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BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

GUEST 26 Jan 05 - 06:44 PM
Bobert 26 Jan 05 - 06:30 PM
Amos 26 Jan 05 - 01:10 PM
DougR 26 Jan 05 - 12:45 PM
Amos 26 Jan 05 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Amos 26 Jan 05 - 08:44 AM
GUEST,Haydn 26 Jan 05 - 08:19 AM
GUEST,Vivaldi 26 Jan 05 - 07:52 AM
Amos 25 Jan 05 - 01:08 AM
Amos 24 Jan 05 - 01:14 PM
Amos 24 Jan 05 - 01:06 PM
Amos 24 Jan 05 - 10:49 AM
Amos 24 Jan 05 - 10:37 AM
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Amos 23 Jan 05 - 06:38 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 06:35 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 05:11 PM
Don Firth 23 Jan 05 - 04:06 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 03:53 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 03:39 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 03:34 PM
Amos 23 Jan 05 - 03:31 PM
Amos 22 Jan 05 - 11:00 AM
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DougR 20 Jan 05 - 10:30 PM
Amos 20 Jan 05 - 09:41 PM
CarolC 20 Jan 05 - 09:26 PM
Amos 20 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM
Bobert 20 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Com SEangan 20 Jan 05 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Com Seangan 20 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM
Amos 20 Jan 05 - 06:18 PM
Amos 20 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:44 PM

Doug R, think of something stupid that you did when you were much younger. How would you like to be judged by that now?

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 06:30 PM

And, Dougit, you can take it to the bank that I'm proud of Robert Byrd. But not so much for his vote today but for the courage he has shown in his life in overcoming scultuarl and socail obstickles, and overcoming hatred, and becoming such an independent thinker. He was a lone voice in the Senate as Bush used lies and fresh memories of 9/11 to gain support for what many allready knew and many more have figured out would be an immoral and unwinable war...

Yes, I can't think of another Senator who better represents my vies than Senator Byrd. He is unique and when it is time for him to leave the Senate, IMO, the Senate and the country will looze someone special.

Meanwhile, looks as if the Dems couldn't stop Condi Rice's appointment but they sure did give her some things to thik about and maybe some of the citicism will have some positive effects on her deeper self.

But I am disappointed by her appointment. Bush jsut doesn't seem to get it... (Nah, Bobert, he get's it all too well...). I mean, it seens that he knows he is going to need international cooperation and talks the talk. ButCondi Rice ain't exactly like walkin' the walk. She is a very dogmatic oil woman who folks around the world just flat out don't trust. How Bush thinks that she is *the one* who can sell internationalism is way beyond me. When I heard her testify before the 9/11 Comission she came off as arrogant and combative (sound like anyone else we know?) Arrogant and combative isn't going to get anyone on board who allready things we are, ahhh, arrogant and combatant... Bush should have done everything in his powers, which according to some aren't very much with Don Rumsfeld and his bud Dickleberry Cheney really runnin the show, to get Powell to stay on. Or if not possible, at least a moderate, rather than an ideologue...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 01:10 PM

As usual, DougR you are twisting the reality of the situation so violently it is likely to cause another earthquake. If the woman is a sociopathic liar, which appears to be the case, what difference does her skin color make? Why are you making it a racial issue? Trying to distort the issue? Do you have any evidence that the reluctance of some peopel to trust the Dept of State to her has a racial basis? Or are you just slandering?

It was Condoleeza Rice, no other, who asserted there was a risk that the smoking gun of Iraq could well turn out to be a mushroom cloud, on no evidence, purely because it was "on-message" for her to do so.

Is that your idea of integrity? Or do you think I am biased against her because of her skin, also?


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 12:45 PM

I thought it was heartwarming to see a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, who now occupies a seat in the United States Senate, voting to block the nomination of the first Black woman to the office of Secretary of State.

I assume Bobert is proud of his Senator's vote against confirmation.

Fortunately, a majority of senators recognized the time-honored tradition that a president chooses his cabinet members and she was confirmed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 11:01 AM

Democrats Call Rice a Liar, Bush Apologist Wires
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005

One Senate Democrat called Condoleezza Rice a liar Tuesday and others said she was an apologist for Bush administration failures in Iraq, but she remained on track for confirmation as secretary of state.

Rice, who has been President Bush's White House national security adviser for four years, was one of the loudest voices urging war, Democrats said. She repeatedly deceived members of Congress and Americans at large about justifications for the war, said Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.

``I don't like impugning anyone's integrity, but I really don't like being lied to,'' Dayton said. ``Repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally.''

Rice is expected to win confirmation on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., predicted that Rice would have ``an overwhelming majority'' of votes.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., cautioned against ``inflammatory rhetoric that is designed merely to create partisan advantage or to settle partisan scores.''

Rice would succeed Colin Powell, who often found himself on the outside looking in with Bush's close circle of war and national security advisers.

By contrast, Rice is a trusted Bush loyalist. As a principal architect of the Iraq invasion and the administration's war on terrorism, she shares blame for overstating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, Democrats said.

``My vote against this nominee is my statement that this administration's lies must stop now,'' Dayton said in opposing Rice's nomination on the Senate floor.

Politicians rarely use the word ``lie,'' preferring some of the milder terms other Democrats used Tuesday.

``There was no reason to go to war in Iraq when we did, the way we did and for the false reasons we were given,'' said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

Rice is not directly responsible for intelligence failures prior to the Iraq war that overestimated Saddam's nuclear capability, said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. ``But she is responsible for her own distortions and exaggerations of the intelligence which was provided to her,'' Levin said.

``Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the administration used to scare the American people,'' Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., said.

The Senate set aside most of the day Tuesday to debate the Rice nomination after Democrats revolted against a plan to confirm Rice last week, on the same day that Bush took his oath for a second term.

``We should have been done last week,'' Frist said. ``I was disappointed that we are having to march through the debate today. But ultimately the vote will occur.''

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:44 AM

The NY Times likewise mistrusts him, which gives even surer grounds for the right to huddle around and protect their red-necked boy:

The Wrong Attorney General

Published: January 26, 2005

Alberto Gonzales's nomination as attorney general goes before the Senate at a time when the Republican majority is eager to provide newly elected President Bush with the cabinet of his choice, and the Democrats are leery of exposing their weakened status by taking fruitless stands against the inevitable. None of that is an excuse for giving Mr. Gonzales a pass. The attorney general does not merely head up the Justice Department. He is responsible for ensuring that America is a nation in which justice prevails. Mr. Gonzales's record makes him unqualified to take on this role or to represent the American justice system to the rest of the world. The Senate should reject his nomination.

The biggest strike against Mr. Gonzales is the now repudiated memo that gave a disturbingly narrow definition of torture, limiting it to physical abuse that produced pain of the kind associated with organ failure or death. Mr. Gonzales's attempts to distance himself from the memo have been unconvincing, especially since it turns out he was the one who requested that it be written. Earlier the same year, Mr. Gonzales himself sent President Bush a letter telling him that the war on terror made the Geneva Conventions' strict limitations on the questioning of enemy prisoners "obsolete."

These actions created the legal climate that made possible the horrific mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners being held in Abu Ghraib prison. The Bush administration often talks about its desire to mend fences with the rest of the world, particularly the Muslim world. Making Mr. Gonzales the nation's chief law enforcement officer would set this effort back substantially.

Other parts of Mr. Gonzales's record are also troubling. As counsel to George Bush when he was governor of Texas, Mr. Gonzales did a shockingly poor job of laying out the legal issues raised by the clemency petitions from prisoners on death row. And questions have been raised about Mr. Gonzales's account of how he got his boss out of jury duty in 1996, which allowed Mr. Bush to avoid stating publicly that he had been convicted of drunken driving.

