Saturday, May 29, 2004

The REAL Bush 

Just a little window into the true character of our Boy King:

Was Iraq a Just War?

Putting George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation to the test

by Melinda Henneberger


The one and only time I interviewed Mr. Bush, when he was running in 2000, he called me by the wrong name several times, which was no big deal, and I didn’t correct him. But after this went on for a while, his adviser Karen Hughes, who was sitting in on the interview, finally said: “Governor, her name’s not Alison, it’s Melinda.”

“I think I know what her name is; we just had lunch last week,” Bush responded. “Your name IS still Melinda, isn’t it?”


“You haven’t changed it since last week?”


“OK, then. Glad we got that cleared up.”

Hughes persisted, though. “Governor, you were calling her Alison.”

“I wasn’t calling HER Alison,” he said, with apparent conviction. “I was calling YOU Alison.”

At the time, I thought this was very funny. But now I’m not so sure. I keep wondering what has become of the “humble” foreign policy Bush talked about during the 2000 campaign. Yes, 9/11 has changed our president’s view of the world and given him a new sense of mission—of “crusade” as he once said. Yet it has not altered just-war theory or the rule of law—-which in the absence of personal humility, or any doubts about right action, seem particularly useful guideposts.

What a complete ass this man is. And he's the President. Unbelievable. People exist to serve HIM, to make HIM look good, to merely ACCOMMODATE his whims, wishes and desires. Nothing proves that better than this little anecdote.


Friday, May 28, 2004

Bush's Medicare scam is a BUST 

At least, so far. Nobody wants the damn thing. To wit:

Groups: Medicare Drug Card Enrollment Low


While most of the more than 70 sponsors are silent about how many people they've signed up, AARP admits its number is minuscule. The group, which has 35 million 50-and-older members, mailed out 26,000 enrollment kits and has signed up only 400 people, spokeswoman Carol Shirley said.

[400 people! Out of 35 million! What a JOKE!]

At Walgreen Co., spokesman Michael Polzin said, "We prepared for a crush of seniors to come in beginning in May. That hasn't happened."

The Bush administration projected that 7.3 million Medicare recipients would sign up for the cards, which can be used beginning June 1. That number includes 4.7 million with incomes low enough to receive $600 from the federal government this year and again in 2005 to pay pharmacy bills.

If enrollment to date is lower than expected, it can be attributed partly to advice from Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and others to window-shop before choosing a card. On Thursday, Thompson said: "Now is the time to sign up."

Sure. You first, Tommy.


Thursday, May 27, 2004


This evening I had a flashback to March of 2003. While driving from Colorado to a wedding near San Antonio, we pulled into a gas station in some small town just inside the Texas border. I had some bumper stickers on our car which clearly revealed my position on the then brand-new Iraq invasion ("Attack Iraq? NO!" "EVIL: Killing Children for Oil" and a few others). Some forty-something fat Texan with gray hair, pointy alligator skin boots, fancy blue jeans, a bolo tie and the powdered apearance of a dandy posing as a cowboy mosied up behind me and pointed at my bumper stickers.

"It's a damn good thing yer on yer way outta the state, son," he said.
"Oh no, I just got here," I replied.
"Well yer not welcomed."
"Why's that?"

Again, he pointed at the bumper stickers.

"Where were you when Clinton was bombing the shit outta Kosovo, ya dumb bastard?"
"Have a wonderful day," I said, and headed back to driver's seat.
"You worthless surrender monkeys would rather have Saddam blow us all to hell, wouldn't you?"

I got into my car and drove off.

Despite the way I've spelled and paraphrased his remarks (though I'm pretty sure they're accurate), I got the impression that this man was smarter than he let on. He probably had Rush blaring in the truck even then, I thought.

I wonder what that bozo is thinking now....

POOR = LAZY: A Harvard Business Professor Recalls George W. Bush as a Student 

For several months near the end of last year and start of 2004, one of my favorite sites, Inequality.org, stopped posting new articles. So, I eventually stopped visiting. On a whim, I checked Inequality this evening and found a sharp new design, an exciting and fascinating conference next weekend in New York (featuring Bill Moyers, Barbara Ehrenreich and others), as well as a handful of new (OK, recent) articles, including this one:

President Bush and the Gilded Age
by Yoshi Tsurumi

This piece tells us a lot about our President's smirk. Here's an excerpt:

At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that "people are poor because they are lazy." He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to "free market competition." To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was "socialism."

And another:

President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal.

And here is the rest.

It's all over now, baby blue 

When Richard Perle tells us Bush's Iraq Adventure is a failure, The jig is up. As of now, Bush is damaging the credibility of not just our nation, but the Presidency overall--straight to the point of no return.

U.S. war policy 'grave error'


"I would be the first to acknowledge we allowed the liberation (of Iraq) to subside into an occupation. And I think that was a grave error, and in some ways a continuing error," said Perle...

