The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'george w. bush'
A new memoir by George W. Bush's former speechwriter sheds light on how the Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded:
Latimer, whose memoir was published last week by Crown in the US, says that the "narrow thinking" of "people in the White House" led them "to actually object to giving the author JK Rowling a presidential medal because the Harry Potter books encouraged witchcraft".
The first 16 recipients of Barack Obama's presidential medal, handed out in August, included Stephen Hawking and Senator Ted Kennedy – who, according to Latimer's book, failed to receive the medal during the Bush administration because he was "a liberal".
In today's big surprise: apparently the Chinese government censored local broadcasts of Obama's inaugural address, excising mentions of America facing down communism and condemnation of regimes that silence dissent.
Meanwhile, Patrick Farley (of the excellent E-Sheep Comics) has written up a summary of the Bush era: All Circus, No Bread:
Trying to explain what was wrong with the Bush Era feels like trying to vomit up a cannonball. I don't think my jaw can stretch that wide.
Seriously, where does one even begin? Abu Ghraib? Ahmed Chalabi? Mission Accomplished? The "Battle of Iraq?" Valerie Plame? No-bid contracts? The billions of dollars the Pentagon can't account for, and apparently never will? The Department of Justice firings? The blue Iraqi flag? The staged press conference? The fake Thanksgiving turkey? Terry Schiavo? Freedom Fries?
All my life I've heard Baby Boomers bitching about Nixon, even after he was dead. I used to wish they'd just GET OVER IT, but now I understand their bitterness. It wasn't what Nixon did that infuriated them so much. It's what he got away with. Nixon was nudged out of office by a momentary gust of public disfavor over a botched burglary attempt -- not, say, a Congressional investigation into the bombing of Cambodia. There was never a thorough reckoning of the misdeeds of Nixon's White House, just as there will probably never be a full accounting of the perversions and swindles of Bush's presidency. To the majority of Americans, Bush will be that guy who invaded Iraq and wrecked the economy.And US liberal cartoonist Tom Tomorrow has his own farewell salute to Bush and cronies:
Now that he no longer needs the votes of the faith-based voters, outgoing president George W. Bush pretty much admits to not believing that religious stuff he earlier expounded:
Here's the précis: he does not believe in the literal truth of the Bible, did not invade Iraq because of his Christianity and does not believe his faith is incompatible with evolution. Bush will not even assert that the Almighty – who, he believes, is much the same one as is worshipped by other religions – chose him to become president.Remember that Jesus Camp documentary, in which kids from the red states were indoctrinated in Taliban-style facilities to believe that Bush is the instrument of God's will? Well, I'll bet there will be a lot of disillusionment there.
American Christianity may have fallen behind fundamentalist Islam in the fanaticism stakes, but it's now making an effort to catch up. Witness the Jesus Camps, America's own madrassas, which serve to indoctrinate 9-10-year-olds in a severe form of fundamentalist Christianity, linked to all manner of conservative ideologies, from veneration of George W. Bush to denial of global warming:
Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears. Tears of release and joy, they would claim -- the children are not physically abused. The kids are around 9 or 10 years old, recruited from various churches, and are pliant willing receptacles. They are instructed that evolution is being forced upon us by evil Godless secular humanists, that abortion must be stopped at all costs, that we must form an "army" to defeat the Godless influences, that we must band together to insure that the right judges and politicians get into the courts and office and that global warming is a lie. (This last one is a puzzle -- how did accepting the evidence for climate change and global warming become anti-Jesus? Did someone simply conflate all corporate agendas with Jesus and God and these folks accept that? Would Jesus drive an SUV? Is every conclusion responsible scientists make now suspect?)
at one point Pastor Fischer instructs the little ones that they should be willing to die for Christ, and the little ones obediently agree. She may even use the word martyr, which has a shocking echo in the Middle East. I can see future suicide bombers for Jesus -- the next step will be learning to fly planes into buildings. Of course, the grownups would say, "Oh no, we're not like them" -- but they admit that the principal difference is simply that "We're right."
In another scene a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, with his trademark smirking smile, is brought out and the children are urged to identify -- many of the little ones come forward and reverently touch his cardboard hands.
(via Boing Boing)
When George W. Bush, Leader of the Free World, turned 60, Nintendo gave him a DS and a copy of Brain Age. The jokes write themselves.