Senate Democrats, who are trying to define their role after the setbacks of the 2004 election, should stand on principle and hold out for a more suitable attorney general. Republicans also have reason to oppose this nomination. At the confirmation hearings, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, warned that the administration's flawed legal policies and mistreatment of detainees had hurt the country's standing and "dramatically undermined" the war on terror. Given the stakes in that war, senators of both parties should want an attorney general who does not come with this nominee's substantial shortcomings.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Haydn
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 08:19 AM

The Washington Post also feels very uncomfortable with the latest piece of the Bush machine:

A Degrading Policy

Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page A20

ALBERTO R. GONZALES was vague, unresponsive and misleading in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Bush administration's detention of foreign prisoners. In his written answers to questions from the committee, prepared in anticipation of today's vote on his nomination as attorney general, Mr. Gonzales was clearer -- disturbingly so, as it turns out. According to President Bush's closest legal adviser, this administration continues to assert its right to indefinitely hold foreigners in secret locations without any legal process; to deny them access to the International Red Cross; to transport them to countries where torture is practiced; and to subject them to treatment that is "cruel, inhumane or degrading," even though such abuse is banned by an international treaty that the United States has ratified. In effect, Mr. Gonzales has confirmed that the Bush administration is violating human rights as a matter of policy.

Mr. Gonzales stated at his hearing that he and Mr. Bush oppose "torture and abuse." But his written testimony to the committee makes clear that "abuse" is, in fact, permissible -- provided that it is practiced by the Central Intelligence Agency on foreigners held outside the United States. The Convention Against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994, prohibits not only torture but "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment." The Senate defined such treatment as abuse that would violate the Fifth, Eighth or 14th amendments to the Constitution -- a standard that the Bush administration formally accepted in 2003.

But Mr. Gonzales revealed that during his tenure as White House counsel, the administration twisted this straightforward standard to make it possible for the CIA to subject detainees to such practices as sensory deprivation, mock execution and simulated drowning. The constitutional amendments, he told the committee, technically do not apply to foreigners held abroad; therefore, in the administration's view the torture treaty does not bind intelligence interrogators operating on foreign soil. "The Department of Justice has concluded," he wrote, that "there is no legal prohibition under the Convention Against Torture on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with respect to aliens overseas."

According to most legal experts, this is a gross distortion of the law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Vivaldi
Date: 26 Jan 05 - 07:52 AM

Speaking of liars, and the fat lies they tell, or whatever, anyway, this was the take reported on the Wednesday Washington post.

"Democrats Criticize Rice Over Iraq War

Senate Confirmation Is Expected Today

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 26, 2005; Page A01

Senate Democrats delivered one of the sharpest critiques yet of the Bush administration's credibility and its handling of the Iraq war yesterday, as the Senate prepared to confirm Condoleezza Rice's nomination to be secretary of state today.

Seizing on a nine-hour debate that Republicans had hoped to avoid, several Democrats excoriated the administration's prewar claims about Iraqi weapons and its handling of the ongoing war and transition. Both parties agreed that Rice, 50, will be confirmed, but that did not stop a cross section of Democrats from questioning her truthfulness in terms that until yesterday were used only by liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Some of the most critical Democrats were centrists from states that President Bush won or nearly won in November. Their comments came as recent polls have shown growing public disenchantment with the situation in Iraq.

Too many Republican senators allow Bush's top aides "to get away with lying," said Sen. Mark Dayton, a Democrat who opposed the war and will face reelection next year in the swing state of Minnesota. "Lying to Congress, lying to our committees and lying to the American people. It's wrong, it's immoral." The only way to stop it, Dayton said, is to keep the administration from promoting officials "who have been instrumental in deceiving Congress and the American people, and regrettably that includes Dr. Rice."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 05 - 01:08 AM


Inadequate information


President Bush is a "fiscal conservative" who has run up the largest federal budget deficit in American history.  And he's a "war president" who repeatedly shrugged off the military establishment's warnings, invading Iraq on the advice of neocon ideologues with more powerpoints to their names than Purple Hearts. 

If the American political process is a marketplace of ideas, in which the winner earns political capital, many aspects of Bush's re-election are comparable to the market failure that economists call inadequate information.  In short: "For competitive markets to work well, consumers need information with which to evaluate competing products.  If consumers lack important information, markets will fail." [Stephen Breyer, Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy]
According to a nationwide poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) on the eve of the election, 72% of Bush supporters believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and 57% incorrectly believed that the Duelfer report had concluded Iraq had a major WMD program.  And despite the 9/11 Commission Report's findings to the contrary, 75% of Bush supporters believed that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believed that clear evidence of this link had been found. [PIPA] 

Steven Kull, the director of PIPA, said that "the roots of the Bush supporters' resistance to information very likely lie in the traumatic experience of 9/11 and equally in the near pitch-perfect leadership that President Bush showed in its immediate wake. This appears to have created a powerful bond between Bush and his supporters--and an idealized image of the President that makes it difficult for his supporters to imagine that he could have made incorrect judgments before the war." [PIPA]

I would also argue that this "resistance to information" was facilitated by broader changes in the media landscape.  During the 2004 election season, conservative commentators, blogs, and email forwards provided a 24-hour-a-day defense of the Bush administration.  When the 9/11 Commission Report was released, they ignored the section that directly contradicted the administration's claim of an Iraq-al Qaeda link.  When the Duelfer report was released, they somehow managed to spin it as supporting Bush's case for war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 01:14 PM

Ramsey Clark, once the aAttorney General of the United States, has written an interesting essay in the Los Angeles Times concerning his reaning for being willing to defend Saddam Hussein in legalproceedings:


o let me explain why defending Saddam Hussein is in line with what I've stood for all my life and why I think it's the right thing to do now.

That Hussein and other former Iraqi officials must have lawyers of their choice to assist them in defending against the criminal charges brought against them ought to be self-evident among a people committed to truth, justice and the rule of law.

Both international law and the Constitution of the United States guarantee the right to effective legal representation to any person accused of a crime. This is especially important in a highly politicized situation, where truth and justice can become even harder to achieve. That's certainly the situation today in Iraq. The war has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and the widespread destruction of civilian properties essential to life. President Bush, who initiated and oversees the war, has manifested his hatred for Hussein, publicly proclaiming that the death penalty would be appropriate.

The United States, and the Bush administration in particular, engineered the demonization of Hussein, and it has a clear political interest in his conviction. Obviously, a fair trial of Hussein will be difficult to ensure — and critically important to the future of democracy in Iraq. This trial will write history, affect the course of violence around the world and have an impact on hopes for reconciliation within Iraq.

Hussein has been held illegally for more than a year without once meeting a family member, friend or lawyer of his choice. Though the world has seen him time and again on television — disheveled, apparently disoriented with someone prying deep into his mouth and later alone before some unseen judge — he has been cut off from all communications with the outside world and surrounded by the same U.S. military that mistreated prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

Preparation of Hussein's defense cannot begin until lawyers chosen by him obtain immediate, full and confidential access to him so they can review with him events of the last year, the circumstances of his seizure and the details of his treatment. They must then have time to thoroughly discuss the nature and composition of the prosecution and the court, the charges that may be brought against him, and his knowledge, thoughts and instructions concerning the facts of the case. And finally, they must have the time for the enormous task of preparing his defense.

The legal team, its assistants and investigators must be able to perform their work safely, without interference, and be assured that their client's condition and the conditions of his confinement enable him to fully participate in every aspect of his defense.

International law requires that every criminal court be competent, independent and impartial. The Iraqi Special Tribunal lacks all of these essential qualities. It was illegitimate in its conception — the creation of an illegal occupying power that demonized Saddam Hussein and destroyed the government it now intends to condemn by law.

The United States has already destroyed any hope of legitimacy, fairness or even decency by its treatment and isolation of the former president and its creation of the Iraqi Special Tribunal to try him.

Saddam's own actions have done more to demonize him -- as far as I know -- than Bush's have, or Bush's father's. But a fair and open trial is in the interest of peaceful resolution of all charges and damages of which Saddam stands accused. ANd there is no question that the politicized and war-torn ambience which has resulted from Bush's invasion make achieving the ideal of a process under law extremely difficult.



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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 01:06 PM

EDITORIAL (Los Angeles Times)

Transition to Nowhere

President Bush's notion — it is not yet a plan — of partly privatizing Social Security has three large flaws. First, it is a cure in search of a disease. Second, it is a cure that won't work. And third, it is a cure that requires the disease to be gone before the cure can start.

