|jazzoLOG: Earth Destroyed By Drunk|
22 comments16 Aug 2005 @ 16:13 by jerryvest : Yup, we have a drunk in the Whitehouse
who is in denial and endangering all that we cherish on the planet and beyond. One question might be: How much more damage can he do during these next 3 years?
16 Aug 2005 @ 18:57 by Quinty @188.8.131.52 : Dry drunks on wobbly foundations
Your description of Bush is very convincing. I balk, as a rule, at accepting this kind of analysis. So much to know, so little known. But this one fits Bush well, and we know that the Neocon gurus through Papa Bush's intervention gave young George a thorough tutoring. He is very loyal and very close to Condee Rice et al. The talk in their clique, if it were recorded, could make Nixon sound Emersonian.
But what was it you said, Bush might decide to hop onto another spaceship?
I can recall reading something by Norman Mailer several decades ago which asserted presidents set the spiritual clime of the nation during their presidencies. And I think that's true. Young George has certainly created a wobbly and unstable environment in our nation with, unfortunately, the willing assent of a lot of people. And in such an environment corruption easily thrives. The overall mood of national spiritual squalor is very intense. And this war in Iraq also heightens a sense of criminal squalor. These are hard times for many people, those who wish this country would reach its potential: the one the Founders originally hoped for.
16 Aug 2005 @ 19:13 by ankh : AA
What I never liked about AA's philosophy is that a person is labeled a drunk/alcoholic - forever. That is negative conditioning in my book. That means you can NEVER overcome it - so it's like the entire AA system cancels itself out in that, alone.
Another aspect of many AA groups is the focus on religion, as if that's the answer to addiction. It's just replacing one addiction with another one, and I'd say that it's not a better one at that. (Case in point, Bush.) Both lead a person to believe they are NOT personally empowered beings who choose to drink or not to drink. Each time a person takes a drink or a drug it's out of choice. Yeah, the body has a lot to do with it if one is addicted, but it's still a choice. Is it working for ya? That's the question.
16 Aug 2005 @ 22:46 by Quinty @184.108.40.206 : AA
AA is very rigid. They make no distinction between heavy drinkers and alcoholics. There is a difference. I've always assumed AA was as rigid as it is because in some cases that's the only way to crack the nut, so to speak. That its members require AA's narrow doctrinaire approach.
There are many, many reasons for doing drugs or alcohol. AA is like a faith, a doctrinaire religion: if it works for you, then fine. And AA, I suppose, has helped many people. Those who need an extremely narrow and disciplined way out. A rigid structure in their lives to help stay off the sauce.
But there are differences between drinkers, and not all heavy drinkers are alcoholics. Nor do they all greatly impair their own lives or those who are close to them. Alcohol can be a boon, a pleasure, and even beneficial to your health if consumed moderately. Could AA ever loosen up enough to make such an admission? To glory in good wine and spirits? No, all I have ever heard from them are baleful tales of having that one drink: the one leading to the bottom. AA is not a cheerful organization: but then its members may not be very cheerful on the subject themselves. And they may depend upon AA's doleful rigidity.
I consume about 8 or 10 ounces of wine a night with dinner and maybe two or three times a year go overboard. If anyone reading this knows me (and I know a few of you do) then you know that at one time I drank quite heavily. The transition was easy and rather uneventful.
If my doctor ever tells me to quit maybe I will.
17 Aug 2005 @ 00:28 by bushman : Hmm
I used to drink, but was told by my doctor I was alergic to it, because it dosnt warm me up it makes me cold and shivery, so I just stopped drinking alcohal compleetly, sometimes I might take a swig of jack when passed around the campfire with my closest friends, but that situation might happen once every 5 or 6 years, dont know why it was so easy to just say no, mostly because Id have to drink alot to even get buzzed, too hyper, just burns off while thinking, lol, just a bad buzz as well having to try and stay in that almost sick zone to be buzzed from it.
17 Aug 2005 @ 04:47 by ankh : Same here, Bushman
I'm allergic to most wines and hate the taste of most alcoholic beverages. Although I do enjoy a beer once a year lol. Getting warm is also a sign of allergic reaction - I get flushed after one or two sips of wine and immediately feel high. Probably because I'm not used to it but my body does not like it. I also am allergic to raisins so that probably makes sense I'd be allergic to most wines. Quinty, you made a choice and it works, too :-)
17 Aug 2005 @ 10:31 by jazzolog : Is Bush Out Of Control?
I don't like smashing into people as I did in this entry either quinty, but maybe I'm too passive/aggressive...at least in Karl Rove's hunter's guide. I'm glad it stirred up some discussion: here in Athens I'm getting invited to coffee with professors who've read it, so maybe I've hit a nerve of concern.
