Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bush And The Counter Factual...

Counter To Reality

What goes on inside Bush's head? Do we really know what this man, arguably the most powerful man in the world, is really thinking? He's the butt of ten million jokes about being ignorant, or just plain dumb, but clearly you don't get to the White House if you're as thick as a bucket of wet cement.

Or do you?

Here's another article, one of a rising number of recent, that dips into the Bush psychology, and takes a closer look at Bush's use of counter-factual arguments, the primary one being : "The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power."

Well, yes, probably.

But how do we really know that is the truth? We don't. It's speculation. Nothing more.

But such counter-factual backbone the Bush presidency and his constant resistance to changing his plans, or world view, particularly when it comes to the War On Iraq :
In the face of mounting public and political opposition to the war in Iraq, recent reports from the White House suggest that President Bush remains serenely confident.

Bush's confidants report that the president believes he will be vindicated by history. He keeps Churchill and Lincoln close at hand. No matter how tough the situation in Iraq, Bush remains confident about his decision to go to war because he believes that things would have been much worse otherwise.

"Obviously, it was a difficult decision for me to make -- to send our brave troops, along with coalition troops, into Iraq," Bush said at a recent press briefing about the Iraq situation, where he faced a barrage of questions about flagging support for the war. "I firmly believe the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power."

Bush's argument is based on something known as a counterfactual. In his mind, the president has run an alternate view of history -- one that imagines Saddam Hussein still in power -- and has come to the conclusion that deposing the Iraqi leader was better.

...what is dangerous about counterfactuals is that while they may seem reasonable, they easily become a way for us to confirm what we already feel. Bush might not conclude that the war was the right decision because he has reached for a downward counterfactual; he might have reached for a downward counterfactual because he feels the war in Iraq is right.

Philip Tetlock, a professor of organizational behavior and political science at the University of California, has found that the careless use of counterfactuals is one reason politicians and experts are often wrong in their predictions.

"History does not give us control groups," he said. With counterfactuals, "the control groups are all being run in the imaginations of the analysts."

Tetlock's large study found that politicians and pundits were rarely better than non-experts in predicting the course of historical events. But he found that experts who were more cautious about using counterfactuals -- who explicitly reminded themselves that they were coming up with scenarios that could not be verified -- were more accurate on average than those who used counterfactuals blithely.

Until recently, the Bush administration's Iraq plans have been mostly the work of hedgehogs. The pragmatic recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, however, are quite clearly the work of foxes.

Bush's heroes, Lincoln and Churchill, offer a study in contrasts. Lincoln leaned toward fox, Churchill toward hedgehog. Lincoln was open to dissent, even within his own Cabinet, and was alert to nuance. Churchill allowed few doubts. Each man was perfectly designed for his historical moment.

Churchill's single-mindedness helped Britain overcome the existential threat of Nazi Germany during the darkest days of the Battle of Britain. But his stubbornness also blinded him to his mistakes. If Churchill was far ahead of the curve in recognizing the menace of Hitler, he was far behind the curve in recognizing that Britain's colonial empire was headed for history's dustbin.

Bush repeatedly states that he will let history judge him for what he does today, and believes that his legacy will not be known until long after he is dead.

But how many people will have to die in Iraq, and soon all across the Middle East as a wider regional war breaks out, to prove Bush's counter-factual claims were little more than his alternative reality forced onto the world?

Bush may well be proven right in his claims that the people of the Middle East, like people all across the world, "long to be free", but that doesn't mean that launching an unprovoked and incredibly misplanned war was the only way to bring democracy to the people of Iraq.
What God Told George To Do

So who was on the microphone end of President Bush's ear piece when he heard instructions from God telling him to go to war? Was it Karl Rove? Dick Cheney? Someone from AIPAC?

US President George Bush has said that he was instructed by God to invade Iraq and Afghanistan...
The claim comes from the first meeting between the US leader, the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen), and his then foreign minister in June 2003.

The ministers say that Mr Bush also revealed to them that he had been told by God to create a Palestinian state.

Former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath, now the Information Minister, describes the meeting with the US leader, in the BBC2 program, Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs.

He says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God'.

"God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq . . .' And I did.

"And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East."

Mr Abbas, who was also at the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, recounts how the President told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation.

"So I will get you a Palestinian state."

The White House has never disputed the claims made by Mr Abbas and Mr Shaaf.

Friday, July 27, 2007

New York Times : Defying The Imperial Presidency

"The Imperial Presidency" has become the new, dramatic name for the Bush administration from the editors of the New York Times in recent weeks.

The "Imperial Presidency" gets another airing in the newspaper's lead editorial today. Dramatic stuff :

The House Judiciary Committee did its duty yesterday, voting to cite Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, and Joshua Bolten, the White House chief of staff, for contempt. The Bush administration has been acting lawlessly in refusing to hand over information that Congress needs to carry out its responsibility to oversee the executive branch and investigate its actions when needed. If the White House continues its obstruction, Congress should use all of the contempt powers at its disposal.

The committee really had no choice but to hold Ms. Miers in contempt. When she was subpoenaed to testify about the administration’s possibly illegal purge of nine United States attorneys, she simply refused to show up, citing executive privilege. Invoking privilege in response to particular questions might have been warranted — the courts could have decided that later. But simply flouting a Congressional subpoena is not an option.

Mr. Bolten has refused to provide Congress with documents it requested in the attorney purge investigation, also citing privilege, and he has been equally unforthcoming about why he thinks it applies. Together, Ms. Miers’s and Mr. Bolten’s response to Congress has simply been: “Go away” — a position that finds no support in the Constitution.

If these privilege claims make it to court, it is likely that Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten will lose. The Supreme Court has held that a president’s interest in keeping communications private must be balanced against an investigator’s need for them. In this case, the president’s privacy interest is minimal, since the White House has said he was not involved in purging the United States attorneys. Congress’s need for the information, though, is substantial. It has already turned up an array of acts by administration officials that may have been criminal.

The administration’s contemptuous attitude toward the constitutional role of Congress was on display again this week when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He repeatedly refused to answer legitimate questions, and he contradicted himself so frequently that it is hard to believe he was even trying to tell the truth.

Congress must not capitulate in the White House’s attempt to rob it of its constitutional powers. Now that the committee has acted, the whole House must vote to hold Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten in contempt. The administration has indicated that it is unlikely to allow the United States attorney for the District of Columbia to bring Congress’s contempt charges before a grand jury. That would be a regrettable stance. But if the administration sticks to it, Congress can and should proceed against Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten on its own, using its inherent contempt powers.

It is not too late for President Bush to spare the country the trauma, and himself the disgrace, of this particular constitutional showdown. There is a simple way out. He should direct Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten to provide Congress with the information to which it is entitled

Bush Co. In Crisis : Gonzales Faces Perjury Probes, Karl Rove Subpoenaed, Approval Ratings Hit Rock Bottom

If President Bush thought his last 18 months in the White House might be a little quiet, or that he would head into retirement with what remains of his administration's credibility intact, a flurry of judicial action on Capitol Hill shows that the last days of President Bush are going to be rocked by controversy, writs, hearings and Congressional probes, and even possible charges of contempt against some of his key officials.

And a full scale impeachment of President Bush is now gathering steam, with more Republicans joining with Democrat senators in pushing the issue, though it still seems unlikely, particularly during an election year.

From the Associated Press :
Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration.

"It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements," four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement.