This editorial concerns the third flaw. But to recap the others: The Bush administration calculates that Social Security will run out of cash in the year 2042. That's the crisis. It might seem refreshingly farsighted for the president to be dealing with this crisis 37 years in advance — if a prediction about the economy 37 years from now was dependable, and if there was nothing else worth worrying about between now and then. To be sure, the gap between Social Security income and outgo is a problem. But to call it a crisis, to pencil it in for the year 2042 and to make this the major domestic focus of a presidency in 2005 is absurd. That's the first flaw.

The core argument for privatization is that investment in the private economy pays better than the Social Security trust fund's investment in government bonds. But even if this were true for sure and for everybody, privatization won't actually increase total private investment. Unless the government cuts spending — which has nothing to do with Social Security privatization — it will have to raise its dollars from the private economy. Every time privatization denies the government a dollar and puts that dollar into the private investment pool, the government will have to replace it by borrowing a dollar from that same pool. (For the full argument, go to .) This is the second flaw.

The third flaw involves the "transition." Right now, most of the money that comes in from current workers is paid out to current retirees. But privatization assumes that the money you put in will be available for your own retirement. In order to get from here to there, the cost of paying current retirees will have to come from somewhere else for a while. How much are we talking? Well, the administration acknowledges that this number is somewhere in the trillions. The Bush people say that they can borrow these trillions, and that they don't have to count it in the budget or the national debt because it is money the government implicitly owes already to future retirees.

This is a wonderful recipe for what might be called "bootstrap irresponsibility": a government program (Social Security in this case) costs far more than the government is willing to acknowledge. Instead of fixing it, it acknowledges the cost after all, borrows it and says that this doesn't count because we actually owed the money all along.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 10:49 AM

To the Editor:

Dr. Joshua Freedman calls on Democrats to admit that they admire President Bush's "confidence and decisiveness." This requires us to ignore the vast gap of facts and background-delving that the president has either chosen to leapfrog over or has determined is too difficult or too time-consuming or perhaps, in his mind, somewhat irrelevant.

Without deep understanding, "confidence and decisiveness" are nothing more than Republican "team" colors.

When we have a leader who believes that he doesn't need to pay attention to dissenters and protesters and who cloaks meetings in layers of secrecy, it is time for the public to hook up to its own brain imager. It is time to advance from the cheerleader phase and light up not only the cortex but more important, bring light to the realities facing the country.

Leona Mahler

Cedar Grove, N.J., Jan. 20, 2005

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 10:37 AM

Todays New York Times warns against the misleading assertions of the Bush Administration concerning Social Security:

A Bridge to Sell

Published: January 24, 2005

One of the main talking points in the administration's drive to privatize Social Security is that retirees have nothing to fear. "If you're a senior receiving your Social Security check, nothing is going to change," President Bush said recently. Mr. Bush seems to presume that older Americans are indifferent to the future retirement security of their children and grandchildren. But even taken on its face, the argument does not hold up.

The president promises that under a private retirement scheme, anyone age 55 or older would continue to receive full Social Security benefits. What he repeatedly fails to mention is that privatization would require some $2 trillion in new borrowing over the next 10 years and an additional $4.5 trillion in the decade thereafter. That's on top of the trillions that need to be found to cover the costs of Medicare and Medicaid and - if the president gets his way - to make this decade's tax cuts permanent. It's foolhardy to assume that the government could continue to meet all of its obligations, including the payment of Social Security benefits, under such a mountain of debt.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 10:14 AM

From today's Washingtonpost:

After the 'Freedom' Speech

Reporters at some of the inaugural balls are steamed that they could not interview the partygoers without an official minder trailing them, lest they get insufficiently fulsome praise from President Bush's supporters. Washington Post reporter Peter Carlson, who was escorted to and from the men's room, likens the restrictions to "Saddam-era Iraq."

"It's hard to get people to be frank with you," says Chicago Tribune reporter Jeff Zeleny, who gave up at one ball. "It seems like a baby-sitting exercise. It's just one more example of how the Bush administration likes to control the story."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 06:38 PM


Bush Doctrine Is Expected to Get Chilly Reception

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 23, 2005; Page A01

When President Bush flew to Canada in his first international trip following his reelection, the White House portrayed it as the beginning of a fence-mending tour to bring allies back into the fold after a tense first term. But after Bush left, the Canadians were more furious than before.

They were stunned when Bush leaned across a table in a private meeting and lectured Prime Minister Paul Martin about opposing the U.S. missile defense system. And they were later taken aback by a speech filled with what they considered the same "old Bush" foreign policy pronouncements that opened the divide with the allies in the first place.

"If he's going to take that speech to Europe," said a top Canadian official who attended the meeting between Bush and Martin, "he's not going to get a good reception."

For all the talk of fresh diplomacy and rebuilding frayed alliances, Bush heads into his second term still demanding that the rest of the world meet him on his terms -- and now he has redefined those terms to an even more provocative degree with an inaugural address articulating a grand vision for spreading democracy and "ending tyranny" in "every nation." With his eye on history, Bush wants to change the world. The rest of the world is not necessarily so eager to be changed.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 06:35 PM

Secret Unit Expands Rumsfeld's Domain

New Espionage Branch Delving Into CIA Territory

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 23, 2005; Page A01

The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad, according to interviews with participants and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The previously undisclosed organization, called the Strategic Support Branch, arose from Rumsfeld's written order to end his "near total dependence on CIA" for what is known as human intelligence. Designed to operate without detection and under the defense secretary's direct control, the Strategic Support Branch deploys small teams of case officers, linguists, interrogators and technical specialists alongside newly empowered special operations forces ...

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 05:11 PM

NYTimes on Bush and Techno Legacy

Bush Didn't Invent the Internet, but Is He Good for Tech?

Published: January 23, 2005

GEORGE W. BUSH probably won't be remembered as "the high-tech
president." The strongholds of the biotech and infotech industries, on
the East and West Coasts, voted against him. If his State of the Union
address next week, his fourth, is like the previous three, it will say
next to nothing about the role of science or advanced technology in the
nation's economic and social future. The symbol of Al Gore's
relationship with gizmos was the early-model BlackBerry he wore on his
belt. The symbol of Mr. Bush's was his tumble from a Segway computerized
scooter in 2003.

Yet the Bush administration could end up being known for some technology
advances that occurred on its watch. I am speaking not only of purely
private developments - the renaissance of Internet-based businesses in
this age of Google - or of the heavy public spending for military and
surveillance systems, which is creating a vast new
antiterrorism-industrial complex.

Instead, as in many chapters of American technological history, some of
the most significant innovations have been made where public and private
efforts touch. In its first term, the Bush team made a few important
pro-technology choices. Over the next year it will signal whether it
intends to stand by them.

There is a long historical background to the administration's choices,
plus a variety of recent shifts and circumstances. The history stretches
to the early days of the republic, and the idea that
government-sponsored research in science and technology could bolster
private business growth. Progress in farming, led by the land-grant
universities, demonstrated this concept in the 19th century. Sputnik-era
science, culminating in the work that led to the Internet, did the same
in the 20th century.

In the last two decades, this old idea has been dressed up with concepts
like "network economics" and "increasing return to scale." The results
include the widely accepted understanding that the relationship of
public science and private business is more important than ever. An
environment in which the exchange of information is timely and
inexpensive, rather than slow and costly, can foster the growth of many

That sounds obvious. But it has political consequences. For one, it
helps explain why the United States has been so fertile an incubator for
tech companies, compared with most of Europe: government-sponsored
information has been much cheaper here. (The United States government
sells a CD set containing all weather readings taken in the last 50
years for $4,290; the German government data costs $1.5 million.)
American dynamism also creates an ever-changing set of winners and
losers. In fostering many new companies, the government often dislodges
a few old ones; dealing with the resulting protests is each
administration's problem.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 04:06 PM

My Gawd! First Tinky Winky, now SpongeBob! The whole world is being taken over by the sexually indefinite!!

We need a Constitutional Amendment!

Don Firth

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:53 PM

In this article the ACLU implies that the Bush Administration is deliberately covering up, suppressing and/or falsifying the picture of US practices of torture.

