Posts filed under 'Bush'

Obama Administration Continues The Real “Bush Doctrine”

No, not the Bush Doctrine about how invading countries for no good reason is Teh Awesome, I’m talking about the one that’s like the Peter Principle on steroids, where incompetence and criminality are rewarded with money and advancement instead of scorn, unemployment, or jail time.  Chris Bowers spells it out:

The past year has revealed a comprehensive philosophy of government championed by conservatives and moderates when they oppose major progressive economic reforms. I call it “crime and reward.” The philosophy is summed up as follows:

The flaw in progressive legislative proposals is that they don’t give enough money to the corporations that caused the problem(s) which overall legislative effort is supposedly trying to solve.

It applies in all major cases. Check it out:

1. The way to lower health care costs is to give companies that have increased health care costs even more money….

2. The way to fix climate change is to give the companies that are the main cause of climate change even more money….

3. The way to fix the financial crisis is to give the financial institutions that caused the financial crisis even more money….

On the three major areas of public policy that were addressed by the federal government over the last twelve months–health care, climate change, financial crisis–the “moderate” solution has consistently been to give hundreds of billions of dollars to the corporations that caused climate change, the financial crisis, and skyrocketing health care costs. It is a crime and reward ideology. When powerful private sector companies cause major national and global problems, the “moderate” solution is to give those who caused the problem hundreds of billions of dollars.

Crime and reward. Through a conservative-moderate alliance, it is the system of government under which we live, even in the era of the Democratic trifecta.

On the other hand, maybe it only looks like a “reward.”  Maybe it would be more accurate to say that this is just another demonstration of the criminals’ continuing ability to call the shots, just as they have for the previous eight years, and probably much longer.

Regardless of the cause, it’s a compelling illustration of just how broken and corrupt our political system has become when placing the public good over the corporate good becomes impossible, if not unthinkable.

July 2nd, 2009 at 06:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Role Model Fail

I’m okay with Obama wanting to emulate a former president, but why not FDR instead of The Worst And Most Unpopular President Ever?

President Obama offered a wonkish defense of his embattled health-care reform effort during an hour-long town hall meeting in Northern Virginia yesterday that featured seven questions, including one sent via Twitter and several from a handpicked audience of supporters.

(…)

In the stage-managed event, questions for Obama came from a live audience selected by the White House and the college, and from Internet questions chosen by the administration’s new-media team. Of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his staff from videos submitted to the White House Web site or from those responding to a request for “tweets.”

So we have handpicked questions from a handpicked audience.  Well gee, that doesn’t sound bogus or familiar at all.  I didn’t have a problem with the Nico Pitney pseudoscandal; the WH had no idea what the question would be, and it was fair and tough, but this is just way too reminiscent of Bush and his bubble.  Couple that with Obama’s similarly cavalier approach to the Constitution, secrecy, detainees, and executive powers, and sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s changed.

I can forgive a lot (but not the secrecy and unitary executive stuff) if Obama pushes through a strong healthcare reform package, but this is at least his second recent appearance where (as far as I can tell from the reporting) he didn’t say anything about the public option.  I find that very, very worrisome – mandatory insurance without a public option would actually be far, far worse than the status quo for everyone except the insurance and healthcare industries.

UPDATE: I just got a look at an actual transcript, and Obama did talk about the public option. So chalk that up to bad reporting on the town hall.

He definitely didn’t say anything about it in his not-the-Rose-Garden press conference, though. And I still have serious doubts about the depth of his commitment to it.

1 comment July 2nd, 2009 at 07:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Shorter Fred Hiatt: One-party rule is a terrible thing… now.

Apparently the Republicans have never controlled all three branches of government, at least not within recent memory.  Or maybe it just worked out so well that it wasn’t a problem.

June 8th, 2009 at 06:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Media,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Turns out Dubya spent billions of taxpayer dollars to make sure that Obama was the one left holding the General Motors bag.  Nice.

On the other hand, the thought of the Bush administration being the one to shepherd GM through bankruptcy is pretty damn terrifying.

