Who is going to buy a book written by DICK?An Ode to Bush
Dick Cheney came to the Nixon Library this week to talk about his new book, Heart—it’s about his five heart attacks and his heart transplant. When our most hated vice president visits the library of our most disgraced president, you look forward to a good night. So my friend Howard and I went to Yorba Linda, expecting a festive evening of Obama-bashing and a twisted trip back through the glories of the Bush years.
It turned out to be mostly a book event. Signed copies were for sale; Cheney did a Q&A about his book and took a few friendly questions. But the evening ended up as it had to: with Obamacare.
The news of Cheney’s heart transplant, in March 2012, had been welcomed by comedians everywhere. Jon Stewart declared it “the greatest joke setup ever.” Jay Leno had the best line:“This weekend, 71-year-old former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant. And I thought this was nice: they let him shoot the donor himself.”
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart acted out the transplant surgery with himself as the surgeon; the old heart leapt out of Cheney’s chest and bit the terrified surgeon on the neck.
David Letterman said,“Finally all of those midnight trips to the graveyard with the hunchbacked assistant have paid off.”
Joan Rivers summed it up:“Rather surprised Dick Cheney got a heart, after lasting all these years without one.”
The Cheney event was held in the Nixon Library’s “East Room,” an exact replica of the room in the White House, with giant chandeliers, ornate wainscoting and a dozen flags in a row—except that the Yorba Linda version had two giant video screens so the audience of several hundred could see Cheney. The Q&A, conduced by Frank Gannon, a former Nixon assistant, was surprisingly lighthearted, given the somber subject of the book. Gannon’s list of questions couldn’t have been simpler: Tell us about your first heart attack—you were 37. Now tell us about your second.
Howard whispered to me,“It’s the organ recital.” He was referring to the old Jewish joke about the dinner table conversation of the aunts and uncles:“My liver isn’t doing so well,”“My kidneys hurt,”“I have angina.”
“Your third heart attack was my favorite,” Gannon said. It happened on the way into the House chamber in the Capitol to hear Reagan’s 1988 State of the Union speech.“I passed out,” Cheney said, and collapsed onto the floor. His press aide, who was with him, told him afterwards that “several of my colleagues, on their way to the speech, stepped over my body,” and kept going. As he told the story, Cheney chuckled. Those darn Congressmen.
After describing his heart transplant, Cheney thanked his doctor, who is his co-author, and the donor, who is anonymous. Howard whispered,“Notice that he didn’t thank God?”
The only question that got a big, excited response from the audience was,“Can you comment on Obamacare?” What was most significant in Cheney’s answer was what he did not say—the things said by right-wing media at the time of his transplant. The New York Post for example had run the headline,“Beware Obamacare: It might’ve killed Cheney.” The argument was that those dreaded “death panels” would have ruled that Cheney was too old—he was 71—and he would, therefore, have been denied a transplant. Breitbart.com said Obamacare required looking at cases like Cheney’s “as an avenue toward survival of the fittest.” The blog RedState declared,“A Poorer Man Than Dick Cheney Might’ve Died if ObamaCare was in Full Effect”—because of those death panels.
But as Gawker.com pointed out, pre-Obamacare transplant ethics already required that the age and future health of potential recipients be considered.
Cheney’s answer to the question about Obamacare was limited to a criticism about the tax on medical devices:“It really worries me,” he said, since stents had kept him alive for years.“I can’t think of a worse notion.
#1794 Dec 24, 2013
#1795 Feb 8, 2014
An Ode to Bush
After a recent three-to-three decision by a partisan-deadlocked Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Karl Rove may have thought he was off the hook for federal campaign finance violations by his Crossroads GPS organization. Two non-profit, good government groups, however, feel differently. Last Friday, they filed a federal lawsuit [PDF] against the FEC in hopes of forcing the agency to reverse its ruling, revisit the complaint against his group's 2010 electioneering, and to enforce federal campaign finance rules as specified by law.
Late last Friday, Attorneys from the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center and the Public Citizen Litigation Group filed a civil complaint against the FEC in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.
The suit seeks to reverse what the plaintiffs describe as an "arbitrary" and "capricious" decision by the three Republican FEC Commissioners, in contradiction of the advice of their own staff attorneys, to dismiss the administrative complaint the groups had filed against Rove's organization. That administrative complaint charged that Rove's group violated federal campaign finance law during the 2010 election cycle.