Probably not covering up as much as the terrorists in Iraq, but that's a different standard, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:39 PM

Maureen Dowd, from her bully pulpit in the New York Ties editorial staff room, draws parallels between Spongebob Squarepants and the President of the United States. Good ones, too!

A Bunch of Krabby Patties

Published: January 23, 2005

I should have known.

I can't believe I thought he was just an innocent little sponge wearing tight shorts.

What in the name of Davy Jones's locker would a sponge be doing holding hands with a starfish or donning purple and hot-pink flowered garb to redecorate the Krusty Krab if he weren't a perverted invertebrate?

Before this is over, we're going to find out that SpongeBob is the illicit spawn of the Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge. Who knew SpongeBob would become as fraught as the cover of "Abbey Road"?

It took Dr. James Dobson, the conservative Christian leader and gay marriage opponent, who claims the president's re-election was more a mandate for his ideas than George Bush's, to point out the insidious underside of the popular cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. It takes a sponge to brainwash a child.

Holy Abe! Dr. Dobson outed SpongeBob at a black-tie inaugural fete last week for members of Congress and political allies. He said that a "pro-homosexual video" - starring SpongeBob, Barney, Jimmy Neutron, Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy - was set to go to elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge," including tolerance for differences of "sexual identity."

Hoppin' clams, as they say in Bikini Bottom, the den of epicene iniquity where SpongeBob lives. Nothing good can come of tolerance.

Dan Martinsen, a spokesman for Nickelodeon, where SpongeBob beats the pants off the competition, was flummoxed: "It's a sponge, for crying out loud. He has no sexuality."

Dr. Dobson has done the country a service by reminding us to watch out for the dark side of lovable but malleable sponges. He inspired me to fish through the president's Inaugural Address with a more skeptical eye.

Mr. Bush's epic pledge to support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and to end "tyranny in our world" may seem wildly pie-in-the-sky, given that the Iraq vortex has drained our military.

Although his incendiary speech about "the untamed fire of freedom" has been widely interpreted as a code-red warning to both foes and friends, I wonder if the president knew he was literally promising to stamp out undemocratic governments across the globe, which would include some of our top allies. He probably thought it was a fancier way of repackaging the Iraq invasion, not as a failed search for W.M.D., but as a blow for freedom (a word used 27 times) and liberty (used 15 times).

I wonder if W. is surprised that people took it literally. The Bushes don't always understand that they're being held to their rhetoric in major speeches. (Read my warships.) For such a brass-knuckled vision, the president's delivery was curiously unemotional.

Some of the same advisers who filled Mr. Bush's brain with sugary visions of a quick and painless Iraq makeover did mean the speech to be literal; they are drawing up military options for the rest of the Middle East. Once again, the lovable and malleable president seems to be soaking up the martial mind-set of those around him, almost like ... a sponge.

SpongeBush SquarePants!

We can only hope that Dr. Dobson doesn't pick up on the resemblance. SpongeBob, as his song goes, "lives in a pineapple under the sea/absorbent and yellow and porous is he!" SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he!

SpongeBush ensnared the country in a whale of a mess in Iraq because he guilelessly absorbed the neocons' dire warnings about Saddam's weapons capabilities and their rosy assumptions about Ahmad Chalabi's leadership capabilities.

Dick Cheney is a gruff Mr. Krabs taskmaster to SpongeBush, but SpongeBush is crazy about him anyhow. W. trustingly let his vice president make the worst-case scenario about Iraq a first-case scenario.

Mr. Bush might have thought he was just blowing pretty bubbles full of lofty ideals about freedom and liberty in his speech, but Mr. Cheney and the neocons seem intent on filleting Iran and Syria. (Doesn't Richard Perle remind you of the snarky and pretentious next-door neighbor to SpongeBob, Squidward Tentacles?)

The vice president told Don Imus that Iran was "right at the top of the list" of trouble spots, and that Israel "might well decide to act first" with a military strike.

Even if he's a little light in the flippers, SpongeBob has brought children good, clean fun. SpongeBush has brought the world dark, endless fights.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:34 PM

Divided We Stand

Published: January 23, 2005

Paris — There's only one thing you can say about the elections in Iraq: They are either going to be the end of the beginning there or the beginning of the end.

Either Iraqis turn out in large numbers to take control of their own future and write their own constitution - and I think they will - or the fascist insurgents there prevent them from doing so, in which case the Bush team will have to move to Plan B. What's sad is that right when we have reached crunch time in Iraq, the West is totally divided. All that the Europeans care about is being able to say to George Bush, "We told you so." What happens the morning after "We told you so" ? Well, the Europeans don't have a Plan B either.

Ever since 9/11, I've argued the war on terrorism is really a war of ideas within the Muslim world - a war between those who want to wall Islam off from modernity, and defend it with a suicide cult, and those who want to bring Islam into the 21st century and preserve it as a compassionate faith. This war of ideas is not one that the West can fight, only promote. Muslims have to fight it from within. That is what is at stake in the Iraqi elections. This is the first great battle in the post-9/11 war of ideas.

This war also can't be won with troops - only with turnout. This is a war between Iraqi voters and insurgents - ballots versus bullets. And the people who understand that best are the fascist insurgents. That is why they are not focusing their attacks on U.S. troops, but on Iraqi election workers, candidates, local officials and police. The insurgents have one credo: "Iraqis must not vote - there must be no authentic expression of the people's will for a modern, decent Iraq. Because, if there is, the world will see that this is not a war between Muslims and infidel occupiers, but between Muslims with bad ideas and Muslims with progressive ideas."

And at this key juncture the West stands disunited. Condi Rice told the Senate that the "time for diplomacy is now." Give me a break. The time for diplomacy was two years ago. We would be so much better off now if the entire European Union was actively urging Iraqis to vote, and using its own moral legitimacy in the Arab world to delegitimize the insurgents. The divided West is a real liability.

"The most important threat [to the West] is Islamic terrorism," said Bernard Kouchner, the founder of Doctors Without Borders, and one of the few French intellectuals to support the ouster of Saddam. This is not a war with the Muslim religion, he stressed, but with a violent "fascist" Muslim minority. "We [in the West] have always been allied against fascism since the Second World War," he said. "We have to be together, America and Europe, because our enemies are the same, Muslim extremism and fascism," but right now, unlike in Bosnia, "we are apart."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 05 - 03:31 PM

The Speech Misheard Round the World

Published: January 22, 2005, New York Times

Cambridge, Mass. — SINCE 9/11, President Bush and his advisers have engaged in a series of arguments concerning the relation between freedom, tyranny and terrorism. The president's inaugural paean to freedom was the culmination of these arguments.

The stratagem began immediately after 9/11 with the president's claims that the terrorist attacks were a deliberate assault on America's freedom. The next stage of the argument came after no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, thus eliminating the reason for the war, and it took the form of a bogus syllogism: all terrorists are tyrants who hate freedom. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who hates freedom. Therefore Saddam Hussein is a terrorist whose downfall was a victory in the war against terrorism.

When this bogus syllogism began to lose public appeal, it was shored up with another flawed argument that was repeated during the campaign: tyranny breeds terrorism. Freedom is opposed to tyranny. Therefore the promotion of freedom is the best means of fighting terrorism.

Promoting freedom, of course, is a noble and highly desirable pursuit. If America were to make the global diffusion of freedom a central pillar of its foreign policy, it would be cause for joy. The way the present administration has gone about this task, however, is likely to have the opposite effect. Moreover, what the president means by freedom may get lost in translation to the rest of the world.

The administration's notion of freedom has been especially convenient, and its promotion of it especially cynical. In the first place, there is no evidence to support, and no good reason to believe, that Al Qaeda's attack on America was primarily motivated by a hatred of freedom. Osama bin Laden is clearly no lover of freedom, but this is an irrelevance. The attack on America was motivated by religious and cultural fanaticism.

