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Old 9th Aug 2004, 12:33   #1
John Self
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Default George W. Bush

Here is an excellent site which calmly dissects the achievements and history of this great man and his colleagues. Includes such highlights as this:

Quote:
"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein and Iraq."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Speech to the Senate Armed Services Committee, September 19, 2002
Quote:
"Well, you're the - you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase 'immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's - that's what's happened."

- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Speaking to Bob Schieffer on CBS News' Face The Nation, March 14, 2004
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Old 9th Aug 2004, 13:37   #2
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Yes, excellent. Straight-faced irony. I loved the list of liars.
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Old 17th Aug 2004, 12:58   #3
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You'd think the Bush campagin would want to keep this list quiet, not publicise it on the campaign website. Even your most loyal southern redneck republican is going to get a bit suspicious when he sees how many high-ranking military and administration officials are on here, and how they all agree with each other. What is Bush's answer? He simply calls them all liars. No character assasination, no detailed response analysing why the person in question has a political axe to grind backed up with documentary evidence. No for Bush it's enough to say 'he's a liar!' The next line might have been 'And he smells. So Na! Na, na, na na!'

EDIT: I've just looked at some other stuff on the site. For some reason I thought they were being unintentionally ironic, when there was nothing unintentional about it. But in these days of madness, it becomes increasingly hard to tell the spoof from the real. Indeed the real is often more of a parody of itself than the spoof, which would be a great laugh if it wasn't for the fact that this is how the most powerful man on the planet really seems to think (in the loosest sense of the word)
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 11:30   #4
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A new film is coming out shortly which is taking a more narrative approach to Bush-bashing than the likes of Michael Moore. Read all about it here. The 'Bush' character has his own website - here. (Note to Bak: this one isn't real either).

On the topic of Dubya, there are some good Steve Bell cartoons mocking him and his mate Tony here.

Is George Bush II the most reviled president ever do you think?
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 11:40   #5
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Probably. Of course almost 50% of American voters, ie Republicans, absolutely loathed Clinton, but he wasn't hated across the world the way Bush is.

Personally I can understand how an American voter might say, I'm a Republican, I've always been a Republican, therefore I will vote for the Republican candidate even if it's a strategically shaved monkey (which is a happy coincidence). What I don't understand is why they pretend Bush has been a good president. Vote for him by all means, but do it with your head hung low and a sense of consuming shame which will dishonour your family for generations.
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 11:44   #6
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Going by that article on the BBC link, I think m., as our Polish correspondant, has some explaining to do!

To be honest, from what I have seen, Kerry isn't a whole lot better really, is he? The only real division between them is the abortion issue, as far as I can see. Kerry still seems to support the war in Iraq, just questions the way it was executed.
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 12:14   #7
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Great! I've been waiting for Silver City. John Sayles is always worth watching. Though I disagree with the author of the Gaurdian's promo piece: his films are not exactly subtle. Limbo in particular leaves the audience in a heightened state of anxiety. I guess Passion Fish & Casa de los Babies might be described as subtle. All of his films are thoughtful and stamped with his unique way of telling a cinematic story.
About Kerry, I don't expect much from him--but I do expect him to be better than Jorge. I hope Kerry finds a more agreeable blueprint for presidential policy than the insidious Plan for a New American Century. (For that matter, I hope Kerry will be in a position to make such plans come November.) But here as elswhere, I follow the august professor Chomsky, who has said that Democrats & Republicans are only nominally different. They both belong to what he calls the "business party."
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 12:19   #8
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Yes, I have a very limited understanding of US politics, but I always thought tat the Deomcrats are roughly our Tories, and the Republicans further to the right of them...