The votes by the three Republican FEC Commissioners effectively quashed any further official investigation into the allegations that Rove's group violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) when it spent the majority of its money during the 2010 election cycle on electioneering, but failed to register as a "political committee" with the FEC, as required by law. Their decision to shut down the investigation came after what the FEC's own staff attorneys found to be a likely violation of the federal campaign finance law.
By dismissing the administrative complaint and shutting the door on the investigation, the Republican FEC Commissioners not only allowed Rove to keep, as a secret, the identity of donors of tens of millions of dollars used to support Republican Congressional campaigns in 2010, but effectively offered Rove carte blanche to conceal donor identities with respect to monies spent in subsequent elections, such as the 2012 election cycle in which Crossroads GPS "spent at least $71 million on federal campaign activity," according to the newly filed federal complaint.
The plaintiffs charge that the FEC's deadlock was the result of "an impermissible interpretation of FECA," and the agency's own published guidelines due to an "abuse of discretion" by the Republican commissioners in a manner that was "otherwise contrary to law"...
While the suit was filed last week, the intention to file was first announced by Craig Holman, the Government Affairs Lobbyist for Public Citizen's Congress Watch, during an interview last month with Brad Friedman on the KPFK/Pacifica Radio BradCast.
As Holman, one of four plaintiffs in the case, explained at the time, the number of deadlocked 3-3 votes at the FEC has increased "nine-fold" since 2008, effectively preventing enforcement of federal campaign finance laws over the past five years.
In this instance, the three Republican FEC Commissioners, as alleged in the complaint, ignored detailed evidence against Crossroads GPS, as well as legal definitions provided by both statute and FEC rules. Their votes not to pursue any further action were also in direct contradiction with the recommendations of the FEC's own Office of General Counsel (OGC).
#1796 Feb 8, 2014
Karl Rove has become a bad joke.
Remember his election night meltdown on Fox News?
#1797 Feb 15, 2014
An ODE to Bush
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday criticized Democrats' focus on income inequality, speaking in Chicago in one of his first major public appearances since his administration was engulfed by scandal.
"You want income equality? That is mediocrity," he said. "Everybody can have an equal, mediocre salary."
"The debate that needs to be had between the two parties needs to be: Do we want equality of income, or greatness of opportunity?” he added.“The opportunity for greatness excites the American people much more."
During an hour-long question-and-answer session with Greg Brown, the chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions Inc., Christie also took the opportunity to praise former President George W. Bush.
"The guy won two national elections," Christie said.“How easy has that looked the last 8 years. He was, first, an outstanding political candidate. And I think he was grossly underappreciated by his own country and his own party as a politician."
"No one ever had a question where he stood, either foreign or domestically," he added.
The two men have a long history. Bush nominated Christie as United States Attorney for New Jersey in 2001. The Washington Post reported that some viewed him as unqualified for the position and "[m]any attributed his appointment to his fundraising prowess for Bush."
At Christie's request, Bush appeared in November at a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, which Christie chairs.
The remarks, in front of a friendly, mostly-Republican audience, seemed to indicate an attempt by Christie, who has presidential aspirations, to tack further right. He is set to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference next month in Maryland, one year after he was snubbed by the same event and not given a slot.
#1798 Feb 15, 2014
An Ode to Bush
We live in a fracked up country, but thanks to Dick Cheney, there’s pretty much nothing we can do about it.
Over the past decade, the extraction of natural gas through a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has emerged as one of the fossil fuel industry’s biggest money makers.
In fact, according to Bloomberg, fracking was the biggest reason American oil output hit a 25-year high in 2013.
The boom in fracking is, quite literally, hitting close to home.
A recent Wall Street Journal report looked at 11 of the country’s biggest energy-producing states and found that -“At least 15.3 million Americans lived within a mile of a well that has been drilled since 2000. That is more people than live in Michigan or New York City.”
That report also found that in Johnson County, Texas alone “…more than 3,900 wells dot the county and some 99.5% of its 150,000 residents live within a mile of a well.”
Like many places across the U.S., Johnson County is now basically one big drill site.
