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Laura Bush's Credibility

During the heat of our war with the Taliban in Afghanistan, both Laura Bush and Condi Rice made comments in public about the terrible way women were treated under the Taliban, suggesting that our war against them, in part, was to obtain equal human rights for women in that far-away, hostile land. What better support for such a task than the President's wife and his foreign policy adviser?

Now, of course the war is over and the representatives of the people of Afghanistan have drafted a new constitution which does not specifically guarantee the equality of women. For over a month, observers have said that such a quarantee is essential, given the pro-Muslim, anti-women wording of the constitution as well as the inequality-as-usual reality of life in today's Afghanistan.

Noeleen Heyzer in the NYT writes:

"Despite visible advances in society, many Afghan women have seen little change over the past two years. Particularly outside of Kabul, women live under the tight restrictions of authoritarian and traditional practices, which keep women and girls at home and deny them access to education, job training and health care. Violence against women continues. Child marriages and forced marriages remain common, fueled by impoverishment and instability. Young girls are "married" to bring money into households or to settle disputes, a practice that condemns young girls to sexual abuse and sustained poverty. Outside of Kabul, women's security is threatened by local warlords who abuse women with impunity."

While Condi Rice and Laura Bush were articulate in their defense of Afghan women while Bush was Commander-in-Chief of the war in Afghanistan, their silence in support of actually changing the plight of women in Afghanistan brings their credibility into question. With respect to Rice, of course, her credibility was pretty much shot when she fell upon her sword for Bush, claiming that she simply dropped the ball in not informing him that the CIA wanted the bogus statement about Iraqi uranium from Africa taken out of his State of the Union speech. With respect to Laura Bush, since the anti-women Afghan Consitution will be decided upon next week, her window of credibility is rapidly closing. --Politex, 12.03.03


Dear Politex: As you may remember, there were thousands, if not millions, of women worldwide decrying the treatment of women in Afghanistan long before Laura Bush came to the table.† Even when her husband, the chief executive officer, was authorizing $43 Billion in aid to the Taliban, Laura Bush stood silent.† She suddenly spoke up for women only when it was opportune for the Bush administration.† Her credibility was suspect from the beginning.† - sz


The mainstream media, in cooperation with the White House world news service, provides this easily understandable digest of weekly world news for American citizens.

President Bush warned the world that Saddam was playing "Catch Me If You Can" with U.N. Resolution 1441, and he only had "Hours" to produce his weapons or he would be "The Man Without A Past."

Secretary Rumsfeld cautioned Europe that France's Chirac was a "Fait D'Hiver," a "Spider-Man" whose unwillingness to attack Iraq would take us down "The Road to Perdition." Chirac was reported to have responded in fluent Spanish, "Y Tu Mama Tambien."

One German official reportedly characterized Rumsfeld as "Der Er En Yndig Mand " and voiced colloquial favor for the French position, remarking, "Das Rad !"

Back in the U.S., the terrorist attack warning has gone up to Code Orange, the highest it's been since "The Two Towers" attacks.

Secretary Ridge's advice that during Code Orange citizens should go about their normal activities was followed by celebrants at Manhattan's St. John's "Cathedral" as "The Pianist" played an "Adaptation" of bride and groom requests, "About A Boy" and "Talk To Her," at a "Big Fat Greek Wedding."

A "Minority Report" by activist Michael Moore while "Bowling For Columbine" warned, as "The Hours" ticked down, that an attack on Iraq would be "Far From Heaven," and asked, "Why Can't We Be Family Again"?

City officials have cautioned President Bush that unemployed teen "Gangs of New York" and "Chicago" may eventually prove to be a major domestic problem, reports Bob Herbert in the New York Times.

Meanwhile, on a very small island in the Pacific, its citizens commented upon the possible U.S. war with Iraq: "Cheeb-Chubs !"..."Inja !" which, roughly translated, means "I'll Wait For The Next One."

--Politex, 02.12.03 references


LEADERS IN ITALY, ENGLAND, SPAIN OUT OF STEP WITH THEIR CITIZENS ANDY ECKARDT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: I am Andy Eckardt in Mainz, Germany, one of many German cities that was heavily bombed during World War II. More than 50 years later, a strong anti-war sentiment is driving German opposition against a military intervention in Iraq.

