Friday, November 30, 2007
President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove and three other officials of the Bush administration feature in a controversial gallery of doctored photos on display in the New York Public Library.
The New York Daily News doesn't sound happy about it, and neither does Fox News, no surprises there, who managed to create an entirely new genre of art when talking about the images - "political attack art." Great title.
The date when Bush was 'arrested' in the image is the day he delivered the State Of The Union speech with the infamous 16 words about how Saddam Hussein had supposedly sought "significant amounts" of nuclear material from Niger.
In twelve months, a new government will be elected in the United States. Only a few weeks later, President Bush will leave the White House and his controversial, history changing administration will come an end. Many Americans will obviously be very grateful, and happy, when that day comes.
With only 400 or so days left in power, President Bush is searching for a legacy, a final mission that will mark the end of his administration with a gleam of major success. A final peace between Israel and Palestine was one of Bush's dream, and while the Annnapolis talks currently underway may provide yet more routes on the roadmap, they are unlikely to be judged a great success.
Freedom for Iraq, and the spread of democracy across the Middle East was the key goal, according to Bush, of his two terms of presidency.
Bush will leave the White House with Iraq and the Middle East in a state of chaos. The early histories will claim that Bush failed to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East, but Bush himself claims that future decades will judge him more kindly.
Acclaimed historian, Professor David Kennnedy, believes historians in the decades to come will be even more harsh on Bush than the 2009 and 2010 histories of his presidency will turn out to be. Kennedy says the loss of American moral authority will one of the more lasting legacies of Bush in the White House.
From ABC Radio :
Q : ....polls show that America's moral authority around the world has been damaged post-September 11, and also your own domestic opinion polls show that many Americans disapprove of their President. Are there any comparisons in history, points at which America's reputation in the world has been at a low but it's bounced back?
DAVID KENNEDY: Well, I suppose there's some kind of a parallel in the Vietnam era, in which the same phenomenon, both aspects of the same phenomenon were manifest. That is to say both majorities of the American public and public opinion around the world at large turned very sharply against the United States as the Vietnam War went on, but the country managed to put that episode behind it, by and large, and get on with things through the decades of the 70s and the 80s and the 90s.
The damage that we've done to our moral authority and our legitimacy as an international citizen I think, in my own view again right now, is probably even more severe than it was in the 1960s, in the Vietnam era, but I'm hopeful that we can find our way out of this.
Q: You mentioned the way that America was able to bounce back after Vietnam. Are there any lessons that the next administration in the US can take from administrations that were running the country in that era, in terms of trying to get their own bounce back happening now?
DAVID KENNEDY: Well, yes, absolutely. I mean if you remember the way that President Nixon and Secretary of State, Kissinger, found the exit from Vietnam was by deepening their relationship with the two great communist states of that era, China and the Soviet Union.
So, in a sense, the United States embraced a kind of multilateralism and normal diplomacy with its two principal adversaries as a way of finishing the Vietnam episode, and I think something like that, there won't be an exact parallel, but some way for the United States to find its way back to multilateral relationships, to sharing power.
Q: You once wrote that history tends to reduce people to one sentence - 'Washington founded the nation', 'Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the union', 'Churchill saved Europe'. What will Bush's one sentence be?
DAVID KENNEDY: Actually, that formula is not original with me. I was quoting Claire Booth Luce. But it's a very good way to think about this kind of thing, and I think George Bush's sentence will probably be something like, 'He vastly overreacted, indeed virtually panicked, in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks and took the United States on a unilateralist course of foreign policy that seriously undermined the multilateral and mutualistic kinds of institutions the United States had done so much to build after World War II'.
Now, that's a pretty long-winded sentence (laughs), but you get the idea.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
A very interesting story from the New York Times detailing how, over many years, Condoleezza Rice has forced her way into the middle of the Bush-Cheney boys-with-war-toys club, and in the process coerced President Bush to favour diplomacy over war. After the Afghanistan and Iraq wars obviously.