Not surprisingly, the fossil fuel industry is pushing fracking hard. Big oil has even found a friend in President Obama, who touted natural gas as a “bridge fuel” in his most recent State of the Union address.
All due respect to the president, but fracking is not safe. Numerous studies have shown that it contaminates drinking water, threatens public health, and, in some cases, even causes earthquakes.
If any industry in the country needs regulation it’s the fracking industry, but thanks in large part to Dick Cheney, it’s exempt from having to follow most important environmental laws on the books.
Let me explain: Back in 2005. President - excuse me Vice President - Cheney was hard at work doing what he did best: using his power as the second most powerful man in the country to protect his cronies in the oil business.
His former employer, Halliburton, wanted to get more involved in the emerging American fracking industry, but it faced a potential major roadblock in the form of a 1974 law called the Safe Water Drinking Act.
That act, signed into law by Republican President Gerald Ford, requires the Environmental Protection Agency to keep toxic chemicals from getting into Americans’ drinking water.
Cheney didn’t care about public safety but he did care about Halliburton’s bottom-line - after all, he was a big Halliburton stockholder when he became vice president - and so he joined the lobbying efforts to get Congress to carve out an exemption for fracking in the Safe Water Drinking Act.
Thanks to that carve-out - let’s call it the “Halliburton loophole”- the EPA can’t regulate fracking poisons even when they get into our water supply.
But Cheney and his oil industry buddies didn’t stop there. In 2005, Congress also gave the natural gas industry an exemption from having to write up reports on its activities under the National Environmental Policy Act and expanded its exemption from having to follow Clean Water Act regulations on what kind of chemicals it can dump in storm water runoff.
Coupled with existing exemptions to a variety of pollution laws like the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Superfund Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, the 2005 carve-outs gave the fracking industry seven total exemptions from important environmental regulations.
Nine years later, it’s clear that Dick Cheney and Halliburton got what they wanted. Free from having to follow even the most basic environmental regulations, the fracking industry is bigger than ever and will likely continue to grow well into the future.
#1799 Mar 15, 2014
An Ode to Bush
Diane Ravitch is a household name—for households where EdWeek, Rethinking Schools, and #edreform are standard reading. For most Americans, though, her newest book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, probably didn’t jump off the shelf or raise eyebrows. But it’s important information at a time when everyone needs to be thinking about and rethinking education.
Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, was a leading architect of the George W. Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind law. She is among the few national public figures in education who have shown the courage to acknowledge publicly that the policies she promoted were wrong. Ravitch now has one of the strongest followings and loudest megaphones among teachers and education activists who want an end to high-stakes standardized tests and other tools of the “accountability era”—what she now sees as a “corporate education reform agenda” aimed at breaking public education as we’ve known it.
This reversal leaves her open to challenges of her change of head and heart. I witnessed such a moment this fall at Dartmouth College, where Ravitch addressed a room full of Vermont school board members and superintendents.
The first question after her talk was,“What I most want to hear about is how this Diane Ravitch came to be. A very different Diane Ravitch was for all the things you now call hoaxes and was part of putting them in place. What journey did you go on—and what can you tell us if we might need to go on the same journey?”
Ravitch responded with palpable emotion,“I was part of this. I believed in those things because they didn’t yet exist and sounded good in theory. Now they have [been tried]. I reviewed the evidence. I realized I was wrong and wrote a book about it. I decided the rest of my life would be committed to reversing course and correcting what I got wrong.”
#1800 Mar 18, 2014
An Ode to Bush
By all appearances, former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a man on a mission.
His itinerary for the next several weeks includes stops in Tennessee, New Mexico and Nevada to appear with Republican candidates in this fall's elections or help them raise money for their campaigns.
And then he speaks at a dinner ahead of a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting featuring several potential Republican presidential contenders at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel is owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave over $100 million to Republican candidates in 2012.
So what, exactly, is Jeb Bush up to? Could Bush, 61, the son of a U.S. president and the brother of another, quietly be laying the groundwork for a historic attempt to become the third member of his family to occupy the White House?
When Bush is asked if he will run in 2016, he deflects, saying he will decide by the end of this year based on family considerations and whether he thinks he can run "joyfully."
Bush's spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, declined to comment.