They dispatched the letter shortly before Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the subpoena of Rove, the president's top political strategist, in remarks on the Senate floor. The White House has claimed executive privilege to block Congress from receiving documents or testimony by current and former presidential aides.

"We have now reached a point where the accumulated evidence shows that political considerations factored into the unprecedented firing of at least nine United States attorneys last year," said Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Gonzales is at the center of the U.S. attorney controversy, but the call for a perjury probe involved alleged conflicts between testimony he gave the Judiciary Committee in two appearances, one last year and the other this week. The issue revolves around whether there was internal administration dissent over the president's warrantless wiretapping program.

As for the firing of the prosecutors, e-mails released by the Justice Department show Gonzales' aides conferred with Rove on the matter.

Leahy also said he was issuing a subpoena for J. Scott Jennings, a White House political aide. The deadline for him and Rove to comply was set as Aug. 2.

"For over four months, I have exhausted every avenue seeking the voluntary cooperation of Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings, but to no avail," the Vermont lawmaker said. "They and the White House have stonewalled every request. Indeed, the White House is choosing to withhold documents and is instructing witnesses who are former officials to refuse to answer questions and provide relevant information and documents."

The call for a perjury investigation marked yet another complication for Gonzales, whose fitness to serve has been bluntly criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters aboard Air Force One during the day that he "might" raise the issue with the president, who has steadfastly stood by his longtime friend.

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters, "I'm convinced that he's not telling the truth," based on conversations with Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

At issue is what was discussed at a March 10, 2004, congressional briefing. A letter from then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte said the briefing concerned the administration's terrorist surveillance program on the eve of its expiration.

But Gonzales, at Tuesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, repeatedly testified that the issue at hand was not about the terrorist surveillance program, which allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on suspects in the United States without receiving prior court approval.

Instead, Gonzales said, the emergency meetings on March 10, 2004, focused on an intelligence program that he would not describe. He said the meeting prompted him to go to the bedside of ailing then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to recertify the surveillance program, but he denied pressuring Ashcroft to do so. Ashcroft, recovering from gall bladder surgery, refused.

We took a detailed look at the dramatic story of that bedside visit by Gonzales here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

90 Million Americans "Angry" Over What Bush Co. Is Doing To Their Country

Too Much Information Provided By The Internet Cuts Through The Brain Fog Of Once Dominant Network Evening News

In a follow-up, and correction, to our earlier story on just how far Bush's popularity and job approval ratings have fallen, here's a comprehensive piece from the Washington Post that lays out the facts, and features some absolutely incredible insights into how the President Bush now views the American people - with complete contempt and utter disdain.

Here's the poll results under discussion :

The latest Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush's job performance, matching his all-time low.

In polls conducted by The Post or Gallup going back to 1938, only twice has a president exceeded that level of public animosity -- Harry S. Truman, who hit 67 percent during the Korean War, and Richard M. Nixon, who hit 66 percent four days before resigning.

But it's not all bad news for President Bush. There's an unexpected benefit to being so utterly out of favour with the American public. He no longer gives a shit what they think :
Bush has been so down for so long that some advisers maintain it no longer bothers them much. It can even, they say, be liberating. Seeking the best interpretation for the president's predicament, they argue that Bush can do what he thinks is right without regard to political cost, pointing to decisions to send more U.S. troops to Iraq and to commute the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff.
Of course the most shocking stat of all from the poll is buried halfway down the story :
52 percent of Americans "strongly" disapprove of his performance and 28 percent describe themselves as "angry."
So according to this, some 90 million Americans are "angry" at the president. Not annoyed, not disappointed, not frustrated. ANGRY.

No wonder Bush has been using his executive order privileges to set up a 'soft' dictatorship in recent months Angry people don't just stay angry when things don't get better, they start getting angrier, and then possibly violent. And start thinking about overthrowing the government.

But what could causing such anger amongst almost one third of Americans? The Iraq War? The immigration bill, which will coming back to Congress sooner rather than later? The seeping knowledge of the North American Union plans, which will see Canada, the United States and Mexico united as one? The ceaseless lies and distortions covering up the reality of the 'War on Terror'? The escalating defense budgets, set to soar beyond $500 billion in 2009? The spreading poverty amongst the middle classes as the value of their homes plummet?

No, of course not. None of these things make Americans angry, according to the Washington Post story. They've got another explanation.


Americans have too much access to information about what is going on in their country.

Really :

"It's astonishing," said Pat Caddell, who was President Jimmy Carter's pollster. "It's hard to look at the situation today and say the country is absolutely 15 miles down in the hole. The economy's not that bad -- for some people it is, but not overall. Iraq is terribly handled, but it's not Vietnam; we're not losing 250 people a week. . . . We don't have that immediate crisis, yet the anxiety about the future is palpable. And the feeling about him is he's irrelevant to that. I think they've basically given up on him."

That may stem in part from the changing nature of society. When Caddell's boss was president, there were three major broadcast networks. Today cable news, talk radio and the Internet have made information far more available, while providing easy outlets for rage and polarization.

"A lot of the commentary that comes out of the Internet world is very harsh," said Frank J. Donatelli, White House political director for Ronald Reagan. "That has a tendency to reinforce people's opinions and harden people's opinions."

What they're really saying is that the internet, and blogs, are cutting through the brain fog so faithfully delivered up by the once dominant American evening network news. Not only are Americans getting more information, they are discovering, online, that they are not alone in their anger and dismay at what Bush Co. are doing to their country. They are finding allies in their anger and their suspicions about the true intent of the Bush Co. cabal are being reinforced by the like-minded, online.

The American elite, its most privileged families and the true power executive would crush the internet, and blogs, into nothing, if only they could.

They will try to shut down this appalling honesty and disruptive stream of information so consistently informing the American people and making, at least, 90 million of them angry. But it may already be too late.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bush Keeps Pumping Al Qaeda As The New Nazis

"Surge Of Facts" To Become The New Bush Co. Mantra

Going against a near endless stream of national, and international intelligence, reports that claim that Al Qaeda in Iraq is a small, but still powerful, influence in the terror attacks in Iraq, President Bush has ramped up his claims that Al Qaeda in Iraq, is the very same Al Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11.

As the myth-making has failed to take root in the American mind, Bush is now losing patience with the spin he has been directed to unfurl, in the hope of bumping back up support for the Iraq War and the 'War on Terror'.

Bush needs Americans to see Al Qaeda in Iraq as the new Nazis - a massive, strong, well-armed, ideologically driven enemy worth of half trillion per year defence budgets. But the US Treasury is running low on funds, and the American people are running low on patience.

Bush, however, keeps up the myth-making :
President Bush sought anew on Tuesday to draw connections between the Iraqi group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the terrorist network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, and he sharply criticized those who contend that the groups are independent of each other.

At a time when Mr. Bush is trying to beat back calls for withdrawal from Iraq, the speech at Charleston Air Force Base reflected concern at the White House over criticism that he is focusing on the wrong terrorist threat.

“The facts are that Al Qaeda terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they’re fighting us in Iraq and across the world and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again,” Mr. Bush told a contingent of military personnel here. “Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of Al Qaeda in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences of such a retreat.”

The Iraqi group is a homegrown Sunni Arab extremist group with some foreign operatives that has claimed a loose affiliation to Mr. bin Laden’s network, although the precise links are unclear.

In his speech, Mr. Bush did not try to debunk the fact — repeated by Mr. Reid — that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia did not exist until after the United States invasion in 2003 and has flourished since.

