Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I refuse to write anything about W.'s fake speech and promises, especially the pie-in-the-sky words on how we will wean ourselves from oil from the Middle East (one must read House of Bush, House of Saud to know this is not possible under the Bush/Cheney team) and how magically 70,000 AP teachers will be trained and assigned to the low performing schools throughout the U.S. (Alas, what happened to No Child Left Behind bill?) Never mind. It’s all a freaking lie. The two last posts are written by Maureen Dowd who brilliantly analyzes W.s memorized script written by his hired hacks followed by a piece by Ruy Teixeira who crunches the Bush poll numbers. (Thanks, Ken! ) LS



Moving on to more misery in bush world.

STUNNING! It seems that White House may have deleted a boatload of email relevant to the Plame/CIA case.

Of course the sanitizing team of Rove/Cheney and their minions did so. Found on Raw



Another amazing find on Raw This is a must read.



W. is setting the close attention. Condi and Cheney will start the screaming and bleating on Fox News shortly, mark my words.


Brilliant and scathing piece on Bush's memorized script by none other than Maureen Dowd of the NYT.

The New York Times
February 1, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist
Didn't See It Coming, Again


The White House should hire an anthropologist.

Corporations have begun hiring anthropologists to help them improve product designs and interpret markets. And clearly, the Bush foreign policy team doesn't understand any of the markets where it is barging around ineptly trying to sell America and democracy.

The brand value of America has been in steady decline. The state of the union is sour but the state of the world is chilling, thanks to a hideously ham-handed Bush foreign policy crew that was once billed as a seasoned "dream team."

The more the White House tries to force-feed democracy to tempestuous parts of the world, the more it discovers that you may be able to spin and scare voters in the U.S., but the Middle East is not so easy to manipulate. W. believes in self-determination only if he's doing the determining. Fundamentalists in America like to vote for Mr. Bush, but elsewhere they're violently opposing him.

It's stunning that nearly four decades after Vietnam, our government could be even more culturally illiterate and pigheaded. The Bushies are more obsessed with snooping on Americans than fathoming how other cultures think and react.

One smart anthropologist reinforcing the idea that "mirroring" ˜ assuming other cultures think like us doesn't work would be a lot more helpful than all of the discredited intelligence agencies that are costing $30 billion a year to miss everything from the breakup of the Soviet Union to 9/11 to no W.M.D. to Osama's hiding place to the Hamas victory.

Bush officials keep claiming they couldn't have anticipated disasters ˜ from the terrorist attacks to Katrina ˜ even when they got specific warnings beforehand. Busy building up the fake nuclear threat in Iraq, they misplayed the real ones in Iran and North Korea. In London Sunday, Condi Rice admitted that all of our diplomats and spies were caught off guard by the Hamas win. "I've asked why nobody saw it coming," she said. "It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse."

Instead of paying the Lincoln Group millions to plant fake newspaper stories in Iraq, the Bush team might try reading real newspaper stories here. Instead of simply believing any fact that makes him feel self-important, the president might try reading history.

Like many other presidential candidates I've interviewed, W. said he liked Winston Churchill. But if he really had read Churchill, he would at least have understood that the Middle East never turns out the way you expect. Churchill, who called Iraq "an ungrateful volcano," would not have been surprised by the new poll showing that close to half of Iraqis approve of attacks on American forces.

The State of the Union is a non-event. But Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, being blown up by a roadside bomb has forced the media to focus on what the Bushies try to hide ˜ all the injured and maimed coming home from Iraq.

Mark Landler's Times piece noted that the ABC journalists came to the hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, "on a military transport plane carrying 31 wounded soldiers ˜ about a normal daily influx for this hospital."

As Denise Grady wrote in The Times, the survival rate in Iraq is higher than in other wars, but the wounds are multiple and awful: "combinations of damaged brains and spinal cords, vision and hearing loss, disfigured faces, burns, amputations, mangled limbs, and psychological ills like depression and post-traumatic stress."

The Oilman in Chief lecturing us last night, after five oblivious years, about being drunk on oil, now that Halliburton and Exxon are swimming in profits Exxon's revenues were bigger than the gross domestic product of either Saudi Arabia or Indonesia ˜ was rich.

