That's Nuclear North Korea , Baby

Oh, gee. I'm so glad we're going bankrupt in Iraq (well, not so much on Iraq but in handing 60 cents out of every tax dollar to Halliburton so they can poorly feed the troops, abuse foreign employees, and send Dick Cheney his check) so we don't have to worry about this:

President Bush and his top advisers have received intelligence reports in recent days describing a confusing series of actions by North Korea that some experts believe could indicate the country is preparing to conduct its first test explosion of a nuclear weapon, according to senior officials with access to the intelligence.
And President Bush, following his own doctrine about responding to any critical warning, immediately declared war on a blue state, had Tom Ridge tell us to buy more duct tape, and then promptly went on vacation for a month.

Never Forget

From Kevin Drum over at the Political Animal:

We could have spent our military energies on smashing al-Qaeda and our diplomatic energies on gaining allies in the Middle East — demonstrating that Osama bin Laden's murderous vision was neither the best nor the only path for the Muslim world. Instead, thanks to George Bush's obsession with Iraq, America is the Great Satan, bin Laden is the most popular public figure in every Arab country in the world, al-Qaeda is bigger and more broad-based than ever, a thousand American soldiers are dead, and Iran and North Korea pursue their nuclear plans with impunity.

We are where we are because of George Bush. Never forget that.
Oh, I won't forget. And this is one of the very rare times when I do not believe I have the capacity to forgive.

What Would Jesus - and his Campaign Manager, Karl Rove - Do?

While you're at Atrios, do NOT miss the Jesus "ad" from Mad Magazine. Priceless.

Why is it the people who always invoke Christ are the ones who are the least like him? The ones from whom scripture can roll - usually modified and spun to fit their needs - from their tongues even as they damage the very concepts and people Jesus said should be cared for. The ones who get to church early on Sunday so they have the whole rest of the day to screw others' over and the ones who treat their churchgoing like a social/photo op.

Oh, This is Rich

Atrios reports that columnist and sanctimonious invective mongerer Robert Novak was on TV (presumably CNN) saying CBS should reveal the source of its Killain documents re: the president's (lack of) service.

Considering Bobby Boy's outing of Valerie Plame and the fact that Novak has staunchly refused to reveal who at the WH so happily suggested that he should out her, it took me fifteen minutes to stop laughing (sadly) enough to post.

Who says irony is dead? Probably the same people who told us the "adults are back in charge" at the WH in January 2001. Adults or vicious, amoral frat boys?

And So it Goes

Today is another 9-11 and here in the Northeast, I won't draw the obvious parallels about how gorgeous and blue a day it is (although it is) just as it was three years ago.

I've kept the radio, the TV, and even the 'net off because I wanted to remember my way, without being prompted by the media. I don't need to see the photographs being held up by relatives because so many of those faces were forever etched into my memory in the days following 9-11-01 as people desperately searched for survivors.

Today, I mourn not just for the lives lost three years ago, but all the lives lost since in our misbegotten quest "to vanquish terrorism" by wreaking terror throughout the world. I also mourn for my country, which has surrendered so much, given so much power to partisan politicians for no good results, and for the hatred and fear that has been bred in its wake.

Not Much Faith in Success of "War on Terror"

Also according to CBS:

As the third anniversary of the 9/11 attacks nears, a CBS News poll finds most Americans say the U.S. will always have to live with the threat of terrorism. Only two in five think the U.S. and its allies are winning the war on terror.
Iraq alone has cost us over $400 billion and climbing. Afghanistan? Who knows. The price paid on the home front for no greater safety as well as the price paid for our operations in various other parts of the world? Priceless.

Wait. There is a price. This phantom war means our kids won't be educated, our GIs and vets won't get health care, the national debt is rising at a record pace, our national infrastruture is collapsing, and Bush couldn't - or wouldn't - create any decent jobs if he stayed in office for another 40 years.

CBS and the Killian "Bush Memos"

CBS is standing by the documents it presented as coming from one of Bush's commanding officers in the Air National Guard purporting that Bush failed to meet different requirements and yet was never sanctioned. This is in light of questions about whether a specific typewriter used could have produced these documents at the time they would have been authored.

Here's the deal. If the documents are fake, that's awful. No one should be doing this, regardless of how important they believe the stakes to be. Whoever faked them should be punished. If they're proven fakes, CBS should certainly own up to a mistake.

But in the rush to cover the minutae of the great font mystery, why is no one bothering to pay attention to whether - as other facts seem to support - that Mr. Bush repeatedly fucked up and failed to serve, yet was treated quite differently than others at that time were treated?

That a president who has called tens of thousands of soldiers to fight not one but multiple simultaneous wars while swaggering about in his "Commander in Chief" camouflage, who may have done drugs for which he happily approved the imprisonment of untold numbers of Americans, and is happy to allow someone who did serve be smeared, this would seem to be the story.

Mary Kay Letourneau: We Can Only Hope Her Ovaries Have Shriveled

With this information, it just makes me sad that they're too busy to worry about the two children they created, or the four Letourneau effectively abandoned to take up with a 12-year-old. God forbid either of them work to support their own children.

Did Powell Call War Hawks "F-----g Crazies"? Not That We Disagree...

From Lloyd Grove in the Daily News (with thanks to Wonkette for the link):

Did Secretary of State Colin Powell tell his British counterpart two years ago that the U.S. government's three top hawks were "f--g crazies"?

Respected Brit journalist James Naughtie reports that in private talks with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw before the war in Iraq, a deeply frustrated Powell used just those words to describe Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Powell's chief rivals in the Bush administration.
If only Colin retained any shred of credibility.


Please Remit $2.5 Million in Five Business Days

According to a post at the marvelous Max's, who points us to Brad DeLong who discusses an important article about the president's (lack of) service in the Air National Guard published on 9/8 by the Boston Globe:

President George W. Bush Owes $2,427,262.47. That would be the value plus interest, assuming a modest interest rate of three percent, of the million dollars spent training him to be a fighter pilot before he went AWOL.
When the IRS decides you owe money, it's pay up in 10 days or face "intent to levy" threats.

