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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

For the record

This little gem really socks it to Little Lord Fauntlebush.

Comments (24)

"I have removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any other president in US history."

Uhhh -- Lincoln (habeas corpus), perchance? FDR (internment camps), maybe?

Jack -- this list is below you; you're smarter than that.

this list is below you; you're smarter than that.

Funny, that's what I thought about the American electorate, until 2000. 8c)

That's what's so curious about Bush - people hate him so much that it overcomes their normal behaviors. It becomes a completely irrational and emotional thing, not capable of intellectual analysis. It's weird.

I voted for Bush over Gore, but I'm now convinced that George W. will go down in history as the worst President... worse than Buchannan, worse than Harding, worse than Grant-- even worse than Jimmy Carter. Maybe Kerry will prove to be the second worst President in history but that will be an improvement over what we have now.

lol .... I'm with Rod.

> I'm now convinced that George W. will go down in history as the worst President

I rest my case.

The scary news here is that Jack is now using emoticons. :P

Um, Bush has earned through his actions and policies the hatred directed at him. There is plenty of rational, well thought out opposition to Bush's policies. It becomes emotional and irrational only when all of Bush's screw-ups push one into anger, which is an emotion that tends to make people behave irrationally. The willful ignoring of inconvenient facts that don't support Bush and his follower’s imaginary views of the world pisses me off the most. Also many get upset that Bush can barely complete a sentence without using fake words or babbling incoherently. Bush also gets a pass on his inability to communicate and his policies from the media. Remember all those hard questions the media posed to Bush in the run up to the Iraq disaster? Neither do I.

I could continue to recount all of the rational reasons for hating Bush. However I am not going to recount every screw up, blind selling out to corporate desires, naive views of world politics, and general incompetence of the Bush administration because this post would be way to long. What I would challenge Bush supporters with is:

What has Bush done right?

And if you are tempted to say "tax cuts", I will have to bring up the fact that the so-called economic benefits of tax cuts haven't brought about the job growth or investment that Bush and his supporters said it would. The only other reason to cut taxes is blind ideology.

Don’t bring up homeland security either as Bush refuses to require safeguarding of Nuclear Plants and Chemical manufacturing facilities. Also Bush chooses not to provide funds to beef up port security while America spends at least $500 billion a year on a conventional military that is ineffective in fighting terrorism, i.e. guerilla warfare.

One last point, how is the Bush hating any different from the irrational Clinton hating of a few short years ago? The GOP went around for years trying to find some dirt on Clinton. Wingers waxed on to no end about there hatred of Bill and Hiliary.

When politicians make people anger irrational behavior is the results. There is no big mystery here.

> how is the Bush hating any different from the irrational Clinton hating of a few short years ago?

It's not. Look where that got the Rs.

With most Bush detractors it seems there is a dichotomy.

About half the time he is portrayed as a bumbling fool who has risen to a station well above the level of his abilities. Folks who see him in this light are more apt to conclude that he operates with good intentions (he honestly believes he's doing the right things for this country) even if they disagree with some his of objectives.

The other half the time Bush is an evil genius leading us down a dangerous path as a means of consolidating his power and passing along tax revenues to the powerful folks who paid to get him elected.

I've always been interested in the "stupid vs. evil" dichotomy that is so often applied to persons with differing philosophies (and I do it as much as anyone else). Usually it goes like this:

If a politician doesn't agree with my strongly held opinion about issue X it is probably because he is misinformed or does not understand its importance (i.e., stupid). However, if the politician proves that he fully understands my arguments on issue X, but still disagrees with me then his values are suspect (i.e., evil).

Lately, I've noticed Bush detractors applying both to him simultaneously. After hearing both of these messages for so long, I guess they now consider him both stupid and evil.

Recently, I was at a local nightclub where the singer described Bush as "one of Satan's retarded demons." She went on to describe a "dream she had" where a sycophantic Bush (with a set of small horns) was seeking Lucifer's approval by bringing him thousands of bowls. Lucifer responds, "BOWLS! I told you to bring me SOULS!" Demon-Bush then sulks away - audience howls with laughter.

Seems like there are a lot of Bush haters posting here. What is the consensus: stupid or evil?

One last point, how is the Bush hating any different from the irrational Clinton hating of a few short years ago?

It isn't, as I've posted in various fora for the last couple of years.

The Bush-haters frothing at the mouth are no different than the tinfoil hat brigade who were livid over Clinton's responsibility for everything from dental plaque to contract murder. They're about as convincing, too; anyone that full of hatred tends to alienate more moderate voters.

I think whoever said it first was right: in US politics these days, the power in power is arrogant; the party out of power is insane.

