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BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration

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

Times editorialist Frank Rich does some careful thinking about how little coverage the media have given the torture of others by Americans in many locations, and why. A brief excerpt follows but the whole is a good read. It can be found here.

"Maybe we don't want to know that the abuses were widespread and systematic, stretching from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to unknown locales where "ghost detainees" are held. Or that they started a year before the incidents at Abu Ghraib. Or that they have been carried out by many branches of the war effort, not just Army grunts. Or that lawyers working for Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales gave these acts a legal rationale that is far more menacing to encounter in cold type than the photo of Prince Harry's costume-shop armband.

As Mr. Danner shows in his book, all this and more can be discerned from a close reading of the government's dense investigative reports and the documents that have been reluctantly released (or leaked). Read the record, and the Fort Hood charade is unmasked for what it was: the latest attempt to strictly quarantine the criminality to a few Abu Ghraib guards and, as Mr. Danner writes, to keep their actions "carefully insulated from any charge that they represent, or derived from, U.S. policy - a policy that permits torture."

The abuses may well be going on still. Even as the Graner trial unfolded, The New York Times reported that a secret August 2002 Justice Department memo authorized the use of some 20 specific interrogation practices, including "waterboarding," a form of simulated drowning that was a torture of choice for military regimes in Argentina and Uruguay in the 1970's. This revelation did not make it to network news.

"Nobody seems to be listening," Mr. Danner said last week, as he prepared to return to Iraq to continue reporting on the war for The New York Review. That so few want to listen may in part be a reflection of the country's growing disenchantment with the war as a whole. (In an inauguration-eve Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 44 percent said the war was worth fighting.) The practice of torture by Americans is not only ugly in itself. It conjures up the specter of defeat. We can't "win" the war in Iraq if we lose the battle for public opinion in the Middle East. At the gut level, Americans know that the revelations of Abu Ghraib coincided with - and very likely spurred - the ruthlessness of an insurgency that has since taken the lives of many brave United States troops who would never commit the lawless acts of a Charles Graner or seek some ruling out of Washington that might countenance them.

History tells us that in these cases a reckoning always arrives, and Mr. Danner imagines that "in five years, or maybe sooner, there will be a TV news special called 'Torture: How Did It Happen?' " Even though much of the script can be written now, we will all be sure to express great shock."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 04:08 AM

Anyone else hoping a blizzard hits DC today?

Got any facts on just how much is being spent on that little shindig, Amos?

..xx..e


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 03:40 AM

From Senator Kerry:

Earlier today, I voted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee against the nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice for Secretary of State. This vote is an expression of my determination that we hold the Bush administration accountable.

Dr. Rice is a principal architect, implementer, and defender of a series of Administration policies that have not made our country as secure as we should be and have alienated much-needed allies in our common cause of winning the war against terrorism. Regrettably, I did not see in Dr. Rice's testimony before our committee any acknowledgment of the need to change course or of a new vision for America's role in the world.

On Iraq, on North Korea, on Iran, to name just a few of the most critical challenges, it seems to be more of the same. I hope I am proven wrong. I hope the course will change. And I hope that the Administration will recognize the strength of a foreign policy that has bipartisan support.

I am prepared to work with Dr. Rice and others in the Administration to try to reach agreement on policies that will truly strengthen our security and restore America's credibility on the world stage. And I am confident colleagues on both sides of the aisle are prepared to do so as well.

But, we've got to remain firm in our insistence that those who create policies that don't work have the courage to admit their mistakes and the wisdom to change course. Our johnkerry.com community has been expressing that determination in huge numbers.

Over 700,000 people have called on President Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

If you haven't signed the Rumsfeld petition, please do so immediately.

http://www.johnkerry.com/ReplaceRumsfeld

And, please forward the petition right now to friends and colleagues, urging them to join in this effort.

...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 03:14 AM

Maureen Dowd unleashed:

Don't Know Much About Algebra
By MAUREEN DOWD

Published: January 20, 2005
















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awrence Summers, the president of Harvard, has been pilloried for suggesting that women may be biologically unsuited to succeed at mathematics.

He may have a point.

Just look at Condoleezza Rice.

She's clearly a well-educated, intelligent woman, versed in Brahms and the Bolsheviks, who has just been rewarded for her loyalty with the most plum assignment in the second Bush cabinet.

Yet her math skills are woefully inadequate.

She can't do simple equations. She doesn't even know that X times zero equals zero. If you multiply 1,370 dead soldiers times zero weapons of mass destruction, that equals zero achievement for Ms. Rice, who helped the president and vice president bamboozle the country into war.

Was Condi out doing figure eights at the ice skating rink when she should have been home learning her figures? She couldn't have spent much time studying classic word problems: If two trains leave Chicago at noon, one going south at 20 miles an hour and one going north at 30 miles an hour, how far will each have gotten by midnight?

Otherwise, she might have realized that if two cars leave the Baghdad airport at noon on the main highway into the capital of Iraq, neither one is going to get there with any living passengers. Our 22 months at war have not added up to that one major highway's being secured.

It's lucky for Ms. Rice that she's serving with men who are just as lame at numbers as she is. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz couldn't be bothered to tally correctly the number of dead soldiers when he testified before Congress. And his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, didn't realize that using an autopen signature on more than 1,000 letters to the relatives of fallen troops added up to zero solace.

Our new top diplomat has obviously not mastered fractions. When she asserted during her confirmation hearing that 120,000 Iraqi troops had been trained, Senator Joe Biden corrected her, saying she was off by a bit. His calculation of trained Iraqi troops was actually 4,000 - hers was 30 times that. Maybe she's confusing hyperbole and hypotenuse.

Her geometry is skewed if she thinks she'll now be more powerful than Rummy and Dick Cheney. Doesn't she know that the Pentagon has more sides than her Crawford triangle with George and Laura?

She could at least have read "The Da Vinci Code." Then she would have learned about Fibonacci numbers, a recurring mathematical pattern in nature. When you invade a country, you should expect an insurgency. Or, as Fibonacci might have calculated it, if you kill one jihadist, two more arrive to take his place; if you kill three, five more pop up; if you get five, eight more appear, and so on.

The incoming secretary of state and her colleagues are, alas, also lousy at economics. After Bush officials promised that the postwar expenses would be covered by Iraqi oil revenues, we find ourselves spending $1 billion a week of our own money.

Ms. Rice and her fellow imperialists know so little about physics that they arrogantly jumped into "spooky action at a distance," turning the country they had hoped to make into a model democracy into a training ground for international terrorists, a nucleus for a new generation of radioactively dangerous fanatics.

How could they forget Newton's third law: for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction?

The administration needs a lesson in subtraction. How do we subtract our troops and replace them with Iraqi troops while the terrorists keep subtracting Iraqi troops with car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades?

Condi may not know Einstein's theory of relativity, but she has a fine grasp of Cheney's theory of moral relativity. Because they're the good guys, they can do anything: dissembling to get into war; flattening Iraqi cities to save them; replacing the Geneva Conventions with unconventional ways of making prisoners talk. The only equation the Bushies know is this one: Might = Right.

It is puzzling that if you add X (no exit strategy) to Y (Why are we there?) you get W²: George Bush's second inauguration.

At Condi's hearing, she justified the Bush administration's misadventures by saying history would prove it right. "I know enough about history to stand back and to recognize that you judge decisions not at the moment, but in how it all adds up," she told a skeptical Senator Biden.

Problem is, she's calculating, but she can't add. For now, Sam Cooke is right about the Bushies. They don't know much about history.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jan 05 - 03:09 AM

NYT reports:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 - While some Democrats are still struggling to find their voices after November's election losses, Senator Barbara Boxer of California is not among them.

Her full-throated and combative questioning of Condoleezza Rice during two days of hearings on her nomination to be secretary of state was a vivid illustration of the aggressive posture that Ms. Boxer, a 64-year-old liberal from Marin County, near San Francisco, brought back to Washington after rolling up a big margin of victory in her re-election to a third term.

Before casting one of two Democratic votes against Ms. Rice on the Foreign Relations Committee - the other was John Kerry's - Ms. Boxer explained bluntly why she had been so persistent in pressing the national security adviser on what Ms. Boxer portrayed as the administration's misleading and misguided rationale for the war in Iraq.

"The fact is we've lost so many lives over it," she said. "So if we do get a little testy on the point, and I admit to be so, it's because it continues day in and day out, and 25 percent of the dead are from California. We cannot forget. We cannot forget that."

