Monday, October 29, 2007
Bigger than that of any mega-rock star or movie star, or cult of personality inflated dictator, or king or queen in centuries - when President Bush goes on the road, he takes with him the world's biggest entourage. A truly mind boggling number of vehicles and staff and security.
The graphic below is almost identical in detail to the stats touted on the news here when President Bush toured Australia.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
That a commentator on CNN would read out loud comments from viewers like those quoted below would have been unimaginable even two years ago. Now actual calls for revolution and the overthrow of the government are finding their way onto American news shows watched by millions, with increasing frequency.
From Raw Story :
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty speculated on Wednesday about how George W. Bush's unilateral grab for presidential power might be reversed.Go Here For Video Of Jack Cafferty's Show
"The president of the United States didn't have the power to spy on Americans ... operate secret prisons ... suspend due process ... torture ... hide the conduct of the government from the public," Cafferty stated. "It's not like anybody gave President Bush any of these powers -- he took them, as a brain-dead Congress just stood there and watched."
...Cafferty read a selection of emails from clearly outraged -- and outspoken -- viewers.
"Remember the 60's?" wrote one Baby Boomer. "Well, they're back. Only this time it's not a decade. It's the age on our driver's licenses. Let's start another revolution. ... It's time to overthrow the government."
Another viewer stated more cynically, "King Bush. Queen Hillary. America is now a democratic dictatorship, nobody is going to change that. Power is everything; get used to it."
And a third suggested. "George Bush is the next president. He and Darth Cheney will be surrendering none of their bounty. Forty years of planning to hand it all to Hillary Clinton? Not a chance. If you think there'll be a November 8 election, give my regards to the Easter Bunny."
Friday, October 26, 2007
A new documentary from Frontline, here, takes a deep look at the relationship between Cheney and Bush, and comes up with some fascinating and troubling answers. While Bush devotes hundreds of hours giving speeches and Q & As to diehard Bush supporters in rural America, Cheney remains firmly in the seat of power back in Washington, pursuing what Dan Froomkin describes as his "relentless, secretive and smashingly successful quest to expand executive power."
If Bush is unable to finish out his term, or is unable to serve in the aftermath of an election canceling series of terror attacks or national disasters in 2008, Cheney would take over, and presumably make full use of all that expanded executive power.
A reporter for the New Yorker is quoted in the documentary as saying,"The strange thing about this administration is all of the most crucial decisions seem to be taking place in the vice president's office, or even the vice president's counsel's office."
Bush gave an interview to a stunningly uncritical Fox News special about Cheney, to provide some 'insight' into his relationship with his vice president. Bush appeared to have great trouble putting that relationship into firm focus.
Q : "What is the relationship between you and Vice President Cheney? There's a lot of people here who say it's a mystery."
Bush: "It's not a mystery to me. I've gotten to know him well over seven years -- six and a half as sitting vice president and half a year as a candidate. First, I would classify our relationship as very comfortable with each other. Dick Cheney is an easy guy to be around."
(voiceover) "The president even seemed to have a hard time characterizing his relationship with his vice president."
Bush: "I've come to admire him. So I would say it's a very comfortable, close relationship."
Q: "Is he a man of few words inside the White House? What's his style when you meet?"
Bush: "Well, we have several constant meetings. One, when it's just the vice president and me -- which happens on a weekly basis, you know -- he's quite verbose. He comes with things that he wants to talk about, issues that he wants to share concerns about, or things that he's seen or heard."
Q: "Some critics claim he's pulling the strings in this administration. Others don't go that far, they say he's managed to figure out the angles and present you with certain options that limit your options when it's time to make a decision comes."
Bush: "I think I'm wiser than that -- than to be pigeonholed or, you know, to get cornered by a wily advisor. Look, that's not the way it works. Dick Cheney walks in and I say, 'What's your advice on this subject?' And he gives it to me and I make up my mind based upon a variety of factors including the advice of key advisors and he is one of them."
Q: "Some people describe him as the most powerful vice president ever. Do you agree with that?"
Bush: "I would say he's very influential. But he was no more influential than a Condi Rice or a Bob Gates or a Steve Hadley. And the thing about Vice President Cheney is that his decision-making -- or his recommendations about my decision-making -- are based upon a core set of principles that are deeply rooted in his very being. He is predictable in many ways because he brings a set of beliefs. And they're firm beliefs."
Maybe Bush is afraid of saying too much.
Years after bloggers realized the truth about Bush & Cheney, the mainstream media begins chiming the 'Bush Is Insane & Cheney Is Nuts' line, long after a somewhat serious push by the MSM ceased to make any difference at all. There will be no Bush impeachment, no war crimes trials, there will be just fifteen more months of the Bush-Cheney White House, with America, and the world, fearing the next act of madness they will unleash.
From the LA Times :
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn't be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment.
Because they've clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We're in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration's interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it's a great time to start another war.
That would be with Iran, and you'd have to be deaf not to hear the war drums. Last week, Bush remarked that "if you're interested in avoiding World War III . . . you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." On Sunday, Cheney warned of "the Iranian regime's efforts to destabilize the Middle East and to gain hegemonic power . . . [we] cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions." On Tuesday, Bush insisted on the need "to defend Europe against the emerging Iranian threat."
Huh? Iran is now a major threat to Europe? The Iranians are going to launch a nuclear missile (that they don't yet possess) against Europe (for reasons unknown because, as far as we know, they're not mad at anyone in Europe)? This is lunacy in action.