Now Rice is even pushing Bush to "sit down and talk" with his dreaded enemy one, Iranian president Mahmoud Admadinejad :
Condoleezza Rice and President Bush are often described as opposites, but their closest advisers say they are remarkably alike. Both are products of their own elites — Mr. Bush from the old East Coast establishment, Ms. Rice from Southern black professionals — who are supremely self-confident on the surface but harbor resentments underneath. Ms. Rice, like Mr. Bush, has been underestimated her entire life, as an African-American, as a woman and often as the youngest person in the room.A sit down sessions of talks between the US and Iran? It's about two decades overdue. And what a legacy for the final year of Bush's presidency. Chances of it actually becoming reality? About 0.002%
Ms. Rice’s unusually tight bond with Mr. Bush has helped her as secretary of state in his second term to prod the president toward diplomacy with Iran and North Korea. But administration officials have long said that her devotion to Mr. Bush made her unwilling to challenge the president when needed during his first term, when she served as a less than confident national security adviser.More often in those years, Ms. Rice used her relationship with Mr. Bush to try to gain control over the national security process as well as two powerful men who drove much of the agenda in the first term, Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary. In January 2001, Ms. Rice went to Mr. Bush to stop Mr. Cheney from taking a major part of her job, running National Security Council meetings in the president’s absence, as Mr. Cheney had proposed to Mr. Bush that he do. “She threw a fit,” a former administration official close to Mr. Cheney recalled.
Ms. Rice, in an interview earlier this year, said that she went to the president because she was determined “to get it fixed,” and that she made the argument to him that it “wasn’t appropriate” for Mr. Cheney to run the meetings since that had not been the role of vice presidents in the past. “Mr. President, this is what national security advisers do,” Ms. Rice recalled that she told the president, who sided with her.In August 2002, Ms. Rice went to Mr. Bush to tell him that Mr. Cheney had to be reined in after the vice president gave a speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Nashville that effectively threatened war with Saddam Hussein and asserted that there was “false comfort” in sending United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq.
“The president said, ‘Well, why don’t you call Dick and tell him what you want him to do?’”said Ms. Rice, who said she told Mr. Cheney that his speech was going to “trap” the president because Mr. Bush was planning to call for weapons inspections. The vice president, she said, agreed to temper his next speech. Mr. Cheney had no comment on Ms. Rice’s remarks.In September 2003, Ms. Rice went to Mr. Bush to try to wrest control of the administration’s Iraq policy from Mr. Rumsfeld and L. Paul Bremer III, then the administration’s top civilian administrator in Iraq, whose dictates from Baghdad had frustrated Ms. Rice for months.
“I explained the problem, how we were starting to get decisions out there that we would know after the fact, that had huge policy implications, and we just couldn’t work that way,” Ms. Rice said she told the president, who by October had put Ms. Rice in charge of what the White House called the Iraq Stabilization Group to manage policy during the American occupation.In the fall of 2006, when administration officials knew that the president would dismiss Mr. Rumsfeld once he found a replacement, Ms. Rice had a hand in his ouster when she went to Mr. Bush and enthusiastically recommended Robert M. Gates, an old friend and a superior from her days on the National Security Council staff of Mr. Bush’s father.
“I told the president, ‘We have to reach out to him,’” Ms. Rice recalled. She had battled for years with Mr. Rumsfeld, whose Department of Defense, she said, withheld so much crucial war planning information from her during the period before the Iraq war that she had to send members of her staff to the Pentagon to secretly ferret out documents.In recent months, Ms. Rice has gone so often to Mr. Bush to push him on diplomacy with Iran and North Korea that he has started to needle her that she expects him to talk to people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the radical Islamist who is president of Iran, or Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader whom Mr. Bush has said he loathes.
“You want me to sit down with Ahmadinejad?” a White House official recalled that Mr. Bush had archly asked Ms. Rice. “Kim Jong-il? Is he next?” The White House official said that Mr. Bush had also taken to calling Ms. Rice “Madame Rice,” as in “Madame Rice, you’re not coming in to tell me that we ought to change our position?”