June 3rd, 2009 at 08:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Economy,Republicans,Wankers

So Is That, Like, $1 Million Per Electrocution?

Well, this is disgusting yet unsurprising:

The U.S. Army paid “tens of millions of dollars in bonuses” to KBR Inc, its biggest contractor in Iraq, even after it concluded the firm’s electrical work had put U.S. soldiers at risk, according to a source close to a U.S. congressional investigation.

The Senate Democratic Policy Committee plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine KBR’s operations in Iraq, and question why the Army rewarded the Houston-based company.

The panel says KBR has been linked to at least two, and as many as five, electrocution deaths of U.S. soldiers and contractors in Iraq due to “shoddy work.”

Investigators believe hundreds of other soldiers may have received electrical shocks, the source added. The Army is investigating.

(…)

Military reports have criticized KBR’s work in Iraq in recent years. Yet afterward, the company received “tens of millions of dollars in bonuses,” said the source, who declined to be identified.

“We want to know why,” the source said.

Um… bonuses are supposed to be a reward for exemplary work, right?  Perhaps the military has adopted the same standards as the corporate world applies to executives.  Electrocute some troops, run a company into the ground, good job, here’s your bonus.

I hope the committee invites some family members of troops who were electrocuted – I’m sure they’ll be very interested in hearing why that warranted a financial reward.

1 comment May 20th, 2009 at 11:54am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Iraq,War

Don’t Bogart That Suffering

And all this time, I thought suffering was a bad thing:

Suffering is a gift, not a problem.  It’s temporal happiness that’s a curse. When life is easy and unthreatened, the cancer of self-centered contentment can take over our spiritual life.  When that happens, suffering is the greatest gift that God can impart to us.

(…)

Isn’t it ironic that our happiness-seeking American culture is doing all in its power to avoid suffering–the true source of blessing?  We even do it through bailouts, and printing endless streams of fiat money. We want happiness without difficulty, the good life without pain.  But that pursuit will also mean life without God, character, heaven, or true peace. Self-centered worldly avoidance of pain is killing our spiritual and corporate life.  Only the gift of suffering can awaken us and point us to the true source of blessedness.

Okay, I’m sold: Suffering is Teh Awesome.  But why should its benefits be limited to ordinary citizens and those lucky duckies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Hellraiser movies?  Shouldn’t the upper classes be allowed to share in its blessings too?  Surely we owe them some tax increases at the very least.  True, it might deprive the lower and middle classes of some of their suffering, but they’ve had so much that they can afford to sacrifice a little for the sake of fairness.

And what about those noble heroes who have selflessly spread so much suffering to so many?  They’re entitled to a better reward than the curse of wealth, power, and permanent comfort.  Surely we can give the Masters Of The Universe who crashed the economy the gift of unemployment or at least steep pay cuts – maybe even jail time for the truly worthy.  And it would be churlish not to offer the torturers and war architects of the Bush administration prolonged prison sentences as a token of appreciation for all the concentrated suffering they’ve bestowed upon the world.

Of course, their natural modesty and humility will require them to protest this largesse as simply too generous, but we really must insist.  It’s the least we can do for them after all they’ve done for us.

It’s their due.

May 16th, 2009 at 01:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Iraq,Media,Torture,Wankers,War

A Tincture Of Hypocrisy

No Republican who was not calling for Bush’s resignation or impeachment over the last three years of his term has any right to say this:

The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness.

George Will is kidding, right?  Please tell me he’s kidding and didn’t just rediscover his hunger for “constitutional values” and the rule of law when Obama put his hand on Abe Lincoln’s Bible.

May 14th, 2009 at 11:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Oh Noes!

President Obama has been possessed by his predecessor!

flag-pins-every-day

(From Superpoop)

May 10th, 2009 at 07:02pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Obama

When The Nazis Do It, It’s Not Illegal

Wow, Condi sure had an eventful Monday at Stanford…

Awesome.  A few more visits back to Stanford and she’ll have a legacy to rival Dick Cheney’s, and her “husband” will be in prison.