Hurricane Ivan

Look forward to another weekend of non-stop Florida coverage.

I'm much more worried about Cuba where people can't even protect with plywood or stock up on supplies because we're still fighting the Cold War-cum-Old-Cuban-Exile-Nonsense with them. Really nice, eh? The worst thing for Cuba right now may not be Castro (and no, I am not a fan of Mr. Castro) but the U.S. and fools like Ros-Lehtinen and all the Diaz-Ballarts in Congress.

Ivan has flattened whole sections of the Caribbean with Grenada having more than 90% of its buildings flattened. The main economy there is GONE (the spice plantations razed and tourism not expected to reappear for some time).

So forgive me if I don't spend a third straight weekend fretting about the people who CHOOSE to live in a tin can called a trailer in Florida. We're all paying the price - because Bush keeps pumping huge amounts in there to help fuel his reelection - for their stupid, stupid, stupid decision. Next hurricane, we'll buy them yet a new trailer. Meanwhile, there's Cuba, Grenada and Jamaica badly affected.

Blogger Eating Posts Redux

I guess it's got the munchies.


Trump: Iraq War Bad But at Least Millionaires and Billionaires Don't Have to Foot the Bill

OK, I finally have something positive to say about Donald Trump just because he was bluntly honest about something just now. The occasion? Tonight's Hardball.

Trump basically said Bush has been very, very good on tax cuts and deserves the votes of all millionaires and billionaires. And while the Iraq war is a terrible mess we should never have entered (his basic view), at least he and his rich colleagues aren't footing the $400+ billion.

Damned straight!

Pitting Vets Against Vets

Let's be clear on one thing. Not all of what bothers me is about the rabid wing GOP's dominance of the message in the media.

Instead, it's hurting to watch veterans being pitted against veterans. Or having to defend themselves from people who didn't serve in the same war experience they did. With Kerry, the people attacking him worst chose not to serve at all.

I believe very strongly that there are huge differences in the war experience as recorded by people, even those who were in the same battle. That's a fact of nature, and always at least somewhat dependent on our individual frame of reference.

A lot of these veterans were sought out in these recent cases with the sole purpose being to solicit a particular negative or positive view against a particular candidate. This is tantamount to using them just as badly now as the government and the military industrial complex used them in the sham that was Vietnam. But GIs in any war, in any country, are often not privvy to the political nature of war. They're really far too busy trying to stay alive if they're in combat.

Can't we honor them without exploiting them now? They've already given... in the combat office.

What a Difference in Coverage!

When the Swift Boaters appeared smearing John Kerry, even in the face of evidence refuting much of what was said, the media kept saying, "Well, we have to cover this because it's an issue!"

Now, when the questions have turned to perhaps digging deeper into the strangely-gapped history of Bush's privileged non-combat service, the media keeps saying, "Isn't this too much? Vietnam's been over since 1973."

Or as Bush himself says: "The past is behind us." (DUH!)

It matters little to the media whores that yes, Vietnam has been over since 1973 as it was when the Swift Boat story arose, but there certainly IS an issue with a president yet again lying ("I was given no special treatment", "I served my full term and honorably", etc.), purging his record, putting out only what he wants while claiming it's the whole thing only to release 2-3 more pages at a time.

And just as the media chants, "Why are we talking about Bush's service for a war over since 1973?", they're falling all over themselves to discuss instead a small number of folks who say Kerry's post-Vietnam actions kept them prisoners of war longer. And if they're like the fellow on Hardball right now, it's all "I was told that..."


Bushes Against Bush

Hey, I like this: Bushes Against Bush!

From their statement:

This web site is run by and for people named Bush who disagree strongly with the policies and/or actions of the current occupant of the White House. There may be very little that the majority of us agree on. We don't have a common view on who would be a better President. We do not have a common party affiliation. We don't have a consensus on what alternative policies should be in place. The only thing that we affirm that we have in common is that we are very unhappy with the administration of George W. Bush. We want the world to know that not everyone with this surname shares the views, or approves of the policies and actions, of this President.

Those of us from the United States are proud to be Americans. Many in our family have served in our country's armed forces with pride and distinction. We cherish the liberties that our government protects, and the ideals upon which this nation was founded. Our critique of this President is a critique of one man and his administration. We believe that this exercise of free speech is patriotism in the truest sense of the word.
Welcome to Blogtopia (yes, Skippy coined that phrase!), folks.

A Vote for John Kerry is a Vote for Another 9-11?

Dick Cheney said that, and then the White House tried to back pedal, saying this isn't really what he meant. But the fact that neither Cheney nor Bush have refuted this is telling.

Me? I think only a vote for George Bush could be called a vote for another 9-11. But it would also be a vote for:

    * Increasing the tax burden on the poor and middle class so the rich can get richer
    * Making sure that no job offers retirement and health benefits upon which you can depend, or pay a living wage
    * Treating women (who aren't the wives or mistresses of wealthy, powerful men) like children or chattel who can't decide for themselves about issues surrounding their own bodies
    * An end to Medicare, Social Security, to public education, to health care for all but the rich, for the protections afforded citizens under Roosevelt's New Deal
    * An end to both privacy and dissent
    * American policy on foreign affairs, social policies, energy, etc. driven solely by corporations and extremist religious factions that are loyal to Mr. Bush
    * Constant war without justification (example: we went to Afghanistan only to end the Taliban and catch bin Laden but did neither; we went to Iraq to "free the people" only to kill off thousands and place a puppet regime controlled by the US in Saddam's place
The list goes on ad infinitum.

How Many Lives Does it Take to Equal the Nearly 3,000 Lost on 9-11-01?

