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BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

Wavery 31 May 06 - 08:45 PM
Amos 24 May 06 - 08:05 PM
Amos 18 May 06 - 11:30 PM
Amos 17 May 06 - 08:02 PM
Amos 16 May 06 - 12:53 AM
Amos 15 May 06 - 06:41 PM
Amos 11 May 06 - 07:35 PM
Bobert 03 May 06 - 07:30 AM
number 6 02 May 06 - 11:14 PM
Amos 02 May 06 - 11:08 PM
Amos 02 May 06 - 09:51 PM
Amos 01 May 06 - 08:41 PM
Donuel 30 Apr 06 - 10:16 AM
Bobert 30 Apr 06 - 09:24 AM
Donuel 30 Apr 06 - 08:56 AM
Amos 29 Apr 06 - 04:07 PM
Amos 29 Apr 06 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,Rufus 29 Apr 06 - 09:55 AM
Amos 22 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM
Elmer Fudd 21 Apr 06 - 11:48 PM
Amos 21 Apr 06 - 03:36 PM
Amos 20 Apr 06 - 03:34 PM
Bobert 20 Apr 06 - 01:29 PM
Amos 06 Apr 06 - 08:14 PM
Amos 27 Mar 06 - 11:07 AM
Amos 24 Mar 06 - 04:23 PM
Amos 23 Mar 06 - 08:07 PM
Amos 23 Mar 06 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,rarelamb 23 Mar 06 - 07:24 PM
Amos 23 Mar 06 - 07:09 PM
Amos 19 Mar 06 - 10:44 AM
Bobert 13 Mar 06 - 08:49 PM
Amos 13 Mar 06 - 08:46 PM
Amos 09 Mar 06 - 11:18 PM
Bobert 09 Mar 06 - 07:46 PM
Amos 09 Mar 06 - 05:38 PM
Amos 09 Mar 06 - 05:33 PM
Amos 04 Mar 06 - 02:37 PM
Amos 28 Feb 06 - 09:45 AM
Amos 27 Feb 06 - 10:06 AM
Amos 25 Feb 06 - 04:42 PM
Amos 25 Feb 06 - 12:58 PM
Amos 24 Feb 06 - 07:07 PM
Amos 23 Feb 06 - 08:42 PM
Amos 23 Feb 06 - 08:37 PM
Amos 22 Feb 06 - 12:03 AM
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Amos 20 Feb 06 - 04:55 PM
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Bobert 19 Feb 06 - 08:31 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Wavery
Date: 31 May 06 - 08:45 PM

"Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."

- Inscription on Billy Pilgrim's tombstone; and my current philosophy to avoid going insane trying to be a US citizen under the Bush Administration.

Buck Fush.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 May 06 - 08:05 PM

Molly Ivins, a little white-haired lady from Texas, offers these thoughts on the immigration question:

Yes, I Am Actually Calling Them Racist.

I highly recommend it for a refreshing view of another way to look at things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 May 06 - 11:30 PM

Saying No to Bush's Yes Men
Thomas Friedman
NYT Op-Ed (excerpt)

President Bush has slipped in one recent poll to a 29 percent approval rating. Frankly, I can't believe that. Those polls can't possibly be accurate. I mean, really, ask yourself: How could there still be 29 percent of the people who approve of this presidency?

Personally, I think the president can reshuffle his cabinet all he wants, but his poll ratings are not going to substantially recover -- ever. Americans are slow to judgment about a president, very slow. And in times of war, in particular, they are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I think a lot of Americans in recent months have simply lost confidence in this administration's competence and honesty.

What has eaten away most at the support for this administration, I believe, has been the fact that time and time again, it has put politics and ideology ahead of the interests of the United States, and I think a lot of people are just sick of it. I know I sure am.

To me, the most baffling thing about the Bush presidency is this: If you had worked for so long to be president, wouldn't you want to staff your administration with the very best people you could find, especially in national security and especially in the area of intelligence, which has been the source of so much controversy -- from 9/11 to Iraq?

Wouldn't that be your instinct? Well, not only did the president put the C.I.A. in the hands of a complete partisan hack named Porter Goss, but he then allowed Mr. Goss to appoint as the No. 3 man at the agency -- the C.I.A.'s chief operating officer -- Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, whose previous position was chief of the C.I.A.'s logistics office in Germany, which provides its Middle East stations with supplies.

Mr. Foggo has spent almost his entire undistinguished C.I.A. career in midlevel administrative jobs. He ingratiated himself with Mr. Goss during his days as a congressman by funneling inside dope about the C.I.A. under George Tenet to Mr. Goss, Newsweek reported. When Mr. Goss was tapped by the president to head the C.I.A., he plucked Mr. Foggo from obscurity to handle day-to-day operations at the agency, where he immediately made his mark by purging the C.I.A. of veteran spies and managers deemed unfriendly to the White House. I feel safer already.

Mr. Foggo resigned, along with Mr. Goss, after the C.I.A.'s chief internal watchdog opened an investigation to determine whether Mr. Foggo had helped steer a contract, apparently involving bottled water, to a company run by his old friend Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor who was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case involving the corrupt San Diego congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who is now in prison. Mr. Foggo is not an expert on Iran or Iraq or Russia, but rather on Perrier, Poland Spring and Fiji water. That is the guy the Bush team chose as its chief operating officer at the C.I.A.

Is there no job in this administration that is too important to be handed over to a political hack? No. (...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 May 06 - 08:02 PM

The passion of the liberal press is rising:

"In the dark days of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt counseled Americans to avoid fear. George W. Bush is his polar opposite. The public's fear is this president's most potent political asset. Perhaps his only asset.

Mr. Bush wants ordinary Americans to remain in a perpetual state of fear -- so terrified, in fact, that they will not object to the steady erosion of their rights and liberties, and will not notice the many ways in which their fear is being manipulated to feed an unconscionable expansion of presidential power.

If voters can be kept frightened enough of terrorism, they might even overlook the monumental incompetence of one of the worst administrations the nation has ever known.

Four marines drowned Thursday when their 60-ton tank rolled off a bridge and sank in a canal about 50 miles west of Baghdad. Three American soldiers in Iraq were killed by roadside bombs the same day. But those tragic and wholly unnecessary deaths were not the big news. The big news was the latest leak of yet another presidential power grab: the administration's collection of the telephone records of tens of millions of American citizens.

The Bush crowd, which gets together each morning to participate in a highly secret ritual of formalized ineptitude, is trying to get its creepy hands on all the telephone records of everybody in the entire country. It supposedly wants these records, which contain crucial documentation of calls for Chinese takeout in Terre Haute, Ind., and birthday greetings to Grandma in Talladega, Ala., to help in the search for Osama bin Laden.

Hey, the president has made it clear that when Al Qaeda is calling, he wants to be listening, and you never know where that lead may turn up.

The problem (besides the fact that the president has been as effective hunting bin Laden as Dick Cheney was in hunting quail) is that in its fearmongering and power-grabbing the Bush administration has trampled all over the Constitution, the democratic process and the hallowed American tradition of government checks and balances.

Short of having them taken away from us, there is probably no way to fully appreciate the wonder and the glory of our rights and liberties here in the United States, including the right to privacy.

The Constitution and the elaborate system of checks and balances were meant to protect us against the possibility of a clownish gang of small men and women amassing excessive power and behaving like tyrants or kings. But the normal safeguards have not been working since the Bush crowd came to power, starting with the hijacked presidential election in 2000.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, all bets were off. John Kennedy once said, "The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war." But George W. Bush, employing an outrageous propaganda campaign ("Shock and awe," "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"), started an utterly pointless war in Iraq that he still doesn't know how to win or how to end.

If you listen to the Bush version of reality, the president is all powerful. In that version, we are fighting a war against terrorism, which is a war that will never end. And as long as we are at war (forever), there is no limit to the war-fighting powers the president can claim as commander in chief.

So we've kidnapped people and sent them off to be tortured in the extraordinary rendition program; and we've incarcerated people at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere without trial or even the right to know the charges against them; and we're allowing the C.I.A. to operate super-secret prisons where God-knows-what-all is going on; and we're listening in on the phone calls and reading the e-mail of innocent Americans without warrants; and on and on and on.

The Bushies will tell you that it is dangerous and even against the law to inquire into these nefarious activities. We just have to trust the king.

Well, I give you fair warning. This is a road map to totalitarianism. Hallmarks of totalitarian regimes have always included an excessive reliance on secrecy, the deliberate stoking of fear in the general population, a preference for military rather than diplomatic solutions in foreign policy, the promotion of blind patriotism, the denial of human rights, the curtailment of the rule of law, hostility to a free press and the systematic invasion of the privacy of ordinary people.

There are not enough pretty words in all the world to cover up the damage that George W. Bush has done to his country. If the United States could look at itself in a mirror, it would be both alarmed and ashamed at what it saw. "

America The Fearful
Bob Herbert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 May 06 - 12:53 AM

Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling

May 15, 2006 10:33 AM
Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

"A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government
is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out
confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told
us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling,
or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of
the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters
for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are
being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

One former official was asked to sign a document stating he was not a
confidential source for New York Times reporter James Risen.

Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known
to have upset CIA officials.