1 comment April 30th, 2009 at 09:30pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

No! Really?

This can only be good for Republicans!

The AP obtained partial results from a GOP poll that showed Republicans “are widely viewed by the public as less competent than Democrats to handle issue ranging from health care to education and energy.”

“Democrats were favored by a margin of 61% to 29% on education; 59% to 30% on health care and 59% to 31% on energy. Congress is expected to consider major legislation later this year in all three areas.”

“Democats were also viewed with more confidence in handling taxes, long a Republican strong suit. The only issue among nine in the survey where the two parties were rated as even was in the war on terror.”

Wow, no-one could have anticipated that FUCKING UP EVERY SINGLE THING YOU TOUCH might have an adverse effect on perceptions of your competence.

And while that last sentence may sound like a bit of a silver lining, remember that terrorism is supposed to be the one issue that the GOP totally owns, and they’re tied with the Democrats?  The Republicans are so screwed right now, and they have no-one but themselves to blame.  Not only was their flagship administration criminal and incompetent, but they chose to completely abdicate their responsibility to rein in that criminality and incompetence.

Chickens, meet roost.

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

April 30th, 2009 at 07:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Terrorism

The Law And The Government Are Supposed To Be On The Same Side

Yet another example of why the Bush administration was morally and ethically repulsive:

Karen Greenberg’s book, Least Worst Place, gives us a very compelling answer. It’s found in a passage in which Will Taft (who emerges from all of this as a minor hero who genuinely believes the values that he articulates) relays a discussion he had with John Yoo. He didn’t understand why there was such ferocious pushback against the Geneva Conventions–why not just accept and live with these standards? America had done so for fifty years. The room got quiet, and Yoo said, “We have an Article 17 problem.”

That was a key point. Article 17 says, “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war,” and John Yoo and the others did not want to have to agree to that. Taft understood what was going on, and he fought back. The State Department team wrote a memo calling Yoo’s opinion “seriously flawed” and “fundamentally inaccurate.” They were saying that John Yoo’s lawyering was incompetent.

But we learn from Greenberg’s book that there was a point to all of this. Yoo’s analysis of the law was dishonest. It was driven by a need to get a certain result–to introduce a system of torture of the prisoners. He was intent on twisting the law to get all the restrictions out of the way.

Good-faith opinion writing? I think not.

The whole purpose of the OLC is to tell the administration what it legally can and cannot do, not act like a mob lawyer finding loopholes or concocting bogus rationales for whatever sordid things the boss wants to do.  If (I repeat, IF) we still had functioning mechanisms for accountability, Yoo and Bybee’s legal malpractice would have exposed Bush and his inner circle to the risk of some serious jailtime.

The OLC is supposed to rein in the administration’s criminal impulses, not enable them.

April 30th, 2009 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture

Poll Of The Day

Shorter American people: How can we miss you when you won’t go to jail?

That George W. Bush Presidential Library is going to need one hell of a theme park attached to it.

April 29th, 2009 at 08:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Politics,Polls

Catch Of The Day

Turns out even Ronald Reagan’s DOJ thought waterboarding was illegal.

During the Reagan Administration, the Department of Justice prosecuted a Texas sheriff and three deputies for waterboarding suspects to obtain confessions, and won convictions. The sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and the deputies to 4 years.

So, conservatives… if Ronald Reagan is infallible… and he was anti-waterboarding…

You can’t even argue that waterboarding is okay for obtaining intel but not confessions.

April 27th, 2009 at 08:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture

So What?

So Gallup is doing another poll on whether or not the American public supports criminal investigations of the Bush administration’s justification and use of torture.

But should it really matter?  I mean, since when should public opinion determine whether the rule of law gets upheld, whether criminals get held accountable?

And conversely, how dare conservatives and concern trolls like Broder proclaim that any investigations or prosecutions would be politically motivated?  If they’re so confident that the Bush administration did nothing illegal, shouldn’t they welcome the chance to clear their names?  And if they’re not so confident, are they once again admitting that they place partisan loyalty above respect for the law?