Her jousting with Ms. Rice made her the most outspoken foe in the hearings. And it came after Ms. Boxer earlier this month joined a handful of House Democrats in forcing a debate on the legitimacy of the presidential electoral votes from Ohio; she was the only senator to vote to challenge Ohio's votes.

It is clear that she is interpreting her easy win in November, when she accumulated the third-largest number of votes in the nation, behind only the presidential contenders, as a mandate of her own. (...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 11:28 PM

The Bush Administration's "Enabling Act"

January 24, 2005 Issue
 
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In early December, without a word of public notice, the Justice Department placed on its website a lengthy September 25, 2001 memorandum entitled "The President's Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them." That document sets out, on behalf of the Bush administration, a plainly totalitarian view of presidential power.


"We conclude that the Constitution vests the President with the plenary authority, as Commander in Chief and the sole organ of the Nation in its foreign relations, to use military force abroad," asserts the memo, composed on behalf of the department by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John C. Yoo. That assertion contains at least two outright falsehoods. First, because of the checks and balances built into our federal system, no branch of the central government enjoys "plenary" authority. Second, since the Constitution specifically assigns to Congress (in Article I, Section 8) the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations," the president could not be considered, in any sense, "the sole organ of the Nation in its foreign relations."


Reviewing the specific text of the Constitution, the Yoo memo makes the interesting discovery that "these provisions vest full control of the military forces of the United States in the President." In fact, Congress, not the president, is authorized "To raise and support armies … To provide and maintain a navy … [and to] provide for calling forth the militia...." It is Congress, not the president, that is given the power "To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces...." Those elements of the militia that are "employed in the service of the United States" are to be trained "according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."


The Yoo memo's treatment of congressional power to declare war is similarly dishonest. "During the period leading up to the Constitution's ratification, the power to initiate hostilities and to control the escalation of conflict had long been understood to rest in the hands of the executive branch," claims the document. This is true only in the sense that the King of Great Britain — that government's chief executive — claimed and exercised that power.


As Alexander Hamilton pointed out in The Federalist, No. 69, "The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States." "In this respect," continued Hamilton, "his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it," since the British monarch's power included "the declaring of war and … the raising and regulating of fleets and armies — all which, by the Constitution … appertain to the legislature."


In defiance of the unambiguous text of the Constitution, the Yoo memo declares: "If the Framers had wanted to require congressional consent before the initiation of hostilities, they knew how to write such provisions." As noted above, the Framers of the Constitution did exactly that — and the most influential among them pointedly reiterated that principle on numerous occasions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 11:19 PM

Try this piece of newspeak on:

Groups Sue for Release of Administration Documents/Records on Censoring
Lincoln Memorial Video




Washington, DC — Arguing that the Bush Administration is illegally withholding documents on its plans to cut scenes of gay rights, pro-choice and anti-war demonstrations from an educational video shown at the Lincoln Memorial, People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit in federal court today to force the National Park Service to release the documents.


The groups allege that the documents demonstrate that Park Service officials were planning to change the videotape to satisfy the objections of right-wing organizations, and the lawsuit follows PEER and PFAWF's unsuccessful attempts to obtain the documents under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.


In November 2003, under pressure from right-wing organizations, the Park Service announced that it would alter an eight-minute video containing photos and footage of demonstrations and other historic events that have taken place at the Lincoln Memorial. These far-right organizations reportedly complained that brief seconds of footage showing gay rights, pro-choice and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations implied that "Lincoln would have supported homosexual and abortion 'rights' as well as feminism." In response, the Park Service is reported to have promised to develop a "more balanced" version of the videotape that has been playing at the Lincoln Memorial since 1995.


Alerted to these plans by concerned Park Service employees, PEER and PFAWF requested correspondence and other documents on the subject from the Park Service under FOIA. On January 16, 2004, the Park Service released press reports and a copy of the then-current videotape, but denied the remainder of the groups' request, claiming that even correspondence from outside organizations and members of Congress were internal, pre-decisional records and thus exempt from public records requirements. PFAWF and PEER appealed that denial of documents to the U.S. Department of Interior, of which the Park Service is a component, on January 28, 2004. After nearly a year, Interior has not responded. The groups determined that filing a lawsuit was the only remaining course.


"One of the basic tenets of democracy is that decisions are made in an open and transparent manner. If the Bush Administration wants to rewrite history on the basis of ideology then it should stand up and say so," said PFAWF president Ralph G. Neas. "Stonewalling the public is not an option."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 11:17 PM

malreported - When the media reports a fact which the government later deemed untrue. You see, the government is never "wrong", the paper merely reported the facts incorrectly. This term was often used in describing newspaper articles that contained references to unpersons, unfulfilled economic projections, or altered government policies.

"Dan Rather malreported about the documents concerning the National Guard service of W."


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 10:35 PM

Still checking in...

Go, Amos.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 10:28 PM

As an additional feature to this small corner, I offer you occasional defintions from The Newspeak Dictionary, based on the work of George Orwell, and recognizable in the trials of modern America.

Crimestop- Orwell's definition: "The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short....protective stupidity."



This is the earmark of the Great New Republic; they have learned how the awful intellectualism of the snooty thinkers back in the 30's was so bad for the country, and they aren't going there again! If I had juts practiced a little bit more of this careful protective ignorance, I never would have gotten mad at W. A very important word.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 08:04 PM

LOL! Love that headline...


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 07:34 PM

That's a doozy of a headline! One wonders if the person who wrote it did so with a wry grin or a vacant stare. . . ?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 06:45 PM

This one takes the cake. Notice CNN's headline.

Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider



Most say inauguration festivities should be toned down

Wednesday, January 19, 2005 Posted: 4:19 PM EST (2119 GMT)


(CNN) -- On the eve of President Bush's inauguration, a poll shows the nation is split over whether he has united or divided the nation, but a majority believe his inauguration festivities should be toned down because of the war.

During the 2000 campaign, Bush promised to be a "uniter, not a divider."

Forty-nine percent of 1,007 adult Americans said in phone interviews they believe Bush is a "uniter," according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday. Another 49 percent called him a "divider," and 2 percent had no opinion.

The results nearly match those of a poll taken in October 2004, which showed 48 percent considered Bush a "uniter" and 48 percent called him a "divider," with 4 percent having no opinion. (Full story)

Bush's inauguration was viewed by 69 percent, more than two-thirds of respondents, as a celebration by the winning presidential candidate's supporters rather than a celebration of democracy by all Americans, as 29 percent saw it. Two percent had no opinion.

And 79 percent of poll respondents said they believe the inauguration ceremony will not do much to heal political divisions in the country. Eighteen percent said it would, and 3 percent had no opinion



So we are sharply divided on whether we are united or not?

Hmmmmmm. Way ta go, Little Bush!! That proves it, huh?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 10:00 AM

The Times decries the falsification of Bush's "accountability moment" crap:

That Magic Moment
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: January 18, 2005

A charming man courts a woman, telling her that he's a wealthy independent businessman. Just after the wedding, however, she learns that he has been cooking the books, several employees have accused him of sexual harassment and his company is about to file for bankruptcy. She accuses him of deception. "The accountability moment is behind us," he replies.

Last week President Bush declared that the election was the "accountability moment" for the war in Iraq - the voters saw it his way, and that's that. But Mr. Bush didn't level with the voters during the campaign and doesn't deserve anyone's future trust.

I won't belabor the W.M.D. issue, except to point out that the Bush administration, without exactly lying, managed to keep most voters confused. According to a Pew poll, on the eve of the election the great majority of voters, of both parties, believed that the Bush administration had asserted that it found either W.M.D. or an active W.M.D. program in Iraq.

Mr. Bush also systematically misrepresented how the war was going. Remember last September when Ayad Allawi came to Washington? Mr. Allawi, acting as a de facto member of the Bush campaign - a former official close to the campaign suggested phrases and helped him rehearse his speech to Congress - declared that 14 or 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces were "completely safe," and that the interim government had 100,000 trained troops. None of it was true.

Now that the election is over, we learn that the search for W.M.D. has been abandoned. Meanwhile, military officials have admitted that even as Mr. Bush kept asserting that we were making "good progress," the insurgency was growing in numbers and effectiveness, that the Army Reserve is "rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force," and oh, by the way, we'll need to spend at least another $100 billion to pay for war expenses and replace damaged equipment. But the accountability moment, says Mr. Bush, is behind us.

Maybe we can't hold Mr. Bush directly to account for misleading the public about Iraq. But Mr. Bush still has a domestic agenda, for which the lessons of Iraq are totally relevant.

White House officials themselves concede - or maybe boast - that their plan to sell Social Security privatization is modeled on their selling of the Iraq war. In fact, the parallels are remarkably exact.