As to AA, the real bottom line, as you've all said, is whether it helps the person who desires sobriety---which goal really is the only requirement for membership. "You're a member if you say you are." Some people come drunk to the meetings, which is supposed to be OK as long as that person wishes she/he could be sober instead. In fact, I've heard of people thanking the drunk person next to him for the contact high---which of course reminds the drunk you can't hide it. Lots of humor in AA.
Of course there are levels of addiction, and alcholics used to argue dependence on booze isn't addiction at all. Anyone who's done psychiatric work and seen DTs in action ought have no doubts however. What AA says is alcoholism is a progressive disease, with the payoff being the shot liver and difficult death. If you stop, to some degree the liver can rebuild...but each person's tolerance for alcohol remains the same, as does the craving. The craving never goes away, although one can train one's mind not to think of it. One way is to remind oneself constantly that one is a drunk and always will be. That's why AA's introduce themselves at every meeting every time the way they do.
The real motto of AA is Take what you need and leave the rest. That's actually not very rigid. Many members say openly they don't like the Higher Power stuff...but some of them do develop a kind of understanding of it they can use. The wonder of the organization is created by its single purpose and topic of discussion, and any organization can operate that way and produce a similar effect. When people from all walks of life and all levels of prosperity show up somewhere and discuss just one thing, soon real priorities in life emerge.
Apparently I wasn't alone in the wee hours of a sleepless night Monday over the character of this President. Dana found this one and sent it out to her list last night~~~
From Capitol Hill Blue
Is Bush Out of Control?
By DOUG THOMPSON
Aug 15, 2005, 05:46
Buy beleaguered, overworked White House aides enough drinks and they tell a sordid tale of an administration under siege, beset by bitter staff infighting and led by a man whose mood swings suggest paranoia bordering on schizophrenia.
They describe a President whose public persona masks an angry, obscenity-spouting man who berates staff, unleashes tirades against those who disagree with him and ends meetings in the Oval Office with get out of here!
In fact, George W. Bushs mood swings have become so drastic that White House emails often contain weather reports to warn of the Presidents demeanor. Calm seas means Bush is calm while tornado alert is a warning that he is pissed at the world.
Decreasing job approval ratings and increased criticism within his own party drives the Presidents paranoia even higher. Bush, in a meeting with senior advisors, called Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist a god-damned traitor for opposing him on stem-cell research.
Theres real concern in the West Wing that the President is losing it, a high-level aide told me recently.
A year ago, this web site discovered the White House physician prescribed anti-depressants for Bush. The news came after revelations that the Presidents wide mood swings led some administration staffers to doubt his sanity.
Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a paranoid meglomaniac and untreated alcoholic whose lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad showcase Bushs instabilities.
I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed, Dr. Frank said. He fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated.
Dr. Franks conclusions have been praised by other prominent psychiatrists, including Dr. James Grotstein, Professor at UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University Medical School.
As a recovering alcoholic (sober 11 years, two months, nine days), I know all too well the symptoms that Dr. Frank describes and, after watching Bush for the past several years, I have to, unfortunately, agree with him.
Conversations over the last few weeks with longtime friends who work in the Bush White House confirm even more what Dr. Frank says and others have suggested.
The President of the United States is out of control. How long can the ship of state continue to sail with a madman at the helm?
© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue
17 Aug 2005 @ 16:38 by Quinty @220.127.116.11 : Did anyone see this?
Two or three weeks ago when Senator Frist announced he would support stem cell research he visited the White House. Was he summoned? CNN - I think it was CNN - ran a fascinating bit of film footage of Frist and Bush emerging from their meeting. In those three or four seconds in which they were shown walking together Bush's face was up against Frist's in an incredibly furious manner. Hard for me to describe, it was as if Bush were pitting his outrage at Frist in a totally unconcealed manner. Whereas Frist's facial expression, it appeared to me, was merely pensive. CNN must have known what it was doing running that bit of footage. In this unguarded moment Bush was the peevish CEO fiercely reprimanding an underling: a raw brutal display of uncontrolled power.
This in contrast the usual Bush we are accustomed to seeing. Bush the smiler, never changing his manner and style whatever he's discussing. His voice always inflected in the same way. Always seeing the bright side and offering a reassuring wink and a smirk even as he tells the bombing will continue, more will die, but it's all (wink and a smirk) for the better good. And everything (broader smile) will turn out well.