April 26th, 2009 at 02:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Polls,Prisoners,Torture,Wankers

Wanker Of The Day

Shorter David Frum: Prosecuting criminal politicians = criminalizing politics.

Apparently it is inconceivable to conservatives that:

A) The Bush administration’s activities were illegal, and

B) That illegal (Republican) activities should ever be investigated or prosecuted.

I especially liked the part where he warned about the possibility of reprisals by Republicans.  Because Republicans never indulge in trumped-up politically-motivated prosecutions.

(h/t Phoenix Woman)

April 24th, 2009 at 07:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Democracy 101

Accountability = Democracy.  Impunity = Not Democracy.

So, stories over the last few years, all coming together over the last few days, unambiguously tell us that the highest officials of the US Government ordered the commission of war crimes, in order to obtain false information to justify an even more egregious crime of waging an unnecessary, aggressive war in which innocent people are still being killed. But when the opposition party takes over, the official response is that the US government cannot hold a single person legally accountable.

At the same time, Wall Street banksters have just devastated the US economy and world economy, causing billions of people untold economic suffering that will last (even worsen) for years, and not a single bankster has been held legally accountable. Most are still in their enriched executive positions, demanding the terms under which the government will continue to prop them up, as they successfully lobby Congress to weaken every piece of consumer protection or meaningful oversight.

You stand back and look at this, and it’s hard not to see it as a massive “systemic” failure of the US governance system. The principle of accountability, notions of fairness and justice, and the simple concept that no one is about the law — sorry, but these are all in freefall, and almost none of our “democratic” leaders seem to give a damn.

If laws are not enforced, or are only enforced for the little people, then they have no value, and the people who control our government have no incentive to obey the law or look out for anyone’s interests but their own.

It looks like we’re officially there.

April 23rd, 2009 at 09:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture

It’s Not A Bug, It’s A Feature

As I’ve said before, the fact that torture does not provide actionable intelligence was never a deterrent for the Bush administration, since they were a lot more interested in propagandizable intelligence.  False confessions are what torture gets you, and that’s just exactly what BushCo. wanted:

“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubeida at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.

Jim White actually speculated about this on Sunday, and now it’s confirmed.

Amazingly enough, Zubeida and KSM were able to resist – possibly because they had no idea what their torturers were talking about.  And in the end, it didn’t really matter, since we ended up invading Iraq anyway.

April 22nd, 2009 at 06:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Prisoners,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,War

Co-Wanker Of The Day, Part I

Shorter John McCain: Torture is wrong and only helps our enemies… so we must never admit we use it.

April 20th, 2009 at 05:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,McCain,Prisoners,Republicans,Torture,Wankers

Tinfoil Vindication?

To me, one of the least convincing explanations for the Democrats’ fecklessness during the past 7 years was that the Bush administration was using NSA wiretaps to blackmail them.  I always thought that sounded farfetched and paranoid, but now I’m not so sure:

Rep. Jane Harman, the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

(…)

[C]ontrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

Holy crap.  That sure sounds like blackmail to me – unless it means Harman was already in the tank for the Bush administration and they were just trying to protect one of their own.  Which is not exactly encouraging either.

Either way, this damn well better cost Harman her seat.

April 20th, 2009 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Politics

Same As The Old Boss, Continued

This is not encouraging:

Five years ago, Dawn [Johnsen] co-authored a document entitled “Principles to Guide the Office of Legal Counsel,” in which she argued that “OLC should publicly disclose its written legal opinions in a timely manner, absent strong reasons for delay or nondisclosure.”  Dawn’s statement of principles is nuanced, but it begins with the presumption that disclosure should be the rule, never the exception:

OLC should follow a presumption in favor of timely publication of its written legal opinions. Such disclosure helps to ensure executive branch adherence to the rule of law and guard against excessive  claims of executive authority. . . . There nonetheless will exist some legal advice that properly should remain confidential, most notably, some advice regarding classified and some other national security matters. . . .  In all events, OLC should in each administration consider the  circumstances in which advice should be kept confidential, with a presumption in favor of publication, and publication policy and practice should not vary substantially from administration to administration. The values of transparency and accountability remain constant, as do any existing legitimate rationales for secret executive branch law.