His comments also reflected a subtle shift from his recent flat assertion that, “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on Sept. 11.”

The overall thrust of the speech was that the administration believes that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has enough connections to Mr. bin Laden’s group to be considered the same threat, that its ultimate goal is to strike America...

Mr. Bush referred throughout his speech to what his aides said was newly declassified intelligence in his effort to link Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the central Qaeda leadership that is believed to be operating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. Although the aides said the intelligence was declassified, White House and intelligence officials declined to provide any detail on the reports Mr. Bush cited.

In stark terms, Mr. Bush laid out a case that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia had taken its cues from the central Qaeda leadership, and that it had been led by foreigners who have sworn allegiance to Mr. bin Laden.

Mr. Bush quoted from what aides said was a previously classified intelligence assessment, saying, “The Zarqawi-bin Laden merger gave Al Qaeda in Iraq quote, ‘prestige among potential recruits and financiers.’ ” He added, “The merger also gave Al Qaeda’s senior leadership ‘a foothold in Iraq to extend its geographic presence.’ ”

Some administration officials have been more conservative in their assessments of any ability and desire that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia might have to carry out attacks here.

“When you look at how they are arraying their capabilities, those capabilities are being focused on the conflict in Iraq at this time,” Edward M. Gistaro, one of the principal authors of a recent National Intelligence Estimate on terrorist threats to the United States, said last week
From the Washington Post :

"Some will tell you al-Qaeda in Iraq isn't really al-Qaeda -- and not really a threat to America," Bush said. "Well, that's like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he's probably just there to cash a check. We are fighting bin Laden's al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Critics of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq -- including former intelligence officials, lawmakers and regional experts -- have said that al-Qaeda in Iraq grew up in response to the U.S. occupation and that loyalists of the group represent just a small percentage of the insurgent forces battling U.S. and Iraqi forces. Moreover, al-Qaeda as a whole represents an ideology for extremists as much as it does a functioning organization, some intelligence analysts have said.

But Bush called the Iraqi organization an "alliance of killers" and repeated earlier assertions that a military withdrawal would allow Iraq to be used as a base from which to strike the U.S. homeland.

"Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of al-Qaeda in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences of such a retreat," Bush said. "If we were to follow their advice, it would be dangerous for the world -- and disastrous for America."

"The masterminds who want to harm this country are in Pakistan while our troops are in Iraq. It doesn't get much simpler than that," said Rand Beers, a former National Security Council aide who is president of the National Security Network, an advocacy group.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) similarly said Bush's handling of the war has intensified the terrorist threat. "The National Intelligence Estimate contradicted what the president said today and made it clear that al-Qaeda is stronger because of our massive military presence in Iraq," he said Tuesday.

Bush also added that another terrorist leader recently captured in Iraq, whom he identified only as Mashhadani, had told U.S. interrogators that the Iraqi organization there went to "extraordinary lengths to promote the fiction" that it was not run by foreigners tied to the central al-Qaeda network. Khalid al-Mashhadani's capture was announced in a news conference last week by U.S. forces in Baghdad.

A Bush administration spokeswoman was quoted in the New York Times story as describing the added emphasis on Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as being part of the 9/11 Al Qaeda network as an element of the "surge of facts" that the White House was using to make its case to stay and keep fighting the 'War on Terror' in Iraq.

But while Al Qaeda-aligned terror groups in Iraq remain small, though formidable, Al Qaeda as a political and war fighting strength continues to grow in strength, capacity and tactical knowledge in the 'badlands' of Pakistan, close to the border of Afghanistan.

The call will grow amongst Americans : why are we fighting in Iraq to defeat Al Qaeda when we should be fighting them in Pakistan?

This is an argument, and debate, that the Bush administration doesn't want to take hold. Pakistan has soaked up more than $10 billion in American 'War on Terror' related funding, but Al Qaeda now appears to be stronger, and more numerous, in Pakistan than anywhere else in th world.

Note :
Crooks And Liars noted on July 13 that White House press secretary Tony Snow had used the term "surge of facts" for the first time. It's already getting a strong workout from the Bush Co. spin ministry. Expect to see more of it. We await President Bush's first use of the term. Shouldn't be too long now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bush Approval Ratings Sink Below Shocking

Closing In On Laying Claim To Being The Most Unpopular President In American History

How bad can Bush's approval ratings possibly get? New polling shows they have now sunk below what was previously believed to be the absolute base line - that is, the Republican base who would vouch support for President Bush come hell or high water, along with losing the support of the evangelical base that helped him to win two terms in the White House.

In early July, a nationwide poll showed only 30% of Americans approved of the job he was doing as president. Now it's down to a stunning 25% approval rating.

These numbers show that even hardcore, stalwart Republicans and Christian conservatives are turning against the president, and in rapidly increasing numbers :

A total of 71% of Americans say they disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 25% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 71% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 23% approve and 73% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 27% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 70% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 23% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 72% disapprove.

This is the highest level of disapproval and lowest level of approval for the Bush presidency recorded in monthly surveys by the American Research Group.

These numbers take Bush into a zone where more Americans disapprove of the job he is doing as president than those who disapproved of President Nixon, during the Watergate scandal.

It's been claimed before, and on this blog as well, but within months President Bush may officially become the most unpopular president in American history.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Count Down...

Bush Has 18 Months Left In The White House

Time Enough To Leave A Glorious Legacy

Does President Bush still have time enough to turn his presidency around? To save his legacy? To get Iraq right and to leave something else besides a shattered, near broke country in his wake?

Bush had big plans when he took control of the White House in late 2000. He said he would use a platform of "compassionate conservatism" to transform the country and to rein in government spending. Most of Bush's original agenda has fallen by the wayside. His supporters claim that the 9/11 attacks and the 'War on Terror' is to blame for much that he has failed to complete, but even the projects that got full funding and widespread support, like the education-based No Child Left Behind Act, has soaked up billions and produced few of the promised results.

In eighteen months, a new president, presumably Senator Hillary Clinton, will replace Bush in the Oval Office.

According to this story from CBS News, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Joel Kaplan, claims Bush still has a "very ambitious agenda" to pursue and complete before February, 2009 :
The president still hopes to enact legislation to reduce U.S. consumption of gasoline by 20 percent over 10 years and to make the cost of health insurance tax deductible up to a maximum of $15,000 a year.

But this second term hasn't been kind to Mr. Bush. Despite the claims he made after his re-election that he has political capital to spend, his efforts to pass Social Security and immigration reform bills ended in failure.

Nor do his prospects for the remainder of his term in office look any more promising.

He has all but given up on reforming the U.S. tax code — which during his campaign for a second term, he called a "complicated mess."

The final year and a half of the Bush presidency also presents the prospect of more investigations by and subpoenas from the Democratic Congress. But the administration hopes it won't be hog-tied by them.

Says Kaplan: "It does require the Congress and the Democratic leadership to make a choice of whether they are interested in legislation or whether they're just interested in excessive oversight and fishing expeditions that are designed not to actually accomplish anything for the American people but rather to provide political and communications advantage in some way."

Kaplan has the right to hope, but it looks like the Bush White House is headed into a major showdown with Congress over the president's claims of executive privilege. The issue could end up in the Supreme Court

Further, the 2008 presidential campaign is well under way, and the president's approval ratings are in the cellar.

