No, Mr. President

 Posted by at 23:37  Politics
May 312003

Bush: ‘We Found’ Banned Weapons

President Bush, citing two trailers that U.S. intelligence agencies have said were probably used as mobile biological weapons labs, said U.S. forces in Iraq have “found the weapons of mass destruction” that were the United States’ primary justification for going to war.

In remarks to Polish television at a time of mounting criticism at home and abroad that the more than two-month-old weapons hunt is turning up nothing, Bush said that claims of failure were “wrong.” The remarks were released today.

“You remember when [Secretary of State] Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons,” Bush said in an interview before leaving today on a seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East. “They’re illegal. They’re against the United Nations resolutions, and we’ve so far discovered two.

“And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on,” Bush said. “But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong. We found them.”

No, Mr. Bush. What we found were two empty trailers that may have at one time been used in an attempt to manufacture biological weapons. We have not found any weapons of mass destruction.

Just how illiterate is this guy?

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Pure Fiction

 Posted by at 11:14  Politics
May 312003

Fiction and the Tax Cut

The economic rationale for this tax cut is dubious, but its political impact is clear. It’s a cynical device to re-elect the president and put the country in hock. One Senate Republican dubs it “The Rangers Relief Act,” after the newly created category of Bush donors who contribute at least $200,000 to his re-election. (The Pioneers used to be the high-rollers at $100,000 plus; now the Rangers, named after the baseball team Bush owned, are the heavy hitters.) “The tax cut reimburses the donors before they’ve given,” says the Senate Republican, noting the added benefit of starving the government of resources to support the programs that Democrats typically champion, like Social Security and Medicare.

I am beginning to believe that Karl Rove knows there is no chance of George W. Bush being elected in 2004, and he is determined to do as much damage to this country as he possibly can in the time he has left.

When the Bushes moved into the White House, they accused the Clinton people of trashing the place. When the next Democrat moves in, in January 2005, he’ll have to clean up the mess that Bush & Co. have made of the country. Trashing the White House will seem trivial in comparison.

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It Begins at Home

 Posted by at 03:01  Politics
May 312003

Regime Change Begins At Home

by David Michael Rothschild

Being a politically active person, discussions with family and friends frequently turn to our chances in 2004. For the most part, they are at best pessimistic, or just scared; I tell them that our chances in 2004 are superb.

George’s popularity? The War on Terror? Gulf War II? How can we win? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, we represent most Americans on most issues and secondly, Karl Rove does have a fatal flaw. He shares the same attribute that has brought down giants since antiquity – hubris. These two facts are not mutually exclusive, because it is Karl Rove’s voracious hubris that will lead journalists and consequently Americans to begin appreciating just how damaging the current regime has been to America.

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Wag the Dog

 Posted by at 00:53  Politics
May 312003

I have not yet seen this movie.

Waggy Dog Stories

An administration hypes the threat posed by a foreign power. It talks of links to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism; it warns about a nuclear weapons program. The news media play along, and the country is swept up in war fever. The war drives everything else — including scandals involving administration officials — from the public’s consciousness.

The 1997 movie “Wag the Dog” had quite a plot.

Although the movie’s title has entered the language, I don’t know how many people have watched it lately. Read the screenplay. If you don’t think it bears a resemblance to recent events, you’re in denial.

Should I try to rent it this weekend, or will it just seem kind of redundant, given what we’ve been living through lately?

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Confessed Lies

 Posted by at 12:02  Politics
May 302003

Lies, lies and more lies. Now they’re justifying their lies by saying they were “politically convenient.”

WMD just a convenient excuse for war, admits Wolfowitz

The Bush administration focused on alleged weapons of mass destruction as the primary justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force because it was politically convenient, a top-level official at the Pentagon has acknowledged.

The extraordinary admission comes in an interview with Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defence Secretary, in the July issue of the magazine Vanity Fair.

But then, we all knew that their were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq all along, didn’t we? Awful nice of Bush & Co. to finally admit it.

Angry? You should be. You were duped. We all were. The whole world was.