So Dawn would apply “a presumption in favor of publication” in all cases.  Though she also recognizes that some OLC advice regarding “national security matters” may overcome this presumption, the presumption itself is applied in all cases.

Compare Dawn’s statement with President Obama’s statement announcing the release of the torture memos, which applies the opposite presumption:

While I believe strongly in transparency and accountability, I also believe that in a dangerous world, the United States must sometimes carry out intelligence operations and protect information that is classified for purposes of national security. I have already fought for that principle in court and will do so again in the future. However, after consulting with the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, and others, I believe that exceptional circumstances surround these memos and require their release.

Rather than starting with a presumption of disclosure, President Obama’s analysis begins with the presumption that, because these memos concern national security matters, they should presumptively be treated as secret.  Although he ultimately concludes that the memos should be disclosed, he does so because “exceptional circumstances . . . require their release.”  In other words, while Dawn requires exceptional circumstances to keep any OLC advice secret, the President will only release advice related to national security when such exceptional circumstances demand it.

(…)

So while the distinction between Dawn’s presumption favoring disclosure and President Obama’s presumption favoring secrecy is subtle, it is very significant.  Once Dawn is confirmed, I hope she is sucessful in restoring her views on transparency to OLC.

I disagree.  It’s not that subtle.

April 17th, 2009 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Obama,Prisoners,Torture,Wankers

Why Does Dubya Hate Patriotic Conservative Americans?

Remember that DHS report on right-wing extremists that came out on Monday and which conservatives took remarkably personally? I know it’s hard to believe that it took more than a couple of months to slap together, but it’s true:

Fox News’s Catherine Herridge revealed that the report, along with an earlier report on radicalized left-wing groups, was actually “requested by the Bush administration” but not completed until recently:

HERRIDGE: Well this is an element of the story which has largely gone unreported. One looks at right-wing groups, as you mentioned. And a second is on left-wing groups. Significantly, both were requested by the Bush administration but not finished until President Bush left office.

Herridge’s reporting undermines her network’s own “reporting” over the past 24 hours. Since news of the DHS assessment broke yesterday, Fox anchors and guests have been seizing upon the report as evidence that the administration is trying to intimidate tea party goers or “stifle speech”:

– ANDREA TANTAROS: It’s free speech and the Obama administration is trying to shut it down.

– JAY ALAN SEKULOW: The Obama administration here under Department of Homeland Security has allowed a new regime to come into place that basically says this: Our focus is going to be on the right-wing groups.

– SEAN HANNITY: What do you think of that interpretation, especially coming from a guy that started his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist who bombed the Pentagon and capital and sat in Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years?

– DANA PERINO: If Bush had done that we would be having a very different conversation. It wouldn’t have taken a week to find it out. There would have been a special prosecutor. We would have had to come out and apologize.

Because it’s totally inconceivable that right-wing extremists could actually pose a threat (I mean, when have right-wing extremists ever harmed anyone?), so therefore this must be a liberal political hit job.

And if you need further proof that conservatives have absolutely no understanding of what these DHS reports are actually for, check out Tantaros complaining that the DHS report on left-wing extremists doesn’t include ACORN or Code Pink.

April 16th, 2009 at 07:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Media,Republicans,Terrorism

A Perfect Match

Hard to dispute the logic behind this decision:

Dana Perino, President George W. Bush’s last White House press secretary, will join Clinton administration adviser Mark Penn at public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller, where she will be “chief issues counselor.”

Mr. Penn, the firm’s CEO, said Ms. Perino’s experiences in Mr. Bush’s second term make her a valuable addition to the team of battle-tested public-relations veterans he is assembling….

