Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sparrow Sums Up The Public Mood

Confirmed : Bush Wears An Ear Piece During Press Conferences

President Bush was in the middle of expressing his undying admiration and support for his embattled attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, when a passing sparrow took a well-aimed crap on Bush's left arm. The white drippy mess was only inches away from landing on his face.

One of the Bush media manipulators claimed : "It was his lucky day...everyone knows that's a sign of good luck."

Ahhh, in the Bush reality world, perhaps. Since when was getting shat on by anything a sign of "good luck"? That definitely takes the award for the Best Moment Of Spin in the Bush presidency, so far.

Here's the vid :

He tried to brush it quickly away. But nothing gets missed in this world of YouTube and the three second video clip blitz. Millions are hitting blogs and news posts all over the world to comment on the world's most popular sparrow. The wits are out in force.

Here's a sampling of the hundred-plus comments at America's ABC News website :
Totally hilarious... even the birds in the sky know what this president is made of. Thank you little sparrow!

Oh, if only elephants could fly.

In the words of Jackie Gleason "How sweet it is".

I want you all to take heart: The bird responsible has been identified and sent to Guantanamo.

I just wish he was looking up and yawning at that moment...

That bird deserves the medal of Freedom!!!

Sparrow Makes Subtle, Astute Political Statement

I guess they'll have to set up a "bird-free zone" in future to protect the president from signs and portents in such form.

Of course bird droppings are good luck. So is choking on a pretzel, falling off a bike(and segueway), dropping a puppy, making a baby cry, being pecked by a turkey, amd having your best bud shoot someone in the face. Everyone knows all that stuff is good luck!

The bird's managed to do what most of us wish we could do...

Watching the video again, Bush's non-reaction to getting pooped on, and then his quick moves to clear it off, confirm to me the very old rumour that President Bush wears an ear-piece for some valuable 'on air' help and coaching during press conferences is in fact not rumour, but truth.

Bush doesn't notice the mess on his arm at all. He is clearly focused on the long, detailed question he is being asked. Then Bush looks down, concentrating, like he is listening to somebody telling him something important, then he quickly wipes away at his arm, without looking first to see what's there. Then a few seconds later, without checking to see if he got it all, Bush wipes again, like someone told him he's missed a little bit.

I don't think anyone would be surprised if Bush did wear an ear piece so he could get fed facts and figures and smooth answers during the ultra-pressure of live press conferences.

After all, if you were President and you thought you could get away it, wouldn't you do the same thing?

So who's on the other end of the communication line feeding directly into Bush's brain?

Dick Cheney?

Karl Rove?


Friday, May 25, 2007

Bush The Decider Can Now Become Bush The Dictator

All He Needs Is A "Catastrophic Emergency"

How exactly did ALL the mainstream American media miss this stunning story? Did Paris Hilton get caught drunk driving again? Did some feckless celebrity nobody say something asinine that grabbed the headlines this story demands?

Why does the mainstream media always automatically assume that Americans will not be interested to learn that their president has decreed himself the powers of a dictatorship, if or when he feels such spectacular powers need to be activated?


Rogue Government has the full story of how President Bush can now seize control of the entire government, and all its branches, in the event of a "catastrophic emergency". Does this mean another event of 9/11 or Katrina scale? Or is it referring to an American city being nuked by terrorists, as Bush himself recently said is now a very real threat?

You can argue that this story reaches for the hyperbole button a few times, and presses it furiously, but the facts laid out are undeniable. Here's the main points :

The Bush administration has released a directive called the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive. The directive released on May 9th, 2007 has gone almost unnoticed by the mainstream and alternative media.

In this directive, Bush declares that in the event of a “Catastrophic Emergency” the President will be entrusted with leading the activities to ensure constitutional government. The language in this directive would in effect make the President a dictator in the case of such an emergency.

The directive defines a “Catastrophic Emergency” as the following.

"Catastrophic Emergency" means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;

So what does this mean? When one of those events takes place, the President will be a dictator in charge of ensuring a working constitutional government.

The language written in the directive is disturbing because it doesn’t say that the President will work with the other branches of government equally to ensure a constitutional government is protected. It says clearly that there will be a cooperative effort among the three branches that will be coordinated by the President. If the President is coordinating these efforts it effectively puts him in charge of every branch.

The directive defines Enduring Constitutional Government as the following.

"Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;

Further on in the document it states the following.

The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.

This is nothing more than a power grab that centralizes power and will make the President a dictator in the case of a so called “Catastrophic Emergency”.

This directive is a clear violation of constitutional separation of powers and there should be angry protests from our legislators about this anti-American garbage that came from the President.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Look, He's Cut Out Lines Of Sugar For His Breakfast In The Morning..."

The fat kid from Family Guy sneaks into President Bush's Texas ranch. And what does he find? See for yourself.

Or Go Here
"You Have Enormous Courage"

Of recent, you are more likely to hear foreign leaders praising President Bush, as Tony Blair did recently, than to hear a good word out of his own Republican Party colleagues. In the first live debate for presidential hopefuls, it was Ronald Reagan who was praised and idolised, not the current president. Bush's name was mentioned only once in the entire three hour debate, and even then only in passing.

Today's praise comes from the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, who has rarely faulted the president for anything, and has previously lamented Bush as being like other great war time leaders, Winston Churchill in particular, but presumably without the morning eye openers.

Downer was in LA with Condoleezza Rice yesterday, speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He compared Bush's 'War on Terror' as being akin to Reagan's supposed "Victory" over the Soviets during the Cold War. Bush has shown, according to Downer, not only "courage" but "tremendous courage"in confronting Islamist terrorism and ideology :

"When I think about the war on terror and the decisions he has had to make, these have been tough decisions....The final judgments about his presidency in relation to some of those decisions will be made years and years off into the future.

"... Will people say of President George W Bush that he ran away when the terrorists struck?

"I don't they will say that about him either. They will say that he confronted them and showed a lot of courage in doing so."

Music to W.'s ears, no doubt. He's certainly not hearing it from any of Republicans, or even the conservative media and blogworld, who are now hammering him over his new immigration policies.
The Next Presidents "Must Prepare For War"

As we've noted here many times before, President Bush spends a lot of time in interviews musing on how historians will come to view his presidency long after he's dead.

Sometimes these comments from Bush come after questions seeking his thoughts on the subject, but more often Bush drifts away from talking about Iraq, or the 'War on Terror', to muse away on one of his favourite subjects - his own presidential legacy.

In a recent interview, the president was at it again :

"The lesson you learn with the presidency is that it takes a long time - if you're doing big things, it takes a while for history to be able to fully analyse your presidency. There's no such thing as accurate short-term history of a president."

He was asked, directly, what he believes will be his legacy.

"Whatever it is, I'm not going to be around to see it. I hope it is that George Bush fought the war, he laid out a strategy for America and her allies to ultimately defeat these ideologues; he recognised the nature of the enemy" and put in place measures to deal with the threat, he said.

In the same interview, Bush said whoever becomes the next president cannot enter the White House under any illusion that they won't be a President At War. They will be. And so will the next president, and the one after that.

