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BUSH WATCH...June 2008

"The transmogrification of an upstart people’s candidate for ‘change’
into just another front man for the corporatocracy will [soon] be complete."

...and McBush is even worse.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. --Pete Townsend

"I can't count the number of emails I've received demanding that I stop criticizing Obama for his support of this bill on the ground that such criticisms harm his chances for winning -- as though it's the fault of those who point out what Obama is doing, rather than Obama himself for completely reversing his position, abandoning his clear, prior commitments, and helping to institutionalize the destruction of the Fourth Amendment and the concealment of Bush crimes." --Gleen Greenwald,

Obama Watch... McBush Watch... Our Recent Ed/Op-Ed... Our Top Stories... 100+ More Today's Stories... Op-Ed Roundup... contact us...

Bush Watch Op-Eds: June

Blame Bush: Situation for Iraq's Christians "worse now than under Saddam", 60 Minutes

Obama's Audacity of Nope: Politicians Flip-Flop Like Landed Trout, Jerry Politex

McBush Is Worse: Obama's A Follower, Not A Leader, Jerry Politex
Politics Defined: Which Liar Will You Vote For?, Jerry Politex
Bush Sings: My Way, by Paul Anka and Jerry Politex
Ill-Advised? Should We Retract Our Support Of Hillary For VP?, Jerry Politex
The Common Man Speaks: Don't Misunderestimate The Guy Next Door, Jerry Politex
Obama's 36%: The Race to the White House, Lola Adesioye
Superdelegates' Choice: Obama Needs To Select Hillary As His Running Mate, Politex
Big Bush Lies: NYT Op-Ed Writers: While The Bush Liars Change, His Lies Continue, Dowd, Rich, Collins
"Self-Deceived" Bush: Ex-Bush Press Sec. Explains Bush Lies Not Lies,
Says Bush Response To Cocaine Use Question "Probably Not True"
, Ken Herman

"Self-Deceived" Bush: Ex-Bush Press Sec. Explains Bush Lies Not Lies,
Says Bush Response To Cocaine Use Question "Probably Not True"
, Ken Herman

Unbalanced Bush: Long Time Bush Press Secretary Portrays Bush As A Self-Deceived Serial Liar, Politex

BW Special: Ex-Bush Press Sec. Adds To Long-Time Bush Watch Charge: Bush Is A Serial Liar

Leonard Pitts Jr.: McClellan’s ‘Mea Culpa’ Way Too Late
Robert Naiman: Will Congress Heed McClellan’s Iran Warning?
Danny Schechter: McClellan’s Missile: Media Crimes As War Crimes
Timothy Karr: McClellan and the 'Enablers'
Jeff Cohen: McClellan and His Media Collaborators
Tony Norman: Thanks, Scott, but We Knew It Already
U.S.: McClellan details culture of secrecy in Bush White House, AP
U.S.: Has McClellan handed victory to Obama?, Norman
U.S.: McClellan fuels Bush cocaine rumors, Atlantic Journal Constitution
U.S.: Bush a deluded man, writes former aide, Bloomberg
John Nichols: Bush Aide Scores White House War Propaganda
U.S.: David Corn to Scott McClellan: 'where's the apology?', Corn
U.S.: Former White House spokesman criticises Bush over Iraq, BBC
U.S.: Falling out with the President: the devious world of George Bush, Cornwell
David Fiderer: WMDs: Difference Between Dan Bartlett, Brian Williams and David Gregory? A Lot Less than You Think

Bush Watch Special: Defining the U.S. Dictatorship

David Orr: Refitting the Presidency to the Constitution
Robert A. Levy: May 30, 1942: The Day the United States Sold Its Soul
Chris Hedges: The Corporate State and the Subversion of Democracy
Mark Engler: The World After Bush
Bill Moyers: Democracy in America Is a Series of Narrow Escapes, and We May Be Running Out of Luck

Bush Watch Archives: US Economic Disaster

The Bush Legacy: Behind the Rise in Prices: A Plan to Torpedo the Dollar, Danny Schechter
US Downfall Started in the 70's: U.S. Consumer Economy Destroying the Country, Asia Sentinel
Media Dreams: The Media Distracts Us While The Corporations Fleece Us, Politex; Samples
Recession or Depression? Bush Attacking Regulation Is Vote For A Depression, Politex, NYT, Krugman
Business: Bush Takes $138 Out Of Your Paycheck Each Month to Pay For His Iraq War, Stiglitz

Bush Watch Archives: Obama, etc.