But several other people close to him say that now more than ever, there are signs he might look past several potential hurdles - including polls that suggest Americans are not exactly enthralled with the idea of another President Bush - and seriously consider stepping into the fray.
At this point in previous election cycles when his name has surfaced, Bush has told friends, staffers and fellow Florida politicians that he would not run. However, he "has not given anyone the wave-off at this point" for 2016, said a Washington-based Republican strategist familiar with Bush's discussions about the presidency.
To the contrary, this strategist said, Bush has in place an "inner circle" of fewer than a dozen people who are in regular contact with him weighing the pros and cons of running. "They are at the beginning of a very serious conversation."
A former Bush campaign aide who remains in contact with the former governor said this year's speculation is more warranted than that in previous years: "He's really giving it true consideration. Possibly if you'd asked two years ago, we'd say,'Oh gosh, I don't think he'd do this.' But I think he's giving it a real, serious look now."
Former Republican senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who was secretary of housing and urban development during the presidency of Bush's brother, George W. Bush, said that in Jeb Bush's south Florida there is a growing belief among political observers that he is leaning toward joining what promises to be a crowded field of Republican presidential contenders.
Republican strategists said that Bush - whose eight years as Florida's governor ended in January 2007 - could change the dynamic of the Republican nomination battle and provide a defining moment for a party struggling with a divide between conservative Tea Party activists and more moderate members of the Republican establishment.
There are no declared candidates yet, but the race for the Republican nomination appears to be shaping up as a contest largely among staunch conservatives favored by the Tea Party movement, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, libertarian Republican Rand Paul and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. A more moderate potential candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been caught up in a political scandal that has made some Wall Street donors nervous about his prospects.
A campaign by Bush, a face of the party establishment, could challenge arguments of Tea Party activists and others on the right who see losses by John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections as reasons the party should nominate a more strictly conservative candidate.
#1801 Mar 22, 2014
An Ode to Bush
Just over eleven years ago, President George W. Bush held a widely watched televised press conference, as his self-imposed deadline for launching an invasion of Iraq neared.
Bush stated in his intro,“We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.” A couple of the questions from the press were sharp, but one of the many softballs—if you can imagine, on the brink of a war that would cost thousands of American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives—asking about his religious strength gave him an opportunity to say,“My faith sustains me because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength…. But it’s a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer. And for that I’m grateful.”
It was the mood of the affair that was most disquieting.
Bush smiled and made his usual quips, and many of the reporters played the game and did not press him hard. This was how these press gatherings had gone throughout the run-up to war. When it was over, I felt the press had blown its last best chance to really put his feet to the fire, and along with Ari Berman (then an intern at my magazine, Editor & Publisher, later at The Nation), came up with a few questions we wished reporters had asked.
Two weeks later—on this day in 2003—the US indeed did invade Iraq. The following, the list of questions we came up with just before the war, appears in my book, published recently in an updated and expanded e-book edition, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq.
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— Why is the U.S. threatening an optional war if 59% of Americans do not support a U.S. invasion without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, according to a Feb. 24-26 USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll?
— If our allies have the same information on WMD—and the Iraqi threat is so real—why do some of our friends refuse to take part in your coalition?
— You praise the Iraqi people, say we have no quarrel with them, pledge to save them from the dictator and give them democracy. Would you tell us how many of them are likely to die in this war?
— You say one major reason for taking this action is to protect Americans from terrorism. How do you respond to the warnings of CIA Director George Tenet and others that invading Iraq would in fact likely increase terrorism?
— Rather than make us wait for a supplemental budget request—after the war has been launched—to tell us what it (and its aftermath) will cost, don’t you think the American people, who will pay the bill, deserve to know the latest long-term estimates before the fact?
— You say Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and is evil enough to use them. If not during an American invasion of his country, then when? How many deaths on our side do you expect?
— Why, if North Korea has the capability to produce six nuclear warheads by mid-summer, are you letting their very reluctant neighbors take the lead in deterring them while demanding that the U.S. take charge in confronting Saddam?
— With the economy shaken and deficits climbing, how do you respond to critics who say you’re ignoring domestic issues and the long-term economic security of this country by focusing so much of your time and resources on Iraq?
#1803 Apr 5, 2014
An Ode to Bus.