"If the people who say we're not having any war on terror ever gets elected, they'll sit in the office, the Oval Office, and realise we are in a war on terror. They'll realise there are people that are out plotting and planning. They'll see the complexities of taking on this enemy."

"...the realities of sitting in the Oval Office are different from the realities of the campaign, of being on the campaign trail".

"This is a very tough world with an enemy that's determined to hit us. And a president who listens to the intelligence being gathered will realise that the main job for the president here in this part of the 21st century is to defeat the enemy by staying on the offence and, therefore, securing America," he said.

Bush remains firmly of the view that the 'War on Terror' will live to its rebranding as 'The Long War' and will rage on, for many presidents to come.

"Presidents are going to have to keep the pressure on al-Qaeda by using good intel and finding him and pressuring him. At the same time, presidents are going to have to promote ... an alternative ideology to that espoused by these extremists and radicals, and that happens to be one based on liberty."

Bush also said nothing troubles him more than the Americans who have died because he sent them to war.

"My biggest regret thus far is the loss of life, for US casualties. It's the hardest thing for a president when you commit our troops into harm's way, is to know that they have died as a result of your decision."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Impeach The President?

At Least 400,000 In Online Poll Say "Yes"

Now The American Right Demands "Impeach Bush" Over His Backing Of The New Immigration Bill

A 'Live Vote' on MSNBC, asking its internet readership if President Bush should be impeached had attracted some 430,000 votes when we visited today.

A stunning 88% of all respondents voted 'Yes', the president should be impeached.

While online vote forums, such as MSNBC's 'Live Vote', are not generally regarded as a completely accurate gauge of the mood of the nation, they can still provide a particularly vivid example of the opinions of the people who choose to participate.

MSNBC 'Live Votes' don't allow more than one vote per ISP in a 24 hour period, and we've been unable to find any web sites pushing readers to participate in the 'Live Vote', either for or against impeachment.

Compared to many other 'Live Votes' we've seen, the issue of whether or not President Bush should be impeached has attracted a huge participation rate, and as the screen capture above shows, almost 400,000 people have voted to show they believe the president should be impeached.

Clearly, the impeachment issue is important to the users of the MSNBC site, and the dramatic results would have been noticed by the Bush White House and, more importantly, by Democrat senators who have refused to follow through with their pre-midterm election allusions and promises to pursue impeachment once they had the power to do so.

A good slice of the American public, it would appear, have not forgotten about promises made last year to pursue the impeachment of President Bush.

Neither have the media. Today, through a Google News search, we found at least 90 news stories, articles and opinion columns, published in the US, discussing or urging impeachment of President Bush, or the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

From the Atlantic Free Press :
It took 13 colonies to throw out the last King George. Thirteen state Democratic parties have now passed resolutions demanding impeachment, nine of them since Nancy Pelosi ordered the Democratic Party away from impeachment.

In May 2004, the Nevada Democratic Party led the way, passing a resolution demanding Bush's impeachment. On June 12, 2005, the Wisconsin Democratic Party passed a resolution demanding the impeachment of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. On January 28, 2006, the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Committee called for the impeachment of Bush, Cheney, and Gonzales, a call echoed by the full state party in June with the focus on Bush alone. On March 21, 2006, the New Mexico Democratic Party backed impeaching Bush and removing him from office. In April 2006, the Vermont Democratic Party resolved that Bush should face impeachment immediately.

Now we're rolling. Look at this list: Nevada, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Mexico, Vermont, Colorado, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and New Hampshire. That's 10 state Democratic Parties demanding impeachment by June of last year, and seven of them after Pelosi ordered impeachment off the table, and before the elections.

And now Massachusetts has joined the list. On May 19, 2007, the Massachusetts Democratic Party passed a resolution calling on "the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate these charges and if the investigation supports the charges, vote to impeach George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney." The charges were as follows:

"Whereas George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have:

• Deliberately misled the nation about the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war;

• Condoned the torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention & US law;

• Approved illegal electronic surveillance of American citizens without a warrant."
From the Baltimore Chronicle :
The divide between Democratic leaders contemplating their re-election prospects in 2008 and rank-and-file Democrats is becoming a chasm--one so wide that Congressional Democrats may soon find it hard to straddle it.

The issue is impeachment.

So far, Democrats in Congress and at the top of the party hierarchy, out of touch with public sentiment and worried that impeachment could hurt them with "independents"--whom they mistakenly consider to stand somehow "in between" Democrats and Republicans--have been following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's vow that for the 110th Congress, "impeachment is off the table." They've been doing more than that: they have been actively working to tamp down, and even to crush, impeachment campaigns in the states.

To date, 14 state Democratic Parties have now called for impeachment.

But that's only part of the story. Vermont's state senate has overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for impeachment. Similar resolutions are being considered in the legislatures of 17 states. Over 80 cities, towns and counties have passed impeachment resolutions, as have at least that many town and county Democratic Party organizations, even in conservative areas such as Berkes and Chester County in Pennsylvania.

Polls have consistently shown that the broader public also wants the president and vice president impeached.

In October 2006, Newsweek published a scientific poll disclosing that 51 percent of Americans favored impeachment, half of them as a top priority.

That poll, of course, was taken before Democrats had gained control of the House and Senate, and also before Bush, ignoring the anti-war message of voters in November, decided to increase the number of US troops in his misbegotten and calamitous war in Iraq.

Clearly the president has authorized an illegal spying campaign, and has already been declared to have committed a felony by a Detroit federal judge who tried the issue last summer.

Equally clearly, if the president is not impeached, Congress will be telegraphing that the next president, whomever that may be, can feel free to abuse the law and the Constitution in the same manner as the current president has been doing.

How can there not be impeachment proceedings!

None of Bush's and Cheney's grave crimes and abuses of power even require anything significant in the way of hearings. They could be submitted as bills of impeachment and voted on by the House Judiciary Committee and by the full Congress tomorrow, if there was the will to do so.

Instead, the Democratic leadership continues to dither, continues to permit the president to ignore subpoenas, continues to interfere with grassroots efforts to pass impeachment resolutions, and continues to ignore even the bill of impeachment against the vice president, House Resolution 333, submitted a month ago by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), even as it has now gained three co-sponsors.

The chasm is clearly widening between the leadership of the Democratic Party and the voters.

It may end up swallowing them up, come November 2008.

Now The Hardcore Conservatives Demand Bush's Impeachment

The 'Impeach Bush' movement is no longer raising momentum in the domains of the so-called 'Bush Haters', primarily American liberals and members of the hard left. Thanks to President Bush's backing of a new immigration bill, which will provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, even the hard right at the notoriously pro-Bush Free Republic website are demanding impeachment of the president.

Wonkette follows this up and provides a sampling of the scathing anti-Bush comments, snarking that the "Freepers" seem surprised to realise that President Bush "doesn't give a shit" about what they think.