"I don’t think it will affect in any way what the president tries to pursue on behalf of the American people," says Kaplan. "We’re gonna keep coming to work every day, working on those issues and working with Congress."
The Democrat-controlled Congress is sinking into a political insurgency against Bush Co. and clearly intend to pursue their agenda of probing investigations, senate hearings and possibly charges of perjury against key staffers all the way into the official start of the 2008 election campaign.

And then there's the impeachment issue, which we'll get to in a future post.

Meanwhile, Frosty Wooldridge has some suggestions on how President Bush can best spend his time and the nation's tax dollars in the next 18 months :

Newsweek, in a recent poll, showed that 80 percent of Iraqi citizens want the U.S. military out of their country. Yet Bush overrules their demands with his comment, “Staying in Iraq is necessary work.”

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times said, “When Iraqis beg us to leave, and say we are making things worse--then it’s presumptuous to overrule their wishes and stay indefinitely.”

What if he changed course in the last 18 months of his incompetent presidency? What could he do to create a fantastic legacy?

First of all, each troop deployed in Iraq to stand around and get shot at by Iraqis themselves--costs U.S. taxpayers $390,000.00 a year according to the Congressional Research Service. In 2007, Iraq will cost us $135 billion. That amounts to a quarter of a million dollars per minute, every hour, every day, every week and every year over there.

Bush spends over $10 billion a month to kill and maim our troops in a country that doesn’t want them while we suffer 47 million Americans without health care, 14 million unemployed Americans, $700 billion annual trade deficits, horrific energy crisis and infrastructure failure of our inner cities, roads and bridges. We suffer more problems in this country than you can shake a stick at!

Meanwhile, what could Bush accomplish at home that would make him a hero by the time he thankfully bows out on January 20, 2009? What success might he enjoy if he pulled out of Iraq within three months?

  • How about using that $135 billion for national health care for Americans that would cover them for the next 30 years?
  • With the $789 billion allocated for the Iraq War, Bush could have created jobs for 14 million unemployed Americans in every sector.
  • What about serving in excess of one million homeless in America with health care, housing and job training?
  • How about bringing 13 million American children living below the poverty line into the American Dream by allowing their parents job training, housing and hope?
  • How about our minority flunk out/drop out rate of 50 to 60 percent from high schools? Wouldn’t an infusion of jobs for their parents and themselves bring about human dignity for our less fortunate Americans?
  • Any chance Bush might use those billions of freed-up dollars for research on alternative energy so we might leave the Middle East all together?
  • How about all the good will he might engender around the world by stopping his war? World citizens loathe our occupation of Iraq.
  • Is it possible he could secure America’s borders from the ‘real’ invasion of our country by millions of illegal migrants and terrorists setting up shop against our culture, language and communities?
  • What if he advocated for America’s interests instead corporate elites, the ‘Military Industrial Complex’ and continued $700 billion annual trade deficits?
  • Wouldn’t he become a hero if he stopped offshoring, outsourcing and insourcing jobs away from American citizens?
  • Can you imagine the tremendous benefits of billions of dollars injected into American school systems to educate and impassion our youth toward productive lives?
  • What kind of a hero would Bush become to every mother whose kids suffer addiction to the $130 billion of drugs crossing from Mexico into our communities annually? What if he stopped that national nightmare by placing our troops on our borders to stop drugs? What a concept!
  • How about using that money for our pot-holed roads, city slums, dilapidated bridges and our citizens?
  • How about a major effort to mitigate climate change? How a national 10 cent deposit/recycle law on every bottle, can and plastic container so we might move toward 100 percent recycling?
  • Stop adding to the $8.6 trillion debt. Begin paying it down!
  • How about Bush upholding his oath of office by enforcing our immigration laws to repatriate 20 million illegal aliens? What a concept! What a boost to law and order! He would become a national hero like Eisenhower.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

President Bush Steps Down, Cheney Takes Control Of America

President Bush will hand over control of the United States to Vice President Dick Cheney today...for a few hours :
President Bush will undergo a "routine colonoscopy" at the Camp David retreat on Saturday, temporarily ceding his powers to Vice President Dick Cheney, the White House said Friday.

Cheney will serve as acting president until such time as Bush, who will be under anesthesia, says he is ready to resume his duties, presidential spokesman Tony Snow told reporters.

"The president has had no symptoms" of cancer, said Snow...

Dick Cheney, President Of The United States. A nation's blood runs cold.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Top Republican Senator Tells Bush : The Iraq War Has F..ked Your Legacy

Warns "Fur Is Going Fly" In Republican Ranks Over The War

It's not just President Bush who exhibits a disturbing focus on the legacy he will leave behind once his reign in the White House is over, even while hundreds of American soldiers are being killed and wounded in Iraq every month.

Republican senator George Voinovich has told White House svengali Karl Rove that Bush must pull together a workable plan to get American troops out of Iraq, or his legacy will be left in ruins.

He told CNN that he had given a clear warning to Rove that :

“The president is a young man and should think about his legacy.”

He should know history will not be kind unless he can come up with a plan that protects the troops and stabilizes the region,” Voinovich said he told Karl Rove, whom Bush dubbed “the architect” of his 2004 re-election.

Voinovich added that other Republicans are close to speaking out against the President’s current strategy.

“I won’t mention anyone’s name. But I have every reason to believe that the fur is going to start to fly, perhaps sooner than what they may have wanted.”

In private, Voinovich is more blunt, using a profanity to describe the White House’s handling of Iraq by charging the administration “f—ed up” the war.

“I got into this to get them to move, and they’re moving,” said Voinovich, who is pushing for the president to put together a workable plan for withdrawing U.S. troops that will be ready in time for a September progress report on the military surge from Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

And while Voinovich is giving the White House some breathing space until September to receive the progress report from Gen. Petraeus, the senator is privately warning if there’s not a dramatic new strategy ready to be unveiled in the fall, he will endorse a Democratic plan mandating a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq within 120 days.

His break with the White House came one day after another senior Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, delivered a dramatic Senate floor speech declaring the president’s current strategy was not working.

Not surprisingly, there is plenty of fury from commenters at the CNN blog, here, who vent their disgust that a Republican senator appears to be more concerned with how history will view President Bush, and his legacy, than he is about the constant death and mutilation of American soldiers in Iraq.

A war, by the way, that this Republican senator heartily endorsed in 2002, and continued to support until only very recently, when it became clear that going into the 2008 elections, with no end to the war in sight, would all but destroy the Republican Party.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'll Just Have The Cheeseburger Pizza

Okay, in amongst the heavy criticism, we have to take time to admit to what we do admire about President Bush - his taste in pizzas :
George Bush's chef has revealed the US President's favourite supper -- a cheeseburger pizza...

Chef Cristeta Comerford spilled the beans at an annual gathering of the cooks to world statesmen and royals.

"For dinner the President loves what we call home-made cheeseburger pizzas because every ingredient of a cheeseburger is on top of a margherita pizza. . . .

"Toppings include ground beef and cheese, ketchup, pickles, gherkins, fried onions, bacon and tomatoes."

Mmm, cheeseburgery
Kristol : Bush Ain't So Bad

NeoCons Are "Breathlessly Idiotic" And More

Chief NeoCon operative, and 'journalist', William "The Bloody" Kristol wants Bush Co. to bomb the living hell out of Iran as one of president's final duties to the NeoCon cabal that got him elected and helped to keep in power through two terms.