Second, while it may be implicitly true that all terrorists are tyrants, it does not follow that all tyrants are terrorists. The United States, of all nations, should know this. Over the past century it has supported a succession of tyrannical states with murderous records of oppression against their own people, none of which were terrorist states - Argentina and Brazil under military rule, Augusto Pinochet's Chile, South Africa under apartheid, to list but a few. Today, one of America's closest allies in the fight against tyranny is tyrannical Pakistan, and one of its biggest trading partners is the authoritarian Communist regime of China.

Third, while the goal of promoting democracy is laudable, there is no evidence that free states are less likely to breed terrorists. Sadly, the very freedoms guaranteed under the rule of law are likely to shelter terrorists, especially within states making the transition from authoritarian to democratic rule. Transitional democratic states, like Russia today, are more violent than the authoritarian ones they replaced.

And even advanced democratic regimes have been known to breed terrorists, the best example being the United States itself. For more than half a century a terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan, flourished in this country. According to the F.B.I., three of every four terrorist acts in the United States from 1980 to 2000 were committed by Americans.

The president speaks eloquently and no doubt sincerely of freedom both abroad and at home. But it is plain for the world to see that there is a discrepancy between his words and his actions.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 11:00 AM

The Globalist, an international magazine, offers this essay:

Madison Versus Bush


Edward Goldberg | Monday, May 19, 2003
The United States is at a crossroads. It can either continue in a policy of unilateralism and projection of raw power. Or it can realize that it needs to coexist within a multilateral world framework. Edward Goldberg explains how the origins of the U.S. constitution play into this choice.

Americans like to see their country as earnest, optimistic and youthful, individualistic, idealistic — and a team player. "We give the underdog a chance" and "We play by the rules," Americans tell themselves.

Preserving liberty

Fortunately for America, a wise group of men came together 214 years ago to establish the rules that would make it safe for these attractive traits to blossom.

Madison argued that for large states to prosper, they needed to share power with small states.

The checks and balances in the Constitution which these men created would not only protect the rights of the individual.

But, it would also force conflicting power bases within society toward compromise in order for society as a whole to be able to move forward.

Not relevant?

The U.S. Constitution safeguarded the political system from abuse of power and from abuse of dogma. It forced each side's concepts to face the light of pragmatic concerns. James Madison and his friends knew well that, to preserve liberty, power needed to be balanced and checked.

This concept of checks and balances is integral to American political philosophy. But strangely, it is apparently not considered relevant by the Bush Administration in the formation of its foreign policy.

Power beyond challenge

Instead the administration has an overriding goal — which is to place America's power beyond challenge.

America cannot continue as a nation that values the check on power as a protection of liberties within its own borders — but feels constrained by the same values internationally.

There is an almost celebratory feeling that America is now free to use its power in the world as it wishes — and that it is no longer shackled by the balancing forces of the Cold War.

Madison knew better. During the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787 — and later in the Federalist Papers — he argued that for the large states (such as Virginia or New York) to prosper, they needed to be courageous enough to share some power with the smaller states.

(Rest of this article can be found at The Globalist)

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 10:36 AM

In fairness, there were better opinions than mine of the Inaugural Speech, and this is one of them:

Ideals and Reality

Published: January 22, 2005


If you want to understand America, I hope you were in Washington on Thursday. I hope you heard the high ideals of President Bush's inaugural address, and also saw the stretch Hummer limos heading to the balls in the evening.

I hope you heard the president talk about freedom as "the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul," and also saw the drunken, loud and privileged twentysomethings carrying each other piggyback down K Street after midnight.

What you saw in Washington that day is what you see in America so often - this weird intermingling of high ideals with gross materialism, the lofty and the vulgar cheek to cheek.

The people who detest America take a look at this odd conjunction and assume the materialistic America is the real America; the ideals are a sham. The real America, they insist, is the money-grubbing, resource-wasting, TV-drenched, unreflective bimbo of the earth. The high-toned language, the anti-Americans say, is just a cover for the quest for oil, or the desire for riches, dominion and war.

But of course they've got it exactly backward. It's the ideals that are real.

Two years from now, no one will remember the spending or the ostrich-skin cowboy boots. But Bush's speech, which is being derided for its vagueness and its supposed detachment from the concrete realities, will still be practical and present in the world, yielding consequences every day.

With that speech, President Bush's foreign policy doctrine transcended the war on terror. He laid down a standard against which everything he and his successors do will be judged.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 10:20 AM

In 1931, Thomas Mann spoke out against the rising tide of unreason which was sweeping his country, a movement which derided intellectualism and espoused the heavy handed nationalism which characterized the National Socialist propaganda mill. He expressed his thoughts in a tract entitled "In Defense of Reason".Among other things, he said:

"This fantastic state of mind, of a humanity that has outrun its ideas, is matched by a political scene in the grotesque style, with Salvation Army methods, hallelujahs and bell-ringing and dervishlike repetition of monotonous catch-words, until everybody foams at the mouth. Fanaticism turns into a means of salvation, enthusiasm into epileptic ecstacy, politics becomes an opiate for the masses, . . . and reason veils her face."

Startling, now 74 years later, to read this description and compare it to the mindless applause that was being generated by the frozen chosen at the Inaugural event, ringed by steel and carefully covered by lead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 05 - 09:59 AM

From today's NYTimes:

Bush's Smiles Meet Some Frowns in Europe


Published: January 22, 2005


The start of President Bush's second term has been marked by conciliatory gestures toward Europe: a promised visit to the headquarters of the European Union, the selection of a top State Department team deeply versed in European affairs, restraint on trade, cooperation on the Ukrainian crisis and bold commitments to the active Middle Eastern diplomacy that Europeans want.

All of this amounts to a presidential gamble that the Atlantic community is alive and well, despite the divisive trauma of Iraq. But Mr. Bush will want results. As his secretary of state-designate, Condoleezza Rice, said this week: "When judging a course of action, I will never forget that the true measure of its worth is whether it is effective."

By this yardstick, can European-American cooperation still deliver? Can it usher in the freer world to which the president is committed? Promising to listen to the counsel of allies, Mr. Bush declared Thursday, "The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is the prelude to our enemies' defeat."

The initial reaction was generally cool. European commentators asked what new war Mr. Bush might embark on in the name of his idealism, and portrayed his global bid to eliminate tyranny as hubris or hypocrisy. But a few newspapers, like the conservative German daily Die Welt, suggested, "A little bit of this spirit would do the Old World good and help it to renew itself."

The natural bonds between the English, the United States and Europe are generated by the participants because of a sense of common values. That sense has never been so strained, so close to giving way to sullen separtism between nations, as a result of Bush's intransigent arrogance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 05:19 PM

Der Spiegel's "Fishwrap" section offers a survey of various German papers on the Bush Administration. The Idol Worship of George W. Bush.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 05:09 PM

The English edition of Der Spiegel offers an amazing story called ABDUCTED IN IRAQ--Four Months on Planet bin Laden -- the perspective of two French reporters held captive by the binLaden machinery for four months, what they learned, and how they see the scale and vision of the Islamist extremist underground army.

It is telling that these people describe the American policy in Iraq as heading straight for a wall.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 04:54 PM

Excerpted from a thoughtful essay in the Christian Science Monitor, To the Founders, Congress was king

By John Dillin | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

AMERICA'S expanding involvement abroad, and the need to maintain a large peacetime US military force in dozens of other nations, has also added to presidential power. Berkin says America's modern presidency, with all its trappings, would be "unimaginable" to men like Madison, Washington, and Franklin. Of all those historic figures at the 1787 Convention, perhaps only Alexander Hamilton would relish today's playing of "Hail to the Chief."

The great concern of the Founders was tyranny. After all, they had just barely escaped the clutches of King George, who would have happily drawn and quartered Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, or George Mason if his Redcoats could have seized them during the American Revolution. The last thing they wanted was a power-hungry president, a domestic King George, to replace the English one. The Founders did not trust men's natural inclinations.

As Berkin notes, the chief "truth" that guided the Founders was "that men were corruptible and that power always corrupted." They believed that "greed and lust for power ... were inquenchable in mortal men." Although he was ordinarily known for his buoyant optimism, Franklin observed during the debates that even with good fortune, the new government might succeed for only a decade. Franklin warned of the "inevitable decline" of the Republic "into a tyranny of one, a tyranny of a few, or a tyranny of the majority."