Prominent Senator Suggest Impeachment Threat As "One Way To Influence The President"

13 State Democrat Parties Now Demand Impeachment

It Is Way Past Time For Bush's Impeachment

Impeach Bush Before More Harm Is Done

Bush, Like Nixon, Is Unfit For Presidency

Let's Start Using The "I" Word

Monday, May 21, 2007

I think this may be a photoshopped image. I haven't seen it before. And the person who e-mailed it to me, included no link or background info. Then again, it wouldn't be the first time the president has given someone the finger, literally or figuratively.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Newspaper Of The "New Messiah" Celebrates Its 25th Birthday

Two President Bush's & Margaret Thatcher Pay Homage

The Washington Times has been very good to the Bush Family. It's helped cover up outrageous scandals, spread rumours that tainted presidential competitors and always been there to give the current President Bush an extra heaping of praise and support when the realities of Washington get too mean and nasty.

No wonder The Washington Times' own editor claims it is the Bush's "favourite newspaper."

Established by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who branded himself the "New Messiah", back in 1982, the Washington Times is now 25 years old, and it's time for celebrations :
George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, last night told the 25th anniversary gala for The Washington Times that when the Cold War raged, he and President Reagan before him were supported by "a newspaper that would stand for free people."

Mr. Bush said that while other newspapers raised fears that the Reagan administration was leading the nation toward a nuclear holocaust, the fledgling newspaper stood firm in support of the nation's security.

"Then a funny thing happened: Freedom prevailed," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush grew philosophical as he reviewed the quarter of a century he and the newspaper shared. "This is truly a cathartic experience for me. It's been 14 years since I left Washington behind and, to be honest, when I left the White House after the 1992 campaign, I did not feel particularly charitable towards the Beltway press corps.

"For four years as president, and for eight years before that, I had been subjected to some tough treatment at the hands of the Fourth Estate.

"The editors and the editorial writers of The Washington Times understood the stakes of the Cold War and were not the least bit shy about voicing their support for national leaders in the two great political parties who were trying to end the threat posed by the Soviet Union."
The "New Messiah" was on hand to deliver a 35 minute long speech to the 2000 strong crowd.
"Please do not miss your chance to ride on the currents of heavenly fortune that will surge together during this important and sacred year," Rev. Moon said. He said the future of American security lies in the Pacific Rim.
A letter from the today's President Bush was read out. He said the Washington Times' "efforts help advance the ideals that make our nation strong."
Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, sent greetings in a video that was projected onto several large screens.

"As long as The Washington Times is alive and well, conservative voices will never be drowned out," she said.
For a supposedly deeply religious man, President Bush seems little troubled to be associated with the self-proclaimed new messiah. Nor do any number of "compassionate conservative" Christians on the Hill.

Are they not troubled by Sun Myung Moon's more bizarre pronouncements?

More than a dozen lawmakers attended a congressional reception this year (2004) honoring the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in which Moon declared himself the Messiah and said his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be "reborn as new persons."

At the March 23 ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wore white gloves and carried a pillow holding an ornate crown that was placed on Moon's head. The Korean-born businessman and religious leader then delivered a long speech saying he was "sent to Earth . . . to save the world's six billion people. . . . Emperors, kings and presidents . . . have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

Moon has claimed to have spoken in "the spirit world" with all deceased U.S. presidents, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and others. At the March 23 event, he said: "The founders of five great religions and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin . . . and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons."
With his spectacular wealth and vast reach of influence deep into the power centres of the Washington elite, perhaps it should be viewed as a blessing in disguise that Sun Myung Moon promotes peace over war.

But Moon is said to be no fan of the United States as it exists today, but again, the elder President Bush seems untroubled by violent and vehement verbal attacks on the US by Moon, regularly giving paid speeches to groups and organisations affiliated with the Moonies in Asia and South America. Even when Moon was vowing, in August 2006, to :
liquidate American individuality, declaring that his movement would “swallow entire America.” Moon said Americans who insisted on “their privacy and extreme individualism … will be digested.”
Three months later Bush The Elder gave a well paid speech in Beunos Aires where he declared :
"I want to salute Reverend Moon...”
One estimate claims that the Bush The Elder has racked up some $10 million in "fees" and "donations" from Sun Myung Moon over the decades.

Perhaps Moon's wealth has won him more friends in the elite circles of American power, moreso than his desire to "swallow America whole".

Investigative journalist Robert Parry has been tracking the relationship between the Bush Family and the Washington Times for decades. The key to the relationship, says Parry, is the remarkably close friendship, and financial relationship, between the Bush Family and the Washington Times' key funder, the Reverand Sun Myung Moon, who is said to lose more than $100 million a year keeping the newspaper on the racks of Washington news stands.

In the end, perhaps it is really no surprise at all that the elder President Bush has so much praise for the Washington Times. After all, as Robert Parry points out, the newspaper has been very good to him :

After its founding in 1982, The Washington Times staunchly supported some of the Reagan-Bush administration’s most controversial policies, such as the contra war in Nicaragua.

When the contra operation was embarrassed by initial public disclosures of contra drug trafficking in 1985-86, The Washington Times led the counterattack, criticizing journalists and congressional investigators who uncovered the first evidence of the problem.

Those attacks helped cement a conventional wisdom in the Washington political community that the contra-drug allegations were bogus, a belief that persisted until 1998 when the CIA's inspector general admitted that dozens of contra units were implicated in cocaine trafficking and that the Reagan-Bush administration had hidden much of the evidence.

During national political campaigns, Moon’s Washington Times was especially influential, mounting harsh – and often inaccurate – attacks on the Bush family's adversaries.

In 1988, when George H.W. Bush was running for president, The Washington Times publicized false rumors about the mental health of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis, an important first step in raising doubts about the Massachusetts governor.

In Bush’s 1992 reelection campaign, The Washington Times was helping again, spreading new false rumors that Bill Clinton might have betrayed his country during a college trip to Moscow, possibly being recruited by the KGB as a spy.

Moon Has Declared Himself The New Messiah, Vows To Complete Jesus Christ's "Failed Mission", Wants To Unite The World's Religions

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bush's Circle Of Friends And Allies Gets Ever Smaller

Former Advisor Perle Calls Bush A "Failure" For Not Destroying America's So-Called Enemies

With the upcoming departure of British prime minister, Tony Blair, the international circle of friends that President Bush relies on for support and belief in the need to continue the War On Iraq grows smaller.

Australian prime minister, John Howard, is only months away from losing a federal election (if current polls are to be believed). Then President Bush will only be able to count on the quieter support of the leaders of Japan and...ahhh....the Marshall Islands.

From :

With Mr Blair set to bow out next month after 10 years in power, the end is nigh for a partnership that was forged in the searing cauldron of the September 11 attacks of 2001 and the subsequent war in Iraq.

"I'm going to miss him. He's a remarkable person. And I consider him a good friend," Mr Bush said last Friday after Mr Blair announced his intention to resign on June 27.

"When Tony Blair tells you something, as we say in Texas, you can take it to the bank."

In his emotional resignation speech last week, Mr Blair stood by his decision to stick "shoulder to shoulder" to Mr Bush despite the crippling cost it inflicted on his popularity in Britain.

He reaffirmed their friendship ahead of his last visit, saying he had learned to live with "poodle" taunts as he discussed Mr Bush in an interview broadcast today by NBC News.

"I've found him immensely straightforward to deal with, someone always true to his word and someone who's a very strong leader," the British Prime Minister said.

The caricature of Mr Blair as Mr Bush's "poodle" appeared confirmed after the President's "Yo! Blair" comments at last year's G8 summit in Russia. There is certainly no other foreign leader with whom Mr Bush is on such familiar terms.