A member of a mailing list I am a member of put it this way, you can choose either:

Quote:
- a candidate who supports the Patriot Act, or a candidate who
supports a modified version of the Patriot Act.
- a candidate who supports the war in Iraq, or a candidate who
supports the war in Iraq.
- a candidate who supports sustaining the war on drugs, or a candidate
who supports sustaining the war on drugs.
- a candidate who supports keeping the current tax system and giving
us bogus "tax cuts", or a candidate who supports keeping the current
tax system and advocates hiking taxes.
- a candidate who supports the war on terror, or a candidate who
supports the war on terror.
But then the guy in question is a supporter of a chap named Badnarik, who appears to be rather mad.
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 12:29   #9
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I work in America a fair amount, and visit mostly the coasts - where people are anti-Bush.

God I feel sorry for the Americans I meet. Having lived thorugh the 80s here when things were incredibly divided and only bad decisions seemed to be being made - it must feel like that, only about 100 times worse.

It's so hard to love a place and its ideals (and after all, America is that rare thing, a country founded on ideals unlike our constutitional bodge) when someone else seems to be wrecking it and making the entire world hate you just for being American.
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Old 17th Sep 2004, 14:40   #10
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Kitty Kelley's book about the Bush's has been released, I saw it in Smith's today. It's huge, and far bigger than my attention span would allow me to read. Still, that doesn't stop me reading around it. Here's an article published on the Guardian website, which was originally in Salon magazine, whatever that is.