Jefferson, who was ambassador to France, and Adams, the ambassador to Britain, did not attend the Convention. But each shared this concern over tyranny. For Jefferson, the chief concern was the "tyranny of one." For Adams, the tyranny of the aristocracy, or the monied classes, was the great risk.

Looking at today's politics, Berkin says: "The Founders would be appalled, perhaps the most, in that the president presents a program to the Congress, and the Congress is expected to argue over it. This is the tail wagging the dog. Their view was just the opposite - with the president executing [the policies proposed and approved] by Congress."

Yet most "modern Americans" assume the president is the leader, Berkin says. This was reflected in a comment this week on Washington's CBS-TV affiliate, where anchorman Todd McDermott said authoritatively, "On Inauguration Day, the president sets the path for America's future."

Franklin would hardly believe his ears.

Berkin says the two major political parties have been a driving force in turning the original system upside down. Big, strong parties reduce the effectiveness of the check-and-balance system, in which Congress and the president are supposed to watchdog one another. Instead, parties "weave together all three branches of government. Even the [Supreme] Court is subject to the influence of parties."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 04:48 PM

The Christian Science Monitor offers a survey of international takes on the Inaugural Address. The range of opinions found is wide.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 12:46 PM

The differing views of Bush's Inaugural address (actually his first -- the earlier event was just a gussied up eviction notice) are interesting in the range of their opinions.

William Safire, an adamant Bushite, qwrites in the New York Times:

Yesterday's strongly thematic address was indeed "the freedom speech." Not only did the words "freedom, free, liberty" appear 49 times, but the president used the world-watched occasion to expound his basic reason for the war and his vision of America's mission in the world.

I rate it among the top 5 of the 20 second-inaugurals in our history. Lincoln's profound sermon "with malice toward none" is incomparable, but Bush's second was better than Jefferson's mean-spirited pouting at "the artillery of the press."

In Bush's "second gathering" (Lincoln called it his "second appearing"), the Texan evoked J.F.K.'s "survival of liberty" phrase to convey his central message: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands." Bush repeated that internationalist human-rights idea, with a slight change, in these words: "The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

The change in emphasis was addressed to accommodationists who make "peace" and "the peace process" the No. 1 priority of foreign policy. Others of us - formerly known as hardliners, now called Wilsonian idealists - put freedom first, recalling that the U.S. has often had to go to war to gain and preserve it. Bush makes clear that it is human liberty, not peace, that takes precedence, and that it is tyrants who enslave peoples, start wars and provoke revolution. Thus, the spread of freedom is the prerequisite to world peace.

It takes guts to take on that peace-freedom priority so starkly. Bush, by retaliatory and pre-emptive decisions in his first term - and by his choice of words and his tall stance in this speech, and despite his unmodulated delivery - now drives his critics batty by exuding a buoyant confidence reminiscent of F.D.R. and Truman.

He promised to use America's influence "confidently in freedom's cause." He jabbed at today's Thomases: "Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty, though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt."

Bush has seen the enemy and it is not us. Nor is it only a group of nations (the "axis of evil"). Nor is the prime enemy the tactic of terrorism.

The president identified the enemy (and did not euphemize it, as Nixon's writers did, as "the adversary") a half-dozen times in this speech. The archenemy of freedom, now as ever, is tyranny.

Another New York Times writer, a bit more sensitive tot he inherent contradictions (not to say hypocrisies) of the moment, Bob Herbert, decries the gala extravagance in the face of blood, toil, death and misery to which the party-goers seemed immune and disconnected:

"Dancing the War Away

Published: January 21, 2005

Watching the inaugural ceremonies yesterday reminded me of the scenes near the end of "The Godfather" in which a solemn occasion (a baptism in the movie) is interspersed with a series of spectacularly violent murders.

Even as President Bush was taking the oath of office and delivering his Inaugural Address beneath the clear, cold skies of Washington, the news wires were churning out stories about the tragic mayhem in Iraq. There is no end in sight to the carnage, which was unleashed nearly two years ago by President Bush's decision to launch this wholly unnecessary war, one of the worst presidential decisions in American history.

Incredibly, with more than 1,360 American troops dead and more than 10,000 wounded, and with scores of thousands of Iraqis dead and wounded, the president never once mentioned the word Iraq in his Inaugural Address. He avoided all but the most general references to the war. Lyndon Johnson used to agonize over the war that unraveled his presidency. Mr. Bush, riding the crest of his re-election wave, seems not to be similarly bothered.

In January 1945, with World War II still raging, Franklin Roosevelt insisted on a low-key inauguration. Already gravely ill, he began his address by saying, "Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief."

Times have changed. President Bush and his equally tone-deaf supporters spent the past few days partying hard while Americans, Iraqis and others continued to suffer and die in the Iraq conflagration. Nothing was too good for the princes and princesses of the new American plutocracy. Tens of millions of dollars were spent on fireworks, cocktail receptions, gala dinners and sumptuous balls.

Ten thousand people, including the president and Laura Bush, turned out Wednesday night for the Black Tie and Boots Ball. According to The Associated Press, one of the guests, Lorian Sessions of San Antonio, "donned a new pair of black kangaroo boots, decorated with a white star and embroidery, with an aqua-colored mink wrap she bought on sale at Saks."

An article in The Washington Post mentioned a peace activist who complained that the money lavished on the balls would have been better spent on body armor for under-equipped troops in Iraq.

As the well-heeled Bush crowd was laughing and dancing in tuxedos and designer gowns, the situation in Iraq was deteriorating to new levels of horror. The Black Tie and Boots Ball was held on the same day that 26 people were killed in five powerful car and truck bombs in Baghdad. With the elections just a week and a half away, American commanders, according to John F. Burns of The Times, are seeking "to prepare public opinion in Iraq and abroad for one of the bloodiest chapters in the war so far."

Meanwhile, ignoring the fine gaseous fiber of non-inspiring groundless generalizations, another Times writer excoriates the double-talk and falsity inherent in the Social Security attack:

The Free Lunch Bunch

Published: January 21, 2005

Did they believe they would be welcomed as liberators? Administration plans to privatize Social Security have clearly run into unexpected opposition. Even Republicans are balking; Representative Bill Thomas says that the initial Bush plan will soon be a "dead horse."

That may be overstating it, but for privatizers the worst is yet to come. If people are rightly skeptical about claims that Social Security faces an imminent crisis, just wait until they start looking closely at the supposed solution.

President Bush is like a financial adviser who tells you that at the rate you're going, you won't be able to afford retirement - but that you shouldn't do anything mundane like trying to save more. Instead, you should take out a huge loan, put the money in a mutual fund run by his friends (with management fees to be determined later) and place your faith in capital gains.

That, once you cut through all the fine phrases about an "ownership society," is how the Bush privatization plan works. Payroll taxes would be diverted into private accounts, forcing the government to borrow to replace the lost revenue. The government would make up for this borrowing by reducing future benefits; yet workers would supposedly end up better off, in spite of reduced benefits, through the returns on their accounts.

The whole scheme ignores the most basic principle of economics: there is no free lunch.

There's no question that George and Laura are having a rich and wonderful time of it. See them dance?

Those on whose backs they are climbing -- the wounded, the lamed, the beggared, the dead, and the morally traumatized who carried out George's will -- they are not doing so well. Taking the failed war on terror and re-casting it in the golden garb of high-flown ideals like "exporting liberty" doesn't do a thing to change this fundamental inequity. It just makes the falsehoods more glaring, the incompetence more actionable, and the duplicity more immoral.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 12:15 PM

he President's Speech Focuses on Ideals, Not the Details

Published: January 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 - President Bush began his second term without uttering the words "Iraq," "Afghanistan," "Sept. 11" or "terrorism." But those omissions seemed to be precisely the point, allowing him to cast the crises and controversies of his first four years - and the ones he welcomes in the next - as a seamless struggle in defense of the nation's founding creed: freedom.

"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world," Mr. Bush proclaimed, pledging himself to "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world" in terms that deliberately echoed both Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy, who summoned the world 44 years ago to ask "what together we can do for the freedom of man."

