietnam. "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in our policy, we will lose strategically," he said in an interview Friday.

"I lost my brother in Vietnam," added Hughes, a veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating Iraq policy. "I promised myself, when I came on active duty, that I would do everything in my power to prevent that [sort of strategic loss] from happening again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."


A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is already on the road to defeat. "It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this," he said. "The American people may not stand for it -- and they should not."

Asked who was to blame, this general pointed directly at Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz. "I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy, end state and exit strategy before we commenced our invasion," he said. "Had someone like Colin Powell been the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff], he would not have agreed to send troops without a clear exit strategy. The current OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] refused to listen or adhere to military advice."


And then there's this...

From "Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran's Association." www.IAVA.org

Body Armor Reimbursement

OEF/OIF Vets: Did you buy your own body armor, helmet, or other protective gear? The Pentagon has finally agreed to reimburse you. Read this article, and get paid back.


Underfunded VA
Although the overall VA budget (as well as discretionary spending for the VA) has gone up every year, budget increases are simply not keeping up with this increase in demand.


Honoring the Fallen
Soldiers who have given their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom deserve a public memorial. Unfortunately, their sacrifices have often been hidden from public view.


Understanding the Wounded
Many soldiers who would have previously died of their injuries are now living with severe disabilities. Although media attention is regularly given to the rising death toll in Iraq, far less scrutiny has been given to the number of troops wounded, and often permanently disabled, in the war effort.


Mental Strain of War
All Servicemen and women fill out a post-deployment health form. Beyond that, the level of attention paid to returning Veterans varies greatly.


Humvee Armor Shortage
The shortage of armor for Humvees in Iraq has left many of our troops vulnerable. Two years after military brass first recognized the shortage, the problems still aren't resolved, and troops are still improvising their protection with sandbags and "Hillbilly Armor" -- glass and scrap metal welded to an unprotected Humvee.


Private Contractors
Soldiers often find themselves working next to contractors who make ten times more money than the troops. The average enlisted service member makes roughly $25,000 a year compared to a civilian contractor, who can make up to $200,000 a year. This is unfair.


Stop Loss (The Backdoor Draft)
Stop Loss measures have been called a "stealth draft" and a "backdoor draft." These measures are contrary to the concept of the volunteer army; servicemen and women affected by Stop Loss are not choosing to serve -- they are instead being required to.


Troops' Citizenship
Yes, it's true. More than 31,000 members of the U.S. armed forces are not American citizens. After returning from honorably serving in the United States armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, non-U.S. citizen Servicemembers are put through a lengthy process to obtain U.S. citizenship – often, it is only after their death that they are given immediate citizenship.


National Guard and Reservists
The Reserves and particularly the National Guard have never been used and deployed as extensively as they are now. These service-members had not anticipated such lengthy deployments in their life-planning process. As a result, both they and their families have been stretched thin.


Weak Support for Military Families
Lt. Gen. Edward Hanlon, commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, stated "To win battles, you'd better have a good family foundation." Destroying this foundation has negative implications for the efficiency of our army. But the current national military support system for military families has left many problems unaddressed. "Many programs and services are in place to help military families and are doing so, but on an inconsistent basis," says Candace Wheeler, president of the National Military Family Association. "Families must have a comprehensive system to prepare and sustain them."


Depleted Uranium
Depleted uranium is an extremely dense metal with a low level of radioactivity that is used in weapons. Its use is controversial, because some believe that DU exposure causes a variety of illnesses, from cancer to Gulf War Syndrome.

Please call Fox News and tell them that their propaganda does not work here. Maybe they'll give you new talking points.

March 6th, 2006, 10:12 PM
I'm sure it was an oversight, but you didn't answer this question.

Can you tell me where the WMDs are? They were the reason we went to war. They were the imminent danger we faced. You believe Bush is an honorable guy. Where are the WMDs that these American troops died to capture?

Now, I took the time to answer your questions. If we are not there to get the WMDs like Bush said, then what is our goal?


TLOZ Link5
March 6th, 2006, 11:17 PM
Responses to a selection, just for argument's sake:

Look I can even make the great FDR look bad....

During FDR's presidency...

-most American combat deaths in history, unlikely to be ever suprassed

Actually, that would be the Civil War, even if you don't count the Confederates.

-most civilian deaths in history

Abroad or in the U.S.? Again, Civil War.

-worst economy in American history

I dunno...looking back at the country's state under the Articles of Confederation, you'd be tempted to ask, "What economy"? :D

-allowed the spread of Fascism, Communism, Naziism.

Hitler siezed power in January of 1933, a few days after Roosevelt took office. Anything that could have been done to prevent

-allowed for the the worst war in humanity's history

Eh, do you blame Germany for invading Poland, or Britain and France for declaring war/appeasing Germany? American entry into the war was late, not that had we gotten involved from the beginning there wasn't much that we could have done; the Netherlands had a larger and better military than the U.S. did in 1939.

-had the ugliest wife in American history, unlikely to be surpassed

I dunno, have you seen pictures of Mamie Eisenhower? Probably a nice broad, but yikes!

-allowed for America to be invaded

You mean the Philippines, or the two westernmost Aleutian Islands?

Hee hee.

March 6th, 2006, 11:33 PM
Lets try to get Bush a third term he was such a good president. Hopefully someone like him will be our next pres.

I think Bush should get some toughness in him and drop a nuke on Bagdad. Saying this is in vengance for 9/11.
Thats what I would do and if anymore terror acts happened do this to another city like Tehran with lots of people.
After two or three cities going poof we will have a stop in terror activity.