Bush's management style appears to be corporate. He' s not the first president who has behaved more like a business executive than a statesman in the White House. But he is a very shallow CEO who has unlimitted power which he wields on a whim with complete impunity. There is something almost childish about this self-centered thoughtless use of power.
He also seems to believe in dishonesty and deceit for their own ends. They are simply ways of getting what you want. If that doesn't work, remember that you are president. Underlings quickly bow and say "Yes sir," without argument. And contradictory realities are unwelcome: signifying a "bad attitude." One of the Bush's staffers famously said "we create reality." The Neocon cabal, followers of Leo Strauss, believes fully in that dark philosophy. They also believe the American people are incapable of deciding what's best for the country: therefore they have to be lied to. Not for their own good, but because nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of what the Neocons desire: that being ultimate power. And in such a "corporate" society good citizens boost, they never nock. They enthusiastically back the president, the flag, the war, the troops.Those with a fascistic side to their characters find all that highly appealing.
Then there 's the religious element. Most Americans appear to be so ignorant that they don't even know that the Founders did not want religion mixed into politics. That they wrote their "godless constitution" with the example of two hundred years of religious strife to guide them. And now here's Bush saying, "It time government stopped discrimating against religion."
18 Aug 2005 @ 06:19 by ankh : Yes
I saw it and also know that the new appointee to the Supreme Court was in favor of prayer in public schools. They spit on the Founders.
18 Aug 2005 @ 06:38 by jazzolog : The Bush Family Anger
Maureen Dowd's column yesterday has been posted all over the place, but the section in which she recalls the temper tantrum mentality these people can't help but display may be worth repeating~~~
"The first President Bush told us that he kept a telephone in his golf cart and his cigarette boat so he could easily stay on top of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. But at least he seemed worried that he was sending the wrong signal, as his boating and golfing was juxtaposed on the news with footage of the frightened families of troops leaving for the Middle East.
"'I just don't like taking questions on serious matters on my vacation,' the usually good-natured Bush senior barked at reporters on the golf course. 'So I hope you'll understand if I, when I'm recreating, will recreate.' His hot-tempered oldest son, who was golfing with his father that day, was even more irritated. 'Hey! Hey!' W. snapped at reporters asking questions on the first tee. 'Can't you wait until we finish hitting, at least?'
"Junior always had his priorities straight."
18 Aug 2005 @ 15:25 by Quinty @18.104.22.168 : Maureen's comments
"It turns out that the people of Iraq have ethnic and religious identities, not a national identity. Shiites and Kurds want to suppress the Sunnis who once repressed them and break off into their own states, smashing the Bush model kitchen of democracy."
We are fearfully ignorant of the Middle East here in the United States. So long as we could receive our oil and support the concept of a Jewish homeland there Americans were content enough. No one ever seemed to ask what the Arabs thought. Nor did most Americans care. After, aren't we better than everyone else in the world? The envy of the world? Iraq never truly existed. It was a set of lines drawn in the sand by the imperial powers. If Iraq reverted to its natural political boundaries it would be composed of separate tribes. There is no Iraq. I say that as an ignorant American. We should have been happy enough with Saddam. He was willing to be our puppet and would have kept the whole fantastic entity together. We would still receive our oil. And we could have kept on dreaming.
21 Aug 2005 @ 23:54 by jerryvest : A real hero among us.....
Cindy Sheehan may be the most important voice on our planet right now. She is honest, sincere and courageous. She has lost her son in Iraq and has a message and questions for Bush and this administration. Bush continues to lie and evade Cindy and the issues while the press distorts her views and refuses to address Bush on His lies and His War.
This article on 'Truthout" should be passed along to every thinking, caring and loving person. And, I hope she serves as a good wakeup call for these wimpy democrats as well.
Bring the troops home. These lies continue to cause great harm to our great soldiers, innocent others and our Great Nation. I am so ashamed of having Bush as our "elected" president. God help US!
22 Aug 2005 @ 15:07 by Quinty @22.214.171.124 : Yeah
all she has done is boldly speak the truth and it has them running like roaches searching for shadows. Hard language but Rush and O'Reilly and the gang have been using sledge hammers on Cindy.
So long as she stays focussed, presenting herself to the country in all her simple decency and honesty, asking "Why? Why did they die for your lies Mr. Bush?" her impact will be very powerful.
Who would ever have thunk?