As part of the price he must pay to get Bush to complete the current NeoCon agenda, Kristol is required to pay homage to the president, and get the idea out there that Bush really ain't so bad, and history will be much kinder to him than the vast majority of the world's media and more than 70% of Americans, who currently believe the president is a danger to the nation and more incompetent than Homer Simpson hepped up on goofballs.

Kristol wrote a semi-coherent editorial praising Bush, and claiming the War On Iraq is just about to get a whole lot better, but if he published it in NeoCon propaganda bible, The Weekly Standard, only a few thousand people would have read it.

Time Magazine, for whom Kristol miraculously managed to score an editorial gig, despite being wrong on virtually every prediction he's ever made about the War On Iraq and the War On Terror over the past five years, knew a blind, crippled dog of an editorial when they saw it.

Kristol couldn't get his 'Let's Praise Bush Before It's Too Late' piece up on Time, but the Washington Post, naturally, came to his rescue :

I suppose I'll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one.

Let's look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees. What do we see? First, no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil -- not something we could have taken for granted. Second, a strong economy -- also something that wasn't inevitable.

And third, and most important, a war in Iraq that has been very difficult, but where -- despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless "benchmark" report last week -- we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome.

Interesting that Kristol counts what he believes to be a turn for the better in Iraq to be far more important than a healthy US economy and the fact that no successful terror attacks have occurred in the homeland since 9/11.

You can read Kristol's turd-polishing on Bush's economic genius and anti-terror fight for yourself, and attempt to comprehend why Kristol sees the stacking of the Supreme Court with conservative judges to be a cornerstone of the Bush double presidency for yourself.

Let's move onto Iraq :

Bush is a war president, and war presidents are judged by whether they win or lose their war. So to be a successful president, Bush has to win in Iraq.

Which I now think we can. Indeed, I think we will. In late 2006, I didn't think we would win, as Bush stuck with the failed Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey strategy of "standing down" as the Iraqis were able to "stand up," based on the mistaken theory that if we had a "small footprint" in Iraq, we'd be more successful. With the new counterinsurgency strategy announced on Jan. 10, backed up by the troop "surge," I think the odds are finally better than 50-50 that we will prevail. We are routing al-Qaeda in Iraq, we are beginning to curb the Iranian-backed sectarian Shiite militias and we are increasingly able to protect more of the Iraqi population.

Al Qaeda didn't not exist as a competent fighting force in Iraq until the country was already deep into a resistance against the coalition's occupying forces and riven with sectarian civil war. Even now, it is widely acknowledged by the CIA and the world's major intelligence agencies that Al Qaeda the smallest of the key agents of terrorism in Iraq, and may only claim a few hundred people, at most, as part of its fighting forces, and most of them are now believed to be from Saudi Arabia, a chief American ally.

As for protecting the Iraqi population - more than 100 Iraqis a day are killing fighting, terror attacks, executions and massacres, with hundreds more wounded.

Back to Kristol :

If we sustain the surge for a year and continue to train Iraqi troops effectively, we can probably begin to draw down in mid- to late 2008. The fact is that military progress on the ground in Iraq in the past few months has been greater than even surge proponents like me expected, and political progress is beginning to follow. Iran is a problem, and we will have to do more to curb Tehran's meddling -- but we can. So if we keep our nerve here at home, we have a good shot at achieving a real, though messy, victory in Iraq.

American forces will begin drawing down in mid-2008 because the US Army missed its recruiting targets for most of 2005 and 2006 and will run out of troops to deploy in the next nine months, even with some soldiers going back for fourth and fifth tours.

Back to "The Bloody" :

But can Bush maintain adequate support at home? Yes. It would help if the administration would make its case more effectively and less apologetically. It would help if Bush had more aides who believed in his policy, who understood that the war is winnable and who didn't desperately want to get back in (or stay in) the good graces of the foreign policy establishment.

But Bush has the good fortune of having finally found his Ulysses S. Grant, or his Creighton Abrams, in Gen. David H. Petraeus. If the president stands with Petraeus and progress continues on the ground, Bush will be able to prevent a sellout in Washington. And then he could leave office with the nation on course to a successful (though painful and difficult) outcome in Iraq. With that, the rest of the Middle East, where so much hangs in the balance, could start to tip in the direction of our friends and away from the jihadists, the mullahs and the dictators.

Following through to secure the victory in Iraq and to extend its benefits to neighboring countries will be the task of the next president. And that brings us to Bush's final test.

The truly successful American presidents tend to find vindication in, and guarantee an extension of their policies through, the election of a successor from their own party. Can Bush hand the presidency off to a Republican who will (broadly) continue along the path of his post-9/11 foreign policy...?


Right. So the whole point of the piece was to pump the Republican chances of keeping control of the White House in 2008. That's optimism!

The Kristol formula for ultimate success for Bush is a simple one :
If Petraeus succeeds in Iraq, and a Republican wins in 2008, Bush will be viewed as a successful president.

I like the odds.

You're an idiot of mammothic proportions.

At the end of the Kristol's mind-boggling drivel, the Washington Post invited readers to comment.

As of this posting, more than 2500 readers had lodged their disgust, horror and shock at Kristol's mind-boggling attempt to spit-polish the president' appalling presidential record.

2500 comments is the largest amount of comments we've ever seen attached to any news story or editorial in the Western world media. This is probably not record-breaking, but it's definitely the most widely commented-on pro-Bush piece we've yet seen.

If you want to get an insight into the mind of Americans who read their news online, dip into the calvacade of comments here.

It's surprising just how few positive comments Kristol has attracted, considering part of the NeoCon propaganda campaign for all things Iraq, and Iran, is to get the message out to friends and allies to flood comment pages and message boards with 'On Message' comments.

The pure outrage and disgust that so many express at Kristol's turd-polishing antics is breath-taking, and disturbing. America is angry, and isn't holding back anymore.

Credit to the Washington Post that it allows so many commenters to claim that it is a mouthpiece for the CIA and/or the NeoCons, and that Kristol is a propagandist of the old-school Nazi kind.

No doubt even Kristol is shocked today by the outrage and pure hatred he has stirred up by simply trying to point out what he claims are the positive points of the Bush presidency, and why Bush may not go down in history as America's Worst President, or one of modern history's greatest monster.

Commenter at the Post, Kelletim, wins the award for the most outrageous, but partially truthful, comment we've ever seen posted on any major news site. Ever :
Neocons are all imbecilic, aging, wheezing syphilitic pathological creeps, dirty old men that smoke Cuban cigars and go on child sex slave vacations in third world nations while on oxycontin between snorting viagra and having secret affairs with gay sex workers.

When they're not spouting homophobic bullshit or writing breathlessly idiotic, fact free columns in major newspapers, clinking crystal tumblers brimming with $38,000 a bottle bourbon with the Skull and Bones / AEI classmates at grand elite socials, getting drunk and shooting people in the face, brazenly granting trillion dollar contracts to their former companies, raping teenaged boys in Texas Prisons, chronically sexually harrassing their female employees, they're out doing what they do best: ravaging the life savings of thousands of people and committing genocide.

All this while being ardently fawned over by the liberal media.

These revolting sub-human colostomatic shitbags of filth and perversion should all be in GITMO right now receiving sex changes from Cuban doctors, only to spend the rest of their lives as a drag show touring East African nations.
Now that's a comment. Kelletim's comment appears on page 241 of the Washington Post comments that follow Kristol's editorial. As he type this, the pages just expanded to 248 and counting.

