Archive for November, 2006

Sick, grumpy and in no mood for BS on Iraq

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

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Let’s all hear it for denial!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Hey, if Bush can do it . . .

(NY Times) Bush Declines to Call Situation in Iraq Civil War

. . . why can’t the rest of us?

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What is it with Bush’s total lack of compassion?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

I don’t generally go in for playing amateur psychologist to George W. Bush. At the end of the day, who really gives a rat’s ass what phobias drive him. Isn’t it enough simply knowing that he’s a habitual liar and a hopeless incompetent?

But thinking about his fundamental lack of basic human compassion is causing me to make an exception. We’ve had innumerable examples of this over the years, of course, from his making fun of death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker’s plea for life, to his persistent willingness to sell out poor children, to his refusal to meet with Cindy Sheehan.

But this one may take the cake:

(The Hill) Son also rises in testy Webb-Bush exchange (via Talking Points Memo)

At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked (Senator elect Jim) Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.
Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.

Seriously, what kind of a person acts this way? A father tells Bush that he wants to see his son who is serving in a foreign war return home and Bush’s response is to get pissed off? Even if he took the comment to be a slam on the war, Bush’s obvious response was to say, “That’s what we all want,” or perhaps, “I can sure understand that.” I mean, Jesus, your average middle school chess club member would have had the social grace to pull that one off.

There’s clearly some sort of pathology at work here, although I don’t claim to have the expertise to put the proper label on it. Suffice it to say that when George W. Bush was put together somehow the empathy was left out. And I’m not suggesting by this that he’s simply not a particularly empathetic person. No, it’s just not there, period.

Bush only plays empathy on television. There’s absolutely no evidence anywhere in his life’s history that he’s ever actually felt it.

And that’s a damn sad feature to have in a President of the United States. Say what you want against Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War, and there’s plenty to say: But there’s one thing I’ll say in his favor: He clearly agonized over what was happening in the war. In the end that didn’t save him (or America) from the consequences of his unforgivable deceit and foolhardiness, but at least he did have the humanity to suffer in his own heart and soul for those consequences.

Where is the slightest evidence that George W. Bush has ever done the same? Sure he’s upset that things are going badly for HIM, but where’s the empathy for others?

Although, on second thought, I suppose that does make it a whole bunch easier sending other people’s children to their death in this new lost hope war.

Give kids their summers

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Atrios and Yglesias, two bloggers who get gazillions more visits than I do — not because they’re better, heaven forbid, but because there’s an all encompassing cosmic injustice woven into the very fabric of the universe.  A thought: Is the fact I just wrote that last sentence actually irrefutable proof that they are, in fact, better than I am?  

Screw that.  It’s the injustice I tell you.

In any case, given that I failed to finish my first sentence above, I should move on.  Atrios and Yglesias seem to agree that giving kids lengthy summer vacations is an anachronism (although Atrios’ position is a little more nuanced). 

Speaking as someone who is way too old to be the father of six and seven-year-old boys but who nevertheless is, I beg to differ.  I would like someone to show me hard evidence that making kids go to school longer produces better adults.  I don’t buy it.  And I personally think that giving kids a break — a few precious months each year when they aren’t as booked up as adults — is reasonable.

I agree this presents practical problems for single parents and working couples, problems that should be addressed through creation of better resources for parents, but the school system isn’t supposed to be a babysitter.

This nation has become enamored with a more is better view of education — more class hours, more high stakes testing, more hours of homework.  I think we’ve lost sight of the real goal here.  We aren’t supposed to be simply trying to produce a new generation of cogs for the use and benefit of corporate America.  We’re supposed to be growing well-rounded citizens of a republic.  And there’s a hell of a lot more involved in that than cramming for tests.     

Question of the day: On Iraq, is Bush a liar, in denial or both?

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

It seems like every day brings a new assertion about Iraq from our Fearless Leader that is even more bizarrely disconnected from reality than the one he gave the day before.  Here’s the latest installment:

(AP) Bush: Iraq violence is al-Qaida plot

President Bush said Tuesday that an al-Qaida plot to stoke cycles of sectarian revenge in Iraq is to blame for escalating bloodshed, refusing to debate whether the country has fallen into civil war.

“There’s a lot of sectarian violence taking place — fomented, in my opinion, because of the attacks by al-Qaida causing people to seek reprisal,” Bush said at a news conference with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves during a stop in Estonia.

Yeah, that’s the ticket: The violence in Iraq isn’t being caused primarily by homegrown ethnic divisions that the Bush Administration recklessly failed to anticipate.  No, it’s all due to outside terrorists.  And screw the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

So, what do you think?  Does he actually believe this crap, meaning, of course, he’s hopelessly deluded, or is it just one more lie, meaning, well, we already know what that means?

Barney Frank calls a Fox a skunk

Monday, November 27th, 2006

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Want to know why McCain scares you?

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Read this.

(LA Times) Do we need another T.R.?

YOU CAN READ 1,000 profiles of GOP presidential front-runner John McCain without encountering a single paragraph examining his core ideological philosophy. His career is filled with such distracting drama — torture at the Hanoi Hilton, noisy conversion to the campaign-finance-reform faith, political suicide on the Straight Talk Express — that by the time you’re done with the highlights, and perhaps a few “maverick” anecdotes, time’s up.

People are forever filling in the blanks with their own political fantasies. Third party candidate! John Kerry running mate! Far-right warmonger! Republican In Name Only! But with the announcement that the popular Arizona senator has formed his presidential exploratory committee, it’s time for our long national guessing game to end.

Read the rest.

Coming soon — the great presidential stonewall

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Of the many reasons why so many of us felt it absolutely critical that the Democrats win control of Congress, surely at the very top of the list was the need for a rebirth of congressional oversight. Such oversight had, of course, all but died during the years of undivided Republican governance. And while the investigators were away, the rats (both corporate and governmental) played — to the tune of billions upon billions of the public’s dollars being wasted on shoddy political payoffs and the wretched excesses of crony capitalism as it’s now played.

The good news is that early indications strongly suggest that the fear many of us had before the election that once in power congressional Democrats, always anxious to please the inside the beltway crowd, might go all “nonpartisan” on us and forswear vigorous oversight investigations appears to have been groundless.

An article from the Associated Press today is particularly encouraging.

(AP) Waxman has Bush administration in sights

The lawmaker poised to cause the Bush administration’s biggest headaches when Democrats take control of Congress may just be a grocer’s son from Watts who’s hardly a household name off Capitol Hill.

Rep. Henry Waxman . . . has spent the last six years waging a guerrilla campaign against the White House and its corporate allies, launching searing investigations into everything from military contracts to Medicare prices from his perch on the Government Reform Committee.

In January, Waxman becomes committee chairman — and thus the lead congressional hound of an administration many Democrats feel has blundered badly as it expanded the power of the executive branch.

Waxman’s biggest challenge as he mulls what to probe?

“The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose,” he said.

So are happy days, or at least responsible ones, here again? Don’t count on it. If the Bush Administration has been consistent about anything, it has been in how it responds to any hint of scandal: Stonewall, stonewall and then stonewall some more.

Congress can issue all the subpoenas it wants to the White House. That doesn’t mean the White House will honor them, or at least do so completely and in good faith.

Here’s my prediction: The early months of 2007 will be accompanied by the biggest presidential stonewall operation since Watergate. Congressional requests for documents and testimony from the executive branch will be diced, sliced and executive privileged into tiny shreds of paper and then scattered to the four winds by a blast of Dick Cheney’s rhetoric.


The wheels are coming off in Iraq

Friday, November 24th, 2006

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