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When Scott McClellan was White House spokesman, he didn't want to lie to the media and the people about the involvement of key White House officials in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. But Bush made him do it.
From Raw Story :
President Bush, Karl Rove, and other top administration officials were "involved" in misleading the White House press corps about the outing of ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, a forthcoming book from former Press Secretary Scott McClellan alleges.
Entitled What Happened, the new tell-all features McClellan's account of his days as the White House's top spokesman -- including a behind-the-scenes look at the Bush administration's handling of the Plame affair, according to a tantalizing excerpt from the book released on its publisher's website.
"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," writes McClellan. "So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby."
But his press performances weren't based on the facts, McClellan continues.
"There was one problem. It was not true," he writes. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."
McClellan conducted a number of often-heated press events centering on Plame. In one September 2003 briefing, he expressly denied Rove's involvement in the matter.
"I've made it very clear, from the beginning, that it is totally ridiculous," said McClellan at the time. "I've known Karl for a long time, and I didn't even need to go ask Karl, because I know the kind of person that he is, and he is someone that is committed to the highest standards of conduct."
Later, in an October 10 press conference the same year, McClellan said that Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff Scooter Libby, and another senior administration staffer had all denied being connected to the leaking of Plame's name."I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out," said McClellan, "and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands."
McClellan is still spinning the truth.
George W. Bush is opposed to nation building, interfering in the affairs of foreign countries and spending America's taxpayer dollars launching military missions that are not essential to the nation's interests.
Oh, wait. That was in 2000. Before he became president. Before, as they say, "9/11 Changed Everything".
A remarkable series of quotes from George W. Bush when he was campaigning for the presidency. It makes you wonder what sort of country America would have become if Bush had stuck to his mission statements of 2000.
What a remarkable prediction from Bush about why the "Ugly American" image would become an international reality.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The mantra of 'No News Is Good News' is used as a golden frame by this Washington Post story to argue that while world events may not be total smooth sailing for President Bush right now, they could be a whole lot worse :
The war in Iraq seems to have taken a turn for the better and the opposition at home has failed in all efforts to impose its own strategy. North Korea is dismantling its nuclear program. The budget deficit is falling. A new attorney general has been confirmed despite objections from the left.After more than two years of being buffeted by one political disaster after another, President Bush and his strategists think they may finally be getting back at least a bit of their footing. While still facing enormous challenges, from the crisis in Pakistan to the backlash over children's health care, they hope Bush has arrested his downward spiral and established a better foundation for the remainder of his time in office.No.
In many ways, the shifting political fortunes may owe as much to the absence of bad news as to any particular good news. No one lately has been indicted, botched a hurricane relief effort or shot someone in a hunting accident. Instead, pictures from Iraq show people returning to the streets as often as they show a new suicide bombing. And Bush has bolstered morale inside the West Wing and rallied his Republican base through a strategy of confrontation with the Democratic Congress, built on the expansive use of his veto pen.
Yet none of this has particularly impressed the public at large, which remains skeptical that anything meaningful has changed and still gives Bush record-low approval ratings. The disconnect highlights his dilemma heading into the last year of his administration: Can anything short of a profound event repair an unpopular president's public standing so late in his tenure? Can tactical victories in Washington salvage a wounded presidency?
Sunday, November 18, 2007
An op-ed in the San Fransisco Chronicle urges readers to mark their calendars and set a long date alarm on their watches because in just on a year, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new president, and the "long national nightmare of George W. Bush" will come to an end :
"It is now less than one calendar year until the next presidential election. It is less than one year until the country finally takes a deep breath and flexes its atrophied muscles and opens its bloody, Cheney-punched mouth and lets it be known to the world, to the universe, to its own numb and dejected soul just exactly how unwell it has felt, how much pain has raked its heart, lo, these past seven (eight, by then) years, by ushering in an entirely new political era, as we all exhale a massive sigh of long overdue relief...