People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information say
the CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of
CIA predator missiles inside Pakistan.

Under Bush Administration guidelines, it is not considered illegal for
the government to keep track of numbers dialed by phone customers.

The official who warned ABC News said there was no indication our phones
were being tapped so the content of the conversation could be recorded.

A pattern of phone calls from a reporter, however, could provide
valuable clues for leak investigators."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 15 May 06 - 06:41 PM

Fran Rich of the New York Times observes the beginning of a witch-hunt:

Will the Real Traitors Please Stand Up?
Frank Rich

When America panics, it goes hunting for scapegoats. But from Salem onward, we've more often than not ended up pillorying the innocent. Abe Rosenthal, the legendary Times editor who died last week, and his publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, were denounced as treasonous in 1971 when they defied the Nixon administration to publish the Pentagon Papers, the secret government history of the Vietnam War. Today we know who the real traitors were: the officials who squandered American blood and treasure on an ill-considered war and then tried to cover up their lies and mistakes. It was precisely those lies and mistakes, of course, that were laid bare by the thousands of pages of classified Pentagon documents leaked to both The Times and The Washington Post.

This history is predictably repeating itself now that the public has turned on the war in Iraq. The administration's die-hard defenders are desperate to deflect blame for the fiasco, and, guess what, the traitors once again are The Times and The Post. This time the newspapers committed the crime of exposing warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency (The Times) and the C.I.A.'s secret "black site" Eastern European prisons (The Post). Aping the Nixon template, the current White House tried to stop both papers from publishing and when that failed impugned their patriotism.

President Bush, himself a sometime leaker of intelligence, called the leaking of the N.S.A. surveillance program a "shameful act" that is "helping the enemy." Porter Goss, who was then still C.I.A. director, piled on in February with a Times Op-Ed piece denouncing leakers for potentially risking American lives and compromising national security. When reporters at both papers were awarded Pulitzer Prizes last month, administration surrogates, led by bloviator in chief William Bennett, called for them to be charged under the 1917 Espionage Act.

We can see this charade for what it is: a Hail Mary pass by the leaders who bungled a war and want to change the subject to the journalists who caught them in the act. What really angers the White House and its defenders about both the Post and Times scoops are not the legal questions the stories raise about unregulated gulags and unconstitutional domestic snooping, but the unmasking of yet more administration failures in a war effort riddled with ineptitude. It's the recklessness at the top of our government, not the press's exposure of it, that has truly aided the enemy, put American lives at risk and potentially sabotaged national security. That's where the buck stops, and if there's to be a witch hunt for traitors, that's where it should begin...."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 11 May 06 - 07:35 PM

I really am POd at the New York Times for putting Maureen Dowd behind the Subscription Curtain, especially when she comes up with sharp analyses like this comparison among the Bushialites:

"Father and Son Reunion
Maureen Dowd

One Bush did it by staying out of Baghdad, raising taxes and driving down the deficit.

The other Bush did it by going into Baghdad, cutting taxes and driving up the deficit.

But, perhaps inevitably, the father and son ended up in an Oedipal tango at the same spot: 31 percent.

After trying not to emulate his father's presidency in any way, W. emulated it in the worst possible way. He came out of a conflict with Saddam as a towering figure with soaring approval ratings and ended up as a shrunken figure with scalding approval ratings.

In the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, W.'s stunning implosion landed him in a tie with his dad's low point in July 1992, four months before the public traded in Poppy for Bill Clinton. As Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee noted in their Times article today, that is the lowest approval rating for any president in the last half-century, other than Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

Even Hillary Clinton has a more favorable rating than W. -- 34 percent. But the president can draw some solace: John Kerry's at 26 and Al Gore's at 28 percent. And Dick Cheney is in the bunker at 20.

But in the new poll, even many of the party faithful are glum. Only 45 percent of evangelical Christians, 69 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of conservatives like the way W. is taking care of bidness. A whopping 70 percent deem the country pretty seriously on the wrong track, and two-thirds consider the nation in worse shape now than when W. took over.

On the issues that earned Karl Rove his nickname, Boy Genius -- values and national security -- the shift was notable. Fifty percent of respondents said Democrats came closer to sharing their moral values, compared with 37 percent said Republicans did. And the G.O.P. retains a tenuous advantage on being seen as stronger on terrorism. The numbers for those who think we did the right thing invading Iraq are steadily dropping, and rising for those who believe we should have stayed out.

Many Americans have simply lost faith in the administration's ingenuity. Only a quarter of those polled had much confidence in W.'s ability to handle a crisis; a mere 9 percent are sure that he can successfully end the war in Iraq, and a paltry 4 percent think the administration has a clear plan for keeping gas prices down.

The Bush presidency has devolved to an assertion of empty will.

The White House blew off warnings from Republicans in Congress about appointing Gen. Michael Hayden as C.I.A. chief. You know you're in trouble when conservatives fret that the military is getting too much power.

If W. really cared about getting good intelligence for his war on terror, he would never have appointed Porter Goss. That wasted more than 18 months that could have been used fixing the dysfunctional agency, and drove out some good officials.

Mr. Goss, the Cheney toadie, was appointed because W. and Vice wanted him to go to Langley and do a hostile takeover to clear out suspected leakers (especially Kerry contributors), malcontents, critics of the war or anyone else who wasn't with the program.

Before the Iraq invasion, it was about fixing the intelligence around the policy. Now it's about appointing yes men and enforcing loyalty. The Bush warriors didn't want good intelligence in the first place because it would have told them they were wrong about Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda and W.M.D. And now they're still more concerned with turf battles than with truth-tellers, and finding someone -- anyone -- who can tell us where Osama is. (Osama who?)

Even Denny Hastert, the Republican speaker, scoffed at the Hayden move as a Negroponte "power grab."

The general is a Cheney pal who stood up for the White House's right to be unconstitutional, going along with the heinous warrantless snooping. That makes him one of the team and ready for a promotion, or a Medal of Freedom. He will no doubt be accommodating when Darth Cheney comes over to Langley to lurk around the analysts and oversee the evidence building a case on sending bombs rather than diplomats, to Iran.

Now that we're dealing with a crazed Iranian president, dreaming of nukes and writing an 18-page letter that sounds like an Israel-hating Islamic version of the Rapture, wouldn't it be great if our spooks could stop fighting and go spy on somebody?

If I were only her age and single.... ;>)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 03 May 06 - 07:30 AM

And will...

...but not in the next 1000 days according to the Liar in Chief...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: number 6
Date: 02 May 06 - 11:14 PM

Thanks for posting that link Amos .... that war has to end (period).


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 06 - 11:08 PM

Bob Herbert: War as It Really Is is a description of a movie that sounds very compelling. Even if you don't see the movie, reads the description.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 02 May 06 - 09:51 PM

The high point of the last few months on the political front has been watching Steven Colbert hand Bush his arse on a plate, while W sat still and tried to smile about it.

If Colbert dies a mysterious death in the next few months, the reason why is in this tape.

I would be ROFLMAO if it weren't so close to the truth.


(Part 1 goes almost all the way through. Part 2 starts with the introduction of "Joe Wilson, the most famous husband since Desi Arnez."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 01 May 06 - 08:41 PM

A brief excerpt from Farnk Rich's Op Ed in the NYT today:

Bush of a Thousand Days
By Frank Rich
New York Times Op-Ed

LIKE the hand that suddenly pops out of the grave at the end of "Carrie," the past keeps coming back to haunt the Bush White House. Last week was no exception. No sooner did the Great Decider introduce the Fox News showman anointed to repackage the same old bad decisions than the spotlight shifted back to Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury room, where Karl Rove testified for a fifth time. Nightfall brought the release of an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll with its record-low numbers for a lame-duck president with a thousand days to go and no way out.

The demons that keep rising up from the past to grab Mr. Bush are the fictional W.M.D. he wielded to take us into Iraq. They stalk him as relentlessly as Banquo's ghost did Macbeth. From that original sin, all else flows. Mr. Rove wouldn't be in jeopardy if the White House hadn't hatched a clumsy plot to cover up its fictions. Mr. Bush's poll numbers wouldn't be in the toilet if American blood was not being spilled daily because of his fictions. By recruiting a practiced Fox News performer to better spin this history, the White House reveals that it has learned nothing. Made-for-TV propaganda propelled the Bush presidency into its quagmire in the first place. At this late date only the truth, the whole and nothing but, can set it free.




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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 10:16 AM

The Most popular word now used by Republicans:

Alleged !!!!!!!!

"the alleged enviormental concerns of Mhtb gas additives..."
"the alleged misconduct of ______"
"The alleged climate change"
ect. ad infinitum

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 09:24 AM

Yeah, this caller has indeed been bush-wacked.... Actually, it was Bush the Father who started playin' the intellectual card long ago and taught his boys to do so as well... Plays real well to the uneducated and unenlightened...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Apr 06 - 08:56 AM

C-Span caller on the Republican line:

"I saw George W Bush at the corresponents dinner last night and he was wonderful. He may mot be articulate, like his father, but he is full of wisdom.
I'd rather have his wisdom than any Harvard educated liberal."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 04:07 PM

 Stuck With Bush
Bob Herbert

If George W. Bush could have been removed from office for being a bad president, he would have been sent back to his ranch a long time ago.