Everyone has noticed the use, once again, of crisis-mongering. Three years ago, the supposed threat from Saddam somehow became more important than catching the people who actually attacked America on 9/11. Today, the mild, possibly nonexistent long-run financial problems of Social Security have somehow become more important than dealing with the huge deficit we already have, which has nothing to do with Social Security.

But there's another parallel, which I haven't seen pointed out: the politicization of the agencies and the intimidation of the analysts. Bush loyalists begin frothing at the mouth when anyone points out that the White House pressured intelligence analysts to overstate the threat from Iraq, while neocons in the Pentagon pressured the military to understate the costs and risks of war. But that is what happened, and it's happening again.

(More here)



Interesting -- the pattern is to make the false and exaggerated noise impenetrable until it is a fait accompli and then stonewall and bare your teeth at those who try to identify what really happened. Shameful to think that is a successful formula in our forward-looking and advanced democracy.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 06:16 AM

Read the whole thing, John; it will become clear.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 05:50 AM

Waht all this is about?
i dont understand this thrrad at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 05:44 AM

The Barriers Between President and People

By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 19, 2005; Page C01

When President Bush retakes the oath tomorrow, he will be surrounded by a broad buffer zone of protection. You can already feel it in the wire mesh caging in Lafayette Park and the Jersey barriers and portable fencing along downtown avenues.

You may want to get close to the pageantry, to join in the exquisite ritual that defines our nation, but unless you are a close friend or follower of this president, chances are you will have to watch it from afar. He may seem looser, more relaxed this second time around, but no closer to us really.

The multimillion-dollar inauguration -- attended by thousands -- will have the illusion of being a public event, but because of the particular nature of the office and of the moment, the American people will be participating in an exhilarating democratic drama in which the leading character has grown more distant with each new administration. It has been happening for a while.

And now: Maybe it's the sense of uncertainty in the world around him; maybe it's the sense of certainty in the heart within him, but this president has become further and further separated from everyday American life.

On the one hand, this year you have a wartime president who, in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, requires more protection; on the other, a second-term president who believes that he has been commissioned to make tough, unpopular decisions.

The result is a perfect storm of remove.(...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 12:02 AM

A Diplomatic Hearing for Ms. Rice

Published: January 19, 2005

Anyone who watched the delicate rinse cycle applied to Condoleezza Rice by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, despite a jab here and there, could be forgiven for thinking that the future secretary of state was a newcomer to the Bush administration. With a few exceptions, the hearing was political theater. Ms. Rice acted as if things were going according to plan in Iraq and everywhere else, and the senators acted as if she was not part of the serial disasters of the administration's foreign policy.

The president is entitled to choose his cabinet, and there was never much chance of opposition to Ms. Rice, a trusted member of his inner circle. But confirmation hearings should critically examine the nominee. Another unfortunate choice for a top job, Alberto Gonzales, at least had to endure a few hours' grilling on the torture of prisoners on his way to becoming attorney general.

Yesterday, Democratic senators, and some Republicans, recited the flaws in Mr. Bush's foreign policies - most glaringly on Iraq - and then did little more than politely urge Ms. Rice to check into those things once she's confirmed.

Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat of Delaware, asked Ms. Rice how big an Iraqi security force had actually been trained. When Ms. Rice, the national security adviser, offered an absurdly inflated 120,000, Mr. Biden said the people doing the training put the total at 4,000. He then suggested that Ms. Rice "pick up the phone or go see these folks," as if that has not been her job all along, especially in the year since the administration said that all information on operations in Iraq would flow through her.

Ms. Rice has been an enthusiastic supporter of dismantling international treaties and organizations from the start of Mr. Bush's presidency. The bipartisan panel on the 9/11 attacks and other accounts chillingly exposed her early disregard for the threat of terrorism. And she was so much the public face of the drive to war with Iraq that her appearances on Sunday morning talk shows became a running joke.

That history was barely mentioned yesterday, except when Senator Barbara Boxer reminded Ms. Rice of her apocalyptic remarks about nonexistent Iraqi nuclear weapons and suggested that "your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 06:19 PM

(From Senator Kerry, whom you may remember as the Democratic candidate for President:

"I have just come back from Iraq. After several months consumed by the campaign trail, I wanted to make contact with our soldiers on the ground there. The first thing I want you to know is that, in very difficult circumstances, our brave soldiers are serving America with enormous skill and great courage.

In the Senate, we have a duty during times like these to hold our Defense Department accountable for the well-being of our troops. It's one of the ways that our democracy makes our military the strongest in the world. And I can't tell you how comforting it is as a soldier to know even if you don't have a say over your own situation, the folks back home do.

I knew our soldiers were still facing hold ups getting the equipment they need, but I wanted to see it for myself. American troops deserve the best gear and equipment we can provide. But adequate vehicle armor remains in short supply.

A soldier who spoke up about these problems was told by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, "you have to go to war with the army you have, not the army you want."1 Well, it's been over two years since Rumsfeld planned this war. And whether he has the army he wants or not, he should at least have basic armor for army vehicles.

I'll say this in the Senate, but I'm asking you to add your voice to mine:

"President Bush, for the sake of our troops, replace Rumsfeld now."

http://www.johnkerry.com/replacerumsfeld

More than 500,000 called for Rumsfeld to resign during the presidential campaign. I'm renewing my call now -- please renew yours too, and forward this email to friends to bring them on board. Add your name to mine here, and add your voice to mine by speaking out in your community as I will do in the US Senate for as long as it takes to remove Secretary Rumsfeld from his post:

http://www.johnkerry.com/replacerumsfeld

It's a question of competence. Poor planning at the Pentagon is letting American soldiers down. According to the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank, Iraq is now providing the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, [and] the opportunity for enhancing technical skills."2 Our troops need a capable Secretary of Defense. At the very least, they absolutely need that.

I believe that together, the three million of us who worked together on the campaign can help the troops. We not only have a right to speak out against failed Bush policies: we have a duty to defend this country from a President who refuses to recognize the total inadequacy of his own Defense Secretary. That's how democracy works. And that's why America has worked all these years.

The campaign season is over, but our citizenship continues. I know from personal experience that citizens and Senators standing up for the truth can be a powerful combination. Now, with email and the Web as citizenship tools, we can make ourselves heard even more clearly. And I can't tell you how inspired I am that you and I are using these tools to fight side-by-side for the things we believe in.

One more time: please join me in my call for President Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld. He's the man responsible for the well-being of our troops. He's neglected his duty. He's made excuses. It's time for him to go.

Add your voice to mine in the Senate in calling for President Bush to replace Rumsfeld today.


http://www.johnkerry.com/replacerumsfeld

Thank you,

John Kerry"


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 12:25 PM

The Washington Post reports on the persistency of political division in the nation:

Political Divisions Persist After Election --

President Bush will begin his second term in office without a clear
mandate to lead the nation, with disapproval of his policies in Iraq and with the public both hopeful and dubious about his leadership, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
(By Richard Morin and Dan Balz, The Washington Post)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 12:12 PM

From the fine folks at ImpeachBush.Org:

The Bush/Cheney Presidential Inaugural Committee is spending $50 million to lavish the President and his "donor base" with gala parties in the next few days. The coronation was supposed to proceed on January 20th with Pennsylvania Avenue scrubbed clean of embarrassing signs calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush. It has all been organized like a Hollywood set piece to shower "legitimacy" on a criminal administration.

Thanks to the incredible support of everyone in this movement, however, Bush (and the world media tracking his every inaugural movement on January 20) will be unable to miss the thousands of people at antiwar bleachers and along the parade route.

Because of the help provided by members of the impeachment movement, the beautiful (and large) black and yellow banners and signs reading "Guilty of War Crimes -- ImpeachBush.org" will be all over Pennsylvania Avenue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 12:09 PM

The Bangor, Maine, News does not think the Graner trial has gone far enough:

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - Bangor Daily News

R egardless of whether Spc. Charles Graner's 10-year sentence was too harsh or too light - many Iraqis apparently think he should be executed in front of his victims - his trial should be the first of many involving military personnel who took part in or condoned the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Spc. Graner was not a scapegoat.

He abused detainees and directed others to do so. But he and his low-level colleagues who face judicial hearings are not the only ones who should

be punished. In the words of Mr. Graner's lawyer, Guy Womack, "they are going after the order-takers" not "the order-givers."