Quote:
After weeks of bracing by the Bush White House, the category 5 storm has hit: Hurricane Kitty. Bestselling author Kitty Kelley's withering portrait of the Bush dynasty, The Family, is landing in bookstores on Tuesday - more than 720,000 copies of it. And the White House is already on high alert. "This book is fiction and deserves to be treated as such," snarled Republican spokeswoman Christine Iverson, as the RNC fired off an anti-Kelley talking-points memo to friendly media assets.
The media blowback against Kelley, author of controversial biographies of Nancy Reagan and Frank Sinatra, has already begun. On the Monday morning Today Show, host Matt Lauer showed how tough an interviewer he can be when not questioning presidents and other potentates, pressing Kelley on who she's going to vote for in November ("Who're you voting for?" Kelley shot back) and the timing of the book's publication, weeks before the November election ("Why not? It's relevant," countered the author, who's been working on the book for four years).
The hottest dispute sparked by the book involves the allegation that George W Bush, who claimed to be clean and sober at the time, snorted cocaine with one of his brothers at the Camp David presidential retreat when his father was president. One of Kelley's sources - and the only one on the record - was Sharon Bush, the deeply aggrieved ex-wife of W's younger brother Neil. She is now in strong denial mode, even though her own publicist, who was present at a lunch where she told Kelley the story, confirms the accuracy of Kelley's account. Nonetheless, Lauer produced the Bush divorcee after his interview with Kelley to repeat her denials.
While the Camp David coke party is getting the headlines, Kelley's book is filled with many other tawdry stories about the Bush dynasty. Here is a family that looks "like The Donna Reed Show, and then you see it's The Sopranos", Kelley tells Salon.
As Kelley tells it, the dynasty had respectable origins - in the form of family patriarch Prescott Bush, the distinguished, moderate Republican senator from Connecticut - but rapidly slid into cynical opportunism, skulduggery, and a mean-spirited sense of entitlement. The first President Bush is presented as a weak yes man, driven not by political vision but a savage preppy spirit of competition instilled in him by his whirlwind of a mother. But it is his wife, Barbara (whom the ex-wife of White House counsel C Boyden Gray calls "bull-dyke tough"), and their eldest son, George, who are the true pieces of work in Kelley's book, a mother and son team brimming with such spite and ambition they would give the ruthless duo in The Manchurian Candidate the shivers.
In one of the creepier passages of the book, a family gathering from hell at Kennebunkport, Maine, Barbara is shown mercilessly baiting her dry-drunk son, then governor of Texas, as a teetotalling 'Chosen One', while he keeps pleading to skip the cocktails and put on the feed bag, and his elderly father "drools over [TV newswoman] Paula Zahn's legs".
One of the major themes in Kelley's book is the family's weakness for liquor and drugs. Alcoholism, she writes, runs deeply in the family and among its victims, according to one Bush family friend, was Prescott, a "major-league alcoholic", who was in the habit of checking himself into his men's club and country club to go on benders. And Kelley writes that George W Bush is not the only one in the first family who enjoyed illegal substances. While a student at Southern Methodist University in the 1960s, first lady Laura Bush was known "as a go-to girl for dime bags of marijuana".
But, as one of W's Yalie frat brothers tells Kelley, it's not the substance abuse in Bush's past that's disturbing, it's the "lack of substance ... Georgie, as we called him, had absolutely no intellectual curiosity about anything. He wasn't interested in ideas or in books or causes. He didn't travel; he didn't read the newspapers; he didn't watch the news; he didn't even go to the movies. How anyone got out of Yale without developing some interest in the world besides booze and sports stuns me." New Yorker writer Brendan Gill recalls roaming the Kennebunkport compound one night while staying there looking for a book to read - the only title he could find was The Fart Book.
According to Kelley, the Bushes aggressively maintain their all-American family image by scrubbing government files of embarrassing facts, stonewalling journalists, and terrorising critics. "Some people felt that George's past did not seep out and embarrass him and his family," she writes of the White House's current Bush, "because he was protected by a coterie of former CIA men with an allegiance to his father." An Austin, Texas political consultant named Peck Young told Kelley that when a woman claiming to have been a call girl from Midland showed up in Austin with "intimate knowledge" of W during his oil wildcatting days, she was approached by what she described as "intelligence types" and left town abruptly. According to Young, the men "made her realise that it was better to turn tricks in Midland than to stop breathing".
George HW Bush and wife Barbara dismissed Bill Clinton as a pathetic hillbilly when he challenged the incumbent in 1992. But, Kelley writes, Clinton was one of the few Bush opponents who knew how to back them down. As colourful stories from Clinton's sexual past in Arkansas began to surface during the campaign, a Clinton aide began digging into the senior Bush's own robust adultery. This included, writes Kelley, two long affairs.
The Clinton aide told Kelley: "I took my list of Bush women to his campaign operatives. I said I knew we were vulnerable on women, but I wanted to make damn sure they knew they were vulnerable too." After the eruption over Clinton's mistress Gennifer Flowers died down, sexual infidelity did in fact become a moot issue in the campaign.