...a dangerously loopy Bush prediction about the future behavior of a nuclear Iran -- the idea being, presumably, that possessing "the knowledge" to make a nuclear weapon would so empower Iran's repressive leaders that they'll giddily rush out and start World War III.
But you could read Bush's remark as a madman's threat rather than a madman's prediction -- as a warning to recalcitrant states, from Germany to Russia, that don't seem to share his crazed obsession with Iran. The message: Fall into line with administration policy toward Iran or you can count on the U.S.A. to try to start World War III on its own. And when it comes to sparking global conflagration, a U.S. attack on Iran might be just the thing. Yee haw!
What's a constitutional democracy to do when the president and vice president lose their marbles?
The U.S. is full of ordinary people with serious forms of mental illness -- delusional people with violent fantasies who think they're the president, or who think they get instructions from the CIA through their dental fillings.
The problem with Bush is that he is the president -- and he gives instructions to the CIA and military, without having to go through his dental fillings.
By enlisting the aid of mental health professionals and the court system, Congress can act to remedy that constitutional oversight. The goal: Get Bush and Cheney committed to an appropriate inpatient facility, where they can get the treatment they so desperately need. In Washington, the appropriate statutory law is already in place: If a "court or jury finds that [a] person is mentally ill and . . . is likely to injure himself or other persons if allowed to remain at liberty, the court may order his hospitalization."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It's downright nasty to preface this compilation of 'great' moments from the speeches of President Bush with JFK, but that's what this YouTuber has gone and done.
Some of this is funny, some of this is jaw-dropping, too much of it is downright sad and grim.
But then, that's George W. Bush.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Republicans Bailing Out As Tide Of Disappointment, Dissent Grows Into A Tsunami
"Just one more Veto on ice, please..."
President Bush has admitted he uses his veto power in an effort to make sure he remains
relevant, and to let Congress know who's boss of the United States.
Naturally he blames Congress for taking too long to get through important legislation, and accuses them of holding back the future of the nation. He wants more legislation rushed through so he can exercise his veto more often, therefore staying more relevant.
It makes sense, in a Bushian kind of way :
President Bush declared yesterday that he remains "relevant" despite his political troubles, and he derided Democrats for running a do-nothing Congress that has failed to address critical domestic, economic and security issues in the nine months since they took control of Capitol Hill.
Trying to turn the tables on his adversaries, Bush lashed out at lawmakers for stalling housing and education initiatives, trade agreements, and judicial nominations, and for not having passed any of 12 annual spending bills more than two weeks into the new fiscal year. "Congress has little to show for all the time that has gone by," he said during a White House news conference.
Bush's assault on Democratic leaders during the 47-minute session reflected a broader attempt by the White House to go on the offensive at a time when polls show that the public has soured on Congress just as it has on the president. Stuck with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency with just 15 months left in office, Bush presented himself as still in command of the Washington agenda and rejected the suggestion that he has grown "increasingly irrelevant," as a reporter put it in a question.
"Quite the contrary," he said. "I've never felt more engaged and more capable of helping people recognize . . . that there's a lot of unfinished business." Defending his rejection of a popular children's health program expansion, Bush said his veto power gives him leverage. "That's one way to ensure that I am relevant," he said. "That's one way to ensure that I am in the process. And I intend to use the veto."
Naturally, Bush's comments sent some Democrats absolutely nuts. Which was probably the intention. We all know Bush likes a good laugh :
His reprimand of Congress drew a scathing response from Democrats. "I appreciate that the man who has managed Iraq so well is going to give us a lecture about management," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). "The man who gave us Katrina is going to tell us how to manage?"
Everything is A O.K. President Bush is in control. Cease your worrying.
What seems unclear is whether Bush wants compromise or confrontation. Aides have talked enthusiastically about vetoing spending bills to reestablish his credentials as a fiscal conservative with a party base alienated by the growth in government on his watch. Senior Senate Republicans have complained that the White House showed no genuine interest in finding accord on the children's health-care bill that he vetoed.
While Bush and the Democrats fight it out in public, the Republican rank and file have grown increasingly demoralized. Eighteen Republicans in the Senate and 45 in the House abandoned the White House on the children's health bill, and lawmakers expect even more to vote to override his promised veto of a water projects bill as soon as next week.
As Republicans lament life in the minority, many are giving up. Nearly a dozen Republicans in the House and five in the Senate have announced their intention to retire next year. Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said that the party should hold many of those seats, but that some will be tough, such as that of Rep. Deborah Pryce (Ohio). "If Deborah would change her mind, I'd be the happiest guy in the world," he said.
But White House officials contend that their political fortunes have begun to improve. While Bush's poll numbers remain stagnant, aides note that he has successfully fought off congressional efforts to pull U.S. forces out of Iraq and has pushed Congress into passing temporary legislation authorizing his controversial surveillance program aimed at terrorists. The deficit has come down and North Korea is moving to dismantle its nuclear program, they note, and the president has advanced plans to deal with everything from subprime mortgages to airline delays.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
President Bush casually discussed the possibility of World War III breaking out over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons ambitions today, with a few chuckles thrown in to 'lighten' the mood at the press conference.
His warning that Iran had to be stopped from gaining "the knowledge" of how to building nuclear weapons was directed primarily towards Russia and China, both of whom have opposed further sanctions on Iran, and resisted even talk of military action.