Over Iraq, only Australian Prime Minister John Howard came close to Mr Blair's levels of backing for Mr Bush - and Mr Howard now faces a fight for his job against a resurgent Labor Opposition in elections expected later this year.

However, Mr Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month put on the "Shinzo" and "George" show at a Camp David summit to send a message: New leader in Tokyo, same close ties to Washington.

The same may also prove to be true for the France's president Sarkozy, and Germany's Angela Merkel is also offering support to President Bush over the Iraq War, though in a much less public way than Tony Blair did.

Former advisor to the President, Richard Perle,
says he is now cut off from wandering into the West Wing to ramp up the War On Iran rhetoric, after wandering into the West Wing to ramp up the War On Iraq rhetoric in 2002. Perhaps they don't let him in now because they think he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

Anyway, Perle is deep into a personal PR campaign to scrape as much of the blame for the Iraq War off himself as possible. Good luck with that, Richard.

Perle is also disgusted that matters regarding Iran are now being handled by the State Department, who don't go to war often enough for Perle. The State Department dealing with international affairs! Imagine that :

The Bush administration is beginning to appease rather than confront America's enemies, a former chairman of the Defense Policy Board and leading neoconservative thinker said yesterday, describing the president as "a failure" who is proving powerless to impose his views on his administration.

Richard Perle offered a withering assessment of the president's impotence at a meeting of the Hudson Institute in New York, saying American foreign policy is being applied by an out-of-control State Department.

"We have already seen a change in policy towards Iran," he said. "It is now firmly back in the hands of the Department of State."

Mr. Perle's assessment is recognized by an expert on defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute, Thomas Donnelly, who said Mr. Bush is routinely frustrated by "establishment" thinking within Washington and that the failure to respond to the president's more radical thinking has harmed American policy in Iraq.

But the characterization of a divided administration frustrating the president's wishes is inaccurate, according the director of the foreign policy program at the New America Foundation, Steven Clemons, who said he thinks Mr. Bush is allowing Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Rice to play good cop, bad cop with the Iranians.

Mr. Perle said the president has failed to control his administration from the start and that bad appointments have ensured that he is isolated from the rest of the government, aside from close allies such as Ms. Rice and Mr. Cheney.

The president's failure to get his own way stems from his general inexperience in foreign affairs and his ignorance of the way Washington works, Mr. Perle suggested. "He came ill-equipped for the job and has failed to master it," he said. "I do not meet the president, but from the people I meet who are close to him and from his speeches, I believe the gap between the president and his administration is without precedent."

"He was only in office a short time when 9/11 took place. … This president appointed people he hardly knew. He didn't know Colin Powell," Mr. Perle added. "He delegated a great deal. He thought he would give general direction and that the machinery would do what he wanted done. But the machinery wouldn't do what he wanted done."

The State Department is "institutionally disposed to settle problems through compromise, to settle rather than to fight," Mr. Perle said. This is dangerous because many enemies of America remain who are prepared to continue fighting when offered a settlement. "You cannot settle with Al Qaeda. You cannot settle with Islamist extremists. Those who suggest we can do great damage," he said.

Mr. Bush displayed weakness in the face of Syria and failed to convincingly condemn the visit of the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to Damascus "because he had authorized some Republicans to talk to Assad," he said.

Mr. Perle said the current policy toward Iraq has no more than nine months to run: It either will have achieved success by then or will have to be abandoned. "That is why I find it strange that the Democrats should take short-term political advantage. They have only to wait," he said.

The U.S. Army "is not terribly well equipped" to fight the insurgency in Iraq, he said, and the Defense Department is still planning an army to fight a Russian advance in Central Europe. "We sent over the only Army we had," he said. He added that he thinks the coalition should have handed the country over to the Iraqis in October 2003, when the insurgency began.

Nor did Mr. Perle offer any optimism that the current surge policy, which he said he believed was correct in conception, would succeed. "People have retreated behind the Iranian border, out of harm's way, biding their time," he said.

While Perle makes some interesting points, his ongoing anti-Bush campaign is more to do with saving his own name and professional reputation from sinking into the muck pit, sucking down most of those who advocated a War On Iraq at all costs.

Perle has rattled off his claim that Iraq should have been handed back to the Iraqis in October 2003 so many times in recent weeks, that people are starting to believe he is right, and that he actually held this position back then.

Of course, Perle never said a word about it at the time. Back then he was still claiming, like Cheney and the rest of the Occupy Iraq team, that the insurgency was minimal and not a long-term threat, and the occupation had to continue, for the good of the Iraqis.

The more former Iraq War cheerleaders like Perle try and rewrite history, and their role in the mess, the more President Bush looks like a man of substance.

But Perle's attack on Bush makes one thing extremely clear : the ultimate blame for what's happened in Iraq will be hung on Bush, and Bush alone. The role of people like Perle, and the lobbying power of AIPAC in the run-up to the Iraq War, will be downplayed and reduced, at least they will try to do this in a very public way.

Perle will make sure Cheney is able to deflect most of the blame for Iraq, without directly blaming the president himself. Even though Cheney has, in subtle ways, already begun to do this.
Bush Hammered Over Iraq By Key Republicans

Get The War Sorted Out Now, You're Destroying the GOP

The Conductor In Chief : Bush tries his hand at guiding a band. And no, he had no idea what he was doing.

It's surreal to see Republican presidential wannabes taking part in hours and hours of televised debate, and yet the current Republican president, George W. Bush, is rarely, if ever mentioned.

In the first the Republican debates, Bush's name was mentioned only once, while former president Ronald Reagan was praised and hailed repeatedly.

It's like President Bush is already gone from the White House. Are Republicans too scared to even mention his name, lest they be associated with him? Or, God forbid, appear to be supporting the president in any way whatsoever?

While his poll numbers are low, only 30% to 33% of Americans still give him the thumbs up (depending on which poll you view), he is not the most unpopular president in American history, and there are signs that as the Republicans descend into ugly squabbling amongst themselves over the future of the Iraq War and the meaning of true conservative values, Bush's numbers might even go up.

But the Iraq War is going to be a near insurmountable problem for Republican candidates in the 2008 presidential elections, and the presidential wannabes know it.

The Iraq War is causing Republican senators endless headaches, on the Hill, and back at home, where some have reported intense confrontations from military families, or just locals in the streets.

Despite the fact that many Democrats voted in favour of the Iraq War (however reluctantly some of those votes may have been cast), it is 'The Republicans War'. They pushed for it, they denied its reality for as long as possible, and so they must own it.

It is a rare day indeed that you see or hear any Democrat talking favourably about the continuation of the war, and most Americans agree with them that the war is militarily lost and that the troops should come home. But the Republicans, in the vast majority, are still true believers that the Iraq War will turn out for the best, or at least less worse than the predictions that detail a Middle East locked in conflict and desperate struggle for generations to come.

The Democrats will find it far easier to talk about the war they so strongly oppose when the real action of the 2008 presidential elections begin. Republicans are now becoming so desperate, so fearful, about how the Iraq War will impact on their chances of retaining the White House through to 2012, many of them are demanding the president either find a solution to lowering the American death toll, and the daily bloodshed unleashed on the Iraqis, or begin withdrawing troops.