If incompetence were a criminal offense, he'd be behind bars.

But that's just daydreaming. The reality is that there are more than two and a half years left in the long dark night of the Bush presidency - nearly as long as the entire time John Kennedy was in office.

The nation seems, very belatedly, to be catching on to the tragic failures and monumental ineptitude of its president. Mr. Bush's poll numbers are abysmal. Republicans up for re-election are running from him as if he were the bogyman.

Callers to conservative talk radio programs who were once ecstatic about the president and his policies are now deeply disillusioned.

The libertarian Cato Institute is about to release a study titled "Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush." It says, "Unfortunately, far from defending the Constitution, President Bush has repeatedly sought to strip out the limits the document places on federal power." While I disagree with parts of the study, I certainly agree with that particular comment.

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, Sean Wilentz, a distinguished historian and the director of the American Studies program at Princeton University, takes a serious look at the possibility that Mr. Bush may be the worst president in the nation's history.

What in the world took so long? Some of us have known since the moment he hopped behind the wheel that this reckless president was driving the nation headlong toward a cliff.

The worst thing he did, of course, was to employ a massive campaign of deceit to lead the nation into a catastrophic war in Iraq - a war with no end in sight that has already claimed tens of thousands of lives and inflicted scores of thousands of crippling injuries.

When he was a young man, Mr. Bush used the Air National Guard to hide out from the draft in a time of war. Then, as president, he's suddenly G. I. George, strutting around in a flight suit, threatening to wage war on all and sundry, and taunting the insurgents in Iraq with a cry of "bring them on."

When the nation needed leadership on the critical problem of global warming, Mr. Bush took his cues from the honchos in the oil and gasoline industry, the very people who were setting the planet on fire. Now he talks about overcoming the nation's addiction to oil! This is amazing. Here's the president of the United States scaling the very heights of chutzpah. The Bush people and the oil people are indistinguishable. Condoleezza Rice, a former Chevron director, even had an oil tanker named after her.

Among the complaints in the Cato study is that the Bush administration has taken the position that despite validly enacted laws to the contrary, the president cannot be restrained "from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror."

This view has led to activities that I believe have brought great shame to the nation: the warrantless spying on Americans, the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the creation of the C.I.A.'s network of secret prisons, extraordinary rendition and the barbaric encampment at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in which detainees are held, without regard to guilt or innocence, in a nightmarish no man's land beyond the reach of any reasonable judicial process.

The sins of the Bush administration are so extensive and so egregious, they could never be adequately addressed in a newspaper column. History will be the final judge. But I've no doubt about the ultimate verdict.

Remember the Clinton budget surplus?

It was the largest in American history. President Bush and his cronies went after it like vultures feasting in a field of carcasses. They didn't invest the surplus. They devoured it.

Remember how most of the world responded with an extraordinary outpouring of sympathy and support for America in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11?

Mr. Bush had no idea how to seize that golden opportunity to build new alliances and strengthen existing ones. Much of that solidarity with America has morphed into outright hostility.

Remember Katrina?

The major task of Congress and the voters for the remainder of the Bush presidency is to curtail the destructive impulses of this administration, and to learn the lessons that will prevent similar horrors from ever happening again.

Just in case anyone thinks it's just Amos shooting off his mouth about this despot's idiotic record.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 01:22 PM

Sounds like someone has an issue with Being Right, but it ain't me.

This thread is not an ode to me. It is an Ode to the Odious -- a documentation of the worst Presidency ever foisted on this country.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Rufus
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 09:55 AM

Hey perfessor diarrhea brain:

You are on the wrong side and have been all of your life.

"Clooney conceded Friday in a television interview that he saw eye-to-eye with the president on the issue"

Amos is to obsessive compulsive to let his "ode to Amos" thread die.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM

From the New York Times' Paul Krugman: (excerpted):

The Great Revulsion
By Paul Krugman
New York Times Op-Ed

"I have a vision - maybe just a hope - of a great revulsion: a moment in which the American people look at what is happening, realize how their good will and patriotism have been abused, and put a stop to this drive to destroy much of what is best in our country."

I wrote those words three years ago in the introduction to my column collection, "The Great Unraveling." It seemed a remote prospect at the time: Baghdad had just fallen to U.S. troops, and President Bush had a 70 percent approval rating.

Now the great revulsion has arrived. The latest Fox News poll puts Mr. Bush's approval at only 33 percent. According to the polling firm Survey USA, there are only four states in which significantly more people approve of Mr. Bush's performance than disapprove: Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska. If we define red states as states where the public supports Mr. Bush, Red America now has a smaller population than New York City.

The proximate causes of Mr. Bush's plunge in the polls are familiar: the heck of a job he did responding to Katrina, the prescription drug debacle and, above all, the quagmire in Iraq.

But focusing too much on these proximate causes makes Mr. Bush's political fall from grace seem like an accident, or the result of specific missteps. That gets things backward. In fact, Mr. Bush's temporarily sky-high approval ratings were the aberration; the public never supported his real policy agenda.

Remember, in 2000 Mr. Bush got within hanging-chad and felon-purge distance of the White House only by pretending to be a moderate. In 2004 he ran on fear and smear, plus the pretense that victory in Iraq was just around the corner. (I've always thought that the turning point of the 2004 campaign was the September 2004 visit of the Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, a figurehead appointed by the Bush administration who rewarded his sponsors by presenting a falsely optimistic picture of the situation in Iraq.)

The real test of the conservative agenda came after the 2004 election, when Mr. Bush tried to sell the partial privatization of Social Security.

Social Security was for economic conservatives what Iraq was for the neocons, a soft target that they thought would pave the way for bigger conquests. And there couldn't have been a more favorable moment for privatization than the winter of 2004-2005: Mr. Bush loved to assert that he had a "mandate" from the election; Republicans held solid, disciplined majorities in both houses of Congress; and many prominent political pundits were in favor of private accounts.

Yet Mr. Bush's drive on Social Security ran into a solid wall of public opposition, and collapsed within a few months. And if Social Security couldn't be partly privatized under those conditions, the conservative dream of dismantling the welfare state is nothing but a fantasy.

So what's left of the conservative agenda? Not much....

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:48 PM

Check out this puppy (I hope to gawd the blue clicky works this time):

I am the Egghead
I am the Egghead

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:36 PM

Sane people, pushed hard enough by insane people, will resort to humor before they revolt openly.


A Dictionary of Republicanisms

Alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil.
[Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, CO]

Bankruptcy n. A punishable crime when committed by poor people but
not by corporations.
[Beth Thielen, Studio City, Calif.]

"burning bush" n. A biblical allusion to the response of the
President of the United States, when asked a question by a
journalist who has not been paid to inquire.
[Bill Moyers, New York, NY]

Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils.
[Jacob McCullar, Austin, Tex.]

Class warfare n. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage
[Don Zweir, Grayslake, Ill.]

Climate change n. The blessed day when the blue states are swallowed
by the oceans.
[Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ]

Compassionate conservatism n Poignant concern for the very wealthy
(Lawrence Sandek, Twin Peaks, Calif.]

Creationism n. Pseudoscience that claims George W. Bush's resemblance
to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental
[Brian Sweeney, Providence, RI].

DeLay, Tom n. 1. Past tense of De Lie
[Rick Rodstrom, Los Angeles, Calif.].
2. Patronage saint
[Andrew Magni, Nonatum, Mass.].

Extraordinary rendition n. Outsourcing torture
[Milton Feldon, Laguna Woods, Calif.].

Faith n. The stubborn belief that God approves of Republican moral
values despite the preponderance of textual evidence to the contrary
[Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

Free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense
[Sean O'Brian, Chicago, Ill.].

Girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately
[Nick Gill, Newton, Mass.].

God n. Senior presidential adviser
[Martin Richard, Belgrade, Mont.].

Growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich.
2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans
cut taxes on the rich
(Matthew Polly, Topeka, Kans.].

Healthy forest n. No tree left behind
[Dan McWilliams, Santa Barbara, Calif.].

Honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Freedom
is on the march"
[Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to
$5 million (See Senate)
[Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

Laziness n. When the poor are not working
[Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

Leisure time n. When the wealthy are not working
[Justin Rezzonico, Keene, Ohio].

Liberal(s) n. Followers of the Antichrist
[Ann Wegher, Montello, Wisc.].

No Child Left Behind riff. 1. v. There are always jobs in the military
[Ann Klopp, Princeton, NJ].
2. n. The rapture
[Samantha Hess, Cottonwood, Ariz.]

Ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population
controls 90 percent of the wealth
[Michael Albert, Piscataway, NJ].

Patriot Act n. 1. The preemptive strike on American freedoms to
prevent the terrorists from destroying them first.
2. The elimination of one of the reasons why they hate us
[Michael Thomas, Socorro, NM].

Pro-life adj. Valuing human life up until birth
[Kevin Weaver, San Francisco, Calif.].

Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million
[Adam Hochschild, San Francisco, Calif.].

Simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors
[Katrina vanden Heuvel, New York, NY].