Pentagon reviews have implicated high-ranking military officials in the abuse scandal. None of them has faced disciplinary action. Instead, Spc. Graner and six of his colleagues from the 372nd Military Policy Co., based in Maryland, were court-martialed. Three pleaded guilty and testified against him and three are awaiting trial. A jury of combat veterans found Charles Graner guilty of abusing prisoners. He was sentenced Saturday to 10 years in prison.

Two reports done this summer blame the leadership failures for the situation at Abu Ghraib, a prison outside Baghdad. One report, done by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, blamed Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the top U.S. commander in Iraq, for failing to adequately supervise interrogation techniques. The report also criticized chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for inadequate supervision and for failing to acknowledge and correct the situation sooner. The report did not say these officials should be reprimanded or disciplined.

The Schlesinger report did recommend discipline against five officers. Two of them, Col. Thomas Pappas, the highest-ranking military intelligence officer at the prison, and Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, the head of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center

at Abu Ghraib, were implicated by

witnesses during Spc. Graner's trial. The witnesses said the men had either known about or encouraged some of the tactics captured in photographs that shocked the world.

Pentagon reviews are ongoing and

a spokesman said that as wrongdoers are identified, they will be "dealt with appropriately."

While, Mr. Graner should not be executed, Pentagon officials and members of Congress should be mindful of the message the United States has sent to the Middle East. Allowing the abuse to take place, belatedly acknowledging it and downplaying its severity has only fueled animosity toward America, perhaps spawning new terrorists.

That is a good reason to discipline the order-givers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 11:51 AM

From Reuters UK:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush is drawing heat over a $40 million (21.5 million pound) splurge on inaugural balls, concerts and candlelight dinners while the country is in a sombre mood because of the Iraq war and Asian tsunami.

As Bush prepares for his second-term inauguration on Thursday, his supporters plan to celebrate with fireworks and three days of parties, including a "Black Tie and Boots" ball and nine other balls.

Critics say the lavish celebrations are unseemly when U.S. troops face daily violence in Iraq and Americans are being urged to donate money to alleviate the suffering in Asia, where the December 26 tsunami killed 163,000 people.

"I just think that the sobriety of the times dictate that we be mindful of the imagery of these things," said Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York. In a letter, Weiner urged Bush to ask donors to redirect their inaugural contributions to equipment for troops in Iraq, some of whom have complained of having to scrounge for scrap metal to protect their vehicles.

"Precedent suggests that inaugural festivities should be muted -- if not cancelled -- in wartime," Weiner wrote to Bush, saying that the money could pay for 690 Humvees and a $290 bonus for each soldier serving in Iraq.

Weiner cited the example of President Franklin Roosevelt, who celebrated his trimmed-down 1945 inaugural with cold chicken salad and pound cake.

Bush said he rejected such criticism.

"It's important that we celebrate a peaceful transfer of power .... You can be equally concerned about our troops in Iraq and those who suffered at the tsunamis (and) with celebrating democracy," Bush said in a CBS News interview released on Monday.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Clint Keller
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 12:56 AM

'Asked why Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, has not been caught, Bush said simply: "Because he's hiding." ' (Washington Post)

Dang. If we'd of known the son of a bitch was going to hide we could of saved our trouble. Once they get to hiding there's not a damn thing you can do. Can't smoke 'em out of their hole if they won't tell you where the hell their hole is.

clint


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Subject: The Sanity of Bush's War Explained By A Participan
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 11:53 PM

This story deserves careful reflection. It is from CNN on 1-17-2005:


HINESVILLE, Georgia (AP) -- A young girl clutching her arm blackened by burns, dogs feeding off bodies in mass graves -- the images still haunt Sgt. Kevin Benderman 15 months after he came home from Iraq.

Witnessing the brutal reality of war, Benderman stunned his commanders when he sought a discharge as a conscientious objector after 10 years in the Army.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the sergeant said he never grasped the misery that war inflicts on civilians as well as combatants until he saw it all firsthand.

"Some people may be born a conscientious objector, but sometimes people realize through certain events in their lives that the path they're on is the wrong one," Benderman said. "The idea was: Do I really want to stay in an organization where the sole purpose is to kill?"

Benderman's decision -- choosing conscience over his commitment to fellow troops -- has meant bearing the insults.

An officer called him a coward. His battalion chaplain shamed him in an e-mail from Kuwait. That's because Benderman, whose unit just deployed for a second combat tour in Iraq, refused to return to war.

Benderman, 40, filed notice in December, and his timing could hardly have been worse for the Army. The Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division began deploying its 19,000 soldiers this month.

Benderman's unit, the 3rd Forward Support Battalion, was leaving for Kuwait on January 5. When commanders ordered him to deploy while they processed his objector application, he refused to show up for his flight.

He said he has his reasons, reflecting on time in Iraq.

Benderman told of bombed out homes and displaced Iraqis living in mud huts and drinking from mud puddles; mass graves in Khanaqin near the Iranian border where dogs fed off bodies of men, women and children.

He recalled his convoy passing a girl, no older than 10, on the roadside clutching a badly injured arm. Benderman said his executive officer refused to help because troops had limited medical supplies.

"Her arm was burned, third-degree burns, just black. And she was standing there with her mother begging for help," Benderman said. "That was an eye opener to seeing how insane it really is."

Now Benderman, a mechanic who has been reassigned to a non-deploying rear detachment unit, could face a court-martial.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 11:50 PM

From CNN 1-17-2005:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has been criticized for claiming that his re-election in 2004 was a ratification of his policy on Iraq.

In an interview with the Washington Post on Sunday, Bush was asked why no one in his administration had been held accountable for perceived missteps on Iraq policy, including being wrong about weapons of mass destruction.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election," he was reported as saying.

"The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates and chose me, for which I'm grateful."

Some Democrats have flatly dismissed that claim.

"The policy is ridiculous," Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts said.

One of Kennedy's concerns was Bush's decision to launch an invasion of Iraq while Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, remained free.

"It (was) a mistake when we went into this, into Iraq, instead of following Osama bin Laden. They didn't have the number of troops that were necessary. They disbanded the Iraqi army."

Asked in the Post interview why he thought bin Laden had not been found, Bush replied, "Because he's hiding.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 07:51 PM

A NYTimes contributor scrutinizes the Enron settlement and finds it disgraceful:

What's $13 Million Among Friends?
By LUCIAN BEBCHUK

Published: January 17, 2005

        
        

Cambridge, Mass. — TEN former directors of Enron have agreed to pay $13 million from their own pockets to settle a class action suit stemming from Enron's collapse in 2001, which wiped out some $60 billion in shareholder value. Because directors almost never have to pay even a penny in such suits, the Enron settlement - announced just days after several former WorldCom directors agreed to a similar deal - was widely viewed as a significant development that could discourage potential directors from serving on corporate boards.

This view is mistaken. A close look at the settlement shows that Enron's directors have still not been held accountable in any meaningful way.

Of the 18 former directors who were defendants in the Enron case, only 10 have to pay under the settlement. More important, according to the complaint against them, these 10 sold Enron shares worth more than $250 million during the period in which Enron was misreporting its financial affairs. According to the lawyer for the lead plaintiffs, the settlement requires each of these 10 to pay an amount equal to 10 percent of his or her pretax profits. They will be able to keep the other 90 percent - which amounts to $117 million - while investors who held their Enron stock lost their shirts.

The other eight Enron directors will not pay a penny but nonetheless have all claims against them settled. These directors did not sell shares before their value evaporated, which is presumably why they are not contributing. But they played important roles in the board's oversight failure. They include three of the six members of Enron's audit committee as well as six of the eight members of the finance committee, which reviewed many transactions that Enron used to deceive investors. Despite their role in the oversight failure, these eight directors emerge from Enron's ruins without having to pay a cent.

In a 2002 report, a Senate subcommittee concluded that by failing to protect shareholders' interests and ignoring questionable business practices, the Enron board "contributed to the company's collapse and bears a share of the responsibility for it." With the cases against them settled without any admission of wrongdoing, determining the directors' precise share of responsibility will be left to the judgment of history. But one thing will be clear: their share of the cost will be trivial. (Balance of article here...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 03:39 AM

Kennedy says Iraq is 'Bush's Vietnam'


By Michael Kranish, Boston Globe Staff  |  January 17, 2005



WASHINGTON -- Senator Edward M. Kennedy said yesterday that President Bush's Iraq policy is ''ridiculous" and disputed Bush's statement that the 2004 reelection validated the war. Iraq is ''Bush's Vietnam," Kennedy said.

Bush, in an interview with The Washington Post published yesterday, said, ''The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."