>It's not. Look where that got the Rs.

First, the inability for Clinton to focus on actual issues due to the constant struggle over trumped up scandals? Control of Congress and the Presidency? At least until Jeffords. There fantasy Middle East war they have wanted since Bush I. Need I continue? Seems to have gotten them quite a lot to me.

> I guess they now consider him both stupid and evil.

Stupid isn't really the right word. Willfully ignorant is more accurate. Bush isn't dumb; he just doesn’t concern himself with careful consideration of issues. He already knows the answers before the problem has even been considered. The only thing Bush is good at is politics, which he excels at. That is why everything Bush's administration does is politically driven. Some insiders have made similar accusations. He is a one-dimensional politician with no other skills beyond politics. Hence his performance, or lack thereof.

>The Bush-haters frothing at the mouth are no different than the tinfoil hat brigade who were livid over Clinton's responsibility for everything from dental plaque to contract murder.

The difference is that most of the complaints about Bush involve actual policy decisions he has made and implemented.

It isn’t Bush, it is what Bush has done, and what he hasn’t done. Bush should be held accountable for his performance, which stinks. Of course this isn’t what politics is about though, so I digress.

The right, for the most part, just was trying to dig up dirt on Clinton. It wasn’t Clinton decisions, but the fact that he was a Democrat and, god forbid, a “liberal.”

When Bush was selected in 2000, I thought: “Well I don’t like the guy, but how bad can he be? Life goes on.” Well it has been far worse than anyone predicted, besides the left wing “tinfoil” crowd who were essentially right about Bush.

Since you brought up tinfoil, I find it interesting when anyone claims that the government may be doing something illegal, dishonest, or sleazy, there is always someone waiting to bring up “tinfoil hat” conspiracies. The interesting thing is that the government, particularly since Nixon has had a history of deceiving the public. It comes out 30 years later in official documents, after no one cares anymore. Yet when someone makes claims of dishonest government or conspiracies by the government, that person is labeled a crazy “tinfoil hat” conspiracy theorist. The American voting public then labels the idea as fringe, and therefore easily dismissed. 30 years later we find out that some of the government conspiracies were real. Look at the lack of accountability in the whole Iran-Contra thing for evidence as to why a politician might think they can easily get away with a conspiracy. Many of the people who were clearly implicated for of trading arms with a supposedly unfriendly nation to fund a rebel insurgency in another country or looking the other way are actually holding positions in the Bush government. No accountability = repeat offenses.

No takers on listing what Bush has done right, eh?

Stupid v. Evil? My gut-level, knee-jerk reaction to that is: He's stupid, the people pulling his strings are evil. Therefore, no "versus" necessary.

I don't think evil and stupidity are mutually exclusive; Bush has done many things that are both stupid and evil. For example, rotely approving the executions of hundreds as Texas governor, including the mentally retarded and repentant born-again Christians, with barely a cursory glance at their written pleas for mercy, reflects both an appalling lack of intellectual curiousity (stupidity) and an appalling inability to empathize with the suffering of others (evil).

Also, ignoring and failing to act upon clear warnings about Al Qaeda's intent to attack in the U.S. throughout the first seven months of his presidency betrays both intellectual laziness and extreme indifference to death and suffering.

Finally, of course, ordering U.S. troops to invade and occupy an unarmed, oil-rich Arab country indefinitely is stupid because it empowers Al Qaeda and detracts from U.S. efforts to apprehend Osama bin Laden and deal with North Korea and Iran, and evil because it kills and maims thousands of innocent people for absolutely no reason.

Thank you, Tim, ditto ditto ditto. It's not about blind and irrational Bush hatred, it's about serious issues with the policies and ideologies that his administration has implemented. It's become far too easy to use the label of Bush hatred to discard issues that should seriously be discussed and debated in the public arena - like the administration's accountability and culpability, corporate chumminess, separation of church and state issues, etc. etc. I would think any American of intelligent and integrity would be willing to look at these things in a questioning light and not BASH those of us who are.

And yeah, a conspiracy theory is not a conspiracy theory if it's true. And boy, have so damn many been proven true.

I would think any American of intelligent...

Gee, that was intelligent! lol

I followed Emily's link to this site. It's good to know that people on both sides are talking about substantive issues, and (as a Bush supporter) I'll be the first to agree with many of the criticisms raised here. The political dialog needs to be taken back from the Rush Limbaughs and the Michael Moores and put back into the hands of reasonable, thinking people.

Emily, thanks for the link.

OK... so conspiracy theories are true, people don't hate Bush, and Clinton-hatred was a positive for the Republicans. Aren't we grounded in the real world.