GW Bush and his band of (alleged) war criminals conned gullible Americans into believing that Iraq had something to do with the September 11, 2001 attacks, and that the torture they swore they didn't practice was nothing more than "enhanced interrogation." Well, they didn't con everyone, but they still got away with murder, literally:
Now GW Bush is diverting attention from his horrific time in office to his newest passion, painting. Here's George Bush and his daughter Jenna Heh heh heh-ing through a tour of some of his newly unveiled work. Pay no attention to his former swaggery warmonger persona. Apparently it's been replaced with Mr. Stepford:
What, no finger painting? No dried macaroni and glitter pasted onto paper plates? Who knows, maybe he ate the paste.
At about 1:03 he admits to painting one self-portrait that resembles Alfred E. Newman. Hey, he said it, we didn't. Okay, we did:
Then he and Jenna discussed Daddy Dearest's relationship with Vladimir Putin. Ironically, this is what Bush said at about 3:00 in response to Vlad's bragging about his own "bigger, stronger and faster" pet (via The Hill):
"Wow. Anybody who thinks,'My dog is bigger than your dog' is an interesting character."
Wow. Anybody who thinks, "My country is bigger than your country so let's invade, kill, and torture" is an interesting character.
He also said that painting "opened my mind." He must have meant, "opened what's left of my mind," assuming, of course, that he ever had one.
And soon after that comment, he admitted, "I'm not a great artist." He left out "con." See, despite his best efforts to pull one over on America, he and the rest of BushCo were exposed for who they are. Plus, with the revelations of the soon-to-be-declassified CIA Torture Report making their way into the headlines, the paint will really hit the fan.
He followed his "I'm not a great artist" with, "As you know, I'm a driven person" (at 4:07). Not only was he was driven to invade countries that never attacked us, but also to draw "stick figure characters," per Mrs. GW Bush, describing Artist George's early app-inspired creative efforts. Stick figures. How typically simple. How ap(p)t.
Jenna: "His man cave was transformed into an art studio."
#1804 Apr 5, 2014
Isn't that something?
#1805 Apr 5, 2014
#1806 Apr 11, 2014
An Ode to Bush
Senate wants to block Iran’s new UN ambassador because he was linked to the Iran hostage crisis 35 years ago, but that standard would strip honors from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, implicated in extending the hostage crisis to win the 1980 election, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
U.S. government officials are in high dudgeon again – this time over Iran’s audacity in naming an ambassador to the United Nations who allegedly played a minor role in the 1979-81 crisis in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days in Iran. But the same U.S. officials ignore the now overwhelming evidence that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush helped extend the hostages’ suffering to gain an edge in the 1980 election.
The double standard – getting worked up over the allegations about Iranian Ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi and going silent over the evidence implicating Reagan and Bush – is just the latest in a long series of examples of the U.S. government’s hypocrisy.
Indeed, one might think that the near treasonous behavior of Reagan and Bush was more objectionable than whatever Aboutalebi did as a young man in Tehran. He has denied direct participation in the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 though he apparently provided some assistance with translations and negotiations. Aboutalebi is now a close adviser to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and has served as Iranian ambassador to Belgium, Italy, Australia and the European Union.
It is rare for the United States to block an ambassador to the United Nations, which is located in New York City, but Aboutalebi’s selection has become the latest excuse for congressional hardliners to throw a wrench into negotiations aimed at limiting but not eliminating Iran’s nuclear program. On Monday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to deny Aboutalebi a visa for entering the United States. Following the Senate’s lead, the Obama administration also has criticized the nomination.
The irony, however, is that Cruz and pretty much every leading Republican model themselves after President Reagan whose election in 1980 now appears to have been aided by his campaign’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering to frustrate President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to gain the hostages’ freedom. Those talks broke down in October 1980 and the hostages were only freed after Reagan was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981.
Reagan’s purported “October Surprise” operation to torpedo Carter’s hoped-for success in getting the hostages out before the Nov. 4, 1980, election would have made the Republican icon a much bigger villain in the hostages’ ordeal than Aboutalebi. George H.W. Bush, who was Reagan’s running mate in 1980, was also implicated in the sabotage operation.
The evidence of this Republican skullduggery has been building for more than three decades, with the 1980 contacts between the Reagan team and radical Iranians appearing to be the opening chapter of the Iran-Contra saga of 1985-86, which also involved secret contacts and the trading of arms for hostages.