A more honest TV moment was Christiane Amanpour labeling Iraq "a black hole." The "spiraling security disaster," she told Larry King, had robbed Iraqis of hope, "and by any indication whether you take the number of journalists killed or wounded, whether you take the number of American soldiers killed or wounded, whether you take the number of Iraqi soldiers killed and wounded, contractors, people working there, it just gets worse and worse."

But, hey, how could the Bushies have known that occupying a Middle East country ˜ and flipping the balance of power from one sect to another ˜ without enough troops to secure it could go wrong? Who on earth could predict the inevitable?

* Copyright 2006The New York Times Company


s Bush‚s State of the Union (SOTU) address on Tuesday likely to boost his approval ratings and his political fortunes? Not likely. As a very useful Gallup report on post-SOTU polling points out, presidents do not usually get a significant ratings boost from SOTU speeches. In fact, in 12 out of 24 cases going back to 1978, presidential approval actually went down, compared to 10 cases where it went up and 2 cases where it remained the same. Moreover, in only four cases did presidential approval go up four points or more, which would indicate a statistically significant bump.

As for Bush‚s specific record, in three out four SOTU addresses, his post-speech rating changed insignificantly three times (twice negatively and once positively) and in the fourth case (2005) went up six pointsˆa change the report argues was probably attributable to the holding of the first post-Saddam Iraqi elections right after the speechˆand then quickly went back down to its pre-speech level.

These data are from post-speech polls among the general public. Gallup rightly warns against putting too much stock in post-speech reaction polls conducted among debate-watchers, since debate-watchers tend to be heavily skewed by partisanship toward the president‚s party. For example, last year‚s debate-watchers were 52 percent Republican, 25 percent Democratic and 22 percent independent. With audiences like that, a president is pretty much guaranteed to get a friendly reception, but it doesn‚t really mean anything.

So Bush is likely to be stuck with what he‚s got. And what he‚s got is pretty darn awful. As a spate of extensive pre-SOTU polls have made very clear, his presidency is on life support. In fact, the words „a failed presidency‰ would not be unwarranted, at this point, in describing what Bush has managed to attain. But don‚t just take my word for itˆlisten to what the public has to say.

1. In the latest Gallup poll, a majority (52 percent) now describe the Bush presidency as a failure. Contrast this to ratings of Clinton, who, from September, 1996 onward, never had less than 64 percent describing his presidency as a success and was usually at 70 percent and above.

2. Remember that classic question of presidential debates, are you better off today than you were [insert number] years ago? In the same poll, Gallup asked whether „things have gotten better or worse in this country in the last five years‰. By 64-28, the public said that things have gotten worse, including a 70-21 margin among independents.

3. In the new LA Times poll, by 2:1 (62-31), the public says that the country is not better off because of Bush‚s policies and needs to move in a new direction (67-25 among independents and 71-21 among moderates).

4. In the same poll, by 60-32, the public says Bush has not fulfilled his promise to „restore honesty and integrity to the White House‰.

5. In the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, the Democrats in Congress are favored by 16 points (51-35) over Bush on the direction for the country, Democrats are favored over Republicans by 16 points (51-35) on having better ideas and Democrats are favored over the Republicans by 14 points (51-37) on which party can best handle the main problems facing the nation in the next few years. The latter measure is the first time since 1992 that the Democrats have broken 50 percent on this measure and had a lead over the Republicans of this magnitude.

6. In the same poll, an astonishing 50 percentˆhalf the country!ˆstrongly disapproves of Bush‚s handling of the situation in Iraq.

7. In the new CBS News/New York Times poll, just 22 percent believe the economy will be better by end of Bush‚s second term in office than it is today, only 11 percent believe seniors will be paying less for prescription drugs than they are today, a mere 9 percent believe the health care system will be better and an incurably optimistic 6 percent think the deficit will be smaller than it is today.

And there‚s moreˆoh so much more!ˆbut I just don‚t have time to rehearse it all here. I Œll just leave you with one question. Can you say „failed presidency‰? I think you can!

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