I think that's a legitimate question on the eve of the third anniversary of 9-11, when we have an estimated 15,000-25,000 or more Iraqi civilians dead, an untold number of Afghans dead, not to mention thousands perhaps who became unwitting victims to the so-called War on Terror throughout the world as a result of our actions and initiatives in the past three years.

When do we stop seeking blood in recompense? Or is justice an archaic concept now in a pious environment of "an eye for an eye" where a foreign eye apparently doesn't carry the same effective weight as an American eye?

For the record, "an eye for an eye" is NOT justice. It's vengeance. Big-o difference. I don't see that killing anywhere between 15,000 and 50,000 or more innocent civilian people in other countries either makes up for our loss on 9-11 or does anything more than create more tragedy and injustice.

And while we're asking questions, how many failed aggressions like Iraq and Afghanistan will we commit in the name of 9-11? Iran's name keeps coming up lately. I suspect that's next on the neocon hit parade, and the ultra-right conservatives are aching to rid the Middle East of Palestinians to help fulfill Biblical prophecy where Jews reign supreme and the rapture occurs. That Jews would have to convert to fundamentalist Christianity to be saved and resurrected is a pesky detail.

Warning: Bad Joke

Paraphrasing David Letterman:

Good news! Former president Bill Clinton is awake and alert (following his open heart surgery). If only we could say the same about the current president."

Speaking of bad jokes (at least, I think they're jokes), I've heard several folks (in the media and not) joking about the president's sobriety the last several days. At least some of this is centered on Bush's latest uncomfortable gaffe in which he said it's important these OB-GYN get back to their practice of loving all women.

[As someone who's been at the receiving end of pap smears and speculums, I'd rather my GYN didn't love me. He's got enough devices to stick into me as it is.]

As funny (and NOT funny) as I've found some of the jokes, I've found a real sense of unease that there's even some question about whether the president is drinking and/or doing cocaine as well as brain-affecting prescription drugs while in office. I've seen enough people I liked and admired turn into people I couldn't stand under the influence of coke and/or alcohol to wonder if this does indeed account for some of Bush's swagger (in both senses of that word).

Seems like an awfully critical time to have a president who may feel the need to engage in drugs - and perhaps drugs that would put anyone else in prison for doing so on the job or anywhere else - to get through the day.


Blogger Eating Posts

I keep posting; it keeps eating them. Sounds like an analogy for something.


The Mark Has Been Acknowledged

With more than a dozen US military deaths in two days, the press is finally acknowledging that the 1,000 mark has been reached (in fact, it was probably passed last week since one figure had it at 1,012 before the 7 Marines yesterday and the 4-5 in various car bombings today.

Rumsfeld, of course, came out and told us not to be sissies because it's only going to get worse so tough.

Bush, of course, campaigned and gutted the English language and American policy, his daily routine. And his girls undoubtedly, of course, got themselves extremely drunk and stone and reeking of cigarette smoke, probably purchased for them by other people.

But there was another figure I heard today on the mainstream media for the first time in a bit: an acknowledgement that more than 20,000 Iraqis have died. Like our casualties, I suspect that's not a complete number. I've seen the Pentagon claim more than 100 insurgent deaths in a single incident only to see the bodies of several dead babies and young children (under 5) who probably weren't insurgents.


Or as Wonkette Writes, "Bush: Pure as the Driven SnortSnow

I'll second this, too! Although Bush hasn't caused me to drink, I've sure wished I liked alcohol better. From Wonkette:

So Kitty Kelly's new book rehashes some of the more pharmacological conspiracy theories about the Bush family, which even Drudge has to admit is more interesting than Hurricane Frances. How come the nutty allegations damaging to Kerry's campaign make him sound like a two-faced quasi-coward, but the stuff that's potentially damaging to Bush's campaign makes him sound like someone we'd want to party with? Kerry shoots himself. Uhm, not only painful, but kind of hard to do! As for Bush: Drunk driving, snorting coke while your old lady tokes up and runs over ex-boyfriends? Now that's a fun weekend! And as for the classmate that laments, "Poor Georgie. He couldn't relate to women unless he was loaded." Well, we find it being loaded makes it much easier for us to relate to George! Bush may have gotten through the last four years sober (emphasis on the "may"), but we sure couldn't have.

We have no idea if these allegations are true or not. We really don't care. But let's say that they're probably as true as, dunno, the Swift Boat Vet ads. Let's just hope the media treats them that way.

Cocaine Snorting at Camp David

Yes, I have a theme going:

GEORGE W Bush snorted cocaine at Camp David, a new book claims.

His wife Laura also allegedly tried cannabis in her youth.

Author Kitty Kelley says in her biography The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, that the US President first used coke at university in the mid-1960s.

She quotes his former sister-in-law Sharon Bush who claims: "Bush did coke at Camp David when his father was President, and not just once either."

Other acquaintances allege that as a 26-year-old National Guard, Bush "liked to sneak out back for a joint or into the bathroom for a line of cocaine".

Bush has admitted being an alcoholic but, asked during the 1999 election if he did drugs, he said: "I've told the American people that years ago I made some mistakes.

"I've learned from my mistakes and should I be fortunate enough to become president I will bring dignity and honour to the office."
I think the American people should require the president to take a comprehensive drug test, including hair samples, and the results printed in public. I question whether he is a non-user today, and this matters when his policies are so draconian on the very issues he apparently freebased upon.

CNN, the White House's Second Favorite Whore

[Ed. note: In retrospect, CNN may be the WH's favorite whore since Faux News qualifies more as the brothel madam, a management position, since they do stage direction for the WH.]

You might be interested in the story about all the Swiss cheese in Bush's military records that strangely apply only to definitive statements about why he didn't perform the same duties everyone else had to in the Air National Guard to avoid Vietnam (or why he was allowed to fly at all since he was one of the worst ranking pilots in 40 years).

The problem is, if you listen to CNN tonight or go to their Web site, try to find it. It's there, but buried deeply, mostly linked to from other stories.

