With one month left in George W. Bush's presidency, he contemplates his legacy; how the public will view him and his place in history. Whatever your personal feelings, you must admit that Bush did have his moments.
Shoes thrown at President Bush in Iraq. As America prepares to give him the boot, President Bush was forced to do some atypical sole searching during a press conference in Iraq when an Iraqi television reporter flung both shoes at him. HuffP has MSNBC video without ads and adds: "In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt. Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. marines toppled it to the ground after the 2003 invasion." This is a "gross insult in the Arab world." Value added video.
NYT: "The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5." [more inside]
It's been a busy week for presidential libraries. The Nixon Library released 200 hours of tape (excerpts) and 90,000 pages of documents (excerpts) that detail his obsessive attempts to destroy his political enemies. The LBJ library released MP3s of dozens of phone calls, including one where he accuses Nixon of treason for stalling Vietnamese peace talks in advance of the 1968 election. Finally, the Reagan Library released 750,000 pages of documents (NYT, reg. req.) to researchers. [more inside]
America has come a long way. There is the official version of history or the peoples' version. There are artifacts and rankings. They had some quirks and were occasionally men of their time. If you prefer audio or visual references those are available as well. Common knowledge has it that one GW was our first President but the title of first is under dispute. 230 years later another GW is making a run for worst. That is also under dispute by the nations best brains. For better and worse, the story of the Presidency is the story of America.
"Yeah, I did." On November 15, Scott McClellan, former white house press secretary to President George W. Bush revealed to an audience at the Miami Book Fair that President Bush had confided in him that he had personally authorized Scooter Libby to leak the classified information in the Plame affair.
U.S. Presidents have had an uneven relationship with technology. The Clinton Presidential Library has more than 40 million White House emails on record (but only two are from the man himself). The Bush Administration, on the other hand, junked the Clinton archival process and replaced it with a comically inept alternative that has lost more than five million messages, many concerning official government business. (President Bush, for his part, gave up his longtime address -- G94b@aol.com -- just before his inauguration). Even the Reagan White House had its share of problems with the digital age. Now, as tech-savvy Barack Obama prepares to implement his technology plans, does he have a shot at dragging the Oval Office into the 21st century? Or will he have to surrender his laptop, his email account, and his beloved Blackberry?
Dems eye midnight regulations reversal. Congressional Democrats are eyeing a little-known, Clinton-era law as a way to reverse Bush administration midnight regulations — even ones that have already taken effect. “Fortunately, [the White House] made a mistake,” said a top Senate Democratic aide. [more inside]
What killed Sgt. Gray? "He survived the war only to die at home. An exploration of his death and his combat unit's activities reveals what can happen to soldiers who feel the freedom -- or the pressure -- to do things in war they can't live with later." -- An American Radioworks documentary.
It's only 73 days before Inauguration Day 2009. Planning has been going on for a while. Beyonce wants to perform and the Boss plans to release an album on the day. Be sure to call your Congressperson to get your tickets. Make your plans right away, everybody wants to go. If you go, don't forget to say a rousing good-bye to you know who.
John Cleese talks Election 08 with Seesmic (YT) and discusses his views on American Politics, and americans in general. (via)
The Art of Politics. The 2008 election, regardless of the winner, has created opportunities for so many new stakeholders to take part in our national dialogue and
be heard be seen. With only weeks left, let us pause to gaze upon the mainstream embrace of political street art. At least we have Bush to thank for something.
"One dude's quest to save democracy!" Free for All! is a new documentary about the 2004 Ohio election results, which decided the presidential winner. It covers some familiar ground, but also a lot of details you might have missed. You can see it in theaters on October 8, or view it online right now. Here's Roger Ebert's review.
Worried about social-network data mining? Facebook hires Ted Ullyot, former right-hand man to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, as its general counsel. Tapping Ullyot, who worked on the infamous torture memo and other illustrious projects, is a sign that the burgeoning Scrabble platform "is a little more grown-up," says Facebook public-policy VP Elliot Schrage.
