Tag Archives: bush

george w. bush

kerry wish lists

Things I wish Kerry would say to Bush:

  • Mr. Bush has no shame and distorts comments and the record shamelessly. [Cite to any one or two of a thousand particular examples — the healthcare plans, the budget deficit, the $87 billion, the “global test” ….]
  • On the $87 billion appropriation, what Mr. Bush fails to mention is that he threatened to veto it before he signed it.
  • Mr. Bush opposes a woman’s right to choose.
  • Mr. Bush misled this country into war. [my version: you lie, you lie, you lie … ad infinitum, ad nauseum]
  • Mr. Bush lied to Congress about the weapons of mass destruction, misleading the members of Congress, who trusted him and wanted to support the president and his intelligence. His administration cooked the intelligence.

rumors on the internets: bush-kerry #2

Favorite Bush moments from the 10/8 Bush-Kerry “townhall” debate:

I hear there’s rumors on the Internets.

and his sorrow and confusion that Saddam didn’t have WMDs. This line has been trotted out before [Colin Powell on the lack of WMDs: “I’m disappointed”] and is quite revealing — the Bush administration is sorry that Saddam didn’t have weapons. Often they add some folksy, being-real clause, like “frankly,” or “nobody could have been sorrier” etc. Hello! It’s a good thing Saddam didn’t have weapons. Right? Or am I missing something? Of course what they should be sorry about is that they didn’t know it in advance of the invasion, but that would require admitting that they were sorry about something they did, not just sorry about lousy Saddam’s failure to develop weapons of mass destruction.

understanding what happened

paperwight’s fair shot explains the bush “dred scott” reference

my thoughts

Overall, I thought the debate was a draw, simply because Bush had set the bar for himself so very low after the first debate. Viewed completely objectively, without the first debate, and without knowing these two characters, I think that Kerry “won” — but the debate is necessarily viewed in the context of the extremely low standard Bush now had to meet — not look like a deer in the headlights again.

My original impression of Bush, though, was bolstered: he is just an incredibly hollow man. He draws most of his image of himself from the fact that he is the president:

Of course, I listened to our generals. That’s what a president does. A president tests the strategy and relies upon good military people to execute that strategy.

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debate notes

thank god. thank god that kerry was so good last night. and bush just gave us one. why did his handlers let him go on so poorly-prepared? is he really that bad?

annotations: my favorite moments in the bush-kerry sept 30 debate

  • bush going on about iraq being a place where people had their hands cut off … which leads you inevitably to think about them now having their heads cut off
  • bush saying he puts his daughters on a leash [Bush: “I’m trying to put a leash on them.”]. unbelievable. there was no decent response kerry could have made to that but he did his best, i guess. [Kerry: “Well, you know, I’ve learned not to do that.”] this demonstrates to me that bush just really doesn’t even care about the public disgrace that is abu ghraib. [blogs report that andrew sullivan picked this one up too.]
  • bush says our enemies attacked us; kerry points out that saddam hussein didn’t attack us, osama did, and osama is still roaming free; bush says, “i know osama bin laden attacked us, of course i know that.” could he have sounded any more fifth grade?
  • kerry’s several attacks on bush’s grasp of reality:

    This president just — I don’t know if he sees what’s really happened on there. But it’s getting worse by the day. More soldiers killed in June than before. More in July than June. More in August than July. More in September than in August. And now we see beheadings. And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they’re blowing people up. And we don’t have enough troops there.


    It’s one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It’s another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right. What I worry about with the president is that he’s not acknowledging what’s on the ground, he’s not acknowledging the realities of North Korea, he’s not acknowledging the truth of the science of stem cell research or of global warming and other issues. And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble.

  • Bush’s really lame response to Kerry’s critique of domestic security issues: A sort of confused smirk, and then, “Well, let’s not talk about how he’s going to pay for all that.” Again he sounded … juvenile.
  • In a fourth dimensional, slow-motion favorite, Bush’s insistence on Poland as an important member of the “Coalition of the Willing” [We had Poland; you’re disrespecting Poland; you forgot Poland.], soundly mocked by Jon Stewart @ The Daily Show, has been coming apart ever since. Consider this: On [date], Pres. Kwasniewski of Poland said on March 18, 2004, that

    They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that’s true. We were taken for a ride.