"Well," you may say, "it's probably because there is more urgent news to report!"

Ha! Their headlines right now:

    * Most Americans happy with their jobs
    * Some rapper banned from driving
    * Muslims push voter turnout in election
    * The space station watch tower
    * People who don't know well enough not to live in Florida (I know: what's not to love? Corrupt governor. Rigged elections. Hurricanes. Illegal aliens from Cuba made into prized instant citizens. Trailer parks. Bugs. Alligators. All that turquoise and pink everywhere together.)
    * Obvious ones: Clinton's surgery and the Marines dead in Iraq
Strange, but I think the president's hiding certain facts from his record is noteworthy; far more noteworthy than revealing blunders in the past. Why hide them if they're just stupid blunders?

60 Minutes Interview with Ben Barnes

Since several news reports that the interview with Ben Barnes, the man who was called by Poppy Bush to get his nitwit drunken lout of a son into the Air National Guard to keep him out of Vietnam, and who has since said he was "very ashamed" that he had done so, was scheduled to appear on "60 Minutes" last night, we found out otherwise.

Josh Marshall reports the episode will air next Sunday, September 12th.

Yet More Hurricane Coverage

I'll second Roger Ailes (the non-evil one) in his sentiment:

Memo to CNN:

If I wanted to watch stupid white men being blown, I would have watched the Republican Convention on FOX.
One can only hope the rigged voting machines blow away along with Jebby.

The Kerry Campaign

Right now, I'd tend to agree with David Anderson's analysis: what the [bleep] is wrong with this campaign (besides everything)?

I'm hoping the crew from Clinton's group will better manage things. Right now, Kerry's getting about as much attention as Nader except when the right wing is lobbing grenades at him. It's bad when the only press you can get is that drawing a bullseye on your patrician forehead.

I miss Howard Dean. He wasn't perfect, but he stood for more and didn't always let the GOP define him. I still don't quite grok how Kerry came out as the winner of the primaries.

Candidates in Mute

James Wolcott raises an interesting point, having watched Bush's acceptance speech at the GOP convention last week with the sound off.

Recently, I've happened to catch both Kerry and Bush with the set muted, then later uniting sound and video, and the contrast is night and day. Bush often seems alternately tired, depressed, desperate, macho, challenged, and clearly just going through the motions. Sometimes, he behaves like he's eager to get re-elected (ahem) and other times, it's like, "When's my next vacation? It's been a couple weeks since I had one." Turn on audio, and there's a sharp contrast between his physical affect and his words. The words might sound aggressive and assured, but his body isn't delivering the same message.

Do Kerry though and there is not this sharp clash between Kerry in mute and Kerry speaking. Treebeard comparisons aside, his body and speech seem in sync.

Draw from that what you will, but definitely watch Bush's body language. It's telling. I don't think I've seen this much diversion between words and body language since Nixon in my youth.

James Wolcott Blog

For those who really enjoy James Wolcott's articles (me! me! me!), TBogg lets us know he now has his own blog. Read it here.

Clinton in Surgery

Our best wishes to Bill Clinton with his surgery today. I hope this gives him a new lease on life.

For those who want to send a message (please, no hate mail - direct hateful invectives elsewhere) wishing him well, visit here.

7 Marines Killed in Fallujah

Car bomb. From Salon:

An apparent suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed vehicle on the outskirts of Fallujah on Monday, killing seven U.S. Marines and three Iraqi national guardsmen, the U.S. military said. It was the deadliest day for U.S. forces in four months of fighting.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, an Interior Ministry spokesman said medical tests on a man being held in custody showed he is not former president Saddam Hussein's deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, ending conflicting claims about his purported arrest.

High and Oh So Mightly

TBlog takes on the issue of whether Bush participated in an illegal abortion for a girlfriend and explains why the issue still very much matters.

Though God knows, who should better decide the rights over a woman's body than a bunch of fat, white, old men who decide one thing as policy while practicing another?

The Smear Response

Like many, I've been angered that the extreme wing of the GOP has been allowed to smear Kerry's service (ironic considering Bush barely served at all) and define all debates. The media picks up their points like loyal lapdogs and runs with them as if they are established truth.

But to be fair, I'd also expect the American public - not delegates, not partisan hacks - to be smarter, to see through the veneer. We have to pay attention to some of these stories and less attention to Nick and Jessica, Anna Nicole's weight loss, and Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant.

In some respects, it's very difficult this year - of all other years - to imagine that someone is reaching a point less than two months from the election undecided. What more proof do you need about who's headed in the wrong direction?

Under Bush, the US is bankrupting fast. If your wallet is still OK, that's an anamoly. Schools are in crisis, the military is overtaxed, security is a shill, and we might just as well all be working at Mickey D's with benefits and retirement accounts and overtime protection disappearing right and left.

Will Kerry be our saviour? Hell, probably not. But he will reverse some of the most devastating of Bush's all-out-plunder policies. He can't do it alone, however; we need to get rid of people like Denny Hastert, Tom DeLay, Rick Sanctimonious, and Bill (here kitty, kitty) Frist who have turned Capitol Hill into a staging platform for the president's disastrous policies. We need Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Norton, and Chao GONE (prosecution for crimes committed for them would be nice, too).

We've repeated civil liberties everywhere, and we're no more safe. Yes, eighty-year-old women have been removed from flights and chained to their walkers in holding cells because of their presence at protests, but Osama could fly into any airport right now and drive off in his rental car.

If one thing should be obvious now, it's that WE NEED CHANGE.

Mr. Bush is right there telling us he not only won't change, won't reconsider any of his decisions, he wants to continue his scorched earth policy that will result in more global hatred of us, more jobs that can't feed our families, and more policies that undermine sacred public institutions such as schools.

That's a hint, people. A hint with the blunt end of a splitting maul.

More US Soldiers Gravely Injured in Iraq in August than Any Other Month

Mission accomplished?