Anything that Kristol wrote in 'Why Bush Will Be A Winner' that might have actually hit home with his critics has been thoroughly drowned in the hurricane of comments, many of which are more coherent, more precise and far more informative and interesting than anything Kristol was paid thousands of dollars to write.
Bush : "We Created...The Propaganda Battle Around The World..."

"And We're Losing It"

Bush knows he's not supposed to admit to the propaganda programs that his government uses all over the world, soaking up billions of dollars every year, trying to shape, buff and knock the rough edges of America's image. The longer the War On Iraq goes on, the harder that job gets.

He's been told not to mention the word "propaganda", but every now and then it slips out :
"...we're not doing a very good job with the propaganda battle around the world. We created it, and we're losing. And that's one thing we've got to spend a lot of time on..."
Bush admits to the United States, or Bush Co. creating propaganda. No great surprised there. But is there something more to that quote?

Bush admits to fighting "the propaganda battle around the world," "We created it," he says, but "we're losing it." Losing the propaganda battle around the world is now something he thinks they have to "spend a lot of time on..."

But how long has this "propaganda battle" around the world been going on? Is he talking of recently? Or is he talking of a century? Or two centuries?

"We created it" - it being propaganda, and the propaganda battles of the world. He's clearly not talking of his administration. But is he talking about the United States in general?

Or his ancient family?

The last time Bush spoke the truth on propaganda, in 2005, almost no-one noticed. The Washington Post referred to the following line, once, and then it all but disappeared.

Which is interesting. Bush admits to using propaganda and the media, the organ that carries Bush propaganda, not only doesn't mention it, it doesn't even seem to generally notice Bush admitting to his strategies of how he makes the propaganda stick :
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)
We particularly like the (applause) after he admits that. Yes, yes, feed us more of your tasty propaganda Mr President.

You may have noticed recently that Bush uses the following grouping of words (in different order) in speeches and interviews. Sometimes as many as 20 t0 25 groupings of these three words in one speech, more often than not grouped together in the same sentence :

"Iraq" "A Qaeda" "9/11"

Your concept of what constitutes truth may not be the same as President Bush's. Or, President Bush knows what the truth is, and he knows what 'truth' he must feed to the public to continue the war, and hold off the eruption of total dissent and anarchy in the homeland.

"The successor to politics will be propaganda. Propaganda, not in the sense of a message or ideology, but as the impact of the whole technology of the times." - Marshall Mcluhan

The Propaganda President

The Roadmap To Iraq War Propaganda

Calling Iraq War Propaganda What It Really Was : A Strategy Of Lies - Colonel Sam Gardiner (USAF Ret.)
Bush Makes Up Quotes To Make A Point

On June 28, President Bush gave a speech where he talked about the difference between Iraq's Anbar province in the last quarter of 2006, and Anbar today :
Last September, Anbar was all over the news. It was held up as an example of America's failure in Iraq. The papers cited a leaked intelligence report that was pessimistic about our prospects there. One columnist summed it up this way: "The war is over in Anbar province, and the United States lost."
That's not Bush's summary of a columnist's story or comment. It's published on the White House site as a direct quote, with no source. We've read before that Bush has used quotes claimed to be from "a journalist" or "one writer commented" and that most of them have been complete fiction. The rule is when Bush is trying to spin the situation on the ground in Iraq, and he uses the anonymous journalist, or columnist, to make his point, it's probably fake.

This time we decided to chase down a source for that quote, being the most recent of its kind.

We've used Google, Yahoo, Lexis Nexis and a number of other search engines to find this quote, or even a variation of it. We even tried translating it into a few other languages to see if that would help track down the source.

No dice.

Unless the statement was made in some obscure Iraqi newspaper that doesn't get picked up by Middle East and Iraqi news monitoring websites, a Bush speech writer, or Bush himself, made the quote up.

Why make it up something like that? To try and prove that the media has been wrong about progress in Iraq in the past and continues to be wrong.

More propaganda for the masses.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Alone Against The World

A short time back, when President Bush needed as much sympathy as he could get, after outraging the nation by commuting the 30 month prison sentence of the treasonous 'Scooter' Libby, the Washington Post published an extended profile that tried to capture the essence of the man inside the West Wing.

The result was a portrait of a president isolated from many of the realities of the America he has ruled for seven years; disconnected from old friends; unable to comprehend the vastness of the tragedy of the Iraq War; cocooned from the anger and frustration felt by most Americans by the careful screening procedures that all but hand select every person he meets or talks to, and a world leader who displays a near psychotic trust in a mythical entity who he relies on to guide him through monumentally important decisions.

The Washington Post profile is sad and shocking. Sad because it finally confirms that Bush is a mere figurehead for a NeoCon power cabal that lets him think he is making decisions on issues they long decided before he even heard about them, and shocking because Bush's apparently rock solid religious beliefs have rendered with a near Buddha-like calm that fogs his ability to understand just what he is doing, and how many suffer from the decisions he makes based on how God, and the NeoCons, choose to guide him.

The story tells us that Bush is a president "looking for answers". But Americans expect him to already know most of the answers to the questions he is asking of a endless stream of philosophers, authors, historians and theologians who tromp into the West Wing like ancient sages before a bedraggled king - one so disconnected from reality, he shows few signs of stress or strain.

Bush, we are told, is still struggling with "the nature of good and evil", like some half-baked wannabe poet in his college dorm, lost in a swirl of dreams of enlightenment and purity of vision still yet to be shunted aside by the every day reality of the world :
What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

That Bush is even asking people these questions is mind-quaking.

China, Russia, even India, must look to the US, and the man who wanders the West Wing, and think how easy it would be to decalibrate America's standing as the world's leading global power, if they wanted to. They don't have, to of course, Bush is already doing all this for them.

The same myopic self-absorption that saw him maintain a steady state of alcoholism (and episodic drug abuse) for some two decades has not departed Bush. While the American economy collapses like a tired old man, and the bodies of America's military youth flow steadily back from Iraq, Bush just wants to know if he will get to see some good books written about him before he dies.

The whole profile is worth reading, but the entire piece can be summed up in this one line excerpt :

For all the setbacks, he remains unflinching, rarely expressing doubt in his direction...

Are we supposed to feel sympathy for the man behind the presidency when we read of how "Bush seems alone, isolated by events beyond his control, with trusted advisers taking their leave and erstwhile friends turning on him"?

It seems a near impossible ask for any American today.

What does Bush really know of the reality tens of millions Americans face now their debt repayments are beyond their ability to pay them? That they cannot afford health care? Or to provide their children a full education? He knows nothing of these realities because he comes from a family of the American elite, royalty with no monarchy. The White House is as removed from the reality of the average American as the Bush family summer home in Maine.

And yet the Washington Post tries ask his fellow Americans to feel sympathy for President Bush because he doesn't get to go out to enough restaurants or to ride his bike where he wants to ride it, and to try and understand how hard it is to be president in the United States, 2007. As though none of the chaos, the carnage, the destruction, the dismay, the horror is of his very own doing. But of course, Bush is responsible for it all. He is the President of the United States. If Americans can't blame the president for the woes of their nation, then who can they blame?

"I don't know how he copes with it," said Donald Burnham Ensenat, a friend for 43 years who just stepped down as State Department protocol officer. Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), another longtime friend who once worked for Bush, said he looks worn down. "It's a marked difference in his physical appearance," Conaway said. "It's an incredibly heavy load. When you ask men and women to take risks, to send them into war knowing they might not come home, that's got to be an incredible burden to have on your shoulders."