"You think maybe it's too soon? Too early to let the tingle of positivism and hope take hold? Far from it. After all, the signs of decay and utter GOP desperation keep pouring in. For example, it has now been officially recorded in history what everyone already knows: Bush is nearly exactly as unpopular as Richard Nixon was at his lowest point, and no president in history has had as long a streak at the bottom of the job-approval rankings as Dubya. Heckuva job, Bushie!
"What's more, the glorious collapse of the evangelical Christian right marches on apace, as Pat Robertson, now a dejected, lonely widower after the death of secret boy-toy husband Jerry Falwell, has officially endorsed pro-choice, pro-gay, thrice-married, massively unbalanced moral pit bull Rudy Giuliani for president, which is a bit like a militant vegan endorsing Hot Dog on a Stick for the title of Lord of the Food Court. Desperate times indeed."
I would say that as the nation moves closer to the date when President Bush finally exits the White House, such an adrenalized, semi-incoherent editorial will look positively tame compared to what other writers will be saying.
In the last few months of his presidency, there will be many mainstream media journalists who were always too afraid, or bound by ethics, who will cut loose with the secrets of the George W. Bush presidency they could never before disclose. It will come on like a tidal wave. People will expect the Big Secrets to stay secret until after Bush is gone from the West Wing, but once a few start singing like canaries, most of the rest of the White House press corps will follow, and fast.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
With more than 14 months to go before President George W. Bush leaves the Oval Office, the dedicated Blogs For Bush site has decided to bail on their hero early.
We'll keep following The Last Days Of President Bush to the very end.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Then Demands More Money For More War
It is now abundantly clear, if it wasn't already, that President Bush's final mission of his two term presidency is to divert every single American dollar that he can from health and education for the poor to the profit sheets of America's biggest defence and arms contractors.
It is remarkable, even for Bush, that within hours of vetoing health and education funding, he was on TV demanding Congress pull its finger out and sign over tens of billions of more dollars, immediately, for the war industries.
From the Associated Press :
President Bush on Tuesday vetoed a spending measure for health and education programs prized by congressional Democrats. He also signed a big increase in the Pentagon's non-war budget.
The president's action was announced on Air Force One as Bush flew to Indiana for a speech expected to criticize the Democratic-led Congress on its budget priorities.
More than any other spending bill, the $606 billion education and health measure defines the differences between Bush and majority Democrats. The House fell three votes short of winning a veto-proof margin as it sent the measure to Bush.
Rep. David Obey, the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, pounced immediately on Bush's veto.
"This is a bipartisan bill supported by over 50 Republicans," Obey said. "There has been virtually no criticism of its contents. It is clear the only reason the president vetoed this bill is pure politics."
Since winning re-election, Bush has sought to cut the labor, health and education measure below the prior year level. But lawmakers have rejected the cuts. The budget that Bush presented in February sought almost $4 billion in cuts to this year's bill.
Democrats responded by adding $10 billion to Bush's request for the 2008 bill. Democrats say spending increases for domestic programs are small compared with Bush's pending war request totaling almost $200 billion.
The $471 billion defense budget gives the Pentagon a 9 percent, $40 billion budget increase. The measure only funds core department operations, omitting Bush's $196 billion request for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, except for an almost $12 billion infusion for new troop vehicles that are resistant to roadside bombs.
Much of the increase in the defense bill is devoted to procuring new and expensive weapons systems, including $6.3 billion for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, $2.8 billion for the Navy's DD(X) destroyer and $3.1 billion for the new Virginia-class attack submarine.
Huge procurement costs are driving the Pentagon budget ever upward. Once war costs are added in, the total defense budget will be significantly higher than during the typical Cold War year, even after adjusting for inflation.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
George W. Bush wasn't always for finishing off the Iraq job that many NeoCons came to believe he had left unfinished.
In 1997, while governor of Texas, President Bush was actively opposed to further war on Iraq, and believed deposing Saddam Hussein would lead to the rise of an insurgency, as this story details :
"There are a lot of Americans (who say), 'Why didn't you go get him?'" Bush told the San Antonio Express-News, referring to Saddam Hussein. "Well, I'm confident that losing men and women as a result of sniper fire inside of Baghdad would have turned the tide of public opinion very quickly."