On This Labor Day, Stop and Think

Think about you, your job (or lack thereof) and Mr. Bush.

See, statistically speaking, it's very likely that you:

    * are working more hours for less pay
    * paying more for your job-based health benefits if you still have them at all
    * that you're one of the majority hurt by the new overtime laws rather than the minority helped by them
    * or a loved one, or a close friend has been out of a job and had substantial difficulty finding a new one in this "great Bush economy"
    * are struggling under a tise of rising debt, hoping things will improve only to see that help ever delayed
    * are one of the vast majority seeing no difference in the Bush tax cuts that have saved Cheney alone more than $100K+ in taxes
    * know some 18 or 18+ kid who really had no other choice for steady work than to join the military
    * pay far more in taxes percentage wise than major corporations
Happy Labor Day from the Bushies!

While America's Sons and Daughter Die in Iraq, Bush Twins Booze on Others' Dimes

Buzzflash saw this piece in The New York Post, only to have it "disappear":

JENNA and Barbara Bush lived up to their hard-partying reputation while in New York supporting their pop, President Bush, during the Republican Convention, according to our spies around town.

The twosome kicked off a week of fun last Saturday at Chelsea hot spot 17, where, we're told, they partied with a group of 20 guests till the early hours. "Jenna seemed more wild than Barbara," said a witness. "They probably got through about three bottles of Level vodka, and they were given a tour of the club by management."

The conservative cuties' next big night was Wednesday at Sixth Avenue nightclub Avalon, where they were in the crowd smoking cigarettes and pumping their fists to Kid Rock, who was performing on stage.

"They [and their entourage of about 25] drank $4,500 dollars worth of drinks — bottles and bottles of vodka," says a club insider. "Then, having been comped all the alcohol, they left a $48 tip. We thought 1 per cent was kind of outrageous, considering they are the president's daughters."

BuzzFlash Note: Cheap, spoiled and all boozed up. A well-oiled Bush doesn't fall far from the shrub!


Bush Sr Considered Bush Jr a Drunken Liability

Is some truth finally leaking out about Bush's strange tour with the National Guard? From AP:

The US president, George Bush, was transferred to the Alabama National Guard during the Vietnam war because his drunken behaviour was a political liability to his father in Texas, the wife of one of his father's former confidants revealed yesterday.
Linda Allison told the political website Salon.com that throughout the time Mr Bush was in Alabama she never saw him in uniform and had no idea he was supposed to be in the National Guard.

"Georgie was raising a lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and embarrassing the family and they just really wanted to get him out of Houston." Asked if she had ever seen him in uniform Mrs Allison said: "Good Lord, no. I had no idea the National Guard was involved in his life."

Mrs Allison is the wife of the late Jimmy Allison, a former political consultant and newspaper owner from Midland, Texas and one time confidant of the Bush family. Motivated by pride in her husband and pique at the manner in which the Bush family discarded him once they believed he was no longer useful, the interview is the first she has ever given.

On Sunday the former lieutenant governor of Texas Ben Barnes will admit on the CBS primetime news programme 60 Minutes that he pulled strings to enrol Mr Bush in a unit of the Texas National Guard known as the Champagne Unit, because it had so many sons of prominent Texas politicians and businessmen.

More Evidence Iraq was a Target in Search of Any Excuse to Strike

From AP:

A former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman asserted Sunday that the general who ran the war in Afghanistan said more than a year before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that his resources were being shifted in preparation for taking on Saddam Hussein.

So Much for the President Working for Us

Journalists got to see first hand what it's like to be labeled non-loyal to the president: they got shunted off into a Free Speech zone blocks away from the president.

So too is the fact that he's turned the Secret Service into the Gestapo.

A Picture of Zell Miller You Haven't Seen Before

Apparently, he's part of a set of twins, just like the Bushette brainees. Go. Look!

Free Speech Muzzled by Media Conglomerates


HOLLYWOOD -- Dissent is not being stomached very well in America these days, and you didn't have to be watching the Republican National Convention last week to pick up the vibe of intolerance.

Not only were hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in New York dismissed or downplayed last week by the media (despite the fact that more than a few were billy-clubbed and 1,800 were arrested), but the parent companies of the media are becoming increasingly reluctant to go out on a limb about anything controversial.

The corporate agendas of these mini nation states have become so complex and politically sensitized that anything perceived as out of the mainstream is automatically viewed by top brass with suspicion.

Just imagine: Lawyers and lobbyists perennially on the qui vive to determine if any marketing gimmick, any news item, any movie, any loudmouth talkshow host could cause trouble in D.C., jeopardize a deal in China or hurt cooperation between moguls. Such a scenario of congloms second-guessing themselves at every turn is not so far-fetched.

Latest example is Warner Bros.' decision not to release an anti-war doc by David O. Russell.

The piece, financed by the studio, was supposed to consist of human-interest interviews with former Iraqi extras and crew members who had appeared in "Three Kings," the director's 1999 pic about the Persian Gulf War (news - web sites). (That film is being re-released by WB on homevideo/DVD and in a limited theatrical run in October.)

But when the New York Times quoted Russell on Aug. 16 as saying the 35-min. "Soldiers Pay" was essentially an anti-war statement and that he hoped to get it out before the presidential election, the studio had second thoughts.

WB toppers were concerned the pic might run afoul of Federal Elections Commission rules or even be construed as a soft money contribution to the Democratic cause. It is expected that Russell will retain the rights and seek to get the partisan piece seen through other outlets. (It won't be on the DVD of "Three Kings.")

I'm guessing HBO, another Time Warner outlet, and its rival Showtime, a Viacom outlet, will both pass, even though as pay cablers they aren't specifically held to the same rules about fair play as their over-the-air broadcast brethen.

This latest move comes in the wake of Disney's decision not to distribute Michael Moore's anti-Bush doc "Fahrenheit 9/11" and the inability of Robert Greenwald to get much traction for his admittedly much less ambitious anti-Fox News expose "OutFoxed."