Staying the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same stupid
thing over and over, regardless of the result
[Suzanne Smith, Ann Arbor, Mich.].

Stuff happens interj. Slang. Donald Rumsfeld as master historian
[Sheila and Chalmers Johnson, San Diego, Calif.].

Voter fraud n. A significant minority turnout
[Sue Bazy, Philadelphia, Pa.].

Woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child, but can't be
trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the child.
2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her
reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to
have sex in the first place.
[Denise Clay, Philadelphia

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 03:34 PM

Jeezus Criminy. Old Guy can't even let this thread go after all these months? Maybe he thinks I am single handedly responsible for his Bushman falling into tragic disrepute as a result ofhis unerring idiocy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 01:29 PM

Warning: Bobert advises that GUEST's thoughts are not complete. Think them at your own risk. The Surgeon General reports that thinking GUEST's incomplete thoughts may lead to erosion of certainty, compromised awareness of self doubt of the other's Existence...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:14 PM

President Bush, First Lady Laura and Dick Cheney were flying on Air
Force One. George looked at Laura, chuckled and said, "You know, I
could throw a $1,000 bill out of the window right now and make
somebody very happy."

Laura shrugged her shoulders and replied, "I could throw ten $100
bills out of the window and make ten people very happy."

Cheney added, "That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10
bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy."

Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his
co-pilot, "Such big-shots back there. Shit, I could throw all of them
out of the window and make 56 million people very happy."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 27 Mar 06 - 11:07 AM

An excerpt from a NEw York Times expose on Bush' longt term insistence on going to war:

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says

               E-Mail This
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Published: March 27, 2006
LONDON — In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

Skip to next paragraph

Doug Mills/The New York Times
Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and President Bush arriving for a White House news conference on Jan. 31, 2003, after a meeting about Iraq that would be summarized in a memorandum by an adviser to Mr. Blair.

Forum: The Transition in Iraq
But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Mr. Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, wrote in the memo that summarized the discussion between Mr. Bush, Mr. Blair and six of their top aides.

"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. "This was when the bombing would begin."

The timetable came at an important diplomatic moment. Five days after the Bush-Blair meeting, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was scheduled to appear before the United Nations to present the American evidence that Iraq posed a threat to world security by hiding unconventional weapons.

Although the United States and Britain aggressively sought a second United Nations resolution against Iraq — which they failed to obtain — the president said repeatedly that he did not believe he needed it for an invasion.

Stamped "extremely sensitive," the five-page memorandum, which was circulated among a handful of Mr. Blair's most senior aides, had not been made public. Several highlights were first published in January in the book "Lawless World," which was written by a British lawyer and international law professor, Philippe Sands. In early February, Channel 4 in London first broadcast several excerpts from the memo.

Since then, The New York Times has reviewed the five-page memo in its entirety. While the president's sentiments about invading Iraq were known at the time, the previously unreported material offers an unfiltered view of two leaders on the brink of war, yet supremely confident.

The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.

The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.

Those proposals were first reported last month in the British press, but the memo does not make clear whether they reflected Mr. Bush's extemporaneous suggestions, or were elements of the government's plan.

Consistent Remarks

Two senior British officials confirmed the authenticity of the memo, but declined to talk further about it, citing Britain's Official Secrets Act, which made it illegal to divulge classified information. But one of them said, "In all of this discussion during the run-up to the Iraq war, it is obvious that viewing a snapshot at a certain point in time gives only a partial view of the decision-making process."

On Sunday, Frederick Jones, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said the president's public comments were consistent with his private remarks made to Mr. Blair. "While the use of force was a last option, we recognized that it might be necessary and were planning accordingly," Mr. Jones said.

"The public record at the time, including numerous statements by the President, makes clear that the administration was continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution into 2003," he said. "Saddam Hussein was given every opportunity to comply, but he chose continued defiance, even after being given one final opportunity to comply or face serious consequences. Our public and private comments are fully consistent."

The January 2003 memo is the latest in a series of secret memos produced by top aides to Mr. Blair that summarize private discussions between the president and the prime minister. Another group of British memos, including the so-called Downing Street memo written in July 2002, showed that some senior British officials had been concerned that the United States was determined to invade Iraq, and that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy by the Bush administration to fit its desire to go to war."

From this article


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Mar 06 - 04:23 PM

The LA Times today opines:

"Good versus evil isn't a strategy
Bush's worldview fails to see that in the Middle East, power politics is the key.
By Madeleine Albright
March 24, 2006

THE BUSH administration's newly unveiled National Security Strategy might well be subtitled "The Irony of Iran." Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the invention of the phrase "axis of evil," the administration now highlights the threat posed by Iran — whose radical government has been vastly strengthened by the invasion of Iraq. This is more tragedy than strategy, and it reflects the Manichean approach this administration has taken to the world.

It is sometimes convenient, for purposes of rhetorical effect, for national leaders to talk of a globe neatly divided into good and bad. It is quite another, however, to base the policies of the world's most powerful nation upon that fiction. The administration's penchant for painting its perceived adversaries with the same sweeping brush has led to a series of unintended consequences.

For years, the president has acted as if Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein's followers and Iran's mullahs were parts of the same problem. Yet, in the 1980s, Hussein's Iraq and Iran fought a brutal war. In the 1990s, Al Qaeda's allies murdered a group of Iranian diplomats. For years, Osama bin Laden ridiculed Hussein, who persecuted Sunni and Shiite religious leaders alike. When Al Qaeda struck the U.S. on 9/11, Iran condemned the attacks and later participated constructively in talks on Afghanistan. The top leaders in the new Iraq — chosen in elections that George W. Bush called "a magic moment in the history of liberty" — are friends of Iran. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, Bush may have thought he was striking a blow for good over evil, but the forces unleashed were considerably more complex.

The administration is now divided between those who understand this complexity and those who do not. On one side, there are ideologues, such as the vice president, who apparently see Iraq as a useful precedent for Iran. Meanwhile, officials on the front lines in Iraq know they cannot succeed in assembling a workable government in that country without the tacit blessing of Iran; hence, last week's long-overdue announcement of plans for a U.S.-Iranian dialogue on Iraq — a dialogue that if properly executed might also lead to progress on other issues.

Although this is not an administration known for taking advice, I offer three suggestions. The first is to understand that although we all want to "end tyranny in this world," that is a fantasy unless we begin to solve hard problems. Iraq is increasingly a gang war that can be solved in one of two ways: by one side imposing its will or by all the legitimate players having a piece of the power. The U.S. is no longer able to control events in Iraq, but it can be useful as a referee."....

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 08:07 PM

Not enough to hang your hat on, RL, sorry -- let alone murdering folks on the strength of it.
Of course, you may feel murder is more easily justified than I do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 07:40 PM

"A friend currently serving in Iraq gave me permission to post
these comments of his:

   Interesting series of letters in the Stars and Stripes lately, with
   many service members of all ranks writing in to criticize Bush, and
   several others writing back to say they weren't permitted to do that
   under Article 88 of the UCMJ and Article 92 of the UCMJ. Finally a
   JAG lawyer wrote in to say that criticism itself isn't illegal under
   Article 88, as long as no contempt is expressed, and Article 92
   doesn't apply because that is about failure to follow orders.

   Now here is where it gets really interesting...At this point, a
   Major writes in to point out that in fact, Article 88 has been
   refined recently by DoD directive 1344.10, governing political
   activity by military personnel. The directive specifically states
   that a service member may not use contemptuous language against an
   office holder, which is further defined as the President, Vice
   President, Congress, Secretary of Defense, the secretary of a
   military department, and so on down to the state level.

   So what it amounts to is this: if a service member criticizes anyone
   in office, they can be busted if their langauge is found to be
   "contemptuous." I have yet to see this regulation applied, but the
   means is there.

   When was the DoD directive signed? August 2nd, 2004--under George
   W. Bush.

for the full text of that DoD directive".

From the IP List server.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,rarelamb
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 07:24 PM

"Of all the through-the-looking-glass moments in the last few days, the strangest is this:"

For me Amos it was looking into the eyes of all those liberals, who had previously been beating their tables with their shoes, proclaiming there was no link between Al Queda and Iraq, when they read this article.

Al Queda and Iraq link

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 07:09 PM

Of all the through-the-looking-glass moments in the last few days, the strangest is this: The F.B.I officer who arrested and questioned Zacarias Moussaoui told a jury that he had alerted his superiors about 70 times that Mr. Moussaoui was a radical Islamic fundamentalist who hated America and might be plotting to hijack an airplane.

Seventy? That makes one time for every virgin waiting for Mr. Moussaoui in heaven. Judging by how disastrously the prosecution is doing, the virgins will have to wait.

We could have cracked the 9/11 plot if the F.B.I. wasn't run by dunces. Mr. Moussaoui's lawyers got a break because according to the testimony of the officer, Harry Samit, a better-run bureau could have broken the case even without the terrorist's confession - maybe F.B.I. officers should have shot him with some paintballs.

On Sept. 10, 2001, Mr. Samit confided to a colleague that he was "desperate to get into Moussaoui's computer." He never heard back from the F.B.I.'s bin Laden unit before 9/11 - what did the unit have to do that was more pressing than catching bin Laden? And he was obstructed by officials in F.B.I. headquarters here, whom he labeled "criminally negligent."