Gender Hate: "How would crude references to Obama’s sex organs play?" Coco, Kantor
Barack's In Trouble: Hillary Has Been The Clear Winner Since March, Andy Ostroy
Supremely Conservative: Mac Wants An Even More Conservative Supreme Court, NYT Ed
Crimes Against Humanity: Israel Is Suppressing a Secret It Must Face, Johann Hari
More Bush Lies: All the President’s Liars, Mark Morford
Dem Disaster: McCain Ignores Economy, Backs Bush War With Lies; Dems Ignore Mac, Rich
Bush Who? BW Spelled It Out Since '98, mail bag

Special Topics At Bush Watch: Asia Diary: India... Bush Threat... Crisis Economy... Bush Budget... Oil Wars [updated]... Bush Dictatorship... 20 Dem Tasks... Path to 9/11... Israel and the U.S.... Framing Fascism... Bush's Economic Dictatorship [excellent overview]... The Big Picture: A New Paradigm ... 2004 Election Stolen? ... Updated News Archives ...

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Monday, June 30

Obama's Audacity of Nope: Politicians Flip-Flop Like Landed Trout, Jerry Politex

"The situation now is clearly worse” than under Saddam, [Anglican chaplain] White replied.

"There’s no comparison between Iraq now and then," he told [60 MINUTES reporter] Pelley. "Things are the most difficult they have ever been for Christians. Probably ever in history. They’ve never known it like now."

"Wait a minute, Christians have been here for 2,000 years," Pelley remarked.

"Yes," White said.

"And it’s now the worst it has ever been," Pelley replied.

To understand the history of Iraqi Christianity, start with the Last Supper. One saint to the right of Jesus is the Apostle Thomas, who took the gospel and headed east after the death of Christ.

In modern times, under Saddam, Christians were treated much the same as Muslims; Saddam's right hand man, Tariq Aziz, was Christian.

Before the war, it's estimated there were about a million Christians in Iraq. They were a small minority, but free to worship, free to build churches, and free to speak the ancient language of Jesus, Aramaic. But, after the invasion, Muslim militants launched a war on each other and the cross. more

Friday, June 27

Obama's Audacity of Nope: Politicians Flip-Flop Like Landed Trout, Jerry Politex

Now that Bush Watch, among others, has gotten the country to stipulate that Presidents lie, we need to work on the next level of lies: flip-flops. Political candidates flip-flop like landed trout. Their ultimate goal is to win, and they know that the best way to win is to win over those on both sides of any particular issue. That's because the time-honored mantra of U.S. diversity has to do with what the people think, as well as the people, themselves.

So why not stipulate that politicians flip-flop, and save ideologues the trouble of asserting that it is only the candidate on the other side of the issue that flip-flops. So what if McBush, on the major issues, believed pretty much the opposite of Bush in 2000, and now espouses the same side of those issues in 2008? So what if Obama led Rove's country club/college boy liberals by the nose during the Democratic primaries with vague promises, but is now coming on like Republican lite? That's what conventional politicians do. You appeal to your base during the primaries, then you appeal to the centrist majority during the campaign, itself. The candidate who captures the center wins. That's conventional politics in action.

In such an atmosphere, the truth is needed as much as a fish needs a bicycle. So what do Obama and McBush actually believe? Like Bush did in 2000, Obama is spelling out his position in the political world, you just have to look for the statements that match the actions. During the 2000 campaign, Bush identified himself as a cheerleader and a CEO. A cheerleader shouts out the words of someone else, a CEO, according to Bush, decides things on the basis of the options created by others. As we have seen, Bush was a better cheerleader than a CEO, because even a CEO needs to have experience, knowledge, and rationality to decide which option is best.

So, what about Obama? Here's the scary part. He spells out who he is in his book, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE:

“I serve as a blank screen,” he wrote in “The Audacity of Hope,” “on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

Obama's problem as a presidential candidate is that he tends to show two or more conflicting images on his screen at the same time, thereby confusing the voters. When a candidate flip-flops, he should clearly state his flop as he clearly stated his previous flip. Obama doesn't do this, and he may lose the election because his flops lack clarity. Here are some recent examples:

"On the death penalty, Mr. Obama wrote in his memoir, “The Audacity of Hope,” (Crown, 2007), that the penalty “does little to deter crime.” But he added that society has the right to express outrage at heinous crimes. During his 2004 Senate campaign, he publicly supported the death penalty, even as he called the justice system flawed and urged a moratorium on executions," writes Michael Powell in today's NYT.

“'I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures,' Mr. Obama said." (Powell)

"Mr. Obama has executed several policy pirouettes in recent weeks, each time landing more toward the center of the political ring. On Wednesday in Chicago, he confirmed that he would not fight a revised law that would extend retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the government spy on American citizens. (He had previously spoken against immunity provisions in an earlier version of the bill.) And recently he backed away from his own earlier support for campaign finance spending limits in the 2008 election.' (Powell)

All candidates execute the flip-flop with various degrees of success. The difference, here, is that Obama has identified himself as a reform candidate, one who will give us HOPE by CHANGING the way Washington does things. Of course he's nothing of the kind, he's a conventional politician, just like McBush. Of course Obama had to say otherwise during the primaries, running against Clinton, a candidate who left little doubt that she ran on a business as usual ticket. The ultimate question is will Obama get away with his con, which, to quote losing candidate Herbert Hoover about FDR, is like watching a "chameleon on plaid."