The Mouse House has tax issues at its theme park in Orlando, Fla., and may not have wanted to rile the Bush clan in power there; anyone promoting "OutFoxed" would have, at the least, to endure a tongue-lashing from Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.

There is a long tradition of political docs in the U.S. -- from Robert Drew to Frederick Wiseman to Errol Morris -- and in many cases it was the Hollywood studios that funded or distributed the works.

But today's congloms would probably be much happier to just churn out their franchises, sequels and remakes and to mount increasingly entertainment-led newscasts. They likely wish that this resurgence of polemical docs -- whose financial return is hard to calculate and whose impact hard to predict -- would just dry up.

As Louis Menand pointed out recently in the New Yorker, however, the documentary impulse is to catch what's "off-camera," to show you what you were not intended to see, to film what was not planned to happen.

Since there seems to be a lot these days that we're not supposed to see or know about -- more than just Amber Frey's love life -- the field for documentary exploration is only going to get more fertile.

Can't Spell Dubious in the Polls without Dubya

Also from Skippy:

if any of you actually believe the recent time and newsweek polls that showed awol pulling ahead by 11%, we've got a bridge in brooklyn we can sell you.

even mickey kaus doubts the parameters of the polls. he says that scott rassmussen (subscription required, we're too cheap) argues that the times poll oversampled repubbb voters. and it has been discussed on kos that the newsweek poll "pushed" the repondents for an answer; in other words, "not sure" was not an option, you had to pick awol or kerry. time did not push for an answer during the dnc poll, thus making polls during the two conventions apples and oranges.
Gee, a lot of us seem to be offering that same bridge at a great discount this campaign season.

Bush by the Numbers

The great Skippy, channeling Daily Kos, points us to a UK Independent piece by Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter, spelling out some critical or at least important numbers related to the Bush Administration. Read it all: it's long and highly informative:

1 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security issued between 20 January 2001 and 10 September 2001 that mentioned al-Qa'ida.

104 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein.

101 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned missile defence.

65 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned weapons of mass destruction.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.

73 Number of times that Bush mentioned terrorism or terrorists in his three State of the Union addresses.

83 Number of times Bush mentioned Saddam, Iraq, or regime (as in change) in his three State of the Union addresses.

$1m Estimated value of a painting the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, received from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and Bush family friend.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.

1,700 Percentage increase between 2001 and 2002 of Saudi Arabian spending on public relations in the United States.

79 Percentage of the 11 September hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.

3 Number of 11 September hijackers whose entry visas came through special US-Saudi "Visa Express" programme.

140 Number of Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, evacuated from United States almost immediately after 11 September.

14 Number of Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) agents assigned to track down 1,200 known illegal immigrants in the United States from countries where al-Qa'ida is active.

$3m Amount the White House was willing to grant the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 11 September attacks.

$0 Amount approved by George Bush to hire more INS special agents.

$10m Amount Bush cut from the INS's existing terrorism budget.

$50m Amount granted to the commission that looked into the Columbia space shuttle crash.

$5m Amount a 1996 federal commission was given to study legalised gambling.

7 Number of Arabic linguists fired by the US army between mid-August and mid-October 2002 for being gay.

George Bush: Military man

1972 Year that Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, Nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.

$3,500 Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush's Alabama guard service.

600-700 Number of guardsmen who were in Bush's unit during that period.

0 Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service.

0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove ­ the main proponents of the war in Iraq ­served in combat (combined).

0 Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.

8 Number of members of the US Senate and House of Representatives who have a child serving in the military.

10 Number of days that the Pentagon spent investigating a soldier who had called the President "a joke" in a letter to the editor of a Newspaper.

46 Percentage increase in sales between 2001 and 2002 of GI Joe figures (children's toys).

Ambitious warrior

2 Number of Nations that George Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office.

130 Approximate Number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognised by the United Nations) with a US military presence.

43 Percentage of the entire world's military spending that the US spends on defence. (That was in 2002, the year before the invasion of Iraq.)

$401.3bn Proposed military budget for 2004.

Saviour of Iraq

1983 The year in which Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs as a gift.

2.5 Number of hours after Rumsfeld learnt that Osama bin Laden was a suspect in the 11 September attacks that he brought up reasons to "hit" Iraq.

237 Minimum number of misleading statements on Iraq made by top Bush administration officials between 2002 and January 2004, according to the California Representative Henry Waxman.

10m Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets on 21 February 2003, in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the largest simultaneous protest in world history.

$2bn Estimated monthly cost of US military presence in Iraq projected by the White House in April 2003.

$4bn Actual monthly cost of the US military presence in Iraq according to Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld in 2004.

$15m Amount of a contract awarded to an American firm to build a cement factory in Iraq.

$80,000 Amount an Iraqi firm spent (using Saddam's confiscated funds) to build the same factory, after delays prevented the American firm from starting it.

2000 Year that Cheney said his policy as CEO of Halliburton oil services company was "we wouldn't do anything in Iraq".

$4.7bn Total value of contracts awarded to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$680m Estimated value of Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded to Bechtel.

$2.8bnValue of Bechtel Corp contracts in Iraq.

$120bn Amount the war and its aftermath are projected to cost for the 2004 fiscal year.

35 Number of countries to which the United States suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court.

92 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2002.

60 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2003.

55 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who were unemployed before the war.

80 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who are unemployed a Year after the war.

0 Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender in May 1945.

37 Death toll of US soldiers in Iraq in May 2003, the month combat operations "officially" ended.

0 Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has permitted to be photographed.

0 Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.

A soldier's best friend

40,000 Number of soldiers in Iraq seven months after start of the war still without Interceptor vests, designed to stop a round from an AK-47.

$60m Estimated cost of outfitting those 40,000 soldiers with Interceptor vests.