President Bush now finds himself squaring off with only Israel as a fully committed anti-Iran alliance member against the full might of an unofficial alliance comprised of Iran, Russia and China, who now have dozens of other countries, including Pakistan, India and Afghanistan on side under umbrella trade and economic alliances. Putin recently warned the states bordering the Caspian Sea not to allow the United States to launch air strikes on Iran from their territory. Putin reportedly faced little resistance from the 'stans.
Both Russia and China have hundreds of billions of dollars worth of trade interests and energy deals with Iran at the moment, and both had have warned the United States and Israel not to go to War On Iran.
Remarkably, President Bush has now backed almost completely away from NeoCon-pumped propaganda claiming Iran already has nuclear weapons, or is only a year or two away from developing them.
President Bush clearly said his interest was to stop Iran from gaining "the knowledge" to build nuclear weapons, not that they had them already, or were close to getting them.
"I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon. And I know it's in the world's interest to prevent them from doing so.
"I told (world leaders) that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. And I take this very -- I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously."More on all this from Your New Reality :
Another key to BushCo. and the NeoCons fury at Iran can be found in the fact that Iran no longer accepts majority US dollar payments for sales of their oil and natural gas. They now use the Euro.
This move radically decreased the value of the US dollar as the key world currency. If the US dollar is not 'pegged' to oil, and is not the key currency for buying and selling oil, it's next to worthless in world markets.
In the months before the Iraq War began, Saddam Hussein also shifted away from the US dollar for Iraq's oil sales, using the Euro instead. Within months of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US, Iraq's oil was back to being priced and sold in US dollars.
President Bush claimed in the same press conference today that he hadn't seen reports from Monday that Vladimir Putin had said Iran posed no threat, did not possess a nuclear weapons program and that the United States should not launch strikes against Iran.
Bush seemed genuinely taken aback by reporters questions which rammed home the reality that the man he recently invited to his family retreat, for a fishing weekend, was now allied with, and warning America away from, the NeoCons new enemy of choice : Iran.
Putin recently mocked the NeoCon push for War On Iran by warning that Iran was "not afraid" of the United States and Israel.
The world moves fast, the Russians move faster. Bush appears to still be trying to catch up and take it all in, claiming that Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice had not yet "briefed" him on their recent visits to Russia, and meetings with Russian officials.
If that is true, then Bush is clearly being kept out of the loop. Both Gates and Rice are reportedly firmly opposed to military strikes on Iran, while Dick Cheney is said to pressuring Bush to strike before he leaves the White House in January, 2009.
Putin : "Believe Me...Iran Is Not Afraid" Of United States, Israel
Putin : Iran Poses "No Threat", Says There Is No Evidence Iran Is Pursuing Nuclear Weapons
China Joins Russia In Opposing Military Action On Iran
US Military Vs BushCo. Over War On Iran - 'Revolt Of The Generals Reaches Highest Ranks Of American Military
The Madness Of The NeoCons : No Choice Left But To Bomb Iran, Force "Regime Change"
During one of his worst years of alcoholism, Israel launched air strikes against Iraq's nuclear facilities and Bush doesn't remember a thing about it, or the year 1981 in general :
At the time, Bush was a 34-year-old oil man living in Midland, Texas running a company he founded two years earlier after a failed bid for Congress. Bush would not become governor of Texas for more than a decade and White House ambitions were even farther in his future.
During a White House press conference Monday, NBC correspondent David Gregory asked Bush whether he supported Israel's destruction of the Osiraq nuclear reactor in Iraq.
"Ya know, Dave, I don't remember what I was doing in 1981," Bush said.
A report from the New York Times Nicholas Kristof describes Bush as a "late bloomer", probably more concerned with drinking and having fun than comprehending what was going on on the international stage, despite his father's involvement in American politics and intelligence.
Writes Kristof :
"he approached 40, an age when Al Gore was already a senator running for president, George W. Bush was just a heavy-drinking, fun-loving oilman struggling to control his tempter, salvage his business and hold on to his marriage."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It's now becoming clear that the Bush administration had been planning to expand government spying on American citizens and to dramatically rewrite the powers of the president more than seven months before the events of 9/11.
Since the 9/11 attacks, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and a long line of White House officials have repeatedly claimed that 9/11 "changed everything" when it came to expanding surveillance authority on innocent Americans, and the need for the president to be granted sweeping powers unknown to any American president since the days of World War 2.
The disturbing fact is that the Bush administration began to unroll their plans to expand domestic surveillance and to rewrite the rule book for what the president can do, without the permission of Congress, within weeks of taking office in early 2001.
Constitutional scholar, professor Jonathan Turley refers to the events of 9/11 as being "highly convenient" for the Bush adminstration.
"This administration was seeking a massive expansion of presidential power and national security powers before 9/11. 9/11 was highly convenient in that case," he said on the Keith Olbermann show, Countdown.
"I'm not saying that they welcomed it, but when it happened, it was a great opportunity to seize powers that they have long wanted at the FBI."From Raw Story :
Increased surveillance of American citizens, a doubling of the defence budget, 'soft dictator' powers being granted to the president, a War On Iraq, the Patriot Act, the expansion of US military bases in the Middle East - all in the hopper for the Bush administration by early 2001.
Earlier in the program, Olbermann invoked recent reports that the Pentagon used the FBI to issue secret national security letters allowing access to reams of data on Americans with even slim connections to the military.