..Bush said efforts to ferret out Saddam from his many Baghdad hideouts would have transformed the battle from a desert conflict to an unpopular "guerrilla war."
A decade later, proponents of the Iraq war, including President Bush and his father, dismiss those reservations, saying the 9-11 terrorist attacks forced the conflict.
"The world has changed since 1997," White House spokesman Blair Jones said Friday. "Since that time this nation experienced one of the most horrific moments in our history — the attacks on September 11, 2001.
"As the president has said many times, one of the lessons learned from that day is that we have to take emerging threats seriously. We have to deal with them before they fully materialize."
Still, the fears expressed 10 years ago have become reality.
The United States is mired in a ground war, with no military or political solutions in near sight. Insurgents, using increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs to target coalition troops, are waging the very guerrilla war that Bush predicted.
(President George W. Bush and his father) have consistently supported one another on how they handled their conflicts in the Persian Gulf. Back then, the elder Bush told the Express-News his son "got it right" in his assessment of the first Gulf War.
The former president also suggested that the decision he did not make — to send U.S. troops all the way into Baghdad — would have led America into another Vietnam-like conflict, "and one guerrilla war in my lifetime was enough."
The comments of both men a decade ago stand in contrast to statements they made at the end of last week. President Bush said at a Terrell Hills fund-raiser Thursday that history would vindicate his decision.
"Some day people are going to look back at this time and day and say, 'Thank God there was a generation that did not lose faith ... because the Middle East is a place free of suiciders..."
As the president met with troops and his backers before heading to Crawford, his father lashed out at critics of the war.
"Do they want to bring back Saddam Hussein, these critics?" he told USA Today on Thursday. "Do they want to go back to the status quo ante? I don't know what they are talking about here. Do they think life would be better in the Middle East if Saddam were still there?"
The younger Bush told the Express-News a decade ago that people didn't "really fully understand" why Gens. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, decided to stop the invasion "because it seemed so easy out in the battlefield."
"The mission wasn't to destroy his forces, the mission wasn't to destroy Saddam Hussein, the mission was damned sure not to occupy Baghdad," the elder President Bush told the Express-News at the time in a phone interview. "The mission was to end the aggression, kick him out of Kuwait. So when the commanders said mission accomplished, I was very happy to declare victory."
...long before crafting the policy of pre-emption, Bush had a different position. Pointing to Iraqi efforts to toss the U.S. inspectors, he said 10 years ago this week that Clinton would be wise to talk with his father, saying, "I think my dad conducted himself brilliantly during Desert Storm and understands the situation pretty clearly."
The subject came up again in an Express-News interview with the elder Bush when the USS San Antonio was commissioned last year in Texas.
Asked about the wisdom of invading Iraq, Bush said, "I support the president 100 percent on that, but you know our mission as you may remember wasn't to do anything other than to eject this guy from Kuwait, which we did. Salute, come home, and that's what we did. You don't hear it much anymore, incidentally, 'Why did you not march into Baghdad?' You don't hear that so much."
Old interviews like this explain why Bush and the NeoCons always say "9/11 changed everything." They have to say that, to explain why they thought so differently about Iraq and Saddam Hussein after the attacks.
But there are numerous books quoting highly placed insiders of the first George W. Bush administration who said the 'War On Iraq' was on the cards from virtually they day President Bush took over the White House, some eight months before the 9/11 attacks.
It's fascinating to see that President Bush was actually more prescient about what would result from a new war on Iraq in 1997 than he was in 2002.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The American Dollar is dying. Some would say it is already dead. China is now preparing to bail out on the American Dollar to the tune of some $1.4 trillion in reserves. They call it 'diversifying'. International money traders, privately, call China's move The Coffin. The US Dollar, of course, is the corpse in that coffin.