23 Aug 2005 @ 08:55 by jazzolog : Just Back From Canada
and I'll probably do a separate piece on the trip. All Yanks should step outside the US right now, just to get a feel for how we're seen elsewhere. Our trip was to the Georgian Bay and the fabulous Summerfolk festival http://www.summerfolk.org/performers.html and for those of you opposed to Bush, it would have done your heart good. A number of those performers are from down here, particularly Eliza Gilkyson, whose new song Man Of God tore the place wide open on the first night. The quality of protest songs, which singer James Gordon is calling Weapons Of Mass Instruction, is beyond anything I've heard from such composers in 40 years. For those of us who have to be "careful" what we say around colleagues and employers and such these days, it was liberating indeed to be among the solid support in Canada. You probably heard Joan Baez serenaded the Camp at Crawford over the weekend. Maybe dissent and discussion will start to loosen all that tight and rigid hatred gripping this republic.
26 Aug 2005 @ 06:15 by bushman : Hmm
Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides
Posted on Thursday, August 25 By DOUG THOMPSON
While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him.
Im not meeting with that goddamned bitch, Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. She can go to hell as far as Im concerned!
Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them motherfucking traitors. He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore bullshit protectors over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to tell those VFW assholes that Ill never speak to them again is they cant keep their members under control.
White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the Presidents honesty.
Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say, he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. Im the President and Ill do whatever I goddamned please. They dont know shit.
Bush, whiles setting up for a photo op for signing the recent CAFTA bill, flipped an extended middle finger at the camera before going live. Aides say the President often flips the bird to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to go to hell or to go fuck yourself.
Bushs behavior, according to prominent Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Justin Frank, author of Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, is all too typical of an alcohol-abusing bully who is ruled by fear.
To see that fear emerges, Dr. Frank says, all one has to do is confront the President. To actually directly confront him in a clear way, to bring him out, so you would really see the bully, and you would also see the fear, he says.
Dr. Frank, in his book, speculates that Bush, an alcoholic who brags that he gave up booze without help from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, may be drinking again.
Two questions that the press seems particularly determined to ignore have hung silently in the air since before Bush took office, Dr. Frank says. Is he still drinking? And if not, is he impaired by all the years he did spend drinking? Both questions need to be addressed in any serious assessment of his psychological state.
Last year, Capitol Hill Blue learned the White House physician prescribed anti-depressant drugs for the President to control what aides called violent mood swings. As Dr. Frank also notes: In writing about Bush's halting appearance in a press conference just before the start of the Iraq War, Washington Post media critic Tom Shales speculated that the president may have been ever so slightly medicated.
Dr. Frank explains Bushs behavior as all-to-typical of an alcoholic who is still in denial:
The pattern of blame and denial, which recovering alcoholics work so hard to break, seems to be ingrained in the alcoholic personality; it's rarely limited to his or her drinking, he says. The habit of placing blame and denying responsibility is so prevalent in George W. Bush's personal history that it is apparently triggered by even the mildest threat.
3 Sep 2005 @ 11:00 by jazzolog : The Insulation Of The Elite President
When he's busy making so much reality and money, don't bother him with facts! At what point does a hurricane breach the Homeland Security? Who could have foreseen such a thing? You like how your tax dollars are being invested for you?
The New York Times
September 3, 2005
United States of Shame
By MAUREEN DOWD
And when you combine limited government with incompetent government, lethal stuff happens.
America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America.
W. drove his budget-cutting Chevy to the levee, and it wasn't dry. Bye, bye, American lives. "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees," he told Diane Sawyer.
Shirt-sleeves rolled up, W. finally landed in Hell yesterday and chuckled about his wild boozing days in "the great city" of N'Awlins. He was clearly moved. "You know, I'm going to fly out of here in a minute," he said on the runway at the New Orleans International Airport, "but I want you to know that I'm not going to forget what I've seen." Out of the cameras' range, and avoided by W., was a convoy of thousands of sick and dying people, some sprawled on the floor or dumped on baggage carousels at a makeshift M*A*S*H unit inside the terminal.
Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses.
Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs.
Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports.
Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl.
In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq.
Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
Just last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials practiced how they would respond to a fake hurricane that caused floods and stranded New Orleans residents. Imagine the feeble FEMA's response to Katrina if they had not prepared.
Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center.
Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.
When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals.
When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed.
Who are we if we can't take care of our own?
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
4 Sep 2005 @ 09:30 by jazzolog : Rich Reviews Bush Katrina Performance
Why is a theatre critic emerging with the most devastating analysis of this presidential administration? Is it appropriate? Before Reagan we always looked to such weighty scholars as George Kennan, Walter Lippmann or Arthur Schlesinger to clarify what was smoke and what were mirrors. But the Great Actor changed the White House into a sitcom, and the guys that have followed cater to showbiz realities.