Both operations also were shielded by aggressive Republican cover-ups that extended from 1986 to 1993, although congressional and government investigators did a much better job in excavating the Iran-Contra secrets than they did with the October Surprise case. It wasn’t until last June that Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Indiana, who headed both congressional inquiries, admitted that he had been misled about key October Surprise evidence.
#1807 Apr 11, 2014
An Ode to Bush
The epic sibling drama of the Republican Party is finally coming to a climax.
For many years, George and Barbara Bush assumed that their second son, Jeb, would be a winner in politics, while W., their eldest, would be a loser.
Jeb was the prince of the dynasty, destined to be king.(Poppy Bush would only call their dynasty “the d word,” wrinkling his nose in a vain attempt to seem like a Greenwich populist.)
The raffish, Roman candle, W., on the other hand, was discouraged by his mother from running for governor of Texas when his father was in the White House. Bar also did not want W. to run for that office in 1993 at the same time that Jeb was running for governor of Florida, for fear that W. would divert too much money from the Bush Rolodex of donors and turn the contest into “a People magazine story,” as Jeb resignedly called it back when he told me he couldn’t “control” his older brother.
Democrats began mocking them during their twin races as “Tweedledee and Tweedledum,” especially after W. began stealing Jeb’s best campaign lines. Yet when I covered the fraternal gubernatorial bids in the South, it was quickly apparent that W. had a crackle that Jeb did not have, not to mention a crack consultant: Karl Rove. W. was driven by a zeal to prove his parents wrong, one of the most powerful impulses on earth.
Jeb, the Good Son, seemed more phlegmatic, bogged down in wonky discourse about “visioning,”“prioritizing,”“em powering” and “sharing a good exchange of ideas.”
Jeb lost his race and W. won his, starting the reversal that would lead to W. becoming the black-sheep king, once Jeb had helped secure Florida for him. Now Jeb has to figure out if W. has fouled the waters forever, or if Americans, lulled by the ex-president’s winsome paintings, have grown less disgusted by his disastrous wars, misadventures in torture and economic belly flop. Jeb’s father desperately wants him to run and his mother now says it would be O.K., despite her reservations about two families trading Air Force One back and forth.
As Hillary Clinton prepares to restore her dynasty, Jeb Bush is dropping a handkerchief about restoring his.
He has campaigned for Republicans around the country and influential donors in the G.O.P. have started a draft-Jeb movement. He was the speaker at a V.I.P. dinner in Las Vegas with Sheldon Adelson. He has reached out to Southern evangelical leaders. And he had a star turn at the 25th anniversary celebration of his father’s presidency over the weekend at the George H.W. Bush library in College Station, Tex.
But is Jeb’s race over before it begins? He would be running, after all, to lead a party he seems to disdain, a party that has become so fragmented and pulled to the right that it would rather lose the election than be led by someone as moderate as Jeb Bush. Even W. is considered a liberal in today’s fire-breathing G.O.P.
“I do think we’ve lost our way,” Jeb said in an interview on stage with a Fox News reporter, urging Republicans to move out of Crazy Town:“We need to elect candidates that have a vision that is bigger and broader, and candidates that are organized around winning the election, not making a point.”
#1808 Apr 26, 2014
An Ode to BUSH
Will George W. Bush's Art Show Be a Reflection of His Presidency?
#1809 Apr 26, 2014
That remains to be seen, doubt it though.
#1810 May 3, 2014
AN ODE TO BUSH
The former disgraced President George W. Bush chose today—the eleventh anniversary of his “Mission Accomplished” photo op—to hold a bike ride for sixteen badly wounded (physically or mentally) veterans on his Crawford ranch where he once spent seemingly half his time in office (when he wasn’t starting wars).
I don’t know what’s worse—Bush’s cluelessness and lack of remorse or CNN’s reporting this story without a single word about Bush’s choosing to start a war based on lies. Bush hails the damaged vets for volunteering for military service—but he was the true war “volunteer.” They didn’t sign up for a war based fabrication and revenge and what-have-you.
One of the vets said he’d lost six buddies in Iraq and four others committed suicide after they returned home. Yet Bush called the bike ride a “joyous occasion” and a “festival.”