STEPHEN WEEKE, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Iím Stephen Weeke in Rome, where opposition to the war is very, very high. Seven out of 10 Italians are against possible war with Iraq, even if the U.N. were to grant a second resolution authorizing the use of force. This is a clear division from the governmentís standpoint, which is fully supportive of the United States.

DANA LEWIS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: This is Dana Lewis in Paris. The latest poll here: 81 percent of the people are opposed to war; 76 percent have a bad opinion of President George Bush. And now the war has started in the newspapers. Yesterday, an English tabloid accused President Jacques Chirac of being a worm. Today, this French paper, ďFrancoise,Ē called it a violent aggression against France. Most of the people here support President Chiracís opposition to war.

KIKO ITASAKA, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Iím Kiko Itasaka in London. Less than 30 percent of the people in this country support war. Theyíre getting frustrated with Prime Minister Tony Blair and say this isnít their war to fight.

BUCHANAN: Well, thereís no doubt about it. European popular opinion is strong against war and even hotter, I guess-or itís hot against war and hot against Mr. Bush. I donít know that itís anti-American so much as it is anti-American policy and anti what they see as the American desire to rule the world. But itís neither here nor there. War is coming.
PRESS: I donít think itís anti-American at all. I think itís anti this war. But Iím just impressed, Pat, that, even in Italy, where the Italian government is supporting, seven out of 10 donít want it. And in the U.K., more than seven out of 10 donít want it.
BUCHANAN: And 85 percent in Spain are against war. OK, folks...
PRESS: Bush has managed to turn the whole world against us. --MSNBC, 02.24.03

Orange Alert: The Politics Of National Defense

Today Secretaries Ashcroft and Ridge appreared on our TV channels at high noon and informed the nation that the Homeland Defense Alert has been changed from "yellow alert," indicating a "significant risk of terrorist attacks," to "orange alert," indicating a "high risk of terrorist attacks." Al Qaeda was identified as the cause of concern. This is the highest alert since the orange alert not long after the system was put in place, and Ashcroft based it upon multiple "chatter" from multiple sources.

According to the MSNBC program anchor, talk within the administration had been going on for over a week concerning whether the nation should be given this warning. The anchor went on to note that the Bush administration specifically did not want this new Al Qaeda threat to be connected to Bush's threat of war against Iraq. At no time did Ashcroft or Ridge indicate that Al Qaeda's hightened terrorist chatter might have anything to do with Bush's increasing war talk and his public comments indicating that avenues other than war against Iraq have been all but exhausted. Why?

Apparently, if there were a terrorist attack upon Americans ending in the loss of life, Bush doesn't want anyone thinking that such attacks were the result of his statements about a possible war against Iraq. However, that position is a two-edged sword for the administration. Didn't Colin Powell tell the U.N. that the United States has convincing evidence that there is an active connection between Saddam and Al Queda? If Powell is correct, wouldn't it make sense to believe that Al Queda's increased terrorist "chatter" and threat is the quid pro quo response to Bush's increasing threats toward Iraq? And wouldn't it make sense, then, for Bush to admit it to the American people? Wouldn't such an admission reinforce Powell's previous allegations? Many have remarked, even those who support a war with Iraq, that Bush has yet to level with the American people about the cost of such a war. Is this another instance of that failure in leadership? --Politex, 02.07.03


It's Not About Oil. Yeh, Right !
While Bush has really been on Saddam's case since he arrived back in D.C. in September, he'd been having a half million barrels of Iraqi oil shipped to the U.S. each day. Then we lost 1.5 barrels of oil per day due to the oil strike in Venezuela. Bush picked up some of the slack in December by halting deposits into our national strategic reserve of 700 million barrels, with the possibility of drawing some out to cover another portion of the loss. Apart from the long-term plan of gaining political control ("hegemony," in weasel-speak) over the Middle East and protecting Israel, Bush's reason for attacking Iraq is to get its oil, as we have indicated all along. As a Condi biz buddy, Chevron chief exec Ken Deer, said five years ago, "Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas - reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to." Of course, since oil's not the reason Bush is giving to our citizens or to the U.N., it would not have been a good idea to have much public discussion of a U.S. oil shortage at the time he was threating to invade one of the most oil-rich countries in the world. That would have been too obvious, right? So Bush made sure he covered the severity of the loss of Venezuelan oil by getting an extra half-million barrels of oil per day're not going to believe this...IRAQ. Read the full story here. --Politex, 01.27.03