Thursday, June 26, 2008:

Obama’s FISA Betrayal, Matthew Rothschild

Barack Obama’s rightward sprint is nowhere more obvious than in his betrayal on the FISA bill. This bill allows the President to grab all incoming and outgoing international communications without a warrant. The ACLU says it represents “an unprecedented extension of governmental surveillance over Americans.”

Obama, sounding on Friday a lot like Bush, said: “Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay.” Here’s what Bush said the same day as Obama: The bill “allows our intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the plans of terrorists abroad, while protecting the liberties of Americans here at home.”

But it doesn’t protect our liberties, and Obama ought to know that. Obama said it “firmly reestablishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance.” But the ACLU notes that the bill “permits only minimal court oversight. The FISA Court only reviews general procedures for targeting and minimizing the use of information that is collected. The court may not know who, what, or where will actually be tapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment.”

What’s more, in the incredibly rare instances where the FISA Court denies a warrant to the President, under the new bill the President can go ahead and do the wiretapping anyway while the appeals process continues, a process that the ACLU says can take two months. Russ Feingold calls the idea that this is a good compromise “a farce” and “political cover.” Says Feingold: “Anybody who claims this is an OK bill, I really question if they’ve even read it.”

Has Obama? If not, that’s a problem. And if he has, and still approves of it, that’s an even bigger one. --The Progressive

Monday, June 23

McBush Is Worse: Obama's A Follower, Not A Leader, Jerry Politex

Obama's response to the FISA bill, which a NYT editorial calls "a threat to the Bill of Rights" and "not a compromise" at all, as Obama claims, is an indication of how he would behave as president. He has announced that although he will vote for the bill when it comes up in the Senate this week, he will do so with reservations, he will try to strip the provision giving retrloactive immunity to the telecoms who followed Bush's unconstitutional directives about wiretapping, and, as President, "carefully monitor the program."

We're reminded that Obama promised he'd sit down with McBush and discuss the specifics of the campaign finance laws. This never happened. Instead, last week Obama opted out of public financing, helping to turn his campaign mantra of "change" into the political hot air that it is, since he previously said he was committed to sticking with the public system. For the record, we would have done exactly what Obama did last week, but we're not running for President on the "holier than thou" ticket.

Rather than attacking the new FISA bill for what it is, a strengthening of the dictatorial powers of the President, making it legal to wiretap Americans without a court order, Obama attacks a provision of the bill granting immunity to telecoms who carried out Bush's illegal directives. Obama says, "I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses." Of course, this is a lie. If he were serious about the illegality he sees, he would call for Bush's impeachment, since it was Bush, not the telecoms, who initially broke the law.

Don't get us wrong, we plan to vote for Obama. McBush is even worse, defending the FISA bill in its entirety. Actually, what we're seeing is that Obama would like to use the telecom immunity issue to expose Bush illegality in court and McBush preventing that from happening. The passage of the telecom provision would erase 40 court cases against the wiretapping telecoms. As a defense, the telecoms would undoubtedly have brought the Bush actions into the legal public forum. As things stand, the bill will pass, including the telecom immunity provision, Obama will vote for the bill, deflecting a Republic attack on him as being "soft on terrorists," and the dictatorial powers of the President will be strengthened.

Calling Obama "ruthlessly opportunist," the NYT's David Brooks concludes last week's piece about Obama being two-faced:

All I know for sure is that this guy is no liberal goo-goo. Republicans keep calling him naïve. But naïve is the last word I’d use to describe Barack Obama. He’s the most effectively political creature we’ve seen in decades. Even Bill Clinton wasn’t smart enough to succeed in politics by pretending to renounce politics.

Another word for such a person is "hypocrite." But that's what it takes to be President these days, isn't it?

Friday, June 20

Politics Defined: Which Liar Will You Vote For?, Jerry Politex

Yesterday the NYT's Gail Collins pointed out how McBush has been talking out of both sides of his mouth about off-shore drilling and oil exploration. Today, the NYT's David Brooks points out how Obama has been talking out of both sides of his mouth about campaign-finance reform. What's particularly galling is that both men, like Bush, claim that they tell the truth, implying that it's the other guy who lies. In 2000 it was McBush's "Straight Talk Express," and he's been lying ever since. Remember his castigation of the evangelicals?

As for Obama, since February, Bush Watch has been pointing out that there is a big gap between what Obama says (or implies) and what he does. Since February, we've been writing that Obama is "business as usual." Forget the pre-packaged mainstream media narratives; what we have this time around is a conservative Republican running against a moderate (not "liberal," not "progressive"...see Israel) Democrat. And they're both liars, packaging their campaigns to appeal to the largest number of voters, regardless of what they really believe in and what they really will do, if elected. (See Clinton, See Bush.) The Obama mantra of "change" is a real joke, once voters without amnesia recall that's the theme that the Republicans have used for decades and the Rove/Bush team used so effectively in 2000. The fact is that voters are sickened by the gap between what they're promised and what is delivered, so after 8 years of business as usual, all presidential candidates can promise change, which never really comes, given the sources of the money needed for their campaigns of lies.