For years, numerous so-called 'conspiracy websites' have been warning that it has been President George W. Bush's mission to destroy the US Dollar as a world beating currency. Some theories go that the death of the Dollar will pave the way for the introduction of a new currency for all of North America - that is, including Mexico and Canada. Make of that theory what you will.
The mainstream media, naturally, has long refused to face the fact that the US Dollar under President Bush has become a dead currency. But some are now starting to hint at a grand conspiracy, mostly by highlighting just how unconcerned President Bush is by what is happening to the US Dollar, and how he insists the current Federal Reserve strategy is working when it clearly is not.
Here's Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post, sounding the alarm, now that it's all but too late :
President Bush doesn't talk about the dollar much, but when he does, he's got exactly one thing to say about it: "We have a strong dollar policy."
It's becoming increasingly clear, however, that Bush's "strong dollar policy" is driving the greenback into the ground.
The dollar is hitting record lows this week amidst fears that the mortgage-market meltdown will spread to other parts of the economy and as the Chinese make noise about moving more of their investments into euros. But it is the underlying dynamics of the American economy -- continued massive trade deficits and a whopping national debt -- that have put the dollar in such a precarious position.
A true strong dollar policy, aimed at increasing the confidence of international investors, would require Bush to do a bunch of things he doesn't want to do. For instance, he would have to stop borrowing so much money to fund his tax cuts and his wars. He would need to encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, rather than depend on it to keep propping up the domestic economy by decreasing them. That sort of thing.
Instead, Bush just offers the strong-dollar line, without specifics, and moves on.
Consider how eager he was to drop the subject last month during a Wall Street Journal interview:
WSJ: "[T]here has been a lot of concern, obviously, about the value of the dollar around the world, and some calls for the U.S. to put more action behind its vow that we support a strong dollar. How do you respond to them, and do you think Treasury needs to intervene at all at this point?"
Bush: "Secretary Paulson, of course, is our main spokesman on this issue, and he reflects the view of this administration that the strong dollar policy is the correct policy. And we also believe that the best way for a currency to become valued is through the market."
WSJ: "That's it?"
The policy is for a 'strong dollar'. That's it.
Mike Whitney provides a more thorough dismantling of the shocking state of the American dollar and the financial tsunami now bearing down on the United States.
Bush wants to let "the market decide" what the US Dollar is worth.The market has already decided. And it's beyond grim.
Friday, November 09, 2007
The Senate has surprised President Bush today with a vote to override his veto of a $25 billion water funding bill. It's a first for the Senate, and a remarkable show of defiance against the increasingly anti-democratic Bush administration.
Let's wait and see if this just a freak occurrence before anyone begins claiming that lawmakers are now standing up to Bush. No one can deny it's a good sign of how 2008 might play out, however :
A year after Democrats won control of Capitol Hill, Congress delivered its clearest victory yet over President Bush today, resoundingly overturning Bush's veto of a $23 billion water resources measure -- the first veto override of his presidency.
The Senate voted to override the veto, 79-14, with 34 Republicans abandoning the president and just 12 standing by him. The Senate vote followed one in the House, which rejected the veto Tuesday, 361-54. Both votes were well over the two-thirds majorities needed to defy Bush.
"I hope that the Congress feels good about what we've done," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "I believe in the institution of the legislative branch of government. I think it should exist, and for seven years, this man has ignored us."
"We have said today as a Congress to this president, 'You can't just keep rolling over us like this. You can't make everything a fight, because we'll see it through'," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and a primary architect of the law.
Today's override marks only the 107th time that Congress has overridden a presidential veto in the nation's history. Congress overrode two of Bill Clinton's 22 vetoes and just one of George H.W. Bush's 44 vetoes. Gerald R. Ford, who vetoed 66 bills, and Harry S. Truman, who vetoed 250, each had 12 overridden, the most of any president other than Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century.
As obscure as the Water Resources Development Act may be, Congress's action sets the stage for much larger spending and tax fights to come in the next few weeks. The House tonight is scheduled to send Bush a $151 billion measure to fund federal health, education and labor programs, a bill that Bush has promised to veto because it exceeds his request by nearly $10 billion.