Bush Family Values (Revisited)

We recently posted a story by Margie Burns about how Bush bro' Marvin is cashing in on government contracts:
"Marvin P. Bush, one of George W. Bush's three younger brothers, is co-founder and partner in Winston Partners, a private investment firm in Alexandria, Va. Winston Partners in turn is part of a larger venture capital entity called the Chatterjee Group, headed by venture capitalist Purnendu Chatterjee. (Venture capital firms provide money to start-up businesses and other companies, usually in return for equity and some managerial say in the company.) Through this and other business relationships, this Bush sibling is positioned to do very well in high-tech activities as a result of provisions of the Patriot Act."

As is often the case with the Bush family, they tend to share in the benefits gained from their government connections:
"Nor is Marvin Bush the only family member in this picture. His brother Jeb Bush, Florida's governor, is also an investor in the Winston Capital Fund, managed by Marvin Bush's firm. And Indigo Systems Corp., another federal contractor ($2,629,000 in 2001 from Defense and NASA), is substantially backed by The Carlyle Group, the global finance company connected to George H.W. Bush."

But what about Neil Bush? you ask. After all, he's the one who made the financial news back in the Savings and Loan scandal-ridden 80's. Well, just two weeks ago A Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial noted:
"Until recently Neil Bush had been kept out of family photo-ops since his involvement in the $1.3 billion failure of his Colorado savings and loan association in 1988. The failure of Silverado Banking, Savings & Loan was one of the most notorious examples of the S&L collapse of the 1980s. An S&L regulatory agency found Bush to have engaged in "multiple conflicts of interest" while a director at Silverado. (The industry bailout eventually cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion.)"

No wonder he's kept a low profile during and after his big bro's presidential campaign, but no more, according to a recent Miami Herald story:
"Neil Bush, a younger brother of Gov. Jeb Bush, is promoting a new business venture in Florida with the potential to benefit from his brother's policies. The Texas-based business, called Ignite, is tailoring software to help middle-school students prepare for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, a standardized test that is the backbone of Gov. Bush's ''A+'' plan that grades schools....Neil Bush has not been shy about marketing his family name as part of his pitch. The Ignite website notes that he is on the board of the Points of Light Foundation, founded by his father the former president, and serves as ''the Bush family representative'' on the national advisory board to the George Bush School of Government and Public Service. The New York Times reported earlier this year that Neil Bush had raised capital around the world to start his new company, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- drawing criticism that he was banking on his brother's international influence."

The previously referenced Daytona Beach editorial was more outspoken with respect to the Bush family's private business dealings while involved in government:
"It's a triangle of back-scratching geometry only the First Family could pull off: President Bush signs into law a federal requirement that forces states to rely on standardized testing to measure school achievement. Gov. Jeb Bush makes standardized testing a centerpiece of Florida's A-Plus plan, a scheme that turns students into cash cows for their schools if they perform well on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. And Youngest Brother Neil Bush peddles computer software designed to help students study for the FCAT, at $30 per student.. Talk about a windfall for a prodigal Bush."