"Does that essentially mean that I or you dial a wrong number and it happens to belong to somebody that's under investigation, the pentagon can go and get your information or my information as well?" Olbermann asked.
"They can. And you can thank the U.S. congress for that," Turley said, noting that the Patriot Act made it very easy for the FBI to issue the letters. "And what is astonishing is that the abuses of the NSLs are well documented. As soon as the FBI got this power that they were promising to use in the most judicious and cautious way, they abused it with abandon."
Toward the end of the segment, Turley noted the disconnect between the drive for expanded power, and the FBI and National Security Agency's inability to properly analyze intelligence before Sept. 11.
"The great irony, of course, with the NSA and the FBI is that their blunders help contribute to 9/11," he said, "but they radically expanded those powers as a result of that tragedy."
9/11 provided the national shock they needed to get all these plans through, virtually unopposed.
"Highly convenient" is putting it mildly.
Let's not forget that President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney all said that 9/11 provided an "opportunity" or an "enormous opportunity" in the weeks after the tragedy.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
And just when everything was going so well for President Bush, with that mighty veto pen of his working overtime to snatch free health away from poor children.
Now Bush has to deal with the man he stole 2000 presidency from being hailed as a Nobel laurette, a Nobel Peace Prize winner no less, for his climate change and global warming related awareness camapigning.
From the London Times :
The decision has inevitably been interpreted as a rebuke to President Bush, who beat Mr Gore by the narrowest of margins (so they say - Ed) to win the White House in 2000 and has since opposed binding international agreements for reducing carbon emissions.American conservatives doubts about the reality of climate change, based on close examination of the scientifice evidence, would be so much easier to accept if they had not been so opposed to examining the evidence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction before they pushed for the War On Iraq to get going.
Within minutes of the announcement in Oslo, 5.15am in Washington, John Edwards was saying that Mr Gore’s leadership “stands in stunning contrast to the failure of the current Administration”. He added that the award “shines a bright light on the most inconvenient truth of all — the selection of George Bush as President.”
As dawn broke, Barack Obama was praising Mr Gore’s courage to “challenge the sceptics in Washington”, while the home page of Hillary Clinton’s website featured a photo of Mr Gore in Socratic pose alongside a headline saying: “CONGRATULTIONS!”At the White House, Mr Bush’s spokesman insisted, possibly through gritted teeth, that the President shared Mr Gore’s joy — but had no plans to speak to him. “Of course he’s happy for Vice-President Gore,” he said. “He’s happy for the international panel on climate change scientists who also shared the peace prize.”
Those US conservatives still refuse to accept scientific evidence that global warming is man-made — or even a problem, were yesterday predictably furious, with what they regard as another political statement by the Norwegian committee.
This report from a Reuters correspondent also goes with the angle that Gore's Nobel Peace Prize has cast a dark shadow of humiliation across President Bush, and his presidency :
The Nobel Peace Prize he won yesterday was a blow to US President George W. Bush and his widely criticised environmental policy and will long be savored by the man who lost the bitter 2000 presidential election by a whisker.
The honor was bestowed jointly on the former vice-president and the UN climate panel for campaigning against the threat of global warming, in a not-so-subtle swipe at Bush, a latecomer to the battle against climate change.
It may also be interpreted as a part of an international backlash not only against seven years of what many see as environmental backsliding under Bush but also against his Iraq war policy and perceived arrogance in world affairs.
While Gore has grown in international stature since his narrow election loss (in 2000), Bush has seen his credibility damaged at home and abroad by the Iraq war and other foreign policy woes.
He is struggling to stave off lame-duck status and stay relevant while increasingly hemmed in by a hostile Democratic majority in Congress.
His inner circle is steadily eroding with almost weekly departures of key aides and advisers.
And the President's public approval rating, which soared to 90 per cent after the September 11 attacks in 2001, has sunk close to historic lows, with some polls putting it below 30 per cent.
Around the world, Bush has won few friends with his stance on Gore's signature issue - climate change.
At a White House-convened summit last month, some of the world's biggest greenhouse polluters called Bush “isolated” and questioned his leadership on the problem of global warming.
Bush has rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that sets limits on industrial nations' greenhouse gas emissions, and instead favors voluntary targets to curb emissions.
His acknowledgment of a problem highlighted a shift from his previous questioning of the science linking human activity to rising global temperatures.
But despite his concessions on global warming, Bush has continued to face deep scepticism over his efforts to rally support for emissions goals instead of fixed limits.
They don't understand. Bush doesn't care about such things. He's got God on his side, and God in his ear, guiding him towards his ultimate destination - even if that be, destroyer of worlds.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Having the United States officially recognise the genocide of some one million Armenians, by the Ottomans, between 1915 and 1923 is going to cause enormous problems with Turkey. In fact, months before Congress voted today to officially recognize the existence of the Armenian Genocide, Turkey was pressuring President Bush to make the embarrassing problem disappear.
So why did Bush listen to Turkey, and do their bidding? Turkey is a key staging point for American troops and gear into Iraq and Afghanistan. Lose the support of Turkey, over a 90 year old genocide, and American troops could find themselves in even greater peril and turmoil in the two war zones.
President Bush came out strong today, demanding Congress "oppose the Armenian genocide resolution, but the always on-ball Think Progress noticed that Bush's current opposition is vastly different to what he said he believed during the 2000 presidential election campaign.
Here's President Bush's statement today :
I urge members to oppose the Armenian genocide resolution now being considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915. This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror.