    Who deceived them? Iraq? No… The United Nations? No… Maybe the UN inspectors? No… Hmm, who could it be?

    And today, the AP reports that Polish officials hope to withdraw Polish troops by the end of 2005. An anonymous (of course) White House official apparently didn’t get the memo, though, saying that “Their position remains the same — that their troops would be there as long as it takes.”

selected webliography: debate coverage

  • brad delong on lies bush told
  • allah is in the house wraps up right-wing blogger commentary
  • and in the most self-deluded category: one commentator on a blog (god, i hope i can find it again) said he really truly believed that bush was deliberately underperforming so that kerry would get over-confident, and he (bush) could stick it to kerry in the next debate. wow. completely & utterly self-deluded. wow. i want to comment further but am rendered speechless.

voting for bush is voting for torture

Michael Froomkin breaks it down: voting for Bush is voting for torture. [Linking to obsidian wings post on the new Republican plan that enables torture.]

I said it before: repudiating the Bush administration policies on terror and treatment of prisoners and civilians is my most compelling reason for voting for Kerry. The Bush administration is morally bankrupt and to condone in any way these policies is a national shame. The Bush administration, frankly, should have resigned en masse after Abu Ghraib. They have not done so, and it is thus our responsibility to fire them.

Aaaaiiii! Aaaaiiii! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh …

shrillblog: It’s all about The Order of the Shrill.

The Order of the Shrill is limited to those who were once sane, fair, and balanced, but who have been driven into shrill unholy madness by one or more of the mendacity, malevolence, incompetence, or simple disconnection from reality of the George W. Bush administration.

See Sept. 9 2004 entry for more information.

Aaaaiiii! Aaaaiiii! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Laura Quilter R’lyeh wagn’nagl fhtagn! Aaaaiiiiii!!!!

Heaven Sent – Does God endorse George Bush? By Steven Waldman

Heaven Sent – Does God endorse George Bush? By Steven Waldman

Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, who got in trouble for derogatory comments about Islam, argued that it must have been God who selected Bush, since a plurality of voters hadn’t. “Why is this man in the White House? The majority of America did not vote for him. He’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.”

Earlier, Boykin had said regarding a Muslim warlord:

I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.

common dreams, 10/16/2003

I guess no one clued him in that the Abrahamic religions actually all worship the same “god”.

Update, 2004-10-26: “[A]ppropriate action” was taken against Boykin, based on the recommendations of the Pentagon Inspector General (Aug. 2004 report), but it was apparently not significant: “If it was something significant, it would be something we would talk about. So that should give you an indication.”

voting for kerry

i’m an anarchist, and i’m voting, and more than that, i’m voting for kerry.* here’s why:

war on iraq:
Will Kerry solve the iraq situation? Will he make it better? Folks might suggest that Kerry will not, or can not. Other folks might reasonably point out that the Democrats are not really better on iraq: What about Clinton who let ~500,000 children die in iraq of malnutrition (and the occasional bombing)? It’s very simple: I have no idea whether Kerry will solve our problems in iraq or whether they’re solvable or how. (I do know that the Bush Administration won’t solve the problems.) So I’m not voting for Kerry because, prospectively, he’ll “fix” iraq. I’m voting for Kerry because i believe he won’t keep us on this path, pushing us into other wars based on an unrealistic view of the world. I do not believe that Kerry would have gotten us into iraq. A Bush administration is very likely to continue to lead us into ill-advised military adventures.

the environment
Really there is nothing that one can say here. Kerry is merely a Democrat and is thus beholden to certain interests. But he is unquestionably better than Bush on environmental issues. Kerry has one of the better records in the senate on the environment, and Bush is like the tasmanian devil — well, just as destructive; not so cute.

civil liberties
There is no question that the Bush administration will continue to appoint extremely conservative judges to the bench, judges who do not respect civil liberties. The Bush administration will also retain Ashcroft as a primary violator of civil liberties.

civil liberties in specific: reproductive rights
Kerry will get rid of the Mexico City policy. Kerry will get rid of the gag rules. Kerry will respect the right of a woman to choose an abortion or a pregnancy — not the right of his administration or a judge to choose for her.

civil liberties in specific: sexual autonomy
Kerry will respect my right to make my own choices about my family life — and Bush won’t. Kerry will endeavor not to discriminate against my family choices legally and financially.

self-respect & shame
Most significantly, I am ashamed of the u.s. government for its unilateral invasion of iraq & its treatment of civilians and prisoners (in abu ghraib and elsewhere). To any extent that I have power over this government–and it’s a very limited extent–I am morally obligated to use that power to try to change the government. Even if voting is largely a symbolic act (or as SS wrote on a list a while back, a religious act), it is nevertheless incumbent on us all to to repudiate those atrocities—that includes the formal act of voting, symbolic or no.