Bush is fixated on Iraq, according to friends and advisers. One former aide went to see him recently to discuss various matters, only to find Bush turning the conversation back to Iraq again and again. He recognizes that his presidency hinges on whether Iraq can be turned around in 18 months. "Nothing matters except the war," said one person close to Bush. "That's all that matters. The whole thing rides on that."

"You don't get any feeling of somebody crouching down in the bunker," said Irwin M. Stelzer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who was part of one group of scholars who met with Bush. "This is either extraordinary self-confidence or out of touch with reality. I can't tell you which."

The reality has been daunting by any account. No modern president has experienced such a sustained rejection by the American public. Bush's approval rating slipped below 50 percent in Washington Post-ABC News polls in January 2005 and has not topped that level in the 30 months since. The last president mired under 50 percent so long was Harry S. Truman. Even Richard M. Nixon did not fall below 50 percent until April 1973, 16 months before he resigned.The polls reflect the events of Bush's second term, an unyielding sequence of bad news. Social Security. Hurricane Katrina. Harriet E. Miers. Dubai Ports World. Vice President Cheney's hunting accident. Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay and Mark Foley. The midterm elections. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Alberto R. Gonzales and Paul D. Wolfowitz. Immigration. And overshadowing it all, the Iraq war, now longer than the U.S. fight in World War II.Since winning reelection 2 1/2 years ago, Bush has had few days of good news, and what few he has had rarely lasted. Purple-fingered Iraqis went to the polls to establish a democracy but elected a dysfunctional government riven by sectarian strife. U.S. forces hunted down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, but the violence only worsened. Saddam Hussein was convicted, but his execution was marred by videotaped taunting. Perhaps the only unalloyed major second-term victory for Bush has been the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices who have begun to move the court to the right.

"I find him serene," (Iraq War advisor, Henry) Kissinger said. "I know President Johnson was railing against his fate. That's not the case with Bush. He feels he's doing what he needs to do, and he seems to me at peace with himself."

Bush has virtually given up on winning converts while in office and instead is counting on vindication after he is dead. "He almost has . . . a sense of fatalism," said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who recently spent a day traveling with Bush. "All he can do is do his best, and 100 years from now people will decide if he was right or wrong. It doesn't seem to be a false, macho pride or living in your own world. I find him to be amazingly calm."
As Bush heads toward the twilight of his presidency, the White House feels increasingly empty. One after another, aides who have stuck with him are heading out the door. Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff for more than five years, stepped down last year. And now counselor Dan Bartlett, an aide for 14 years, is leaving.Bush seeks solace in his oldest friends from Texas and Yale University, hosting an annual summer picnic and a Christmas party. He invites friends to the White House or the ranch in Crawford. But those experiences are strangely impersonal. "It can be kind of clinical," said a friend who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "You're in there and in that event it's all very controlled -- you come in for drinks at 7, you have dinner at 7:30 and by 9 you're back at your hotel."

"There isn't any doubt that he is totally and completely aware of all the existing circumstances around him," said a close friend. "There's not anything that he's not aware of -- how he's perceived, how his people are perceived, the problems his people have. He is the furthest thing from oblivious. . . . Somewhere in the back of his mind there's a pretty complete autopsy."

The extended Washington Post profile bears some strong similarities to what is undoubtedly the most important profile of George W. Bush ever written : 'The Accidental Candidate' by Gail Sheedy from October 2000. The Bush in both stories are all but the same, which is bizarre indeed, seeing as the stories are separated by seven years of presidency, the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War.

Some people never change. It may never have been more true than it is for George W. Bush.
Bush : Don't Try And Dictate War Policy To Me

The Al Qaeda In Iraq Reality That Only Exists In Bush's Mind

President Bush took questions from the White House media for an hour, following the devastating report of consistent and neglegent failure from Iraq's Maliki government to successfully meet the 18 benchmarks set down by the Congress, as a condition of increased funding for the war, months ago.

Bush reacted aggressively to some questions. To others he smirked, smiled, giggled, seemingly oblivious to the rising tide of fury, disbelief and dangerous anger spreading through the country, and infesting Capitol Hill.

Don't try and dictate war policy, he told the media, aiming his threat at both the Congress and the journalists stepping over the line between asking questions and making bold statements, some of which examplify the emotions of tens of millions of Americans today.

Congress, Bush said, had no right, and no business, trying to manage the war. Bush consistently, infuriatingly, portrayed the war in Iraq as some kind of showdown with Al Qaeda, even though Republican senators, the CIA, think tanks, serving generals and numerous branches of American intelligence agencies repeatedly state that while Al Qaeda is a dangerous force in Iraq, it is not the primary force of even much of the violence and chaos. But Bush ignores them all. Al Qaeda as the new Nazis is the only hand he has left to play.

The spin is well and truly in :

Hours later, the Democratic-controlled House responded by voting almost totally along party lines to require that the United States withdraw most combat troops from Iraq by April 1.

The 223-to-201 House vote, in which just four Republicans broke with their party, came as the White House continued its intense effort to stem a growing tide of Republican defections on the war. Officials from the White House — beginning with the president himself — have been reaching out to party members all week, trying to persuade them to wait until September to pass judgment on Mr. Bush’s current military strategy of sending more troops to quell the sectarian fighting and pursue insurgents.

The Senate has so far fallen well short of the 60 votes needed to approve a troop withdrawal, but more votes are expected there next week.

At a morning news conference where he released a mixed progress report on his troop buildup, Mr. Bush repeatedly invoked the threat of Al Qaeda as a reason to stick with his strategy, saying the group he referred to as Al Qaeda in Iraq “has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden.”

The president acknowledged that public opinion might be against him — he said that “sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don’t enable you to be loved” — but suggested that Congress was overstepping its constitutional role by trying to force a change of policy on him.

“I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war,” Mr. Bush said. “I think they ought to be funding the troops.”

It is the first time since the Vietnam War that the legislative and executive branches have fought so bitterly over the president’s authority as commander in chief. Around the Capitol on Thursday morning, televisions were tuned into the White House news conference, as lawmakers and their aides passed around the White House’s status report on Iraq.

Lawmakers in both parties bristled at the president’s suggestion that Congress was overstepping its role in the war debate.

Mr. Bush wants Congress to wait until September, when the top military commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and the top civilian official, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, deliver a fuller assessment of progress of the troop buildup. But the president also said he was not “going to speculate on what my frame of mind will be,” at that time, and he would not say how he might react if the September report is as mixed as the one delivered Thursday.

Mr. Bush himself offered only lukewarm support for Mr. Maliki at Thursday’s news conference, declining to echo the praise he put forth in Jordan last November, when he proclaimed Mr. Maliki “the right guy for Iraq.” Asked if he still felt that way, the president responded, “I believe that he understands that there needs to be serious reconciliation, and they need to get law passed.”

At the news conference, Mr. Bush was asked why — after failing to anticipate the sectarian divisions that would tear the country apart after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s government — Americans should believe he has the vision for victory in Iraq. The president responded by appearing to lay blame for mistakes in the war directly on one of his military commanders at the beginning of the war, Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who led the invasion more than four years ago.