Here's Bush in 2000 :
The twentieth century was marred by wars of unimaginable brutality, mass murder and genocide. History records that the Armenians were the first people of the last century to have endured these cruelties. The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people.
Turkey's Anger Over US Armenian Genocide Vote Could Threaten Future Of 'War on Terror'
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
For some the only thing more shocking than learning that more than 60% of Americans oppose President Bush is the revelation that 30-35% still support him and his policies.
That President Bush is still able to rely on the support of some 70 to 90 million Americans, considering the state of the nation, and the troop-slaying horror of his 'War on Terror', might be proof that the debilitating affliction known as "Americanist Personality Disorder' APD has firmly taken root across the nation.
From Jason Miller :
The warning signs for APD, also from Jason Miller :
The essential features of Americanistic Personality Disorder include pervasive patterns of extreme self-absorption, profound and long-term lapses in empathy, a deep disregard for the well-being of others, a powerful aversion to intellectual honesty and reality, and a grossly exaggerated sense of the importance of one’s self and one’s nation. These patterns emerge in infancy, manifest themselves in nearly all contexts, and often become pathological.
These patterns have also been characterized as sociopathic, or colloquially as the “Ugly American Syndrome.” Note that the latter terminology carries too benign a connotation to accurately describe an individual afflicted with such a dangerous perversion of character.
For this diagnosis to be given, the individual must be deeply immersed in the flag-waving, nationalistic, and militaristic fervor derived primarily from the nearly perpetual barrage of reality warping emanations of the “mainstream media,” most commonly through the medium of television. Typically indoctrinated from birth to believe that they are morally superior, exceptional human beings, these individuals suffer from severe egocentrism, a condition further engendered by the prevalence of the acutely toxic dominant paradigm known as capitalism.
A pervasive pattern of greed, selfishness, and lack of empathy, beginning the moment he or she begins to intellectualize and presented in nearly all contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. lacks empathy due to an excessive degree of self-absorption
2. believes that he or she is exceptional and morally superior
3. frequently engages in exploitative behaviors
4. requires frequent acquisition of goods he or she doesn’t need
5. usually resorts to some form of overt or covert violence, coercion, or extortion to resolve conflicts
6. perceives others as obstacles to his or her “success”
7. disregards laws and rules except as a means to achieve his or her agenda
8. demonstrates deep hypocrisy by projecting a righteous, benevolent image while committing reprehensible acts
9. refuses to accept the consequences of his or her actions
Laugh. Or cry. The truth can be funny, and sad. At the same time.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Bush says that harsh interrogation techniques used to question detainees are not torture. Fine, says an editor with the Washington Post, let's use those same interrogation techniques on the president and see if he still thinks they're not torture.
The Bush administration's authorisation of the use of torture has returned to the headlines of the American mainstream media in the past week after the New York Times uncovered secret Justice Department documents that clearly, comprehensively gave authorisation to "a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures."
While Bush constantly claims "America does not torture people", the president refuses to go into detail about exactly what methods of interrogation are used in American, Afghanistan and Iraqi prisons and detainee centres.
From Raw Story :
An associate editor and columnist for the Washington Post says that until George W. Bush and others in his administration endure the "harsh" treatment to which terrorism suspects are subjected, then Bush "will be remembered as the president who tried to justify torture."
...the Post's Eugene Robinson says Bush should endure the same detainee treatment he authorized, which "international conventions deem torture."
"My proposal on torture is serious," Robinson wrote on a washingtonpost.com discussion board Sunday. "...Bush administration officials who claim the "harsh" interrogation techniques being used on terrorism suspects are not torture should have to undergo those same techniques. Personally. Repeatedly."
"Clearly, he is using a narrow definition of torture: If we haven't actually put anybody on the rack or pulled out his fingernails, we haven't committed torture," Robinson writes.
"Until George W. Bush can say, 'Hey, I've been waterboarded, and it wasn't so bad,' or Alberto Gonzales can say, 'To tell the truth, spending those three days naked in a freezing-cold cell wasn't painful or anything,' then I'll continue to believe that history will condemn this administration for a shocking lapse of moral judgment. Bush will be remembered as the president who tried to justify torture."
By Darryl Mason
The White House is under siege. President Bush has bottomed out to some of the lowest poll numbers in the history of the United States; Congress is bitter and hostile; the War On Iraq is a brutal, death-soaked tragedy; the 'War on Terror' looms ahead, unresolved and ill-defined for decades to come; the Bush domestic agenda is a wasteland of missed opportunities and busted dreams and the Bush legacy is set to go down as one of the darkest and most miserable periods of modern American history.
It's little wonder, then, that key Bush staffers are bailing on their embattled boss in a rising tide of departures, some long expected, others out of the blue, sudden and flailing.
Some have fled barely able to function, while others have decided any life outside of the White House is better than life inside the White House.
Literally dozens of key Bush staffers and advisers have quit the Bush administration in the past year. Many, like Karl Rove, have been working for George W. Bush for more than a decade. Some have never known a working life where Bush was not their chief priority.
You read through this story from the Washington Post, you take in the very obvious first signs of looming bouts of crippling depression that some ex-staffers will face, and you wonder : who will be the first ex-Busher to take their own life?
....the cumulative exodus of so many key people at once has transformed the White House as it heads into the dwindling months of the Bush presidency. Rove and Bartlett are gone, and so are their fellow Texans, Harriet E. Miers and Alberto R. Gonzales. Tony Snow, Sara M. Taylor, Rob Portman, J.D. Crouch, Peter D. Feaver, J. Scott Jennings and a host of others have left.