Having said all of that, we plan to vote for Obama, because nothing has changed since 2000. As recent history indicates, a third-party vote is a vote for the party furthest from our political beliefs (see Nader); similarly, a no vote is a vote for the party furthest from our political beliefs. The rules of the game have been created by the politicians, not the voters, and campaign "reform" is a salve applied to the wounds of the rubes, while business as usual continues to be enacted through the new loopholes that are always designed into the so-called reforms. Ironically, this does not mean that "reforms" are useless; things would be even worse without them. As we wrote in 2000, hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two weasels, but based upon an understanding of how the system works, not how we "hope" it works.

Wednesday, June 18

Bush Sings: My Way, by Paul Anka and Jerry Politex


sung by George W. Bush

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friends, Ill say it clear,
Ill state my case, of which Im certain.

I've lived a life that's cruel.
I've killed down each and every highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets, no not a few;
But then again, I'd never mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exception.

I never knew the moral course;
Took carefree steps along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, others said
That I should have stayed in bed.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I knew that God would help me out.
And I am glad, I beat my dad;
And did it my way.

I've prayed, I've smirked and lied.
I've had my fill; my share of screwing.
You may, my wars deride,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
No, oh no not me,
I did it my way.

For what am I, what have I got?
If not myself, then I have naught.
To say the things I truly feel;
Forget the Presidential Seal.
The record shows, even without blow -
I did it my way!

Monday, June 16

Monday, June 16

Ill-Advised? Should We Retract Our Support Of Hillary For VP?, Jerry Politex

With Obama having opened up a 16% average lead against McBush in female voters, and with Frank Rich asserting that the idea of Hillary women going over to the McBush is a "bogus narrative" created by the media, we're having second thoughts about our support of Hillary for VP. After all, our support is not based upon Hillary per se, it's based upon the votes Obama will get with Hillary as his VP candidate. Rich goes on write:

“NBC Nightly News was so focused on these supposedly devastating Obama shortfalls that there was no mention that the Democrat beat Mr. McCain (and outperformed Mr. Kerry) in every other group that had been in doubt: independents, Catholics, blue-collar workers and Hispanics. Indeed, the evidence that pro-Clinton Hispanics are flocking to Mr. McCain is as nonexistent as the evidence of a female stampede."

If Rich is right, there's no need to include Hillary on the ticket. If not Hillary, then, let's hope that moderate Obama selects a VP candidate to his left who could survive the attacks from the GOP smear machine and keep the spotlight on Obama. Here's more of what Rich writes:

The myth of Democratic disarray is so pervasive that when “NBC Nightly News” and The Wall Street Journal presented their new poll results last week (Obama, 47 percent; McCain, 41 percent) they ignored their own survey’s findings to stick to the clichéd script. Both news organizations (and NBC’s sibling, MSNBC) dwelled darkly on Mr. Obama’s “problems with two key groups” (as NBC put it): white men, where he is behind 20 percentage points to Mr. McCain, and white suburban women, where he is behind 6 points.

Since that poll gives Mr. Obama not just a 19-point lead among all women but also a 7-point lead among white women, a 6-point deficit in one sliver of the female pie is hardly a heart-stopper. Nor is Mr. Obama’s showing among white men shocking news. No Democratic presidential candidate, including Bill Clinton, has won a majority of that declining demographic since 1964. Mr. Kerry lost white men by 25 points, and Mr. Gore did by 24 points (even as he won the popular vote).

“NBC Nightly News” was so focused on these supposedly devastating Obama shortfalls that there was no mention that the Democrat beat Mr. McCain (and outperformed Mr. Kerry) in every other group that had been in doubt: independents, Catholics, blue-collar workers and Hispanics. Indeed, the evidence that pro-Clinton Hispanics are flocking to Mr. McCain is as nonexistent as the evidence of a female stampede. Mr. Obama swamps Mr. McCain by 62 percent to 28 percent — a disastrous G.O.P. setback, given that President Bush took 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, according to exit polls. No wonder the McCain campaign no longer lists its candidate’s home state of Arizona as safe this fall.

There are many ways that Mr. Obama can lose this election. But his 6-percentage-point lead in the Journal-NBC poll is higher than Mr. Bush’s biggest lead (4 points) over Mr. Kerry at any point in that same poll in 2004. So far, despite all the chatter to the contrary, Mr. Obama is not only holding on to Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic constituencies but expanding others (like African-Americans). The same cannot be said of Mr. McCain and the G.O.P. base.

That story is minimized or ignored in part because an unshakable McCain fan club lingers in some press quarters and in part because it’s an embarrassing refutation of the Democrats-in-meltdown narrative that so many have invested in. Understating the splintering of the Republican base also keeps hope alive for a tight race. As the Clinton-Obama marathon proved conclusively, a photo finish is essential to the dramatic and Nielsen imperatives of 24/7 television coverage.