While Kelley is being savagely attacked as a tabloid sleaze queen, her book is more heavily researched and documented than Bush advocates allege. On occasion, she relies on sources that are less than reliable - inserting the story Hustler publisher Larry Flynt tried to put in media play about a girlfriend's abortion that W allegedly paid for before it was legal. Kelley says she decided to put the story in her book after interviewing the two investigators Flynt had hired to track down the story. But despite her flaws, Kelley has vigorously pursued leads about the powerful American dynasty - from Bush senior's shady CIA past to W's missing National Guard records - that the rest of the media should have.
Salon spoke with Kelley on Monday afternoon at the midtown New York offices of Doubleday, her book publisher.
[Salon:] The Bush forces are coming after you very strongly. And now the media is too.
[Kitty Kelley:] Yes, they are, this is what they do, this is how they operate. It's interesting, from talking with the media today, the European media is much less intimidated than the American press. The Americans are all saying, "well, why should we listen to you. Look at the books you've written." Well, excuse me, those books have stood up, I stand behind everything in those books, they've stood the test of time. And this book will too. So I see how this media spin is working, and I'm not surprised. You'd think the media would look at my book and follow up on it - all right, she says here they instituted drug testing in the National Guard at such and such time, let's call up and find out if that's true. But don't beat me up just because I've come to you with almost a thousand sources. You know, I've gone through four sets of lawyers, because I'm dealing with a sitting president.
[S:] You've gone through this before, of course, when Frank Sinatra tried to block publication of your unauthorised biography of him. How would you compare the heat you felt from Sinatra and his crowd and what you're going through now?
[KK:] It's worse now, because there's more at stake. With Sinatra, you just worried about getting the bejabbers beat out of you. But with the Bushes, they work on all sorts of levels to destroy the messenger so the message can't come through. But the message is the message. The stuff I've done is solid. Did I get everything? No. And you know something, we better hurry and try to get all the information we can get - because this president is trying to lock it all up through executive order, which means you won't be able to get presidential history, because the files and everything will be locked up.
[S:] You write that the Bushes are particularly good at cleansing anything in government files that will besmirch the family reputation. How does that work?
[KK:] Well, you see it on all sorts of levels, from the trivial on up. For instance, I got a copy of the Bush family tree from the Bush presidential library. And at first we just thought a couple things were left off, but it was a number of things. Mentally retarded children from one branch of the family erased. Too many divorces in one family - that doesn't fit with the family-values image, so some ex-wives simply disappear. You could say that's just an oversight or mistake here and there. But when you see a pattern as I've seen over the past years of files redacted, too many mysterious fires that destroy records, state department files simply missing, gone, National Guard files.
[S:]You also allege that the Bushes have tried to block people from talking with you and put pressure on your publisher.
[KK:] Yes, imagine the former president of the United States calling your publisher. I wrote George Herbert Walker Bush requesting an interview. He always responds to letters; he's famous for it. He even responded to Bob Woodward for a book. But he didn't respond to mine - he had an assistant phone the publisher of Doubleday, Steve Rubin. Imagine that pressure. All of a sudden, your publisher is told that not only does the former president of the United States not want this book to be written, he's not going to talk, he's not going to verify anything. Most publishers would have caved at that point. And I think Bush thought it would work.
[S:] Let's talk about Sharon Bush - she is your only on-the-record source for the Camp David cocaine story. But she's now gone public denying she ever told it to you. Why would she do that?
[KK:] I don't know; my guess is she's scared. She talked about everything with me that day, mostly about the breakup of her marriage, and how the Bushes don't have family values. And she said to me that the affair that Neil had that broke up her marriage was aided and abetted by his parents, Barbara and George.
She was crying and crying and she said, "they let him have an affair. And I called up Barbara and threw myself on her mercy and said please, please tell him to come back home." And I said: "How can his mother tell him to come back to his wife?" And she said, "you don't understand - they'll do anything she tells them." But she said her mother-in-law wouldn't do that, she was cold as ice. And she cried, "you'd think Barbara would have been more sympathetic to me, considering all the infidelities she's had to put up with."
Now over that lunch Sharon and Lou told me that she was in the midst of an alimony battle, she was angry that she was only being paid $1,000 (£557) a month alimony. And they told me they thought that if they leaked the fact she was having lunch with Kitty Kelley to the press, the Bushes hate you so much, that will scare them. And it might be leverage for her in her divorce. And Lou said: "Well, this lunch might find its way into the New York Observer." And in fact it came out in the Observer the next week.