"60% of men trim their pubes. What, really?"
Presidential Crimes: Moving on is not an option. "In deciding about legal redress, we need to be clear about the large stakes in our decision. The very multiplicity of the apparent crimes, the sheer array of arguably broken laws, is dizzying. But that multiplicity must be faced, for in it we will see that what got in President Bush’s way was not any one law but the rule of law itself. It is the rule of law that has been put in jeopardy by a project of executive domination; it is the rule of law that will continue to be in peril; and it is only, therefore, by addressing the crimes through legal instruments—through a formal, legal arena, and not simply through the electoral repudiation of bad policy—that the grave and widespread damage stands a chance of being repaired."
Bob Woodward has a new book released today titled The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008. The Politico has a lengthy review by Mike Allen. Bloomberg also has an early, less flattering, review. [more inside]
"On the weekends, he favors two-hour bicycle rides at a Secret Service training facility outside Washington, where he sometimes asks companions and agents to ride behind him so that he can have the illusion of riding alone." With all the focus on the upcoming election, what of George W. Bush?
In February President Bush issued an Executive Order changing the role & reporting structure of the PFIAB, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. At the time the order was criticized & analyzed as a move to consolidate power within an organization that was already full of Bush cronies. But it now looks like all the pundits were wrong. The real reason? There was a spy in the PFIAB.
Cross another item off of President Bush's to-do list before he leaves the White House: hobbling the Endangered Species Act and allowing federal agencies to gauge the environmental impact of their projects for themselves. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said the changes were needed to ensure that the ESA would not be used as a "back door" to regulate greenhouse gases.
We've discussed what Bush and Batman have in common, but when presented with a list of quotes, can you tell which is by Bush, and which is by Batman (as played by Adam West)? It's Bush or Batman!
"What kind of lawbreaking has happened on President Bush's watch, among his top and mid-level advisers? What hasn't? Who is implicated and who is not? Despite the lack of oral sex with an intern, the past seven years have yielded an embarrassment of riches when it comes to potentially prosecutable crimes. We have tried to sketch out a map of who did what and when, with links to the evidence that is public and notes about what we may learn from investigations that are still pending." Via Slate
What Bush and Batman have in common. "A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."
Is Congress gearing up to hold a new American Truth Commission? What new horrors would they find if they did? The last time we tried this we uncovered MK/ULTRA, plots to kill Castro & Project SHAMROCK. One of the most significant outcomes was a little thing called FISA. After 30 years it may finally be time to wash out our national dirty laundry again.
The San Francisco Department of Elections has qualified our initiative. The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco has won its ballot initiative to honor George W. Bush: Should The City And County of San Francsico Rename The Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W Bush Sewage Plant?
Former White House spokesman Tony Snow developed colon cancer in February 2005 thanks to having suffered from ulcerative colitis for much of his life; he died today from that ailment. Snow was a "Fox News Sunday" anchor, a Fox News Channel political analyst, a guest host for Rush Limbaugh's radio program, the host of Fox News Radio's "The Tony Snow Show", and a NPR commentator. Chief of Staff Josh Bolten told staffers that unless they could commit to staying the full remainder of Bush's term, they should leave by Labor Day 2007, prompting Snow's resignation (due to what he said were financial reasons), where he was succeeded by Dana Perino. He played the guitar, saxophone and flute and was in a band called Beats Workin'. "Bush's wavering conservatism has become an active concern among Republicans, who wish he would stop cowering under the bed and start fighting back against the likes of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Wilson," said Snow in a column. "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."
"It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. The Environmental Protection Agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be. The value of a statistical life is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the [EPA] reckoned in May -- a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago." [more inside]
What if Al Gore really had won? J. M. Kearns crafts a new, imaginative Bush conspiracy in his new short story, "The Eagle Has Landed."