The conservative hostility toward McCain heralded by the early attacks of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and James Dobson is proliferating. Bay Buchanan, the party activist who endorsed Mitt Romney, wrote this month that Mr. McCain is “incapable of energizing his party, brings no new people to the polls” and “has a personality that is best kept under wraps.” When Mr. McCain ditched the preachers John Hagee and Rod Parsley after learning that their endorsements antagonized Catholics, Muslims and Jews, he ended up getting a whole new flock of evangelical Christians furious at him too.

The revolt is not limited to the usual cranky right-wing suspects. The antiwar acolytes of Ron Paul are planning a large rally for convention week in Minneapolis. The conservative legal scholar Douglas Kmiec has endorsed Mr. Obama, as have both the economic adviser to Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America,” Lawrence Hunter, and the neocon historian Francis Fukuyama. Rupert Murdoch is publicly flirting with the Democrat as well. Even Dick Cheney emerged from his bunker this month to gratuitously dismiss Mr. McCain’s gas-tax holiday proposal as “a false notion” before the National Press Club.

These are not anomalies. Last week The Hill reported that at least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support Mr. McCain. Congressional Quarterly found that of the 62,800 donors who maxed out to Mr. Bush’s campaign in 2004, only about 5,000 (some 8 percent) have contributed to his putative successor.

It was just this toxic stew of inadequate fund-raising and hostility from the base — along with incompetent management — that capsized the McCain campaign last summer. Now the management, at least, is said to be new and improved, but the press is still so distracted by the “divided Democrats” it has yet to uncover how that brilliant McCain team spent weeks choreographing the candidate’s slapstick collision with a green backdrop and self-immolating speech in prime time two weeks ago....

Monday, June 9

The Common Man Speaks: Don't Misunderestimate The Guy Next Door, Jerry Politex

I see a big difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to how their presidential candidates come across to the American people. The Republican candidates usually sound like the guy next door, while the Democratic candidates sound like the guy in the upscale area code you'll never move into. I'll repeat that. The Republicans sound like the guy you'll have a beer with, while the Democrats sound like members of the white wine crowd.

Neither party seems to field a presidential candidate whose style represents their electorate. Since statistics tell us that there are more "common men" in America than the upper 10% who make more than the bottom 40% combined, selling a tongue-tied man next door is a smart move. But while the Democrats supposedly create policies that benefit the common man, having candidates with a style that comes across as a marker of wealth is just dumb, dumb, dumb. It allows Republicans to frame the fight.

The last time we had a Democratic candidate for president who came across as a common man was Harry Truman in the 40's, although some might say Carter or Clinton, both winners. Tom Dewey, the Republican candidate for president in that race, also looked and sounded like the guy next door, if you happen to live next door to a bank. Since then, the Democrats, have always seemed to secretly want to fight the Republicans with one hand tied behind their backs; they usually start out with a candidate who talks like a Republican. Think Professor Adeli Stevenson vs. a semi-articulate Dwight Eisenhower in the 50's: "Although Stevenson's eloquent oratory and thoughtful, stylish demeanor thrilled many intellectuals and members of the nation's academic community, the Republicans and some working-class Democrats ridiculed what they perceived as his indecisive, aristocratic air." -Wikipedia. Sound familiar?

Remember Spiro Agnew's "effete corps of impudent snobs" in the 80's? Bruce Schulman writes, "Nixon wrote the playbook that almost every future Republican would follow -- link Democrats to a condescending elite of opera tickets and Grey Poupon. By making himself into a pork rind-loving, cowboy-boot-wearing Texan, George H. W. Bush (of Andover and Yale) played this hand to discredit the son of immigrants, Michael S. Dukakis in 1988.

In 2004 we had George W. Bush, the guy next door who is a fine example of how much we've lowered the bar since the 40's, vs. John Kerry, the guy who gives all of his political speeches as though he's in a convention hall. Bush quickly learned that his slovenly speaking habits were perfect for a serial liar. Sometimes when he told a whopper and was called on it, the excuse would be he was a poor speaker and was misunderstood.

So here we are in the present, and according to Gail Collins of the NYT, "the only thing [McCain] is good at is town-hall meetings. This was driven home Tuesday night when the Republicans decided to try to insert a McCain speech into the Democrats’ final primary night. They were hoping to steal thunder from the moment when Obama clinched the nomination. The actual effect was to offer viewers a chance to compare the skills of the greatest orator in modern American politics with a guy who has never really learned how to read a teleprompter."