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Dean Statement

 Posted by at 01:36  Election 2004
May 302003


With the President’s proposed budget and the $350 billion tax cut package he is signing today, it has become clear what this President is attempting to do, and why we must repeal the entire package of cuts both those signed today and those passed in 2001.

It is time to level with the American people. The economic plans put forth by President Bush and the Republican party are a fundamental assault on the basic American ideals that we all share — an assault on our schools, our health care, our environment and our social security.

I will not go along with it.

The sooner we recognize that this isn’t a fight over tax cuts, but a battle for our country’s heart, soul and future – the sooner the American people will join our cause.

Let me be clear. The President’s tax cuts are part of a radical agenda to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and our public schools through financial starvation.

In Oregon last week, the state had to close schools three weeks early because there was no money. In New Hampshire this week, the sheriffs made it clear that, because there was no money, they couldn’t provide the basic law enforcement protection communities expect in this time of heightened alerts about terrorism. All across the country, hospitals and health care systems are cutting back and cities are cutting services because there is no money.

What America needs now is a Democratic Party with the backbone to stand up for fiscal responsibility and against this President’s recklessness with the facts, and our future.

No Republican president has balanced the budget in 34 years and if this president succeeds, no future American president from either party will be able to do so without massive tax increases that will break the backs of the American people or without destroying Medicare, social security, our schools and even our nation’s security.

My central commitment upon taking office will be to repeal these tax cuts to put our fiscal house in order, and save the very fabric that holds our American community together.

We will not be able to meet our fundamental obligations to teach our children, care for our parents, and defend our nation if we bankrupt our country.

If we fail to defeat this President and end his radical agenda, we will have lost the central ideal proclaimed from one American generation to the next throughout our history: “We are one nation, and we are all in this together.”

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Northern lights

 Posted by at 11:01  Politics
May 292003

From our neighbors to the north come these bits…

Bush unchallenged by media

When Stockwell Day arrived by skidoo in a wetsuit, Canadians laughed. When George Bush arrived by fighter jet in a combat suit, Americans called him a hero.

That says a lot about the difference between Canadians and Americans these days. Canadians aren’t so easily conned.

Of course, some might conclude instead that former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day is simply a more laughable figure. But that hardly seems fair.

It’s true that Day’s waterside “press conference” in 2000 was stage-managed and laughable — designed so that Day could look vigorous and athletic as he zoomed up in a wetsuit.

But Bush’s fighter-plane landing on the deck of a U.S. battleship earlier this month, and his emergence from the cockpit in combat gear and mussed-up hair, was even more stage-managed (right down to the soft-tone sunset lighting and the “Mission Accomplished” backdrop sign perfectly angled for TV viewers). As for laughable, it’s hard to outdo Bush — who went AWOL from the National Guard during the Vietnam War — strutting around the ship in full battle regalia, carrying his own helmet (I guess there wasn’t anybody available to carry it for him.)

But while the Canadian media had a field day lampooning Stockwell Day, the American media largely treated the Bush photo-op as a serious event, if not a nation-building moment. (One had to seek out obscure Web sites to find questions like: Wasn’t that a sock stuffed down the front of the president’s combat pants?)

Only an administration supremely confident of the media’s docility would have risked staging an event like that, leaving Bush open to ridicule from any media outlet that saw its role as more than simply being a chronicler of Tales of Fearless Leaders.

9/11 film makes hero of Bush

Trapped on the other side of the country aboard Air Force One, the President has lost his cool: “If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come and get me! I’ll be at home! Waiting for the bastard!”

His Secret Service chief seems taken aback. “But Mr. President . . .”

The President brusquely interrupts him. “Try Commander-in-Chief. Whose present command is: Take the President home!”

Was this George W. Bush’s moment of resolve on Sept. 11, 2001? Well, not exactly. Actually, the scene took place this month, on a Toronto sound stage.

The histrionics, filmed for a two-hour TV movie to be broadcast this September, are as close as you can get to an official White House account of its activities at the outset of the war on terrorism.