It is for historians to judge how well Mr. Bush's actions have fit, or may yet fulfill, his words. There remains a wide gulf between his eloquent aspirations and the realities on the ground, from Capitol Hill to the Middle East. Executing his ideas will not be easy, at home or abroad.

His tone was proud, unapologetic, even defiant, and his emphasis on foreign policy muffled his outline of the domestic agenda that he and his aides have said is so important to the success of his second term.

But his speech's very loftiness and its missionary zeal also amounted to a tacit acknowledgment that he believes that much of the world and perhaps many of his fellow citizens have misunderstood his actions in invading Iraq and threatening authoritarian governments in Iran and North Korea. He himself has not always described his motives in such idealistic terms, so the speech was a chance to hit the reset button.

BALLS!!, said the Emperor!!

And the Empress swiftly kicked him in the crotch and said, "How's that for a couple of acres?"

Seriously -- does anyone else feel that Bush's disconnection from the ground truth is something akin to classic fugue-state mentality, skipping joyfully into the bright clouds of jolly generalization while your hand holds a blood-drenched carving knife?

The State ofd the Nation, of course, is "42".


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 11:36 AM

Just this once, a reference to one of Donuel's creations. Terrific!


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 08:32 AM

Thanks, Ellen! We're a pricy little banana republic, aren't we?


Tough-sounding address makes no mention of Iraq (San Diego Union Tribune)

By George E. Condon Jr.

January 21, 2005

WASHINGTON – President Bush delivered one of the more muscular, foreign-policy-dominated inaugural addresses in recent American history, using the speech to put leaders overseas on notice that he will be aggressive about spreading democracy and promoting human rights during his second term.

But with the nation embroiled in an increasingly unpopular war, he did not talk specifically about it, declining to mention the word "Iraq."

While the war's costs mount, the president pointedly did not ask the country for sacrifices to win the victory he promises. All he asked for was more patience.

In a country still divided over the Bush presidency and Iraq, Bush said little about healing in his speech yesterday.

For Bush partisans, however, there was everything they love – high-sounding proclamations of fealty to global democracy and spreading Western-style freedom and tough-sounding promises to use "force of arms when necessary" to protect U.S. interests.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 03:34 AM

I don't have time to do all the blue clicky's but here is something I was sent and am passing along..xx..e)


The Progress Report

by Christy Harvey, Judd Legum and Jonathan Baskin with Nico Pitney and
Mipe Okunseinde


Inauguration: Lifestyles of the Rich and Heartless

Due to $17 million worth of inaugural security -- paid for by the city
of Washington, D.C. -- the Progress Report is unable to access its
office. Never fear -- it takes a lot more than that to keep us down. We put
this list together for you ahead of time. Your regularly scheduled
Progress Report returns tomorrow.

A look at this week's festivities by the numbers:

$40 million:
Cost of Bush inaugural ball festivities, not counting security costs.

$2,000: ( Amount
FDR spent on the inaugural in 1945...about $20,000 in today's dollars.

Cost of yellow roses purchased for inaugural festivities by D.C.'s Ritz

Number of Humvees outfitted with top-of-the-line armor for troops in
Iraq that could have been purchased with the amount of money blown on the

$10,000: (
Price of an inaugural package at the Fairmont Hotel, which includes a
Beluga caviar and Dom Perignon reception, a chauffeured Rolls Royce and
two actors posing as "faux" Secret Service agents, complete with black
sunglasses and cufflink walkie-talkies.

400: ( Pounds of
lobster provided for "inaugural feeding frenzy" at the exclusive
Mandarin Oriental hotel.

3,000: ( Number
of "Laura Bush Cowboy cookies" provided for "inaugural feeding frenzy"
at the Mandarin hotel.

$1: (
Amount per guest President Carter spent on snacks for guests at his
inaugural parties. To stick to a tight budget, he served pretzels, peanuts,
crackers and cheese and had cash bars.

22 million:
Number of children in regions devastated by the tsunami who could have
received vaccinations and preventive health care with the amount of
money spent on the inauguration.

1,160,000: ( Number of girls
who could be sent to school for a year in Afghanistan with the amount
of money lavished on the inauguration.

( The down payment to rent a fur coat paid by one gala attendee who
didn't want the hassle of schlepping her own through the airport.

Price of a room package at D.C.'s Mandarin Oriental, including
presidential suite, chauffeured Mercedes limo and outfits from Neiman Marcus.

2,500: (
Number of U.S. troops used to stand guard as President Bush takes his
oath of office

Number of Kevlar vests for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that
could be purchased for $40 million.

$290: ( Bonus that
could go to each American solider serving in Iraq, if inauguration funds
were used for that purpose.

$6.3 million: (
Amount contributed by the finance and investment industry, which works
out to be 25 percent of all the money collected.

$17 million: ( Amount
of money the White House is forcing the cash-strapped city of
Washington, D.C., to pony up for inauguration security.

9: ( Percentage
of D.C. residents who voted for Bush in 2004.

66: (
Percentage of Americans who think this over-the-top inauguration should
have been scaled back.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 01:21 AM

The Bush administration has been repeatedly criticised by its opponents for not admitting mistakes were made in the handling of the occupation of Iraq.

On Wednesday, President George W Bush's nominee for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a rare acknowledgment that some "bad decisions" were made, while defending the overall invasion.

"We didn't have the right skills, the right capacity, to deal with a reconstruction effort of this kind," she told the US Senate Foreign Relations committee.

(BBCNews Jan 20 05)

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 05 - 01:00 AM

Oh it was cold, all right, Doug.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: DougR
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 10:30 PM

Yeah, Amos, I heard on TV there may have been as many as a thousand protestors. Down about from the 10,000 predicted to show up. Probably too cold there to protest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 09:41 PM

doublethink - Reality Control. The power to hold two completely contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accept both of them. An excellent example of doublethink in modern society is the war on drugs. If you ask people their opinion on alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, most people would agree that it was a complete failure. People agree that it only caused more crime, it made gangsters rich, it corrupted politicians, and most importantly ... it didn't keep people from drinking.

Yet, we have almost the exact same situation today with war on drugs, yet most people think that our modern prohibition is a good idea ... and more than that, they believe that anybody that thinks that the war on drugs isn't a good idea must be completely out of their minds. In order for a person to be effective at doublethink, they must master the art of crimestop.

This word has made its way into the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

dou•ble•think ('d&-b&l-"thi[ng]k), noun, Date: 1949 : a simultaneous belief in two contradictory ideas.

Here is how Winston Smith described doublethink in the novel:

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.'



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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 09:26 PM

No, Com Seangan. On this site, you are preaching to the choir.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 09:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Anti-Bush demonstrators waving signs that said "Worst President Ever" and "the American Nightmare" jeered the president's motorcade during the inaugural parade Thursday.

The procession of cars speeded up as President Bush neared the designated location for protesters on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Two rows of police lined the street in front of the main protest site. Officers stationed atop buildings along the route kept close watch on the crowd.

Boos rained down from the crowd and some demonstrators shouted, "No justice, no peace." In some places in the protest area, the crowd was about six rows deep.

Details can be found in this CNN coverage.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM

Well, you go on wid it, Barbara...

Hey, nice to see the Dems kickin' up a little dust and not let another member ot Boss Hog's priveledged few get a *free pass* like her boss has gotten all his life...

With 56% of Americans now saying that the invasion of Iraq wasn't worth it, Bush's free ride is gonna get a little bumpier. Good...

This man shouldn't be allowed a free ride all the way to the grave but if he does, I'm here to tell ya that with all the deaths on his hands, St. Peter gonna put him the the express bus to Hell...