To stand by after those atrocities and evil actions, and to not make the formal statement–as well as all the activist, formal statements I can–against those behaviors would be reprehensible. If voting is power, then I must exercise it, even if it is only a tiny bit of power. If voting is merely symbolism, then it is nevertheless important to be on the record, symbolically, as opposing this administration.

10/23 update: Shrillblog just pointed me to this entry at abu aardvark. A picture’s worth a thousand words. But the words are worth a lot too:

The world is watching. The world wants to know which America is the real America: the one which offers a vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world… or the one in this picture, a world brought to you by George Bush and his administration and for which no-one of any consequence has been held accountable.

* Okay, not necessarily. The fact is that I live in california & will vote in california. And even if I were able to move in time for the election i’m moving to Massachussetts. In neither of these states will a vote for Kerry make any difference. And so unless I think there’s any chance that Kerry might lose the electoral votes in California or Mass., then i’m voting green.

update: actually i ended up voting for kerry on the theory that the overall vote total — while irrelevant to who “wins” the election — demonstrates the strength of the voices against Bush and Abu Ghraib.

god’s way of teaching people about typography

webliography updated briefly on 2004-10-04


significant studies

  • bush memo font study by david e. hailey, jr. / utah state university [pdf] — basically concludes that “all evidence” points to mechanical production, not digital production; but that in any case, based on typographic analysis alone, CBS was well within bounds of reasonability to accept the documents as important. This study was then critiqued by wizbang [9/30] [updated 10/2] [wired 10/7 covered the wizbang-inspired blog-attacks on hailey


  • funny bush memos: funny

blogging about it

mainstream media investigations

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WaMo explains Bush’s “interesting idea” about a national sales tax

The Washington Monthly

BUSH SPEAKS….HIS ADVISORS SQUIRM….President Bush on Tuesday, talking off the cuff about the idea of a national sales tax: “It’s an interesting idea. You know, I’m not exactly sure how big the national sales tax is going to have to be, but it’s the kind of interesting idea that we ought to explore seriously.”

President Bush on Wednesday: “Two administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Bush was not considering a national sales tax.”

That was quick! But why did our doughty “administration officials” insist on being anonymous? What are they ashamed of?

Most likely, I guess, is that they’re embarrassed that the President of the United States doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. Before long he’ll be touting a return to the gold standard. Here are a few wee problems:

  • Bill Gale estimates that to replace the income tax (just the income tax, not all our other taxes) would require a sales tax of 26% on all goods and services ? including purchases of food and new housing. That would go over well, wouldn’t it?
  • But that’s low. Gale kindly estimates the “combined rate of avoidance, evasion, and legislative adjustment” at 20%, which he admits is conservative “relative to everything that is known about how actual tax systems operate.” In other words, better make that sales tax 30% or even higher. Ka ching!
  • Seniors would sure be pissed off about this. And who can blame them? All their lives their income was reduced by the amount of income tax they paid, and now that they’re retired this reduced amount of money is suddenly subject to a brand new sales tax. Talk about your double taxation!

    (Don’t get it? Think of it this way. Suppose you make $100 today and it gets taxed at 20%. You have $80 left over and you put it in the bank. Tomorrow the income tax is abolished and a 30% sales tax is implemented, so you can only buy $60 worth of stuff with your $80. Your original $100 has essentially been taxed down to $60. For senior citizens, this applies to everything they’ve socked away over their entire lives.)

Being an advisor to George Bush must be sort of like sweeping up after the elephants at the circus. I guess I’d feel sorry for these guys if it weren’t for the fact that they’re enabling Bush’s incompetent rule by their very presence. So I guess I don’t. Feel sorry for them, that is.