It appears that Tetka is skinnable. Perhaps we'll soon see other public figures subjected to the indignity of being tossed, arse over teakettle, down an infinite well of spheres. Could this be the peeing Calvin of the Flash age?
George W. Bush, Commander of the Free World, says that God told him to invade Iraq:
One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."
Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."As they say, "if you talk to God, you're praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia". At least it wasn't his talking dog that told him to invade Iraq or lower taxes for the rich or whatever.
The Whitehouse, however, is denying that Bush made those statements. I wonder whether it's (a) to not alienate the more secular-minded Republican voters (i.e., neoconservatives and libertarians) or (b) because much of the staunchly pro-Israeli US Religious Right would consider the idea of God sanctioning a Palestinian state blasphemous.
"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.
"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.
An image that has been floating around recently:
100 verifiable facts about the Bush administration's record:
15. The Bush Administration underfunded Nunn-Lugar--the program intended to keep the former Soviet Union's nuclear legacy out of the hands of terrorists and rogue states--by $45.5 million.
16. The Bush Administration has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and Saddam Hussein's money
47. As major corporate scandals rocked the nation's economy, the Bush Administration reduced the enforcement of corporate tax law--conducting fewer audits, imposing fewer penalties, pursuing fewer prosecutions and making virtually no effort to prosecute corporate tax crimes.
48. The Bush Administration increased tax audits for the working poor.
62. At the behest of the french fry ["Freedom fry" --ed.] industry, the Bush Administration USDA changed their definition of fresh vegetables to include frozen french fries.
Two US political links lifted from unsworn@lj: apparently President Bush is being heavily medicated by his handlers to control his increasingly erratic behaviour. Which is understandable, as you wouldn't want the Leader of the Free World, say, ordering a surprise nuclear strike on Cuba or suddenly sending British and Australian troops into Canada or something; on the other hand, the drugs are claimed to impair the President's mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and ability to respond to a crisis:
Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a "paranoid meglomaniac" and "untreated alcoholic" whose "lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad" showcase Bush's instabilities. "I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed," Dr. Frank said. "He fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated."
Meanwhile, some congresspersons are now pushing for UN supervision of the US Presidential elections. Apparently bills banning the UN from monitoring US elections are being or have been passed, though; pity, as it'd have been amusing to see the fraças as France, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Saudi Arabia volunteer officials to the multinational election monitoring team.
Speaking of Our Saudi Friends, they've now proposed an Islamic peacekeeping force for Iraq, which the US has cautiously agreed with. Which all sounds like a case of the fox winning the chicken-coop-guarding contract. Apart from more or less putting the damper on the ideal much promoted by the neocons of a pluralist, secular, McDonalds-enabled democracy arising in Iraq (or, indeed, of Iraqi women even retaining the rights they had under Saddam's neo-Stalinist dictatorship, for that matter), the Islamic militants currently streaming into Iraq to kill infidels are likely to get a rich new sponsor than be put out of business. Osama bin Laden, if he is still alive, must be a very happy man these days.
Tony Blair to distance himself from Bush ... if that's alright with you, Mr. President. Blair has also described the Abu Ghraib abuses as "revolting", only a week after voting to extend the US's immunity from war crimes prosecution. Someone in the Whitehouse must have given him permission to dissent and play the Good Cop a bit more.
(I'm not quite so sure that being seen as a PNAC asset was as damaging for Blair as some say it is; after all, the alternative is the Tories, who are the Bad Cop to Blair's Good Cop. Oh, and there are the Lib Dems, who are like the worst of both worlds; too small to get elected, and too big to not be in the pockets of corporate lobbyists, at least if Greg Palast is to be believed. Btw, are the UK Greens running for anything other than the European Parliament yet?)
At least Bush still has 100% support from his loyal deputy in Canberra; unlike that hypocritical weasel Blair, Howard is a true believer; for one, he didn't sign the Kyoto treaty, and has recently reaffirmed Australia's opposition to renewable energy. He can probably look forward to a nice "consultant" position with ExxonMobil or Halliburton when he retires.