With violent resistance to the U.S.-led occupation showing no signs of ending, Perle said the biggest mistake in post-war policy "was the failure to turn Iraq back to the Iraqis more or less immediately.

"We didn't have to find ourselves in the role of occupier. We could have made the transition that is going to be made at the end of June more or less immediately," he told BBC radio, referring to the U.S. and British plan to transfer political authority in Iraq to an interim government on June 30.

Why does Richard Perle hate America so much?


Wednesday, May 26, 2004


We'd like to welcome the superb columnist and political pundit (for lack of a worthier term) Tom Engelhardt to the BushWhackedUSA team. Tom won't be writing exclusively for us, of course; but he has granted permission for us to run his columns from TomDispatch here at our site as well. We couldn't be more proud and thrilled to work with a writer of his caliber--and he's a damn nice guy, too.

Here are links to his two latest features (the first is by Mike Davis, the second by Tom himself):

Tanking Up on the Oil Crisis

State of Denial: Abugrabbed in Washington

Thanks, Tom!

Color codes and crying 'Wolf!' 

Who will believe these guys after the last three years?

Only the feeble-minded and the guileless and the True Believers. Only them.

Analysts Say U.S. Threat Warning Is Back-Covering


One former national security official in the Bush administration told Reuters: "This is more butt-covering than anything else."

Critics say the new threat warnings may also just be a ploy to shore up the president's job approval ratings or divert attention from the increasingly unpopular Iraq campaign.



I used to live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, home to Focus on the Family; various other international christian missionary/propaganda organizations; a handful of active hate groups; too many meddling, good-for-nothing trust funders; some of the soldiers being investigated for prisoner abuses in Iraq; and many of my friends. One of those friends, Criz, wants to go to Boston as a delegate to the Democratic party's convention. I don't know this friend too well; in fact, I only know her because a mutual friend of ours was brutally, inexplicably murdered a couple years ago. Consequently, most of what Criz and I have in common is a mutual sense of loss and grief, compounded by anger and tempered by the love we've shared for our dead friend who so loved life.

Anyway, Criz has asked for some help and support in getting to Boston. The other thing I know she an I share is a common dedication to the causes of peace and justice. She organized demonstrations against the Iraq invasion and seems to have stayed involved in the political scene in Colorado Springs in the year since I last lived there. You don't know her, but to the extent that I can vouch for her worthiness, I encourage anyone who can show her some support to do so. Criz would be the kind of delegate (that is, of the Kucinich variety--see my posts below for more on him) who could help nudge the right-leaning Democratic party back toward the political center and maybe even in a slightly leftward direction.

Here's a link to Criz's Boston page.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Bargaining chips. Like poker. 

U.S. military arrests war's 'bargaining chips'

Rights groups say practice holding people to pressure wanted relatives to surrender violates laws


In a little-noticed development amid Iraq's prison abuse scandal, the U.S. military is holding dozens of Iraqis as bargaining chips to put pressure on their wanted relatives to surrender, according to human rights groups. These detainees are not accused of any crimes, and experts say their detention violates the Geneva Conventions and other international laws. The practice also risks associating the United States with the tactics of countries that it has long criticized for arbitrary arrests.

"It's clearly an abuse of the powers of arrest, to arrest one person and say that you're going to hold him until he gives information about somebody else, especially a close relative," said John Quigley, an international law professor at Ohio State University. "Arrests are supposed to be based on suspicion that the person has committed some offense."

U.S. officials deny that there is a systematic practice of detaining relatives to pressure Iraqi fugitives into surrendering. "The coalition does not take hostages," said a senior military official who asked not to be named. "Relatives who might have information about wanted persons are sometimes detained for questioning, and then they are released. There is no policy of holding people as bargaining chips."

Well. I guess THAT settles THAT. He said it; I believe it; and THAT SETTLES IT.



The real reason Chalabi is on the outs 

Column here.


[Former Marine Middle East Specialist and Counterintelligence Officer Dale R. Davis writes:]

Recent events have been truly amazing. The civilian leadership of the Pentagon, comprised almost entirely of neo-conservatives is desperately clinging to the ropes. Paul Wolfowitz has finally admitted that a series of mistakes and misjudgments, most of which originated in his office, have greatly complicated US efforts to secure a strategic victory in Iraq - a truly astonishing occurrence since the norm for Wolfowitz and the rest of the Pentagon civilian leadership is to admit nothing, deny everything, and then make counter-accusations.