If you're a Democrat, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Friday, June 6

Obama's 36%: The Race to the White House, Lola Adesioye

The majority of Obama supporters are African-Americans, well-educated white Americans and younger voters. They certainly are not an accurate reflection of the attitudes and values held by the middle-American, more culturally conservative electorate. Although Clinton was widely criticised for "playing the race card" particularly in an attempt to appeal to blue-collar whites, she merely highlighted a significant divide that already existed, and one that is certain to become even more prominent in the Obama v McCain battle. Defections to McCain on the grounds of latent racism against Obama could have a serious impact on Obama's bid for the White House. The unfortunate reality is that there are some Americans who are simply not willing to vote in a black man as president. more

Tuesday, June 3

Superdelegates' Choice: Obama Needs To Select Hillary As His Running Mate, Politex

Now that Obama has claimed the nomination on the basis of the supergelegates vote, (Obama needs 9 or 10 votes. Montana has yet to report as I write this; South Dakota [16 votes] has been called for Hillary 55%-44% with 36% of the vote counted.) each day that passes without announcing that he has selected a willing Hillary as his running mate is one more day that weakens his chances to become the new Dictator President of the U.S. (Thanks to Bush, we no longer follow the Magna Charter, the document that our democracy was based on. Hillary alluded to this once or twice; Obama never.) As the NYT reports, Hill wants the VP slot, and "until he deals with the Clinton question, it could be hard for Mr. Obama to move on to what he would like to achieve next: presenting himself to the entire electorate and not just Democrats, laying out his political ideology before Mr. McCain does it on his terms and trying to rectify some of the weaknesses highlighted by the combative primary process."

Frankly, it's doubtful that Obama will select Hill, for a number of reasons, and here are a few: he wants to be seen as his own man, and that won't happen with the Clinton's around; he wants to select a new face to represent the real change that he talks about but has failed to provide; his aids want Hillary's donor base, but not Hillary; his wife is reported to hate Hill; he's frightened of possible gaffes by her husband. Let's face it, Obama is an insider, nearly a Republican-lite. Of course, that's still better than McBush, so, once again, progressives have little choice but to hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two weasels

For a while today, the NYT featured interactive primary maps along demographic lines, showing the states that went for Obama and the states that went for Hill: men, women, blacks, white. Clinton had more women and many more whites. Obama had more men and all of the blacks. We think that Obama should select Hill as his running mate if he expects to beat McBush in November. Given the large number of women (many of whom think Hill was treated badly), Reagan Democrats, and the like who wanted Hillary to win (she claims 18 million), it's a mistake to think the majority of those folks will vote Obama without Hill on the ticket. ["McCain...made an explicit appeal for their support Tuesday night as he tried to increase pressure on Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton would provide Mr. Obama with some of the foreign policy credentials he needs, bring her own bank of contributors, and probably help put more states in play," later writes the NYT.] One reason Gore lost the 2000 election is that he was unable to swallow his pride and allow Bill Clinton to campaign for him in some of the southern states. From what we've seen and heard of Obama, he's more than likely to make the same mistake and not select Hillary as his running mate. So much for change.

Thursday, May 29

Big Bush Lies: NYT Op-Ed Writers: While The Bush Liars Change, His Lies Continue, Dowd, Rich, Collins

Dowd: Bush "authorized Dick Cheney to let Scooter leak part of the top-secret National Intelligence Estimate"

“Yeah, I did,” Mr. Bush told his sap of a press secretary on Air Force One. His tone, the stunned McClellan said, was “as if discussing something no more important than a baseball score.”...

In Washington, it is rarely the geopolitical or human consequences that cause people to turn on leaders behaving immorally. The town is far more narcissistic and practical than that. The people who should be sounding the alarm for democracy’s sake, and the sake of all the young Americans losing lives and limbs, get truly outraged only when they are played for fools and fall guys, when their own reputations are at stake.

It was not the fake casus belli that made Colin Powell’s blood boil. What really got Powell disgusted was that W. and Dick Cheney used him, tapping into his credibility to sell their trumped-up war; that George Tenet failed to help him scrub his U.N. speech of all Cheney’s garbage; and that W. showed him the door so the more malleable Condi could have his job. Tenet was privately worried about a war buildup not backed up by C.I.A. facts, but he only publicly sounded the alarm years later in a lucrative memoir fueled by payback, after Condi and Cheney tried to cast him as the fall guy on W.M.D.

McClellan did not realize the value of a favorite maxim — “The truth shall set you free” — until he was hung out to dry by his bosses in the Valerie Plame affair, repeating the lies Karl Rove and Scooter Libby brazenly told him about not being the leakers....more


Rich: Unaccountable Leaders' Lies That Result In Over A Hundred Thousand Deaths Is "A Crime Story"

...The deceitful origins of the war in Iraq are the major focus of the former press secretary’s tell-all.

There is no news in his book, hardly the first to charge that the White House used propaganda to sell its war and that the so-called liberal media were “complicit enablers” of the con job. The blowback by the last Bush defenders is also déjà vu. The claims that Mr. McClellan was “disgruntled,” “out of the loop,” two-faced, and a “sad” head case are identical to those leveled by Bush operatives (including Mr. McClellan) at past administration deserters like Paul O’Neill, Richard Clarke, John DiIulio and Matthew Dowd.