There is so much turnover that on one recent Friday there were four farewell parties or last-day exits. Bush poses for so many Oval Office photos with departing aides it feels like an assembly line.
The long-term ideals that many of them came to the White House to pursue appear jeopardized, even discredited to many. They tell themselves that they have acted on principle, that the decisions they helped make will be vindicated. But they cannot be sure.
"There's this overriding awareness that we're living and acting for the judgment of history," said William Inboden, who resigned last month as senior director for strategic planning at the National Security Council.
And as history judges, Iraq is always there. "It constantly looms," he said. "It is the inescapable presence, the inescapable reality. You see it in all these ways. People. Time. Money. Diplomatic and political capital. It sort of becomes the reality you live with and obviously we have to be able to."...some have grown embittered at what has become of the presidency they helped build. A key Bush reelection strategist has disavowed him, his former U.N. ambassador has become a vocal critic of key policies, his former defense secretary says he does not miss him, his former speechwriter wrote a harsh takedown of another top aide.
One former senior official said nearly everyone who has left the administration is angry in some way or another -- at the president for making bad decisions, at his staff for misguiding him, at events that have spiraled out of control.Karl Rove doesn't sound much like the cocky, boastful and arrogant figure who once bobbed at Bush's side like the Abbott to the the president's Costello.
"I understand there are people out there who really don't like me. And the question is, am I going to let it bother me? I ignore the ugly things that are said." Still, the notoriety comes with an edge. "I'm more conscious of my surroundings when I'm in public places."
"I told the boss, 'I feel like I'm deserting you in a time of war,' " he said. "...I don't feel sorry for myself."
This was a recurring theme in the course of an hour-long conversation. He is not depressed, he said more than once. "Hey, man, that was my life," he said. "It's not my life now. One of the reasons I don't think I'm depressed is I'm always looking forward."
Rove is not one for dwelling on decisions made or sharing blame for what went wrong. He has harsh words for Democrats who, he said, never accepted Bush as president. But he said he understands the price of the war. "It weighs on you a lot, and if you're not aware of it at the time, you're insane," he said. "People die. People from the same small town in Nevada where I grew up. . . . Is there second-guessing in terms of people hand-wringing? 'Oh my God, if we'd only done it this way'? No. But is there discussion of did this work out the way we expected and if not, why? Yes."
Dan Bartlett speaks in similar terms. As Bush's counselor, Bartlett and Rove often quarreled in the White House. By the end, colleagues said, they barely spoke except in formal meetings. Rove usually favored an in-your-face political strategy, while Bartlett advocated a less aggressive approach. And friends said Bartlett felt that Rove still saw him as the young kid who came to work for him 15 years ago.
Neither wants to talk about that now, and they spoke with each other by telephone recently. Bartlett shares Rove's aversion to revisiting the past. Asked about regrets, Bartlett said, "I can think of a banner on a certain ship," a reference to the infamous "Mission Accomplished" sign behind Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003.Most of those who have left in recent months are hitting the speaking circuit, considering book contracts or joining consulting firms.
Rove, like many other ex-Bushers, is now trying to distance himself from the president, and the looming shadow of the godawful presidential legacy. He's not 'Bush's Brain' anymore. Karl Rove wants it to be known he is his own man.
He'll be lucky if he's remembered even that 'fondly'. Rove's name will be poison for decades to come for tens of millions of Americans, who will see in him all the failures, horror and bloodshed of the George W. Bush presidency, and will wonder how what they're country might have become in war-heavy first decade of the 21st century if they had never come to know the names of Karl Rove and President George W. Bush.
"It's not like my life from here forward is going to be defined by it," he said. "I have a chance to create something else. I'm not just going to be typecast as, 'Oh, that's the Bush guy.'"
Monday, October 08, 2007
President Bush may have delivered up the War On Iraq that she wanted, and is turning the sod for the War On Iran that she dreams about, but Michelle Malkin is a hard woman for George W. Bush to please.
For getting himself involved in Texican executions controversies, Malkin today labels Bush :
Crusader For Mexican Death Row Murderers And International Law Meddlers
Malkin and her extremist blog clan still hasn't forgiven the president for trying to get legalize more than 12 million currently illegal Mexican immigrants.
Malkin doesn't mind illegal immigrants serving and dying in the War On Iraq she so vehemently championed in 2002, in the face of dire warnings of blowback and insurgency from the cream of the world's intelligence services and military experts, but she sure doesn't want any of them to be allowed to become Americans.
Or to be given the full spread of American justice.
But No-One Believes Him
President Bush spent almost a week defiantly stating that Americans don't believe in torture and do not practice torture. His was following his own rules on propaganda, that is, you have to repeat the message as often and as forcefully as possible if you want your version of the truth to sink in.
But when it comes to torture, Bush would have a much easier time if the images of Americans torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib were not so thoroughly ingrained in the nation's collective mind.
Bush speaks, few listen, no-one believes anymore.
From MSBNC :
"When we find somebody who may have information regarding a potential attack on America, you bet we’re going to detain them, and you bet we’re going to question them,” he said during a hastily called appearance in the Oval Office. “The American people expect us to find out information, actionable intelligence so we can help protect them. That’s our job.”