Now, the neo-con darling, Ahmed Chalabi, has had his house surrounded by the US military. What is the nexus of these events? Well, it was Chalabi who provided the intelligence that buoyed the ideological underpinnings of America's failed policies in Iraq. Despite warnings from experts on all sides, the Pentagon neo-cons clung relentlessly to Chalabi, even after he admitted to fabricating intelligence during the run-up to the war. Now with investigations likely to determine that prison abuses in Iraq had their roots in controversial policies originating from the civilian side of the Pentagon, and facing crisis after crisis in Iraq the neo-cons are attempting to cut their losses and are unable to counter maneuvers by an outraged senior military leadership aimed at limiting their meddling in the conduct of the war.

The uniformed military has wisely seized on this moment of neo-con "weakness" to wrest strategic control of the war away from the "suits" at OSD. Implementing their own strategy of pre-emption, Marines and Soldiers are applying practical, realistic solutions in places like Fallujah and soon in Najaf and Kerbala. This raid on Chalabi's house is aimed at further isolating or removing, if possible, the neo-con point man who has loudly opposed the rational decisions taken recently by US military leadership. It's unfortunate this particular pre-emptive attack wasn't launched much earlier. If it had, perhaps the situation in Iraq would still engender hope. Too many young American men and women have been killed or wounded for the sake of the egos of a few dilettantes and ideologues in Washington and their corrupt clients.

[Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col. USAF (ret.) continues:]

If Dale Davis is right, perhaps we may entertain the precious idea that sanity can ultimately prevail in our Middle Eastern policy. Instead of a bungling and wasteful set of forced occupations and collaboration through intimidation, this little house-cleaning operation may have kicked down a foreign policy door long locked by neoconservative groupthink and prejudices.

Ahmad Chalabi has come full circle, and will be likely to leave Iraq again as he did as many years ago. Few Iraqis have ever found him to be credible, reliable or trustworthy. On this the United States military and the people of Iraq agree. It is a good sign.

[Daddy-O writes:] I'm not sure it's a good enough sign. Kwiatkowski betrays her "military solution" roots here. Even if we get rid of Bush, the Iraqis will never trust our military to do a damn thing, ever again. And no one can blame them after Abu Ghraib.

No one.


Addendum to the Dennis Kucinich post... 

Yesterday I wrote about a moment in which Dennis Kucinich stopped to shake my partner's hand and congratulate her on our baby. Well, lo and behold, that very moment turned up as a photograph in Missoula's daily newspaper this morning. I'll post it here as soon as we can scan a good copy.

Anyone know how to successfully scan photos from newspapers? We're having some difficulty....

Monday, May 24, 2004

The Christian Exodus 

Those poor, persecuted fundamentalist evangelists. If you took them seriously, you'd think they had to face real lions. As a Christian myself, I find the hare-brained schemes of contemporary Pharisees intriguing. They never stop.

Via Kos. Where does he find this shit?

Fundy secession
by kos

Mon May 24th, 2004 at 23:41:32 EDT

I can endorse this:

ChristianExodus.org offers the opportunity to try a strategy not yet employed by Bible-believing Christians. Rather than spend resources in continued efforts to redirect the entire nation, we will redeem States one at a time. Millions of Christian conservatives exist, but we are geographically spread out and diluted at the national level. Therefore, we must concentrate our numbers in a geographical region with a sovereign government we can control through the electoral process.

ChristianExodus.org is orchestrating the move of 50,000 or more Christians to one of three States for the express purpose of dissolving that State's bond with the union. The three States under consideration are Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. The exact destination will be chosen by vote of our membership. Our move will commence when the federal government forces sodomite marriages on our local communities or once we reach the 50,000-member mark, whichever comes first.

They can have one state (Mississippi gets my vote, though Roy Moore would love them in Alabama) and take those two Republican senators with them. And since Mississippi is one of those freeloading welfare red states, getting $1.89 in federal money for every dollar they send to DC, it will help the hard-working blue states keep more of their money (Alabama, at $1.64/per dollar sent to DC, would also work).

Problem is, these fundies aren't smart enough to pull this off. Too bad.



Dear Reader,

I met Dennis Kucinich this evening. Shook his hand. Looked him in the eye. Handed him a BushWhackedUSA business card. He chuckled, nodded, said, "Thanks."

Kucinich--no, he prefers to be called Dennis, so...--Dennis came to Missoula on Monday evening to speak to several hundred people at the gorgeous, crowded Wilma Theater. He is campaigning here for the Montana vote. We host the final state primary in the nation, and Dennis wants Montana voters to send the Democratic party a message, going into the primary. I'll spare you the Kucinich platform (but you can visit his home page if you're curious).

Before his speech, he held a small press conference in a side room at The Wilma. I weaseled my way into the back row, claiming my status as co-editor of BushWhackedUSA. For some odd reason the local woman in charge of the affair made me promise not to ask any questions, and to leave them for the "mainstream press." Well, I waited until the end, anyway.