Kevin Drum, August 12, 2004

Honorable military service in Viet Nam


There were many honorable ways to behave during the Vietnam era. There were those who believed in the war and volunteered to fight it. There were those who were drafted and went as a matter of duty. There were those who fought the war, came to believe it was wrong and came back to change the policy. And there were those who believed it was wrong and refused to participate. All of those people stood up for what they believed in and did their duty as they saw it.

There was one group,however, who supported the war but didn’t stand up for their beliefs — refusing to take the heat that being a citizen, particularly a young man, in those days required. They played the system. Many of them “had other priorities” using every possible excuse, all the while vociferously backing the war effort — as long as someone else fought it. And, the worst of this group were the privileged who supported the war but merely pretended to fight it by having their connections pull strings to get them into safe stateside duty that they could later claim amounted to “service.” They would have pictures of themselves looking handsome in their uniforms. And they could swagger around with their buddies and drop casual hints for the rest of their lives about their days in the military. But even those phonies at least actually completed the minimal requirements to claim such affiliation.

It is very rare to find someone who finagled their way into the guard ahead of people who’d been waiting longer, had the government spend huge sums of money training him to be a pilot, quit flying less than two years later of his own accord and then dropped out of sight many months before his duty was fulfilled. It’s even rarer to find someone like this declared a fine figure of a man who served his country well — particularly when there are so many who actually did.

Lesser Evil

Salon.com | Right Hook, 2004-07-07

Jacob Levy, a political science professor at the University of Chicago and contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy blog, argued in May that the Bush camp was in “bafflingly deep denial” about losing Libertarian swing voters in ’04. He says that Edwards for veep makes the Kerry ticket a lock for him, in light of the Bush administration’s exceptional incompetence in policymaking. (Note to New York Post: Levy also says that a Gephardt pick would’ve been a Kerry deal-breaker for him.)

“This is really the first presidential race of my adult life in which I’ve had a very strong commitment about which major-party candidate was the lesser evil. I’ve had leanings in previous races, but they were uncertain, and typically mitigated by a sense that both major-party candidates had crossed some threshold of unacceptability. This time, it seems very clear to me that the Bush Administration has failed basic tests of competence in policymaking and execution, and of trusteeship of long-term interests like alliances and trade negotiations and moral credibility. I expect to dislike an awful lot of John Kerry’s policies. But I don’t expect that kind of failure of the basic responsibilities of the office. Four or eight or twelve years ago, I guess I wouldn’t have known how important I found those considerations, as I hadn’t seen a president who had failed along those dimensions. Now I have, and I do.”

Bush claims we’re a nation of laws …

From a Bush press conference last week:

Q: Mr. President, I wanted to return to the question of torture. What we’ve learned from these memos this week is that the Department of Justice lawyers and the Pentagon lawyers have essentially worked out a way that U.S. officials can torture detainees without running afoul of the law. So when you say that you want the U.S. to adhere to international and U.S. laws, that’s not very comforting. This is a moral question: Is torture ever justified?

BUSH: Look, I’m going to say it one more time. Maybe I can be more clear. The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We’re a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at these laws. And that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions from me to the government.

… I’d just like to add that, as ever, it’s much more instructive to read or hear Bush speak without the artful ellipses so often inserted in pullquotes …

Compassionate Bush

Salon.com’s WarRoom blog had this posting on the 14th, based on an LA Times op-ed piece by Lawrence Weschler (registration required, grr). The author goes through the G.W. Bush reelection website. He looks at the various tabs — economy, health care, compassion — and then looks at the compassion tab and the attached photo album. It’s a bunch of pictures of Bush with African-Americans who have bravely endured Bush compassion hard times. Amazingly enough the pictures include Colin Powell. I guess you could say that Colin is having a pretty hard time in the Bush administration, as a conservative who is nevertheless not entirely insane.

And can I just ask: is this site just entirely designed by M$ designers? It’s really unattractive. john kerry’s website isn’t nearly so corporately ugly. … also, get a load of the lamest website quiz ever on the gwb website: “How many working families are benefiting from President Bush’s Jobs and Growth Act? 12 million – 23 million – 34 million – 18 million” Notice how they mix the numbers up — just to keep it fun!