He named two of the officials who did not want to endanger their careers with any excess aggression toward radical fundamentalists: David Frasca and Michael Maltbie, then working on the Radical Fundamentalist Unit.

Even though Condi Rice told the 9/11 commission that "no one could have imagined" terrorists' slamming a plane into the World Trade Center, an F.B.I. officer did. Officer Samit testified that a colleague, Greg Jones, tried to light a fire under Mr. Maltbie by urging him to "prevent Zacarias Moussaoui from flying a plane into the World Trade Center."

Later, Mr. Jones told Mr. Samit that it had just been "a lucky guess."

Kenneth Williams, a Phoenix agent, also sent a warning memo to the phlegmatic Mr. Frasca in July 2001, after sniffing out a scheme by Osama to dispatch Middle East extremists to America to get flight training.

Neil Lewis wrote in The Times yesterday that "William Carter, an F.B.I. spokesman, said that neither the bureau nor Mr. Maltbie nor Mr. Frasca, who are still employed there, would have any comment."

Still employed there? How can Mr. Maltbie and Mr. Frasca still be employed at the F.B.I.? How can Michael Chertoff still be employed at Homeland Security? How can Donald Rumsfeld still be employed at the Pentagon?

Missing 9/11, missing Katrina, mangling Iraq, racking up a $9 trillion debt - those things don't cause officials to lose their jobs. Only saying something honest - as prescient Gen. Eric Shinseki did - can get you a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

Rummy told reporters last week that the military was preparing for a civil war in Iraq, but he did not consider it a civil war yet - even though he acknowledged it was hard to tell exactly when chaos tipped into civil war.

"I don't think it'll look like the United States' Civil War," he added sanguinely. Yeah. At Fort Sumter, Lincoln let the enemy fire first. So the defense secretary believes if the body count stays below the Civil War era's 600,000, Iraq will achieve a healthy blue-state, red-state democracy?

One administration official says that Rummy does not hold the same sway in meetings anymore, that he's treated as an eccentric old uncle who pops off and is ignored. But why can't W. just quit him? Instead, the president praised him for doing "a fine job" on two wars and transforming the military, when Rummy actually bullied the military to go along with his foolish schemes in Iraq and has sapped the once-feared fighting machine.

At his impromptu press conference yesterday, the president presented himself as a nice guy doing a difficult job, relentlessly joshing with reporters. He chided the press for playing into terrorists' goals by showing bad news from Iraq - "they're capable of blowing up innocent life so it ends up on your TV show" - even as reports surfaced about insurgents outside Baghdad storming a jail, slaughtering 18 police officers and letting the prisoners out, following fast upon an insurgent raid on Iraqi Army headquarters in Kirkuk. Does the president think TV will instead report on an increase in melon sales at the market?

When the Bushies harp on training Iraqi security forces so America can hand the country over to them, it has a hollow ring. Back in 2003, the U.S. de-Baathified Iraq and put its faith in its friends, the Shiites. Now, given the suspected Shiite death squads and militias, the U.S. wants to bring the Sunnis back into the system. So whom do we trust? And for how long?

Asked if he could envision a day when there would be no more U.S. forces in Iraq, the president said, "That, of course, is an objective." But he added that it would be decided by future Iraqi governments and future American presidents.

Once W. is not still employed there.

(From my favorite redhead at the New York Times....)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 06 - 10:44 AM

An interesting assessment of the costs and prognosis for the Madness of King George can be found on this editorial page.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 08:49 PM

I ain't too mush for censoring folks but, hey, Bush is a liar and a crook... But, ahhh, will this shut him up???

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 08:46 PM

Subject: Leahy: The assault on the public's right to know
The assault on the public's right to know

By Sen. Patrick Leahy

March 12, 2006
As we take stock during the second annual "Sunshine Week," we
confront the disturbing reality that the foundations of our open government are under
direct assault from the first White House in modern times that is openly
hostile to the public's right to know.

The right to know is a cornerstone of our democracy. Without it,
are kept in the dark about key policy decisions that directly affect
their lives. Without open government, citizens cannot make informed choices
at the ballot box. Without access to public documents and a vibrant free press,
officials can make decisions in the shadows, often in collusion with
special interests, escaping accountability for their actions. And once
eroded, these rights are hard to win back.

The right to know is nourished by openness and vigorous congressional
oversight of federal agencies, but both are sorely lacking, and
government effectiveness and accountability have been among the casualties.

The disastrous failure to prepare for and respond to Hurricane
Katrina is only the most recent example, but a glaring one. Despite misleading
assertions in the storm's horrific aftermath, we now know that the White
House was warned in advance that the levees could fail in a
hurricane. We have belatedly seen videotapes in which President Bush was cautioned
by FEMA officials of this great danger.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) empowers the American people to
pry information from their government that agencies would prefer to keep
away. Americans learned more about Abu Ghraib and conditions at
from FOIA requests than from oversight by Congress.

As we celebrate FOIA's fourth decade as law, we also watch its
erosion as a
target of attacks such as when the Administration pushed an overly broad
FOIA waiver for the Department of Homeland Security's charter -- the
biggest rollback of FOIA in its 40-year history.

Our free press and the consciences of whistleblowers also serve the
right to know. We would not know of the domestic spying program
conducted in
secret by the National Security Agency, with the full approval of the
House, unless the press had revealed it last December. The Department of
Justice is stonewalling Congress's efforts to obtain facts on this
while threatening to prosecute reporters who disclosed the illegal
to the public.

The Bush administration has kept vital facts secret by silencing
and experts. We saw it with the gagging of NASA scientist James Hansen,
whose conclusions about the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions and
warming differed with Administration policy. This administration also
secretly let lobbyists from polluting industries write rules on mercury
emissions, overriding the advice of the EPA's scientists and even
drawing a
harsh rebuke from EPA's inspector general. This tacit war on science
--trumping scientific evidence with ideology -- has also victimized
access to the Plan B pill and cut international family planning funds
help the poorest of the poor, even though the evidence is clear that
funds reduce the numbers of abortions.

This kind of secrecy produces bad policies, as we saw when the Bush
administration tried to hide the true cost of its Medicare
prescription drug plan from Congress and the American people. While they were twisting
congressional arms for votes on the program, political leaders at
Medicare told Congress the price tag was $400 billion. Medicare's own accountants
projected the cost to be $500 billion to $600 billion, but one of those
career staff, Richard Foster, was threatened with being fired if he told
Congress the truth.

We saw it again when the political leadership of the Justice Department
overruled career lawyers who found that Congressman Tom DeLay's Texas
redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power.
Career attorneys also found that a Georgia voter-identification law would
discriminate against black voters. The Department's political leaders
dismissed these findings and quietly approved both plans. We only
learned of these politically-motivated decisions later when the press obtained
documents and made them public.

In a situation that borders on the absurd, the intelligence agencies
have been quietly reclassifying documents that were open for years. This
program began in 1999 but has exploded under this Administration, which has
reclassified more than 55,000 pages. Even the Archivist of the United
States said he knew "precious little" of the program until it was revealed
by the press. The examples go on and on. The Bush administration has
displayed a near-total disdain for the free press and the public's right to know.

Sunshine Week invites an inventory check on tools like the Freedom of
Information Act that make real the public's right to know. Attacks on
these tools only erode that right. A free, open and accountable democracy
is what our forefathers fought and died for, and it is the duty of each new
generation to protect this vital heritage and inheritance.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:18 PM

How about a platform to restore Constitutional freedoms the way they were before King George snuck in?

How about a platform to restore the honor of the name if the United STates fiscally and politically around the world?

How about re-establshing the once automatic link in people's minds between "US" and "principles, justice, and individual rights"?

How about establishing a Federal ethics code as a starter?

How about a platform to make hidden law-making, however contrived, illegal?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 07:46 PM

Yeah, good joke Amos... 'Cept it's purdy close to being the truth...

What buggin me these days is not the Repubs but the Dems... Every dat they remind me of why I'm a Green... Hey, I expect the Repubs to be crooks but why is it that the Dems won't step up to the plate with some initiatives of their own... Karl Rove has a carefully crafted PR campaign going right now to paint the Dems as the party with no ideas and guess what... It's working mainly becasue the Dems dobn't have any, or if they do, they have them locked up in a safe...

Winning elections and changing policies takes more than beating up on the mental midget... Yeah, I like bashing Bush, too, but over the years I have propsed alternative policy proposals... The beating up the mental midget philosophy is starting to take it's toll on progressives as Bush's failures are so vast it's tempting to jump on him rather than ignore the dunce and move on...

The Congressioanl Repubs have allready figured this out which means to me that the Dems don't deserve to have any more power if they aren't even smart enough to do what the Repubs are doing... Hey, if this was the '08 election it would be one thing but the dems are Hell bent on blowing the best opportinty they have had going back a couple decades here with this mid=term...