So why the fuss? Mr. McClellan isn’t a sizzling TV personality, or, before now, a household name beyond the Beltway. His book secured no major prepublication media send-off on “60 Minutes” or a newsmagazine cover. But if the tale of how the White House ginned up the war is an old story, the big new news is how ferocious a hold this familiar tale still exerts on the public all these years later. We have not moved on.

Americans don’t like being lied to by their leaders, especially if there are casualties involved and especially if there’s no accountability. We view it as a crime story, and we won’t be satisfied until there’s a resolution.....more


Collins: Bush Defenders Discuss Loyality Rather Than War, Death, and Lies

“What Happened,” reveals that the Bush White House put politics ahead of truth and openness with the American people.

I know it’s a shock, but try to be brave.

The administration’s defenders have not really attacked the book’s thesis — really, what could you say? But they’ve been frothing at the mouth over McClellan’s lack of loyalty....

Whoever the next president is, I hope he-she picks incredibly well-qualified people who are strong enough to speak their minds and cynical enough not to assume the chief executive knows what he-she is doing. Loyalty does not tend to be a great virtue in these types, and the goal should be to wring as much accomplishment as possible out of them before the inevitable betrayal....

While the bracing effects of being pushed out of his job have helped McClellan face reality, clarity might have come earlier if he’d just been more canny about personal relationships. His White House career could have been so different if, when Bush started babbling about W.M.D.’s in Iraq, McClellan reminded himself that this was coming from a guy who couldn’t remember what drugs he had ingested.

Even now, McClellan still appears to have trouble with the critical concept that deeds matter more than words.

“Waging an unnecessary war is a grave mistake,” he writes. “But in reflecting on all that happened during the Bush administration, I’ve come to believe that an even more fundamental mistake was made — a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed.”

Personally, I’m a huge fan of candor and honesty. But when it comes to fundamental mistakes, I’ll start with the unnecessary war.....more

Thursday, May 29

"Self-Deceived" Bush: Ex-Bush Press Sec. Explains Bush Lies Not Lies, Says Bush Response To Cocaine Use Question "Probably Not True", Ken Herman

Note: Ken Herman, political reporter for the Austin American-Statesman while Bush was Governor of Texas, is now at the Cox News Washington Bureau --Politex

The volume makes McClellan, a Texan picked by the president and paid by the people to help sell the war to the world, the first longtime Bush aide to put such harsh criticism between hard covers. It is an extraordinarily critical book that questions Bush's intellectual curiosity, his candor in leading the nation to war, his pattern of self-deception and the quality of his advisers.

"As a Texas loyalist who followed Bush to Washington with great hope and personal affection and as a proud member of his administration, I was all too ready to give him and his highly experienced foreign policy advisers the benefit of the doubt on Iraq," McClellan wrote. "Unfortunately, subsequent events have showed that our willingness to trust the judgment of Bush and his team was misplaced."

McClellan worked for Bush from 1999, when he signed on as a deputy in the governor's press office, until 2006, when he was forced out as White House press secretary.

"President Bush has always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader. He is not one to delve into all the possible policy options — including sitting around engaging in extended debate about them — before making a choice," McClellan wrote. "Rather, he chooses based on his gut and his most deeply held convictions. Such was the case with Iraq."

In an interview Tuesday, McClellan said he retains great admiration and respect for Bush. "My job was to advocate and defend his policies and speak on his behalf," he said. "This is an opportunity for me now to share my own views and perspective on things. There were things we did right and things we did wrong. Unfortunately, much of what went wrong overshadowed the good things we did."

He said the Bush administration fell into the "permanent campaign" mode that can cripple a White House and has tainted much of Washington.

In the book — subtitled "Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception" — McClellan said that Bush's top advisers, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "played right into his thinking, doing little to question it or cause him to pause long enough to fully consider the consequences before moving forward," according to McClellan.

"Contradictory intelligence was largely ignored or simply disregarded," he wrote.

In Iraq, McClellan added, Bush saw "his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness," something McClellan said Bush has said he believes is only available to wartime presidents.

The president's real motivation for the war, he said, was to transform the Middle East to ensure an enduring peace in the region. But the White House effort to sell the war as necessary due to the stated threat posed by Saddam Hussein was needed because "Bush and his advisers knew that the American people would almost certainly not support a war launched primarily for the ambitions purpose of transforming the Middle East," McClellan wrote.

"Rather than open this Pandora's Box, the administration chose a different path — not employing out-and-out deception, but shading the truth," he wrote of the effort to convince the world that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, an effort he said used "innuendo and implication" and "intentional ignoring of intelligence to the contrary."

"President Bush managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option," McClellan concluded, noting, "The lack of candor underlying the campaign for war would severely undermine the president's entire second term in office."

Bush's national security advisers failed to "help him fully understand the tinderbox he was opening," McClellan recalled.

"I know the president pretty well. I believe that, if he had been given a crystal ball in which he could have foreseen the costs of war — more than 4,000 American troops killed, 30,000 injured and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis dead — he would never have made the decision to invade, despite what he might say or feel he has to say publicly today," McClellan wrote.