[S:] So Sharon Bush was using you to put some heat on the family to get a better divorce deal?
[KK:] Yes. And I understand that. And she did get a better deal. Her alimony went up to $2,500 (£1,400). So that told me something else about the Bushes and how they operate. So she got a better alimony deal out of it. But then she goes on The Today Show Monday morning to say you're wrong. That takes nerve, to go on network TV to challenge a bestselling author.
[S:] Why would she have done that?
[KK:] Her kids. Her kids are in touch with her grandparents and they go, "mom, how could you, how could you?" I think it was pressure from her kids, coming down hard from her grandparents. Absolutely. She has three kids - one who's still a minor, Ashley, one, Pierce, who just started Georgetown University and wants to be a politician, and then she's got the model, Lauren. And I think kids are the first casualty, and they didn't ask for this and just want it all to go away. They probably love their family and are just appalled at what their mother did. And Sharon was probably at a very vulnerable time, and is not quite as vulnerable now. But she got on nationwide television and denied what she said, and I have a witness.
[S:] Why didn't you tape it?
[KK:] It was in a restaurant, I never tape in them. It's loud and clattery. Also I knew it would probably be a sensitive interview. I don't tape every interview, but I have a lot on tape.
[S:] In another explosive part of your book, you tell the story of a Midland prostitute peddling embarrassing stories about George W Bush who's suddenly run out of Austin by some threatening "intelligence types". You name one source for that story. Do you have others?
[KK:] One on record, and two unnamed sources.
[S:] Why didn't you name them?
[KK:] I don't remember why in that case.
[S:] With a charge like that, it seems like you'd want more than one named source. I'd also want to know if the source you named, this political consultant in Austin named Peck Young, had an axe to grind, if he was a Bush hater. What made you give that story credit?
[KK:] Because he was impeccable, that source, I feel very comfortable with him.
[S:] And you believe the Bushes are capable of doing something like that - of threatening a woman who is shooting her mouth off like that? You think the family really operates that way?
[KK:] I know the family operates that way. I wish you could see the stuff that's on the cutting room floor, that got left out of the book. There are other people who will tell you stories like that, but they won't go on the record. And you can't blame them. And I don't know how to convince them, that it's history, that it's important. Because I can't in good conscience tell them that. But I do feel comfortable with that story. I'm surprised by the number of people who did go on the record.
[S:] Another inflammatory passage in the book is about the girlfriend whose abortion George W Bush allegedly paid for as a young man. There again it seems like you go with one source, and it's somebody many people don't find credible - Larry Flynt.
[KK:] Not just him - I relied on his two detectives.
[S:] So you went and interviewed them as well?
[KK:] Yes.
[S:] Again, I'm trying to figure out your methodology and why your enemies come after you and say: "She relies on shaky sources or she'll lump a variety of sources together, no matter how they vary in credibility."
[KK:] Yes, I've read that one too.
[S:] So how do you respond to that - say on this one in particular, this abortion story?
[KK:] Well, I took the public record a little further and went to the investigators and asked for their stuff, and got their stuff. I have the woman's name, address and phone number ...
[S:] Did you make an effort to reach her?
[KK:] Of course.
[S:] And she wouldn't talk?
[KK:] No.
[S:] But you found the two investigators credible after talking to them?
[KK:] Yeah, I did.
[S:] So your method is to leave it to the reader to make up their minds?
[KK:] Right. And to tell you how far I went.
[S:] That falls short of the standards of the New York Times, say, or the Washington Post. Why do you feel it's legitimate to fall short of that standard?
[KK:] I don't think that falls short of the standards of the New York Times or the Washington Post in every single instance. I think that especially the Washington Post has pushed things in the past, far beyond where I would go.
[S:] What's an example of that?
[KK:] Janet Cooke.
[S:] Well, that was exposed as a work of fiction!
[KK:] Jayson Blair ...
[S:] But the Times and the Post were both humiliated by those scandals.
[KK:] And I would be too if you find something in my books that didn't stand the test of time. I honestly would.
[S:]So you wouldn't have put a story like that in unless you'd done enough work on your own to satisfy yourself that there was something there, that it would hold up?
[KK:] Right.
[S:] What do you think W will do if he loses in November? Will he happily go back to baseball?
[KK:] No. You know something that I have found out from this family after four years - he doesn't plan to lose. They know how to win - no matter what.
[S:] What does that mean?
[KK:] That means these people can put the Sopranos to shame.
[S:] Does that mean vote stealing?
[KK:] That's a bit overt. But nothing will stand in the way of these people winning. Nothing. You start out looking at the Bush family like it's The Donna Reed Show and then you see it's The Sopranos.
· David Talbot is Salon's founder and editor in chief
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