Kennedy, asked about Bush's comment on CBS's ''Face The Nation," noted that then-President Lyndon Johnson was easily reelected during the Vietnam War but did not seek reelection in 1968. ''Look what happened," Kennedy said. ''Lyndon Johnson had to basically abdicate the presidency because of Vietnam. . . . This is clearly George Bush's Vietnam."


Bush, in the interview with the Post, said he wanted to withdraw troops ''as quickly as possible," but he did not express agreement with a statement by departing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that troops could begin coming home later this year.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 09:42 PM

From the Toronto Star of 1-15-2005:

Jan. 15, 2005. 08:48 AM
U.S. troops damaged ancient Babylon's remains: report
Archaeological fragments used to fill sandbags, British Museum says

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON — U.S.-led troops using the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon as a base have caused widespread damage and contamination, according to a report by the British Museum.

The report, quoted by the Guardian newspaper toay, said military vehicles had crushed a 2,600-year-old brick pavement and that there were archaeological fragments scattered across the site, including broken bricks stamped by King Nebuchadnezzar.

The dragons at the Ishtar Gate were marred by cracks and gaps where someone tried to remove their decorative bricks, the paper said.

Museum officials were not immediately available for comment today.

John Curtis, keeper of the British Museum's Near East department, who was invited by the Iraqis to study the site, also found that large quantities of sand mixed with archaeological fragments have been taken from the site to fill military sandbags and metal mesh baskets, the newspaper said.

"This is tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain," Curtis said in the report.

The remains of Babylon, one of the world's most important archaeological sites, have been occupied since the early days of the invasion by U.S. Marines and, more recently, by soldiers from Poland and other countries. Babylon is 50 miles south of Baghdad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM

http://baltimorechronicle.com/011305PaulLevy.shtml

ANALYSIS:
The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis

Bush's sickness is our own.
by Paul Levy



Bush has a psycho-spiritual disease of the soul, a sickness that is endemic to our culture and symptomatic of the times we live in. It's an illness that's in the soul of all of humanity.
George W. Bush is ill. He has a psycho-spiritual disease of the soul, a sickness that is endemic to our culture and symptomatic of the times we live in. It's an illness that has been with us since time immemorial. Because it's an illness that's in the soul of all of humanity, it pervades the field and is in all of us in potential at any moment, which makes it especially hard to diagnose.

Bush's malady is quite different from schizophrenia, for example, in which all the different parts of the personality are fragmented and not connected to each other, resulting in a state of internal chaos. As compared to the disorder of the schizophrenic, Bush can sound quite coherent and can appear like such a "regular," normal guy, which makes the syndrome he is suffering from very hard to recognize. This is because the healthy parts of his personality have been co-opted by the pathological aspect, which drafts them into its service. Because of the way the personality self-organizes an outer display of coherence around a pathogenic core, I would like to name Bush's illness 'malignant egophrenic (as compared to schizophrenic) disease,' or 'ME disorder,' for short. If ME disorder goes unrecognized and is not contained, it can be very destructive, particularly if the person is in a position of power.

In much the same way that a child's psychology cannot be understood without looking at the family system he or she is a part of, George Bush does not exist in isolation.We can view Bush and his entire Administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, etc), as well as the corporate, military industrial complex that they are co-dependently enmeshed with, the media that they control, the voters that support them, and ourselves as well, as interconnected parts of a whole system, or a "field." Instead of relating to any part of this field as an isolated entity, it's important to contemplate the entire interdependent field as the 'medium' though which malignant egophrenia manifests and propagates itself. ME disease is a field phenomenon, and needs to be contemplated as such. Bush's sickness is our own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 06:55 PM

The media machinery has been taken over by the Neo-Con fascists. This means that U.S. mainstream media is not to be trusted. If you want any objective reporting, don't look to the U.S. mainstream media. Bush has somehow captured the media like a South American dictator. Bush has managed to create a one Party system very much like any totalitarian regime.
Dissent is attacked by those in power. Dialogue is dead. Read David Brock's books. "Blinded By The Right" is a good start.

The Republican wing of the Democratic Party has made an alternative voice useless. The issues will not be discussed on the major news networks. They have been made irrelevant by a powerful right-wing lobby involving many influential hated talk show hosts. The questions posed on such programs as "Meet The Press" and others are reflective of a stacked deck.

The American people finally have elected a dictator (if he was actually elected and was not a product of fraud).

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 03:19 PM

Holy Stalinism, Batman!!!!

Opposing Bush - A Form of Mental Illness?
 
By Kurt Nimmo
1-7-5
 
It's not the stolen election or the war crimes committed in my name. It's not the fact Bush is a liar and a criminal. It's not the Strausscons in the White House and the Pentagon, plotting multiple wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. It's not Congress, sold out to neolibs, multinational corporations, and Wall Street loan sharks.
 
It's me.
 
I'm suffering from "political paranoia" and need Paxil, a prescription drug for the treatment of anxiety and depression. It's not the 100,000 dead killed by my government in Iraq. It's not torture or loose talk of nuking enemies. It is a serotonin imbalance in my brain. I suffer from any number of possible maladies­depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (thus writing this blog every day), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. I suffer from mental illness and need help.
 
Congress may come to the rescue­and soon.
 
"When the 109th Congress convenes in Washington in January, Senator Bill Frist, the first practicing physician elected to the Senate since 1928, plans to file a bill that would define 'political paranoia' as a mental disorder, paving the way for individuals who suffer from paranoid delusions regarding voter fraud, political persecution and FBI surveillance to receive Medicare reimbursement for any psychiatric treatment they receive," writes Hermione Slatkin, Medical Correspondent for the Swift Report. "Rick Smith, a spokesman for Senator Frist, says that the measure has a good chance of passing­something that can only help a portion of the population that is suffering significant distress."
 


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM

In a moment of sheer and typical idiocy, Mister Bush dramatizes the pinnacle of circular logic:

Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy
No U.S. Troop Withdrawal Date Is Set

By Jim VandeHei and Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 16, 2005; Page A01

President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."




Let's see -- everyone got their pants scared off by 9-11, and Bush and his crew of thugs inflated that fear as much as they could and kept pounding about how dangerous it all was. Then they used this and a bunch of absolute falsehoods to justify the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with the whole thing, and drove the whole country deep into a war as ill-conceived and ill-managed as Vietnam at its worst. Then, for the sake of re-election, they slam home how terrifying this war is and how the people who we are shooting are actually terrorists. He gets one of the smallest majorities for a second-term election in all history and then claims not only that he has a "mandate", but now claims further that this means retroactive approval from the voters about his having started the war in the first place?

This is the logical capability of our nation's leader?

Do you see anything wrong with his presentation of an altered sequence?

This is not logic, and it is not truth. It is twisting -- self-serving, self-aggrandizing, manipulation alteration intended only to further one's own causes and purposes, no matter how measly they are.

Ptui.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 15 Jan 05 - 10:25 AM

There was a time in our lifetimes when Presidents spoke well, thought clearly and reflected their thoughts with the fine art of good rhetoric; when their insights were understandable and consistent with their best decisions and actions.

Such a time was the inauguration of John Kennedy in 1960.

As stirring as the event was, the language of the day was even more so for its clarity, its resonance, and its wealth of virtue.

In Ask How, Thurston Clarke reconstructs that day when we were blessed with a less pretentious inauguration, a more healing administration, and a better President.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 15 Jan 05 - 09:48 AM

The Specter at Thursday's Party

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, January 15, 2005; Page A23

Come next Thursday Republicans will dance the night away, as is their due. To the victor goes the right to boogie, and George W. Bush and company earned their evening of fun and frolic at the polls in November. That said, there is a case to be made for a show of restraint and humility during the nation's 55th presidential inauguration. After all, when it comes to the war in Iraq, it's not as if accountability got a fair shake on Election Day.

That Bush won reelection is not at issue. He ran a tough campaign, used the powers of the incumbency to his full advantage and campaigned on issues that appealed to a majority of voters. He bested a Democratic team that had loads of money, an energized party and an experienced campaign organization. Victory belongs to him. He's got a right to strut. But this is not to say the Bush administration should get a pass on the wisdom of launching the Iraq war. It still has something to answer for.

All over America, men, women and juveniles are hauled before the bar of justice to account for things that they may have done wrong. The system isn't perfect. But it's one way of holding people accountable for their behavior. That notion even applies to corporate America, where government and shareholder pressures are causing top executives and boards of directors to answer for their bad business decisions. And every day workers are handed pink slips for failing at their jobs.