I wanted to let Sam's comment go, but I can't, since it so perfectly encapsulates the mindset of some on the left.

> rotely approving the executions of hundreds... reflects both an appalling lack of intellectual curiousity (stupidity) and an appalling inability to empathize with the suffering of others (evil)

In fact, each person's clemency request was considered and denied. So Sam's argument here is that anyone who supports the death penalty is stupid and evil, even though it's the law of many states, including this one.

> ignoring and failing to act upon clear warnings about Al Qaeda's intent to attack in the U.S. throughout the first seven months of his presidency betrays both intellectual laziness and extreme indifference to death and suffering

In reality, the warnings given to Bush about AQ were *no* different than those given to the Clinton/Gore team. It's easy in hindsight to say that Bush should have been able to see the future; but the fact is that the 9/11 terrorists entered the country, set up their identities, went to flight school, and planned their attack during the eight Clinton/Gore years. And, of course, AQ successfully carried out major attacks during those years, including both African embassy bombings and the attack on the U.S. Cole. I don't mean to say it was Clinton's fault - merely that if they couldn't predict or prevent 9/11 after 8 years' experience with terrorism, it's unfair to suggest that Bush could have done so in 7 months.

> ordering U.S. troops to invade and occupy an unarmed, oil-rich Arab country indefinitely is stupid...evil because it kills and maims thousands of innocent people for absolutely no reason.

Well, I'd ask the millions of Hussein's victims if the war was "for absolutely no reason." Lots of Iraqis, though by no means all, support the war and occupation; check their blogs. Many American Muslims do too:

And there is compelling logic that many Iraqi lives have been saved by the war, by preventing Hussein's regime from torturing and/or killing them. Many more lives, in fact, than were lost in the war.

But there is a deeper meaning here. The hoped-for result of the war is a functioning capitalist democracy in Iraq. This will bring something to the Iraqi people that *no* other major Arab country offers: the rights guaranteed to all citizens that are the foundation of Western Civilization. No major Arab population enjoys the rights of self-determination, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press. No major Arab population lives in a country with a transparent government and a functioning economy. If the Iraq effort is a success, Iraq will be the first.

So my question is: Is it really stupid and evil to provide these fundamental tenets to the long-suffering people of Iraq?

I noticed the link didn't mention pulling out of the Nuke-u-lar Proliferations Treaty or the Kyoto Treaty. (Not that the US would have ever agreed to Kyoto, but at least we could have kept the issue of global warming on the table, rather than p!ssing on it.)


You are one to talk about being grounded in the real world.

It is funny how you try and put words in my mouth. I never wrote that everyone on the left felt like I do, you wrote that. I also never wrote all conspiracies were true, I wrote that the cultural labeling of people who claim any sort of misconduct by the government as "tin foil hat nuts" makes it easier for the government to marginalize criticism of their "under the radar" activities. Are you saying that this is not true?

Did I make a factual misstatement about Republican power in the past 13 years? At best you could say that it didn't help them or hurt them, but they seem to have done pretty well to me.

>Is it really stupid and evil to provide these fundamental tenets to the long-suffering people of Iraq?

1. Conservatives never gave a sh@t about Iraqis until all the other reasons for war were proved bogus. It is disingenuous to ignore the suffering of the Iraqi people for 20+ years and then all of the sudden claim that you care. I haven't heard a single conservative make any statements about freeing the many other peoples who are repressed around the world. In fact the modern GOP doesn't want anything to do with world affairs, humanitarian missions, or peacekeeping. But then, all of the sudden in Iraq they want democracy for the people? You can't possible be that naive.

2. You are fooling yourself if you think setting up a democracy in Iraq is even possible. Many people in Iraq want a Muslim state, not a democracy. Even if setting up a democracy is possible in Iraq, Bush could never accomplish that. Perhaps you have missed Fullujah?

The second Americans pull out of Iraq, jockeying for power and control will ensue. I haven't heard anyone with any good ideas about how to salvage the disaster that is Iraq. You can’t just march in to a country, through the economic and political systems that have existed for years away, and set up a democracy in one year. But democracy in Iraq is "grounded in the real world?"

So tell me, how are going to bring democracy to Iraq?

The Kyoto treaty was killed by the Senate in 1998 in a 95-0 vote; Bush had nothing to do with that.

> Conservatives never gave a sh@t about Iraqis until all the other reasons for war were proved bogus... the modern GOP doesn't want anything to do with world affairs, humanitarian missions, or peacekeeping

Is that so? Then why are we in Iraq? Why did we go into Afghanistan? Why Liberia? Let me guess: Halliburton. Right?