I know this ain't got much to do with Bush but...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 05:38 PM

President Bush was scheduled to worship at a small Methodist Church outside Washington, D.C. as part of Karl Rove's campaign to reverse Bush's rapidly deteriorating approval ratings. A week before the visit, Rove called on the Methodist Bishop who was scheduled to preach on the chosen Sunday. "As you know, Bishop," began Rove, "we've been getting a lot of bad publicity among Methodists because of the president's position on stem cell research and the like. We'd gladly arrange for Jack Abramoff's friends to make a contribution of $100,000 to the church if during your sermon you would say that President Bush is a saint." The Bishop thought about it for a few minutes, and finally said, "This parish is in rather desperate need of funds ... I'll agree to do it."

The following Sunday, Bush pompously showed up for the photo op, looking especially smug even while attempting to appear pious. After making a few announcements, the Bishop began his homily:

"George W. Bush is a petty, vindictive, sanctimonious hypocrite and a nitwit. He is a liar, a cheat, and a low-intelligence weasel with the world's largest chip on his shoulder. He used every dirty election trick in the book and still lost, but his toadies in the Supreme Court appointed him. He lied about his military record in which he used special privilege to avoid combat, and then had the gall to dress up and pose on an aircraft carrier before a banner stating 'Mission Accomplished.' He invaded a sovereign country for oil and war profiteering, turning Iraq into a training ground for terrorists who would destroy our country.

He continues to confuse the American people by insisting on a nonexistent connection between the horrors of 9/11 and the reason he started his war in Iraq. He routinely appoints incompetent and unqualified cronies to high-level federal government positions and as a result, hundreds and hundreds of Americans died tragically in New Orleans. He lets corporate polluters despoil God's creation and doom our planet. He uses fear-mongering to justify warrantless spying on American citizens, in clear violation of our Constitution. He is so psychotic and megalomaniacal that he believes that he was chosen by God.

He is the worst example of a Methodist I have ever personally known.

But compared to Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and the rest of the evil fascist bastards in this administration, George W. Bush is a saint."

This is a joke which is presently circulating the internet. The question it raises is what the tenor of our national sentiment is when symptoms like this can be found in many places?

Better than Fort Sumter, I guess.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 05:33 PM

Nipping and Tucking on Both Coasts
By Maureen Dowd
New York Times Op-Ed

There is a crash of ideologies between the country's two most self-regarding and fantasy-spinning power centers. The Bush crowd cringes away from gay cowboys spooning, gay authors flouncing, transgender babes exploring and George the Dashing Clooneying in movies about the glories of free speech and the dangers of oilmen influencing policy.

But as I looked around Vanity Fair's slinky Oscar party on Sunday night, it struck me that the bellicose Bushies do share a presentation aesthetic with Tinseltown's trompe l'oeil beauties: you see no furrowed brows, no regretful winces, no unflattering wrinkles, no admissions of imperfection, no qualms about puffing up what you really have, no visible signs of hard lessons learned, and no desire to confront reality in the mirror.

Who ever thought Dick Cheney and Mamie Van Doren would have so much in common?

The White House is constantly trying to do laser resurfacing on its Iraq policy, to sandblast away the damage from its own mistakes. ...
In Hollywood terms, we've reached an Indiana Jones crisis moment in our parlous protectorate. The cave is collapsing, the snakes are encroaching, the vehicles are exploding, the crushing ball is rolling down on us. The public has stopped buying the administration's sugary spin. The Washington Post reported yesterday that 80 percent of Americans - cutting across party lines - say sectarian violence makes civil war in Iraq likely. More than a third call it "very likely." Half also think the U.S. should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, the poll found, and two-thirds say the president has no clear plan for Iraq.

The widespread resistance to the Dubai ports deal, even among newly fractious Republicans, indicates that Americans have lost faith in the president's competence — a faith shredded by the White House's obtuseness and lies on Katrina.

As Hollywood often does, the administration scorns introspection and originality. It sticks with the same worn themes: Stay the course. Victory's around the corner. Anyone who expresses skepticism is a defeatist, a softie on terrorism.

On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraq was "going very, very well, from everything you look at." And on Tuesday at a Pentagon briefing, Rummy, who should have resigned in shame long ago, tried to blame the press, echoing Gen. George Casey in saying: "Much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation."

He added, "The steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists."

After all the horrible mistakes in judgment the defense secretary has made - mistakes that have left our troops without proper backup and armor, created an inept and corrupt occupation, and confused soldiers into thinking torture was O.K. - it takes humongous gall to suggest that the problem is really the reporters.

Many experts say we're close to a civil war - or already in one. Even the U.S. envoy, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, told The Los Angeles Times on Monday that the invasion of Iraq had opened a "Pandora's box" of tribal and religious fissures that could devour the region. His words evoked a harrowing image of the bad spirits swarming up the mountain in Disney's "Fantasia" as Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" played.

He said that if there's another incident like the Shiite shrine's being blown up, Iraq is "really vulnerable."

The Pentagon says it'll look once more at the death by friendly fire of the football player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, because the first three inquiries were tainted - one more sad illustration of the administration's cynical attempt not to let anything get in the way of its heroic, and dermatologically plumped up, story line for America.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 04 Mar 06 - 02:37 PM

The New York Timers is hard on Bushie this week.

Thomas Friedman slices thropugh the war of PR on the military track:

Thomas Friedman: The Big Question

New York Times Op-Ed

Since the start of the Iraq war, it's been clear that "victory" rested on the answer to one Big Question: Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq was the way Iraq was - a country congenitally divided among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds that can be held together only by an iron fist.

Unfortunately, to answer this big question - even Iraqis didn't know - the U.S. had to provide a minimum degree of security for all Iraqis, so people could feel relaxed enough to think beyond their most narrow tribal or religious identities. We didn't do that, because of President Bush's decision to approach the Iraq invasion with the Rumsfeld Doctrine, which calls for just enough troops to fail, rather than the proven Powell Doctrine, which calls for overwhelming force to win.

What happened in the absence of an overwhelming U.S. force was the looting of government buildings and ammo dumps, open borders for infiltrators, and then widespread insecurity, which naturally prompted Iraqis to fall back on tribal loyalties and militias, rather than trusting the Iraqi Army or the police. People are very good at figuring out who will protect them in a crisis, and too many Iraqis opted for local militias.

Yes, we are now better at training an Iraqi Army and have held national elections. But the failure to provide security after the invasion means we are trying to build these national institutions in competition with the insurgents, Qaeda terrorists, Shiite death squads and sectarian Iraqi militias that sprouted in the security vacuum.

One thing that covering the Lebanese civil war taught me was this: once sectarian militias take root, they develop their own interests and are very hard to uproot. "Militias are the infrastructure of civil war, and the basis of warlordism," the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, told The Washington Post.

This did not have to be. The Bush team repeatedly declared that it had enough troops in Iraq and that no one on the ground was asking for more. Totally untrue. As Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian administration in Iraq, reveals in his new book, "My Year in Iraq," he repeatedly asked for more troops, but was ignored.

Mr. Bremer confesses in his book: "Coalition forces were spread too thin on the ground. During my morning intelligence briefings, I would sometimes picture an understrength fire crew racing from one blaze to another." He writes that he told Condoleezza Rice in 2003, "The coalition's got about half the number of soldiers we need here, and we run a real risk of having this thing go south on us."

Mr. Bremer describes this in 2004: "On May 18, I gave Rice a heads-up that I intended to send Secretary Rumsfeld a very private message suggesting that the coalition needed more troops. ... That afternoon I sent my message. ... I noted that the deterioration of the security situation since April had made it clear, to me at least, that we were trying to cover too many fronts with too few resources." But, Mr. Bremer writes of Mr. Rumsfeld, "I did not hear back from him."

Because the U.S. never deployed enough troops, America alone cannot establish order in Iraq today. We don't have a way to do that. And Iraq's Army, no matter how well trained, will never have enough will - without a broad political consensus. So we're down to the last hope, and it's a mighty thin reed. The only people who can produce a decent outcome now are Iraq's new leaders - by coming together, burying their hatchets, forging a real national unity government and getting their followers to follow.

And Paul Krugman lambasts "George the Unready":

"...This is the season of decision. We have an Iraqi government elected on the basis of an Iraqi-written constitution. Either the elected Iraqi leaders will heroically come together and forge a national unity government - and save Iraq - or they will divide Iraq. Our job was to help them decide in a reasonably secure environment, not in a shooting gallery. We failed in that task, but they will have to decide nevertheless.

It is Iraqis who will now tell Americans whether they should stay or go. A majority of Americans, in a gut way, always understood the value of trying to produce a democratizing government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world. That is why there has been no big antiwar movement. Americans should, and will, stick with Iraq if they sense that Iraqis are on a pathway to building a decent, stable government. But Americans will not, and should not, baby-sit an Iraqi civil war. The minute they sense that's what's happening, you will see the bottom fall out of U.S. public support for this war.

Categories: Thomas L Friedman The Big Question

Paul Krugman: George The Unready

George The Unready
By Paul Krugman
New York Times Op-Ed

Iraqi insurgents, hurricanes and low-income Medicare recipients have three things in common. Each has been at the center of a policy disaster. In each case experts warned about the impending disaster. And in each case - well, let's look at what happened.

Knight Ridder's Washington bureau reports that from 2003 on, intelligence agencies "repeatedly warned the White House" that "the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war." But senior administration officials insisted that the insurgents were a mix of dead-enders and foreign terrorists.