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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Com SEangan
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 07:49 PM

Long live free America. I just hate being dubbed anti-American for being against the US foreign policy as adopted by President Bush. But on this site, I am preaching to he converted.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Com Seangan
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 07:44 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 06:18 PM

A humorous quip from The New Republic after the Inaugural:

"Pageants are interesting for two reasons: what they try to say, and where they fail to say it. This afternoon's inaugural ceremony conveyed plenty of meaning, and in spots went plenty awry. It was engineered to highlight certain shared values, like respect for our armed forces and the breadth of our diversity. Singers of different colors performed, and preachers of different creeds prayed. It was bracing to hear Revered Luis Leon set the tone when he referred to our "good and generous" people and cited Martin Luther King. But Kirbyjon Caldwell's closing prayer, which asked God, the "true power broker," to deliver unto us "clean financial statements" is the sort of thing a preacher in a middling Washington satire might say...."

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 06:09 PM

In the interests of counterpoint, see this essay by Daniel Gilbert.. Excerpt:

Things do seem to turn out for the best - but studies suggest that this has less to do with the way things turn out than with our natural tendency to seek, notice, remember, generate and uncritically accept information that makes us happy.

Our ability to spin gold from the dross of our experience means that we often find ourselves flourishing in circumstances we once dreaded. We fear divorces, natural disasters and financial hardships until they happen, at which point we recognize them as opportunities to reinvent ourselves, to bond with our neighbors and to transcend the spiritual poverty of material excess. When the going gets tough, the mind gets going on a hunt for silver linings, and most linings are sufficiently variegated to reward the mind's quest.

So when President Bush puts his hand on the Bible today and begins his second term, Republicans will not be the only ones thinking about how lucky they are. Democrats will surely remind one another that the dollar is down, the deficit is up, foreign relations are in disarray and the party that presides over this looming miasma may well have elected its last president for decades to come.

At the same time, Democrats will tell themselves that they did everything they could - they wrote more checks and cast more ballots than ever before - so if the president and his party insist that Democrats now enjoy a fat tax break, then why feel guilty? And they will inevitably note that if just over half the fans at an Ohio State football game had voted for John Kerry instead of the president, a different man would be taking the oath of office today.

In short, Democrats will realize that winning isn't always such a good thing - and besides, they almost won.

Of course, not everyone will be happy today, because not everyone has this talent for reasoning his way to happiness. Throughout history, there have always been a few unfortunates who found it impossible to reframe negative events in positive ways, and these poor souls were predictably less happy than the rest of us. Lincoln, for example, was perpetually melancholic. Martin Luther King Jr. had more bad than good days. "Suffering and evil often overwhelm me," said Gandhi from the midst of a depression, "and I stew in my own juice."

Many of the heroes and redeemers we most admire were unhappy people who found it impossible to change how they felt about the world - which left them no choice but to change the world itself. Outrage, anger, fear and frustration are unpleasant emotions that most of us vanquish through artful reasoning; but unpleasant emotions can also be spurs to action - clamorous urges that we may silence at our peril.

As we watch the inauguration today, Republicans will take satisfaction in their victory and Democrats will find satisfaction in their defeat. But tomorrow it will be a nation - and not a party - that faces the dire problems of war, terrorism, poverty and intolerance. Perhaps over the next four years we would all be wise to suppress our natural talent for happiness and strive instead to be truly, deeply distressed.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 06:01 PM

Public Voicing Doubts on Iraq and the Economy, Poll Finds

Published: January 20, 2005

On the eve of President Bush's second inauguration, most Americans say they do not expect the economy to improve or American troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by the time Mr. Bush leaves the White House, and many have reservations about his signature plan to overhaul Social Security, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

Seventy percent, however, said they thought Mr. Bush would succeed in changing the Social Security system. The poll found that 43 percent of respondents expect most forms of abortion to be illegal by the time Mr. Bush leaves the White House, given Mr. Bush's expected appointments to the Supreme Court.

The Times/CBS News Poll offered the kind of conflicting portrait of the nation's view of Mr. Bush that was evident throughout last year's presidential campaign. Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they were generally optimistic on the eve of Mr. Bush's swearing-in about the next four years, but clear majorities disapproved of Mr. Bush's management of the economy and the war in Iraq.

Nearly two-thirds said a second Bush term would leave the country with a larger deficit, while 47 percent said that a second Bush term would divide Americans. A majority of those surveyed said that they did not expect any improvement in health care, education, or in reducing the cost of prescription drugs for the elderly by January 2009.

Just under 80 percent, including a majority of those who said they voted for Mr. Bush in November, said it would not be possible to overhaul Social Security, cut taxes, and finance the war in Iraq without increasing the budget deficit, despite Mr. Bush's promises to the contrary.

The findings, coming after a tensely competitive election, suggest that Mr. Bush does not have broad popular support as he embarks on what the White House has signaled would be an extraordinarily ambitious second term, which in many ways will commence with Mr. Bush's swearing-in and speech on Thursday. That could undermine his leverage in Congress, where even some Republicans have expressed concern about major aspects of Mr. Bush's Social Security plans.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 02:08 PM

Barbara Boxer would like to hold Condi Rice responsible for her statements and her actions. Help her out here


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 10:19 AM

From SFGate:

Boxer on the offensive

Thursday, January 20, 2005

SEN. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., asked the right questions in the confirmation hearing of Secretary of State-nominee Condoleezza Rice.

To be sure, Boxer did not score any points on style or diplomacy. The edge in her voice was a bit jarring to those who are accustomed to the more genteel rythyms of the U.S. Senate. Her relentlessness was off-putting to those who are more comfortable with collegiality at any cost. Boxer is drawing criticism for her alleged abrasiveness.

But they were the right questions at the right time at the right place.

As national security adviser, Rice should be forced to answer questions about the misinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq -- and the administration's serious misjudgments about the complexity of the occupation. Boxer did not flinch in pointing out the inconsistencies and exaggerations in Rice's statements.

On Wednesday, Boxer accused Rice of an "unwillingness to give Americans the full story because selling the war was so important to Dr. Rice. That was her job."

There is no doubt that Rice will be confirmed, given the presumption of deference to the president on Cabinet selections. But that does not immunize appointees from accountability for their past actions and statements.

Boxer did her job.

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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM

Thomas Friedman describes the European perspective of the inauguration:

An American in Paris

Published: January 20, 2005

Watching George Bush's second inaugural from a bistro in Paris is like watching the Red Sox win the World Series from a sports bar in New York City. Odds are that someone around you is celebrating - I mean, someone, somewhere in Europe must be happy about this - but it's not obvious.

Why are Europeans so blue over George Bush's re-election? Because Europe is the world's biggest "blue state." This whole region is a rhapsody in blue. These days, even the small group of anti-anti-Americans in the European Union is uncomfortable being associated with Mr. Bush. There are Euro-conservatives, but, aside from, maybe, the ruling party in Italy, there is nothing here that quite corresponds to the anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-tax, anti-national-health-care, anti-Kyoto, openly religious, pro-Iraq-war Bush Republican Party.

If you took all three major parties in Britain - Labor, Liberals and Conservatives - "their views on God, guns, gays, the death penalty, national health care and the environment would all fit somewhere inside the Democratic Party," said James Rubin, the Clinton State Department spokesman, who works in London. "That's why I get along with all three parties here. They're all Democrats!"

While officially every European government is welcoming the inauguration of President Bush, the prevailing mood on the continent (if I may engage in a ridiculously sweeping generalization!) still seems to be one of shock and awe that Americans actually re-elected this man.

Before Mr. Bush's re-election, the prevailing attitude in Europe was definitely: "We're not anti-American. We're anti-Bush." But now that the American people have voted to re-elect Mr. Bush, Europe has a problem maintaining this distinction. The logic of the Europeans' position is that they should now be anti-American, not just anti-Bush, but most Europeans don't seem to want to go there. They know America is more complex. So there is a vague hope in the air that when Mr. Bush visits Europe next month, he'll come bearing an olive branch that will enable both sides to at least pretend to hold this loveless marriage together for the sake of the kids.

"Europeans were convinced that Kerry had won on election night and were telling themselves that they knew all along that Americans were not all that bad - and then suddenly, as the truth emerged, there was a feeling of slow resignation: 'Oh well, we've been dreaming,' " said Dominique Moisi, one of France's top foreign policy analysts. "In fact, real America is moving away from us. We don't share the same values. ... In France it was a very emotional issue. It was as if Americans were voting for the president of France as much as for president of the United States." ...

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