George W. Bush, many US leftists and secularists say, is a religious fundamentalist zealot determined to turn America into a theocracy and/or use his presidency to bring about, and be at the front of, the Battle of Armageddon. Not so, according to this sociological analysis of US Evangelical Christianity. For one, the two aims are rooted in two incompatible Christian Fundamentalist doctrines (reconstructionism and premillenialism). Secondly, Bush belongs to the same religious denomination as Hillary Clinton. (via MeFi)
The connection between Christian commitment and politics has always been pretty strange in this country. Ronald Reagan became beloved of the "religious right" while rarely darkening the door of a church and articulating only vague belief in a vague God, while the church-going, Bible-toting Bill Clinton was despised by them. If there has been a recent American president whose policies were derived relatively consistently from evangelical Christian theology, it would be Jimmy Carter, that Baptist Sunday-school teacher from Plains, Ga. But that's a story for another day.
Mind you, Bush still noisily attempts to tear down the wall between Church and State, ostracises secularists and throws bones to the Religious Right (such as his appointment of bona-fide Fundamentalist nutter John Ashcroft to the Department of Justice and railing against the threat to Truth, Justice and the American Way that gay marriage is), in between mouthing religious catchphrases at the right moments, though chances are, that has more to do with electoral opportunism than religious zeal.
A Seattle laptop-bag manufacturer has added an apology for their president to the French translation of the care instructions on their bags. The extra lines translate as "We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him." (via bOING bOING)
It has emerged that Tony Blair committed Britain to war in Iraq 9 days after 9/11, in a secret pact with George Bush. Blair is said to have required no convincing to do the deal. Which is consistent with my impressions of Blair as one who positively bends over backwards to be of service to superior powers, be they the US Government (of either stripe; witness the deep personal philosophical kinship Blair had with both Clinton and Bush) or multinational corporations (for which, according to Greg Palast, Blair has personally intervened to bend foreign-ownership rules).
Left-wing demonstrators at Yale infiltrate pro-Bush rally dressed in formal attire, holding "Blood for Oil" signs and chanting slogans like "Defend Enron". The authorities had trouble distinguishing the "Billionaires for Bush" protesters from actual Young Republicans.
"I thought it would be great to support global warming," a demonstrator who would give his name only as Seymour Benjamins said. "You can see how white I am, and global warming gives better tans."
Then again, who needs to parody the pro-corporate right when there are Objectivists quite sincerely talking about "life-giving" pollution; and is "Defend Enron" all that far removed from the "Campaign for the Moral Defense of Microsoft" that the Randroids mounted a few years ago?
Talking Ann Coulter Action Figure; push the button and it rants about treasonous Liberals. Also available: two George W. Bush figures (regular and Top Gun), Donald Rumsfeld and a villainous Bill Clinton. And it looks like they're serious. (via Die Puny Humans)
Central London to be shut down for 3 days for the Imperial visit. In a concession to British traditions of freedom of political debate, protests will be allowed in three specially-designated "free-speech zones", believed to be in Dagenham, Surbiton and Milton Keynes.
Ever wondered what Spider Jerusalem would have had to say about George W. Bush? Wonder no more.
There was a mountain of cocaine on the big teak desk there. Gulls were flapping around its peaks. Tony goddamn Montana would have quailed. Junior slipped on a gas mask, shoved its open intake pipe into the pile, and flipped on the compressor. Enough coke to kill a flock of young tyrannosaurs hoovered up into Junior's head. He ripped off the mask and shrieked. Bloody residue dripped out of the pipe and back on to the pile. Eyes bulging, he looked down at the pile. He yelped. "My God! I see Jesus! I see His Face in these Satanic drugs! I am Saved! Glory Be!"
He looked at my face and laughed. "Relax, sport. I'm just practising. I'm going to be President one day."
North Carolina cops are searching for a guy who successfully passed a $200 bill bearing George W. Bush's portrait and a drawing of the White House complete with lawn signs reading "We like ice cream" and "USA deserves a tax cut." With copy of the bill in question. (via bOING bOING)
Why wait for the redesign of Mt. Rushmore? Get your Texas Air National Guard George W. Bush Action Figure now!
Comes with detailed uniform (as imagined by base commander), sealed discharge papers, Coors Light keg, and "licensed to chug" bumper sticker... Winning bidder will be notified of upcoming GWBANG accessories; pile of dried branches, action pretzel, overstuffed bags with "$" printed on them, blindfold, bible with real, highlighted passages, and earplugs.