Remember early in W's first term, George marching alone on Ellis Island before the Statue of Liberty to wrench our hearts and stir our devotion? Remember the lighting for that performance? The director deserved an academy award. More obviously, the aircraft carrier Mission Accomplished thing. The hidden transmitter that tells him what to say. Who plans this stuff?
W's first administration may have been more slick than this one, partly because Bush likes to promote his warriors off the front lines into something more cushy when they've pleased him. Karen Hughes may be the best example. Remember her? The advisor who left Washington in 2002 to go back to Texas to be a good mom? Whatever happened to her?
After graduating from Southern Methodist in 1977, Karen got a job as a TV reporter, specializing in politics and campaigns. She kept that job until 1984, when she joined the Reagan-Bush campaign as press coordinator. Since the '90s she's been Bush II's communications coordinator. Her background in television has meant she's always stocked W's staff with the best media production Republican money can buy. You may recall how upset the President was when she left Washington...but do you know she remained in daily contact nevertheless as his special advisor? Do you know she returned fulltime in 2004, planning the Republican Convention from a special office set up for her on Air Force One? The ad campaigns in the late stages of the 2004 election are hers. The Dallas Morning News calls Hughes "the most powerful woman ever to serve in the White House." ABC News called her Bush's "most essential advisor." (More than Rove!?) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Hughes
Where is she now? How about Undersecretary of State? http://www.state.gov/misc/19232.htm Scroll down to the senior official in charge of "public diplomacy and public affairs." The one without a picture or biography. The Washington Post put it this way in July: "Only two senators were in the room when Karen Hughes testified at her confirmation hearings. When it came time for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on her nomination yesterday, she was easily approved. And thus with no discussion and no debate, Hughes takes over the least noticed, least respected and possibly most important job in the State Department." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/26/AR2005072601551.html BuzzFlash was a bit more rude last year http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/04/05/edi04033.html .
So yes, a theatre critic is perfect to take apart the productions of this administration. Sunday after Sunday, Frank Rich's column looks behind the scenery and costumes and gets into the dressing room. He checks the script and is merciless if that speech was a hack job and needed a rewrite. I mean, the whole world's watching and the Department of State is in the director's chair!
The New York Times
September 4, 2005
Falluja Floods the Superdome
By FRANK RICH
As the levees cracked open and ushered hell into New Orleans on Tuesday, President Bush once again chose to fly away from Washington, not toward it, while disaster struck. We can all enumerate the many differences between a natural catastrophe and a terrorist attack. But character doesn't change: it is immutable, and it is destiny.
As always, the president's first priority, the one that sped him from Crawford toward California, was saving himself: he had to combat the flood of record-low poll numbers that was as uncontrollable as the surging of Lake Pontchartrain. It was time, therefore, for another disingenuous pep talk, in which he would exploit the cataclysm that defined his first term, 9/11, even at the price of failing to recognize the emerging fiasco likely to engulf Term 2.
After dispatching Katrina with a few sentences of sanctimonious boilerplate ("our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens"), he turned to his more important task. The war in Iraq is World War II. George W. Bush is F.D.R. And anyone who refuses to stay his course is soft on terrorism and guilty of a pre-9/11 "mind-set of isolation and retreat." Yet even as Mr. Bush promised "victory" (a word used nine times in this speech on Tuesday), he was standing at the totemic scene of his failure. It was along this same San Diego coastline that he declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln more than two years ago. For this return engagement, The Washington Post reported http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/30/AR2005083001078.html , the president's stage managers made sure he was positioned so that another hulking aircraft carrier nearby would stay off-camera, lest anyone be reminded of that premature end of "major combat operations."
This administration would like us to forget a lot, starting with the simple fact that next Sunday is the fourth anniversary of the day we were attacked by Al Qaeda, not Iraq. Even before Katrina took command of the news, Sept. 11, 2005, was destined to be a half-forgotten occasion, distorted and sullied by a grotesquely inappropriate Pentagon-sponsored country music jamboree on the Mall. But hard as it is to reflect upon so much sorrow at once, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the real history surrounding 9/11; it is the Rosetta stone for what is happening now. If we are to pull ourselves out of the disasters of Katrina and Iraq alike, we must live in the real world, not the fantasyland of the administration's faith-based propaganda. Everything connects.
Though history is supposed to occur first as tragedy, then as farce, even at this early stage we can see that tragedy is being repeated once more as tragedy. From the president's administration's inattention to threats before 9/11 to his disappearing act on the day itself to the reckless blundering in the ill-planned war of choice that was 9/11's bastard offspring, Katrina is déjà vu with a vengeance.