The editorial concludes by stating the obvious:
"As Bush triangles go, this one's angles are more rankling than right. Not only are schools being made ever-more dependent on the FCAT's strings. But the Bushes, whatever their self-absolving assurances about Ignite's Florida foothold, seem oblivious of this latest, most profitable conflict of interest. "

It isn't as though anyone's breaking new ground, here. Questions about how the Bush family makes use of government connections have been appearing in print for decades, seemingly without stirring the wrath of the populace. (See Stephen Rizzo's 1992 piece, Bush Family Value$) Have our citizens become so cynical about the state of government that Bush family business behavior is seen as business as usual? --Politex, 12.08.02

Being Andy Borowitz

Andy Borowitz, a political humorist whom we admire, recently wrote a piece for the New Yorker and followed it up with an online interview. If we were Andy Borowitz, here's what the interview would have sounded like. --Politex, 07/30/02

Dear Andy Borowitz

Issue of 2002-08-05
Posted 2002-07-29

Andy Borowitz has contributed more than twenty humor pieces to The New Yorker, including "Dear Catherine M."—inspired by "The Sexual Life of Catherine M.," the memoir by Catherine Millet, a French art critic—which appears this week in the magazine and here online (see Shouts & Murmurs). Here Borowitz discusses the mysterious art of writing funny.

BEN GREENMAN: When you're satirizing something that has recently received a lot of attention, such as Catherine Millet's book, what's your rough timetable? Is there an expiration date?

ANDY BOROWITZ: Like that mystery writer guy who lives over on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and wrote scripts for early Jean Luc Godard movies once said, I try to get my piece finished before the beer in the refrigerator runs out.

GREENMAN: You've written humor for performance, such as sitcom scripts, and for print. How different are they? Would the Catherine M. piece work as a skit, say, in which a performer read the letters and the answers? How about getting Catherine M. to play herself?

BOROWITZ: Actually, she's too busy playing with herself. Uh...wait a minute, wait a minute, scrub that. When you write for performance, you must be sure to put more punctuation in and try to underline the money words with a crayon. As Alfred Hitchcock once said, actors are cattle.

GREENMAN: This piece uses the device of an advice column, which is a time-tested humor genre. What's the best way to keep these old forms fresh?

BOROWITZ: Well, in the Q&A form, the obvious way would be to start with an A followed by a Q. It was done most recently by the director of MEMENTO in a piece in FILM COMMENT. The post-modern movement in humor has hardly been tapped.

GREENMAN: Were the letter writers' problems taken from real advice columns? Or, to ask a larger question, how straight-faced should this kind of satire be—should the questions be indistinguishable from real advice-column questions, or should they be obvious send-ups?

BOROWITZ: Yes, the letter writers' problems were taken from real advice columns, which, of course, meant that the questions were fiction. On the other hand, since the questions were supposedly mailed in, they would have to have been send-ups.

GREENMAN: Could you talk a little bit about the process of actually writing humor—about word choice, for instance, and tone? In the first letter in your piece, for example, the joke is triggered by the word "pill," which has a certain middle-American appeal. Similarly, the second item has a translated-from-French feeling ("like a Chutes and Ladders board waiting to be played upon"). Many young, aspiring humorists, it seems, stop at the conceit and forget to deal with their pieces as prose.

BOROWITZ: No, I can't. You took up all the space with your question. Sorry

GREENMAN: Some humorists say that it's not a good idea to know too much about the topic at hand. Do you agree? Did you read Catherine Millet's book?

BOROWITZ: No, but I saw the movie. As someone once said...perhaps it was me...a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but one doesn't want to be too threatening to the reader, say what?

GREENMAN: Do humor pieces have an ideal length? Would this have been as funny with one question, or with twenty?

BOROWITZ: Well, my Aunt Ethel always said funny is as funny does, but she tended to slur her words, so I'd say a doesen questions would be an ideal length. On the other hand, my humor writing teacher at the University said a piece of humor should be like a bridge, long enough to get over, but...


Matthew Arnold Reviews Bruce Springstein's New CD

"Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."