Accusations have emerged that the Bush administration has persistently manipulated scientific data to suit its ideology. The administration has "manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings" on issues ranging from oil drilling in Antarctica and global warming to sex education in schools and the planned missile defense programme, and stacked boards with unqualified officials or industry representatives:
''The administration's political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the president, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered Web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications and the gagging of scientists,'' the report added.
A Whitehouse spokesman has dismissed the report.
(Mitch, as a scientist and Debunker of Liberal Hysteria, what is your verdict?)
A US toy company has released a George W. Bush action figure. The Elite Force Aviator George W. Bush figure depicts the Leader of the Free World in naval aviator uniform, modelled exactly on the one he wore on his heroic landing on an aircraft carrier off the Californian coast. (via jwz)
Tom Cruise, the Church of Scientology's brightest star, appeals to Bush administration to help his church. The Superclam wants government Faith-Based Initiative funding for Scientology "educational" operations (I wonder whether that will include Narconon and other creepy cult-like indoctrination programmes, or just the usual Dianetics-based quackery), and also wants Bush to lean on the cheese-eating surrender monkeys to stop their neo-Vichyist persecution of Scientologists.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has publicly denounced George W. Bush.
"I think George Bush is the most corrupt American president since Harding in the Twenties. He is not the legitimate president." He later added: "This really is a completely unsupportable government and I look forward to it being overthrown as much as I looked forward to Saddam Hussein being overthrown."
Could Loony Left Red Ken's career in politics be finished much like George Galloway's looks to be? Anyone want to take bets on how long until he is investigated for paedophilia, financial corruption or outright treason?
Irony is dead, again: A Norwegian parliamentarian has nominated Bush and Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize, for invading and winning the war in Iraq.
The Graun looks at why everyone from anarcho-feral bootleg/mashup collectives to apolitical dance-music producers is sampling George W. Bush:
He added: "He speaks at the perfect speed for drum'n'bass - about 181 beats per minute. In the past I've had nightmares getting various singers to fit with the beats, but everything he [Bush] said was on the beat."
But this sampling can have unintended consequences, as electroclash producer DJ Ali Falsafi, aka Foundation, discovered after sampling Bush saying"I believe in punishment". He used the soundbite because he thought "it sounded like every authoritarian figure you've ever encountered", but the record immediately become a favourite at fetish nights Kash Point and Nagnagnag in London and Hellfire in Sydney.
Is George W. Bush a psychopath? This piece examines the evidence, comparing the clinical definition of the psychopathic personality syndrome to an article profiling Bush and other media. (And then, of course, are those stories of him blowing up frogs as a small child, and taunting death-row inmates as Governor of Texas.)
Of course, this isn't a valid clinical test, but it suggests that he may be one. Which makes one wonder what proportion of politicians are psychopaths (a useful mutation for that line of work).
Hare puts the average North American incidence of psychopathy at 1 per cent of the population, but the damage they inflict on society is out of all proportion to their numbers, not least because they gravitate to high-profile professions that offer the promise of control over others, such as law, politics, business management ... and journalism.
(via Charlie's Diary)
I was deliberately avoiding blogging about the war (you can find all manner of kibbitzing, pontification, play-by-play commentary and ill-informed speculation in too many other places, or just bypass the armchair pundits and tune into the BBC or someone), but this piece is too good to pass up: Richard Dawkins on Bush and the system that elected him.
Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this...
Bush seems sincerely to see the world as a battleground between Good and Evil, St Michael's angels against the forces of Lucifer. We're gonna smoke out the Amalekites, send a posse after the Midianites, smite them all and let God deal with their souls. Minds doped up on this kind of cod theology have a hard time distinguishing between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Some of Bush's faithful supporters even welcome war as the necessary prelude to the final showdown between Good and Evil: Armageddon followed by the Rapture. We must presume, or at least hope, that Bush himself is not quite of that bonkers persuasion. But he really does seem to believe he is wrestling, on God's behalf, against some sort of spirit of Evil.
You've heard the Nu Marxists bleating about how Bush is just like Hitler? Well, here's proof that it's not at all true:
HITLER: A brilliant orator.
BUSH: May be dyslexic.
HITLER: In his younger days, organized the Beer Hall Putsch.
BUSH: In his younger days, drank a lot of beer.
HITLER: Preceding government discredited by economic crisis, hyperinflation, riots between Communists and Fascists.
BUSH: Preceding government discredited by extramarital blowjob.