Intelligence analysts who refused to go along with that line were attacked for not being team players. According to U.S. News & World Report, President Bush's reaction to a pessimistic report from the C.I.A.'s Baghdad station chief was to remark, "What is he, some kind of defeatist?"

Many people have now seen the video of the briefing Mr. Bush received before Hurricane Katrina struck. Much has been made of the revelation that Mr. Bush was dishonest when he claimed, a few days later, that nobody anticipated the breach of the levees.

But what's really striking, given the gravity of the warnings, is the lack of urgency Mr. Bush and his administration displayed in responding to the storm. A horrified nation watched the scenes of misery at the Superdome and wondered why help hadn't arrived. But as Newsweek reports, for several days nobody was willing to tell Mr. Bush, who "equates disagreement with disloyalty," how badly things were going. "For most of those first few days," Newsweek says, "Bush was hearing what a good job the Feds were doing."

Now for one you may not have heard about. The new Medicare drug program got off to a disastrous start: "Low-income Medicare beneficiaries around the country were often overcharged, and some were turned away from pharmacies without getting their medications, in the first week of Medicare's new drug benefit," The New York Times reported.

How did this happen? The same way the other disasters happened: experts who warned of trouble ahead were told to shut up.

We can get a sense of what went on by looking at a 2005 report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on potential problems with the drug program. Included with the report is a letter from Mark McClellan, the Medicare administrator. Rather than taking the concerns of the G.A.O. seriously, he tried to bully it into changing its conclusions. He demanded that the report say that the administration had "established effective contingency plans" - which it hadn't - and that it drop the assertion that some people would encounter difficulties obtaining necessary drugs, which is exactly what happened.

Experts within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must have faced similar bullying. And unlike experts at the independent G.A.O., they were not in a position to stand up for what they knew to be true.

In short, our country is being run by people who assume that things will turn out the way they want. And if someone warns of problems, they shoot the messenger.

Some commentators speak of the series of disasters now afflicting the Bush administration - there seems to be a new one every week - as if it were just a string of bad luck. But it isn't.

If good luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, bad luck is what happens when lack of preparation meets a challenge. And our leaders, who think they can govern through a mix of wishful thinking and intimidation, are never, ever prepared."...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 28 Feb 06 - 09:45 AM

William Buckley Jr., the arch-conservative's conservative, reflects on the core postulates behind Bush's war experiment:

February 24, 2006, 2:51 p.m.
It Didn't Work

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes — it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that "The bombing has completely demolished" what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats.

A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed.

One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom.

The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence.

This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure. It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail.

It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail — in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take? It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat. ..."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 27 Feb 06 - 10:06 AM

John Dickerson, writing in Slate, offers a list of "Bush critics you should trust", because they (a) are from the Republican side of the fence and (b) think carefully about thier criticisms. Worth a look.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 06 - 04:42 PM

I've recently learned of an interesting resource that may be of interest to
others: Dr. Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired USAF Lt Col who spent her
final assignment as a political-military affairs officer in the Office of
the Secretary of Defense (

Basically, Karen worked alongside the Office of Special Plans (OSP, which
was originally created by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to review raw information collected by the official
U.S. intelligence agencies for connections between Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein and al-Qaeda. In this capacity, she seems to have had unusual
insight into the claims that Rumsfeld et al exaggerated and manipulated
intelligence about Iraq before passing it along to the White House.

Here are a few links of interest:

Career Officer Does Eye-Opening Stint Inside Pentagon

"What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and
discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of
``intelligence'' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the
post-Hussein occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps,
one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary
of Defense."

Karen Kwiatkowski: Archives

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 25 Feb 06 - 12:58 PM

An excerpt from a recent column by Paul Krugman, N.Y. Times, which is of interest and historical value for its documentation of the early orders of Rumsfield regarding Hussein, as early as 9-12-02.

The storm of protest over the planned takeover of some U.S. port operations by Dubai Ports World doesn't make sense viewed in isolation. The Bush administration clearly made no serious effort to ensure that the deal didn't endanger national security. But that's nothing new - the administration has spent the past four and a half years refusing to do anything serious about protecting the nation's ports.

So why did this latest case of sloppiness and indifference finally catch the public's attention? Because this time the administration has become a victim of its own campaign of fearmongering and insinuation.

Let's go back to the beginning. At 2:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld gave military commanders their marching orders. "Judge whether good enough hit S. H. [Saddam Hussein] @ same time - not only UBL [Osama bin Laden]," read an aide's handwritten notes about his instructions. The notes were recently released after a Freedom of Information Act request. "Hard to get a good case," the notes acknowledge. Nonetheless, they say: "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

So it literally began on Day 1. When terrorists attacked the United States, the Bush administration immediately looked for ways it could exploit the atrocity to pursue unrelated goals - especially, but not exclusively, a war with Iraq.

But to exploit the atrocity, President Bush had to do two things. First, he had to create a climate of fear: Al Qaeda, a real but limited threat, metamorphosed into a vast, imaginary axis of evil threatening America. Second, he had to blur the distinctions between nasty people who actually attacked us and nasty people who didn't.

The administration successfully linked Iraq and 9/11 in public perceptions through a campaign of constant insinuation and occasional outright lies. In the process, it also created a state of mind in which all Arabs were lumped together in the camp of evildoers. Osama, Saddam - what's the difference?

Now comes the ports deal. Mr. Bush assures us that "people don't need to worry about security." But after all those declarations that we're engaged in a global war on terrorism, after all the terror alerts declared whenever the national political debate seemed to be shifting to questions of cronyism, corruption and incompetence, the administration can't suddenly change its theme song to "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

The administration also tells us not to worry about having Arabs control port operations. "I want those who are questioning it," Mr. Bush said, "to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company."

He was being evasive, of course. This isn't just a Middle Eastern company; it's a company controlled by the monarchy in Dubai, which is part of the authoritarian United Arab Emirates, one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan.

But more to the point, after years of systematically suggesting that Arabs who didn't attack us are the same as Arabs who did, the administration can't suddenly turn around and say, "But these are good Arabs."


This helps make the story clear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Feb 06 - 07:07 PM

"As a result of the full-page impeachment ads in newspapers, the mass demonstrations, rallies in Congressional districts, and the more than 650,000 people that have joined the impeachment campaign at, the political climate in the United States has changed.

There are now 27 members of the House of Representatives, including John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee who are supporting a bill, H. Res 635, calling for "a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before Congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment."

"Our principles are enshrined in our Constitution and a system of duly enacted laws, and in a government where all are accountable and no one is above the law," stated Rep. Barbara Lee of California, one of the co-sponsors of the impeachment inquiry. "Our Constitution gives us a system of checks and balances and divided power because our founders were bitterly familiar with dealing with an unaccountable executive and were determined that our nation should not have a king," said Congresswoman Lee.

At the same time the Congressional inquiry moves forward, recent polls reveal that the majority of the country now favors impeachment if the President either lied about the reasons for going to war or broke federal law with his illegal wire-tapping program. This is a clear-cut sign that the impeachment movement is becoming a decisive factor in U.S. politics."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 08:42 PM

Part of a recent Maureen DOwd column

GOP to W: You're Nuts


"...Mr. Bush is hoist on his own petard. For four years, the White House has accused anyone in Congress or the press who defended civil liberties or questioned anything about the Iraq war of being soft on terrorism. Now, as Congress and the press turn that accusation back on the White House, Mr. Bush acts mystified by the orgy of xenophobia.

Lawmakers, many up for re-election, have learned well from Karl Rove. Playing the terror card works.

A bristly Bush said yesterday that scotching the deal would send "a terrible signal" to a worthy ally. He equated the "Great British" with the U.A.E. Well, maybe Britain in the 12th century.

Besides, the American people can be forgiven if they're confused about what it means in the Arab world to be a U.S. ally. Is it a nation that helps us sometimes but also addicts us to oil and then jacks up the price, refuses to recognize Israel, denies women basic rights, tolerates radical anti-American clerics, looks the other way when its citizens burn down embassies and consulates over cartoons, and often turns a blind eye when it comes to hunting down terrorists in its midst?

In our past wars, America had specific countries to demonize. But now in the "global war on terror" - GWOT, as they call it - the enemy is a faceless commodity that the administration uses whenever it wants to win a political battle. When something like this happens, it's no wonder the public does its own face transplant.

One of the real problems here is that this administration has run up such huge trade and tax-cut-and-spend budget deficits that we're in hock to the Arabs and the Chinese to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. If they just converted their bonds into cash, they would own our ports and not have to merely rent them.

Just because the wealthy foreigners who own our debt can blackmail us with their economic leverage, does that mean we should expose our security assets to them as well?

As part of the lunatic White House defense, Dan Bartlett argued that "people are trying to drive wedges and make this to be a political issue." But as the New Republic editor Peter Beinart pointed out in a recent column, W. has made the war on terror "one vast wedge issue" to divide the country.

Now, however, the president has pulled us together. We all pretty much agree: mitts off our ports.