Bush was referring to a report on two secret memos in 2005 that authorized extreme interrogation tactics against terror suspects. “This government does not torture people,” the president said.The two Justice Department legal opinions were disclosed in Thursday’s editions of The New York Times, which reported that the first 2005 legal opinion authorized the use of head slaps, freezing temperatures and simulated drownings, known as waterboarding, while interrogating terror suspects, and was issued shortly after then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took over the Justice Department.
That secret opinion, which explicitly allowed using the painful methods in combination, came months after a December 2004 opinion in which the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” and the administration seemed to back away from claiming authority for such practices.
A second Justice opinion was issued later in 2005, just as Congress was working on an anti-torture bill. That opinion declared that none of the CIA’s interrogation practices would violate the rules in the legislation banning “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees, The Times said, citing interviews with unnamed current and former officials.
“We stick to U.S. law and international obligations,” the president said, without taking questions afterward.
Bush, speaking emphatically, noted that “highly trained professionals” conduct any questioning. “And by the way,” he said, “we have gotten information from these high-value detainees that have helped protect you.”
He also said that the techniques used by the United States “have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress” — an indirect slap at the torrent of criticism that has flowed from the Democratic-controlled Congress since the memos’ disclosure.
“The American people expect their government to take action to protect them from further attack,” Bush said. “And that’s exactly what this government is doing. And that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.”
The 2005 opinions approved by Gonzales remain in effect despite efforts by Congress and the courts to limit interrogation practices used by the government in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
From Your New Reality :
We'll came back to this very interesting interview President Bush gave to Al Arabiyah in the next day or two, but there are some quotes worth highlighting right now. Consider that this interview was conducted for a mostly Muslim audience across the Middle East, and is the first time President Bush has taken part in such a long and engaged interview exclusively for an Arab language television network :
"....I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That's what I believe. I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace. And I believe people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives aren't religious people, whether they be a Christian who does that -- we had a person blow up our -- blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that's not a Christian act to kill innocent people.
"...the war is not a struggle against Muslims, the Muslim religion, it is a struggle of honorable, peaceful people throughout the world against the few who want to impose their vision.
"...I believe there is a universal God. I believe the God that the Muslim prays to is the same God that I pray to. After all, we all came from Abraham. I believe in that universality."
The One Billion Hindus on Planet Earth may not exactly agree with everything President Bush said.
Bush On Christian Terrorism And Why The United States Is "A Nation Of Peace"
During a fascinating interview with a reporter from the Arab television network, Al Arabiya, President Bush clearly spelled out his position on Iran, and whether or not the US is now planning to attack.
According to this interview transcript, President Bush said Iran must stop enriching uranium. If it does so, the US will be willing to engage in formal talks and negotiations.
He said the growing storm of leaks, theories and claims that the United States is gearing up to attack Iran are just "gossip".
"I would call that empty propaganda. Evidently, there's a lot of gossip … that try to scare people about me personally or my country or what we stand for. And that kind of gossip is just what it is. It's gossip. It's baseless gossip."
President Bush also acknowledged that he is widely seen as a man of war in the Middle East, and across the world, and that the United States is convincingly depicted as a violent, aggressive nation, picking fights and attacking sovereign nations.
"I understand the images of my country have been distorted," President Bush said. "And I understand people say things about me personally that simply aren't true.""...the radicals have done a good job of propagandizing. In other words, they've spread the word that this really isn't peaceful people versus radical people or terrorists, this is really about the America not liking Islam."
President Bush insisted this was not true.
More On This Remarkable Interview Soon
Friday, October 05, 2007
President Bush visited Pennsylvania a few days ago, and decided to 'treat' the locals to one of his infamous Q & A sessions, following his usual lengthy speech. Bush's Q & A's work like this. Take a question from the audience, ramble on for 10 to 20 minutes, engage in snappy patter with audience members, and occasionally insult somebody, preferrably a woman.
Of course, Bush's Q & A's audiences are carefully screened, and the questions filtered. Think about the biggest issues facing Americans today. If an audience was given free reign to question their president, would they really be asking him about tax cuts? Even when questions came up about Iraq, Iran or his decision to veto free health care benefits for millions of poor American children, they lacked bite.
Republicans used to love making fun of the lengthy speeches and diatribes that leaders like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro used to subject their people to. Not anymore. Bush is king of the waffling ramblers, and his Pennsylvania 76 minute long verbal assault was by no means his longest .
Trawling through recent transcripts of his 'improvised' 'off the cuff' Q & A sessions reveal a man with concentration problems, an aggressive and fast temper and an increasingly confusing ability to mangle quotes and basic sentences.
He openly acknowledges that his age, 61, is the reason for his memory and cognitive problems. But 61 is not old, especially for someone as supposedly fit as President Bush.
Presumably there will be a book in five or ten year's time that reveals President Bush was suffering through some kind of mental disorder, like Ronald Reagan, in his final years in office.
The infamous 'Bushisms' have lost their ability to stun and amuse in the past couple of years, mostly because there have been so many of them.
In Pennsylvania, as this AP report reveals, Bush shows that he can mangle a metaphor even better than his league of comic impersonators :
Bush gave an intriguing description about what happens when businesses expand, as was the case here at a company run by a woman.
"You know, when you give a man more money in his pocket _ in this case, a woman _ more money in her pocket to expand a business, they build new buildings. And when somebody builds a new building, somebody has got to come and build the building.
"And when the building expanded, it prevented (sic) additional opportunities for people to work. Tax cuts matter. I'm going to spend some time talking about it," the president said.