#1811 May 17, 2014
An Ode to Bush
Remembering the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans was too much to bear for President George W. Bush, who was noticeably missing from Thursday’s dedication of downtown Manhattan’s brand new September 11 Memorial & Museum.
The 43rd commander-in-chief’s two-term presidency will forever be defined by the terror attacks that brought down the World Trade Center and his subsequent reaction to them. While Bush spokesman Freddy Ford blamed the former President’s absence on an unspecific “scheduling conflict,” Confidenti@l has learned that Bush skipped the event because he feared the flood of emotion it would likely trigger.
“It would’ve been too emotional,” says a source close to the opening’s organizers, who fully understood and respected Bush’s reasons for not attending.
Bush did attend a ceremony in Arkansas Thursday where he was honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
The ex-Prez’s avoidance of the museum opening is consistent with a more pensive and thoughtful George W. Bush, who’s spent a great deal of his post-presidency between his Dallas home and Crawford, Texas, ranch painting portraits of himself and world leaders past and present. He also appears to have softened after becoming a grandfather in early 2013. It was then that he told USA Today,“I’m happy to be out of the limelight. I truly am.”
Nevertheless, the ex-President’s absence sparked outrage from the families of rescue workers who died trying to extract others from the Twin Towers. One woman from Queens called into conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s radio show demanding,“Where the hell was President Bush? Why wasn't his name even mentioned?”
Limbaugh defended Bush, noting the former president has avoided the spotlight since leaving office in 2009. Bush was not expected at the event attended by President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Mayor de Blasio.
The new museum showcases memorabilia closely identified with Bush’s time in office, including a bullhorn on loan from his Presidential Library in Dallas, that he used to shout out from atop a rubble pile,“The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
After American forces toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bush in 2003 ordered U.S. troops to invade Iraq, which later proved to have been in no way connected to the Sept. 11 attacks.
#1812 May 19, 2014
An Ode to Bush
Karl Rove’s campaign to make himself the focus of the 2016 presidential race continued over the weekend, with remarkable interviews by the worshipful Hugh Hewitt and some unlikely skeptics at Fox. So far the debate has mostly been about whether his insistence that Hillary Clinton has been hobbled by “a traumatic brain injury” will help or hurt her in a likely 2016 presidential run. But the more interesting question is whether it helps or hurts Rove.
On the surface, it may seem surprising that Rove got such pushback from his colleagues at Fox News Sunday. But in fact, his critics were the network’s squishes, Juan Williams, nominal Democrat Kirsten Powers and the guy with a last name that connotes journalistic integrity and who periodically shows some, Chris Wallace. And their questions give Roger Ailes’ network some plausible deniability if Rove’s gambit backfires.
Powers acted shocked when Rove repeated his claim about Clinton’s “traumatic brain injury,” exclaiming,“Karl! Come on!” Wallace mocked him for couching his allegation as human-to-human empathy.“My point is this, she’s a human being. You would not be human, and not have a serious brain injury — like this was — and take it into consideration if you’re thinking about going and doing what she might do.”
“This was concern for her?” Wallace asked.
“Yeah,” Rove replied.“Concern as one human being to another, but I’m more concerned about people who say,‘You know, she’s in, this is a done deal.’ I’m not so certain. My brain says she’s running, my gut says this is going to be far more serious.”
Juan Williams was toughest on Rove, comparing his Clinton-bashing to his Swift-boating of Vietnam War hero John Kerry, which Rove shot back was “entirely legitimate.” Williams’ main concern seemed to be that the attacks on Clinton would backfire.“You’re an effective political operator, but you may be helping Hillary Clinton!” he said.
Score one for Rove there. Williams has his facts a little backward: While everyone remembers the Bush team’s Swift-boating of Kerry as scurrilous (especially on behalf of a guy who disappeared during his Texas Air National Guard stint), it must also be remembered that the attacks worked. The lesson partisans took away from Rove’s maneuver was not to avoid loathsome below-the-belt attacks, but once attacked, to fire back immediately and in kind. The Clintons, well-versed in below-the-belt attacks, responded the right way, mocking “Dr. Rove” and noting his long career of lying.