62 Percentage of gas masks that army investigators discovered did Not work properly in autumn 2002.

90 Percentage of detectors which give early warning of a biological weapons attack found to be defective.

87 Percentage of Humvees in Iraq not equipped with armour capable of stopping AK-47 rounds and protecting against roadside bombs and landmines at the end of 2003.

Making the country safer

$3.29 Average amount allocated per person Nationwide in the first round of homeland security grants.

$94.40 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in American Samoa.

$36 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in Wyoming, Vice-President Cheney's home state.

$17 Amount allocated per person in New York state.

$5.87 Amount allocated per person in New York City.

$77.92 Amount allocated per person in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, Bush's alma mater.

76 Percentage of 215 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors in early 2004 that had yet to receive a dime in federal homeland security assistance for their first-response units.

5 Number of major US airports at the beginning of 2004 that the Transportation Security Administration admitted were Not fully screening baggage electronically.

22,600 Number of planes carrying unscreened cargo that fly into New York each month.

5 Estimated Percentage of US air cargo that is screened, including cargo transported on passenger planes.

95 Percentage of foreign goods that arrive in the United States by sea.

2 Percentage of those goods subjected to thorough inspection.

$5.5bnEstimated cost to secure fully US ports over the Next decade.

$0 Amount Bush allocated for port security in 2003.

$46m Amount the Bush administration has budgeted for port security in 2005.

15,000 Number of major chemical facilities in the United States.

100 Number of US chemical plants where a terrorist act could endanger the lives of more than one million people.

0 Number of new drugs or vaccines against "priority pathogens" listed by the Centres for Disease Control that have been developed and introduced since 11 September 2001.

Giving a hand up to the advantaged

$10.9m Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet.

75 Percentage of Americans unaffected by Bush's sweeping 2003 cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$42,000 Average savings members of Bush's cabinet received in 2003 as a result of cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

10 Number of fellow members from the Yale secret society Skull and Bones that Bush has named to important positions (including the Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. and SEC chief Bill Donaldson).

79 Number of Bush's initial 189 appointees who also served in his father's administration.

More Gaps in Bush's Military Records than Nixon's Tapes

Gee, at least we know where John Kerry was and what he was doing.

Documents that should have been written to explain gaps in President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service are missing from the military records released about his service in 1972 and 1973, according to regulations and outside experts.

For example, Air National Guard regulations at the time required commanders to write an investigative report for the Air Force when Bush missed his annual medical exam in 1972. The regulations also required commanders to confirm in writing that Bush received counseling after missing five months of drills.

No such records have been made public and the government told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that it has released all records it can find.

Outside experts suggest that National Guard commanders may not have produced documentation required by their own regulations.
OR, as has been charged by a military man who says he was an eyewitness to the event, Bush's records were purged of all embarrassment before he ran for governor.

OR... the documents that would have spelled out why Bush was grounded, refused to take his mandatory medical exam, failed to show up in Alabama (remember: no credible eyewitnesses have ever come forward to put him there at other than bars), and was discharged honorably without meeting his mininum commitment were never filed at all because Poppy Bush was already a bigwig and nobody wanted to state categorically what a fuckup his son was.

Gaps in Bush's National Guard Records

Gee, at least we know where John Kerry was:

WASHINGTON - Documents that should have been written to explain gaps in President Bush (news - web sites)'s Texas Air National Guard service are missing from the military records released about his service in 1972 and 1973, according to regulations and outside experts.

For example, Air National Guard regulations at the time required commanders to write an investigative report for the Air Force when Bush missed his annual medical exam in 1972. The regulations also required commanders to confirm in writing that Bush received counseling after missing five months of drills.

No such records have been made public and the government told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that it has released all records it can find.

Outside experts suggest that National Guard commanders may not have produced documentation required by their own regulations.
Or the records were written and then disappeared as at least one eyewitness said in a deliberate purge of embarassments before Bush ran for governor.

OR there was no documentaton ever recorded because this was a Bush and no one wanted to have their signature on something Poppy's little wunderkind (George Bush the elder then already a bigwig as Prescott Bush's son) would regret returning later on.

Will the GOP as it Presents Itself Today Implode?

I think it's very possible because I don't think all Republicans stand behind the extremist philosophies (if you can call it a philosophy when no thought is involved)put forth by those at the political core (Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Dr. James Dobson, Tom DeLay, etc.).

From the Washington Post:

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a man known for frank talk, offered a blunt description of the state of his party, which broke camp here Friday after nominating President Bush for a second term. "The Republican Party," he said, "has come loose of its moorings."

Hagel was not referring to Bush's leadership or his prospects for reelection but instead to the impact of a presidency that has seen the party embrace the largest deficits in U.S. history and a foreign policy that has put the United States at odds with many of its closest allies and heightened suspicion of institutions such as the United Nations.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) predicts a period of introspection and debate over the GOP's future.

President Bush and New York Gov. George Pataki (R), who introduced Bush before his Republican convention speech last night, were both first elected governor in 1994. Of the 17 other governors who were first elected in 1994, how many are still in office?
Hagel expects recrimination and worse if Bush loses to John F. Kerry, but he predicts that, win or lose, the GOP faces a period of introspection and debate over its future. "I think you've got a party that is in a state of uncertainty," he said.

While many Republicans attending the convention dismissed Hagel's prediction as unduly pessimistic, there is likely to be a series of intraparty debates, starting after the election, over the size and role of government, the U.S. role in the world, and how Republicans can expand their coalition.

GOP Delegates Not Greeted Warmly

From the Boston Globe:

NEW YORK -- Attention, New Yorkers. Republican delegates from all over the country want you to know: They don't hold any of it against you.

June Rentmeester, of Richardson, Texas, doesn't blame you for the man who spat on her in the street the other day. Janice Koehne, of McQueeney, Texas, doesn't think you're responsible for the person who quietly said ''fascist" as he passed her. Jan Baldock, of Milwaukee, truly believes you want her to return to New York, even though people yelled, ''Go home!"