He offered a pointed description of his job.
"My job is a decision-making job. And as a result, I make a lot of decisions," the president said.
He elaborated on that point later.
"I delegate to good people. I always tell Condi Rice, `I want to remind you, Madam Secretary, who has the Ph.D. and who was the C student. And I want to remind you who the adviser is and who the president is.'
"I got a lot of Ph.D.-types and smart people around me who come into the Oval Office and say, `Mr. President, here's what's on my mind.' And I listen carefully to their advice. But having gathered the device (sic), I decide, you know, I say, `This is what we're going to do.' And it's `Yes, sir, Mr. President.' And then we get after it, implement policy."
Then a bit later :
"I'm not quite through," he said near the end. "And it's a long answer, I'm sorry. It's called filibustering." After one answer about American views of the Iraq war, Bush said sheepishly: "I think that was your question, wasn't it? The answer was so long I lost track."
He had some fun with a woman who seemed slow on the draw when Bush called on her.
"You want a little chance to collect the thoughts, you know? I mean we're talking national TV here, you know?" he said.
"I actually wrote it down so I wouldn't get flustered," the woman said.
"It didn't work," Bush said.
Bush gave an upbeat assessment of being president, despite polls showing the public overwhelmingly disapproves of the job he's doing.
"I told somebody behind stage, this has been a joyous experience being the president," Bush said. "My buddies in Texas just simply don't think I'm telling them the truth. But it is."
He forgot that he had promised a question to a woman. "When you're getting over 60, sometimes your mind slips," said Bush, who is 61.
Finally, he decided he had said enough.
"And I got to go, I hate to tell you. You're paying me too much money to be sitting here talking."
Thursday, October 04, 2007
What sort of legacy is this?
President Bush cast a quiet veto Wednesday against a politically attractive expansion of children's health insurance, triggering a struggle with the Democratic-controlled Congress certain to reverberate into the 2008 elections.
"Congress will fight hard to override President Bush's heartless veto," vowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Bush vetoed the bill in private, absent the television cameras and other media coverage that normally attend even routine presidential actions. The measure called for adding an estimated 4 million mostly lower-income children to a program that currently covers 6.6 million. Funds for the expansion would come from higher tobacco taxes, including a 61-cent increase on a pack of cigarettes.
"Poor kids first," Bush said later in explaining his decision, reflecting a concern that some of the bill's benefits would go to families at higher incomes. "Secondly, I believe in private medicine, not the federal government running the health care system," he added in remarks to an audience in Lancaster, Pa.
The president said he is willing to compromise with Congress "if they need a little more money in the bill to help us meet the objective of getting help for poor children."
It was the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, at a time his popularity is low, the legislation popular enough to draw support from dozens of GOP lawmakers, and an override certain to seal his lame-duck status.
Democratic leaders scheduled the showdown for Oct. 18 to allow two weeks for pressure to build on Republicans. A union-led organization said it would spend more than $3 million trying to influence the outcome. "It's going to be a hard vote for Republicans," promised Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Criticism of the veto was instantaneous, from every quarter of the Democratic political firmament.
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, a presidential hopeful, called it unconscionable, party chairman Howard Dean labeled it appalling, and Pelosi said, "It's very sad that the president has chosen to veto a bill that would provide health care for ten million American children for the next five years."
Republicans said none of the criticism would matter. "I'm confident that the more time we have to explain the veto, the more people will be with their position,' said Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, second-ranking GOP leader in the House.
Longer term, Republicans said their goal was to sustain the veto and force Democrats into negotiations on a compromise that GOP lawmakers could embrace.
"Democrats now face an important choice: Either work with Republicans to renew this program or continue to play politics on the backs of our nation's children," said Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader.
He and other Republicans said Democratic plans to delay an override vote revealed an eagerness to score political points.
The Democratic legislation would add $35 billion to the program over five years to expand coverage. Bush argued the bill was too costly, took the program too far beyond its original intent of helping the poor and would entice people with private insurance to switch to government coverage. He has proposed a $5 billion increase in funding.
Bush recently requested some $190 billion in war funding, most of which he is likely to get.
Bush shows, through his veto, where his true priorities lie.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Daughter of President Bush, Jenna, has spoken out against those who criticize her father and claims the person we see on TV, making speeches, giving interviews, is not the same person she knows as her father.
So why does President Bush have two distinct personalities, as Jenna Bush seems to be saying in this interview?
Maybe Jenna can ask her dad to stop laughing, and smirking, when he discusses the endless slaughter of Iraqi civilians and American soldiers in Iraq. That would be a start.
One of the twin daughters of President George W Bush has spoken of the heartbreak she feels about the Iraq war and the criticism of her father. “He is a totally different person to me than what they portray him as,” said Jenna Bush. “I mean, he’s my dad.”Jenna, 25, who is known as the “blonde one” of the Bush twins, has found her sober side. Asked about Unicef’s report that 4m Iraqis had fled their homes since the invasion of Iraq, she said: “Nobody wants war. I definitely, and my father doesn’t want war. But it’s a horribly complicated situation.”
“I can say it’s devastating . . . I think everybody can agree on that . . . Obviously, all of this breaks my heart.”
Among the experiences that affected her deeply was visiting wounded veterans of the war with her father. “I’ve gone with him to Walter Reed hospital and I’ve seen his face after he’s left the hospital. He would have to be inhuman not to feel it. I mean, of course things weigh on him. Of course they do.”