HITLER: Survived several assassination attempts.
BUSH: Choked on a pretzel.
HITLER AS A MOVIE CHARACTER: SAURON!
BUSH AS A MOVIE CHARACTER: Forrest Gump.
(from Where is Raed?'s comments)
Bush on North Korea: We Must Invade Iraq:
"For years, Kim Jong Il has acted in blatant disregard of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons, and last week, he rejected it outright," Bush told reporters after a National Security Council meeting on North Korea. "We cannot allow weapons of mass destruction to remain in the hands of volatile, unpredictable leaders. Which is exactly why we must act quickly and decisively against Saddam Hussein."
Gill called the discovery "a powerfully compelling refutation" of secular scientists' long-held assertion that dinosaurs lived on Earth millions of years before humans. "The fact that no human remains were found anywhere in the vicinity of the site of the skeleton serves as proof of the tyrannosaur's ferocity and huge appetite," Gill said.
An aide to the Canadian premier has been forced to resign after calling President Bush a "moron", comments which the Iraqi press (no, not the Guardian) picked up on gleefully. She should be careful; that's either giving succour to the enemy or revealing state secrets.
George W. Bush has a posse, and we're all in it: Britain's television advertising authority has banned advertisements questioning George W. Bush's intelligence as "offensive". (And probably mention likely to sow disunity and affect public morale. I doubt whether criticism of Churchill was tolerated in WW2 either.)
Nothing shows patriotism like having a photomosaic of Shrub made of Jesus images in your house, right next to the gun rack. Yeee-ha!
Now someone should make one of John Howard, Our Christian Prime Minister. (via bOING bOING, The Fix)
Nelson Mandela is not someone who is deterred easily. He phoned US president Bush. Bush didn't respond or return his calls, having no time for him. So Mandela called his father, asking him to have a word with his son about hastily invading Iraq.
The Culture War strikes again. Evidence has emerged that, in early 2001, the Bush administration held up a plan to attack Al-Qaeda, because it was believed tainted with the Godless liberal politics of the Clinton administration. It got lost in the political sanitisation of the US public service, and put on the backburner while attention was diverted to a missile defense plan, crackdowns on pornography and the War On Drugs.
A lot of people have linked to this recently (GJW/Jimbob and Jorn are two), but it's somewhat frightening how much of this Onion article from January 2001 has come true.
The scary similarities between Bush's America and Orwell's 1984. From the state of permanent war to the
Ministry of Truth Office of Strategic Influence, and more. Perhaps soon they'll introduce a daily Three Minute Hate, with summary dismissal or detention for non-participation?
Charlie Stross has a modest proposal: swap George W. Bush with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, for the mutual benefit of Britain and America.
Looks like we're off to war with Iraq, Iran and North Korea next.
"For too long our culture has said `if it feels good, do it'," Mr Bush said. "Now America is embracing a new ethic and a new creed: Let's roll."
Actually, "if it feels good, do it" sounds a lot like waging war, finding your approval ratings soaring, and then declaring war on three more states, don't you think?
It's official: software monopoly and George W. Bush election campaign donor Microsoft will not be broken up; the Bush administration has instructed the Department of Justice to drop plans to break up the company, in the interests of obtaining "prompt, effective and certain relief for consumers". Which will probably be a fine of a few thousand dollars and an absolutely binding consent decree preventing Microsoft from putting Netscape out of business again or something like that. Rejoice, free world, for your right to use Windows everywhere has been upheld.
US Roundup: And now, the latest news from the World's Leading Nation: Firstly, it comes out that George W. Bush's successful missile defense test was a fake, with the target missile being rigged with a GPS beacon for the "kill vehicle" to lock onto. Now if we could persuade Saddam to make GPS beacons standard equipment, then everything would be fine and dandy, but failing that, the test is a sham. Meanwhile, ancient superstition has triumphed over scientific progress with the House of Representatives voting to ban stem cell research, on Scriptural grounds. And the White House's reproductive health policy, surprisingly enough, will divert funds from those subversive pinko feminists in the family-planning movement towards an abstinence-based strategy, closely tied to evangelical Christian groups.
Bush's faith-based action plan postponed. Out of all things, it's concern from the religious right that they won't be able to make converts with government money, and that some of the money will go to un-Christian groups like the Scientologists and -- shock, horror -- Islamic groups.