Bush had Karl Rove. But the original wiretapping President needed brains too. Introducing Kevin Phillips. He predicted the prolonged Republican dominance of Washington 1970-present and advised the Ford and Reagan presidencies. He predicted a more liberal 1990s and when the Bushies killed his party he became uttery disgusted. Recently he spoke about the influence of the christian right, our addiction to oil, and America's debt (public and private) at the University of California Santa Barbara. [more inside]
Worldwide disdain of Bush used to sell everything from newspapers to marmite to adhesive tape to cars to Scrabble, plus lots of advocacy ads for not-for-profit organizations.
Bush interview with Politico: "For the first time, Bush revealed a personal way in which he has tried to acknowledge the sacrifice of soldiers and their families: He has given up golf."
Like sea monkeys in your pants! Entomological blogger Bug Girl (previously) debunked a web site touting the benefits of giant Japanese non-biting genital lice as personal "pets" (they just live happily in your underwear. It’s so COOL! They grow, and have families. You can feel em living and crawling around!). She dismissed it as a hoax. So the site's author sent her a sample.
"Only Nixon could go to China," and only ex-Republican ex-Senator Lincoln Chafee can explain how George W. Bush set out "to preempt the Congress... on every issue", "turned his back on (his) bedrock campaign pledges", and become simultaneously America's most powerful and least popular President (and why there could never be a "surely this..." moment). NOT just another OMGBUSH commentary, this should be required reading for anybody who honestly wants to know what went wrong.
"The United States Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas" (PDF). A recent GAO report claims that the Bush administration has failed to prevent Al Qaeda's reemergence in Pakistan, and that we're basically right back where we started in 2001.
Ars Technica has a fascinating account of the IT "planning" which lead to the loss of 5 million+ emails. Via /.
Television military analysts are wooed, courted, and privileged by the Pentagon. An in-depth investigative report by the New York Times uncovers logrolling, shilling, touting, back-scratching, and just plain bias on the part of the experts that television networks put on the air to talk about the war. Some of them appear to be as good as owned by the Defense Department. "The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves."
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas." A Vanity Fair reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes -- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense." Others say that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here and here.]
A very special 'This American Life' about an administration with the endemic belief that laws only apply to the little people, and a limitless refusal to concede on even petty issues, no matter the costs. The highlight is about immigrant widows of US citizens (30:50). The program also discusses the constitutional beliefs of the presidential candidates. [more inside]
In honor of the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq War, PBS' Frontline presented a fantastic 2- part special on the issue this past Monday and Tuesday. It is now available in it's entirety online along with interview transcripts from senior officials, a video timeline of the war, and battlefield stories from soldiers. Bush's War
- Bin Laden by Immortal Technique
- Cowboy (Ode to Dubya) by Peggy Watson
- Good Ol' Jesus by Thom Paine, Woody Guthrie and Kevin Kane
- Georgie Porgie by Linda Finkle
- American Two Step by William Shatner and The Everly Brothers
- Holdin' Out by Strangegirl
- Girly-Man Rag by Steve Zimmerman
- I Don't Like Bush by Brett Eidman
- Great Big Lies by Dumb Presidents
The George W. Bush Presidential Library : visualizations
Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war.
Tim Goeglein, director of the White House office of public liaison, is a plagiarist.
... and he actually admits it.
... and he actually admits it.
“It is true,” Tim Goeglein wrote to The Journal Gazette in an e-mail. “I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses."Found by Blogger (and MeFi lurker) Nancy Nall.
Bob Geldof in Rwanda gives Bush his props.. Bob Geldof, who has worked tirelessly to ease the suffering in Africa, has praised President Bush on his policies and efforts in that country. The singer was annoyed that the press had mostly ignored the exuberant reception that Mr. Bush has consistently received during his five-nation tour this week
While it may be old news the US was drawn into the Iraq War under false pretenses, a new report by the Center for Public Integrity documents 935 specific falsehoods in public statements by eight white house officials: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz, Fleischer and McClellan. [more inside]
Patriots, countrymen, help out the American economy with Operation: Change For The Better.