Why A Green Vote Is A Bush Vote

You may be surprised to learn that during the last presidential elections we sponsored one of the leading pro-Nader, pro-Green sites on the web. We called it Nader Watch and it was edited by an experienced, intelligent Naderite with impeccable political credentials. While it was part of the Bush Watch site, its editorial policy and all of its content was controlled by Doris, the Naderite. You might want to check it out at . We supported the site in spite of the inroads Nader was obviously making into the Gore popular vote lead. Our rationale was that Nader and the Greens had valid points to make and that it was only fair to represent them on our web site. At the same time, however, our Bush Watch editorial position, was anti-Nader and anti-Green, because we felt that Nader and the Greens could possibly tip the election to Bush. Unfortunately, the Repugs decided that Nader and the Greens were helping Bush win, created pro-Nader/anti-Gore ads, and paid to have them screened on key TV stations. Further, while Nader and the Greens promised not to focus on key states where Nader votes could eat into slim Gore leads, the closer we came to November, the more everyone realized that it was a hollow promise. This, of course, is just politics as usual, and neither Nader nor the Greens should be criticized for their use of the typical and traditional political survival skills, which, as we all know, includes lying, obfuscation, and distortion.

But, as in the WHO song, we won't get fooled again. For the last three months we've been getting Green letters in which we're told that progressives should work together to make the world better, but that the Nader Green progressives would not want to have a vote for the Dems on their consciences, because there's no difference between Gore and Bush. Given our previous experiences with the Greens, we see their argument as the hot air of politics as usual. Like both Bush and Gore, the Greens will say just about anything to win. The true Green position was rationally articulated when Tom Fusco, campaign manager for the Carter for governor campaign in Maine said in July at the Philly convention of the Green Party, "Our responsibility is to the Greens; the broader picture does not matter."

And that's just it, the broader picture does matter. With Bush at the helm of the most repressive and the most conservative government we have experienced in our lifetimes, I don't believe we can afford a Bush-controlled Congress in 2002 or another Bush term in 2004. Bush is taking our nation back to an ideological stone age and, if allowed to continue, we will be spiritually and politically devestated by 2008 and the Green Party will still be blaming it on the Dems with no end in sight. Face it, our political system is governed by a two-party system, splinter groups remain splinter groups, and the nation as a whole is growing more conservative, decade by decade, hence the more conservative New Dems (NDC). (I'm not at all pleased to be the bearer of such bad news, believe me.) Like the SDS in the Sixties, the Greens' only hope is for our nation to be so miserable, so devastated by having the most repressive, most conservative, least progressive major party in power that some kind of political revolution would ensue.

Don't count on it, not in our brain-washed, dumbed-down, media-controlled, repressive, greedy, corporate republic operating under the guise of supposedly democratic principles. When the common man begins to grumble, Bush promises another tax cut, tells a tasteless joke and smirks, or agrees to another half-measure reform that will never really be policed and the electorate goes back to its TV-induced slumber. Even now, with the extensive Repug corporate greed exposed for the social evil that it creates, the Hawkish electorate backs Bush by over 60%. This is the Repug battle plan created in its corporate offices and carried out by money-puppet Bush, and the Green Party's appeal to a union-fueled Progressive past of the last century is not nearly strong enough to cause a ripple in the Repug sea of ill-will, particularly since the traditional groupings of Progressive change, such as labor unions, are being systematically destroyed

We believe the first thing disgruntled voters would want to do is to get Bush and his Repugs off their backs, and voting for the Greens in 2004 will not do it. The Dems control the Senate by 1-one-1 vote and the Repugs contol the House by only 12 votes. There are enough Green candidates and Green voters out there in enough close races to tip the entire Congress to Bush in 2002, and the Greens are interested in one thing, according to their campaign managers, to have the Green Party win. The Greens are not interested in defeating Bush, and their letters to Bush Watch show it. The bottom line, then, is that a vote for the Greens on the national or state level is a vote for Bush. Do the math.How, then, is calling the obvious to our readers' attention an insult to Green voters, as a recent letter writer to Bush Watch suggested? If the truth hurts, do something about it, but don't blame the messenger. --Politex, July 27, 2002

Note: While I welcome letters in response to the above, I've read enough political rhetoric by the Greens to last me a lifetime, so please don't be redundant by discussing the last election as being the Dems' fault, the lack of difference between Bush and Gore, Dem corporate greed, attempts at diversity in the Green Party, or any other topic that does not discuss the matter at hand: how to stop Bush from getting control of Congress in 2002 and how to defeat Bush in 2002. To praphrase the Green manager noted above, my responsibility is to the bigger picture, not to the Green Party. --Politex


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