The Senate is likely to give final approval to a $459.3 billion defense spending this evening as well, one that increases defense spending by $35.7 billion -- or 9.5 percent -- over last fiscal year. Bush is expected to sign that legislation.
Democrats made clear today they will relentlessly compare the president's willingness to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on defense and war, while he rejects much smaller increases for domestic spending.
President Bush has refused to back off his previous comments about how nations that want to avoid World War 3 should help ramp up the pressure on Iran to end its nuclear energy program.
In fact, he's now ramping up the rhetoric and clearly threatening World War 3 :
U.S. President George W. Bush defended in a television interview on Wednesday his recent comments suggesting Iran's nuclear ambitions might trigger World War Three and insisted he wanted a diplomatic solution.
Bush told a news conference last month that preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons would be a means of avoiding a new global conflict.
"The reason I said that is because this is a country that has defied the IAEA -- in other words, didn't disclose all their program -- have said they want to destroy Israel," Bush said in the interview with German broadcaster RTL.
"If you want to see World War Three, you know, a way to do that is to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon," Bush added. "And so I said, now is the time to move. It wasn't a prediction, nor a desire."
The only country in the Middle East who currently has nuclear weapons and refused to detail its program and stockpile is Israel.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
He's worked hard for this. It's taken years of failed policy, brutal war, incomprehensible speeches and plenty of smirking when talking about dead American soldiers for President Bush to bring down his November 2001 popularity rating of about 95% to Nixonian levels.
And now Bush has gone one better. The president is now, officially, more unpopular than Richard Milhouse Nixon.
From Raw Story :
For the first time, George W. Bush has surpassed Richard M. Nixon in unpopularity in the Gallup Poll, receiving the highest "strongly disapprove" rating for a president in Gallup's history.
The little noticed statistic -- publicly noted on Gallup's poll writeup -- made a single headline in Google News. The story, at Editor and Publisher, was titled "GALLUP: Bush Finally Tops Nixon -- In Unpopularity -- As Call for Iraq Pullout Hits New Peak."
"Gallup has followed its classic job approval measure with this “strongly” probe on only an intermittent basis over the years, so it is important to note that the historical context is fairly limited," the pollsters note. "Additionally, other variations in polling over the years make comparisons of this measure inexact. Still, it is worth noting that the current 50% “strongly disapprove” figure for Bush is as high as Gallup has ever measured. (A February 1974 poll showed Richard Nixon’s strongly disapprove number at 48%, statistically equivalent to Bush’s current reading on this measure.)"
That remarkable spike in approval and drop in disapproval on the left of the graph followed the 9/11 attacks.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
President Bush is increasingly holding special meetings with select journalists from the White House press corps. All these sessions are conducted off-camera, but many are also off-the-record.
Why does Bush sit around with some of the most powerful journalists in the American media for hours at a time, holding talk sessions when most of the information cannot be made public?
Raw Story explains :
That Perino quote says it all about how the Bush administration views White House reporters. As a box of tools.
Fourteen White House reporters were given a rare hour of access to President Bush on Monday, but the issues they discussed won't be making any headlines -- the session was all off-the-record.
The informal meeting, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, took place as part of a new White House plan to reach out to the press without having to rely on "full-blown news conferences."
"Thursday's effort was one of several recent steps he has taken to amplify his message as he wrestles with his lame-duck status, low approval ratings and increasingly independent congressional Republicans," according to the LA Times.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told the paper that the meetings were part of "a desire to be creative to try to provide some access to the president...It was just a new tool we'd like to have in our toolbox."
The Full Story Is Here
In Pumping Terror Threats, US President Becomes Al Qaeda's Most Successful Promoter And Publicist
President Bush believes the Democrat-controlled Congress is not taking his 'War On Terror', and the threat of terror, seriously enough.
So what to do?
What else? Invoke Hitler, of course.