The president's declaration that "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees" has instantly achieved the notoriety of Condoleezza Rice's "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center." The administration's complete obliviousness to the possibilities for energy failures, food and water deprivation, and civil disorder in a major city under siege needs only the Donald Rumsfeld punch line of "Stuff happens" for a coup de grâce. How about shared sacrifice, so that this time we might get the job done right? After Mr. Bush's visit on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, Diane Sawyer reported on a postinterview conversation in which he said, "There won't have to be tax increases."
But on a second go-round, even the right isn't so easily fooled by this drill (with the reliable exception of Peggy Noonan, who found much reassurance in Mr. Bush's initial autopilot statement about the hurricane, with its laundry list of tarps and blankets). This time the fecklessness and deceit were all too familiar. They couldn't be obliterated by a bullhorn or by the inspiring initial post-9/11 national unity that bolstered the president until he betrayed it. This time the heartlessness beneath the surface of his actions was more pronounced.
You could almost see Mr. Bush's political base starting to crumble at its very epicenter, Fox News, by Thursday night. Even there it was impossible to ignore that the administration was no more successful at securing New Orleans than it had been at pacifying Falluja.
A visibly exasperated Shepard Smith, covering the story on the ground in Louisiana, went further still, tossing hand grenades of harsh reality into Bill O'Reilly's usually spin-shellacked "No Spin Zone." Among other hard facts, Mr. Smith noted "that the haves of this city, the movers and shakers of this city, evacuated the city either immediately before or immediately after the storm." What he didn't have to say, since it was visible to the entire world, was that it was the poor who were left behind to drown.
In that sense, the inequality of the suffering has not only exposed the sham of the relentless photo-ops with black schoolchildren whom the president trots out at campaign time to sell his "compassionate conservatism"; it has also positioned Katrina before a rapt late-summer audience as a replay of the sinking of the Titanic. New Orleans's first-class passengers made it safely into lifeboats; for those in steerage, it was a horrifying spectacle of every man, woman and child for himself.
THE captain in this case, Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, was so oblivious to those on the lower decks that on Thursday he applauded the federal response to the still rampaging nightmare as "really exceptional." He told NPR that he had "not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don't have food and water" - even though every television viewer in the country had been hearing of those 25,000 stranded refugees for at least a day. This Titanic syndrome, too, precisely echoes the post-9/11 wartime history of an administration that has rewarded the haves at home with economic goodies while leaving the have-nots to fight in Iraq without proper support in manpower or armor. Surely it's only a matter of time before Mr. Chertoff and the equally at sea FEMA director, Michael Brown (who also was among the last to hear about the convention center), are each awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in line with past architects of lethal administration calamity like George Tenet and Paul Bremer.
On Thursday morning, the president told Diane Sawyer that he hoped "people don't play politics during this period of time." Presumably that means that the photos of him wistfully surveying the Katrina damage from Air Force One won't be sold to campaign donors as the equivalent 9/11 photos were. Maybe he'll even call off the right-wing attack machine so it won't Swift-boat the Katrina survivors who emerge to ask tough questions as it has Cindy Sheehan and those New Jersey widows who had the gall to demand a formal 9/11 inquiry.
But a president who flew from Crawford to Washington in a heartbeat to intervene in the medical case of a single patient, Terri Schiavo, has no business lecturing anyone about playing politics with tragedy. Eventually we're going to have to examine the administration's behavior before, during and after this storm as closely as its history before, during and after 9/11. We're going to have to ask if troops and matériel of all kinds could have arrived faster without the drain of national resources into a quagmire. We're going to have to ask why it took almost two days of people being without food, shelter and water for Mr. Bush to get back to Washington.
Most of all, we're going to have to face the reality that with this disaster, the administration has again increased our vulnerability to the terrorists we were supposed to be fighting after 9/11. As Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar, pointed out to The Washington Post last week in talking about the fallout from the war in Iraq, there have been twice as many terrorist attacks outside Iraq in the three years after 9/11 than in the three years before. Now, thanks to Mr. Bush's variously incompetent, diffident and hubristic mismanagement of the attack by Katrina, he has sent the entire world a simple and unambiguous message: whatever the explanation, the United States is unable to fight its current war and protect homeland security at the same time.