In a summation, McClellan said the decision to invade Iraq "goes to an important question that critics have raised about the president: Is Bush intellectually incurious or, as some assert, actually stupid?"

"Bush is plenty smart enough to be president," he concluded. "But as I've noted his leadership style is based more on instinct than deep intellectual debate."

McClellan also expresses amazement that Bush seemed flummoxed by a query by NBC's Tim Russert in February 2004 as to whether the invasion of Iraq was "a war of choice or a war of necessity." "It strikes me today as an indication of his lack of inquisitiveness and his detrimental resistance to reflection," McClellan wrote, "something his advisers needed to compensate for better than they did."

McClellan tracks Bush's penchant for self-deception back to an overheard incident on the campaign trail in 1999 when the then-governor was dogged by reports of possible cocaine use in his younger days.

The book recounts an evening in a hotel suite "somewhere in the Midwest." Bush was on the phone with a supporter and motioned for McClellan to have a seat.

"'The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,' I heard Bush say. 'You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.'"

"I remember thinking to myself, How can that be?" McClellan wrote. "How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense."

Bush, according to McClellan, "isn't the kind of person to flat-out lie."

"So I think he meant what he said in that conversation about cocaine. It's the first time when I felt I was witnessing Bush convincing himself to believe something that probably was not true, and that, deep down, he knew was not true," McClellan wrote. "And his reason for doing so is fairly obvious — political convenience."

In the years that followed, McClellan "would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment." McClellan likened it to a witness who resorts to "I do not recall."

"Bush, similarly, has a way of falling back on the hazy memory to protect himself from potential political embarrassment," McClellan wrote, adding, "In other words, being evasive is not the same as lying in Bush's mind."

And McClellan linked the tactic to the decision to invade Iraq, a decision based on flawed intelligence.

"It would not be the last time Bush mishandled potential controversy," he said of the cocaine rumors. "But the cases to come would involve the public trust, and the failure to deal with them early, directly and head-on would lead to far greater suspicion and far more destructive partisan warfare," he wrote.

The book also recounts Bush's unwillingness or inability to come up with a mistake he had made when asked by a reporter to do so.

"It became symbolic of a leader unable to acknowledge that he got it wrong, and unwilling to grow in office by learning from his mistake — too stubborn to change and grow," McClellan concluded.

Wednesday, May 28

Unbalanced Bush: Long Time Bush Press Secretary Portrays Bush As A Self-Deceived Serial Liar, Politex

We're not at all surprised to learn from the pen of Scott McCellan in his new book, WHAT HAPPENED: INSIDE THE BUSH WHITE HOUSE AND WASHINGTON'S CULTURE OF DECEPTION, that Bush is a liar, "big time," and those around him are, too. We've been saying that since 1998, and we even wrote a book about it: BIG BUSH LIES. We plan to write more about McCellan and his book, but here's what we wrote in 2001:

Listening To Bush Lies Since 1998

Bush lies So often and in so many different ways that I've never had the patience to keep a list of them. However, when I write something and include the generalization that Bush lies, some readers will write in and say, "Oh, yeh? What did he lie about? I don't believe it." What follows, then, is an informal listing of just some of the lies he typically tells, starting from 2/01. Now, of course, we all know that Gore lies, Lott lies, Cheney lies, etc. But the difference between those liars and Bush is the Resident tells us that he is telling the truth when he is lying. Hence, he will tell us what he is going to do, like get his proposed tax cut from the surplus, then try to get his proposed tax cut from military and medicare funds, instead. Or, once he has actually begun a program, tell us lies about how or why the program has begun. Or tell a closed-door Dem meeting something and then swear up and down the next day that he didn't say it. Or saying, "Yes, Mam" and meaning "No, Mam." Or having a spinner say the opposite the next day. Or, get the idea.

Some Bush backers claim he's not a liar, he's just not very bright and doesn't remember things very well. That may be true, but we're sure Bush would not allow such an excuse in his "responsibility era." We're sure Bush would agree that if he's that dumb, he shouldn't be President. Other Bush backers claim that some of his lies are "technically correct" or "tailored to fit the audience," or some such circumlocution. What they're talking about are lies of omission rather than lies of commission. In lies of omission it's what they imply, not what they say. For example, the other evening Bush told Congress and the American people that he was putting a "lock box" on Social Security. Now, it's very clear that Bush wanted us to feel secure in the belief that he was protecting all of our Social Security funds for the future. No question, right? Yet, the very next day when his budget book was released, we learned that Bush told a lie of omission. What he didn't tell Congress and the American people is that he would later take from $.6 to $1 trillion out of that "lock box" to cover his tax cuts. No doubt, Bush lied. He wanted folks to believe something that he knew was not true. Of course, politicians do this all the time. It's second nature. In sum, the thing that really bothers us about Bush's lies is that he is also a hypocrite and pretends he's above lying. As a liar, he reinforces our assumptions about politicians. As a hypocrite, he reinforces our assumptions about his character.

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