Last week, a most remarkable meeting between the president and 11 House Republicans took place in the White House, and the Iraq War was the chief subject under discussion. So important was the meeting viewed to be for future Republican harmony that there was special guests in the room : Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Bush advisor Karl Rove and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

The fallout from the meeting was mostly contained by the Bush media handlers, but word still got out that Bush was left stunned by some of the things that the Republicans told him, as though no-one had talked to him in such a way before, or at least for a long time.

Some commentators claimed it was the day Bush had his 'bubble' well and truly shattered, meaning that the key staff surrounding the president keep him bubbled away from the bad news, and the realities of vivid and deep dissent amongst his fellow Republicans, in Washington and across the United States.

But the message to Bush was loud and clear, and its volume has not been turned down since the meeting : Fix The War, Or You Will Destroy The Republican Party.

From the Washington Post :

Participants in Tuesday's White House meeting said frustration about the Iraqi government's efforts dominated the conversation, with one pleading with the president to stop the Iraqi parliament from going on vacation while "our sons and daughters spill their blood."

The House members pressed Bush and Gates hard for a "Plan B" if the current troop increase fails to quell the violence and push along political reconciliation. Davis said that administration officials convinced him there are contingency plans, but that the president declined to offer details, saying that if he announced his backup plan, the world would shift its focus to that contingency, leaving the current strategy no time to succeed.

Davis, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, also presented Bush dismal polling figures to dramatize just how perilous the party's position is, participants said. Davis would not disclose details, saying the exchange was private. Others warned Bush that his personal credibility on the war is all but gone.

From the New York Times :
Moderate Republicans gave President Bush a blunt warning on his Iraq policy at a private White House meeting this week, telling the president that conditions needed to improve markedly by fall or more Republicans would desert him on the war.

The White House session demonstrated the grave unease many Republicans are feeling about the war, even as they continue to stand with the president against Democratic efforts to force a withdrawal of forces through a spending measure that has been a flash point for weeks.

Participants in the Tuesday meeting between Mr. Bush, senior administration officials and 11 members of a moderate bloc of House Republicans said the lawmakers were unusually candid with the president, telling him that public support for the war was crumbling in their swing districts.

One told Mr. Bush that voters back home favored a withdrawal even if it meant the war was judged a loss. Representative Tom Davis told Mr. Bush that the president’s approval rating was at 5 percent in one section of his northern Virginia district.

“It was a tough meeting in terms of people being as frank as they possibly could about their districts and their feelings about where the American people are on the war,” said Representative Ray LaHood of Illinois, who took part in the session, which lasted more than an hour in the residential section of the White House. “It was a no-holds-barred meeting.”

Several of the Republican moderates who visited the White House have already come under political attack at home for their support of Mr. Bush and survived serious Democratic challenges in November.

Representative Charles W. Dent of Pennsylvania, a co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, an alliance of about 30 moderate Republican lawmakers, helped arrange the meeting. He said lawmakers wanted to convey the frustration and impatience with the war they are hearing from voters.

“It was very healthy,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, who attended but let the moderates do most of the talking.

“I walked away from it feeling I got a chance to make my points,” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Gates, who also attended the White House meeting on Tuesday, told lawmakers that the Pentagon would evaluate the violence in Iraq and the progress of the administration’s troop buildup plan by early September to determine the next phase of the military strategy.

Here's an earlier report from the LA Times earlier report on the Republican dissent that led to the 'White House 11' meeting, and how Bush is now viewed as a liability by many Republicans as they fixate on the 2008 elections.

So much so that key Republicans are said to whispering to each other that they don't have a chance of retaining the White House, and should already be looking forward to taking it back in 2012. 'Blame Bush' may have been an unofficial motto for Democrats in the 2004 elections, but it is quickly being adopted by Republicans, as they try to dump responsibility for the Iraq War, high fuel prices, plunging property values, the falling American dollar and growing malaise across the country right at the door of the Bush White House.

And why not? The rest of the world Blames Bush, so it should not be unusual that desperate Republicans, trying to distance themselves from the president, would do exactly the same :
President Bush's unpopularity and a string of political setbacks have created a toxic climate for the Republican Party, making it harder to raise money and recruit candidates for its drive to retake control of Congress.

Some of the GOP's top choices to run for the House next year have declined, citing what Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) called a "poisonous" environment. And Republicans' fundraising edge, an important advantage over the last five years, has dwindled.

With GOP clout diminished after November's election losses, the Republicans' national committee and their House and Senate campaign committees together raised the same amount as the Democrats in the first quarter of the year — and Democrats ended the period with more cash in the bank. At this point four years ago, Republicans had more than twice the money Democrats did.

"The reality is the Republican brand right now is just not a good brand," said Tim Hibbitts, an independent Oregon pollster. "For Republicans, the only way things really get better … is if somehow, some way, Iraq turns around."

Jennifer Duffy of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said the party was "desperately in need of some Prozac."

Though Republicans have recruited many solid candidates in their effort to retake Capitol Hill — and they have more than 18 months to improve their fortunes — the environment could get worse.

Damaged by ethics scandals in 2006, the GOP in recent weeks has seen FBI raids at businesses or homes connected to two of its congressmen. A federal agency last week began an investigation into Bush advisor Karl Rove's political operation, and congressional panels authorized a flurry of subpoenas related to White House political activities and the run-up to the Iraq war.

Broader signs of Republican distress also are turning up across the country.

When voters five years ago were asked which party they identified with, neither Democrats nor Republicans held an advantage. Now 50% of voters say they are aligned with the Democrats, and 35% with Republicans, according to a survey released last month by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

And in New Hampshire, nonpartisan pollster Dick Bennett said the atmosphere was so sour that he was having a tough time getting Republicans to participate in surveys. The war, high gas prices and unhappiness with the Bush administration have dampened their interest sharing opinions, he said.

A few years ago, "they would make arguments in favor of the president, and they don't anymore," Bennett said. "They don't defend the president on anything."

The GOP's relatively weak fundraising totals for the first quarter could also complicate the party's reelection effort, wrote Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report in a recent assessment. Though it can be dangerous to read too much into these early signals, she wrote, "a weak bank account doesn't just make a bad headline, it also makes an incumbent more attractive to a potential challenger."

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the House 232 to 201, with two vacancies

In the Senate, the party breakdown is 49-49, but two independents side with the Democrats, giving them control.

Last week brought more potential bad news for Republicans:

An obscure federal agency, the Office of Special Counsel, said it would investigate several matters concerning the GOP, including whether a U.S. attorney was fired for political reasons. The office also intends to look at Bush administration officials' use of Republican National Committee e-mail accounts for government business, and political presentations by White House staff to Cabinet agencies. The office enforces the Hatch Act, which generally bars the use of taxpayer resources for campaign purposes.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wishful thinking from CNN International, or a genuine mistake?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Claim : Bush Prepared For Queen's Visit "By Getting Drunk"

Queen Views Bush As "Ill-bred, Impetuous, And A Social Boor"

Bush shows his support for the Texas Longhorns, even during a white tie photo call with Her Majesty. Right?