I asked Dennis how a candidate for peace would defend the U.S. from terrorists. His answer was simple, straightforward, and three-pronged: 1) cooperate with the international community, 2) address the root causes of terrorism, and 3) speak the truth. He wondered aloud why, during weeks of testimony with the 9/11 commission, one question was never asked: Why did this happen? He said it was important for Americans to be honest with ourselves about our role in creating the circumstances that lead to terrorism.

Later, in his passionate, rousing speech, Kucinich advanced a bold, clear vision for a cabinet-level Department of Peace, for a single-payer health care system that covers all Americans, for environmental responsibility, for education. He made it clear that he's still in the race because he wants to give liberal, pro-peace Democrats a voice at the convention. He's working hard to do that. He'd rather see the Democratic Party open up its umbrella and bring in the Greens, Libertarians, reformers, and fair traders. He communicated something I've seen and felt far too little of in this election (or any): hope.

Tonight I was inspired by Dennis, and I won't soon forget it.

A few minutes after I met him, he entered the packed auditorium, walked down the aisle to a standing ovation, and stopped next to my beloved, who happens to be eight and a half months pregnant with my child. Dennis looked at her belly, then at her and said, "Congratulations! Good luck!" It was a small gesture from a small man with only a small chance at having a big impact on this election; but that small gesture represents, for me, exactly the direction I'd love to see this country's leadership go: attention to detail, compassion for our children, and expressions of loving kindness.

Thanks for your time...

The problem isn't the TORTURE... 

...it's the CAMERAS.

So what does Rumsfeld do? He's BANNED THEM.

"Digital cameras, camcorders and cellphones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq," it said, adding that a "total ban throughout the US military" is in the works.

Problem solved! And, as per every other fuckup in this administration, it's too little, too late--even to SAVE THEMSELVES.

Utter filth.

Via Blah3.com.


Sunday, May 23, 2004

Why lie when you don't even have to? 

Some people lie for kicks. It's fun seeing someone else believe a lie, to them. Some people lie out of habit. First thing out of their mouths, like a reflex reaction. When you lie a lot...it just gets easier.

From the Daily Kos:

More Bush lies?
by kos
Sun May 23rd, 2004 at 20:18:22 EDT

Here's the official story line from Crawford:

President Bush took a spill during a Saturday afternoon bike ride on his ranch, suffering bruises and cuts that were visible later on his face just two days before he was to deliver a major prime-time speech on his Iraq policy.

The president was nearing the end of a 17-mile ride on his mountain bike, accompanied by a Secret Service agent, a military aide and his personal physician, Richard Tubb, who treated him at the scene, said White House spokesman Trent Duffy.

"It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose," Duffy said. "You know this president. He likes to go all-out. Suffice it to say he wasn't whistling show tunes."

So it's been raining a lot in Crawford, we are told. So here's the recent precipitation levels from Crawford:

May 22: 0"
May 21: 0"
May 20: 0"
May 19: 0"
May 18: 0"
May 17: 0"
May 16: 0"
May 15: 0"
May 14: 0.03"
May 13: 2.79"
May 12: 0"
May 11: 0.15"
May 10: 0"
May 9: 0"

May 13th saw some serious rain, but other than some sprinkles on the 14th, Crawford saw nothing but sun. In the last week alone, the temperature was in the high 80s the entire time.

So rain on the 13th and (barely) 14th was blamed for a Bush fall on the 22nd. As everything else, it wasn't Bush's fault. Nothing is Bush's fault.




Remember this? 

This State of the Union Remix from 2003 has grown less funny and more prophetic in a year and a half.

Liberation Comes in Many Guises 

Let's see now...

We've invaded them, killed them, raped them, molested them, abused them, tortured them, displaced them--and all of this after propping up one of the twentieth centuries more brutal dictators, within their country, for decades--and just for good measure, like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae, we take away their right to seek justice in court.


British and American troops are to be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the crucial 30 June handover, undermining claims that the new Iraqi government will have 'full sovereignty' over the state.

Despite widespread ill-feeling about the abuse of prisoners by American forces and allegations of mistreatment by British troops, coalition forces will be protected from any legal action.

They will only be subject to the domestic law of their home countries. Military sources have told The Observer that the question of immunity was central to obtaining military agreement on a new United Nations resolution on Iraq to be published by the middle of next month.

The new resolution will lift the arms embargo against Iraq, allowing the country to rearm its 80,000-strong army in readiness for taking over the nation's security once coalition forces finally leave.

The rest of the story...

Training Wheels 

Remember Bush's comments the other day about Iraq getting ready to take off its training wheels?

Well, now there's this: Bush falls on bike ride: President suffers minor scrapes during jaunt on his ranch

Remember the pretzel incident? The forward plunge off the Segway? The guy is ... clumsy.

Bloody Hands 

It took a surprising amount of digging to come up with these statistics:

Bloody Hands: A Simple Bar Graph

Thanks for taking a look.

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