It's actually the old GOP that was isolationist - the modern GOP is much more outward-looking. The parties have switched sides - it's now the Ds that are isolationist. The modern neocon point of view is that as the sole superpower, we have a responsiblity to improve things around the world.

> You are fooling yourself if you think setting up a democracy in Iraq is even possible. Many people in Iraq want a Muslim state, not a democracy.

Why are those things mutually exclusive? "Democracy" doesn't mean "American democracy." Look at Bahrain - a functioning, transparent, vibrant democracy, and also a Muslim state. The whole premise of the Enlightenment, set forth in documents like the French Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the UN Charter, and so on is that every person, regardless of race/gender/whatever, is capable and deserving of self-determination. There is no reason why Iraqis can't govern themselves, vote, and still maintain the Muslim character of their country. I think it sells Iraqis short to argue that they can only be governed by a dictatorial or totalitarian government.

> You can’t just march in to a country, [throw] the economic and political systems that have existed for years away

Do you really think that the 'economic and political systems,' such as they were, that existed in Iraq had any value? Should they have been preserved?

Re: thoroughness of Bush's "review" of clemency requests, see:

Also see 08/10/99 Houston Chronicle for article about how Bush mocked born-again Christian Karla Faye Tucker's clemency pleas on a talk radio show. "'Please,' Bush whimpers, lips pursed in mock desparation, 'don't kill me.'" He then denied her request and put her to death. If that's not both stupid and evil, nothing is.

Re: Acting on Al Qaeda intelligence

Warnings Bush received may have been *no* different from those Clinton received. The difference is Clinton took action and demanded results, and he got them: he successfully foiled a planned Al Qaeda millenium attack, among others. What Al Qaeda plots has Bush foiled? Also, why do you think the Bush administration is refusing to release a bunch of PDB's and other records from the Clinton years? Because Clinton marked up his terror PDB's with extensive notes, questions, and plans of action. If they become public we'll get to see how a competent president treats terror threat warnings. Bush did not even read his PDB's himself, much less take notes or demand results. Stupid, and evil.

Re: Iraq: We're providing death, destruction, and torture to Iraqis, not "fundamental tenants of blah blah blah." Yes, it really is stupid and evil to provide death, destruction and torture to a country that hadn't attacked us, posed no threat to us, and has already suffered under our sanctions for 12 years. If we really care about Iraqis' right to self-determination, why are we imposing our hand-picked government on them rather than letting them elect their own democratically, like they want? Bush was not democratically elected, he runs the least transparent government in the history of the U.S., and the economy is barely functioning compared to the Clinton years. He lies constantly about Iraq's "WMD's" and the extent of Saddam's cooperation with the UN: he has twice said we invaded Iraq because "Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in." The inspectors were in Iraq before we attacked; we warned them to get out before we started bombing. Bush is jaw-droppingly dishonest, stupid, and evil. Even if it were possible to militarily impose democracy on another country, Bush is doing a terrible job at it.

BTW, the death penalty is stupid and evil also. However, supporters of it are simply confused and misguided.


I never said that Iraqis couldn't govern themselves. What I said is that I can't see any way to get from here to there. Democaracy doesn't just spontanteously happen in places like Iraq. If you do see a way, please share with the rest of us.

How are the dems isolationist? All the dems talk about is involving more countries and building alliances. That's isolationism?

I would rather have the GOP advocated isolationism then act unilaterally. When it was time to get to the world behind their Iraq war, the GOP said we don't need the world's consent or help.

I don't beleive the GOP has any interest in real democracy in Iraq. Once again "democracy in Iraq" is something that is convient politically to deflect responsibility for their actions. And besides, who can argue with democracy? A convient discusion point for the right that never gets past democracy in Iraq is good. The GOP doesn't even have a plan to bring democracy to Iraq, and I can only conclude brett, that you don't either.

The political and economic systems had value, in that terrorist were not blowing people up left and right. Beyond that I don't know enought about how Iraq was structured to give any kind of informed analysis, but the failures of the Bush admistration in repairing what they removed is clear.

The bottom line is every time the GOP/Bush/right wing claims you do this, you get this, it doesn't happen, then they try to move the target. Next comes denying they said that, or better yet trying to paint critics as "crazy." Then comes blaiming the people who called BS from the start for "not supporting the troops" the GOP sent to some foreign country to die for little, if any benefit. It really is quite sad that anyone falls for the GOP's garbage.

I am still waiting for you or someone else to convince me that Bush has done anything good for this country.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference For the record:

» The "irrational Bush hatred" manuever from Strangechord
I posted something to this effect a few hours ago to comments over at intellectual properties: I am getting really sick and tired of people accusing people like myself of seething hatred and emotion towards... [Read More]


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Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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