Washington insider, Wayne Madsen, has used his ever reliable sources to compile a very different version of the Queen's visit to Washington, and the time she spent with President Bush, from the Washington Post and New York Times fluff pieces we quoted from in our previous story.

Here's Madsen's take on the Queen's Not So Excellent Adventure :
Our White House sources report that the Queen's visit to the White House yesterday was a protocol disaster. Not only had George W. Bush commenced his drinking routine early in the morning, just in time for the first mid-day visit by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, but his drunkenness continued well into the evening during the lavish state dinner.

Bush dreaded the Queen's visit and prepared for it by getting drunk. The Queen has never hidden her dislike for Bush who she considers ill-bred, impetuous, and a social boor. The Queen's dislike for Bush goes back to 1991 when he insulted her during another state visit by inquiring which of her children was the "black sheep" of her family. The Queen told him to mind his own business. The Queen was also unhappy that then-First Lady Barbara Bush failed to control her son during that visit to the White House. In November 2003, the Queen was incensed about Bush's Marine One helicopter tearing up her flower garden at Buckingham Palace and traumatizing her flock of flamingoes. Bush's communications staff also damaged expensive fabrics inside the royal residence. Bush never compensated the Queen for the damage and she had to file an insurance claim.

With that background, Bush groused about having to wear a white tie tuxedo for last night's state dinner. It took the direct intervention of Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice to convince Bush to wear the appropriate attire. During yesterday's welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Bush insinuated that the Queen was over 230 years old when he stated she had helped celebrate America's Bicentennial in 1776. The Queen was heard to have uttered the words, "Oh dear." Bush then winked at the Queen who was not amused by the president's antics. Bush also stated that the Queen gave him a look "that only a mother could give a child." It was not the first time the Queen had looked at Bush with an icy stare. Bush also nearly put his arm on the Queen's shoulder as he escorted her down the stairs from the red carpeted dais.

White House protocol officials remained nervous about Bush during the entire Royal visit. The Queen and Prince Phillip are sure to have much to talk about on their trip back home this evening. While the Queen was keen on visiting Virginia and the Kentucky Derby, her past dealings with the Bush family had her fearing the White House visit. Bush's boorish demeanor was in keeping with his past indiscretions around the Queen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Poll Claims 39% Of Americans Support The Impeachment Of The President

Almost 40% of Americans want their president, and vice president Dick Cheney to be impeached, according to a new poll.

One of the key initiators of the impeachment process against former president Bill Clinton doesn't believe that the public support for his impeachment was ever as high as the numbers now being seen favouring the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

From Town Hall :
Anti-war Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania is prominent among some Democrats in his use of the "I" word -- impeachment -- about President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Murtha made his comments on CBS's "Face the Nation" and elsewhere.

About four out of 10 Americans favor impeaching the president and vice president. But the biggest news from this survey is not the overall results, but the opinions of independent voters, who usually decide presidential elections.

Those few in the Democrat-controlled House who are advocating impeachment are on the fringe of political thought -- at least for now. That's probably justifiable. Their reasons for impeachment look specious.

It's not beyond consideration that what now seems silly political grandstanding could get much more serious, especially if the Iraq war continues to go badly, current scandals surrounding the attorney general or White House political adviser Karl Rove get worse, or new White House scandals emerge.

Be all that as it may, the main significance of this public opinion survey isn't its potential predictive value regarding the careers of Bush and Cheney. Rather, the poll tells us that the Republican team readying to assume the party's mantle when the presidential campaign kicks off in earnest in the summer of 2008 might be facing insurmountable odds.

The fact that such a large percentage of these voters are willing to support something as drastic as the impeachment of the president and vice president tells me that the depth of the irritation with the president over his handling of the war, and over his political tin ear when (not) listening to the public's rising discontent, is becoming a powerful political force in itself.

Republican Senator : We Might See The President's Impeachment Before He Leaves The White House

John Murtha : Impeachment Is "One Way To Influence The President"

September, 2006 : Bush Backs Bill That May Save Him From Impeachment

87% Of Respondents In MSNBC Online Poll Want President Bush Impeached
North Korean General Cracks A Bush Joke

Who says the North Korean military don't have a sense of humour? Perhaps not when it comes to Kim Jong-Il - North Koreans have allegedly been jailed or killed for insulting their supreme leader - but they don't mind cracking a joke or two about George W. Bush :

As military chiefs from both sides of the Korean peninsula met on Tuesday for talks, a general from the North started proceedings by telling a joke at George W. Bush's expense.

"I recently read a piece of political humour on the Internet called 'saving the president'," Lieutenant-General Kim Yong-chol was quoted as saying in pool reports from the talks.

He then retold the old yarn about Bush who goes out jogging one morning and, preoccupied with international affairs, fails to notice that a car is heading straight at him.

A group of schoolchildren pull the president away just in time, saving his life, and a grateful Bush offers them anything they want in the world as a reward.

"We want a place reserved for us at Arlington Memorial Cemetery," say the children.

"Why is that?" he asks.

"Because our parents will kill us if they find out what we've done."

The South Korean generals appeared befuddled as to what to make of the humour...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Queen Meets The King of Gaffes

Should one ever wink at the Queen?

That would be a firm, "No."

The British tabloid media are having a field day mocking "Dumb Dubya" over his solid gold gaffe right in front of Her Majesty.

He meant to say "1976" in reference to the Queen's visit to the US to celebrate the 200th anniversary of when American revolutionaries, representing the 13 colonies, released their Declaration of Independence, formally declaring a split from the mother land of the Queen Elizabeth II's ancestor, George III.

But W. being W. started to say "1776" instead, which would have made the Queen a very old woman indeed. He would have gotten away with it, if he had moved on. But he didn't. Bush paused and waited for the laughs, as thought the mistake was scripted, just another 'Bushism'. And the laughs came on strong from the crowd of thousands gathered on the White House lawn.

Bush winked at the Queen, she gave him a withering look that bordered on disdain. Bush turned it into another joke : "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."

The Queen was clearly not amused. For a few seconds anyway.

"He's got the gift of the gaffe," thundered one British tabloid. The mockery filled the newsracks across England :
The nation's biggest-selling paper, the tabloid Sun, accused Mr Bush of making "one of his great verbal blunders'' while the The Times headlined its piece: "Oops, he did it again.''

"On a morning that should by rights have been frozen in time as a moment of pure pageantry, with military marching bands, pipers trucked out in tricorn hats and powdered wigs, and visiting royalty, one can count on George Bush,'' the Guardian said.

"The President yesterday once again demonstrated his gift for the gaffe, injecting an unintended sense of levity into the White House welcome for the Queen.''
The Daily Mail asked: "Is he winking at One?'' and said that Mr Bush could have tried to recover from his initial blunder in several ways.

"But turning to her and giving her a sly wink is probably not included in any book of royal etiquette,'' it said.

In an editorial, The Daily Mirror dubbed Mr Bush "Dumb Dubya".

"Her majesty's withering look spoke volumes, giving the watching public and the President a very clear message.

"Which is more than he ever manages.''

The welcoming of the Queen to the White House was one of the most regal events staged there in decades (see the photo below), and it should have been a smooth and successful distraction for everyone from the rapid decay of the presidency, rotting from within over the Iraq War and numerous scandals involving some of Bush's closest political allies.