Burston-Marsteller is in the business of polishing some of the world’s biggest turds.  What better qualification than serving as Dubya’s press secretary?

(h/t bmaz)

1 comment April 14th, 2009 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Republicans,Wankers

Bush OLCer Laments That Obama DOJ Not As Ethical As Dubya’s (No, Really)

Yes, overriding the OLC on voting rights for DC is far, far worse than providing legal justifications for warrantless wiretapping, torture, and unlimited detention without due process.  This right here is my favorite part:

Holder didn’t ask for Katyal’s best judgment as to whether the D.C. bill was constitutional. He instead asked merely whether his own position that the bill is constitutional was so beyond the pale, so beneath the low level of plausible lawyers’ arguments, so legally frivolous, that the Solicitor General’s office, under its traditional commitment to defend any federal law for which any reasonable defense can be offered, wouldn’t be able to defend it in court.

Oh yeah, that’s a much more inappropriate standard than “Would I fight tooth and nail to keep this legal judgment from ever seeing the light of day?”, which was still higher than the bar used by the Bush administration.

This was also priceless:

Edward Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, served as principal deputy in OLC from 2001 to 2004. His portfolio did not include national security matters.

You know, I can’t remember the last time I ever saw one of those blurbs describing what the writer is not.  I can only assume that it was an attempt to somehow preserve his credibility and make his argument look less laughable.  Didn’t work.

April 7th, 2009 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Obama,Politics,Terrorism,Torture,Wankers

I Agree With Newt!

He may not be right in quite the way he thinks, but he’s right all right:

Reacting to President Barack Obama’s speech in Prague, Gingrich called the plan for a Global Summit on Nuclear Security a “wonderful fantasy idea,” saying Russia and other nations can’t be trusted.

“What are they going to promise, and why would we believe them?” Gingrich said. “It’s very dangerous to have a fantasy foreign policy, and it can get you in enormous trouble.”

That is so true.  Look what happened when we had a foreign policy based on the idea that you can bully, bluster, and invade countries to make them do anything you want.

April 5th, 2009 at 01:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Foreign Policy,Iraq,Republicans,War

Correlation & Causation

Apparently the American Bar Association has a liberal bias:

The bar association is, after all, a private trade association, not an arm of the government. It takes public and generally liberal positions on all sorts of divisive issues. And studies suggest that candidates nominated by Democratic presidents fare better in the group’s ratings than those nominated by Republicans.

I’m sure that couldn’t possibly be because Republican presidents are more likely to nominate ideological hacks, nooo.

March 30th, 2009 at 10:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Judiciary,Media,Republicans

Integrity

Glennzilla points out that unlike conservatives, progressive bloggers have stayed true to their principles by attacking Obama’s screwups instead of rationalizing them.  Critics, not apologists or sycophants.

I wish we weren’t given so many opportunities, but I’m proud to be on the team that didn’t sell out its core values.

March 25th, 2009 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Bush,Democrats,Obama,Politics,Republicans

Who Is More Pathetic?

Lisa Rinna?

I'm a driver, I'm a Rinna.  Things are gonna change for me, I can feel it.

…Or George W. Bush?

Former President George W. Bush is writing a book focusing on defining decisions he’s made in his personal and political life, a publishing house announced Thursday.

The book, tentatively titled “Decision Points,” is to be published in fall 2010, according to the Crown Publishing Group. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The book will focus on about 12 important decisions made by the former president. Topics will include his decision to run for president, his choice of his closest advisers, the September 11 terrorist attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina, the forming of his stem cell research policy, his decision to quit drinking, how he found faith and his relationships with his father, mother, siblings and wife.

He’s so totally invested in his personal mythology of himself as The Great Decider, that he’s actually going to make it the centerpiece of his book.  You know, George, being decisive isn’t really all that admirable when every single decision you make is wrong.

1 comment March 19th, 2009 at 10:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush

Dubya’s Fraudian Freudian Slip

As Attackerman says:

Bush, in Canada, commits the best Freudian slip of all time by announcing his memoir:

“I’m going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened,” Bush said.