Not so, however, in federal Washington, where the calamitous decision to invade Iraq was made. The toll from that costly mistake is still rising. More than 1,300 Americans dead, 10,000 wounded in action, nearly 200,000 National Guard and reservists mobilized, untold numbers of innocent Iraqi civilians killed. A foreign country, now crushed, is at war with itself, with killing and wounding daily fare. Billions of dollars are being spent for war, with more American blood and money expected to be spent in the days ahead. All because of a decision made in the White House to disarm Saddam Hussein, who, we and the rest of the world repeatedly were told, had biological and chemical weapons, was reconstituting Iraq's nuclear weapons program, and had ties to al Qaeda forces that were hungering for weapons of mass destruction to launch against us.

That view of a threatening Iraq was the primary basis for our invasion two years ago. That threat assessment, it now turns out, was wrong. Disastrously wrong. Heartbreakingly wrong.

And still the makers of America's worst foreign policy decision since Vietnam are going to kick up their heels next week at inaugural festivities expected to run up a $40 million tab. Somehow that just doesn't seem right.

But in the nation's capital, right has nothing to do with anything as long as you come out on top.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is honored on Monday, preached that some things are right and some things are wrong, eternally and absolutely so, no matter if everybody's doing the contrary. How that thought applies to the architects of the Iraq war depends, I suppose, upon where you come out on the decision to invade. But if the biblical injunction "you shall reap what you sow" is right, then the festive occasion to be enjoyed on Thursday may not be the Bush administration's ultimate harvest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,AJ
Date: 15 Jan 05 - 09:42 AM

From the Washington Post for 1-15-05:

High School Reform

Saturday, January 15, 2005; Page A22

IT WAS SOMEWHAT disconcerting to hear President Bush propose, as he did on Wednesday, to extend to high schools the No Child Left Behind Act's testing and accountability requirements for elementary and middle schools. True, there's plenty wrong with the nation's high schools. According to Achieve Inc., an organization that has looked closely at achievement standards in high schools, more than half of high school graduates need remedial help in college; most employers say high school graduates lack basic skills; and most high school exit exams don't measure those skills anyway. Far too few high school students take the algebra, geometry and English courses they need to get by in adulthood. More accountability and higher standards clearly are in order.

What was disconcerting was the impression a listener might have gotten that the nation can move on to high schools because the first stage of No Child Left Behind reforms is more or less complete. Mr. Bush was, as always, anxious to declare victory in a few selected instances: for example, quoting statistics showing school improvement in Virginia. But Virginia created an accountability system long before the federal one was even contemplated. And Virginia's test-score gains have very little to do with the federal reforms, which themselves have not yet proved universally successful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 07:01 PM

More ineptitude, this time in the FBI's systems development efforts:

The F.B.I.'s Virtual Nonstarter

Published: January 14, 2005



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ne of the most alarming vulnerabilities to emerge after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been the Federal Bureau of Investigation's continuing inability to come up with a computer system that enables field agents to act quickly in sharing information and suspicions about where the next threats may emerge. In Senate hearings soon after the attacks, the bureau admitted that its 1980's computer technology could not search its files for cross-references to two words, like "flight" and "schools" - a lethal shortcoming in light of where some of the terrorists prepared for their suicide mission. But a more effective system was in the works, the bureau promised lawmakers. They poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the effort, expecting the F.B.I. to meet its goal of having the antiterrorist centerpiece - the Virtual Case File - finally up and running by December 2003, a date already a year behind the original goal.

Well, not only has Virtual Case File slipped another year behind, but it also appears close to a virtual death.

Buyer's remorse is widely reported at the bureau, with some specialists estimating that the Virtual Case File's software effort, running at $170 million and counting, may have to be scrapped in favor of fresh starts in research and design by outside contractors. A prototype is undergoing a limited field test, but apparently only with the goal of measuring how short of the mark the F.B.I. has fallen. For four years, the bureau has been enmeshed in a $580 million project called Trilogy, which is aimed at modernizing all its computer systems for its 28,000 officers and other workers. But the crucial investigative piece to speed ground-level information-sharing remains as elusive as it is urgently needed.

There are suggested root causes, based on whether the F.B.I. was starved for funds in the past, technophobic in its shoe-leather police culture or hobbled by a merry-go-round of five technology chiefs in two years. But they do not really matter in the face of the increasing wiliness of terrorists. While the bureau ponders the ESC button, the new Congress should grill the F.B.I.'s hierarchy about the mysteries and disappointments of Virtual Case File and when the nation can expect something real.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 06:55 PM

Excerpts from today's Washington Post:

There's been remarkably little follow-up to Bush's comment in that interview that he doesn't "see how you can be president without a relationship with the Lord."

Some British papers took note of it. Francis Harris wrote in the Telegraph: "President George W Bush yesterday placed religion at the very centre of American politics by insisting that all US presidents needed a relationship with God to do their job."

And blogger Andrew Sullivan has written several posts on the topic.

In my Live Online discussion yesterday, one reader wrote: "I'd like to believe that Pres. Bush, as someone who relies heavily on his faith, is simply saying that he can't understand how someone could bear the responsibility of the presidency without help from God, because he couldn't."

But another reader, Regis Sabol, e-mailed me to complain that Bush's comments "further demonstrate his commitment to converting America into a theocracy. It takes a wrecking ball to the hallowed concept of separation of church and state.

"More disturbingly, Bush's claim rests on the premise that only a Christian is sufficiently moral and patriotic to be president."

And reader Kim Jonas writes: "Relationship with the Lord? I'd like to see our President have a relationship with the *facts*. And I'm a born-again Christian."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 06:39 PM

A Gift for Drug Makers
By BOB HERBERT

Published: January 14, 2005


Vioxx, Celebrex, Prozac. ...

With all the problems and the bad publicity that drug companies have been facing recently, you might think that this would not be a good time for the Bush administration to toss yet another bonanza their way.

But the administration is like an ardent lover in its zeal to shower the rich and powerful with every imaginable benefit. So tucked like a gleaming diamond in proposed legislation to curb malpractice lawsuits is a provision that would give an unconscionable degree of protection to firms responsible for drugs or medical devices that turn out to be harmful.

The provision would go beyond caps on certain damages. It would actually prohibit punitive damages in cases in which the drug or medical device had received Food and Drug Administration approval. We know the F.D.A. has failed time and again to ensure that unsafe drugs are kept off the market. To provide blanket legal protection against punitive damages in such cases is both unwarranted and dangerous.

We learned just last month that Celebrex, the phenomenally popular painkiller from Pfizer, more than tripled the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death among those taking high doses in a national trial. Those findings, as noted in an article in The Times, "raised new questions about how well federal drug regulators protect the public and worsened drug makers' already dismal image."

Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who held hearings on recent F.D.A. actions, said, "At this point, no one can say with confidence whether the worst drug safety problems are behind us or ahead of us."


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 04:12 PM

The Ghost of Machiavelli, The WMD Hunt Ends



Excerpted from the OpEd News

By Anthony Wade

 

January 14, 2005

 
Did you see it happen yesterday? Did you catch the news? It was probably buried as the fourth item, or maybe on page 17 of your local paper. The search is over. After two years and thousands of dead bodies, the search is over. What did we find? Nothing. Yesterday, the White House confirmed that the search for weapons of mass destruction was officially over, without finding as much as a used slingshot.

You remember weapons of mass destruction, don't you? It was what we were sold this loser war with. It was rammed down the throat of America, with the image of 911 still burned in our minds. It was the fear card, and it was played quite masterfully. You see, George Bush intended to invade Iraq from the moment he walked in the White House. White House insider Paul O'Neill confirmed this. 911 only provided a convenient backdrop.

But Bush had a problem. Saddam had technically not done anything to deserve invading. He was finally cooperating with inspectors and he certainly had no involvement with 911. The only link to terrorism he had was with Israel, not the US. Bush had to make his case before Congress, to our elected officials, to us. He had to provide a good enough reason to justify the war plans he had from day one. The Bushies tossed around some ideas and came up with one they felt they could sell the best to the American people, fear. Let's take a stroll down memory lane, because we should never forget WHY our kids are dying. It is not freedom, it is not democracy, it is to protect us from a threat that never existed. They are dying because of weapons of mass destruction, that simply did not exist.