Bush made sure it was memorable. Unlike previous gaffes, mistakes and misspeaks, he only had to say two digits to kick off this minor bungle.

Bush had been there with the Queen before, as a much younger man. When the Queen visited the White House of his father in 1991, he informed Her Majesty (drunkenly some recollect) that he was "the black sheep" of the Bush dynasty.

"Who's the black sheep in your family?" Bush asked the Queen, but his mother intervened, snapping, "You don't have to answer that."

According to the White House website's photo page, this grand image shows : The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps marches across the South Lawn during the Arrival Ceremony for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh Monday, May 7, 2007, on the South Lawn.

From the UK Daily Mail :

White House aides have apparently described the dinner in the Queen's honour as the social event of the entire Bush presidency.

George Bush's father, George Bush Snr, branded it "the hottest ticket in town."

The Times remarked: "It will be closely watched by the social elite for its collision of cultures - Texas swagger meets British prim.

"Dinner attire is white tie and tails, the first and, perhaps, only white-tie affair of the Bush administration.

"The president was said to be none too keen on that, but bowed to a higher power, his wife."

From the Washington Post :

Throughout the day, official remarks ricocheted between gravitas and gaiety, the president soberly referring to terrorism, the first lady extolling spun-sugar flowers, the queen talking high-tech.

"I particularly look forward in the next two days to seeing at firsthand something of how the cutting edge of science and technology can take us to the next phases of discovery and exploration in human endeavor," the queen said in her prepared remarks.

"It was just a family, relaxing luncheon," Laura Bush later reported, noting that two presidential siblings, Dorothy and Marvin, were there along with Sir David Manning, the British ambassador to Washington. There was no word on whether Elizabeth, who herself owns 14 dogs, had made the acquaintance of four-legged Bush family members Barney and Miss Beazley.

Afterward, the Bushes accompanied the royal couple across the street to their guest quarters at Blair House, stopping along the way for an unannounced appearance before 369 squealing elementary and middle school children from the IDEA charter school and the British School in the District.

By all accounts the white tie and tails state dinner later in the day went smoothly enough, but there was clear tension on the face of Laura and George W. Bush during the speeches.

UPDATE : The formal white tie dinner did go well, and the Washington Post raves about it here as probably the most successful 'social' events of the entire Bush presidency :

The most elegant Washington evening in a decade, last night's state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, took place on a velvet-smooth night that made Washington appear more beautiful, a little softer around the edges, than it might actually be.

President Bush, who his wife said had to be talked into hosting his first white-tie dinner, appeared to love it.

He stepped onto the front portico of the White House in the early dusk, jovial and laughing, the first lady at his side. A casual man, bedeviled by the lowest presidential approval ratings in a generation, he appeared, for once, to revel in the pomp and ceremonial trappings of the office.

He came down the red-carpeted steps to welcome the queen as she stepped from a black Chevy SUV. It has been 56 years since her first state visit to Washington (when Harry S. was running things), and the monarch, without a word, showed how it's done:

She wore a white gown with a beaded bodice and chiffon skirt, but what you really noticed was the tiara given to her by her grandmother (Queen Mary), plus a three-strand diamond necklace, a diamond bracelet, a pearl watch, three brooches on a formal blue sash, diamond drop earrings and a silver purse.

Suffice it to say it glittered.

All the stately gowns proved to be a hazard for the menfolk. Oil kazillionaire T. Boone Pickens kept stepping on his wife's train. "I tell ya, that dress is driving me crazy," he said with a laugh.

At this party there was no duplicate of Laura Bush's gown: The embroidered turquoise silk faille with a matching embroidered bolero was created just for her by designer Oscar de la Renta.

The dinner was held in the State Dining Room. At the head table, the queen was seated on Bush's right, Nancy Reagan on his left. To the queen's right was Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.; Alma Powell, wife of former secretary of state Colin Powell; Arnold Palmer; Ashley Manning; Nantz, Tricia Lott; and former secretary of state George Shultz.

The first lady sat next to Prince Philip. Her table also included Rice and first brother Jeb Bush. Colin Powell was seated nearby, across from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly turned down the invite).

The toasts, if predictable, were heartfelt. The president raised a glass to the queen and the "valiant people of the United Kingdom."

In her response, Queen Elizabeth harked back to her youth. "My generation can vividly remember the ordeal of the Second World War. . . . For those of us who have witnessed the peace and stability and prosperity enjoyed in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe over these postwar years, we have every reason to remember that this has been founded on the bedrock of the Atlantic Alliance." She then cited problems facing this generation: Iraq, Afghanistan, climate change and poverty. But, she said, "together with our friends in Europe and beyond, we can continue to learn from the inspiration and vision of those earlier statesmen in ensuring that we meet these threats and resolve these problems."

Washington Times : Elizabeth II Welcomed In Style - Bush Thanks Queen For Her Nation's Support In Raising Young Democracies In Iraq And Afghanistan

Capital Goes GaGa Over Queen For A Day

Don't Believe The Hype, Bush Loved The Glamour, Fuss And Pagentry

Friday, May 04, 2007

Time Magazine : Bush Deemed To Be Less Influential Than Comedians And A Terror Suspect

Beaten By Borat, Osama Bin Laden And Rosie O'Donnell

President Bush was once Time Magazine's Person Of The Year, now he doesn't even rate a mention in the magazine's poll of the Top 100 People Who Shape Our World.

In the public vote poll, he barely scrapped into the Top 100, popping up at number 97. Number One in the peoples' poll result is Korean band 'Let It Rain!' Hmmm, guess who got their poll totally stacked?

Dropping Bush from the Top 100 People Who Shape Our World list is clearly a publicity angle for Time Magazine. Bush may be about as popular as punching yourself in the nuts, but to say that he doesn't rate as a person who shapes the world as we know it is beyond ridiculous.

He may be shaping our world for the worst right now, or so it would appear to billions of people, but he's still shaping it to a degree that will have far more deeper repurcussions for the future than most of the people who made the list.

The 'terror suspect' named in the Top 100 is Mahar Arar, from Canada. If you don't know who he is, here's his story :
Canada's Mahar Arar, who became a cause celebre after being deported by U.S. authorities as a possible terrorist to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured.

Arar, whose deportation was based partly on faulty intelligence supplied by Canada, was later vindicated in an inquiry ordered by Ottawa and awarded C$10.5 million in compensation.

In a statement issued through the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Arar said he was "very honoured" to be on the Time list and expresses gratitude to everyone who supported him "throughout this struggle for justice."
Not surprisingly, some of the droogs on Fox News didn't take it at all well that President Bush was excluded from the Top 100, but Rosie O'Donnell was included :

Apparently the 73% of Americans who disapprove of Bush's performance are not rational, disgusted, disillusioned adults, they are irrational emotional, petulant children. John Gibson made numerous references to Bush-hating on The Big Story today 5/2/07 and placed much of the blame on Rosie O'Donnell.

O'Donnell was named to TIME Magazine's "Top 100 Most influential people" list, and Gibson is taking it badly. Calling her his "favorite loudmouth," Gibson insinuated that her influence is what prompted Rage Against the Machine to say that the Bush administration should be "hung, tried, and shot." There was no evidence given that there is any connection between the two, but Gibson tried to tie them into a new "left-wing" trend.