The answers to what went wrong in Washington and on the Gulf Coast will come later, and, if the history of 9/11 is any guide, all too slowly, after the administration and its apologists erect every possible barrier to keep us from learning the truth. But as Americans dig out from Katrina and slouch toward another anniversary of Al Qaeda's strike, we have to acknowledge the full extent and urgency of our crisis. The world is more perilous than ever, and for now, to paraphrase Mr. Rumsfeld, we have no choice but to fight the war with the president we have.
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
18 Oct 2005 @ 15:09 by melztripp : Positive, encouraging thoughts!!!!!!
since history does keep repeating itself in pretty much the same way, how about changing our thoughts and behaviors?!?! if all that is talked and discussed is the conspiracy, wrongdoing, and all around sickening behaviour of our government and its officials...then that is exactly what our viewpoints will continue to be. it gets old hearing about the "gossip". maybe someone needs to give george a hug, and tell him he's doing a great job. and maybe include something like....brother, i'm glad it's your job and not mine! how many of us could do what he does? who would frickin' want to??? our future is NOT written in stone, maybe we, as a species of humans, can learn to evolve past the insane behaviour of Pete and RePeat. this is what addiction is by the way...."repeating the same behaviour over and over again, and getting the same negative results" this describes alcoholism and drug addiction, or any addiction for that matter. i am not saying that i agree with things the way they are, but all the blame is not for one man. i'm really glad that you can see the human side of bush when he talks..he's not some clever, charismatic, master manipulator...instead he is flawed!!! i think that is wonderful! he screws up and stutters, or says something really dumb once in a while..i'm relieved by this. i just feel basically like we need to show more support, we might as well, he is our president for the next few years, so why put him down??
18 Oct 2005 @ 16:03 by Quinty @126.96.36.199 : All George needs is a little hug
I can't resist taking issue with your logic, Melztrip. (Sorry, but that's the only name I have to work with.) And I will attempt to answer some of your points. Not all, of course, because to do so would be to burrow deep, deep down into the substrata and foundations of your reasoning. So let's just remain up at the surface, without getting too complicated. Nor do I want to sound complacent or arrogant. Since, considering what we have to work with, that would be easy to do so.
Does George need a little a hug, and someone to tell him he's doing a great job? Well, perhaps he does. But what has this to do with the effects of his behavior on us? Who counts, after all, in all this? George or us?
It seems to me that the presidency is the highest form of public service, and that a president is required to serve the public. That his conduct effects the public good, and has enormous consequences.
No, no one forced George to become president. No one held a gun to his head. He fought (quite dirtily, by the way) very hard to become governor and then president. If he had desired to he could have spared himself all the effort and anguish. But the prize was quite large. And, as you suggest, he he strove for these rewards not for the American people but for himself.
Should we feel sorry for George or for ourselves? That question is the same as: "Should we feel sorry for the embezzler or those whose life savings are stolen? Since the embezzler may go to jail, and suffer, and be forced to account for his behavior?"
"Peat and Repeat.... " Well, yes, history does repeat itself. George Bush is not the first criminal to hold great office and power. And probably won't be the last. And as each one comes along has to be held to account, don't you agree? Unless criminality becomes the norm, and an encouraging hug is our only response.
I'll end it there, and hope I didn't sound too smug.
Have a good day, Melztrip.......
18 Oct 2005 @ 16:37 by jmarc : The 12 Steps
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of OURSELVES
5. Admitted to God, to OURSELVES and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
10. Continued to take PERSONAL inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
(jmarc's) 13th step
Practice what you preach.
22 Jul 2006 @ 10:26 by jazzolog : If He Were Just A Drunk
This essay by William Rivers Pitt requires preserving~~~
The Ballad of Dumb George
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 21 July 2006
I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid.
- "The Ultimate Flame," author unknown
George W. Bush is a good man, word has it. He's plain-spoken, they say. A regular fella. A good guy to have a beer with, except he supposedly doesn't drink anymore.
I wish, more than anything, that he were drinking. I wish he were drinking all the time. I wish, oh how I wish, that he were stand-up-fall-down-ralphing-down-his-shirt loaded every minute of every day. It would be a comfort, simply because it would explain a great many things. Having a drunk for a president is, after all, a fixable situation. Put him to bed at Camp David for a few weeks and surround him with Secret Service agents. Let his body clean itself out. Problem solved, and really, would anyone actually notice his absence?
I don't believe Bush has gotten off the sauce, if truth be told. I know more than a few boozers who, like George, periodically show up with odd wounds on their faces they got from falling over or running into walls. The injuries that appear on George's mien from time to time can perhaps be explained away - maybe Dick Cheney is stalking the halls with a shotgun loaded with rock salt and blasting anyone, even the boss, who gets in his way - but if "George still drinks" were up on the big board at the MGM Grand sports book, I'd take the bet no matter what the oddsmakers had to say.