#1814 May 27, 2014
An Ode to Bush
Jeb Bush has a dirty little secret that he wants to tell, and he doesn’t even care who knows: he’s a “geek”! A nerd. He’s so silly like that, caring about policy all the time when all everyone else wants to do in life is have a good time.
Such is the message passed off in a weekend New York Times riff on the former Florida governor. It may be the most comically obvious attempt we’ve seen yet in the 2016 proto-campaign from Jeb’s handlers to show that he’s not an idiot like his elder brother, the former President Bush. The piece is filled with effusive quotes about how bookish and wonky and smart Jeb Bush is. Rarely is an image-crafting piece so indiscreetly dropped by a politician’s handlers. Hell, a reading list is even provided to run alongside the profile to offer even more proof that yes, the rumors are true, Jeb Bush is literate. And the pace in which he devours middlebrow histories and libertarian at-length ranking and Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing ____” books is breathtaking.
The profile is mainly a laundry list of quotes submitted by his supporters.
Friends and former aides have variously described him as a “policy wonk,” an “ideas junkie” and, as Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, called him,“a top-drawer intellect.”…
These days, the younger Mr. Bush peppers his speeches with statistics, academic-sounding references to “quintiles” and self-deprecating jokes about his own geekiness. A few weeks ago, he boasted to a crowd of Republican donors that he was “nerdy enough” to read City Journal, an obscure policy magazine published by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, then recited the names of his favorite writers at the publication.
Aubrey Jewett, who has studied Jeb Bush as a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, said he “seems to go out of his way to make it clear that he’s different from his brother, by the way he talks about himself, his goals and the details of public policy.”
#1815 Jun 5, 2014
An Ode to Bush
A former Bush administration official broke with Republicans on Tuesday to defend President Obama's prisoner exchange, arguing that since "the war in Afghanistan is winding down," the United States would be required to return prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay back to Afghanistan.
A fact that O'Reilly never once mentioned in his attacks on Obama Monday and Tuesday night.
"I don't see how these particular Taliban officials could ever have been tried in the southern district of New York," John Bellinger, who served as an adviser to President George W. Bush explained during an appearance on Fox News Tuesday.
"They're certainly some Al Qaeda detainees who committed actual terrorist acts against Americans who perhaps could have been tried in a federal court because they committed federal crimes, but these particular Taliban detainees I think could never have been tried in federal court."
Although some of the released prisoners posed a danger to the United States when they were captured in 2002, especially toward soldiers serving in Afghanistan, most of the detainees did not commit crimes against Americans.
Republicans (including Bill O'Reilly and former Vice President Dick Cheney) have blasted the administration for swapping five Taliban-linked prisoners to secure U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's freedom. They argue that the trade endangers Americans stationed overseas by sending top Taliban officials back into the battlefield and could inspire other terrorist groups to capture American service members in order to extract concessions from the United States.
GOP lawmakers also claim that the administration circumvented a law requiring Congress to be notified 30 days before prisoners are transferred from Guantanamo Bay.
Asked about reports that Bergdahl deserted his unit, Bellinger added that the former hostage "will have to face justice, military justice. We don't leave soldiers on the battlefield under any circumstance unless they have actually joined the enemy army," he said.
"He was a young 20-year-old. Young 20-year-olds make stupid decisions. I don't think we'll say if you make a stupid decision we'll leave you in the hands of the Taliban."
Though Cheney told Fox News on Monday that he would not have agreed to the deal, Bellinger stressed that the Bush administration "returned something like 500 detainees from Guantanamo."
Statistics from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence show that only 6 percent (5 in total) of Guantanamo detainees released during the Obama administration have potentially engaged in militant activities. That compares with a rate of nearly 30 percent under the Bush administration.
"I'm not saying this is clearly an easy choice but frankly I think a Republican, a president of either party, Republican or Democratic confronted with this opportunity to get back Sgt. Bergdahl, who is apparently in failing health, would have taken this opportunity to do this," he added. "I think we would have made the same decision in the Bush administration."
But of course O'Reilly has not reported any of this, and as usual he did a biased one sided report on the story.
President Obama also defended the trade in similar terms Tuesday, saying this: "The United States has always had a pretty sacred rule, and that is: we don't leave our men or women in uniform behind. Regardless of the circumstances, we still get an American soldier back if he's held in captivity. Period. Full stop."
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