Categories: Maureen Dowd Entire article here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Feb 06 - 08:37 PM

Republicans Split With Bush on Ports
White House Vows to Brief Lawmakers On Deal With Firm Run by Arab State
By Jim VandeHei and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 23, 2006; Page A01

Faced with an unprecedented Republican revolt over national security, the White House disclosed yesterday that President Bush was unaware of a Middle Eastern company's planned takeover of operations at six U.S. seaports until recent days and promised to brief members of Congress more fully on the pending deal.

One day after threatening to veto any attempt by Congress to scuttle the controversial $6.8 billion deal, Bush sounded a more conciliatory tone by saying lawmakers should have been given more details about a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates purchasing some terminal operations in Baltimore and five other U.S. cities.

"This is one where we probably should have consulted with or briefed Congress on sooner," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

But congressional Republicans renewed their vow to prevent the sale from being finalized next month and warned Bush, sometimes in taunting terms, that an overwhelming majority of lawmakers will oppose the sale on national security grounds. "Dear Mr President: In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO but HELL NO!" Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) wrote to Bush in a one-sentence letter.

In related comments:

President Bush wasn't aware of the sale of six U.S. ports to an Arab company until after federal approval was granted and congressional opposition erupted over the deal, his spokesman said today.
(By Daniela Deane, The Washington Post)

Must be difficult when selling the country gets crossed up with the war-led xenophobia which Bush, himself, inspired and fueled.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 12:03 AM

Paul Krugman: The Mensch Gap
The Mensch Gap
New York Times Op-Ed

"Be a mensch," my parents told me. ...By implication, a mensch is an upstanding person who takes responsibility for his actions.

The people now running America aren't mensches.

Dick Cheney isn't a mensch. There have been many attempts to turn the shooting of Harry Whittington into a political metaphor, but the most characteristic moment was the final act - the Moscow show-trial moment in which the victim of Mr. Cheney's recklessness apologized for getting shot. Remember, Mr. Cheney, more than anyone else, misled us into the Iraq war. Then, when neither links to Al Qaeda nor W.M.D. materialized, he shifted the blame to the very intelligence agencies he bullied into inflating the threat.

Donald Rumsfeld isn't a mensch. Before the Iraq war Mr. Rumsfeld muzzled commanders who warned that we were going in with too few troops, and sidelined State Department experts who warned that we needed a plan for the invasion's aftermath. But when the war went wrong, he began talking about "unknown unknowns" and going to war with "the army you have," ducking responsibility for the failures of leadership that have turned the war into a stunning victory - for Iran.

Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, isn't a mensch. Remember his excuse for failing to respond to the drowning of New Orleans? "I remember on Tuesday morning," he said on "Meet the Press," "picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet.' " There were no such headlines, at least in major newspapers, and we now know that he received - and ignored - many warnings about the unfolding disaster.

Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, isn't a mensch. He insists that the prescription drug plan's catastrophic start doesn't reflect poorly on his department, that "no logical person" would have expected "a transition happening that is so large without some problems." In fact, Medicare's 1966 startup went very smoothly. That didn't happen this time because his department ignored outside experts who warned, months in advance, about exactly the disaster that has taken place.

I could go on. Officials in this administration never take responsibility for their actions. When something goes wrong, it's always someone else's fault.

Was it always like this? I don't want to romanticize our political history, but I don't think so. Think of Dwight Eisenhower, who wrote a letter before D-Day accepting the blame if the landings failed. His modern equivalent would probably insist that the landings were a "catastrophic success," then try to lay the blame for their failure on the editorial page of The New York Times.

Where have all the mensches gone? The character of the administration reflects the character of the man at its head. President Bush is definitely not a mensch; his inability to admit mistakes or take responsibility for failure approaches the pathological. He surrounds himself with subordinates who share his aversion to facing unpleasant realities. And as long as his appointees remain personally loyal, he defends their performance, no matter how incompetent. After all, to do otherwise would be to admit that he made a mistake in choosing them. Last week he declared that Mr. Leavitt is doing, yes, "a heck of a job."

But how did such people attain power in the first place? Maybe it's the result of our infantilized media culture, in which politicians, like celebrities, are judged by the way they look, not the reality of their achievements. Mr. Bush isn't an effective leader, but he plays one on TV, and that's all that matters.

Whatever the reason for the woeful content of our leaders' character, it has horrifying consequences. You can't learn from mistakes if you won't admit making any mistakes, an observation that explains a lot about the policy disasters of recent years â€" the failed occupation of Iraq, the failed response to Katrina, the failed drug plan.....

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Feb 06 - 12:00 AM

The Torturers Win
Bob Herbert

"Justice? Surely you jest.

Terrible things were done to Maher Arar, and his extreme suffering was set in motion by the United States government. With the awful facts of his case carefully documented, he tried to sue for damages. But last week a federal judge waved the facts aside and told Mr. Arar, in effect, to get lost.

We're in a new world now and the all-powerful U.S. government apparently has free rein to ruin innocent lives without even a nod in the direction of due process or fair play. Mr. Arar, a Canadian citizen who, according to all evidence, has led an exemplary life, was seized and shackled by U.S. authorities at Kennedy Airport in 2002, and then shipped off to Syria, his native country, where he was held in a dungeon for the better part of a year. He was tormented physically and psychologically, and at times tortured.

The underground cell was tiny, about the size of a grave. According to court papers, "The cell was damp and cold, contained very little light and was infested with rats, which would enter the cell through a small aperture in the ceiling. Cats would urinate on Arar through the aperture, and sanitary facilities were nonexistent."

Mr. Arar's captors beat him savagely with an electrical cable. He was allowed to bathe in cold water once a week. He lost 40 pounds while in captivity.

This is a quintessential example of the reprehensible practice of extraordinary rendition, in which the U.S. government kidnaps individuals - presumably terror suspects - and sends them off to regimes that are skilled in the fine art of torture. In terms of vile behavior, rendition stands shoulder to shoulder with contract killing.

If the United States is going to torture people, we might as well do it ourselves. Outsourcing torture does not make it any more acceptable.

Mr. Arar's case became a world-class embarrassment when even Syria's torture professionals could elicit no evidence that he was in any way involved in terrorism. After 10 months, he was released. No charges were ever filed against him.

Mr. Arar is a 35-year-old software engineer who lives in Ottawa with his wife and their two young children. He's never been in any kind of trouble. Commenting on the case in a local newspaper, a former Canadian official dryly observed that "accidents will happen" in the war on terror. The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York filed a lawsuit on Mr. Arar's behalf, seeking damages from the U.S. government for his ordeal. The government said the case could not even be dealt with because the litigation would involve the revelation of state secrets.

In other words, it wouldn't matter how hideously or egregiously Mr. Arar had been treated, or how illegally or disgustingly the government had behaved. The case would have to be dropped. Inquiries into this 21st-century Inquisition cannot be tolerated. Its activities must remain secret at all costs.

In a ruling that basically gave the green light to government barbarism, U.S. District Judge David Trager dismissed Mr. Arar's lawsuit last Thursday. Judge Trager wrote in his opinion that "Arar's claim that he faced a likelihood of torture in Syria is supported by U.S. State Department reports on Syria's human rights practices."

But in dismissing the suit, he said that the foreign policy and national security issues raised by the government were "compelling" and that such matters were the purview of the executive branch and Congress, not the courts.

He also said that "the need for secrecy can hardly be doubted."

Under that reasoning, of course, the government could literally get away with murder. With its bad actions cloaked in court-sanctioned secrecy, no one would be the wiser.

As an example of the kind of foreign policy problems that might arise if Mr. Arar were given his day in court, Judge Trager wrote:

"One need not have much imagination to contemplate the negative effect on our relations with Canada if discovery were to proceed in this case and were it to turn out that certain high Canadian officials had, despite public denials, acquiesced in Arar's removal to Syria."

Oh yes, by all means, we need the federal courts to fully protect the right of public officials to lie to their constituents.

"It's a shocking decision," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "It's really saying that an individual who is sent overseas for the purpose of being tortured has no claim in a U.S. court."

If kidnapping and torturing an innocent man is O.K., what's not O.K.?"

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 04:55 PM

WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran
Posted: 2006/02/20
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." George W. Bush, February 2005

By Heather Wokusch
Witnessing the Bush administration's drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel. Reports of impending doom surfaced a year ago, but now it's official: under orders from Vice President Cheney's office, the Pentagon has developed "last resort" aerial-assault plans using long-distance B2 bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with both conventional and nuclear weapons.

How ironic that the Pentagon proposes using nuclear weapons on the pretext of protecting the world from nuclear weapons. Ironic also that Iran has complied with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing inspectors to "go anywhere and see anything," yet those pushing for an attack, the USA and Israel, have not.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Feb 06 - 03:10 PM

New York Times Magazine, Feb. 19
Francis Fukuyama renounces neoconservatism in an essay on post-Iraq U.S. foreign policy and labels the contemporary core of the movement—William Kristol and Robert Kagan, et al.—as Leninist: "They believed" he writes, "that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will." Fukuyama worries that our failures in Iraq will lead to a new American isolationism and argues that in rethinking our relationship to the world, we need "ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about." …

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 08:31 AM

"The best domocracy that money can buy..."

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