They believe most New Yorkers were tickled pink to have them in the city. They believe most of the troublemakers were professionals. Imports. Angry at everything. Lacking core beliefs.
I'm not sure they're right.

I think that a lot of Americans are concerned about the type of people who would get chosen as delegates at the GOP convention. Many seem to represent the nut case wing.

Naturally, I am horrified that people would spit on the delegates. But I'm not sure they're correct that most New Yorkers loved them. While the media tried to make protestors the villains months before the event, New Yorkers were NOT looking forward to the GOP convention and know that much of the GOP holds New York City in less than high respect. It was some of the extreme wingnuts, after all, who suggested that NYC was a great target for 9/11 because they "have so many foreigners" and is like a modern day Sodom.

Florida, Media Coverage, Politics, and Hurricane Aid

While I certainly feel badly that Florida is getting pounded by a record-size hurricane so soon after Hurricane Charlie hit, I'm also amazed at how Florida constantly dominates media coverage.

Hurricanes are a fact of life, and the people who live there choose to do so regardless of the fact that hurricanes and tropical storms often hit there first. Residents want summery weather 10 months of the year and they get it but at a price.

Unfortunately, we all pay the price for them to live there in cheap and/or poorly constructed homes. How much money paid out for people to rebuild the same homes after Charlie will now be paid all over again for Frances and then for another one barreling its way toward Florida?

To help his political career, Mr. Bush has put an astounding amount of money into the first hurricane and now into this one. His brother is governor, after all, and Florida is a key state in the November elections. But this magnifies the money we sink into a sinkhole.

Florida should not get different aid levels because it's a battleground state or because Jeb Bush is the governor. But if Florida were a blue state, we wouldn't see these record levels of resources directed to them.

The Creep Quotient

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to suggest that Mr. Clinton's health crisis is a political ploy. It turned out that within six hours of the announcement on Friday, at least a few of the creep quotient said it was dreamed up to try to rob God's Appointed One (Bush) of his post-convention thunder.


US Soldier Casualties in Iraq Really Over 1,000 Mark?

I've suspected that when the US soldier casualties in Iraq went over the 1,000 mark that no attention would be paid. Why? Because it does not sound good for our "fearless leader".

But at least one Australian news source (one cited by Juan Cole on his blog) says we're at 1012 and that was before the 20+ casualties in a car bombing yesterday (still not clear if any American soldiers were hurt or killed in that). In truth, I bet the numbers are much higher than even 1,012 but politicians and Pentagon suits always try to limit this information.

President Bush: Dry or Damp Drunk?

This isn't the first I've heard that sources in Washington know Mr. Bush is drinking again.

But just drinking is a whole big issue of its own. As someone who came from a family where alcoholism was present, I know a little about this topic and have read quite a bit more.

I never quite bought the line that Bush was a "dry drunk" who exhibited his addiction behavior in other ways without the alcohol. I have always suspected that while Mr. Bush might not drink in public settings, that he probably continued to engage privately. It's modus operandi for the pious, bully types (think Bill Bennett and the "do as I order and not as I do" crowd).

Nor am I saying that a former alcoholic can't drink. While most seem to need total abstinence, I've met a number of people who are able to control their volume and the effects it has on their lives. When they notice warning signs or situations, they may stop drinking altogether for a period of time until a crisis passes.

However, I have a big problem with Bush's drinking. First, he's recently reiterated that he's overcome his problems with alcohol and such. If that's not true, he shouldn't be saying it (and I won't go into the many, many, many lies we know him to tell). We already know Nixon was a drunk and a pill-popper, especially in the final years of his presidency. It showed in his policies. Does anyone really want someone who can't control himself as president (as the right kept saying about Clinton)?

Second, it's also widely acknowledged that the president is on psychiatric meds, possibly at least one of the newer serotonin specific anti-depressants. That latter fact can be disturbing in a president in any event but drinking with those drugs is NOT GOOD. I took one of them for a short period of time to battle post traumatic stress after an illness in 2003 and every bottle came with a strong label telling you not to drink alcohol with them. Researching this, it seems not so much a danger of a medical crisis as that alcohol would interfere with the work of the drug. In other words, while the drug tries to adjust chemical levels in the brain believed to contribute to depression and certain behaviors, alcohol on top of them readjusts the drug's adjustments.

So, if they're medicating Bush for his strange behavior, drinking may counteract any positive effects of the medication.

Third, Bush's policies, speeches, and mandates seem like they're drafted by a blind, deaf bully. I don't think alcohol is going to help his judgment.

Two Loose Screws From the Presidency

Slate presents a very odd set of comments by Fat Wrestler of the House Denny Hastert on an August 29th Faux Spews channel and reminds us that this man is just two pretzels or heart attacks away from the Oval Office. Thanks to Buzzflash for the link. I haven't had much reading time lately.

It's it my imagination or are these nut cases all seriously decompensating lately? Card's whacko comment about Bush Daddy. Miller going ballistic and wanting to duel because Chris Matthews points out that it was Dick Cheney who oversaw the largest number of US base closures in history. The Secret Service throwing themselves between Michael Moore and an NPR reporter lest the reporter tried to interview Moore.

Delusions of Fatherhood

Andrew Card, White House Chief of Stiff, says Mr. Bush sees the US as a 10-year-old child in need of a strong parent and he's the parent.

Now that I've stopped cursing, let me just say this. I've seen the twitcakes he raised and I'm not really confused George and Babs did such a bang up job. The only way they could fight their way out of a paper bag was a) if the bag was damp b) the Secret Service cut a starter hole for them and c) outside the bag awaited a sufficient quantity of alcohol and those little drugs you and I would do jail time for.

Kerry called this remark condescending. Sorry, John. Condescending doesn't even BEGIN to do justice to this.

You know, we heard when Bush and company were moving the Clintons out that "the adults were back in town." If they're adults, God help us. And Bush is NO father figure.