The following are Bush quotes, for why we needed to go to war with Iraq:


"The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons…And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes." [Source: White House Web site]

"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical and biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States." [Source: White House Web site]

"The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program…Iraq could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." [Source: White House Web site]

"Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." [Source: White House Web site]

"If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today — and we do — does it make any sense for the world to wait?" [Source: White House Web site]

"There was a risk – a real risk – that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons, or materials, or information to terrorist networks." [Source: White House Web site]

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." [Source: White House Web site]

"Here's what -- we've discovered a weapons system, biological labs, that Iraq denied she had, and labs that were prohibited under the U.N. resolutions." [Source: White House Web site]

 "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." [Source: White House Web site]

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." [Source: White House Web site]

"From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors." [Source: White House Web site]

From our Vice-President:

"[Saddam] is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time." [Source: CNN Web site]

"We believe Saddam has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." [Source: Meet the Press transcript]

"[T]he reporting that we had prior to the war this time around was all consistent with that -- basically said that he had a chemical, biological and nuclear program, and estimated that if he could acquire fissile material, he could have a nuclear weapon within a year or two." [Source: Waxman Database]

 "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." [White House Web site]


What do all of these statements have in common? They were lies. These are just examples, there are hundreds more. There is also Colin Powell's lie-infested presentation to the United Nations, which will unfortunately tarnish what was a respectable career. Do you remember back then? Do you remember Condi Rice scaring us with visions of mushroom clouds? Do you remember then, when Bush came to us and explained that we were going to war, to ensure our safety. That safety was never in question, it turns out.

Years later we look back on this as an afterthought. I have listened to the folks on the right who make the argument that Saddam was a bad guy, so who cares if there are no WMD? I assume the mother who has to bury her child for a lie cares that there are no WMD. Here is the point that keeps escaping the war mongers. Without the WMD argument, there is no war. It would never have been approved. That is precisely why the President must make his case before Congress.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 03:36 PM

On the unintended consequences of words not meant:

WASHINGTON Jan 14, 2005 — President Bush says he now sees that tough talk can have an "unintended consequence."

During a round-table interview with reporters from 14 newspapers, the president, who not long ago declined to identify any mistakes he'd made during his first term, expressed misgivings for two of his most famous expressions: "Bring 'em on," in reference to Iraqis attacking U.S. troops, and his vow to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive."

"Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean," Bush said Thursday. "'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case."

On July 2, 2003, two months after he had declared an end to major combat in Iraq, Bush promised U.S. forces would stay until the creation of a free government there. To those who would attack U.S. forces in an attempt to deter that mission, Bush said, "My answer is, Bring 'em on."

In the week after the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush was asked if he wanted bin Laden, the terrorist leader blamed for the attacks, dead.

"I want justice," Bush said. "And there's an old poster out West, that I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'"

Recalling that remark, Bush told the reporters: "I can remember getting back to the White House, and Laura said, 'Why did you do that for?' I said, 'Well, it was just an expression that came out. I didn't rehearse it.'

"I don't know if you'd call it a regret, but it certainly is a lesson that a president must be mindful of, that the words that you sometimes say. … I speak plainly sometimes, but you've got to be mindful of the consequences of the words. So put that down. I don't know if you'd call that a confession, a regret, something."

During his second debate last year with presidential challenger Sen. John Kerry, Bush was asked to name three instances in which he had made a wrong decision. At the time he declined to identify any specific mistakes.

Reporters at Thursday's round-table also asked Bush about the high price tag for his second inaugural celebration and suggestions the $40 million gala, which is being paid for by private donations much of it coming from lobbyists and corporations be scaled down.

"The inauguration is a great festival of democracy," he said. "People are going to come from all over the country who are celebrating democracy and celebrating my victory, and I'm glad to celebrate with them."



Yep -- it helps to know that words have meanings. As for inaugaural balls being events of democracy...Doesn't that strike you as a bit twisted? And, last but not least...the lesson that words mean things is supposed to have been fully assimilated by the time you learn to use an opposable thumb, or perhaps a fork -- or at latest, by the time you learn to write an essay. Does anyone else think that learning "lessons of ordinary life" using $6 billion forces of war is a bit late and dangerous?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 09:44 AM

On the stupidity of Bush's privatization campaign:

The British Evasion
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Published: January 14, 2005


We must end Social Security as we know it, the Bush administration says, to meet the fiscal burden of paying benefits to the baby boomers. But the most likely privatization scheme would actually increase the budget deficit until 2050. By then the youngest surviving baby boomer will be 86 years old.

Even then, would we have a sustainable retirement system? Not bloody likely.

Pardon my Britishism, but Britain's 20-year experience with privatization is a cautionary tale Americans should know about.

The U.S. news media have provided readers and viewers with little information about how privatization has worked in other countries. Now my colleagues have even fewer excuses: there's an illuminating article on the British experience in The American Prospect, www.prospect.org, by Norma Cohen, a senior corporate reporter at The Financial Times who covers pension issues.

Her verdict is summed up in her title: "A Bloody Mess." Strong words, but her conclusions match those expressed more discreetly in a recent report by Britain's Pensions Commission, which warns that at least 75 percent of those with private investment accounts will not have enough savings to provide "adequate pensions."

The details of British privatization differ from the likely Bush administration plan because the starting point was different. But there are basic similarities. Guaranteed benefits were cut; workers were expected to make up for these benefit cuts by earning high returns on their private accounts.

The selling of privatization also bore a striking resemblance to President Bush's crisis-mongering. Britain had a retirement system that was working quite well, but conservative politicians issued grim warnings about the distant future, insisting that privatization was the only answer.

The main difference from the current U.S. situation was that Britain was better prepared for the transition. Britain's system was backed by extensive assets, so the government didn't have to engage in a four-decade borrowing spree to finance the creation of private accounts. And the Thatcher government hadn't already driven the budget deep into deficit before privatization even began.

Even so, it all went wrong. "Britain's experiment with substituting private savings accounts for a portion of state benefits has been a failure," Ms. Cohen writes. "A shorthand explanation for what has gone wrong is that the costs and risks of running private investment accounts outweigh the value of the returns they are likely to earn."

From here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 09:39 AM

NYT commentator Frank Rich excoriates the Bushies for corrupt practices and buying sleazy journalistic influence. An excerpt:


"But we now know that there have been at least three other cases in which federal agencies have succeeded in placing fake news reports on television during the Bush presidency. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Census Bureau and the Office of National Drug Control Policy have all sent out news "reports" in which, to take one example, fake newsmen purport to be "reporting" why the administration's Medicare prescription-drug policy is the best thing to come our way since the Salk vaccine. So far two Government Accountability Office investigations have found that these Orwellian stunts violated federal law that prohibits "covert propaganda" purchased with taxpayers' money. But the Williams case is the first one in which a well-known talking head has been recruited as the public face for the fake news instead of bogus correspondents (recruited from p.r. companies) with generic eyewitness-news team names like Karen Ryan and Mike Morris.

Or is Mr. Williams merely the first one of his ilk to be exposed? Every time this administration puts out fiction through the news media - the "Rambo" exploits of Jessica Lynch, the initial cover-up of Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire - it's assumed that a credulous and excessively deferential press was duped. But might there be more paid agents at loose in the media machine? In response to questions at the White House, Mr. McClellan has said that he is "not aware" of any other such case and that he hasn't "heard" whether the administration's senior staff knew of the Williams contract - nondenial denials with miles of wiggle room. Mr. Williams, meanwhile, has told both James Rainey of The Los Angeles Times and David Corn of The Nation that he has "no doubt" that there are "others" like him being paid for purveying administration propaganda and that "this happens all the time." So far he is refusing to name names - a vow of omertà all too reminiscent of that taken by the low-level operatives first apprehended in that "third-rate burglary" during the Nixon administration.

If CNN, just under new management, wants to make amends for the sins of "Crossfire," it might dispatch some real reporters to find out just which "others" Mr. Williams is talking about and to follow his money all the way back to its source"


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 10:58 PM

LOL, Amos....

Maybe Bush will get caught telling the truth during the next 4 years?



























Nah

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 10:44 PM

From the Borowitz Report:

   

Winner of the First-ever National Press Club Award for Humor January 12, 2005

Breaking News

BUSH ACCUSES SADDAM OF TELLING TRUTH



Evildoer Knowingly Came Clean on WMD's, President Charges


Just hours after confirming that the search for weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq was over, President George W. Bush leveled his
harshest charge ever at Saddam Hussein, accusing the former Iraqi
dictator of "knowingly telling the truth" about not possessing WMD
in the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

"After years of lying about his weapons, Saddam Hussein willfully
decided to tell the truth about them," Mr. Bush said. "His
treachery knows no bounds."

After Mr. Bush excoriated Saddam for his "wanton truth-telling," he
added that "thanks to the work of our coalition, Mr. Saddam Hussein
will never be free to tell the truth again."