And while you're at it, throw in a few lines about how Osama is just like Lenin, as well :
Bush has some interesting problems with this kind of rhetoric. He needs to say that the war is being won against Al Qaeda in Iraq to keep the national faith and support, which dwindles by the day. But he also needs to constantly enforce in the minds of Americans the threat posed by Al Qaeda, in order to convince Congress to keep funding the 'War On Terror'.
He said that six years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, there is "a temptation to think that the threats to our country have grown distant," but warned that "the terrorists who struck America that September morning intend to strike us again."
"History teaches that underestimating the words of evil, ambitious men is a terrible mistake. In the early 1900s, the world ignored the words of Lenin, as he laid out his plans to launch a Communist revolution in Russia - and the world paid a terrible price. The Soviet Empire he established killed tens of millions, and brought the world to the brink of thermonuclear war," Bush said.
The president highlighted Washington's role in bringing down the Soviet Union. He told the gathering, attended by leading conservative lobbyists, "Together with a great President named Ronald Reagan, you championed a policy of rolling back communism oppression and bringing freedom to nations enslaved by communist tyranny."
He also compared Islamist plans to "build a totalitarian Islamic empire... stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia" to the Third Reich.
"In the 1920s, the world ignored the words of Hitler, as he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany, take revenge on Europe, and eradicate the Jews - and the world paid a terrible price."
He insisted that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have been "liberated" by U.S.-led campaigns: "We removed regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq that had supported terrorists and threatened our citizens, and in so doing, liberated 50 million people from the clutches of tyranny."
"...this is no time for Congress to hold back vital funding for our troops as they fight al Qaeda terrorists and radicals in Afghanistan and Iraq."
Few intelligence, terrorism or military experts will let any media quote them in saying that Al Qaeda is a worldwide force, an Army of millions or hundreds of thousands, comparable to the Nazis or the Soviet Army under Stalin.
In pumping the threat of Al Qaeda, President Bush is becoming their best publicist, constantly putting the name 'Al Qaeda' and rattling off their mantras and threat lists for the daily headlines and evening news.
Friday, November 02, 2007
'Imagemaker' Karen Hughes Resigns In Non-Clash With Condi Rice
President Bush's right hand gal before Condi Rice became his right hand has quit the White House. But it's not because of some kind of tension or clash with Rice that Karen Hughes, the second to last member of Bush's Team Texas who remained in the White House, has up and quit.
How do we know this? Because the mainstream media has ruled this out, before anybody asked. Weird :
That's right. The two women who who clambered most for the attention of Bush had absolutely no problem with each other.
While Hughes’ record as head of public diplomacy is very mixed — her aides insist this decision is not about any disagreement with Rice or the White House – rather Hughes wants to return to her husband and her family, who she has been regularly commuting to see in Texas. Rice and Hughes are very close, and Hughes still advises Bush, aides say.
Rice told the assembled State Department staff that Hughes carried out her public diplomacy work in “spectacular fashion.” She listed her efforts toward Muslim outreach and other public diplomacy programs like a rapid response unit to counter negative stories about America and setting up regional media hubs around the world that deployed Foreign Service officers into local communities, as successes.
Hughes called Rice “a great friend” and “a great role model,” and she said, “I feel that I’ve done what Secretary Rice and President Bush asked me to do by transforming public diplomacy and making it a national security priority central to everything we do in government.”
A short description of Hughes' recent mission in the Bush Team :
President Bush had asked Karen Hughes to go to the State Department and help sell America’s ideas about democracy and the war on terror around the world. Polls show that there has been no improvement in the way the world views the United States since Hughes took over.She has apparently told friends that task will outlast the Bush White House. Really?
Here's an excellent graphic from The Seminal showing the true extent of just how far Bush's Team Texas has come since they all relocated and moved to Washington to be with their leader back in early 2001. None of those who've quit have gone on to achieve anything of true note. After the White House, every career move is a step down.
Image From The Seminal
Everybody Overboard! Bailing On The Bushtanic