“Dictatin’ a book is a lot easier, especially if I’m the dictater.”

March 18th, 2009 at 07:43am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush

Musical Torture

NYT’s Robert Mackey focuses on the use of rap and heavy metal music to torture detainees.  It’s about as awful as you’d expect, but it gets downright weird at the end:

But since the idea that being forced to listen to a certain song or record can be described as “torture” often strikes people hearing about it as funny, reports of the tactic are often cast in a comic light.

Mr. Piore later told the British writer Jon Ronson that when he called his editor at Newsweek from Iraq to describe the use of loud music on detainees, “I was told to write it as a humorous thing.” After Mr. Piore filed his report, Newsweek stressed the fact that one of the songs blared at detainees in Iraq was the theme from the children’s television show “Barney” and added a comic kicker to his the story:

The sledgehammer riffs of Metallica, that’s understandable. But can children’s songs really break a strong mind? (Two current favorites are the “Sesame Street” theme song and the crooning purple dinosaur Barney — for 24 hours straight.) In search of comment from Barney’s people, Hit Entertainment, Newsweek endured five minutes of Barney while on hold. Yes, it broke us, too.

In Jon Ronson’s book on the American military’s development and use of psychological operations, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” (soon to be a major motion picture, starring George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor), he writes that while loud music was used on detainees in Guantánamo, other sorts or sounds were deployed as well, often in puzzling ways.

Jamal al-Harith, another British man who was released from Guantánamo, told Mr. Ronson that recordings of loud screeches and bangs, “jumbled noises,” were played by his interrogators — and also that at one stage during his interrogation, he was asked to listen to songs played at normal volume for no apparent reason. According to Mr. Harith, an interrogator baffled him by playing CDs including one by a Fleetwood Mac cover band, another with a selection of Kris Kristofferson’s greatest hits, and an album by Matchbox Twenty. As Mr. Ronson notes in his book, Matchbox Twenty was one of the bands Mr. Piore found listed on the PsyOps playlist in Iraq.

The editor’s urging to trivialize psychological torture is pretty despicable, but… Matchbox Twenty?  Of all the potential weapons in thePsyOps toolkit, they chose Matchbox Twenty???

4 comments March 9th, 2009 at 07:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Prisoners,Terrorism,Torture

Less Compassionate Than Bush

I didn’t think that was even possible:

If Sharon Keller, the presiding judge of Texas’ highest criminal court, has ever doubted her judgment, she has not shown it.

In 1998, Judge Keller wrote the opinion rejecting a new trial for Roy Criner, a mentally retarded man convicted of rape and murder, even though DNA tests after his trial showed that it was not his semen in the victim.

“We can’t give new trials to everyone who establishes, after conviction, that they might be innocent,” she later told the television news program “Frontline.” “We would have no finality in the criminal justice system, and finality is important.”

Oh, God forbid we should give people new trials just because they might be innocent.  What a horrible travesty of justice that would be.

Gov. George W. Bush eventually pardoned Mr. Criner.

Look, when even Dubya, the guy who mocked a condemned woman, is more merciful than you are, it’s time to take a good, long look at yourself.

But wait, there’s more:

Seventeen months ago, lawyers for a man facing execution sought extra time to file a last-minute appeal. Judge Keller refused to delay the closing of her clerk’s office past 5 p.m., even though late filings are common on the day of a scheduled execution. The man, Michael Richard, was put to death by lethal injection a few hours later.

Based on that case, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct last month charged Judge Keller with incompetence, violating her duties and casting public discredit on the judiciary. Judge Keller, who has been the chief judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals since 2000, faces a public trial and could be forced off the bench.

Her lawyer insists that she did nothing wrong and that she was being blamed for the mistakes of the defendant’s lawyers and court staff.

Tell me again about the Republican “culture of life”?  This woman is as pro-death as it gets.

1 comment March 7th, 2009 at 08:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Judiciary,Quotes,Republicans,Wankers

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