Having a drunk for a president is manageable. Having a stone bozo for a president, on the other hand, is a calamity of global proportions.
Let's take a walk through the last few days. George winged off to Russia for trade talks at the G-8 summit, and managed in the course of 100 hours to embarrass himself and our entire country. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is smarter than Bush by several orders of magnitude, insulted George in front of the international press corps with a tight quip about "democracy" in Iraq. No trade deal got done. The whole thing was a humiliating waste of time, captured best by all the photos of Bush and Putin together. In each and every one of them, Putin is looking at George with an expression that somehow conveyed disgust, disdain and awe simultaneously.
Putin's disgust and disdain are easily understood - the poor guy was trapped in a room with our knucklehead president for hours, after all - but the awe requires notice. What, Putin must have thought, is this fool doing running a country?
After that came the much-noted open-mike gaffe, during which George dropped an s-bomb while discussing the Middle East crisis with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The cussing doesn't trouble me - those who know say that John F. Kennedy swore like a sailor whenever he talked shop - but the rest of the scene was like something out of a high school cafeteria. Bush sat there, talking with what looked like seventeen doughnuts stuffed into his gob, while poor Tony tried to discuss matters of life and death.
You have to listen to the audio to get a full grasp of what transpired. It wasn't just the dialogue. It was the tone in Blair's voice. He sounded for all the world like a teacher attempting to explain something to an exceptionally dull student. His tone suggested infinite patience and a touch of true sadness, as if he could not quite believe he was speaking this way to an American president.
"It takes him eight hours to fly home," said George at one point during the open-mike massacre. "Eight hours. Russia's big and so is China." He was, presumably, speaking to someone about Chinese President Hu Jintao's travel requirements, but really now. Huffington Post writer Cenk Uygur captured the unbelievable vapidity of the discourse.
"Russia's big and so is China?" exclaimed Uygur. "This guys sounds like a third grader. Do you know anyone who would have a conversation like this with their neighbor, let alone a business associate, let alone a world leader? Who's proud to know that Russia is big and so is China? If someone is this ignorant, they're usually embarrassed and try not to talk much. But this guy is so dumb he has no idea how dumb he is. This sounds like a conversation you might have with a child, a mentally challenged child. Johnny, do you know how big Russia is? How about China? This would all be unfortunate if George were your dentist, or worse yet, your accountant. But he is the leader of the free world. This man makes life or death decisions every day. If you say you're not scared about that, you're lying."
Then came the pig-roast thing. Newsday described it best: "As Israeli warplanes were preparing an attack on Lebanon Thursday afternoon, and a Lebanese militia was aiming a rocket at the ancient Israeli city of Safed, President George W. Bush was bantering with reporters in Germany about a pig. Bush kept bringing up the roast wild boar he was about to dine on at a banquet that night, even when asked about the swelling crisis in the Middle East, where pig meat is forbidden to religious Jews and Muslims. 'Does it concern you that the Beirut airport has been bombed?' a reporter asked. 'And do you see a risk of triggering a wider war?' 'I thought you were going to ask me about the pig,' Bush replied blithely. Then he brought the pig up again - for the fifth time - before giving a long answer that ended with his saying Israel needed to protect itself."
After this came the moment when George tried to give German Chancellor Angela Merkel a back massage while she was speaking to someone at the summit table. He sidled up behind her and just started rubbing. Merkel's reaction was instantaneous and dramatic: she flinched, flailed her arms up and basically waved the president of the United States away from her. Her reaction would have been no different if Bush had dropped a live catfish down the back of her shirt.
What's next? Will George go to the United Nations, sit on Kofi Annan's head, and fart like some bratty brother tormenting a sibling? Will the cameras catch him playing penny hockey during Middle East peace negotiations? You can't say it'll never happen. It reminds me of the scene from "Caddyshack" where the golfers are hiding in the bushes and betting on whether the Smails kid picks his nose. It is not too farfetched a concept to believe that the other G-8 leaders were doing something very similar while watching Bush.
There were, by my count, no less than twenty different moments in the last few days where George brought shame and disgrace upon this country. He did not do this by being too tough, or too soft, or too strident. He did this simply by being himself. His head is an echo chamber where very stupid bats roost. He has the intellect of a bag of rocks. Maybe it's impolite to say this, but it has to be said.
And yeah, Mr. Uygur, it is really, really scary. I wish the man were a drunk. I'd sleep better, and so would the world.
The Back Rub
The Pig Roast
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