Mr. Bush argued that even though the stated reason for invading
Iraq no longer applied, preventing the former Iraqi strongman from
telling the truth in the future was "reason enough" to go to war.

"In the wrong hands, the truth can destabilize regions and even
destroy entire civilizations," Mr. Bush said. "In that respect, the
truth itself is a weapon of mass destruction - one that Mr. Saddam
Hussein will never be able to use again."

The president concluded his remarks with tough words for North
Korea's Kim Jong-Il, whom Mr. Bush accused of telling the truth
about his own weapons program.

Naming Mr. Kim a member of what he called "The Axis of Veracity,"
Mr. Bush urged the North Korean madman to cease and desist telling
the truth and to "join the community of truth-fearing nations."

Elsewhere, organizers of this weekend's tsunami telethon confirmed
that Fox's Bill O'Reilly would participate but would not be allowed
anywhere near the telephones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 08:15 PM

WMD Hunt Ends; Bush's Spin Goes On


01/13/2005 @ 11:43am

David Corn, writing in The Nation



When White House spokesman Scott McClellan opened up his daily press briefing yesterday, he said, "This will be the only question of the briefing." He was joking. But it turned out that the first question--a response to the news the Iraq Survey Group had ended its hunt for weapons of mass destruction after finding absolutely nothing--was practically the only question of the day. Here's that first query:


The fact that the Iraq Survey Group has now folded up its field operations, can you explain to us if there is any sense of embarrassment or lack of comfort about the fact that after two years of looking, these people found nothing that the President and others assured us they would find?


McClellan did the usual. He did not answer the query.


McClellan: I think the President already talked about this last October in response to the comprehensive report that was released by Charles Duelfer [the Iraq Survey Group chief] at that point. Charles Duelfer came to the White House in December; the President took that opportunity to thank him for all the work that he had done. The two discussed how Saddam Hussein's regime retained the intent and capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, and they also discussed how he was systematically gaming the system to undermine the sanctions that were in place, so that once those sanctions were eliminated -- which was something he was trying to do through the U.N. oil-for-food program -- then he could begin his weapons programs once again. And I think the President talked about the other issues back in October. Nothing has changed from that time period.


And nothing has changed in terms of the White House's response to the absence of WMDs. Bush refuses to address the consequences of having misled the nation and the world. Before the war, he stated that there was "no doubt" that Iraq was loaded to the gills with WMDs. It was Saddam Hussein's possession of these deadly weapons, Bush argued, that rendered him a "direct" threat that had to be neutralized immediately. Bush and his aides repeatedly asserted there was no if about Iraq's WMDs. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported it had found no evidence of a revived nuclear weapons program in Iraq, yet Bush and Dick Cheney insisted Hussein had reconstituted such a program. The UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said he was concerned about the possibility that Iraq might have kept WMDs hidden from inspectors, but he also stated that discrepancies in Iraq's accounting of its previous WMD material did not mean that Iraq actually possessed such dangerous goods.


But the Bush gang said it knew better. Secretary of State Colin Powell made that now-infamous presentation to the UN; everything he declared as a fact turned out to be wrong. Bush left himself no wiggle room on the subject of Iraq and WMDs. He declared, "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more, and according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated, "There's no debate in the world as to whether they have those weapons....We all know that. A trained ape knows that." (Paging that trained ape.) White House mouthpiece Ari Fleischer said, "The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it."


Really? Well, it was not true. (...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 07:07 PM

From The New Republic, excerpt (subscritpion):

CANNING GAY LINGUISTS.

Stonewalled
by Nathaniel Frank
        

When Ian Finkenbinder served an eight-month combat tour with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq in 2003, he was tasked with human intelligence-gathering, one of the most critical ingredients in the Army's effort to battle the deadly Iraqi insurgency. It is also essential to the U.S. goal of winning support from the Iraqi street. Finkenbinder's job as a cryptologic linguist was to translate radio transmissions, to interview Iraqi citizens who had information to volunteer, and to screen native speakers for possible employment in translation units.

Finkenbinder was a rare and coveted commodity. Having attended the Army's elite Defense Language Institute (DLI) at the Presidio of Monterey, he graduated in the fall of 2002 with proficiency in Arabic at a time when the United States was scrambling to remedy a dire shortage of linguists specializing in Arabic, Farsi, and other tongues critical to the war on terrorism.

So it's not surprising that, according to Finkenbinder, his company commander was "distraught" last month at the prospect of having to start discharge proceedings against him just before the 3rd Infantry, which spearheaded the Iraqi invasion with its "thunder run" to Baghdad, was scheduled to redeploy for a second tour. But he had no choice. The Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay troops makes no exceptions for linguists, and Finkenbinder had revealed he is gay.
        
advertisement

In November 2002, I reported in The New Republic that--despite the importance of trained Arabic speakers to waging the war against terrorism and the critical shortage of these skilled translators in the U.S. military and intelligence agencies--the military fired seven Arabic language specialists from DLI earlier that fall for being gay or lesbian ("Perverse," November 18, 2002). It also booted speakers of Farsi, Korean, and other languages critical to combating the emerging global threats facing the United States.

As Finkenbinder's story illustrates, the Pentagon continues to dismiss trained linguists--people whose skills are desperately needed in Iraq and elsewhere around the world--for being gay. In fact, newly obtained data from the Department of Defense reveals that these firings were far more widespread than previously known. Between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi language speakers under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The new data are not broken down by year, but additional figures from other reports suggest that about half the Arabic discharges came after September 11. The data were obtained from the Pentagon following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I work, and the office of Massachusetts Democratic Representative Marty Meehan, a vocal critic of the ban on gays in the military, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. (...)



I should think the very thought of canning linguists would make Bush blanche. AHJ


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 09:11 PM

Gol dangit, Amos... I don't care what she wears long as it ain't no crown... That's where I draw the line...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 09:08 PM

Subject: Dear Abby


Dear Abby,

My husband has a long record of money problems. He runs up huge credit card bills and at the end of the month, if I try to pay them off, he shouts at me, saying I am stealing his money. He says pay the minimum and let our kids worry about the rest, but already we can hardly keep up with the interest.

Also he has been so arrogant and abusive toward our neighbors that most of them no longer speak to us. The few that do are an odd bunch, to whom he has been giving a lot of expensive gifts, running up our bills even more. Also, he has gotten religious in a big way, although I don't quite understand it.

One week he hangs out with Catholics and the next with people who say the Pope is the Anti-Christ. And now he has been going to the gym an awful lot and is into wearing uniforms and cowboy outfits, and I hate to think what that means.

Finally, the last straw. He's demanding that before anyone can be in the same room with him, they must sign a loyalty oath. It's just so horribly creepy! Can you help?

Signed, Lost in DC

Dear Lost:

Stop whining, Laura. You can divorce the jerk any time you want. The rest of us are stuck with the asshole for four more years!


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Subject: RE: BS: Popular Views of the Bush Administration
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 08:58 PM

Laura Bush has made her choice. Ending weeks of speculation on Seventh Avenue about what she would wear on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, Mrs. Bush said Monday that Oscar de la Renta would design her inaugural ball gown, a dress that for a time at least will be the most scrutinized in the country.

The silver-blue tulle gown, embroidered with bugle beads and outlined in Austrian crystals, is the stately if conventional centerpiece in a wardrobe Mrs. Bush will wear during four days of festivities in Washington, including 10 balls, candlelight dinners, a parade and fireworks.

In addition to Mr. de la Renta, a longtime couturier to the fashionable elite, designers for Mrs. Bush's wardrobe include Carolina Herrera, who fills a similar niche, and Peggy Jennings, a little-known designer who has been quietly wardrobing Mrs. Bush from her apartment at the Waldorf Towers in Manhattan for two years.

The president's daughters, Jenna and Barbara, will be dressed by Badgley Mischka, Lela Rose, Derek Lam and Mr. de la Renta for the inaugural festivities.

The first lady's wardrobe is sure to be studied for clues about her evolving personal style and even for hints about the overall tone of the White House in the next four years. "The first lady is certainly a reflection as to the man holding the office," Mr. de la Renta said. He was reluctant to ascribe special significance to Mrs. Bush's sartorial choices, which are more glamorous than anything the White House has seen since the Reagan years.

But another observer, Catherine Allgor, a historian of first lady style, suggested that in anointing Mr. de la Renta and Mrs. Herrera, mainstays of taste among wealthy women, Mrs. Bush appears to be displaying a growing awareness that "her power is entrenched." "She has gone from being just folks to being a bit imperial, assuming a bit more of a queenly role," said Ms. Allgor, the author of "Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government" (University Press of Virginia, 2002).


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