As this story points out, raging against the majority view of America is the desperate act of a depressed minority, out of touch with the mainstream. This minority now being most of the blow-waved heads on Fox News.

2004's Person Of The Year : "I Don't Expect Many Short Term Historians To Write Nice Things About Me"

Flasback : Interesting Time Magazine Story From 2004 On The Bush Dynasty, But Don't Call It A Dynasty

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Commander Guy" Vetoes Iraq War Funding Bill

Bush And The NeoCons Are Betting The House On A More Peaceful, Vastly Wealthy Future For Iraq

Photo selection from The Huffington Post

President Bush said he'd do it, and now he's done it :


I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 1591, the “U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007.”

He didn't like the fact the bill included a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq, or "the timeline for defeat" as the NeoCons and their media lackeys like to call it, he didn't like all the added "pork" and he didn't the idea of not being the "decider" when it comes to announcing that American troops are coming home.

Here's the basic coverage :

US president George Bush vetoed legislation to pull US troops out of Iraq in a showdown with Congress over whether the unpopular and costly war should end or escalate.

In only the second veto of his presidency, Bush last night rejected legislation that would have required the first US combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by October 1, with a goal of a complete pull-out six months later.

He vetoed the Bill immediately on his return to the White House from a visit to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, headquarters of US Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East.

Democrats made a last-minute plea for Bush to sign the Bill, knowing their request would be ignored.

“The president has put our troops in the middle of a civil war,” said Senate majority leader Harry Reid. “Reality on the ground proves what we all know: a change of course is needed.”

But lacking the votes to override the president, Democratic leaders quietly considered what might be included or kept out of their next version of the £62 billion spending Bill.

It was a day of high political drama, falling on the fourth anniversary of Bush’s “mission accomplished” speech on an aircraft carrier and his declaration that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

The seriousness of the Veto Event has been underscored by another almost-childlike comment from President Bush, which has inspired the usual round of blogger mockery. Bush used to call himself "The Decider", now he's tagged himself with a new moniker that's inspired much mirth :
“The question is, ‘Who ought to make that decision, the Congress or the commanders?,’’ Mr. Bush said. “As you know, my position is clear – I’m the commander guy.”
How soon will a mock online comic book about 'The Commander Guy' appear? We'll give it a few days, or less.

Excellent coverage on the Veto Event and important comment, as usual, from Dan Froomkin at White House Watch. He also has a good round-up of the American commentariat reaction :

With the public resoundingly against him, Republican support wearing thin, and -- most importantly -- Congress in Democratic hands, President Bush today finds himself in the unusual position of actually having to negotiate.

The question is: Does he have it in him?

A day after vetoing legislation that would have established a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, Bush has invited congressional leaders to the White House for a sit-down.

"I am confident that with goodwill on both sides, we can agree on a bill that gets our troops the money and flexibility they need as soon as possible," Bush said in a short televised address last night, announcing the veto.

But the president's language was inflexible: "It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing," he said. "All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible."

With no apparent sense of irony, Bush described the Democratic plan as "a prescription for chaos and confusion."

So what happens now? Will Bush refuse to genuinely engage with his critics? (His traditional response to Democrats who disagree with him.) Will he try to find some way to make it look like he's compromising when he really isn't? (His traditional response to Republicans who disagree with him.) Or will he start talking in earnest about ways both sides can compromise?

The conventional wisdom is that the White House's big concession will be to entertain discussions about benchmarks for the Iraqi government. But it's important to keep in mind that the White House has been talking about such benchmarks for many months now. In his prime-time address in January, Bush even announced: "America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced."

The administration has even previously indicated it had some deadlines in mind for those benchmarks. It's just that none of them have been met. On the same day in January that Bush made his announcement, senior administration officials promised that the Iraqis would deliver three additional Iraqi brigades to Baghdad by the end of February. That didn't happen. And the following day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged in Senate testimony that without progress toward some key benchmarks within "one or two months . . . this plan is not going to work." It's now been four months, with little or no progress. (For background and links, see my Thursday column, Keep Your Eye on the Benchmarks.)

So the central issue is not whether there are benchmarks, or even timetables. The central issue is whether failure to meet those benchmarks has any genuine consequences -- and whether those consequences include the withdrawal of American forces.

So what's next? Bush will meet with key Democrats in the coming days to hash out the new bill to keep funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democrats are widely seen as having got their point across, that the president will not have an easy time letting the Iraq War drag on forever, and they've given some satisfaction to the more than 50% of Americans demanding that the US troop withdrawal from Iraq begin before the end of the year.

But there will be no US troop withdrawal before the 2008 presidential elections. The power brokers in the Republican Party have all but admitted that they don't have a chance of keeping control of the White House through 2009-2012.

It will take an even more horrifying US body count in Iraq for a sudden shift in the long term plans of the Bush administration to maintain a heavy presence in Iraq, and therefore the Middle East, for decades to come.

President Bush, following recent lines by Vice President Cheney and General Petreaus, is setting the scene for a very violent future for Iraq, which will have to be accepted by Americans as something close to normal :
"... the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that's what we're trying to achieve."
As Think Progress points out, an Iraq that has to learn to live with car bombings and suicide attacks is a long, long way from the democratic, and peaceful, Iraq used to sell and re-sell the continuation of the war and occupation :
During the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) explained that success against terrorism will occur when terrorist acts, such as those in Iraq, are reduced to the level that “they’re a nuisance.” Kerry explained gains can be made against terrorism when “it isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”
Now Bush, Cheney and key generals are virtually repeating Kerry's formula for lesser success verbatim.

Although the Iraq War will have cost close to $580 billion by the end of 2007, it is still only a small slice of the more than $5 trillion the US spent fighting World War 2, and as far as the Republicans, many Democrats and the still powerful NeoCon alliance in Washington is concerned, the stakes in the Iraq War are as just as important for the long-term security and economic survival of the United States as World War 2 was, while it was being fought, and proved to be in the following decades.

Iraq's oil riches may total up to $12 trillion, and the United States intends to remain as the chief non-Iraqi stakeholder in the country's future. The security situation is grim indeed, and more than 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes and neighbourhoods in the past three years. More than 500,000 Iraqis have been killed, and the locals call Baghdad a dying city.

But the United States is betting on vast returns of their investment in re-creating Iraq as a democratic, free market, and extremely wealthy Middle East nation ten to twenty years from now.

When the oil is flowing at a projected rate of 4 million barrels a day, and Iraq becomes an IT and high-tech centre of development for the gradual transformation of the entire Middle East, the United States clearly intends to be the Iraqis gateway to a more prosperous future.

Of course, all of that remains, literally, a pipe dream for now. But the long-term presumption amongst the NeoColonialists is that the Iraqis can't keep fighting the occupation of their nation forever.

If a possible peoples revolution in the United States spawned of anger over the tragedy and losses of the Iraq War can be suppressed long enough, the NeoCons are likely to be proven right about Iraq. But that is a day decades away, and the Middle East may fracture further between now and then, or sink into outright war.