Written and produced by a White House insider with the close co-operation of Mr. Bush and his top officials, The Big Dance represents an unusually close merger of Washington’s ambitions and Hollywood’s movie machinery.

A copy of the script obtained by The Globe and Mail reveals a prime-time drama starring a nearly infallible, heroic president with little or no dissension in his ranks and a penchant for delivering articulate, stirring, off-the-cuff addresses to colleagues.

That the whole thing was filmed in Canada and is eligible for financial aid from Canadian taxpayers, and that its loyal Republican writer-producer is a Canadian citizen best known for his adaptation of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, are ironies that will be lost on most of its American viewers when it airs on the Showtime network this fall.

Finally, if you want another good laugh (or cry), go read Dude, Where’s My Tax Cut?

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 Posted by at 11:11  Politics
May 282003

I once stated that I could not agree with any comparison of Bush II to Hitler. However, after reading this article, I am not so sure. The article draws many interesting parallels between the two men. It was written by John Chuckman and is entitled ‘Through a glass darkly: An interpretation of Bush’s character’.

While I find those images on the Internet of a blunt little mustache digitally-scribbled onto President Bush’s upper lip feeble and unhelpful, still, there are parts of Bush’s character and behavior that strikingly resemble at least one major biographer’s interpretation of Hitler. Ian Kershaw’s two-volume life of Hitler puts great emphasis on his being a driving high-stakes gambler – with innate, animal-cunning about human psychology, few gifts of statesmanship or strategy, and little systematic learning – attributing most of his success and all of his failure to his compulsive quality.

When, for example, Bush waged his ferocious post-election pursuit of legitimacy through threats and court actions, finally securing appointment to office by America’s Supreme Court, it resembled the way Hitler, never actually elected, worked ferociously behind the scenes and on the streets at a time of great political instability to secure appointment as Chancellor by President von Hindenburg.

You should go read the entire article. I believe you will find it interesting. At the very least, it provides a good basis for discussion.

A PNAC Primer

 Posted by at 01:13  Politics
May 282003

How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle:
A PNAC Primer

by Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers

Recently, I was the guest on a radio talk-show hosted by a thoroughly decent far-right Republican. I got verbally battered, but returned fire and, I think, held my own. Toward the end of the hour, I mentioned that the National Security Strategy — promulgated by the Bush Administration in September 2002 — now included attacking possible future competitors first, assuming regional hegemony by force of arms, controlling energy resources around the globe, maintaining a permanent-war strategy, etc.

“I’m not making up this stuff,” I said. “It’s all talked about openly by the neo-conservatives of the Project for the New American Century — who now are in charge of America’s military and foreign policy — and published as official U.S. doctrine in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America.”

The talk-show host seemed to gulp, and then replied: “If you really can demonstrate all that, you probably can deny George Bush a second term in 2004.”

Two things became apparent in that exchange: 1) Even a well-educated, intelligent radio commentator was unaware of some of this information; and, 2) Once presented with it, this conservative icon understood immediately the implications of what would happen if the American voting public found out about these policies.

So, a large part of our job in the run-up to 2004 is to get this information out to those able to hear it and understand the implications of an imperial foreign/military policy on our economy, on our young people in uniform, on our moral sense of ourselves as a nation, on our constitutional freedoms, and on our treaty obligations — which is to say, our respect for the rule of law.

Baby steps

 Posted by at 18:27  Politics
May 272003

There is perhaps a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Unexpected Steps Against the Patriot Act

Some 107 communities in 24 states representing 11.3 million people have now passed resolutions opposing the federal USA Patriot Act. Alaska is expected to join Hawaii in opposing the Patriot Act, as is the city of Baltimore. This could be the beginnings of unexpected political opposition to the Bush re-election campaign, especially since the opposition now includes an important sector of the conservative movement itself. Such entities as the Eagle Forum and American Conservative Union are speaking out strongly against the act as a violation of civil liberties and have joined with the ACLU and other liberal groups in a coalition to fight the act.

To quote George W. himself, “Hoo-yah!”

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