“Those are all legitimate question that I’m sure historians will analyze,” he said, adding that he had asked at the outset of the war whether his military commanders needed more troops. “My primary question to General Franks was: ‘Do you have what it takes to succeed, and do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein?’ And his answer was, ‘Yeah.’ ”

On how Bush distorts the links between Al Qaeda and the Iraq insurgency, Al Qaeda and the majority of the violence and chaos in Iraq, and Bush claims that Al Qaeda in Iraq were "the same" people who attacked the US on 9/11 :
In rebuffing calls to bring troops home from Iraq, President Bush on Thursday employed a stark and ominous defense. “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq,” he said, “were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th, and that’s why what happens in Iraq matters to the security here at home.”

It is an argument Mr. Bush has been making with frequency in the past few months, as the challenges to the continuation of the war have grown. On Thursday alone, he referred at least 30 times to Al Qaeda or its presence in Iraq.

But his references to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, and his assertions that it is the same group that attacked the United States in 2001, have greatly oversimplified the nature of the insurgency in Iraq and its relationship with the Qaeda leadership.

There is no question that the group is one of the most dangerous in Iraq. But Mr. Bush’s critics argue that he has overstated the Qaeda connection in an attempt to exploit the same kinds of post-Sept. 11 emotions that helped him win support for the invasion in the first place.

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia did not exist before the Sept. 11 attacks. The Sunni group thrived as a magnet for recruiting and a force for violence largely because of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, which brought an American occupying force of more than 100,000 troops to the heart of the Middle East, and led to a Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

“The president wants to play on Al Qaeda because he thinks Americans understand the threat Al Qaeda poses,” said Bruce Riedel, an expert at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and a former C.I.A. official. “But I don’t think he demonstrates that fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq precludes Al Qaeda from attacking America here tomorrow. Al Qaeda, both in Iraq and globally, thrives on the American occupation.”

The precise size of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is not known. Estimates are that it may have from a few thousand to 5,000 fighters and perhaps twice as many supporters. While the membership of the group is mostly Iraqi, the role that foreigners play is crucial.

At first, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia received financing from the broader Qaeda organization, American intelligence agencies have concluded. Now, however, the Iraq-based group sustains itself through kidnapping, smuggling and criminal activities and some foreign contributions.

The heated debate over Iraq has spilled over to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as well. Mr. Bush has played up the group, talking about it as if it is on a par with the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks. War critics have often played down the significance of the group despite its gruesome record of suicide attacks and its widely suspected role in destroying a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February 2006 that set Iraq on the road to civil war.

Mike Carleton : Cowboy President Rides On, But The Mob Is Getting Restless

Bush Press Conference, After The First "Surge Report Shows Dismal Failures Of The Iraq Government : "This Is An Ugly War....It's Affecting Our Psychology..."

US Troops Now Fighting Iraqi Police In East Baghdad - Six Police Killed

GOP Senators Tell Bush To Start Planning For Withdrawals

House Rebuffs Bush Pleas For More Time On Iraq Troop Surge Plans

ChinaConfidential : Are Desperate Republicans Plotting To Force Cheney, Then Bush To Quit The White House?

Crawford, Texas Goes The Way Of Its Most Famous Resident

The Texas town that President Bush is dying like his presidency, slowly, but surely. Quite sad, really. Bush inflicted himself upon Crawford, back in the late 1990s, when Karl Rove decided he needed to be seen pottering about on a 'farm', cutting grass and driving a pick-up.

Bush was good for Crawford for a few years. No doubt some of the locals cleaned up on all that Bush memorabilia, but the last big rush of cashed-up customers the few remaining stores in Crawford saw were the Cindy Sheehan protest crowd.

Crawford might be wishing they'd come back to protest Bush, real soon.

When the Houston Chronicle visited Crawford, they only found one visitor wandering the main street, and he'd been dragged there by his wife :

Shuttered storefronts and eroding retail sales figures show tourism and the Bush memorabilia business are slumping in this once-sleepy farm-and-ranch town of 732 residents.

A for-sale sign is the only thing in the smudged window of the turn-of-the-century, two-story brick building that once housed the Crawford Country Style store. "The numbers just weren't working," said Norma Nelson Crow, who closed the shop at the beginning of the year.

Traffic and sales of shirts, caps, refrigerator magnets and other presidential curios began slowing in 2005, she said. By the summer of 2006, Crow said, her hopes for a turnaround in the business faded. "It was my baby and I loved that little store, but I had to face the facts," she said.

Retail sales figures kept by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts document the slide. In 2004, gross retail sales in Crawford totaled $2.6 million. They fell to $2 million in 2006, down by more than 20 percent.

Nobody is saying things have improved at all this year. "It's pretty slow, slower than last summer," Jamie Burgess, manager of the Red Bull gift shop, said last week.

Only a handful of customers came in during the day to browse her collection of Bush curios and homespun decorative items sold on consignment.

Bill Johnson, owner of the Yellow Rose, Crawford's largest gift shop, said he has been stocking more Texana and Americana items in response to the drop-off in sales of Bush merchandise. "We're changing our mix," Johnson said. "As a business we have to do what we have to do to be successful."

Crawford today is home to a bank, an antique store, two gas stations and some grain silos.

Everyone agrees that 2004 was the high-water mark for Crawford's tourist trade.

"We had a 'Bush 2004' banner across the front of the store, about 11-foot-by-5-foot, white with red lettering," recalled Crow. "People would come in thinking it was Republican headquarters."

Burgess said the president's sagging popularity is at least partly to blame for the slump in visitors. The latest Newsweek poll conducted last month put the president's approval rating at 26 percent, a record low for his presidency.

In Crawford, merchants say they are waiting to see what will happen when Bush's presidency ends 18 months from now.

Burgess said it was "a big disappointment" that Bush is moving toward building his library and museum in Dallas, more than 100 miles away, rather than 18 miles east in Waco.

"We knew this wouldn't last forever, but we expected it would last longer than this," said Burgess....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I will keep troops in Iraq for years to come and thousand more will probably die, but you will think it's a good idea. You will think it's a good idea. You will think it's a good idea....

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Right Now, I Could Kill President Bush"

Not the sort of thing you'd normally expect to hear out of the mouth of a Nobel Peace Prize winner, but then, these are not normal times :

Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams came from Ireland to Texas to declare that President Bush should be impeached.

In a keynote speech at the International Women's Peace Conference on Wednesday night, Ms. Williams told a crowd of about 1,000 that the Bush administration has been treacherous and wrong and acted unconstitutionally.

"Right now, I could kill George Bush," she said at the Adam's Mark Hotel and Conference Center in Dallas. "No, I don't mean that. How could you nonviolently kill somebody? I would love to be able to do that."

About half the crowd gave her a standing ovation after she called for Mr. Bush's removal from power.

"The Muslim world right now is suffering beyond belief," she said.

"Unless the president of the United States is held responsible for what he's doing and what he has done, there's no one in the Muslim world who will forgive him."

When an audience member told Ms. Williams that Vice President Dick Cheney would become president if George Bush were impeached, she said, "Can't you impeach them both?"

"It's twisted. It's all wrong," she said. "There are so many lies being told. It's hard to be an American and go out into the world right now."

Interesting. Betty Williams wants to kill the president, but wants to find a non-violent way of accomplishing her goal.

Williams prefaced her speech with a call for everyone in the audience "to huge everyone around them."

Of course she did.

Williams won the Nobel Prize in 1976 after she formed committees that led to the start of peace talks in Northern Ireland.

Winning the Nobel Peace Prize...does that explain her desire to kill the president, without the use of violence?